Onward and upward

Next Monday, I officially take over the bookstore that I’m buying. A new chapter in my life and I couldn’t be more excited. Before I was a writer, I was a book lover. The opportunity to run my own business was too good to pass up.

Yes, I realize that I’ll be working a lot, and have to make sacrifices with my time but this is one of those moments in life where you either go for it or you live with the regret of what might have been.

I thought I would be trapped in the dark spiral of the last few years. Relegated to fighting back memories and shame.

But time and distance have been my friend and propelled me into a new direction I never thought I’d be able to travel.

I’m ready for the second half of my life. It will be hard, it may be frustrating but I’m ready for the challenge.

I’ve gotten back to me, who I was so long ago. The laughter, the love and a new way of looking at the world around me has allowed me to relegate the negativity to a dark corner in my mind, hopefully locked away forever.

Everything I’ve experienced has brought me to this pivotal point in my life. I go forward knowing some universal truths, I’ve always read about but never experienced.

I know that looking to someone else for validation, to tell me I’m a good person and worthy never works out for long. It has to come from within and you have to really believe in yourself. Losing yourself in people and things never solves the issues that are in you. It’s a great distraction from dealing with those things inside of you that you don’t like but until you’ve learned to love yourself, believe in yourself and trust in yourself, life will never change.

I never dreamed I’d be in this place. A place where I embrace who I am. Where I don’t lash out at those who might hurt my feelings. I’ve come to take people as they are and if I can’t accept who they are then I don’t have them in my life.

There is an amazing kind of freedom in discovering what you’re worth. In taking care of yourself and finding my passions in life. I no longer live for other people but for myself. It’s opened me up to give more love and friendship without my ego expecting anything in return. And it’s amazing!

Will there be tough days? Of course, no one escapes the hard times but it’s how I choose to handle such things that is making the difference. This journey is about me. I no longer feel selfish for wanting things for myself. Not material things but people and places and experiences that I really love.

I thrive when challenged and buying the bookstore couldn’t have come at a better time.

My DH was considering moving us to North Carolina this year for work. He was going to transfer to a new facility, with moving expenses and more money to go along with it.

The truth is, I never wanted to pick up and move like that. Leave behind everything and everyone I knew. My friends, my family and possibly my oldest son. The idea of being separated from my first-born was more than I could take and I knew that I would have to refuse to move to a strange place where I didn’t know anyone. Being several states away from my child was unacceptable and frankly more money just isn’t worth being away from those I hold most dear.

There will be challenges ahead and certainly not perfect. No life ever is. I no longer strive to have the “ideal” kind of existence but live for what makes me happy. I don’t put my expectations on another person. Because when people do that they always end up disappointed. No one can ever live up to what you think they should be and its unfair to expect them to.

I refuse to fall into old patterns of waiting for the other shoe to drop or expecting the worst in a situation.

Learning patience and letting people be exactly who they are has been the hardest lesson of all.

Is it the yoga, the meditation, the exercise, I’m not sure and I don’t want to waste my time analyzing it. I’m only in control of me and as such can only look to myself for what makes me happy.

I’m thankful that 2015 is unfolding the way it is. There have been challenges but I’m learning to navigate my way through. And I look forward to many more years of happiness and contentment in my life and hope to bring a little joy and love to those around me. The world is a very lonely place when you cut yourself off from everything. I did it for a long time, but not anymore.

I embrace each day as a beginning and take pleasure in the small things it has to offer. I hope all of you can find your true path. Take comfort in close friends and family. Believe in yourself. Never settle. Never make life changing decisions in desperation for love and approval. Realize that you are unique and special and have a place in this world. Lay down the bricks that hold you in place and really understand that bad moments will pass.

Sierra

Advertisements

50 Shades of F**ked up!

  This weekend marks the release of 50 Shades in theaters. I’ve wrestled with this and haven’t written about it until today.

I’ll admit it, I couldn’t finish the first book. For me there was a huge ick factor in it. The female is barely an adult and a virgin to boot. Losing her virginity to a Dom who is angry and jealous made me very uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I know too many kids around that age, ( I know I’m showing my age here…lol.) including my now 18 yr old son.

