Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Mess Reborn

We moved!!!
When I started the transformation from magazine writing to self-publishing my fiction, the first thing I did was create a blog called, The Mess That Is Me. I thought it a fitting title for a chaotic mind. Most of the posts were my quirky observations on myself, my family and friends, and the people I saw around me. Nothing was off-limits, especially me. I took a tongue-in-cheek, smartass look at things everyone else saw as normal, I called out those things that just didn’t make sense, and I shared things I learned along the way. I started the blog in September of 2010 and kept it going strong up until I moved my website to Wix, which, while it had a blog setup of its own, it didn’t have the format I wanted to keep my smartass posts going. Not that I didn’t post, because I did. I shared updates on the book events we attended, revisited old posts, and even made a few new smartass comments. Still, it wasn’t the same.
What I enjoyed at the old Mess was the interaction the posts generated, the comments from readers, and even the snarky banter. The new blog on Wix didn’t allow comments at first, and when they finally added a comment app, it didn’t really work well and sometimes was lost at the bottom of the page. Useless. It also didn’t have a subscribe option, so that people would get my smartass life commentary straight to their emails, which made traffic a ghost town at times. So, without those options, the posts dwindled and almost stopped altogether.
That is, until now. Wix finally stepped up their game and fixed it so we had both of those options. While it’s still not exactly the way I would prefer it, it’s much better than before and a step in the right direction. So, the two weeks before 2018, I uploaded the old blog to the new site and got it ready for your reading pleasure once again. You can stop by subscribe, share, and even comment. All the things I enjoyed at the old Mess will now be available at the new and we’re ready to start the new year off right.

This is not the same as being subscribed to my newsletter. The two will have totally different content. One is for announcements and updates, while the other, The Mess That Is Me, is back to what it used to be, weekly posts of sharing aspects of my life as well as my cracked mind. And I’m hoping you join me. All you need to do is click this link - http://www.robbiecox.net/blog-c12fo - and subscribe, then interact. After all, that’s what it’s all about. If you’re a part of the old Mess, you’ll still have to subscribe, because they wouldn’t allow me to transfer you over. I hope you continue to follow me as we look toward the future and the journey moves onward. I’m not sure what’s coming, but I know it’s going to be great. See you at The Mess!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Attending the Dinner Party: What to Expect From a Book Signing

(Getting a Seat at the Table: Book Signing Basics Part One)

So, you’re going to a book signing. I bet you’re excited, pumped with adrenaline and visions of long lines of readers just waiting to purchase a signed copy of one of your books. You have trouble sleeping at night as the event draws closer because in your mind you’re packing and repacking your bags, you’re toying with the display at your table, making sure everything looks perfect, and you’re practicing your signature. Truth be told, you’ve been daydreaming about this day since you typed the very first word of your manuscript, and it’s almost upon you.

But have you asked yourself why you’re going to a book signing?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

“I’d Rather Share My Husband”

It’s about to happen again. We’re moving. Although we’re not looking forward to the chaos and disorder that comes from packing up a house and hauling it across town, we are eager to be living back on the beach. The problem is going to come when we begin to arrange the furniture and decorate. Most couples have no problem doing this. The woman decorates and the man keeps his mouth shut and signs the checks. However, I live with three ladies, who I affectionately call my girls, who have similar, and yet, varying tastes. They also run the gamut from very conservative and formal to eclectic and bright. My job, other than signing the checks, is to attempt to keep a balance between it all as well as tempers from being flared. It’s all part of living together in our home.

A friend of ours says she couldn’t do it. “I’d rather share my husband than have to share my house with another woman.” I can understand. It’s her domain. She wants it to look like she wants it and not someone else’s design. Her home needs to represent her worldview and decorative tastes. Her home is about her and I can understand that.

