Ah, Stress. My dear, old friend that never seems to leave. Much like that one person in your life that doesn’t take the damn hint that you are really ready to be away from them, but just keeps on going and going. You know the one, right? Yeah, you do. You’re thinking about that person or situation right now.
Well, that situation for me as a dual vocational author, meaning I have a full-time job on top of writing, is nearly an everyday occurrence. Finding the time to write or even finding my muse proves difficult on the best of days. You can plan all you want to sit down and right, but life has a funny way of figuring out your plan and taking a baseball bat to it on the 11th hour of your timeline. Trust me. It happens to all of us. Happened to me last week. Still trying to get over the effects of it even with a vacation in the middle of it.
But stress can always be a motivator as in my aforementioned case about last week. Let me set the picture.
You’re an author. *Hi Author!*
You’ve been kicked in the teeth with personnel issues at work, a death in the family, and trying to balance one family event after another.
Your normal on top of it, planner self doesn’t realize that a deadline is much closer than you originally thought it was. Like… 2 days until it’s due closer.
You have that freak out moment.
“How in the hell am I going to do this? I only have one chapter written.”
That is quickly followed by the sense of utter dread and despair.
“You’re such a failure. How could you not realize this? Maybe I should just quit. I’m not cut out for this. ”
Then it hits. The determination to try your best and get those words put onto paper.
You go without sleep.
You load yourself up on so much caffeine that you have no idea how your blood hasn’t turned into one big soda fountain of Coca-Cola.
You work your ever loving ass off until you finally type the magic words.
An entire day ahead of schedule.
While I used to think of stress as a bad thing, last week it worked in my favor. I made my deadline. Something that I thought was impossible, but I did it. Though I have to totally have to admit that stress in my day job wears me out more than I would like and could never be considered a motivational tool. It did motivate me this time. It made my creative juices flow knowing that others depended on me to get my story done.
Is that story perfect? Hell no. It’s not even remotely like I thought it would be, but the finishing touches can be added during the editing. The important thing is that I did what I promised to do, and got the job done. Is this something that I think will happen every time? Hell no. I know that I may not always find success in every deadline I come across, but last week? Yeah, I totally rocked that deadline’s world.
Now, onto to the next one, which I definitely wrote down like a million and one times in my new author planner. Because, well, #stressgoals.
See you all next week. Happy reading!
Oh yeah. You read that right. If I had to give this week a chapter title, no sleep until New Jersey aptly describes the bat shit crazy life I’ve been living this week.
For the first time in my life, I had a writing deadline, and one that was much sooner than I had originally thought. Fourteen days to write a story turned into two. Two work days to write a minimum of 20,000 words. It was pure chaos. I wrote until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and my head throbbed before going to sleep and doing it all again. For someone who hates procrastination, I learned an important lesson. Write down the deadline correctly. Thankfully I had most of the story plotted and the words were coming easily. I finished it in just 36 hours and spent most of today editing. It may not be perfect right now, but that’s why we have editors and beta readers. Two jobs that authors should cling to when you’re doubting yourself or writing at a much faster pace than you are used to doing. Now that it is all said and done, DEADLINES SUCK! This is a lesson that I will never forget. Though I may have completed it on time, the stress and lack of sleep has made me realize that I am not made for last minute musing.
But there’s an upside. A light at the end of the tunnel. A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I leave on vacation tomorrow for a long weekend pre-California vacation vacation with two very good friends to Atlantic City. I’ve never seen the Atlantic Ocean nor have I ever traveled to this particular part of the country. For whatever reason, we tend to flock to the Southwest or deep south when we travel. A vacation blunder that I am so excited to change. Atlantic City is just a stepping stone for all of the places that I am looking forward to visit in the next few years, especially Salem, MA, which is on both my husband and I’s bucket list trips.
That being said, I should probably get my bag packed. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and be on the lookout for posts and pictures from our trip.
See you all next week!
I have to admit right off the bat that the solemn under tones from last week’s post will be continuing this week. This week has been hard on me for multiple reasons. Stress at work, illness, a death in the family, and one of the holidays that I dread the most is looming over me.
Losing Glen’s Aunt, and my childhood neighbor has taken a far greater toll than I can imagine. Her death wasn’t unexpected, but the suddenness of it has taken the entire family by shock. She wasn’t a saint, but she was who she wanted to be. No holds barred. She was a cornerstone of my husband’s family that will greatly be missed.
But it’s not just her death weighing on me.
I find myself being sucked back into the swirling emotional rollercoaster that was my father’s funeral. For the first time in nearly three years, I have to walk back into the same funeral home where I last looked upon my father’s face. Sure, I could stay home, but I need to support my husband and extended family. I have to pull up my big girl panties and grit my teeth when I cross that threshold. Will it be hard? Fuck yes, it will be, but for him and his family, I am going to do my best. That’s all I can do.
But I think in that thought lies the heart of my sadness this week. Sunday marks the 4th Father’s Day I have spent without my dad. There’s an old saying about time healing all wounds, but that’s bullshit. At least for me. Every day is struggle missing him. My dad, much like Glen’s Aunt, wasn’t a saint. He was hard on me growing up, and I hated him for so much of childhood for his tough love approach. It wouldn’t be until he was gone that I truly appreciated the gift that he gave me.
He made me strong enough to handle anything.
He made me a woman that other people turn to when they are in trouble.
He gave me life skills and a good work ethic to make sure my family would never go hungry.
My dad is the reason for all of that. Something that I wish I could go back and tell him. Along with so many other things.
I miss his laugh.
I miss seeing his name pop up on my phone every night after I left for work to chat on our commutes home.
I miss those stupid goddamn e-mails he used to send to annoy me.
