Like A Box of Chocolates… What Truly Matters?

Hello, VIPs. I hope you had a wonderful Halloween. By now, you’re cuddling up in front of a cozy fire or in your favorite blanket with an awesome book. Perhaps you’re scrolling through Facebook and stumbled upon this blog post of mine. Well, that’s why I’m here today—That and chocolate. There must always be chocolate.

Here’s the thing…I’ve spent over a decade (That’s right. Over ten years.) on Facebook between two Madison profiles. (One was shut down.) In all that time spent on everyone’s most-love-to-hate social media site, one thing is obvious. It’s all about the ‘likes’ and ‘reactions’. One post about someone’s book may get five, while another’s post about their dog gets a thousand. After a while, we all begin chasing those ‘likes’ as if we are all caffeine addicts after that first cup of coffee or tea that gives us our super-human people-ing abilities in the morning. When we share another post that comes close, we’re jubilant. When our post tanks, our days are defined by the less-than-stellar reaction to it. We even debate deleting the post out of embarrassment of it not being “liked enough to be relevant”. Some, make up outlandish tales akin to those they write or have read or watched on TV in order to get that ‘high’…that validation of how awesome, fabulous and caring of a person or how kick-butt they truly are. (Go you! If that’s how you roll.)

I didn’t start this career almost a decade ago to be Facebook’s Queen Bee… I began so I could share my love of books and my books with others.

 I’ve thought about this for a very…VERY long time. When we’re gone (because eventually, we’ll all be “gone”), will we be unable to rest in peace if our tombstones don’t say…

“Here lies _______.

She (or he) left this world with over five-hundred thousand Facebook likes on her (or his) author page and over a million reactions on her (or his)personal posts. Her (or his) posts will truly be missed.”

 

I doubt it. In the end, those likes and reactions may be a great mood booster… temporary, social media serotonin. But, that’s it. Temporary. For me, personally, I’m just happy if something I share from my day gives someone a laugh, makes them smile or helps them through their day. I’m not in it for the attention. Maybe that’s where I’ve failed…miserably (in the eyes of Facebook kings and queens). That’s okay by me. I’ll focus on writing books I love and hopefully others will love…someday.

I see social media as I see this box of chocolates. What truly matters? Is it what’s on the outside or what’s at the heart of everything?

 

 For myself, Facebook and chocolates are necessary. But best in small doses.

Once a year, I allow myself this treat. To me, it’s too expensive and I stretch these eight Midnight Swirls for well over a month. Sometimes…months. I have a nibble and enjoy the smooth, dark chocolatey goodness as I forget my own worries and troubles for a moment or two. The next day, I may or not do the same thing. The same goes for Facebook. I log on and scroll through the posts in search of the funny, good and heartwarming real-life stories from friends. In those moments, I embrace them as I do my small (microscopic) indulgence of chocolate. Other times, not so much. Those days feel as if I took the biggest bite of imitation chocolate and I’ll never be rid of the taste.

 

Months ago, I stopped living for ‘likes’. The amount of those ‘likes’ or having four-thousand-ninety-nine Facebook friends (And OMG! Who will be lucky #5000?) don’t define me or make me who I am as an author, wife, mother or human being. Sure, we all love it when people we know and respect show interest in what we say and do. Or when they’re happy for our achievements, share our new releases, cover reveals, show compassion when we’re down, love our beautiful or laugh at our silly posts. We’re human. My question is… Where does it all lead? Where does it all end? Have we gone so far down the rabbit hole of Facebook that we no longer recognize fact from fiction? Or are we nothing more than mentally exhausted human beings who no longer care for reality in any shape or form and are now so blissfully unaware and willing to believe the outlandish without question?