However, ours is about a family and it takes a little more effort to make sure everyone is represented. That’s going to require patience, communication, compromise, and a brand new bottle of Jameson.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lunch Break Reads

The Fangirls series started out as an experiment. Wait, that’s not exactly true. Nikki, the first in the series, started out as a short story I was writing for an anthology, but for which I decided against. Then, people were telling me to take one of my novels and divide it up into four or five parts and sell those for ninety-nine cents and then put them all together for a higher price. From what I understand, others have had great success doing this. Yet, I couldn’t think of taking one of my books, like Losing Faith, and dividing it into smaller novellas. I liked my books to actually be books. Still, I was intrigued enough to give it a try, just in a different way. Therefore, Nikki became the first in a series of novelettes that would follow the journey of authors and fans and the love that could be sparked.

To be honest, I’ve had mixed responses, although all of them have been great. One review stated, “What a fun fun read! But omg really?!? I want more!! While this is my first book by Robbie, I am completely fangirling myself!! Looking forward to the rest of the series!” and another, “Nikki is a novella and a very quick read, I read the entire book in less than an hour. My only "complaint" is that I want it to be longer, I want to know what happens with Nikki and her new friend, although it's not a cliffhanger. This story flows very nicely and isn't choppy in the least. If you're looking for a short quick read, pick this one up. You won't be disappointed!” Readers love the stories; they just want them longer. However, they’re satisfied with the story, because the novelettes satisfy. I received a Facebook message one day that explains it well. “So I read Nikki and Lily on Tuesday. LOVED them! Such easy quick reads. Perfect storyline. Good pace. The best part, I felt accomplished when I finished reading. I didn't have that feeling of "OMG I gotta hurry with dinner and family/house stuff and get back to that book." Refreshing! Now, while it is great to have that book you just can’t put down or wait to get back to, it was a nice change. Can't wait until this weekend to read the other two.”

And that’s the response I was really hoping for when I published them. Quick reads that not only entertain, but leave the reader feeling satisfied with completing an entire tale. There is no cliffhanger, no needing to wait until the next book comes out. Each story is a complete tale and the reader gets the whole story. These are what I call Lunch Break Reads, short stories that people can read while eating their lunch or riding the bus or even waiting for their children to rehearse for an upcoming concert. They don’t require hours of time, leaving a reader frustrated when they keep getting interrupted and having to put the book down. 

There are more of these Lunch Break Reads in the works and not all romances. The plan is to publish a few in-between the larger works and, hopefully, readers are entertained enough to venture into my novels. We may even put some background stories together for characters of my series to give something to those readers who want to know more about the characters they’ve grown to love. To be honest, I’m looking forward to writing these short tales, for they’re just as much a quick accomplishment for me as they are for the reader. I’m hoping we both enjoy the discovery of these stories.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Until next time, keep chasing your fantasies!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

It’s Fiction, not Autobiography

“I read your book last week.”

“Oh? I hope you liked it.”

“Very much so. But I just have to ask, did you really kill that guy like that? I mean, that was pretty brutal. How did it feel?”

“Excuse me? I haven’t killed anyone. What the hell are you talking about?”

“The murder scene in chapter eleven where you snuck up on Charles while he was getting his kids hot dogs, slit his throat and then stuffed him into the grill. Weren’t you scared?”

“I didn’t kill Charles. My character, Peter Branston killed Charles. It’s a murder mystery, you know, fiction. It’s not a true story.”

Monday, May 9, 2016

You Deserve Better

Six years ago, Sarah found herself in a hostile work environment. The manager of her company was a controlling, domineering man who tried to insinuate his way into the nooks and crannies of his employees’ lives as if he had a right to control their personal time. If they didn’t kowtow to what he dictated was a proper use of their free time, he would punish them in some way at work. He was belligerent, cruel, and vindictive, doing whatever he could to embarrass and mock those who he deemed as disappointments to him.

