Sunday, October 2, 2011

No resting!

 “Rest on your laurels and you’ll only end up with dead branches.”

I wrote those words to myself shortly after Ellora’s Cave published my first book. Getting that first royalty check and realizing someone, several someones had bought my book and were reading it in the privacy of their homes and that I didn’t even know them was a heady experience and I reveled in the wonder and glory of it.

But I fully understood the transitory nature of success and knew I’d have to keep writing stories readers wanted. I wrote everywhere—in the car waiting for my daughter to get out of ballet class, in the doctor’s waiting room, in fact, anywhere I had to wait became an opportunity to grab some time and write another page. Two of my books won awards and life was good. But I was determined not to rest on my laurels.

And then we had several deaths in the family and I had a hard time. Some readers thought I’d given up writing. I hadn’t. My motto kept me writing but the stories were darker and I published them under the name MysticShade with a different company. The three novellas I wrote for BDSMBooks cross the line into porn and while sex sells, I think most of the readers who like Diana’s erotica didn’t follow me for Mystic’s books. As far as they were concerned, Mystic had no right to wear Diana’s laurels even if Diana did write Stress Relief during this period (most reviewers thought this book went too far into the darker sides of BDSM).

But time heals, the dark period ended and I realized many probably thought I was resting comfortably on my bed of greens since I hadn’t published much with EC during that time (except for the aforementioned Stress Relief. I still like the interplay between Rand and Meg, even if the general populace thought he went too deep). 

In fact, I was writing, but not wanting to end up with dead branches, I moved in a different direction. Perhaps as a reaction to my dark period, my characters now wanted sweet romances with no BDSM at all. Grrr. Darn characters. I self-published two works of short stories in the lighter genre (Tales from the Ramayana and Timeless Love) but was thrilled to discover John and Lauren liked kinky sex in Services Rendered. You can imagine my relief!

But not resting on one’s laurels means more than just penning story after story. It means offering new ideas, new features, new stuff to the world at large. So I added some games to my website (which were just plain old fun to do!) and finally got off my duff and finished Hardship and Hardtack, a historical novel that’s been a part of my life for over a decade. I decided to use a different name for that book so readers wouldn’t get confused and think they were buying erotic romance with a BDSM twist when in reality the book is closer to a young adult telling of one soldier’s life during the Civil War.

And of course, there’s my latest venture. Yes, I’m still writing erotic romance (have a new short story coming out in Jaid Black’s anthology sometime soon) but I’m also branching out. Over the course of the next seven months I’m offering a series of writing workshops on my blog. One workshop a week (Tuesdays!) to help both newbies and professionals hone their skills and get some ideas.

I’ve been teaching writing for a number of years now and have been toying with this idea for a while. Each week I’ll post a new workshop for free (although I am accepting donations). At the end, when all the discussions have been held and the “course” is finished, I’ll gather it all together in a book, take down the posts, and publish it in a more traditional format. This is your opportunity to help mold the book as we go. Each workshop will eventually be a chapter in the book. Just look for the “writing workshop” tag and come on along on this new venture.

“Rest on your laurels and you’ll only end up with dead branches.”

Here’s to no rest…and with any luck…more laurels!

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