Personally, I prefer my fiction in books and that’s where I’d love for it to stay. Pertaining to books… I’ll have one more release this year. An anthology with six amazing authors. After that, there won’t be another from me until Spring 2018. And I have no idea when my next book after that will be published. I won’t push myself to crank out a two-to-four-week book. That’s not who I am or “how I roll“. I need more time. I’d apologize for that, but it’d be an insincere apology and I won’t waste your time or mine. I’m not quitting writing…FAR from it. But, I’m not staying on the same path. This path is a dead end road for me. And I’m not leaving social media, but I’m not setting up residence there either. There’s more to life and there’s more to say… in books. It’s time for me to get back to writing the stories in my heart and I haven’t been able to do that in a very long time due to my own inability to stop scrolling through Facebook. I’m in cut-back mode and I’ll be finding my bliss in fiction between the paper pages again instead of in “Like Land”.

Hopefully, I’ll still see all of your smiling faces here or online somewhere. This post isn’t about bashing anyone for the way they “social media”. It’s simply something that’s been on my mind for a while and I thought I’d share. Perhaps, you’ll see it as “chocolate for thought”.

I’m off to grab tonight’s bite of chocolate. Hope you have a great evening and do whatever makes you happy. #BeYourself

XOXO, Madison

 

 

90 total views, no views today

RENEGADE, ASPHALT COWBOYS, 1 #PreOrder

RENEGADETEASER1

 

First in a new sexy and exciting series!
Delivers to your ereader on 4-5-16.
Preorder price is just 99 pennies for a limited time!

The Road Is His Future…

Longtime steel hauler, Mason Kaine, a.k.a. Renegade only needed a few things to be happy; the whisper of his tires on that long ribbon of highway in front of him, money and a life with no complications. Being an Asphalt Cowboy means long, lonely hours on the road, dedication to the job and going wherever the loads are needed. Mason liked it that way. Meeting a feisty blonde whose allure is more potent than the finest Kentucky bourbon was not on his itinerary. He knows he should just walk away and leave the woman to deal with whatever mess she’s in. But can he really just leave her alone and injured at a truck stop when he knows she’s in way over her head?

She’s Running From Her Past…

Savannah Somers has been on the run and in hiding for more than four years. Working at a truck stop hundreds of miles from her former life, she’s been able to blend in and stay safe. That is, until two people from her old life and Mason Kaine walk into her new life on the same day. With her past chomping at her heels and Mason Kaine’s scorching sex appeal, Savannah finds herself on a path with twice the danger and more than just her life at risk.

Can Savannah find the safety she’s always needed…in the arms of a man like Renegade?

Will Mason be able to save Savannah without finding himself chained to a lifetime of complications?

It’ll take more than one hot load to find out if they’ll make it together…for the long haul.

Nook: http://tinyurl.com/j3kuvth


Amz: http://tinyurl.com/j7ogbcs


AmzUK: http://tinyurl.com/hg8fzwb


AmzAU: http://tinyurl.com/josupvo


AmzCA: http://tinyurl.com/zu6begm


ITunes: http://tinyurl.com/j4unf6k


Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/zw9jfxo

 

RENEGADEofficial

#AuthorTips: Rules To Live By…Satire (Sort Of)

In this past three years, I’ve learned an incredible amount of…tips. With all of the amazing advice out there, I decided to #payitforward and show you exactly how many truly confusing and insane “rules” are being touted as Set In Stone Things Authors Should or Shouldn’t Do. I’m sure many of you have seen a lot of these and if you’ve been sitting around, scratching your head or even possibly cussing up a storm–you’re not alone. There’s no easy way to begin and I’m sure I will miss quite a few, so I’ll jump right into it with the bits that frustrate me beyond belief. (Feel free to comment below with your own confusing tips and frustrating tidbits that drive you crazy.)

Don’t: Express your own opinions UNLESS your opinion coincides with the “majority”. You could offend readers and lose your fan base.

Don’t: Get into ANY conversation about politics or religion UNLESS your point of view agrees with the “majority”. You could offend readers and lose your fan base.

Don’t: Talk about your own personal beliefs of world/current events UNLESS you share the same beliefs with the “majority”. You could offend readers and lose your fan base.

Don’t: Tell people anything truly personal about you, but connect with people on a personal level and grow your fan base.

