Antique Car Auctions: Lot #1, Human Dignity.

Edit: It has been "requested" that I remove this blog and postings pertaining to it. However, thanks to some very supportive friends, I have been given another option. I have every right to discuss my experiences and concerns, especially while warning others to protect themselves from businesses who may wish to cause them harm. Therefore, I have adjusted my original post to remove the name of the company who lied to refused to pay me on time, lied to me, and then threatened me.

My Story

This has been a tough year for me. I've had several seizures and I've lost jobs because of those. For the most part, I've taken it in stride. A shipping company can't necessarily have someone who might collapse at any time on the warehouse floor, can they? That's reasonable.

What's not reasonable is a company that is consistently late with payment, treating me like dirt to be swept under some musty-ol' rug. Like I don't matter. People who suffer from disabilities get that enough and, quite frankly, I'm sick of it. So I'm going to tell you guys a story.

At the end of July, I answered an ad for a Digital Marketing Manager for a company called NAME REMOVED, located in Framingham, MA. I was interested in this position because it was a great match for my skills, but also because I've found that start-up environments are typically a little more flexible with working hours. I'm a deadline hound, so I always get what I need to do done, but sometimes I have migraines that lead into seizures. I needed a company that would give me the chance to work from home, if needed.

When I went to the first interview for NAME REMOVED, I nervously inquired about this possibility. It's a conversation I always loathe when speaking to potential employers because it's vital to my ability to be an effective employee. Luckily, NAME REMOVED had no problem with this. I could even work from home!

I was thrilled. Pleased as punch. This seemed like a great start of what I'd always wanted in a company--stability. wasn't.

I should have known there would be trouble. I had applied for a full-time W2 position, but when it came down to a decision, NAME REMOVED asked if I would be willing to come on as a contractor. I'd worked in contract roles before and while I wasn't thrilled with the idea, I wanted to work with the company badly enough to take that hit. I agreed.

What I didn't know?

When you're a contractor you have little-to-no legal protections against companies that treat you poorly. Working your ass off but they decide to pay you a month late? Too bad! Have a seizure episode in the middle of a meeting and "quit" while you had no control of your faculties? So long! Had you been a proper employee, that company would have been on the hook for your missed paycheck xs 3. Since they KNEW YOU HAVE EPILEPSY, they might have been forced to at least give you a change to rectify any botched communications.

And that's exactly what happened. On September 13th, I woke up in the hospital to a phone call from my direct supervisor. She said I quit. In fact, she said I'd quit earlier in the day and submitted my final invoice--to the wrong chat via Slack, another indicator that I wasn't "all there."

I had no memory of this action. None. Even now, I only remember bits and pieces of that whole day. I remember the meeting before, when I had voiced my concern about a pay check that was 2 weeks late. I remember how my boss basically said that she also hadn't been paid and there was a cash-flow issue. I remember discussing how some of our marketing automation had been suspended for lack of payment. What I don't remember was expressing a wish to leave the business. In fact, I wrote an email to attempt to clarify that: job was lost. That sucked. But what was I going to do? Sue them? I contact lawyers in order to see if I had a case. Unpaid wages. Potential discrimination. Was there anything I could do? No. Why?

Because when you're a contractor, you essentially have. NO. RIGHTS. How is this just? How is this acceptable? You work, you expect to be paid. You work hard as all hell, and you expect the TINIEST amount of compassion for your illnesses and what they do to your mind and body. It's easy. Straightforward. Humane. So why is it so difficult for people to understand how WRONG this is?

Things like THIS are why there is this...dark view of "corporate America." Conversations like these:

Demoralizing. Dehumanizing. 

I didn't work for NAME REMOVED for very long, but I went into the company with the understanding that I would be a valued resource. And that the company would be the same to me. I went in with good faith and was essentially told that I could go suck eggs at every turn.

This company has stolen more than just late fees and a paycheck from me. They've stolen my confidence that as a person with a disability, I can still function in the workforce. And my faith that the legal system gives a damn about the people. They've done irreversible damage to ME as a person. And there's nothing I can do about it. Nothing, but tell my story and hope that it helps people like me in the future.

If you are a contracted worker or a disabled one...protect yourself. Take screenshots of everything. Get every decision and every correspondence in writing.

I have proof of what was promised me. I also have proof of the troubles this company was having with cash flow and how tools were being shut off. Still, that didn't help me. I guess my only advice would be to think very hard before you accept contract work....though, I understand that some of us don't really have a choice.

