Photo shoot Saturday!
Updated: Feb 28
This past Saturday, Yvonne, one of my very best life friends was in town and wanted to do a photo shoot with me. The last time she came to town and planned to stay with us, it was the Christmas holiday and unfortunately, she had a family member pass away. It caused a great deal of personal stress and pain for an already hectic couple of days. It also took her back out of town for the duration of her holiday.
This time, however, she was doing much better and the weather was beautiful. We talked about what she wanted to do and what she was looking to accomplish with the shoot. I told her I'm not the most prolific person on social media, but she was undaunted.
One of the things about Yvonne is her dedication to our friendship. We used to work together and she is the friend that I mentioned previously in another post and who I'll be collaborating with on a thriller series when the time comes to get that together. Writing a series is a lot of planning and hard work, so it has to happen at just the right time.
I happen to have that time, because as you can see from the picture here of my novels, I am constantly writing. I love it. It's my life. It fills my free time and I couldn't be happier knowing I have the freedom to write the stories about the characters I love. Many of them I have carried with me for years!
Yvonne knows this. She is very supportive of me and always has been. She's a good soul and I am blessed to know her. It is this friendship and interest in my work that she wanted to capture to bring more awareness to my writing. We talked a lot about all of the things she wanted to show in the shoot. I was amazed at her vision. She's got a good eye.
Yvonne is one of those no-bullshit friends. What you see is what you get with her and she is very honest. I value those kinds of people and I have always maintained a small, yet close-knit group of life friends who make up a kind of Inner Circle of mine. They are those low maintenance friends who know I spend practically all of my free time writing and are cool with it. Some friends can be so high-maintenance or toxic, but I've consistently refused to have any of those kinds of people in my life. Purge the toxins, people. Free yourself. It's very liberating and extremely healthy.
My life friends are also spread all over America. One is in Michigan, one in Arkansas. One in Texas. One in New York. One in Georgia. The magic of iMessage keeps us close. On this past Saturday, a sunny, windy, and cool day, Yvonne, myself, and my husband spent time talking about my work and times past. As with all old friends, there was a lot of laughs and things to remember as we did the shoot. It wasn't all about formality in the pictures. She wanted to capture me in a candid light, because anyone who really knows me knows that I can be really wacky and silly. It's very healthy to laugh and laugh hard. She and I have done a lot of that over the past 10+ years.
I was also pleased with the timing of her visit because I've been rocking this beard lately. I'm pretty impressed with myself for maintaining and taking care of a clean, healthy looking beard! I've eternally had just a patch on my chin practically all my life, but lately, I've been growing my beard and it's exactly what guys say when they admit they are very attached to their beards. I feel it, too!
Granted, I'm not in any beard clubs or cults haha, but I enjoy my new look. As I've gotten older, I find the look suits me ... even as my poor husband has had to come to terms with it. :) He wasn't a fan of it at first, but he's grown to love it because I take care of it. I take it as a good sign of health, thanks be, that it grows in rich and nice.
One of the things that promotes my constant writing and flow of ideas is living a very healthy, happy life. I am blessed to have a good job and a loving spouse. I also make sure to eat well and sleep in on the weekends! I love naps, too! It's conducive to a productive writing lifestyle, which I have to keep up with because I'm always doing it. Just looking at the Double Club and Blackridge pages here on the website will show you that I mean business when it comes to my work.
Back in the old days of writing, authors would churn out like ... a book a year.
What?? One a YEAR? I wrote seven books of the Double Club in a year! Da hell ya say? :)
These days, the publishing landscape has changed. I'm glad that I have found a way to maintain control over my work and at the same time, keep the freedom to create the stories that I love. Self-publishing is an extremely liberating process and if people have the time and inclination to do it, I recommend following that dream. It's not easy, but then again ... what thing worthwhile is? All it takes is patience and time. I know someone who loves writing poems but doesn't have the confidence to publish her work. Do you feel the same way? DO IT, I SAY!
Yeah, easy for me to say because I've been writing all my life, but I've read some of her work and her poems are beautiful. People have a tendency to clutch their art close to their hearts. They are reluctant to share it with the world for fear of rejection or judgement. Banish those fears! Who cares? It's YOUR writing. It's YOUR painting! It's YOUR sculpture! It's no one else's. YOURS!
These days, I think people are far too concerned what other people think. You can't make everyone happy. You'll go batshit crazy.
You know it's true. Just chill and do what makes you happy. I think the secret to my successful writing is not in knowing that I'm going to be a bestseller. It's knowing that I write with confidence and I believe in my work. The feedback I get from readers and fans is extremely rewarding. I also ask them for criticisms. I need to. I have to know the good and the bad. THAT is the key. You have to be emotionally and psychologically secure enough to handle anything that comes your way in regards to the creative process.
I know not everyone is going to read the Double Club series. Not everyone likes Gay Fiction. I know Blackridge is one of MANY thriller series out there, but so what? I write for myself first. THAT is my motivation. You would not believe the excitement I get from people who have in fact read Blackridge and the devotion they have for the Double Club once they start reading the series. I am no Agatha Christie or Robert E. Howard (aka. R.E.H.) Those brilliant authors are long gone now and what remains? Their work. R.E.H. wrote for pulp fiction magazines! He sold his Conan short stories for a little bit of money here and there (remember that was the 1930s.) He was a troubled, brilliant genius at his craft. I loved that man and his writing style. He was an absolute mad genius and he remains one of the most influential authors to me. His writing would sometimes give me chills.
Agatha Christine once said, "I regard my work of no importance. I've simply been out to entertain." Pretty powerful stuff from someone who is one of the best selling authors of all time. She taught me a LOT about writing with her work. So did R.E.H. Agatha taught about LIFE, Howard taught about bravery, courage, and determination. His characters were dark, troubled, and conflicted, but they were strong and they had their morals. They were heroes. Dark heroes, but heroes nonetheless. What's a little bit of shade? We could all use some shade now and then, right? Keeps it interesting.
Photo shoot Saturday was a lot of fun. There's nothing better than laughing with your friends on a beautiful, sunny day with a nice breeze to cool you off when you're trying to look super cool in black. Kevin and I took Yvonne out for dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant after the shoot. We had a fantastic dinner, drinks, and conversation. A bit of shopping afterward rounded out the perfect day ... one which all of us will remember for a long time to come.
It was a good day, made all the more enjoyable because I was with the people I love. They support me and care about me. THAT is worth a thousand well-written novels. THAT is something you absolutely cannot put a price on, no matter what. If I never sold another book in my life, just knowing I have a husband who loves me and friends who support me is worth more than anything in this world. I wish that everyone could know such blessings and if you have them, cherish them always. They are a gift.
Believe in yourself and believe in those who love you, because there is truly nothing else that matters more than that.