Writing about this subject is a delicate thing. Fans of the books are naturally going to defend this series and will point out that writers who are against this are jealous. I freely admit I’m envious of the book’s success, who wouldn’t be? But, it’s the content of the book that has me shaking my head.

BDSM is a complicated thing and this movie doesn’t even come close to being a healthy relationship. There are writers out there who do it right and do it better. When VJ and I wrote our Cooperate Affairs series, we did an insane amount of research and continued to do so when we started writing our novella series Scenes from Velvet Ice.  The world of BDSM is so much more than being tied and whipped.

While the physical aspects are wide and varied, the emotional component is really what it’s all about.

Safe, sane and consensual are the main components of such a relationship. Negotiation paramount. The power exchange should always be understood and followed. Laymen need to understand that it’s the submissive who has all the power, not the Dom. Spelling out limits, respecting each other and trusting the other person completely are just a few of the things that MUST happen to have a true BDSM relationship.

What bothers me the most, is that readers or movie goers, who aren’t familiar with the lifestyle will experiment with it and may end up getting hurt, either physically or mentally.

“But it’s only fiction!” I can hear people saying that over and over again.

Yes, it’s true, its fiction but for those who aren’t familiar with the delicate dance that is BDSM probably see this as an actual portrayal of such a relationship.Practicing what they’ve seen on the screen in their own lives, without the knowledge of the emotion toll they weren’t expecting and don’t know how to deal with.

Playing Dom and Sub without understanding the entirety of this kind of relationship has the potential to move from sex to abuse, and eventually some will confuse the acts themselves.

True, subs will enter contracts that are very specific in nature. What the limits will be and what crosses the line. Both the Dom and Sub know exactly what to expect from each other. The potential for abuse is very real and anyone seeing this movie needs to understand that it isn’t close to the reality of a TRUE BDSM relationship. There are plenty of curios people who may not understand that 50 Shades is nothing more than fiction.

For some the idea of this kind of play will seem intriguing and it can be a very satisfying relationship but the reality of what it means to submit, to put all your trust in another person, riding the edge of your limits, is delicate. Playing these games without understanding the emotions behind them is pretty scary.

Giving another person your absolute trust is difficult in most circumstances. I shiver to think that movie goers will leave the theater and go home and try to do what they saw on the screen. Then might be left afterwards feeling hurt, shame, and a whole host of other negative emotions that will stay with you. Make you look differently at your partner, if they accidentally hurt you because neither of you have the experience because they didn’t do any research on what it’s like.  I worry that abuse could be passed off as BDSM. That people will think it’s all about pain and that it could put a big rift between couples if they take things too far.

The warm up and the aftercare are just as important as the scene itself. These are deeply emotional times and it’s up to the Dom to see to his subs needs.

I’ve put my total trust in a lover before and when that trust is broken it is devastating.

  If you’re going to see the movie please keep some things in mind. This started as a work of fiction. Fiction that started out as fanfic for Twilight, not for BDSM. Melding the two is scary. If you’re unfamiliar with the lifestyle you shouldn’t look at this film as a “HOW TO” but treat it as nothing more than a complete fantasy.

If you want to know what goes on in a true BDSM relationship, there are plenty of authors who write  the reality of such a relationship is.

The best example is Joey W. Hill. She’s written these stories for many years and is so damn accurate about not only the physical but the emotion toll these relationships can have. She’s a must read if you want a real portrayal of a Dom and his/her Sub.

Before embarking on this kind of play there are several things you absolutely should do.

Read on the subject matter. There are plenty of non-fiction books that detail a real Dom/Sub encounter.

Visit a real dungeon, so that you can see exactly what happens say when you get whipped and ask yourself the hard questions.

Will any pain you’re given enhance the sex you have?

Can you give up control to another person?

Do you both understand that as the Sub, you can stop whatever you’re doing at anytime when you feel uncomfortable?

Do you understand that a Dom/Sub relationship is much more than whips, ropes and toys. It’s an emotional connection, one where you are both on the same page.