Stay strong. You're not all by yourself in this.

Fond Farewells and Wary Wonderings

Just a few minutes ago, I was pulled out of a wonderful nap filled with dancing cakes and singing cookies (I’ve been faithfully gluten-free for about a week, so this is a standard theme in my sleeping hours) and thrust into one of those shapeless, colorless nightmares where anxiety and uncertainty reign.

The news that Samhain is closing its doors hit me like a sucker punch, right to the temple. And I’m neither published as an author, nor contracted as an editor with them.

This news hits me as someone who is completely and utterly devoted to the publishing industry, especially when it comes to Romance. It breaks my heart in a way that makes reminds me of the crushing disappointment I felt when I heard that Borders was closing.

As a reader, Samhain has always provided top-notch material that fit right into what I was looking for. The one and only time I had to contact customer service over a file that wouldn’t download, they handled my problem within the hours. They have a beautiful, responsive website that makes it easy for me to find what I need, while also offering me suggestions on what I didn’t even know existed. Every interaction I have had with this company has been exactly what I expected as someone who wanted a product, and wished to exchange money for that product.

·         They were responsive
·         They fixed my issue without passing the buck
·         They made me feel as if they valued my business and my criticism
·         They had the best products
·         They were always, always customer-focused

As a freelance editor, I was delighted by the opportunity to work with Samhain’s team. While I was concerned that business politics would get in my way, they never even seemed to blink when it came to my work history. I was pleased right down to my toes to test with Tera Cuskaden, one of their freelance editing team. Even though I was ultimately not offered a position within their ranks, I thoroughly enjoyed the process and feedback that proved to make me an even stronger editor. Even from that short encounter, I could tell that the individuals I had the chance to speak with really cared about their work and valued the impact they had with authors.

·         They had high standards
·         They were always focused on author-reader issues
·         They gave their editors flexibility when working
·         They were genuinely helpful and earnest

As an author, I did not have the pleasure of even subbing to Samhain. They always had a lovely round of calls and I was delighted when they began taking Horror, but as is the case with too many of my “author goals,” life got in the way of an active submission. This is one of those things that I believe I will regret for years. By all accounts, Samhain was a delight to work with. Their editors were given the flexibility to let author’s voice shine and they were responsive with payments and growth. It’s a damn shame that I didn’t prioritize working with this company. It’s a shining example of what publishers should strive to be.

·         Author-focused
·         Strong payment history
·         Willing to branch out into new subgenres
·         Responsive
·         Top-notch freelancers

All of that being said, I think that Samhain’s closing is a very, very dire omen for what is to come with the publishing industry. This isn’t a case of poor decisions or not managing resources well. This is a company that, for all intents and purposes, has done everything right. Hell, even the way they are closing their doors has been done with the utmost respect and grace. They’ve consistently put out stellar content and still, they are being forced to close their doors.

What does it mean when you can do everything right in a thriving environment and still end up closing your doors?

Something is wrong.

And I suspect we all know what that “something” is. One name keeps coming up in these announcements. I don’t have to repeat it, we all know what’s happening, but what can we do? We see all the signs here. I imagine they are similar to what newspapers looked like way back when Walmart was expanding like crazy and mom and pops were closing left and right. Not because they did anything wrong, but because there was an elephant in the room that no one could figure out how to fight.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid for the publishing industry.

I’m afraid for what this could mean for authors who aren’t ready to take the plunge into self-publishing—and how their options are dwindling.

I’m afraid for freelance artists and editors (myself included), who rely on this thriving market to keep themselves and their families fed.

I’m afraid for the publishers who may find that the hard-won skills they’ve spent decades honing aren’t “transferable” in the job market.

I’m afraid because I don’t know what will happen when our modern-day Walmart has gobbled up all of the power and readers.

Right now, the “traditional” relationship between authors and this modern-day Walmart (who is primarily a distributor) looks like this:

Authors create product (manuscripts)


Publishing House package product


Distributors sell product


Reader buys product

But it is slowly morphing into a secondary method:

Authors create product (manuscripts)


Authors also package product


Distributors sell product


Reader buys product

Please note, this is nothing against self-publishing authors, who enjoy and prefer this secondary method. I have nothing against self-publishing, just the opportunity for abuse if all options are whittled down to one—one controlled by a single entity that can do whatever it wants.

