A warm love bytes welcome to our next author featuring in the GRL 2015 blog tour Erica Pike.
Erica talks to us about how to deal with certain issues and she also offers a giveaway !
Welcome Erica 🙂
You’d think that writers had it easy writing blog posts – or at least thinking up topics for one – but it’s about the toughest thing I do! So I read other guest posts for inspiration and I found the perfect one: Josh Lanyon’s “This is not your mother’s publishing career” (featuring L.B. Gregg) where he talks about author depression and burnout. I’m familiar with both. I’ve been battling depression since 2004, so that’s 11 years now.
Josh talked about the daunting reality of the publishing business. Things are not as they were ten years ago. So much more is expected of authors today. We have to deal with our own promotion, publish new material every three months to stay on top, and be very visible in social media. This cuts into our writing time and can easily cause burnout. That’s what happened to me.
I was first published in January 2012. That year alone, I published eight titles, two of which were novels, four were novelettes, and two were free short stories. I broke in with a bang and it worked. My name was out there with every release. It was great. All but one of these were stories I’d written in 2011, before I became published, so I had a backlog of manuscripts.
Thinking back, I was a wide-eyed puppy, so eager to pursue my dream. Today’s publishing contracts usually have a clause where authors are expected to do their bit to increase sales, and I took it seriously. I was everywhere on social media. I have a business degree in marketing and management, so the marketing bit was interesting and fun. I flew all the way from Iceland to Albuquerque to attend GRL 2012, which became one of the best experiences of my life. I spent all my time doing this, which obviously meant that I wasn’t doing what I should have been doing: writing.
Sure, I wrote two novelettes that year and they were published in 2013, along with another free short story that I forced myself to write for the Goodreads M/M Romance group (but the quality was so lacking that I’m still ashamed of having written it), but 2013 was a nasty year for me. What was supposed to be the year of writing and publishing my next novel became the year I had to take a crash course in self-publishing after my novelette publisher took the money and ran. It was such a massive slap in the face that I’m still reeling. It also sent me spiralling into depression and although I managed to get the novelettes out there, and did it well, it was the only thing I could accomplish that year. Learning the trade of publishing, revising the six novelettes, having them edited, rushing to have the new and much better covers made, learning how to format, and getting my books up on sales sites, was so much work that my month set aside for the novel vanished into thin air. But I did it all, in one month. After GRL 2013, when the dust had finally settled, I spent the next months dealing with the depression and severe burnout.
2014 was little better. I was still so angry about the publisher, who’s getting away with the theft, that I couldn’t focus on writing. I couldn’t focus on promoting either, so I stepped back and holed up. The depression kept my focus scattered and sitting down to do anything productive became a massive strain. But since I’d decided to attend GRL 2014, I managed to sludge through the latter half of the novel I’d begun the year before, and got it published just in time. Surprisingly, it turned out well and the reviews are glowing. I wrote another free short story for the M/M Romance group – this time in a zombie apocalypse setting. I had great fun with that and decided to expand it into a novel. I’m a major fan of anything post-apocalyptic, so this was something I’d wanted to write. But I only managed to write under half of the expanded copy, because I was still dealing with the depression. GRL 2014 was fun, but I was exhausted afterward. I also came back home with a slipped disk in my lower back, with massive pain down to my toes, so it meant bed rest for two months or face the surgery table (which I now wish I’d faced >.<). Writing horizontally isn’t exactly easy.
However, this year, I made most of the summer month my sons were with their dad, and finished the manuscript! Sadly, it won’t be out before GRL 2015, but I’m finally getting my spark back. I’m finally getting back that need to write, the enthusiasm to share another story, to continue my Boston Boys series, and to produce completely new material. And, as with my other titles, I’m planning on keeping it fresh and unique. I have a lot of things in the pipes, people. It will take me time to write – my ex always told me that you can’t rush greatness – but it’s there. And it’s burning to get out.
So, that’s my story, but I’m just one of the countless authors dealing with every-day depression. I was surprised to learn how common it was – and not just with writers, but artists in general. It’s almost as if it’s a prerequisite for the arts. Or maybe the artistic gene makes us more vulnerable to our surroundings and outside factors that we can’t control. Or maybe we’re more in touch with our feelings and have a need for release in artistic form. Whatever it is, I have it, and after two and a half years the clouds have parted enough for me to get back to business – but slowly, so I don’t burn out again 😉
Carter Quinn’s question for Erica:
Erica, when I think of Iceland, I remember that people say Greenland and Iceland should swap names because Iceland is actually lush by comparison. And, of course, those of us of a certain (ahem, distinguished) age will remember the Reagan-Gorbachev summit. What one or two things would you like outsiders to know about your country?
Anybody who’s been keeping up with me on social media (Facebook, mostly), will tell you that I love talking about my country. I’m not even ashamed to say it. Not including the weather, things are great here.
