Why the ‘Brief Hiatus’ is Now a Semi-Permanent Hiatus

Well, friends… I did it. I had a MAJOR life epiphany. I did not want to blog this any sooner, as I was afraid that the feeling was temporary; I am so prone to mood ups and downs that completely change my thinking. But no! This epiphany came several months ago, and I have not let go of it since.

So, what is it, you ask?

Well. Here it goes.

I realized that I am alright. I am more than alright. I’m content.

Anyone who read my posts from over the summer knows that I was anything but content at that time. I was carping almost daily about how all I wanted in the entire world was “Rowlingian” or “Kingian” success with my Eternity series, and trust me, what I published on the internet was NOTHING compared to what I was writing in my journal at that time. The whining was UNBELIEVABLE. But more on that in a minute.

Looking back at that time now, at all the whining, all the consternation, all the shameless, neurotic hoping, I realize that I was unhappy, first and foremost, which I kind of already knew, but I also realize that much of it was spoken by the desperate inner-child within me, the one who just did not want to let go of college and face the responsibilities of adulthood. I realized that I needed to believe that I was going to suddenly become mega-famous, be adored and revered as a literary titan, and be saved from my mundane, everyday life because I was in a rut, and I had no idea how to dig myself out. I wanted to live that life so I could be free of the stresses of student loans, finding a job, working a job… I would get to sit on my butt and make millions of dollars and have everyone ooh! and aah! over me. What could be better than that?

Well, lots of things, as it turns out. I wanted all of that, I wanted that life, but that just ain’t where I’m at anymore.

So, how did this epiphany happen? Well, through two things: A sudden health crisis that lasted for one month and is still kind of ongoing, and because of my work.

The first epiphany-trigger is legitimately embarrassing: I had a routine appendectomy. For me, a person with WILD health anxiety, to suddenly be besieged by a potentially life-threatening health situation was my absolute worst nightmare. In fact, as the anesthesiologist was preparing to put me under, I looked back at him as I laid down on the operating table and said, “This is my worst nightmare. You have no idea; this is my absolute worst nightmare.” Everything went beautifully, and I was discharged home within the day. Well, physically, I was mostly fine, but emotionally, I was a wreck. Panic attacks every day, frantic Googling of complications from appendectomies… I thought I had blood clots that would turn to pulmonary emboli and smother my lungs, or make my brain stroke out, or stop my heart in its tracks. I thought a tiny bump on my arm was going to turn into MRSA. I thought every ache and pain was an abscess or herniated scar tissue. I was an utter basket case, to say the least.

But that was not the crisis. At least not completely. The crisis came when, after returning to work, I had the WORST headache of my life. It lasted for days. Now, being a person afflicted with health anxiety, I immediately thought “BRAIN ANEURYSM” which is ACTUALLY my worst nightmare. It always has been, as long as I have had health anxiety, which has been many, many years. So, I went to Patient First, hoping that the pain in my eye was some kind of infection or better yet, just a really bad migraine. But no. Once there, I was informed by a histrionic doctor that my pupils were uneven, which suggested a TIA, and that I was at immediate risk for a stroke. I needed to go to the hospital RIGHT AWAY FOR A CT SCAN, LEST I WISHED TO HAVE A STROKE AND DIE. I mean, really, this guy was running through Patient First to call the hospital and tell them I was coming over, that it was an emergency, blah blah…

Don’t panic. I am going to say now that not only was this doctor wrong, but that he was an idiot. At the ER, they informed me that my pupils were fine, and everything else in my perfectly healthy 23-year-old body was chugging along nicely. But the anxiety got the better of me. For days, I believed that histrionic doctor was right, the other doctors were wrong, and I was going to have a stroke. I returned to the ER on two separate occasions, and on the second (and the last), they did a CT scan (which came back clean) and a spinal tap (which hurt like crazy and made me scream and cry like a little kid but also came back clean.)

So, as I am recovering from these procedures, as I am laying in the throes of a horrible panic attack, I started thinking to myself, “Well, what if I really HAD been having a stroke? What if this were my life? What if this were it?” And that is when I realized that I have been hoping and praying and desperately wishing my life away. I have not been present, at all.

Yes. It literally happened just like that, which I thought was weird, because I don’t normally believe in epiphanies like this.

I returned to work a week later, to my beautiful Pre-K children and my amazing co-teachers, who were so happy to see me, who had been sending me messages through my entire illness, reminding me that they were all there for me, they all missed me, and they couldn’t wait until I came back. Every day since going back to work, even when I have wanted to pull my hair out (days like that are inevitable when you work with children), I have been telling myself that this is where I am meant to be right now. I work with children, several of whom have special needs, and every day, they do something that either totally makes me feel things like a human (my way of saying “touches my heart”) or they accomplish something that to us may seem so little but to them is huge, or vice versa. I love walking into my room and being barraged by hugs and gleeful shouts of “Ms. Tori!” I love being immediately pestered about drawing Rapunzel and Elsa and Sheriffs of Mars, or braiding hair, or helping them build a garage for the cars out of the blocks. I love how they are so eager to do everything from art projects to Math worksheets to huge class discussions about our Letter of the Week or Popcorn Words. As I was laying in bed recovering, I made a mental list of all the things I love about my job, and the aforementioned points are only a few of those reasons. I realized that I have been taking that stuff for granted in a way that is almost offensive. Working with kids is difficult, to say the very least, but, if you’re doing it right, you get back SO MUCH. These are little, adorable, innocent souls who just want to spend time with you, who love you unconditionally, who will probably not remember you (at least not well) in the future, but who love you every second of the present.

