Counting down the days!

In 3 days I will celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary. While we’ve definitely had our ups and downs and the road has been far from smooth, what I’ve come to appreciate is who my husband is.

He’s never turned his back on me …ever…Even during the worst time of my life when people shunned me, ran away, lied like I never dreamed possible. When I was turned inside out and became a shell of a women. During the times when I was so fucking destructive to myself and those around me. He pulled me through those dark moments. It wasn’t always what he had to say just that he was here, with me. Accepting me for who I was and who I am.

I know I’m in a better place in my life then I’ve ever been. I’m a happier person then I’ve ever been. That I’m stronger and wiser then I’ve ever been. I have my compassion back for others. I have forgiveness for myself and others.

He’s shown me what real loyalty means. What respect means. What real strength of character and standing by someone means. Words mean nothing. They’re too easy to say without meaning them. It’s too easy to go back on them. Too easy to break promises. No, beyond my writing, words don’t hold a lot of sway with me.

Showing me is what counts. I’m not talking about expensive gifts or having it all. I’m talking about showing me things in the quieter moments. In the small conversations. In mentioning something and it being remembered days, weeks later.

I’ve always been pretty easy to please. I’ve only ever wanted people to be open and honest with me. To really be my friend that I can call on anytime. I’m lucky to have that in my life with great, life long friends and 20 years with the man who has stood by my side when he by all rights should have walked away.

I’ve simplified my life. Let a couple of friends who are a source of non-stop negative energy go. Some I’ve known most of my life. Things in my world are so uncomplicated and I’m grateful every single morning that I wake up and get to live this life.

A life that’s been made better by the hard lessons I’ve had to learn. A life that allows me to look at the good in everyone and to be satisfied with what I have.

At this stage in my life, people who are my age, I think most of us have moved into that second phase. Our children are grown, some are gone and we get to focus on us and what makes us happy. We get to go where we want without worrying about childcare or whining and crying. I rarely have to play peace keeper anymore and make the kids work their shit out for themselves. My three are all very independent and know what they want to do with their lives.

I hope I’ve learned from my mistakes and won’t ever repeat them again but we can never say never.

With the type of Bi-polar illness I have, a lot of people can’t deal with it and have cut and run. I used to be angry at them but I’ve come to understand they just didn’t possess the strength or ability to understand that everything does pass in its own time. And that’s okay.

I can be difficult, I can be bitchy and moody but those who love me get it. They know they don’t have to do “anything” but be there for me if I need them. Calm me when I feel like I’m slipping down that dark slope. But because I’ve had the kind of support I’ve been given, I’ve emerged from the black cave and really appreciate every single thing that has happened in my life that brought me to where I am. Without these past experiences I wouldn’t feel they way I feel now and so I can’t regret anything of the past.

Without my past I wouldn’t now have my store. I wouldn’t be celebrating my 20 year marriage. I wouldn’t understand that just because I want something doesn’t mean I need it and that if I don’t have the  right “things” in my world, doesn’t mean I don’t have a great life.

I look at it like this, if you can’t take it with you when you die then it isn’t important. I don’t ever want to be one of those people who in their last days have to be haunted by regrets, the woulda, shoulda, coulda’s in life.

My DH has shown me that life moves forward. I’m happy for the first time in my life, really, really happy. I sleep well, I feel great. No aches or pains in my body or in my brain. I can wake up and smile and be happy for all that I have and I appreciate all the things I’ve been given and look forward to the future.

Will there be difficult days ahead? I’m sure there will but if I can find my way through 2012-2014, I can get through anything and I mean anything. It’s nice to come home from the store and have peace, love and laughter. I can even ignore my 3 teenagers when they are sniping and bickering (which is pretty much anytime they are together for too long). My home is filled with their friends who call me mom (I’m the fun house) and I’m finally able to get my backyard garden going. I’m not talking about a few veggies and some flowers. My eventual goal is to have a colorful oasis, a place where I can retreat to , a place for friends and family to come and relax and a place for my kids friends to have bon fires and laugh and be kids.

None of this could have been possible without my DH. It may have taken us 20 yrs to reach the point of contentment but I think we’re pretty close.

Wishing you all well from another wonderful looking day in Michigan,

Sierra

Tested again…and I passed!!!

Since I’ve been committed to focusing on all the good things that have happened in my life instead of everything that has gone wrong, has proved to be the best mood booster I’ve ever had.

I’ve been tested, more than once this year. What’s working for me is that I feel the bad feelings, imagine the absolute worst until it passes. I don’t obsess over them anymore.

It’s not quite as easy as it sounds. There’s always a chance that I could be pulled under by B.S. I am nervous about the possibility of falling into the “Victim” mode I use to. When you fall into a serious depression it’s very easy to not see the good in life and only the bad. Depression can strangle you, squeezing out who you really are and setting up residence not only in your head but in your heart. It’s devious and consumes every single part of you. You find yourself doing things so out of character that people around you begin to believe this is truly who you are.

Unless you’ve experienced the devastation of your mind fucking you over, you can’t understand. Those people will never have compassion because they don’t get it. The mind is a powerful and complex thing and some don’t get it that when your brain can’t regulate your serotonin levels it can drive you into some pretty fucking dark places.

