Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Self Publishing is not for the Weak

I'm gonna start this post out with a confession: I'm a scaredy pants.

Confession number two: I will NEVER self-publish a novel. At least not until I've traditionally published first.

Why? Refer to confession number one.

All you self-published peeps out there, I give you major props. It takes serious guts to put your work out there all on your own.

There's so much to think about. The right cover, the right title, the right hook. Finding reviewers, finding a good editor, finding your audience. MARKETING.

Traditional publishing has a bit of comfort behind it. You find an agent - validation. You sell your book - validation. All the other little details are taken care of for you.

But here's the thing: either way, it's a risk.

Just becasue a book is traditionally published doesn't mean it's going to sell well. It might tank.

Traditionally publishing might be even riskier becasue other people are banking on you. What if you end up being a big. fat. failure?

Okay, so publishing in general is pretty scary, but I'm still more afraid of the self-publishing route. If it fails, then I'm the only person I can blame.

That proposition is frightening.

To all you self-published authors out there: I think you're awesome for being so brave. Rock on!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Real Thing by Cassie Mae!

Time to party!

The Real Thing releases today (whoop whoop!) and Cassie's giving away a swag pack full of goodies.

The Real Thing postcards
A froggy loofah
Oh the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Real Thing Samsung Galaxy S3 Phone Case
A Cassie Mae pen
A collection of select Cassie Mae/Becca Ann signed books

Rafflecopter right below the excerpt and book details :)


“All right, all right,” he says, smiling and holding his palm up to stop me. Tomato juice is dripping from the top of his head down his cheeks, getting caught in the smile lines by his mouth. I can feel it running down my face, too, and I should be gagging, but I’m not.

I open my mouth to tell him how cute he looks even with juice all over him, but a light ploof! hits the center of the tub between our bodies, and I stare down at my froggy loofah, now covered in red.

“Oh no!” I frown, plucking the sponge up by the froggy’s arm, then looking up to the shower caddy over Eric’s head. Our splash war must’ve knocked my poor froggy right off his little perch. “My loofah.”

“That’s what it’s called!” Eric slaps the top of his knee, getting more juice on both of us. “I’ve been staring at that thing since you moved in, trying to remember what the hell people call it.”

A small bubble of laughter escapes through my slight frown. “Why?”

“That thing is creepy.”

I gasp. “It is not. It’s cute.” My lip pokes out as I look at the juice soaking into the blue frog’s face. “And now it’s ruined.”

He takes the loofah from my fingers, an adorable pinched look on his face.

“I don’t know how you can wash yourself with this,” he says, pulling at the leg poking from the big green sponge part.

“It’s soft on my sensitive lady parts.” I laugh as his face goes red again. I expect him to drop the loofah back in my hand—or throw it at me—but he doesn’t. He keeps pulling at it as if it’s the weirdest, yet most fascinating thing in the world.

“Is it really ruined?” he asks, tone suddenly nowhere near his usual playfulness. He actually looks worried about my sponge.

“It’s like a buck, Eric.” I adjust in the tub again as the juice creeps into nooks and crannies of my body I had no idea existed till now. “I can get another one tomorrow. Maybe an even creepier one just for you.”

I try to wink, but I’ve never been good at that. He sort of laughs, but his eyes go back to the froggy. He runs his thumb over the eyeballs, wiping the juice from it. I thought I knew Eric pretty well. But as I watch him stare at my loofah, head slightly cocked to the side, I realize I have no clue what he’s thinking. And that’s totally okay. The anticipation of finding out is better.

“Only a dollar?” His eyes lift to mine.

“Or two. Depending on where you go.”

His lips purse and he nods, then plunges the sponge into the juice. Before I can smack him for that, he pulls it from the bath and wrings it out over my head. My jaw drops to my knees.

“Oh, you are so dead.”


Buy Me!
In this electrifying novel from Cassie Mae, two close friends surprise themselves by shifting from platonic love to sexual attraction.
Eric Matua has one friend—his best friend and childhood sweetheart, who needs a place to stay for the summer. Mia Johnson has thousands of friends—who live in her computer. Along with her email chats and Facebook notifications, Mia also devours romance novels, spending countless hours with fictional characters, dreaming of her own Romeo to sweep her off her feet. When she starts receiving supersweet messages from a stranger who thinks she’s someone else, Mia begins to believe that real love is possible outside her virtual world.

When the two friends become roommates, Mia finds herself falling harder than she ever thought she could. But Eric keeps his desires locked away, unsure of himself and his ability to give his best friend what she deserves in a boyfriend. As her advances are continually spurned, Mia splits her time between Eric and her computer. But she soon realizes she’s about to lose the only real thing she’s ever had.
Advance praise for The Real Thing
“Cassie Mae is awesome! The perfect balance between laugh-out-loud funny and achingly poignant, The Real Thing is the ultimate escapist read. I didn’t want it to end!”—Lauren Layne, author of Isn’t She Lovely
“Watching two best friends figure out how to fall in love makes The Real Thing a summer read of swoon-worthy perfection.”—Jolene Perry, author of The Summer I Found You
“Cassie Mae’s The Real Thing made me want to close out every social media app and electronic device I have, but I couldn’t manage to stop reading!”—Rebecca Yarros, author of Full Measures

About the Author

Cassie Mae (who dawns the name Becca Ann on occasion) is the author of a few hundred... okay, maybe not that many... books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.
Since publishing her bestselling debut, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend, she has published and sold books to Random House, Swoon Romance, and Spencer Hill Press. She has a favorite of all her book babies, but no, she won't tell you what it is. (Mainly because it changes depending on the day.)
Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Teen Wolf and The Big Bang Theory. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.
You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Dylan O'Brien to her on her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cassiemaeauthor


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression and the Creative Mind

I admit it, I've said the words tortured artist in a joking manner. Poking fun at the cliche of someone who's a creative that also suffers from depression or anxiety or a similar mental illness. I regret the time I said those things, because now I understand.