Right now, I am continuing to experience rather severe abdominal pain, which has resulted in two ER visits AND an MRI, and yesterday, when the pain became so excruciating at work that I could barely stand, one of my little girls walked up to me, hugged me, and said, “Ms. Tori… What I want more than anything in the entire world is for you to get better.” And I held it in then, but later, I cried over that, because is that not the most lovely, adorable, perfect thing that has ever happened? I am lucky to experience moments like that, certainly, but I am lucky just to be a part of their lives, even if only briefly. And when I move on from this job, when I go to grad school, get my PhD, and move on to teaching big kids, I will find being a part of their lives, even if only briefly, just as fulfilling. The greatest teacher I ever had was a college professor. He changed my life in one two-minute interaction. If I can encourage a student the way he encouraged me, if I can intervene, however discreetly, when I know they need guidance, then I will continue to feel that I am doing meaningful work.

How does all of this relate to my former dreams of being mega-rich and mega-famous? Well, I realized that the world needs more teachers than it needs mega-celebrities. And also, as I am getting older, I am looking at myself more objectively. In college, I felt the need to be the loudest, most opinionated, most read, most intelligent, smartest girl in the room. I thought I was always right, that having an opinion on LITERALLY everything was required if I wanted to impress people. Having opinions is important, I know that still, but I don’t feel the need to take up all the air in the room, to bloviate about why my opinion rocks and someone else’s stinks. I don’t feel the same egocentric streak in me, the one that whispers that the solar system revolves on a Tori-centric model, that the Earth’s gravitational pull is a direct result of me and my brilliance. I don’t feel the need to embellish or to outright lie in order to make myself seem more intelligent or cooler. I don’t feel the need to one-up every story with a bigger, better story of my own. I don’t have time for people who are still stuck in that mindset, who can’t step back and observe themselves, who need attention and recognition and props and kudos and oohs! and aahs! I recognize those traits not as a sign of “coolness” but as a sign of great insecurity. I don’t find many things impressive, not that I really ever did. If people brag to me or to the world about their supposedly wonderful lives (which happened ALL the time in college and continues to happen today), I don’t buy it. I don’t have time for that kind of silliness, for braggers and liars and man-children or woman-children. I try to be kind to those people, to ask them about their lives, but I sift through their answers for what is true and what is more than likely false, and I have discovered that I am freakishly skilled at making the determination between truth and fiction. I don’t look back at any decision I ever made and think, “Well, maybe I should have done this differently, because then I could have done X, Y, and Z, or maybe I could have been here, or there, or everywhere.” I don’t live in the past. I have never been one to look at the social media pages of people I used to know, and I still don’t do that, not because it’s painful for me to look back, but just because I simply don’t want to. I don’t have the mental energy to give to old friends or old flames, or to old times, even. I don’t regret a single thing I have done over the past year. I don’t regret a single decision I have made, or a single moment of unhappiness or uncertainty or angst or anger. I am happy now, so I regret nothing.

When I read my journal during my recovery, which was a chronicle of my senior year in college, I saw some great things: my passion for learning, my love of being involved in school, my love for and loyalty to my friends, my sadness, my fear. But I also saw what makes older people cringe at my generation: I saw self-entitlement, a belief that God or Fate or the Universe should reward me for past struggles by making me famous, or that everyone should be looking at me all the time, and talking about me, and thinking about me. I saw a belief that everyone else was the problem and I was just an innocent victim of Evil, Horrible, Awful Circumstance. I saw a belief that I should be able to sit on my butt and wait for some miracle to save me from adulthood, and I cringed reading all those entries, the same way I cringed back then when I thought about working a 40+ hour work week, paying my own bills, taking control of my future, and getting my head out of the clouds. I am still terrified of adulthood, of leaving this dream behind completely, but I am also actively taking responsibility for my own life, for my own happiness, every single day.

This sounds crazy, I know. This sounds like something that could only happen in a wannabe-inspirational movie. But I know that A LOT of my post-graduate friends, from Stevenson and from other schools, have had similar epiphanies. Hell, my friends who DIDN’T go to college made these strides and came to this conclusion a LONG time ago. I know a lot of people who HAVE NOT had similar epiphanies, who still operate their daily lives under the delusion that the world revolves around them. And I don’t say any of this because I think I deserve props for my “maturity” or for my new way of thinking. Like I said, I am still struggling with this new mindset, I still fight that egocentric inner-child that wants to believe the world revolves around me. I don’t write this because I think other people should feel this way, or because I am defending my generation a little bit. Well, okay, I am defending my generation a little, because we are so often called little narcissists or perpetual children. But there are a large facet of us (I think there are WAY more of us than we let on) who grow up and change their thinking, or who have never thought that old, immature, egocentric way before. There are also MANY who do not outgrow this thinking, and I recognize that, too.

So, what does this mean for Eternity? What does this mean for T. Rudacille, the writer? Never fear. I will ABSOLUTELY be finishing the series, and I will ABSOLUTELY continue to write. But I will not spend time self-promoting, simply because I just don’t want to. There are many, many Indie Authors working 40+ hours a week, taking care of families, seeing to their responsibilities, and still self-promoting, and believe me, I commend them. But I can’t do it. So, this blog is going to sit on the way, way, way back burner for a long time. Or, if I do write, the content might be very different. Or it might be the same. I don’t know, we’ll just have to see. I am going to write my books, my blog, and whatever else, simply because I love to write, not because it is going to save me from the big, bad adult world.

This is goodbye, for a while. One day, I might re-join the cybersphere, but in the meantime, I am going to keep my ducks in a row now that I have gotten them in a row. I am going to hope that I continue on this path, and that tomorrow, I don’t wake up aching to be J.K. Rowling. I am going to try to remember what it was like to write just for the sake of writing. In short (too late, I know), I am going to just live out here. Cuz I am happier and more content than I have been in a long time. I am good. Really good.

So I must be doing something right.

-T. Rudacille (Tori)


That Time I Poured My Heart Out in a Query Letter and Then Felt Dumb For Doing It So I Had to Blog About It To Make Myself Not Feel Like a Weirdo

Friends, I did a silly thing. Yesterday, all I ate was a yogurt and a piece of pizza with ranch dressing on it and a few fried pickle chips, and then I went out drinking with the girls from work. Now, these saucy minxes can drink me under the table easily, because in my old age (23, thank you), I am a lightweight who drinks less than half of a big Blue Moon and gets mildly tipsy. I blame my empty stomach and the fact that I was on an antibiotic. Everyone else blames me being, well, a lightweight.