They think “You need to get over it.” or “It’s not that big a deal.” and a whole host of other stupid things they can think to say. Why? because they are usually in denial of their own issues or won’t acknowledge it. Sweeping it under the rug is easier than confronting your own truth. Analyzing yourself and why you do what you do is difficult for even the most mentally healthy person.

People often see any type of weakness as a character flaw instead of someone who has lost themselves in a land where there is no light, no way out and accept things for what they are. But their issues always manifest themselves in one way or another. Repeating the patterns they know because of fear of the unknown.

The old saying fake it til you make it can work in certain circumstances. But it’s hard to do. I certainly was never able to do that. My anger used to be hair-trigger happy and after feeling sorry for myself, I would lash out in the most spectacular way. Now when I think about them, I cringe that I’ve been so mean and vengeful in the past, generally followed by feeling sorry for myself and riding the pity train.

Getting off that ride has taken me years but I’ve finally been able to walk away from that station. I am scared it will come back and I’ll hop on board for another bout of poor me, I hate you and all that goes along with it.

At this point, I’ve learned that most things aren’t worth the fight. People, places, hurtful words, lies whatever. They aren’t worth the fight. Not because of them but because of what it used to do to me. Being a hateful creature only turns you into a more hateful creature and who the hell wants to live like that.

I like laughing and really enjoy each day so much better. I think between my kids being in high school and not needing me every minute of the day has helped. Dropping 30 pounds has helped. Working out has helped. Being independent and being happy with myself has helped. I don’t lose myself in T.V, in fact I’ve really don’t watch much anymore. Doing things that I want to do. Trying really hard to be the kind of woman I want to be. There was always glimmers over the years, when I was at my best. When I loved fiercely and with abandon. When I didn’t try to conform to what others thought I should be. When I was, who I’ve always wanted to be.

Time and circumstances have changed but I’m at a point in my life where I don’t feel the pressure the way I used to. I don’t allow bad feelings to sit in my belly and boil over and I turn into a crazy bitch out to hurt as many people as I can.

Last year I felt like the worst person in the world. I let a stranger cut me until I bled (emotionally) and gave them the power to hurt me as deep as you can be. A stranger-someone I never met nor will ever meet. Someone who thought they knew everything but I’ve come to realize knows nothing.

I won’t give anyone the power to tell me who I am, what my past or future is, and whether I’m a good person or not.

We all fuck up. We all do things that are out of character of who we really are. We are all capable of becoming monsters who want to cause the most destruction we can to each other. No one is immune. But the question to ask is how do you feel when you go to bed at night? Do you toss and turn, find it hard to sleep because your mind won’t turn off? Do you think about the past and all the shitty things that have happened or regret your decisions?

Unless you’re a psychopath, we’ve all experienced this. The question then remains, is this how you want to live your life?

My answer is NO. As such when I’ve been tested this year by things I hadn’t expected or memories that used to burn, I’ve learned a few things. Letting the feelings pass through me. Not responding to those feelings in a negative way. No longer expecting people to think, feel or behave the way I want them to.

Sometimes it’s hard not hating people, not being jealous, not wanting what others have. I always thought it was either all or nothing with the things and experiences in my life and as such pushed people away, turned into someone who I didn’t even like. I’d become the very thing I despised in other people. Even writing this now I get a little knot in my stomach and I do wish I could take back some of the things I’ve done. Some of the venom I spewed. Some of the angry things I’ve written and actions I’ve taken.

I can’t and all the pretty words in the world won’t change that. What has changed is that I’m trying to make sure I don’t act the way others have come to expect from me and even if I have a bad day or a weak moment, I don’t let it consume me. Eat away at what I’ve become. To give in permanently to my old patterns. To always remember my strengths, my passion, the things that make me smile and the things that make me believe love is real and all the good people are capable of.

Most of all, I keep in mind that my experiences are mine and no one can take away the good, no matter how hard they may try by their deeds or words.

My days as the “victim” are in the past and I never intend to find myself going there again. I’m happy, I’m healthy and I believe in the good again.

I hope all who read this can experience this in and won’t ever settle for anything less or do anything you don’t want to do because another person demands it from you or else. If they really love you, respect you, want you for you and not as some trained dog, they won’t do it. Love yourself enough to do what makes you happy. Because if you aren’t happy with you , you’ll never be happy no matter where you are, or what you do.

Much love and happiness,

Sierra

Embarking on a New business

Another dream I’ve always had been to own my own business. That opportunity is finally taking shape. I’m entering into an agreement to run my friends independent  bookstore. If at the end of 6 months I still want the store then I will be purchasing the store from her.

It’s terrifying but so damn worth it. I have so many ideas of what I’d like to do with the store and bringing in more readers. I’ve wanted to do something like this for a very long time. Getting the chance to have my own place and be my own boss is a dream come true. I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to work for someone else. It can be stifling to people who hate working for someone else. Some of us just aren’t meant to have a boss. This is my chance.