What I worry about is that the authors are next. When the vendors are all gone and it’s just the authors and the distributor, who is to know what kind of power that distributor will have? The secondary method has the author taking on a lot more risk. The editing, packaging, and marketing all fall on the author’s head. And who is to say that the payout will be better without the established market a publishing house could provide?

People who know economics much better than I do, say that the market always balances itself. If one entity has too much power and—for example—uses that power to control prices in a way that even further hedges out the industry, what then? What will we do then? Publishing houses are already being pushed out of the equation. If they all go the way of the dinosaur, that would make the authors the new publishing houses.

And we’ve already gone over what happens to the publishers in these situations.

Have no fear of the pink!

Pink Ink Pen_V1Have no fear of the pink!

(Get it? Because…I edit in pink…and it’s…ink…)
My editing rates are highly competitive and flexible. I base each fee on the needs of the author, so the longer an individual works with me, the better their rate gets–through writing coaching and editorial progression.
Ideally, my rates end up around $0.008 per word. This price includes two rounds of simultaneous copy- and content-edits, as well as an in-depth writing analysis.
However, I’m pretty flexible.  If the author has a very rough draft that will require developmental edits, we might bump it up to $0.012. On the other hand, for a cleaner author who only needs the standard edit, $0.008 works just fine.
My default style guide is Chicago Manual of Style, but I am also familiar with the Associated Press Stylebook. My default dictionary is actually I like to go with a general consensus, when possible.
In addition, I write stellar copy in the form of blurbs and taglines for books. Blurb creation/editing is done at a flat rate of $25 for back cover and website content. Query review is also on the table for the same price.
Hate creating synopses? Well, now you don’t have to! I will create a 4 page synopsis (approximately 1,000 words) for your manuscript for $50. That price drops down to $30, if I am also doing the edits for the work.
Already have a synopsis? I’ll give it a thorough impact review and edit for $25.
Check back often for updates to this webpage, which will include testimonies from my clients and examples of published successes!

Rate Break Down:

$0.012 per word: For one (1) very thorough round of content/copy edits and (2) follow-up editorial rounds for a rough edit. This includes developmental edits, which are typically more in-depth than your standard edits. If your book is expected to need a considerable longer than the "standard," this will be your fee.
$0.008 per word: For one (1) very thorough round of content/copy edits and (2) follow-up editorial rounds for a standard. Please note, if significant changes/adaptions are found to be necessary during the first round of edits at this rate, the per word fee may be adjusted closer toward that of a rough edit.
$0.005 per word: For one (1) single round of content/copy edits. If your book is already edited for content or you are a particularly clean author, this may be your best bet. I will make minor revisions (searching for typos, clarifying sentences) and leave extensive notes on the overall content of the work.
Blurbs and taglines (both, for one low price): Flat rate of $25 for back cover and web content.
Synopsis Creation: Hate creating synopses? 4 page (~1,000) word for your manuscript, if I am not editing it. $30, if I am!
Query Review: Flat rate of $25 for impact review and edit of an existing query letter.
Synopsis Review: Flat rate of $25 for impact review and edit of an editing synopsis.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is my word count?
Word counts are based on the length of the book at the end of the editing process.  A 50% fee will be due after the initial book evaluation (while we’re deciding which rate is appropriate for your work). That fee will be based on the current word count.
Confused? Don’t be!
For instance, let’s say you send me a manuscript that’s 25K words and we decide that all it needs is a standard edit at the .008 rate. Before I start the edit, I would need a nonrefundable payment of $100. That’s half of what the .008 rate would be for 25K words. Then, at the end of our edits, if we added and edited an additional 2K words–bringing the word count to 27K–I would charge you the $216 that is the total for a 27K book and subtract the $100 you already paid, so your remaining balance would be $116. Easy peasy.
Why should I bring my book to you?
Well, to begin with…personally, I think I’m a delight to work with. =D Besides that, I know my stuff. I’ve been editing content for almost ten years and I love every project I work on. In addition to my intimate knowledge of several genres, I’m a marketing ninja who knows what will push your book to the next level. I’m thorough, quick, and one of my biggest joys is building up an author.
What genres and subgenres do you work on?
I’ve edited for companies who have published everything from video game manuals to hard-core erotica. I love Sci-Fi and Fantasy, as well as gore-y Horror. Basically, no matter that you’re writing, I probably have extensive experience working with it.
What is your turn around time?
That depends on the nature and length of the edit. However, I strive to have edits turned around within two weeks. That is giving myself a lot of leeway and usually works are returned much quicker than that. If you contact me, I will give you a more precise estimate, based on what I already have on my plate. If there is ever a doubt that I’ll be able to make a deadline, I will contact the author immediately.
How do I pay you?
All payments are made through PayPal. Keep in mind; however, that PayPal charges fees for business transactions. These fees will be the author’s responsibility and will need to be settled as an addition to the service fee before the manuscript is released.
How can I contact you?
Emailing me at is the quickest way to get in contact with me. Authors I have worked with before are given my direct phone number and are free to text/call me at any time if they have questions or concerns about their edits. Or if they want to chat, I’m always game for a nice chat!