So this morning, I wake up, and my head is pounding, my ears are full of liquidy mush, and my body feels heavy and dead because I barely slept last night on account of my anxiety convincing me that though it was only half a beer, I was dying of alcohol poisoning or a deadly interaction of antibiotic and alcohol (there was NO WARNING ON THE BOTTLE!). But despite all of that, I actually found my mind quite alive and alert. And racing, especially after I poured some coffee on top of the booze left in my really upset stomach.

I never drink. Can you tell?

This morning, (and really, all this week), I have been kind of angsty, thinking about how my ultimate dream is to write for a living, and how I want my Eternity series to be the thing that puts me on the map, because I feel like it has that potential. Truly, from an objective standpoint, I feel like it has a lot going for it: genre-bending, so it is appealing to a lot of different tastes; a strong female protagonist (or an antagonist, as she has been rightfully called, as well), who is unlike most other characters, a strong male protagonist who is young and idealistic and appealing to the YA crowd, plus all the action and sex and love and awesomeness. Oh! There’s also the philosophical question of what we would do if we were given a second chance. And then there’s the apocalypse angle, the dystopian angle, the war angle… When I read it, I can picture it being a film or a television series, as I am sure all authors can, in this age of the book-to-film craze. But regardless of how literally every author thinks about it, I have dreamed relentlessly about it since I first began the book three years ago. The funniest part of this is that in my young, 20-year-old mind, I had fully convinced myself that I would be uber-famous within three months, and I would not have to make the anxiety-provoking move to the school I had just been accepted to. I was a homebody with a terrible case of social and general anxiety, so the idea of becoming a mega-celebrity author with a million-plus reader readership was preferable to moving away from home and having to actually like, make friends. I know, it makes perfect sense to me, too.

But I digress. Kind of.

Though I have certainly become a lot more realistic in my ambitions (I have come a long way even from this last summer, when my dreams of fame and fortune were motivated by the fact that I could not, for the life of me and my English degree, get a job, and I was dead broke and really depressed because school was over, and I missed the friends that I had made despite my social anxiety and wah wah wah), I certainly still dream of what I once referred to as Rowlingian and Kingian literary success. So every day that the Eternity series has still not been like Harry Potter or The Shining or, at least in terms of the amount of readers and money, Fifty Shades of Grey, has been rife with me telling myself that there is more I have to do, that I have to spend money that I don’t have to get noticed, and that my work is maybe perhaps kind of not that good.

It is good. It has its flaws. I mean, DUH. I write and edit the books by myself. But I do think (and people who have read them agree, for the most part), that Eternity is pretty cool, and believe me, I appreciate that, and that is what drives me, as I have said before. I love that people dig it as much as I do. Isn’t that all we should want as authors?!? Yes. Yes, it is.

But I got angsty this morning and decided to try, for the millionth time, querying an agent with my self-published book. I have been told that once they hear your work is self-published, agents close out of your query real quick, so instead of abandoning the endeavor like a normal person, I wrote a really honest, kind of weird query letter, and I want to explain myself here.

I talked about why I self-published. It was, first and foremost, because, at 20 years old, I had no idea how to query an agent, or even that I should. Secondly, I come from a family of writers, and they and their friends told me that agents want authors who have built themselves a readership. I did not realize that they meant the book with which you gathered your audience will not be the book that gets you an agent or a publishing deal. I took advice and did not do my homework to see if other people in the industry agreed or disagreed with that advice.

I talked about the modest success that I have had with publishing. I have moved close to 8000 copies of the first two books, and as we know from my previous posts, I have recently published the third book and moved 200 free copies in one day. Though some Indie Authors (and MOSTLY all traditionally published authors) don’t get out of bed for less than 10,000 copies or 20,000 copies, or 50,000 copies or whatever, I am excited that one person downloaded my book, let alone 8000. For me, that’s monumental and super cool, so I talked about that.

I said that I am 150% open to advice from an agent, if I am so fortunate as to find one. I am open to whatever will make the book most marketable, and yes, I am even open to editing (even though the idea makes me sad, but it’s necessary.)

Most importantly, I tried to pitch why representing my self-published title is worth this agent’s time, and on that point, I spoke from the heart,as objectively as I could (and I know that sounds oxymoronic). I said that I feel my work is capable of something big, all while accounting for the fact that every author believes that. I talked about how I love these books, and I am passionate about them.

I mean, I sounded weird, and I was my usual awkward self, and I was way too honest, and I should probably just stick with the normal, boring query letters that I normally send. But I know that agents and publishers are iffy about self-published works, and I wanted to talk about why my self-published work, though it is self-published, is still capable of being successful. So maybe instead of listening to the “abandon all hope, ye who query here” mentality that I have had these past few months (and by “months,” I mean “years”) where I say that every query is going straight to the virtual Trash Bin because my work is self-published, I need to start spinning why my self-published work is worthy of representation, while also making it clear that I am open to negotiating how best to make it marketable outside of the self-publishing mediums.

I know it sounds like I am turning on my Indie Author roots by saying that I am looking for an agent. But I have been told that “self-published authors” and “authors with agents” are not mutually exclusive categories. Therefore, I don’t feel like I am biting the hand that has fed me. But if I am, y’all can let me know.

I am going to go down a liter of water now and watch Gilmore Girls til my eyes don’t work. #HangoverCure.

If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis, and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon! Also, The Irreversible Reckoning, the third book in the series, is available for 99c on Amazon, but for free everywhere else. Brownie points if you report the lower price!


I Have Revised My Advice to Aspiring Indie Authors. Is it Better?