This kind of relationship can be the best thing ever or your worst nightmare.

Nothing is more dangerous to the heart, body and soul, then when people may possibly get abused and mistaking it for BDSM. Abuse is abuse…period.

As I’ve said there are  plenty of great fiction that presents a truer perspective of BDSM. A lot of authors, including myself and VJ, who’ve been writing these stories for ten years. I like that this book opened up the door to this subject. Unfortunately the facts are wrong, this feeling it invokes in me are wrong.

Tread carefully and keep in mind this a fantasy and nowhere even close to reality. Indulge your fantasy, but always have the facts before trying anything.

 

Sound Track for my new novel.

I haven’t made a specific soundtrack for any books since 2008. I always listen to music but back then I had certain artists/albums that were playing in the background, especially for The Worthington’s. Going through my music I found an album that spoke to me and to the story I’m working on. Kane and Josie are the protagonists in my new w.i.p. So I thought I’d share some of the songs from the cd title Amarylis. Scene after scene popped into my mind every time I listen to it.

These particular songs fit my characters as they deal with loss, mistrust, dark pasts and finally falling for each other.

It’s a new dawn…it’s a new day…it’s a new life…

     I love that song. I think it’s a wonderful reminder that each day is new and we have the opportunity to improve ourselves and our lives. As a writer this is especially important. It’s easy to let your past define your present. To feel like an epic failure when you don’t release any new books for such a long period of time. I’ve had an easier time blogging than opening up one of my files and write. My biggest mistake is that I’ve allowed other people to call into question my writing skills. We can either let their words cripple us, see it as a challenge or we can put it out of our heads completely.

I choose the latter because in the end, it’s what I love to do and those who know nothing about writing have no idea what they’re talking about. I’m not referring to reviews and reviewers. I’ve never taken offense to their criticism. I let those who wanted nothing more than to tear me apart, made me second guess everything about my ability to write a good story. But one day you will wake up and say “What the fuck? What a joke.” and you find that there isn’t anything that anyone can say about story telling if you just let it go.

January 1rst I woke up and instead of thinking “Oh shit here we go again.” I looked forward to what the day would bring. Experiencing the kind of freedom I hadn’t felt in a very long time. We can easily let negativity wrap itself around of us, choking us until we give up and let the pain eat away at who we are. Or we can shake it off and move forward.

    I’ve learned to appreciate all the things in my life, big or small and to put things in perspective. Accepting the world for what it is not trying to force it to be what I want it to be. I’m responsible for what I do and how I do it. I don’t want to be the cause of anyone else’s pain anymore. Whatever you put out into the universe comes back to you tenfold. Even in science there’s a reaction for every action. I’ve been paid back enough though and have stepped back into the light.

In celebration of all I’ve learned, my writing partner and I will be releasing a new novella, Wright in Flight this month. I’m not sure of the exact date but it will be out soon.

   Wright in Flight is a story about a fairy and the human she falls for. We’ve taken character’s from ” A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” Oberon and Puck included. It’s a humorous, light-hearted, little romp, something that’s a real departure for us.

I’m still plugging away at my new series and hope that it will be finished by the end of the month. I’m excited about this new series and can’t wait to get it done.

I’ve also set up my reading goals for the month. 4 books a month at the minimum. I read pretty fast so I might be able to push it to 8 this month and throw in a couple of novellas. When you write it’s so important to read books. It helps you know what readers are into and for me it keeps me motivated. There are so many excellent writers and I think we authors look up to those who have the gift of telling a great story.

   J.R Ward is one of my favorite writers. Her Blackdagger Brotherhood series is exceptional. It’s dark, emotionally charged and they stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them. Her hero’s are imperfect and damaged. I love how the women they love accept them for who they are and I like the fact that they continue to be haunted by their long lives. Love can conquer many things but there are somethings that can never be forgotten. It makes the characters so complex and watching them go through unimaginable tragedy and pain has brought me to tears more than once. So what’s the pay off? It’s that these deeply flawed men discover the parts of themselves that are good and their love is unconditional. The power of friendship these men have for each other and the love they feel for their mates is very powerful. J.R. has done an amazing job with all the elements and when I grow up I’d love to be like her. With her ability to get across the page everything my characters are feeling. I want to paint a rich tapestry of the realities of the world I write.