The list could go on and on, but the tears streaming down my face right now as I write this are reminders that despite all the bad times with him, I still loved him. He wasn’t perfect, but neither am I.
I have my flaws just like he did, many of which I think I inherited from him, or so my mom says. And I tend to agree with her.
But, that’s what makes me, well, me. I wouldn’t change it for the world because it reminds me that I am human. I make mistakes. I say stupid shit that gets me into trouble, but it’s the real me. A me I want to be proud of.
So before this goes off the rails even more, I want to close this out by wishing those who are celebrating with their dads this week, a Happy Father’s Day. For those like me, it won’t be easy, but cling to those memories in your grief and remember to try to smile.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
I love you.
A word made up of ten letters that carries insurmountable pain and sadness to those inflicted.
A word that so many treats as something dirty and unwanted, sweeping it under the rug and out of sight.
A word that has hit home for the entire world this week with the news of fashion icon Kate Spade and restauranteur Anthony Boudain’s death.
As high profile as their deaths are to the world, there are many others who will never make the headlines when they take their own life. Countless people each day lose their battle with depression, sadness, or mental illness, taking their own lives and leaving people behind who will never understand to pick up the pieces. Left behind with few answers, and so many questions as to whether or not they could have prevented losing them. The short answer is never definitive. So often those who are considering suicide struggle in silence.
Suicide is an epidemic and trend that we, as society, are faced with more and more each day. It’s an ugly truth that no one wants to talk about, but that ends here. If we don't talk about it, the epidemic will continue at a relentless pace. Now is not the time to keep to the shadows and speaking about the darkness and sadness in murmured whispers. We need to #getloud and seek out those who may be battling in silence. I beg of you to seek help. Open up to a friend, a counselor, a minister, or even a stranger. The darkness of the world is filled with pain, but please find an outlet before considering taking your life. There are people who who may lean on your that you may never know until it's too late.
I want to close today by sharing information about where you can seek help. It’s a phone call away, and I hope that if you’re reading this and have thought about committing suicide that you will call not only for yourself, but for those you may be leaving behind.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255
Anyone who was on social media yesterday knows what the title and subject of this commentary eludes to, cockygate. For those of you who haven’t seen it, I am going to start off with a brief summary of the past month of turmoil regarding this issue.
In early May 2018, an author published a crude and obviously self-written Cease and Desist letter from an author regarding her trademark of the word cocky in use of titles in a romance series. The C&D threatened legal action if the petitioned author did not respond by changing their title within a short time period. Not an easy task by any means, but I digress. The C&D also mentioned that if the author didn’t comply that they would legally seek all royalties and profits from the work as restitution for non-compliance.
That’s when bookworld blew up because the news was spreading like wildfire of what she had done. More and more authors received C&D letters, and notifications from Amazon of the supposed infringement of their use of the word cocky. FH had even reviewed a book by an author who had similar character names with a crudely written C&D letter. For those who don’t know, you cannot legally own a name that isn’t unique yet this woman feels she does own it. Author after author spoke out about similar experiences with FH, and the bookworld news reel took off. Readers, authors, bloggers, and all other literary professionals took to their social media pages voicing displeasure about her actions in hopes that she would reconsider when they reached out to her.
She did not and called the masses of people who were against her trademark bullies. A word that I think is being misconstrued on a daily basis by more than just FH. Let’s just read the dictionaries description of a bully.
1. a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.
1. use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
FH was the person who initiated this act of aggression on others. Those who spoke out against, much like I am right now, are simply using their legally given right of the First Amendment of the Constitution of exercising my right of free speech. Bullies, we are not. We, as the collective of the people who make up bookworld, are angry at the precedent that she is setting.
Trademarking pen names and series names have long since been around. It’s a move to protect your work and your name from copycats. Had Faleena Hopkins, known as FH from here on, had stuck to just that, this would be a completely different story. But, she didn’t. She chose to move forward and legally try to own a trademark on a word that has long since been around before her series of books.
So, let’s fast forward to the current news on this topic. Last week FH through her attorney files for an TRO (temporary restraining order) and injunction against former attorney and sci-fi author Kevin Kneupper, who had filed a petition to cancel her trademark shortly after the news broke, Tara Crescent, an author who refused to change her cocky title, and Jennifer Watson, a publicist who was hired to promote a legal fee fundraising anthology entitled CockTales. An obvious move to try to block the cancellation proceedings of her trademark and to cease the sale of the anthology that is mocking her and raising funds to combat her claims in court. A move that she lost. The judge denied her injunction to block the anthology and Crescent’s other cock books being available for sale and the TRO request. judge also set a discovery hearing for Sept 2018.
This was a small victory in a very long fight ahead of us. Many people have asked via social media why this means so much to authors and readers alike. Both indie and traditionally published. The precedent this trademark makes could re-shape the literary world as we know it. The downhill effect is already beginning as other authors have filed to trademark generic words. And this is just the beginning. Until the case against FH is resolved, hopefully in our favor, authors will live in fear a trademark limiting their creative usage. Imagine having to wake up every morning to scour the USPTO for new filings that could come back on you. Imagine all the hours we are losing on this by not writing or promoting our books that are being buried by this case.
Cockygate doesn’t just harm authors, but readers as well, and if we don’t stand together in our desperate hour of need to squash this precedent down, bookworld may very well cease to exist for those who can’t pay to trademark. So while this battles out, please stick us as authors, and help support the cocky authors.
If you’d like to purchase the Cocktales Anthology, you may do so here:
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2ImisBR
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/CockTalesGR
Avelyn Paige is an Wall Street Journal and USA TODAY bestselling Motorcycle Romance author.