Wanna know the best thing about being self-published, besides, you know, everything? Release dates that are not hard-set. I always have a goal in mind, and I try to hold myself to that goal for my fans’ sakes, but it is awesome being able to push it back a couple weeks or even better, release early. This time around, I am going to do a pre-order drive on Amazon and Smashwords, but I will only be doing that once the release date becomes more definitive. But it is so nice not having that deadline staring me in the face when I have work, grad school applications, and surrogate children to worry about, because honestly, those things are just a little more important to me. As most self-published authors can tell you, writing and self-publishing is another job, but whether it is your second job, or third job, or fourth job is up to you.

And no hard-set deadlines aren’t the absolute best thing about being self-published. The absolute best thing is not having to change anything about the story in order to mold it to a publisher’s liking. I have said it a million times on this blog, and a million more times through other channels, but I will say it for the millionth-and-first: When I write, I don’t want to be censored. When I say I want to write a book about a twenty-two year old departing the apocalypse-ravaged Earth and falling in love with a forty-five year old man while they try to reestablish life on a new planet in the midst of a really violent, really terrible, really obviously symbolic, civil war, then that is what I want to write. I don’t want James to be thirty. I don’t want Brynna to be twenty-eight or twenty-nine. I don’t want to write “caress-of-the-inner-thigh-fade-to-black” sex scenes. I don’t want to edit out any content. I don’t want to reshape everything so that the book can fit easily into any specific category, be it a specific genre or targeted towards a specific age-group. Every scene is there for a reason, and as I am the only person who knows where the story is going, it should be at my discretion what needs to be included, and what doesn’t. Say I add a lot of scenes with Brynna and her friend Rachel. Why do I do that? Well, because Rachel is going to play a very significant role in the third book, especially, but she will be ever-present in the second book, as well. I love that my readers know that I know what I’m doing, and that is not something I cannot guarantee would come with a traditional publisher. Because, in this self-publishing game, all that matters is an indie author’s readers, and no one else. If readers dig it, then I’m doing my job. As I’ve said before, this is a business, and being that I am the publisher as well as the author, it is my job to get the reader the best possible product. Sure, this is an “art form.” Sure, these books are my beautiful, wonderful, perfect, little babies whom I brought into this world with a lot of sweat and tears and pushing and screaming. But at the end of the day, my readers are giving me either their money or their time, and therefore, it is my responsibility to provide them with the best story that I can provide. Some people dig it, some people don’t. It’s fine either way. If readers dig it, I did my job. If they didn’t… Well, at least they didn’t pay any money for it; they just paid with their time, and I am sorry, I can’t refund that. But I would if I could!

So what brings this random love letter to self-publishing on? What made me want to give advice? Well, it was two years on the 1st since I published the first (pretty terrible) manuscript of The Shattered Genesis. When I started out, I knew nothing about the promotional side of self-publishing, nor did I know how to write very well. The Shattered Genesis has since been revised and re-released with additional content, and The Bargaining Path was written with the newly-honed writing skills I gathered in college. But besides celebrating the two-year anniversary of my first entry into the self-publishing world, I am writing this because it has been a pretty rough week in terms of my writing. When I get into one of my down moods, I start second-guessing myself, and though I always come through those periods of second-guessing with new epiphanies about this whole writing deal to carry me through, when I’m in the midst of those periods, it really sucks! On Monday, a short story I wrote got rejected for Tor.com, and not only did it get rejected, I received the most generic rejection letter that the magazine sends. Now, am I as emotionally invested in my short story as I am in the Eternity series? Hell. No. But still, I thought it was a pretty cool story. I still think it’s a really cool story. My reaction to this was made worse by being in a down mood, because honestly, for weeks leading up to the rejection, I was considering asking for a withdrawal from consideration because I wanted to self-publish on Amazon. So after two days of doubting my writing ability, I realized that a) everyone is going to have a different opinion about my work, and just because I think it’s damn near perfect doesn’t mean everyone will, and b) this all just comes down to people’s subjective opinions, and if Tor.com wants to send me a generic rejection letter like I just wrote the biggest heaping pile of shit ever, then fine. Amazon Short Stories, here I come. What does this reiterate to me? Well, it reiterates what I have been saying is one of the most important things for an indie author to know: I know that I believe in the product I have created, and I know I can sell it, so why am I going to rely on a foreign entity to sell it for me when I can do it myself? A lot of self-publishing can be summed up by sounding like the Little Red Hen:  “I dreamed up the book. I wrote the book. I published the book. I sold the book. I promoted the book.” And now, I am going to apply that same logic to my short story.

So much of this business relies upon the opinions of others. When people ask me about being a writer, specifically when they, too, want to be a writer, I always ask if they have thick skin. Generally, the answer I get is, “I don’t know,” to which I reply, very cryptically, with a Chesire Cat-like grin, “You will find out.” But when people say yes, I generally say, “Well, keep it that way” and if people say no, I don’t say, “Well, consider a different career,” I say, “It will get stronger over time, believe me.” When I was growing up, and I would ask writers who I went to see at speaking engagements what their advice would be for young writers, nine out of ten would say (and sometimes rather arrogantly), “Choose a different career.” Well, telling me that I can’t do something or that I shouldn’t do something drives my recklessly stubborn and ruthlessly persistent need to prove that yes, I can do it. So here I am today. Those same writers would more than likely also tell you that self-publishing is for writers whose stories and/or writing ability is so shitty that they can’t get published elsewhere, but if you read a lot of self-published work, you will see that that simply is not true.

The biggest advice I tell writers who ask me about writing and self-publishing now? It’s still “you gotta have thick skin” but now, I have added this: You have to believe in your own work. Know when criticism is valid, and know when you should just get on with your bad self and keep doing what you’re doing, and also, your work cannot please everyone. No matter how hard you try to make it appealing to a myriad of ages and to readers of all different genres, there will still be people who don’t like it, and that’s okay!

As long as you honestly feel like you have put every possible iota of energy and attention into your manuscript and into creating and promoting the final book, and that you have created the best possible product for your reading audience, then you’re going to be alright. In fact, I would even say that you are going to be a success.