Too Little, Too Late

I haven’t said anything. Like a good little drone, I’ve kept my head down out of fear and sticky-sweet desperation. I’ve swallowed my bile, lurked on forums, and watched taglines…giving my support in the most useless of ways—silently.

But I can’t stomach it anymore. I can’t hold my tongue in the face of such violent disregard for individual well-being. I can’t take the lies.

In the summer of 2013, I interviewed to work for Ellora’s Cave. I remember the initial conversation like it was yesterday. In order to find a quiet space, I sat in my sister’s van in North Carolina’s muggy 90-degree weather. That’s how badly I wanted to work for this company. I was hired for what I thought would be my forty-year plan. I left my long-term boyfriend in Las Vegas, as well as another Managing Editor position, and moved out to Akron, Ohio to be the Managing Editor for Ellora’s Cave. At the time, I made a post about my fear and excitement, even going so far as to say: “I was foaming at the mouth excited to work for them. And with a chance to work intimately with something I was already passionate about, with a company full of cool people, how could I not be? In such a short time, I had found a new lifetime goal to go with my writing and it was obtainable. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance, no matter how difficult the journey?”

Original post, found here:

I think it’s important to note that everything I posted in that original post was the time. Everyone I met seemed so very driven and sincere in their wants to provide a publishing experience where authors AND the company were satisfied. My respect and admiration for the team—particularly Patty Marks and Susan Edwards—still exists today. It’s easy to make people out into monsters; however, in my head, Patty will always be the most passionate boss I’ve ever had. She took a chance on me. She gave me the ability to essentially grow an entire department from scratch. We’ll come back to that in a second, but despite everything else, one of the hardest disillusions for me to deal with is the fact that someone I put so much faith in has let so many people down in such a unconscionable fashion.

My elation over having been hired by Ellora’s Cave soured in my mouth like a Warheads candy. It didn’t take long for me to realize that not all was well in this “company full of cool people.” That there was a very clear line between what became known as the “professional staff” and the “family staff.” I won’t go into detail about the individuals who worked in positions that they were clearly not qualified for because they were important to the people up top. I also won’t go into the disjointed hierarchy of power that seemed to funnel all decision-making to one individual, who frequently proved she was out of her depth. This post isn’t about those other people, it’s about me and what I saw.

Even now—with several years’ worth of distance between me and the conference room that made me develop what my friends jokingly called a “mild drinking problem” for the duration of my stay in Ohio—I get chills thinking about it. The blatant disregard for authors as a whole, the almost maniacal plans to keep authors locked into contracts that were unfair, just so they couldn’t publish elsewhere…the whole situation broke my heart. In that conference room, the last of my youthful optimism turned to stone. It vanished with the weak laughter I forced out of my mouth while the owners joked about authors who had complaints about not getting paid. That youthful optimism, now a hard statue of pain and sadness, cracked and fissioned with every command to lie about editing time-frames and to cover up scheduling mishaps. It broke and shattered with every beloved author I was told to quietly diffuse with whatever blatantly untrue excuse I was fed. With every cackling incident where a new author failed to read the boiler plate contract and negotiate for changes. Because that was on them to do and it wasn’t our responsibility to make sure they knew what was fair before they signed.

My office was in the middle of the building. I heard everything that happened but it was easier, wiser to keep my head down.

I was a sheep. Part of the ever-growing problem, with no hope of escaping. Before I knew it, I was working 12-hour days—along with several of my equally unhappy “professional staff” compatriots—in a frantic effort to fix the injustices I was helping to create. In November, not even three months after I began my adventure with Ellora’s Cave, I began applying for new jobs.