 

Closing out 2014

          2 days left before 2014 is behind us. This is the first time in many years that I’m looking forward to starting a new year. So many wonderful things have happened over this year and I’ve learned so much about myself. I was finally able to pull myself out of the pity party I was having and living for today. My personal life has finally come full circle and I’m enjoying time spent with those I love. I’ve removed those who were toxic from my life and have allowed others back in.

Adding to all the positives has been the weather in Michigan. Yeah, it’s starting to get cold but there’s been no snow (it’s coming I know but hey I’ll take it). The best thing by far has been all the sunny days we’ve had. The worst thing about winter here is the dark and dreary days that bleed together as days turn to months. This Leo is thrilled and grateful for everyday of sunshine we get and I always make sure to spend some time outside, enjoying the large, yellow orb in the sky. I love the summers here and have no problems with the heat unless it’s really humid out. I could never live in Florida or Georgia just because of the humidity. Even if I lived close to the water there’s nothing quite as oppressive as hot, humid days. But luckily we don’t suffer too much from that. Some years have been worse but all in all I can’t complain.

My writing has exploded over the past three months and I’m so excited about the coming year and what I’m working on. I’m going to experiment a little with some of my stories.

1. I’m delving into Urban fantasy. Yes, there will be some romantic element to the stories but I’m focusing more on the action and world building aspect and the romance will be more of a sub plot. My dystopian re-telling of King Arthur will fit nicely into this category.

2. I also have a new series I’m working on that I thought would be my urban fantasy but the more I’ve written the more it’s become clear that the romance is just as important as the other elements of the story. How erotic I’m going to make it remains to be seen. But I’m really excited about it.

3. I have a new werewolf series I’ve been working on as well. I haven’t published anything new since March but I have been writing.

4. I’m also working on the 4th Alexander Wolves book- Nolan’s Dark Sacrifice. I’ve had a lot of readers ask me about that book and it’s been started.

5. I would like to revisit Club BBW. I deleted Silky Sweet which told the owner of the clubs story. For my own personal reasons I killed the story and want to re-write it with a new hero that is a better match for my girl.

6. Finally VJ and I will have something from the world of Club Velvet Ice, hopefully more but I don’t know what or when that will be.

I’ve set these specific goals because it’s time. Taking the year off was what I needed to do. I didn’t like it. Didn’t like feeling like I was paralyzed but it helped me to really come to terms with what is important, who is important and where my place in the world is. Profound? No, millions of people go through the same thing all the time and as we all know you can’t tell anyone, anything they don’t want to know. They have to learn it on their own and that includes me. It was the end of my time being on the outside looking in. I’ve reached a place where I can say that I’m really, really happy. It’s reflected in the way I take care of myself and my family. In my writing and my belief in love and romance. In the joy I find I have more often than not. I’ve learned to turn off the negative shit and not obsess about it on bad days. I’ve found my compassion again and hope it is with me always.

The beginning of this is going to be a test for sure. My mother is very ill and we aren’t sure what is going to happen with her but I have to hope that things will improve. Wasting time thinking about the worst doesn’t help her and only stresses me out and my dad needs me to help facilitate things for them.

At the same time my son is having MAJOR reconstructive surgery on his foot. My job there will be to take care of him. Make sure his schoolwork is kept up. At this point it looks like he’ll be out of school for about a month or at least until he’s able to get around without a wheelchair or walker. His high school is 3 stories and the elevator has a sketchy history of breaking down. Between the DH and I though we’ll be able to help him through the surgery, recovery and physical therapy. Of course I’m scared as hell but I have faith in his surgeon, he’s one of the best in Mi.

When January is in the mirror, the stress should again die down until the next time.

I’m re-reading series as well. The first is the Christine Feehan, Carpathian novels. 25 in all so far. I stopped reading them after 12 of them so I have plenty more of them to go. I love her writing and am so glad I’m doing this.