If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!



Writerly Angst: To Sell Out or Not to Sell Out

I don’t know if I should even write this post, because I am unsure if I can be even remotely objective while doing so. Because, my friends, I am in one of my Bitter Betsy moods today. You know the ones… You’re sitting in front of your computer, or maybe you’re staring at the TV, or maybe you’re at work trying to focus, and you start thinking about how it’s been X amount of years since you published “Your Story Title Here,” and you feel like it has all been for naught. Now, we aren’t supposed to whine. We are supposed to think, “Hey, man, writing’s not about how many readers you have! It’s about the words on the page, man!” But words on a page are nothing without readers to read them. Did you write your beautiful, perfect, amazing manuscript in hopes of you being the only audience? Maybe, but probably not. We want people to discover our work and love it, the way we discovered the works of others and loved them.

Why do I sound so angsty today? Well, because A) I’m tired; B) I am burnt the hell out from churning out over 60 pages of the third book in the series last week; and C) Because I just had a totally failed experience with a story serialization site. I want to preface this post with that, so that you know I am not in my normal spunky state. But let’s try to work through this, shall we, by talking about what the alternative to this angst is.

There is a price for writing what you want to write, if what you want to write is not what is commercially successful at the moment. Some days, I feel like if you’re not writing young-adult, or your novel doesn’t fit into one set category, or there is some facet of the story that is too polarizing or too controversial, then you are S.O.L. (That’s “shit outta luck,” for those of you who are unfamiliar with the acronym). So, what does a writer do, when staring down the commercial success of his or her peers who write in those categories? Well, we begin to consider writing in those categories, too, even though it was not our first instinct to do so. We consider selling out.

I have tried and failed several times now to write a Young Adult story in order to grow my audience. I say absolutely nothing negative about YA authors; many of them are very skilled in their craft, can appeal to young minds, and can also move thousands of copies of their books in a day. Flip through the YA pages on Amazon sometime, and you will see that many have 20, 30, 40, 50+ reviews, most of which are positive. I see this, and I think, “Well, maybe I should take a break from Eternity, and write something like that in order to grow my audience. Don’t think of it as selling out. Think of it as a shrewd business move.” But for me, writing Young Adult is nearly impossible. Why? Because I start out keeping my urge to write about sex, drugs, violence, and mayhem under control, for the first three pages or so, and then, oh my! My teen characters are manufacturing a new strain of marijuana that they also sell, their superpowers emerge and they brutally rip apart a gang of thugs who try to jump them, their Daddy starts calling their Mommy a cheating whore, and by the end, everyone is embittered and cold. Yes, it happens that quickly, but certainly not that randomly; all of that badness has context in the story. I am a product of my upbringing, which might explain my penchant for writing the darker side of things. Of course, I try to always couple darkness with light (see my obsession with binaries), but even when I do that, my writing is anything but PG-13. I realize teens can handle a little violence, sexual content, and language, but I don’t want to scar anyone for life. I do not want to give them more than they can handle. That’s the mama in me: “I think you can handle it, but what if you can’t? What if you can’t?!

So what is the other option? As my best friend/publicist/cover designer/badass partner in crime will tell you, it is to write a “bodice ripper.” Trust me when I say that there is much metaphorical bodice ripping in the Eternity series (and it’s only metaphorical because there are no literal bodices, nor is there an excess of clothes ripping. There’s just a lot of sex). James and Brynna bang on the daily, and I describe it in glorious, hot, sexy, OMFG detail. I enjoy writing these scenes, partly because I find myself giggling like an immature schoolgirl while I struggle to type the words “nipple” or “erection,” and also because I enjoy the challenge of trying to find a sexy word for “vagina” and “penis” that isn’t too obscene or too… well, weird (“womanhood?”  “manhood?” Who the hell thought of those?!). So why shouldn’t I channel my love of writing sex scenes into a short novel of sex scenes, some conversations, some thrown together plot, but mostly sex scenes? This reverts back to the question of “why shouldn’t I just force myself to write a young adult novel?”

Well, because, to put it simply, I can’t.

It is absolutely antithetical to every facet of my personality to write something I don’t want to write. Blame my ADD if you want to; it’s just like when I was in school and all I wanted to do was read Harry Potter and write my extensive Days of Our Lives fanfiction, but my teachers and parents wanted me to focus on schoolwork. But it’s also a matter of pride and integrity; I was not given this gift of writing so I could use it for monetary gain, or for the sole purpose of gathering a huge following of fans. It isn’t here for financial advancement or for vanity, it is here because it is the one thing that makes me me. I am T. Rudacille, and if I don’t write, I go crazy. Not like, murderous crazy, but I become even more neurotic than I already am. Ask any of my exes. Ask my parents.

I am by no means suggesting that Young Adult writers write Young Adult because they have sold out, nor am I suggesting the same for those who write bodice rippers. I am not making a commentary on the quality of young adult novels and bodice rippers. Some Young Adult novels are trash, but most aren’t. Some bodice rippers are trash, but some aren’t. Some genre-bending science-fiction, romance, thriller novels like my own are trash, but some (hopefully mine) aren’t.

Part of this is that we Indie Authors shoulder all the responsibility for the advancement of our novels, short stories, poems, etc. Sometimes, that feels like an impossibly heavy load, and other days, it feels more manageable. It is tough being your work’s sole creator/editor/publicist/promotion specialist, all while trying to be an interesting and engaging social media presence. This is why I don’t understand when people call self-published authors “lazy.” I’m sorry, we work at this day and night. We compete with each other and traditionally published authors. Most of us can’t afford to pay publicists to promote our work for us. We have to be wary of promotional websites that might be scams all while trying to use as many resources as possible to keep our stories visible. And guess what? We do most of this without constant gratification. We do most of this knowing that the chances of becoming the next Hugh Howey are slim. We do it because we love it, and so we can have control over the product we put out into the reading world. Does that make us stubborn? Control freaks? Kooks? Perhaps. But lazy we are not. If someone told me, “Hey, I have a time machine. Let’s go back and start from scratch, and get you a deal publishing traditionally,” I would say “no way.” Why? Because a) I know that editors for a big publishing house would want to make huge changes to my story that I am absolutely unwilling to make; b) there is no guarantee that a traditional publishing deal would have netted me any more money than I have made self-publishing; and c) I and my story would more than likely be tied up in a contract that limited my ability to do with my series what I will. While I am currently in search of an agent who does not mind that I am self-published (they are out there, I promise you), I will not be coming into that agent/author relationship with no prior knowledge on how to self-promote and with zero fans. I will be coming in with small prior knowledge, and a small number of fans, but that’s better than going in blind and friendless. Despite the difficulties of being a self-published author, and despite my current exhaustion-induced angst, I wouldn’t change this for the world.