I was only a little girl when Reagan and Gorbachev came here, but it was such a huge deal that even as an eight-year-old kid, I understood the importance. Iceland is between the USA and the old Soviet Union, so it was a logical place to hold the summit. It was a huge affair to tiny Iceland, and the best bit for a kid was that the summit took place in a very haunted house in Reykjavik ˆ.ˆ
Iceland is green and Greenland is ice. The quote from Mighty Ducks 2 will not die, haha. Yes, Iceland is green (mostly), and Greenland is white (mostly). Iceland got its name from one of the early settlers who saw a lot of ice drifting toward the island. Greenland got its name because an Icelandic Viking, who’d been exiled (Erik the Red – the father of Leif Erikson, who sailed first to America) wanted to get more people to settle in Greenland. It was clever marketing, and I can only imagine the nasty shock on the settlers’ faces once they got there. However, even though Iceland is lush in comparison to Greenland, it’s a joke compared to Denmark. We don’t have the forests or vast landscapes of green. It’s actually quite rocky, with a lot of mountains. Most of the country is uninhabitable because of mountains. When I was driving in the east of Iceland last year, the best word of describing it came to me: raw. The black rocks on the black-sand beaches; the jagged rocks poking up from the frothy sea; the constant wind making it hard for the small plants to flourish; the incredibly strong flora that actually manages to grow here despite harsh conditions; the bare mountains void of green; the white waterfalls; the explosive geysers; the massive glaciers; the violent volcanoes; the fields of moss-covered lava rocks. It’s all so raw. But there are gentle gems in between, like hot springs you can bathe in. Uh…yeah, I can’t think of much else that is gentle >.< But the rawness of the land is beautiful.
Okay, that was me elaborating on Carter’s knowledge of Iceland. Here are the two things I’d want outsiders to know about my country:
- LGBTQI rights are so strong here that we’re specifically taking in LGBTQI refugees that most other countries won’t take. Although everyone is considered equal here, it’s been a hard battle. The year I was born, 1978, an organization was formed to fight for those rights. Back then, gay men were fleeing the country because of death threats. The organization has fought hard but fairly, and they’ve won. The rest of the country has also won, because most no longer view their LGBTQI relatives, children or parents as freaks. People can safely hold hands in central Reykjavik without being harassed. Passersby are more likely to give them thumbs up and smile. I’m not saying everything is perfect everywhere – I imagine it’s harder in small towns, and it seems that a new generation of teenagers have dissing gays and lesbians, but Reykjavik’s Gay Pride is the second most attended event of every year. We’re talking 100,000 people gathered in one place – in a country of only 330,000 people. And, a few schools now have LGBTQI matters as part of their curriculums. All pre-college schools are public schools, so I’m sure that this will become a thing in ever school within a few years.
- The Icelandic Krona (our currency) is pretty weak right now, so if you want to visit, now would be the time 😉
I’m done. Thinking up a topic was the hard part, but writing it was like breathing air. Sorry for the long post! Thank you so much for having me on Love Bytes, and see you in GRL 2015, if you’ll be there! I’ll be the one with the massive smile on my face.
Erica’s question for Alexis Duran:
Erica lives in Iceland with her adorable little twin boys. She often says that her real name sounds like Klingon to foreigners. If “Eyjafjallajokull” looks like a random string of characters it’s nothing in comparison to Erica’s name.
She’s been writing for several years, or ever since reading became an obsession. Aside from a business degree, Erica has taken English courses at the University of Iceland and gulped down anything that might help her in her career as an author. She takes great interest in English, but will break every single grammar rule for the sake of The Voice.
Erica loves hearing from her readers. She’s a friendly, easy-going (if a bit silly) person who doesn’t mind talking about herself in third person.
You can find her at http://www.ericapike.com
Genres: M/M, Contemporary, Erotic Romance, New Adult, (Rock Stars!)
Twenty-three year old Jasper Jones fell in love with Dean McQueen at fourteen, but after a disastrous relationship, Jazz would like nothing better than to see the rock star choke on his own vomit.
After a catastrophic reunion, Dean seems bent on destroying Jazz’s life. It all started when an impromptu bar performance ended up on YouTube and Jazz became an internet sensation overnight. The name “Jazdean” keeps popping up in headlines and the paparazzi stalk his every move. To make matters worse, Jazz is about to end up on the streets for the second time in his life.
In a desperate attempt to keep his home, Jazz signs a deal with Dean’s band, Black Hurricane, to perform at a couple of concerts. It feels like one of Dean’s feeble attempts to get Jazz back, but painted into a corner like he is, Jazz has no choice.
Erica is giving away a backlist copy of one of her titles to one Lucky winner!
leave a comment to enter 🙂