Now anyone who has met Sarah knows she has a strong personality. She goes after what she wants and doesn’t take crap from anyone. She’s a go-getter who would rather blaze a trail than follow a well-worn path. So, why did she settle for this type of environment? Simple. It was accepted by those around her and she was convinced she needed what this employer had to offer. It’s the same with anyone who finds themselves in this situation. They want to fit in, to be accepted, or they feel they won’t succeed without what the other person or group is holding over their head. Sarah didn’t need what this man promised, which wasn’t anything, really, except a job. Needless to say, we quickly rescued her from that environment and severed all ties with the people there.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Sex Is Not the Story

I know, it sounds weird coming from an erotic writer, but it’s the truth. At least, it is for me. I don’t write sex stories. I write stories that have sex in them. To me, there is a difference. I’m not criticizing those that just write to share sex, because I love to read those stories, as well, and love it when the girls do. It tends to make for some steamy evenings. Still, those are not the stories I write. I want the sex to be a by-product of the tale I am trying to tell, not the other way around.

Furthermore, I don’t explore sex. I explore relationships. Again, not criticizing those who do. I prefer to see what makes certain people tick inside of specific situations. In Losing Faith, it wasn’t just the control Faith wanted to experience that I was exploring, but how the Greers responded within that exploration. It is also a learning experience to see how those around them responded to what was going on as personalities evolved and people were tossed into situations beyond their comfort level. Those are the stories I like to tell.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Facebook Newsfeed Is Not News

Sometimes it feels just like this
For that matter, most news stations, either. They’re a skewed commentary on a situation with distorted facts to keep you thinking a certain direction, which is more than likely far from the truth. That’s probably why it’s now called news and no longer known as journalism. However, it’s sad how much junk fills my Facebook status stream. It simply boggles the mind that someone shared it to begin with, but it does make it believable that the Salem witch trials could happen even today. Most of the time I don’t even think people read what they are sharing or watch the videos they are passing along. They just quickly share it because on the surface it falls in line with their prejudiced way of thinking. For some, Facebook is the only source of news they receive and, to be honest, that’s truly sad.

It’s not new, however. Since the World Wide Web infiltrated our homes, gullible people have believed everything that came across the computer screen, no matter how ludicrous. People don’t check the validity of a story before passing it on. Furthermore, they don’t realize that all they are really doing is hindering the truth from getting out and that’s exactly the point behind the slanted story. It’s a diversion tactic to keep you focused in one direction so that you don’t notice what’s really happening elsewhere.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Florida Heat Comes Inside

Last week was the week for gremlins, not that car of the sixties or seventies, but those tiny little creatures that like to sneak in and tear up perfectly fine machines. Friday morning, while taking Char to work, the electrical system of the new van decided to shut our van down. I couldn’t switch gears. I couldn’t steer. I couldn’t even get the key out of the ignition. We called the warranty people and had it towed for repairs. They don’t work weekends like the rest of the universe, so we’re still waiting.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Breaking Out of the Comfort Zone

But I'm comfortable
The Comfort Zone ~ a safe place where we have fun, feel confident and safe, and can pretend we’re really accomplishing our dreams. The truth of the matter is that dreams are accomplished outside of our comfort zone, where we are nervous about taking the risk and exposing ourselves–and our fears– to the world. We don’t always feel confident. Most of the time we’re too nervous to know we’re having fun and we leave the world of pretend for the reality of do or die. The time for talking is over. It’s now time to muster up the guts and jump. However, you don’t need to drop blindly into those deep waters.

During your stay in the comfort zone, you should use that security to build the skills and strengths you’re going to need to finally break past those barriers. The more knowledge you acquire and abilities you develop, the more confident you will feel stepping out. You won’t know everything, because there is quite a bit we learn as we move forward. That’s growth. However, we can gain a solid foundation upon which to build. This way, you may wobble, but you won’t fall down; you won’t be overwhelmed. That is one of the main feelings that keeps us in our comfort zones, the feeling of being overwhelmed as we try something new.