Forgive me for sounding so bitter and entitled in this post. As a disclaimer, I just wrestled a screaming baby with a severe case of separation anxiety to take a nap, and then all I did was yawn, and she woke up screaming. Then I put her back to sleep, and had to pull that whole epic contortionist act to lay her down without waking her up. So, that’s why I sound like a Grumpy Gus (or a Bitter Betsy, whichever you prefer). I am just an angst-hole today.

I know that I am not alone in this. I have written on this subject before (when I talked about lowering standards of success and about writerly envy, in two posts that can be found in my archives) and sounded equally as grumpy/bitter. Tomorrow, when my stamina has recharged, and I am ready to soar through another sixty pages of Eternity Three, I will forget all about this moment of whiny angst. I know it’s all part of the deal, but why can’t I just be happy with the success that I’ve had instead of griping about the success I wish I had right now?

It’s an unanswerable question, though I will take a stab at answering it: Without this writer’s angst, I would not keep plugging away, seeking out new readers, constantly trying to expand my audience. I would get lazy. One of my most fundamental beliefs is that everything, even that which is unpleasant (like this yucky feeling of inferiority/hopelessness/self-criticism/exhaustion/I-want-eat-my-feelings-ness) has its purpose, and this unpleasantness does not make me want to throw in the towel, as they say. Instead, it just makes the cogs in my brain click together a little quicker until I come up with new ideas to keep bringing my series further. If there’s any advice I can offer on this, it’s to think of it that way: That even these gross feelings of inadequacy and general angst have their purpose, and that purpose is to provide motivation.

Sound good? I hope so.

Now I’m going to go take a nap with this adorable cherubic Grumpy Gus baby.

If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!



I Will Review Your Book If You Review Mine

Dear Fellow Indie Authors:

You know how people follow back on Twitter? Well, I propose that we enact a similar policy for book reviews. So here goes: I promise that if you comment here or private message me on Twitter, I will read and review your book so long as you read and review mine.

Barring an influx of like, fifty to one hundred books asking for my review (which I really, really don’t suspect will happen) I will write an honest review here on my blog and also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads wherever your ebook is sold. The only payment I require is that you also honestly review my book, The Shattered Genesis, on the aforementioned channels. If we come to an agreement here or on Twitter, I will provide my personal email address, and we will hammer out the details.

Again, let me stress: The reviews I provide and the reviews provided for me should be honest reviews. I am not asking for 5-star reviews, nor will I exclusively provide 5-star reviews. However, any criticism will be constructive, not nasty, and I will try my best to focus on the positives of your work and not the negatives. I read anything and everything, even erotica (which a lot of review sites will not allow) and I do not charge a dime, though if your book is not free, I do ask for a gifted copy, simply because I am unemployed right now and paying back my heinous student loans. All I ask is for an honest review in return for my review.

Let me know if we can help each other out, and if we can, I look forward to working with you! Also, let’s see if we can use these hashtags on Twitter: #reviewtrain #reviewforareview to get this going.

If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower.

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!


A Brief Hiatus

To all my new followers:

Please don’t feel that you have followed me in vain, and that now, I will disappear off the edge of the planet. I have disappeared, but I have disappeared from Maryland to reappear in Florida, and I will return to Maryland (and my laptop) on Sunday, at which time I will begin blogging again.

Here are some topics to look forward to:

1. Pictures from this amazing trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, including all the pictures I take of the new attractions at Fantasyland and Diagon Alley.

2. A movie review of the German horror film, Hell, which is yet another really good obsolete movie I found on Netflix by chance.

3. A spoiler-free discussion of where the thus-far untitled third book in the Eternity series stands now, and when you can expect to see it in online stores.

4. My musings on the idea of “selling out” in order to gain a readership and sell lots of books, because this is something I am told to do by friends and family on a regular basis, and it drives me CRAZY. (Cuz though I may have only a small readership and literally no money made off of this book, I have a little something called “integrity.”)

5. Talking about steampunk and/or slipstream, and this really annoying idea I can’t get out of my head about writing something in one or both of those categories.

Sound good? Awesome!

If you like this post, hit the “Like” button, and be my friend follower!

I’m T. Rudacille, author of the Eternity series. The first book in the series, The Shattered Genesis and the second book, The Bargaining Path, are available for FREE in the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores, and The Shattered Genesis is also available in paperback on Amazon!

Thanks for reading!

CREATESPACE! A Story of Violent Rage and Hard-Won Victory (Kind Of)

Soooooo, what brings me to the blank WordPress box today? Something writerly, of course. I am going to talk about the process of getting one’s books into print on Createspace, and the repercussions of doing so. Hang on to your hats, because though I will edit out the many expletives I spat, this was a process and a half.

There are very specific guidelines on Createspace. First, you have to choose your trim-size, and then, you have to format your book file to that trim size’s requirements. I chose 6″9, so I needed to do Custom Margins in Word for that particular trim size. Here’s a screenshot of what the box looked like once I was done:


Look at that pretty box! It’s almost as though it didn’t take me three hours to get to that point.