So I say adios to 2014. Goodbye to the struggles I used to have. Goodbye to all the negative, self-doubt and worry. I’m looking forward to continuing what I started this year and want nothing more than to make each and every day better than the day before. I’ve  EXISTED for such a long time and have finally been able to be a participant in life once again. Don’t get me wrong. I still won’t be taking any shit from anyone but I also won’t be wasting my time on people,places and things that don’t make me happy and bring nothing but all the bad feelings you can have when you think about them. I didn’t wake up one day and poof, my world was right again. It was a gradual thing, like removing one brick at a time from the wall that’s standing in my way. A continual work in progress that’s working so far.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the New Year celebrations. Please, please don’t drink and drive. I don’t really ever drink, in fact I can’t remember the last time I did and I don’t have anything against it. BUT if you make the stupid ass decision to get behind the wheel after a couple of drinks you’re being selfish and reckless. There are plenty of places that will be offering rides for those who are too drunk to drive. AAA has a program for the New Year’s Eve. Take advantage of all the services out there while you enjoy your holiday. Drunk driving is something that I’m passionate about and those who know me, know they only have to call- at anytime- and I will pick them up. If you’re not a drinker, offer yourself to your friends who may need the help.

          Take care of yourselves and I hope that you all have a spectacular New Year!

All my love,

Sierra

                                           

Cooking & Reading

In the never-ending quest to improve myself, I’ve embarked on a cooking & baking frenzy. Now, I can honestly tell you I hate cooking & baking just sucks. But the more I explore, the better I’ve become. The cooking part has been a little easier. Trying new recipes, new spices and new foods for the family (I’m very picky but I do make what they like and if I don’t like it, I’ll just make me something small.) I still don’t really enjoy cooking. It hurts my brain trying to come up with a protein and an appropriate starch and veggies.  My kids have always liked my cooking and  they and the DH are enjoying what I’m giving them.

Baking, holy crap, it’s like being a chemist. You have to follow the recipes as closely as possible, making sure the measurements correct and in the correct order. UGH!!!!!!!! But in this area, I’m getting better as well. Last week I went to my bestie’s home and she, another friend and I baked cookies for about ten hours. Today I successfully made a cherry pie (no I did not buy a frozen one and pop it into the oven, though it would have been less stress) for my hubby. He loves fruit pies so I thought why not start making them as well as 6 dozen cookies for Christmas. The next hurdle to conquer is baking a home-made cake that isn’t lopsided. But there is something to be said for turning on the music and dancing your way around the kitchen while cooking. It’s slowly becoming more enjoyable.

 

Re-reading:

I’m back on a reading kick. It’s been way too long since I’ve dug in deep to read and some of my favorite authors have a lot of books I haven’t read yet. So my solution is that I’m going to start the series I’ve read over and read everything that’s been written up until now. It’s another step in my writing as these authors are what inspired me to write paranormal books.

First up- Christine Feehan- Dark Series

Christine’s books were my first reads where the hero’s were all flawed, very alpha and walked the line between good and evil very carefully. You’re right there when these couples fall in love. No purple prose- thank you.

So here’s the order and I hope to be through the entire series by the end of FEB…We’ll see, there are 28 in the series so far and here’s the reading order.

Dark Prince, Dark Prince, Dark Desire, Dark Gold, Dark Magic, Dark Challenge, Dark Fire, Dark Guardian, Dark Dream, Dark Legend, Dark Symphony, Dark Descent, Dark Melody, Dark Destiny, Dark Hunger, Dark Secret, Dark Demon, Dark Celebration, Dark Possession, Dark Curse, Dark Slayer, Dark Peril, Dark Predator, Dark Storm, Dark Nights, Dark Lycan, Dark Wolf and Dark Blood.

It’s quite a list but I’m also doing research as these books are all about the world she created for them. Since I really love to write in a series format, and it takes a lot of work but I’m giving it one hell of a try.

Yep…I’m a music Ho!!!!!!