I'm not personally depressed, but I have gone through periods of depression, some serve enough to contemplate suicide. I've seriously thought my kids would be happier and my husband would be free if I just left this world. Obviously, I haven't acted on those thoughts, but it frightens me when I'm low enough to consider those things.

Time to talk about Robin Williams for a minute. Yes, his shocking death is the reason I'm compelled to sit down and write about the creative mind and mental illness. Robin Williams was talented, I'm not the only person who enjoyed his comedy. He gave characters life in a way few other actors have. As a writer, I appreciate that.

As a writer, I also understand how hard it can be.

When I was a kid, my parents constantly asked me if I was in la-la land. Like, at least once a day I'd get that comment from some adult figure. I didn't really understand what it meant at the time, but now I know I have a bigger imagination than most. It's easy for me to get lost in it.

My imagination is a gift. It's given a boost to my writing. Writing is a portion of my purpose in life. It's a piece of my identity. However, that imagination comes with distortions in how I view the world. Sometimes, without warning, I hate myself. Sometimes, in the most random situations I lose sight of my individual worth. I quite often feel as if no one cares about me and I have nothing to offer the world.

As hard as it is for me admit all of this, it's important that I do.

Back to Robin Williams and his talent. I wonder how many times he said the words I suck. I wonder how many times he told people he wasn't good enough. I wonder how many times he got that age old response, "I think you're great". I wonder if he ever complained, only have to people tell him he needed to suck it up. Because he's Robin Williams and people love him.

The thing about depression is that doesn't make sense. Someone who's depressed can have a wonderful life. Lots of friends, monetary success, stability is life situations. They can be Robin Williams and still struggle.

Please do me a favor. If someone is having a hard time, don't try to ignore them or change the subject. If they've been having a hard time for months and you feel like all they do is complain, still listen. That doesn't mean you have to feel sad with them. It means you have to empathize. Don't one up them with your own problems, just recognize where they're coming from, and support them. Even if it seems stupid.

One person trying to understand another person can make all the difference.

Depression isn't rational, but it is real. Hug your friends tighter today. Go out of your way to make sure the people around you know they're loved. It could change a life.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crossing the Line, When Writing is no Longer Fun

Those who don't know what it's like to be a writer can't understand the struggle of writing when you hate it, curse it, and even find it miserable.

"Why are you torturing yourself?"

They may not say it aloud, but it's in their eyes. In fact, I've even asked myself the same question. Didn't I start doing this becasue I love it? So why am I still here when I feel like everything I write is contrived and meaningless?

Usually when I come to that point (becasue I've come to that point a lot) I step away and scrutinize. I have to ask myself how it would feel to quit trying.

My answer always starts out cynical. "Wouldn't that be freeing?", "Geeze that sounds wonderful." But when I take more than five seconds to think about it (and I always do, becasue I think about writing a lot) I come to the conclusion that I wouldn't be satisfied with myself if I quit.

I feel like I'm meant to do this writing thing. Like God gave me the gift of writing for a reason. That's not to say I think I'm amazing, just that I was born with the desire to be a writer and fortitude to follow it through. I truly believe God's given everyone something like that, if not more than one something. But that's a different blog post.

One of  things that's held me back for so long is the feeling of inadequacy. Not being good enough, not having a perfect story, perfect grammar etc. but I discovered something in my time away from blogging.

All those feelings are wrong.

Yes. There are critics. There always will be. My writing is not something everyone will enjoy or love, but does that mean I'm not good enough? I've been consistently working on and improving my writing for three years. I had to have made some progress in that time.

It's not easy to see people I started writing with (i.e. Cassie Mae-love you sissy!) have so many books out and have a margin of success I think is unachievable for myself. 

 Frankly, those thoughts take the fun right out of writing. 

Why is it we're so ready to focus on the negative when there are countless others cheering us on?

Yesterday I had a girl tell me I was her favorite author. She read my drivel that I wrote purely for FUN. I didn't even do a serious edit. I re-read the first chapter of a story she'd seen and inwardly cringed. I had to laugh becasue it seemed like she's gone crazy.

It took me a few hours, but I realized I was criticizing a positive note on my writing. No wonder putting pen to paper tortures me so much.

The first time I posted a fanfic online I got one negative comment. It was in the middle of a story and I'd gotten hundreds of likes, even more views and a generous helping of encouraging comments. One person. One. They said a simple thing:

"Worst POV character, ever."

I believed them. After all the praise, all the love, I believed this one person who had nothing constructive whatsoever to say about my writing. What did that even mean? Were they mad it was in first person? Did they hate my voice, or did they not identify with the character?

Yet, I can't believe someone who tells me they enjoy my stories.

Writing isn't fun anymore when I've gotten so focused on improving myself I no longer see the good in it.

If you're feeling the same as me, here's a challenge:

I dare you to write something, just for fun. It doesn't have to be long. Then post it online. Let people read it. Then take all the compliments. Ignore the haters. Find your writing balance again. Discover the reason you took the first step, and don't let negativity slow you down.

That's it. The truth is, writing isn't just fun. Fun is good. But writing is about saving your own soul. It's about sharing stories so others can find strength, and truth, and courage. 

Writing is freedom.