You’ll notice in the background there that the pages are mirrored. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how I got it to do that. By the time I figured out the damn margins, I was on the point of throwing in the towel. But instead, I persevered. (And shouldn’t that be the slogan of self-published authors everywhere? “But instead, I persevered.” I like it.)

Changing the margins significantly increases the number of pages.

“Well, duh!” You say.

“Well, as someone who only types on a Word Document when I get a good idea,” I say, “I knew not of this.”

The Shattered Genesis is about 750 pages in the Kindle version, and that is without all of this fancy-schmancy formatting. So, you can imagine my horror when after changing the margins, the book exploded to over 1000 pages. On Createspace, I kept getting the dreaded error message of “This book exceeds 800 pages…” or something similarly worded. By this point, I was furious; there was no way that I was going to split the book in half for the sake of having it in paperback, nor was I going to scrap any scenes. So, I reduced the font size to 11, reduced the size of the periods and commas, and crossed my fingers that the page number would be reduced. And wouldn’t you know? That solved the problem, and alas, my efforts were back on track.

Now, if I had wanted to pony up $299, Createspace could have formatted the book for me, but being recently graduated and unemployed with student loans to pay (–sob–), that seemed to be a foolhardy idea. Believe me, sometimes I want to ignore my financial obligations in favor of rampant book promotion, because hey, the right promotion could turn me into the next Hugh Howey or EL James, and the major publishing deal plus the movie deal will pay my loans and then some. But $299 is too much for me (and for a lot of indie authors, I presume) especially when I have a best friend/former roommate/publicist/designer who is an Information Systems Major and knows things about computers that make my head spin.

But back to the story. Because though the book was finally formatted, there was still the issue of the cover.

I wanted to use my Kindle cover (the one designed by the aforementioned best friend/former roommate/publicist/designer), but the Createspace Cover Creator would not allow such things, not unless I didn’t want anything on the back of the book, or anything on the spine. Now, they’ll give you a free Cover design template that you can load into Gimp or even Paint, and Alex could have figured that out, I’m sure, but I was adamant on getting this done on my own. So, I cashed out, chose a Space-themed image from the Cover Designer right there on CreateSpace, and goo-goo-ga-choo, The Shattered Genesis was ready to go.

Except for determining the price of the book. Oh, you thought my complaining was over? Nope! Here’s the worst part of the story, in my opinion: Each one of my paperback books, because the story is so long, costs $15 a copy plus shipping! If I were an indie reader, who knew nothing about me except I can write a pretty good book description, I would not pony up fifteen bucks for the work of an author of whom I have never heard, especially when the Kindle version is free. Now, this whole process was for me, so that I could hold a physical copy of my book, but still, I would like any one of my readers, new or old, to have an affordable paperback copy if they want one. So, I knocked the price as low as I could (because Createspace dictates the minimum price based on printing costs, which is fair) and now, the price as you see it only covers the printing costs; I get thirty-four cents per copy in the US, and nine cents for books printed in Great Britain, and the only reason why those tiny royalties are there is because the weird prices given to me by Createspace ($12.84? Really?) needed to be rounded up or my OCD would eat me.

Soooo… What did the final product look like? On the surface, it looked perfect!


I was amazed when I saw the cover, and the name of the book and my name on the spine. But then I opened it, and I realized why the price for the professional formatting is so steep: I had forgotten to put in a cover page and page numbers, and the spacing between narrative sections and between parts (there are three parts to the book) are nonexistent.

paperbackinterior1That is the first page. That white space on the left? That’s the back of the cover.

paperbackinterior2There is no space separating Violet’s portion from Quinn’s, and this occurs all throughout the book, with every trade off between narrative voices.


This is a huge turning point in the story. With “Part II: The Arrival” shoved onto a page like this, it doesn’t display the full importance of the change. It just looks like a weird little blip.

Blehhhh, my OCD is eating me.

The issues with the book are the results of my own mistakes, and I think they can be easily fixed. But I was not ready to tackle this process again. I was going to wait until August so that I could confront the formatting issues with a clear head. All the while, I prayed that no one would buy the terribly formatted edition, and thank God, no one did. If anyone is going to pay that kind of money for my book, then it is my responsibility as the self-published author and publisher to make sure that my book is as close to perfect as it can possibly be, if not totally perfect.

So, the message to take from this is:

For Indie Authors, tackling CreateSpace: Be patient, ask for help (Google is a beautiful thing), and if you want and feel able to fork over the money to let the CreateSpace team help you, do it. If not, take your time in this process, pace yourself, and think how awesome it is going to feel to hold a physical copy of your baby in your hands, and know that you worked your butt off to put it there. Order one copy, either the proof or a regular reader copy (because CreateSpace does give you a heavy discount on the price you pay for the book) and check it over for any formatting issues. Remember a Title Page, a Table of Contents (if one is required), page numbers, and sufficient spacing between important parts. If you can swing it with the number of pages, put each chapter or section on a new page, but remember that the more pages, the longer the length, the more expensive the book.

For Readers: DO NOT BUY ANY PAPERBACK COPIES OF THE SHATTERED GENESIS UNTIL I GET THE FORMATTING ISSUES FIXED! It looks like I formatted the whole thing with my eyes closed. As the author, but more importantly (in this case) as the publisher, I do not want to give you a product that isn’t worth the money. I’ll let you know when it’s of a quality that is worth your money, but until then, enjoy the free Kindle version.

And know I love you for reading it in either form! 😀

A Really Long Post About Me, Passionate Enthusiast of Writing about Sex, Scandalous Romances, Drugs, and Death, Trying to Write a Young Adult Novella



So, I was in between books in the Eternity series, and I was so not ready to start the next one. I’ve written two 500-page books in the as many years, in between my college activities, part-time job, and my full-time course-work (I currently have a 10-page paper on censorship and a 20-page paper on 1Q84 due that I am procrastinating on in favor of writing this blog post). For a minute, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to write Book Three, but then I realized that it was the typical anxiety I always feel when I’m on page 0 out of 500 and I have no idea how I’m going to get from here to the last line.