This brings me to another level of my growing desperation when it comes to Ellora’s Cave. Those individuals who are familiar with me as an author—yes, I also have perspective from that side of the story, but we’ll come back to that—know that I have suffered from epilepsy for all of my adult life. Because of that fact, most of my employment history up until that point had been primarily remote positions that I could do from my home. I’d contracted heavily and—at no one’s fault but my own—I had not made enough effort to network while doing so. That meant that EC was, in large part, my most valuable previous employer. I had to put them on my resumes but I couldn’t allow anyone to contact them. Maybe that wasn’t a big deal at the time, but it made finding a position in my field a challenge and I was out on my own for the first time. I needed my job at EC, it was my only shot at living a life that didn’t require me to constantly be under someone else’s thumb.

Even so, the crumbly dust that was my youthful optimism pushed me past my breaking point. The lies and the weight of my guilt—along with several interdepartmental grievances— eventually won out and I resigned from my position as Managing Editor. But I stayed with the company under a different capacity, hoping to find something else before there was nothing left of me but the bitterness.

That led me to a different department, which was hemorrhaging money on a project everyone involved knew was going to fail. My desperation worsened but there was nothing I could do. At this point I was no longer attempting to hide my search for a different job. I applied and applied, but by then the lawsuit was in full swing. The editing jobs I applied to always ended with the same awkward point of, “Oh, you worked for Ellora’s Cave…” Marketing interviews I went on frequently fizzled after a laughing, “I Googled this Jasmine-Jade company listed on your resume…” In addition, a previous editor had been threatened with abject ruination, should she attempt to work freelance outside of the confines of EC’s non-compete, so that was out. Besides that, while I love editing—and was desperate enough to take anything at that point—my true joy was on the management side. I genuinely loved being in a position to help grow authors and establish something as complex as an editing schedule. I loved working with the various departments to ensure all needs were met. Editing had been only one aspect of my positions at Ellora’s Cave and from where I was sitting, the chance to touch the other aspects again had been forever lost.

That’s when the hammer fell. In January of 2015, I was laid off with a large chunk of what had been the “professional staff.” The move baffled and enraged me but at the time, I was met with sorrowful emails and a general consensus of, “well, at least you can collect unemployment!” The firing stunned me. I couldn’t believe that I had done everything right, had kept my head down and worked hard, and still been given the boot. It made my forced silence seem even more pathetic, even sadder, for I ended up in the same place as everyone else in the end.

I don’t know why I thought that a group of people, who had laughed at a story about an author not being able to pay her medical bills because of missing royalties, would somehow care that I needed this job to maintain any kind of reasonable living situation.

Even then, after being fired along with a group of people who I personally knew had shed blood, sweat, and tears for the company, I kept my mouth shut. I did so, because I still needed the company. I still needed reference checks to go through—though I’m told that EC never returned several calls, especially after they fired the only HR person in the building. I still needed to maintain my reputation as a professional.

And I am ashamed to say that I was still reaching for the dangling carrot left in my departure emails.

Promises of being rehired after the “messes had blown over.” Promises of repaid courtesies for my “loyalty.” Promises of being treated “different,” once my publishing contracts were in place.

That brings me back to a previous comment. I’m an author. At the time of my hiring with Ellora’s Cave, it was forcefully recommended that I pull my books from other publishers. In fact, I was warned that while it wasn’t required, I wouldn’t be able to continue publishing with anyone else while working for EC. Which meant, if I had existing series out in the ether, they would die (please note that after some haggling, I was told I could continue the existing series, but it would be frowned upon, and in a company where whether or not you were liked was everything, “frowned upon” was a terrifying concept).

Now, I’m by no means a big-time author. At the time, I had only published about five titles and they were doing meh. But I had plans to grow each series and had hopes to continue writing. Ellora’s Cave essentially made that impossible. In addition to not being able to publish additional titles outside of the company, there were editorial stipulations I would have had to follow, including being edited by people who were 1) overloaded with their own 12-hour days or 2) were part of the goon-squad of individuals who weren’t qualified for their positions.

At one point, being published by Ellora’s Cave would have been a dream come true. Now, even if those promises were kept…no. Just no.

I don’t care about that carrot anymore. I should. The weight of desperation in my gut hasn’t lessened. If anything, it’s grown.