Even with e-readers there are still a majority of readers who love an actual book. Like me they like holding a book, the feel of the pages etc…

When I take over the store I want to turn it into a great experience for customers. I hope to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. One where people can come and relax while they browse. I’m hoping to get authors I know to do book signings. I’ll be bringing back book clubs, special sales and events. I will be expanding the YA section and will work with my kids schools. There are so many things I’d love to accomplish and this is the perfect time. All my kids are in high school and that allows me the time I need to devote to the store.

I’ll be able to write more, read more and connect with people in general. I’m thrilled yet scared at the same time. I’m lucky that I have a very supportive family and my circle of friends to support me. I have the writing community and fellow authors I’m close to as well. I want the customers to have a great experience when they come into the store.

I’m looking forward to what the rest of this year will bring. I’ve been floundering for so long now and I was hoping that 2015 would be better. I can say that so far it is more than I’ve dreamed it would be and promises to be even better. I don’t count my chickens before they hatch anymore but things are definitely going in a great direction.

 

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.

 

A letter to friends, past, present and future!!!!!!!!!

   Friendship!!! We all have a need for friends. It’s coded into our very DNA. Whether it’s someone you met in school, someone you met at work or someone you may have met at any time of your life.

Love can come and go. It burns bright,then fizzles But a true friendship is irreplaceable. Think about it, you’re closet friends pretty much know everything about you. They welcome you with open arms whenever you’re happy or sad. Sometimes they offer a helping hand, whether it be advice on a situation, or blow to off steam, and sometimes just to be your soft place to land without judging you. 

To my friends of the past,

   I’ve had friends enter and exit my life over the years and even if our friendship ended on a sour note, I can look back fondly and remember all the good things and good times with them. I will always be here for old friends if they need me and that will never, ever change.

Some people ask me why I’d bother, if they aren’t in my life, it must be for a good reason. While that is true, it doesn’t mean I won’t be there to help or to talk to if the need should arise. A year ago my answer probably would have been different, but since the beginning of the year I’m trying to improve myself a little bit at a time.

Part of that improvement is for me to forgive. Forgive not only myself but others who’ve hurt me or I’ve hurt in the past. I made a great friend when I was in school. She and I were so close for so long, helping each other out when we were faced with a similar situation. We drifted apart over time and I do miss her but she’s doing her thing and she knows that if she needs me I will always be available to her.

  I think we tend to hold on to negative feelings because we are convinced that we were right. In a lot of cases that’s exactly what it is as far as your concerned. You’re hurt takes front and center and it’s all you can think about when you remember them.

   It takes a piece of you at a time. 2015, I’m getting my pieces back. At this point, I feel no ill will toward anyone and I intend to keep it that way. There are always wonderful experiences that will never go away. I’m trying to concentrate on the good and banish the bad. Though I still get sad now and then, I understand that life isn’t a fairytale and only something I write about.

To my friends of the present,

We’ve been a tight-knit group for 25+ years and I couldn’t be more grateful for you all. We’ve laughed together and cried together and experienced everything in between. We’ve been tested, sometimes for years but we always come back together, we have too much history to let our friendship go. We are better people when we talk or get together to just relax or to have some fun. With the exception of a past friend, these people know me better than anyone. We’ve seen each other through our darkest times and our greatest triumphs. They are proud of me and how far I’ve come.

I have to mention all the people I’ve met through my writing. The first is my writing partner VJ Summers. Though we haven’t written anything together in a while, we will continue the partnership that gave us the Worthington’s as well as some awards. After 7 years readers are still purchasing these books. The Worthington’s as well as Set in Stone is some of my best work and I couldn’t have done it without my writing partner, who inspires me to become better with each book.

  My readers who have been with me since the beginning. There are some who’ve gone from reader to friend and I’m lucky to have them in my life. They’re my biggest cheerleaders today 🙂 and they’ve kept me going when I thought about giving up writing forever in the last few years.  You’ve reminded me that what I write isn’t shit and to push myself to improve with every new story. I’ve had some misses early on in the self-publishing arena but I’m now being very thoughtful about what I write and how I write it.

When Anne Rice lost her husband, her muse for her character Lestat and said she wouldn’t write about the Vampires anymore. It took her a few years to pull things back together, do some soul-searching and delving into subject matter that wasn’t about Vampires and Witches. Now she’s back, back to the Vampires, back to Lestat. The place she was meant to be. She is another example of life coming full circle.

I would love to ask you, the readers about one thing. I have decided to branch out so to speak. By that I mean I want to write something other than erotic romance. I love paranormal books and I have plenty ideas but I want to make the romance a secondary plot point and not the main focus of the story. I’ve wanted to expand into that area but always pushed the desire to try something different aside and stick to what I know. I’ve finally conjured up the courage to give it a go and I’m lucky to have some great beta readers as well as hiring a really great editor to edit the books. Do you think it’s a good idea for an author to expand her genre’s?

To future friends,

I can promise it won’t be boring…lol. And I look forward to meeting you!

Thank you for touching my life in some form or fashion. I’ve learned a lot, even though I could have gone without some lessons, I hope to take the knowledge and continue to be a better mother, friend and author.

Much Love,

Sierra

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.

 

  • Upcoming Events

    No upcoming events