Don’t: Have gift card contests for people who have reviewed your book(s) because that “borders on paying for reviews”. BUT pay a site such as a high-priced, well-known site to gather reviews for you.

Don’t: LOOK at reviews.

Don’t: SPEAK about reviews of your books to anyone on social media. 

Don’t: For ANY reason whatsoever EVER comment on any review someone has given you. EVEN if you want to say ‘thank you’. You are to have NO opinion, no emotion, not one damn bit of interest in any review whatsoever or you will be labeled as an author behaving badly who has “too much time on his/her hands”. BUT make sure you’re nice to people who have given praise to your book so that you can grow your fan base.

Don’t: Give away books. You book is worth so much! 

Don’t: Price your book at 99 cents. Your book is worth so much more than that and “readers won’t take you seriously”. (Bullshit) BUT if you price it past $2.99 for a certain amount of pages, there are readers out there who won’t buy it. If you price it any higher, people will rip you apart about the price. **Point** Any price you choose will be picked apart and analyzed.

Don’t: Write about things you don’t understand.

Don’t: Write books based solely on things that you understand.

Don’t: Write “trendy” books.

Don’t: Write anything that goes against the current trend or you won’t make any money.

Don’t: Overshare your links, book covers, blurbs, etc.

Don’t: Forget to share your links, book covers, blurbs, sales, etc EVERY damn hour in hundreds of Facebook groups because hundreds of other people share their links and bury yours.

Don’t: EVER have an opinion about your horrible experience at a publishing house (small or large). Even though chances are: if they screw you over, they’ll screw someone else over. But don’t worry about anyone else. Keep your mouth shut.

Don’t: Forget to write your stories with passion. Be crazy. Be outrageous. Grab their attention.

Don’t: Write social media posts full of passion or express strong beliefs in social media posts. People will think you’re a nutjob.

Don’t: Stop writing. Crank them out like a machine! Ass in chair! 

Don’t: Put books out too quickly or people will say you didn’t spend enough time on your books.

Don’t: Write series books.

Don’t: Forget that readers LOVE series books.

Don’t: Write a cliffhanger!

Don’t: Forget that people watch tv shows every day of the damn week that end with CLIFFHANGERS and they keep coming back for more…every week, every season, every year.

Don’t: Make your books available through only Amazon.

Don’t: Put your books on places where you won’t make any sales.

Don’t: Get into an argument with another author. EVEN if another author is acting like a despicable human being. 

Don’t: Show your strong convictions. You could offend someone. Save that for your books. Readers don’t want to know about you personally. Not your beliefs or your morals.

Don’t: Jump on any bandwagons to support anyone else.

Don’t: Tolerate behavior by “bullies”. That’s not a bandwagon (It’s okay to join that group of bully bashers even if you are in fact acting like a bully to the “bullies”. Because you are standing up for the good.)

Don’t: Ask people to vote for your book on any list.

Don’t: Forget to convince your fans to vote for your book.

Don’t: Ask for reviews or likes. That seems desperate and you’re “gaming the system”. Just let your book sit there among MILLIONS of other books. If your book is truly great it will shine so brightly that everyone will find it.

Don’t: Let your book be smothered by every book within the same genre. Make sure you do something wild and outrageous to get your book noticed.

Don’t: Forget to set up a newsletter. 

Don’t: Forget to have a monthly giveaway for “one lucky newsletter subscriber” but don’t give away prizes on Facebook to random followers and fans (that seems desperate).

Don’t: EVER disagree with a reviewer in public or on social media. 

Don’t: EVER agree with a reviewer in public or on social media.

Don’t: Forget to become great friends with reviewers in public and on social media.

Don’t: Give out swag. It looks like you’re trying to buy readers.

Don’t: Forget to pass out swag to your readers. Readers love swag.

Don’t: Pay for blog tours. People will help you get the word out because they are kind souls who LOVE their readers and author friends.