Jaid posted that the fact that EC had to lay off “several employees” “guts” her. She goes on to say that thankfully we’ve all found employment, so that’s totes fine. But this lie…I can’t even begin to tell you how much it hurts. I poured my heart and soul into EC for my time there. I fought for the authors and lost. I even fought for the company itself–tried to make changes, tried to find positive spins—and lost. And this is a slap in the face. No, it’s more like she walked up to me, smiling, and hocked the biggest cigarette-stained loogie she could muster right into the back of my throat. Or into my burning eyes, no, wait. That’s just the tears of a year of frustration and regret. I haven’t found meaningful employment and there’s no way she gets to use my struggle and despair as an off-shot comment designed to imply that everything is okay.

I’m not just some footnote in the wake of the destruction EC has caused.

Ellora’s Cave hasn’t answered a single one of my emails in the last year—except to tell me to email other addresses. My pleas for them to respond to background checks phone calls or to provide the promised letters of recommendation have gone unanswered. When I tried to contact them, asking for the paperwork for my curiously empty IRA account (an account EC should have been contributing to), all I heard was the crushing sound of disinterest. I hate that I am now on the other side of what the frustrated, frantic authors I helped hurt must have felt. I hate that I’ve had to take temp jobs doing office work in an effort to put food on the table. I hate that I had to borrow money from my dad to keep my car from being repossessed and that my dream of owning my own home before I’m 30 is so far out of reach now.

Not all of this is EC’s fault. I made my own choices and I have to live with them. But the fact that they’ve apparently “won” this entire debacle with Jane Little is wrong. Everything about this situation has been wrong from the start. And I know, I fucking know they’re sitting around their conference table, laughing and celebrating their “victory.” Celebrating the fact that they can continue to rent expensive houses in beautiful cities while the people who had faith in them, who needed them, struggle to scrape together enough spare change to put gas in their cars.

There’s a price to being a sheep and it’s paid out when the wolves throw back their clothing.

I know this post is too little, too late. When I could have been brave, when I could have possibly made a difference, I was too scared to speak up. Too scared to be lumped into the category of the “loud minority.” I’m sorry for that. I’m sorry for the harm I’ve done and the harm that continues to be done.

It might be too late, but I needed to say something, else I be strangled by the words caught in my throat.

This is wrong. Bullies shouldn’t get to win and I am forever #notchilled.

*It goes without saying, but everything posted here is based on my own personal perceptions and what I witnessed during my time working with Jasmine-Jade and after. No one else is responsible for these words, they are mine.

Coming Soon: Ash and Diamonds, a Paranormal Romance.

 Coming, June 25th

To burn for love or fury...

All Charis Godwin has ever wanted is a career in the music industry and to burn the cursed shoes her sister keeps forcing her to wear. Instead, she finds herself thrust into a world of gods and magic where she hears the word “Erinyes” spoken as both a curse and a prayer—and she is the prodigal child returned. Just as she begins to wonder if there is a reason she can’t remember her life before her reincarnation, she is sent to track down a ruthless killer escaped from Tartarus.
Split into two, Charis hears the voice of the Erinyes battling for space in her mind. The one thing they agree on is the golden-haired, guitar-wielding, death-dealing hunk who serves as her guide into the Underworld. Something about him speaks to both her past and present self. Arsenios sold his soul to Hades and became one of the Archaeos in order to keep the killer imprisoned. At least, that’s the story he tells her. A web of lust and betrayal begins to spin and she knows he’s hiding something from her…something that could tear them apart.
Erinyes; goddesses of justice, sworn to protect humankind at the behest of the dark god Hades. To be with Arsenios she will have to trust the life they have now and forgive the one they lost before. As her past unfurls, Charis will have to make the hard decision between burning for revenge or passion.

Write what you "know"...and feel.

I had a realization today about a project that I've been working on. I've had this concept in my head for a number of months and I really like it. The characters are well-rounded and interesting, the world is dynamic and beautiful, and the plot line is as tragic and complex as any I've ever created.

However, after looking at the market I decided to make a pretty big change to the story itself. I decided to take it from 3rd person point of view to 1st person point of view because that's what I saw when I looked through the shelves at bookstores. I thought that, in making this change, I would make my book more marketable and I ended up ultimately rewriting and number of months of work. But after making the switch, I found it hard to connect with the characters who had lived in my head for this long. They sounded different with the perception shift and they were essentially strangers. I hoped that with time, I could respark these deep relationships but it simply hasn't worked.