Instead of immediately launching into Book Three, however, I decided to write something that I’ve had in my mind for a while: A young adult novella in the same universe that focuses on a group of teens who are left behind on the war, nature, and illness-ravaged Earth. I started it, and I was really excited about it, and I swore that I would finish the whole thing and have it published in 72 hours. And yet here we are. There is not a third book on my Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords Author’s pages, so obviously, I did not accomplish that goal.

So, where did it all go wrong?

First of all, I didn’t stick to the time-frame. I have the attention span of a gnat, and unless it’s the Eternity series, I have a hard time finishing any story I write. I love Brynna, James, and Adam, and Alice and Quinn, and Violet, and I love Pangaea. Writing those books is a genuinely joyous and exciting thing for me, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes, I get those books done. (Knock on wood). So, when I gave myself the 72-hour time-frame for All Gone, I didn’t do it in the interest of vanity, meaning I didn’t do it so I could say I had done it. I did it to keep myself from losing interest!

Second of all, I am not a Young Adult writer. Everyone has been telling me that I need to write either a traditional Young Adult novel or a bodice-ripper erotica to draw in a bigger audience. Though those two genres being used as binaries of Sell-Out-Dom is totally hilarious, I always said that I would never sell-out and write something I didn’t totally love in the interest of gaining readers and recognition. This shouldn’t suggest that every Young Adult or Erotica writer only writes in the interest of gaining readers and recognition, but if I did it, that is certainly what it would mean. But All Gone was different. I didn’t shy away from the drugs, sex, and general awfulness of adolescence so I could write the next Katniss Everdeen, Tris Prior, or Harry Potter–teen protagonists I love but who are relatively free from the aforementioned general awfulness of being an adolescent in our 21st century world. Regardless of the century in which their stories take place, they are still reflections of our adolescent norms in this century. I know not all teens use drugs, have sex, and act awfully–but I did, and my friends did; in fact, almost every teen I knew was awful in some key way. My aunt once said, “Why don’t you write Young Adult?” and when I said that I can’t write from that traditionally squeaky-clean Young Adult point of view, she said, “Well, why don’t you write about the young adults that you knew and that you were?” I was by no means a hellion, but I was certainly a little shit, so if I was going to write Young Adult, I was going to write about both hellions and little shits. And that’s what I’ve been doing in All Gone. I love Hunger Games, Divergent, and Harry Potter, but I never could have written them. I like drugs, sex, and awfulness too much (on paper, not in real life; I have grown into a responsible, generally kind of nice twenty-something who is a still sex-positive but is also a weird chemical-hating body-purist, so drugs and “meanness” are out) to write about beautifully good and responsible teens. The second narrative voice of All Gone is closer to that, but the first one? God bless us all… She’s the epitome of a little shit.

The story is 35 pages, and there are parts I love and parts I hate. Keeping in mind the wisdom of Anne Lamott’s “Shitty First Drafts,” I try not to judge the parts that are so lame and awkward that they could make even the kindest reader roll his or her eyes in frustration. The Shattered Genesis was lame up until I revised the whole thing and re-published it, and that was like, two months ago. I am sure there are parts of both of my books that are still lame and awkward. So that’s not the problem. The problem is that I have been saying that I’m going to write this book and then end up scrolling to the last page, seeing where I left off, typing a few half-hearted lines, getting frustrated that nothing is happening, both in the story and in my brain, and then exiting Word and watching Netflix.

The superstitious part of me thinks that I told too many people about this project, and that’s why I’m having a hell of a time bringing it to fruition. One of my professors once noted that telling too many people about your ideas makes your ideas lose their magic, and I think that’s true, though I am going to add to that: Telling too many people about my idea for this book forcefully exposed me to its weaknesses, but more importantly, to how not excited I am about it. The opening pages are beautiful, and I love the message, the two totally different set of teens, and where I see the story going. But right now, it’s all so trite and awful and seemingly unrepairable. What it needs is a good gutting, where I salvage the parts I adore from the parts I find so utterly cringe-worthy. I’m not supposed to edit as I go, but every time I think of this project as it stands now, I cringe internally. I hate the dialogue. I hate how “distractable” the narrative is; for instance, I’ll be writing about one of the main characters waking up one morning and go on a five-page long flashback about an Oscars party from the night before, which includes a crap ton of random musings on various characters. See, because that’s part of the problem, there are a crap ton of characters in this, and even though we share pen names with initials in them, I cannot expertly tell the stories of a HUGE cast of characters like George R.R. Martin. I have three narrative voices in The Shattered Genesis and The Bargaining Path, and in Book Three, I will more than likely have five, and the thought of that is daunting enough. In All Gone, it is not the narrative voices that I am having problems with, because there are only two first-person narrators, it’s all the other characters jumping in to have dialogue and make their presences known. This is a huge problem.

So, am I going to scrap All Gone completely? No. Am I going to take a break from it? I don’t know. I need something recreational to write when I finally throw in the towel on these academic papers around 8PM every night. From 8 until 1:30, generally, I write for leisure, and I am not ready to start Book Three, so I am writing All Gone. What I need is to start over, stick to my original 72 hour time-frame, and just get through a first draft. I care very little about this project because I have let it become convoluted and annoyingly cliche. So what I need to do is stop, start over, and refocus it, and then kick its ass.

I refuse to throw in the towel on this, so I am going to start from the beginning. Let’s hope that this zealous pep-talk/navel-gazing session will sustain my very mild enthusiasm until this weekend when finals are over and I can finally write for leisure without guilt. In the meantime, though, I really need to start those papers.

If you read to the end of this, you deserve something awesome. Like a unicorn.


Meet Jeff the Killer. I made him last night at Midnight Breakfast which, (ironically, though they meant it without irony) started at 10.

If that’s not awesome enough for you, take a trip to Buffalo Wild Wings, because their teriyaki wings are the best. Or if you’re a vegan, eat a salad. Food is awesome.