Don’t: Expect other authors or bloggers to help you for free. Their time is valuable too.

Don’t: Forget to budget in a tour company so that your book can get the best exposure.

Don’t: Share pictures that could offend someone. 

Don’t: Forget to share as many naked/half-naked/borderline pornographic photos as you can. Readers LOVE pictures. Especially photos of naked, sweaty men standing in front of a stove or on a saddle or a chair or wearing boots and nothing else. Because that’s sexy.

Don’t: Forget to share links for other authors. “You scratch my back…”

Don’t: Share links for everyone else because your book won’t be shared in return. People will only see everyone else’s links, books, etc.

Don’t: Bother going to Goodreads. There are TRAPS on Goodreads meant to take an author down. Goodreads is Hell for authors.

Don’t: Forget to get your book cover and buy links posted on Goodreads as soon as possible for optimal exposure for your book.

Don’t: EVER return to Goodreads AFTER you’ve posted your book cover, buy links, etc. Stay away! They’ll come after you for peeking in the doorway.

Don’t: Forget to get your book listed on as many “Vote For” lists as possible on Goodreads.

Don’t: Disagree with ANYONE on Goodreads. Don’t even speak to them.

Don’t: Forget to stay on “their” good side on Goodreads. 

Don’t: Pay FB to “boost” your author page. It doesn’t work.

Don’t: Forget to give away TONS of stuff on FB so that your author page posts are seen by as many people as possible.

Don’t: EVER make a list of tips to help another author. No one taught you what to do, they can learn on their own too.

Don’t: Forget to pay it forward and help other authors just like you.

Don’t: Complain about pirates and piracy.

Don’t: Forget to send your take down notices to pirate sites.

Don’t: Forget to sit in your office/writing space and write. That’s all. 

Don’t: Forget to write blog posts as often as possible.

Don’t: Waste your time writing anything other than your next great book.

Don’t: Forget to be funny.

Don’t: Try to be a comedian who is really great at sarcasm. People will think you’re a bitch.

Don’t: Share the drama of your life. Readers only want their drama in books.

Don’t: Forget to let your readers know every time you have a sniffle. Readers love knowing you’re human too. And you can gets lots of sympathy/sales by sharing your daily (hourly) activities and difficulties with readers. 

Don’t: Forget to share really dramatic moments with LOTS of exclamation points and photos of fireworks. Readers love fireworks.

Don’t: Share pictures of fireworks. Some people hate fireworks because their pets hate fireworks.

Don’t: Share pics of Summer. Some people hate Summer.

Don’t: Share pics of Fall or Winter. Some people hate Fall and Winter.

Don’t: Forget to share your favorite time of year with readers. 

Don’t: Share your favorite time of year with readers because they might disagree and you could offend them.

Don’t: Say that you don’t like the song “All About That Base” because that offends curvy women…(even though the song lyrics seem to blast ‘skinny bitches’) and the song isn’t really friendly to any women whatsoever.

Don’t: Forget to share links to the songs that readers love and link them to your book in some way so that readers will see you’re just like them.

Don’t: Forget to be yourself. Readers love it when you don’t pretend to be something you aren’t.

Don’t: Forget that you are always “on”. Your life as an author/character never stops. There’s no room for real emotion. 

If none of these have ever crossed your line of sight, never been part of your conversations…you’re lucky. I’ve heard just about every possible confusing and crazy bit of advice out there.

My advice? 

If I were to analyze most of these tips, I’d come away with one belief:

Authors are supposed to sit at a desk, have only popular opinions, share none of their own beliefs, read no reviews, pretend to be a character (not a real person) so readers will love them, share naughty pics but share nothing of worldly importance, shut up, say nothing and write your damn books. 

And I wouldn’t listen to any of it. 

Be yourself. 

Make your own rules. 

Write the stories YOU want to write.

Doesn’t that seem a lot easier than trying to keep up with the rules set by other authors and reviewers? I think so.  

Let me know about the “rules” you’ve been given. Do you follow them?

XOXO,
Madison