With all the videos that I’ve put up, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a music ho. It’s always been a part of my life. When I was young I listened to what my parents did. From my dad it was Elvis and all the old country singers. George Jones, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.  From my mom it was Motown and golden oldies. During the seventies it was Blondie, Abba and yes I listened to disco. Hey I was only ten at the time but I couldn’t get enough. I remember going to see Grease and begging my mom to buy the record.

I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to music. I listen to everything and in all genres. I have some favorites but in general anything and everything that catches my attention. I’ve found obscure bands and singers that have blown me away.

Last night I was writing down all the concerts I’ve been to over the last 20 years and was surprised at just how many I’ve been lucky enough to attend. I discovered that I’ve been to almost 50 concerts so far and have no intention of ever stopping. Music plays such a big part in my life. I’d rather have that then television any day of the week and often have it on all day when the kids are in school and the DH is at work. My 17 yr old has become my concert buddy over the last 6 years and it’s been a blast going to shows with him.

Here’s my list, as you will see it is very diverse.

My very first concert was at 15 and it was with my best friend Tina. Her father (my second dad) took us to see them. 20 later, she and I took her 16 yr old daughter to see them, it was a full circle moment for us.

So here’s my list. I’ve tried to sort them out by decade but after a while, I couldn’t remember what was in the late 80’s. early 90’s etc…But it was fun remembering the shows. I always remember the shows. Some bands I’ve seen more than once and noted it next to their names.

Duran Duran- 5 times,   Erasure, Tears for Fears,   Inxs,   Thompson Twins/Berlin,  Bruce Springsteen,   New Order/Echo and the Bunnymen, Gen loves Jezebel,   Depeche Mode/ OMD,   Howard Jones,   A-ha,   The Cure,  George Micheal,   Eric Clapton,  Bon Jovi-2 times,   Areosmith,   Kiss/Winger/Skid Row,   Scorpions/ Extreme,  Guns and Roses,   Metallica,   Poison/Warrant,   Slaughter,   Elton John,   Waylon Jennings,   .38 Special,   Pink Floyd,   Kenny Wayne Sheppard,   Incubus,   30 Seconds to Mars-2 times,   Steve Miller-3 times,  Joe Cocker, Shinedown- 4 time,  Avenge Sevenfold,   Chevelle,   Sevendust,   Papa Roach,   Staind,  Puddle of Mud,   Skillet- 2 times and my last one late this summer was Linkin Park.

I also took my kid when he was 12 to see Weird Al and he puts on a hell of a show-costume changes and all. I thought it would be kind of hokey but it was sold out and it was a lot of fun.

I also have seen hundreds of bands in clubs, bars and music festivals where I live. There is nothing better than a live show to make you feel alive.

There are still artists on another list that I haven’t seen in concert and I hope that I can see them in the future.

Billy Idol (Damn after all the years, he’s still one of the sexiest men in the world) 3 Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman,  U2, Eminem, Alter Bridge, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Katy Perry and Nickelback- I know everyone likes to say shit about them but I like their music and I’m not ashamed to say it…

For me music is the heart and soul of expression. The words can speak to you, the rhythm moves you and you can find a song to fit your mood, to help you grieve or to make you happy. I would be lost if I didn’t have music in my life. Elvis, The Beatles, Micheal Jackson, Led Zepplin, Janis Joplin and The Doors. The Sex Pistols and Black Flag, Jayzee and Beyonce. Metallica to Shinedown and everything in between.

IMO, I think that music should always take a front seat with your family. Turning them onto it. Finding songs they love. It’s so important. My favorite you tube videos are the ones that have cropped up lately. Fathers riding in cars with their daughters and singing along with the Frozen soundtrack. It’s so awesome to watch. For me, music is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, black or white, a genius or not, a CEO or a factory worker. Music is one medium that brings people together.

The next time you go to a show, look around at the people who are there as well. They come from all social and economic classes, all different races and generations.Songs remind us of people and places. Love and hate. Descent and peace. Anger and joy.

Most of my book ideas come from music. Sometimes directly, sometimes it’s as simple as a scene that plays in my mind while the song is on.

I’m grateful for my love of music. The next time you’re in need of inspiration, try turning on the i-pod and see what comes to mind.

 

  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events