Writing to market is a fine business plan--and writing IS a business--but in an industry of creation you really do need to write what feels right. What you "know" in your gut is right for the story and your characters. I'm going back to the first bit of advice I ever got as a writer: write what you know.

My definition of "know" has been flexed but at the end of the day, this is an invaluable lesson. Time to go back to the drawing board.

Happy Writing!

I just want to sleep.

 I'm sure there are times in everyone's lives where it feels like nothing can or will go their way. Where depression and anxiety builds into a tangible weight in the pit of their stomach until every smile is a chore and every affirmation feels like a lie.

That's how I've felt the last couple of months. Maybe longer.

I want to say that this feeling is due to my unsuccessful job hunt but in all honest, I've been down since before this January—since before I found myself suddenly and brutally unemployed. The job I had before was a dream opportunity. Or so I thought. After being hired, the joy I found at the company was swiftly stolen by intolerable working conditions. While I adored many of the people I worked with and the clients I helped, it was here that I learned that one bad manager can ruin an entire environment. It got so unbearable that I ended up quitting a job that I loved, just to put space between me and someone who seemed deadest on undermining me at every turn.

It was a painful, heart wrenching experience but I came out of it as a stronger person and a better-rounded employee. That was important to me. Being a good employee was vital. I was able to continue to work for the company in a different capacity and I was thrilled that my expertise could still benefit the company and our contractors. Why? Because I believed in the company. I believed in our dedication authors and I worked hard every day because I believed in our unspoken mission statement.

At the time it hadn’t mattered that I was working 60 hour weeks. It hadn’t mattered that I had to take a second job—which later fired me three days before Christmas with no explanation—to make ends meet. It didn’t matter that at times I was working on projects with impossible, talentless hacks. I believed and I gave it my all.

Have you ever seen a cartoon where the character imitates a wet rag and wrings him/herself out? That was me in everything that I did. I burned the candle at both ends but damn it I got results—on time and under budget.

Even before this job, that was my work ethic. I was always the dedicated, perfect little worker bee. And ultimate…it didn’t matter for shit.

When the layoffs started, I went with everyone else. And that’s not to say that my fellow coworkers were in any way slackers. Some worked just as hard, strives for the same standards of excellence as I did. Some didn’t.

But try or not, some got the boot and some got to stay. I don’t know how they decided who to fire and who to keep. All I know is that my name was on the first list.

It’s hard to look back at the nights I went without sleep and realize they didn’t change the outcome of this truth. It’s hard to realize that with almost ten years of hard-won experience on different professional facets that I’m still unemployed after four months and literally hundreds of resumes and cover letters (each written especially or tweaked for specific jobs and companies, of course).

It’s hard to think that I had an interview today with an employed manager who called the wrong number 10 minutes late to tell me she was “running behind schedule.” A manager who—more than an hour later—still hadn’t called back as indicated or sent the promised email. An employed manager who exhibits in this short introduction many of the characteristics I have spent my entire career making sure I never portray. Sloppy. Unprofessional. Disorganized.

That manager had a job and I don’t. She had the means to pay bills every month. An action that used to fill me with a sense of accomplishment and pride. An action that now fills me with nauseating dread. I don’t want to sign into my bank account anymore for fear of the inevitable breakdown I’m bound to have (again) and she gets a paycheck every month to apparently miss interviews.

Sigh. I know that being bitter doesn’t help. That lying in bed worrying or writing tear-stained blog posts isn’t going to get me anywhere. And honestly, that’s not me. That’s never been me. I’m the annoying optimist. The one that usually needs to be “schooled” on how things work in the real world. I’m the one who believes.

And I hope with all my heart that that enthusiasm in me is not lost forever.

I know that I have to keep moving forward. Kick off the game company I’ve been working on. Continued writing—books and grant proposals. Stay active. Stay positive.

I keep telling myself that maybe this is all a blessing in disguise. That maybe it’s a chance to get out of the corporate rat race and start something new. Something great. I tell myself all these things but on days like these, they don’t help.

On days like these, all I can think about are the agents who’ve rejected my work, the potential land lords who don’t call back, the number of businesses that fail every year, and the managers who don’t appreciate their positions.

On days like this, I just want to sleep.