Embracing the Dark Side

(A kinda funny, but mostly serious post…because they can’t all be doggos.)

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Ok, one doggo.

It’s very hard to admit this. I try to deny it, to rise above it or work around it, but I’m done lying to myself. I’m done lying to you.

I have succumbed to the Dark Side.

I am only productive when I am angry at something. I need something to focus my loathing, or some other negative trait, on something in order to get anything done. I wrote my first novel because I was pissed at the crap that was getting published by the major companies. I lost 140 pounds because someone said that I couldn’t. I succeed to prove others wrong.

I can’t write out of joy. I have to write out of hate. Only when my heart is full of grit and worms and hot garbage that smells like Manhattan in the middle of a mid-80’s summer can I create anything worthwhile. Otherwise I sit around and do nothing, or worse, have writer’s block.

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And I hate it.

And ironically (or fortunately) that hate of my process, or just regular self-loathing, is what keeps me going. I am never be calm, because writing makes me calm, but I have to be pissed to write. It’s a cycle or hate, satisfaction, and more hate.

But maybe if I embrace it instead of fighting it, maybe that will give me the control to turn it on and off. Instead of falling into the Dark Side, I can control it (oh, and if that isn’t a recipe for disaster cake). Maybe it’s like a football player putting on their game face. I can focus all of my rage into a hat, or maybe a jaunty scarf, and put it on when I need to.

Craig at MNF

(Yes, that is actually me. I’m a Jets fan. No wonder I’m so full of rage.)

A jaunty scarf would be nice.

So I find things and people to be mad at and about. I harp on my own weaknesses and frailties (of which I have many, though I’m apparently very good at hiding them because no one believes me when I say that I’m awful) to fire myself up. I bleed all over the keyboard.

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And I’m sure that I’m not the only one. No wonder so many artists are miserable.

There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, Mark Twain, or whoever made the meme feels like giving it to. It goes “write drunk, edit sober.”

I don’t write drunk, I write angry. As for editing, I’m usually calm when I start editing and ready to shoot myself afterwards. Or Force Choke myself.

Ah, the power of the Dark Side.

Wanna see the results of my self-loathing and rage? Check out The Watchmage of Old New York or Song of Simon, not to mention one of the many short stories anthologies or journals you’ll find me in (or old articles from back when I used to write non-fiction). But mostly, the books. Read the damn books. Or don’t, it’s okay. I know that you’re busy, and there’s a lot of great stuff on Netflix.

Look! I even made cute little ads:

The Watchmage Is Coming

SoS Practice Ad 1

 

Humble Brag

So the good news is that my blog broke 17,000 views the other day. I don’t know if that’s good or not, but it’s a few thousand more than last year. The bad news is that I was hoping to break 20,000, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to do that. Still, I’m happy.

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Less bragging:

I got my review for The Watchmage of Old New York back from the Writer’s Digest 24th Annual Self Published Book Awards. No, I didn’t win. I did score an average of 4 out of 5 though, but I feel that I could’ve done better. The full review pointed out some weaknesses, some i was aware of, some I was not. I’m considering posting the review. It’s brutally honest. My mood has been pretty shitty for some time now, and the review didn’t make me feel any better. I know that it’s a big contest and a 4/5 is pretty good considering that thousands enter. It just feeds into my insecurities that I’m not good enough. But hell, what good writer thinks they are? If you don’t think that your work is shit, you’ll never try to get better.

The constant rejection from agents has been hurting me too. I’ve pretty much given up.

Man, all of my stuff goes to dark places these days. I’m having trouble writing the 3rd Watchmage book. The second one is still in edit phase. My super secret romance project under a different name (shhhhh!) is almost ready, and the website going along with it is becoming something bigger than I expected. I don’t talk about sexuality here for good reason, but I’m human and it’s a big part of who I am. Like everyone else, I need to be loved…preferably as often and in as many different positions as possible. 😉

Ok, that’s why I don’t talk about it here.  Bad Craig! Naughty, evil Craig!

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Ok, I’m punching out. I’m freaking starvin.

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Guest Post: Giftapalooza

The following is a guest post from my dear friend, Romance Author T.E. Ridener. Several years ago, she created a holiday charity called: Giftapalooza. I think that it’s a fantastic idea, and I have contributed to it from the start. I’ve donated copies of  of my novels (The Watchmage of Old New York, and Song of Simon), and also copies of Valerie’s Anthology, because I know that this is a charity that she’d love.

Not only does it help families in need, but the connection to authors gives added incentive for my fellow writers to contribute. In short: people give presents to the charity for children in need. Authors then donate books to those contributors. It gives some exposure to the author, and reward to the contributor for their good need. Most of all, it makes sure that these children have a happy holiday.

Take it away, T.E.

Though Christmas is still a while away, I wanted to ask for a moment of your time to talk to you about a cause that’s near and dear to my heart: Giftapalooza.

Giftapalooza is an online charity event I started in 2013. The only goal I had at that time was to help families in need provide a decent Christmas for their kids. Most, if not all of you reading this post, have been in that situation before. You know, the one where bills are piling up and you can’t seem to stretch your paycheck as far as you need to. I, too, have known the hardships of poverty, sickness, emergencies in the family, and unexpected financial changes.

When I created Giftapalooza, the only thing I wanted was to make a difference for families in need. I was thinking about the single mothers and fathers working two jobs just to put food on the table; the family who unexpectedly lost someone important in their lives and now scramble to pay for the funeral; the dad who just lost his job because the company couldn’t afford to keep him on. No matter the circumstances behind the reason for needing help, this is exactly why Giftapalooza exists.

giftapalooza-2016

I am aware there are tons of charities out there with this specific goal in mind, but what makes Giftapalooza unique is the fact it is for indie families in need, and the Santas are also from the indie community. Authors, bloggers, and readers come together during the months of November and December to make some serious Christmas magic happen.

In 2015, we gave $4,203 worth of gifts to 43 families. It is my sincere hope we can double that number this year, but we can’t do it without your help. Even if you only purchase one gift for a child in need, you’ve already made a world of difference. For more information on how you can donate a thank-you gift, join the event, or get assistance, you can visit our website. We are so excited to get this year started and to help as many families as we can. Hope to see you there!

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My Twitter Acct Was Hijacked (by me)

I tweet…a lot. I tweet to promote my books. I tweet to promote other people’s books. I belong to a group called Rave Reviews Book Club, where we retweet each others novels and blogs, etc. It’s a pretty cool group, and though it has a small membership fee, the increase in book sales is worth it.

But I’m not here to promote Rave Reviews. I’m here to talk about the evolution of my Twitter account.

Continue reading

New Articles in “Writing Class”

As some of you know, I did a presentation this week on The Hero’s Journey and how it’s for all genres because it’s about character transformation, not plot. This morning I took the notes from that presentation and put them on my website for all to enjoy. Here’s the lecture, and  Here’s the character worksheet that went with it. I hope that it helps some of you out there.

Enjoy, and happy writing.

CAS

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