Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Illness Takes a Holiday

(Note: Wonky spacing due to the fact I wrote this in gmail and blogger doesn't like that. I did what I could to fix it.)
I wasn't going to post. I didn't think I had anything to say, but then I compared the latest vacation to the one that came before and what a difference! Definitely noteworthy.

In March 2013 we flew out to visit family and I just about died. I struggled with fatigue and actually had a few days where I couldn't function. I had to go back to bed even though that was the last thing I wanted to do!

Fast forward to Vacation 2014 and I had none of that adrenal BS. NONE! 

I even worked while on vacation and wrote 1/3 of the novel I'm trying to finish.

It is amazing to me how sloooooow recovery is from HPA axis suppression. At least for me.

Anyway, remember how I was exercising so vacation wouldn't kill me? We did NOTHING. Mostly because it was 93F with 95% humidity 24/7. I was not prepared for a tropical climate. None of us could function as our area has had a very cold summer this year, even dipping down into the 40s at night. (See also, my pansies were still alive in July and still would be if the house sitter had watered them.) 

We were/are not used to such intense heat. We didn't even have the right clothing. I brought my jean capris which were miserable to wear in that heat. By the end of our vacation, I just wore my ratty workout shorts everywhere. 

We spent a lot of time basking in air conditioning and avoiding going outside. The lizards we saw always went for the sun,but we were sidling up to any a/c vent we could find. 

Another thing I didn't understand about tropical climates, the water during summer is as hot as you are. It doesn't cool you off. The only way to cool off is to jump in the pool and then go sit in air conditioning.

Worse, that super fancy hotel my husband and I stayed at? It was infested with smokers. I couldn't even use our ocean front balcony because of all the smoking. The outdoor furniture reeked of cigars so I couldn't sit in it. People smoked by the pool, so swimming was out too. 

The area we stayed in is a huge party haven so we had to avoid the main drag due to all the smoking. We still had a good time, though. I just didn't realize how bad the smokers were. None of the guidebooks or trip reports I read mentioned it.

For future reference, if you have asthma and your vacation destination is party central and also a hot spot for Europeans and/or Latin Americans...you will have problems. They all smoke. A lot. 

Also, hurricane season isn't just a risk of hurricanes, it means rain every day. Don't go to the tropics in the summer. Stay way north of the equator. We were rained out several times and even got stuck in some of the worst storms of the summer. We saw rain worse than any blizzard, which, naturally, we had to drive through.

Truth be told, I failed completely as a vacation planner. Ha!  Instead of a good time, we had an interesting time, which is still okay in my book. We learned what not to do and the whole adventure certainly gave us a lot to talk about.

We go back in the Spring. Let's see if I can do a better job planning that trip!

Okay, now that that's over, let's get to writing gossip.

1. I came up with a concept for a group project, and once again, people are trying to benefit from my ideas as if I don't exist. I've had to have some uncomfortable (for them) discussions with people as, at least this time, I retained leadership of the whole thing. (I'm learning!) They joined the project, then dropped out and thought they could still use my idea for their own benefit. I don't bring things to people for them to use for their own purposes. I am always cooperative and I expect everyone to conform to that (pretty well established) ethic. 

Granted, my expectations are unenforceable, but there are other factors that matter to people more than what I think. Such as all the other authors can see them being greedy and it won't look so good if they make sure they maximize their return while turning their backs on a group they had originally agreed to work with. (I phrased it much more politely but that was the gist.) That's a great way to not be invited to join any future projects as well as have your peers ignore you just in general. 

Oh, you have a new release you would like me to share with my readers? Sorry, I didn't see your email/post until too late. Maybe next time!

Reputation matters in this industry. You can get away with a lot, but eventually, a lack of integrity will catch up with you. So don't be an ass.

I don't want to have to use a contract, but I may end up requiring NDAs or non-competes going forward. I don't provide 100% of the value, but I am pivotal in making that 100% possible. My value is in spotting trends early, gathering people together and facilitating mutual success. Not everyone can do that.

In the interim, on my latest idea, I specified that this was not something for them to pass on and that participants were hand chosen, the project isn't an open call. Hopefully, people get a clue.

2. Some of the project dropouts above are driven by skeevy group politics. I don't know the lay of the land yet, but the factions are solidifying and people are getting cut. I've been cut from a few inner circles, and have, likewise, been cutting people on my end (the asshats). Sales are down across the board and people are looking for life rafts. As one of my author buddies says, this is when you find out who has integrity.

3.Sales are even worse. Ha. People are starting to panic, including the bigwigs who've made, literally, a million dollars in this biz. We shall see what the future brings. 

FYI now is not a good time to get into Indie publishing. In case you were considering it. The industry is completely restructuring and Amazon's God Complex is at Defcon 5. Wait until the dust settles.

And if you're already publishing...keep writing and try not to panic when you stop making money. The storm will pass, a path forward will appear. It's just a question of when.

By the way, there's more shit ready to hit the fan that isn't even public yet. I only know because someone broke their NDA with the mighty Zon. Even more change is coming. I feel like I'm starting all over in terms of industry knowledge. That's how big the changes are.

The good news is there is no easy or cheap replacement for authors (yet). So we're still very much a necessary cog in the wheel. Booksellers can't treat us like we don't matter without paying a price themselves. If we don't earn, neither do they. Eventually the booksellers will figure that out. Again (and then they'll forget and the cycle will repeat).

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