Tag Archives: Female empowerment

In praise of girlfriends

Writers, by definition and practice, are solitary creatures. Days can go by, especially if I am on a deadline, where the only person I will see all day is my husband before he leaves for work in the morning and then when he returns 14 hours later. If I didn’t make myself go to the gym I’d have zero social interaction. The only people I would  converse with all day are my characters, who aren’t, you know….real.

Most of my dialogue gets written with text-to-speech or Dragon, so the sound of a mechanical, robotic, voice coming at me for hours is kinda weird. Cool, but weird, too.

I know. Crazy.

This cloistered existence is not healthy mentally, physically, or spiritually. Not by a long shot.

Ever.

Which is why I am thankful for the girlfriends I have.

None of my close gaggle of friends are writers, and sometimes that’s a good thing, others, not so much, but having them in my life means I get out of my attic, interact with people I adore, and step away from the fantasy land and make believe people  I’ve created for myself.

Don’t get me wrong: I like being a hermit and in another lifetime in a galaxy far, far, away  I probably was one. But to actually sit and chat, reconnect, and gossip, with girlfriends who knew you when, is marvelous. They get me through the humps of plot points just by randomly mentioning something. They give me insights into what’s going on in the world  by telling me how their millenial children are faring. They bombard me with new character ideas ( and they don’t even know it!) when they tell me about crazy co-workers, or people they’ve come in contact with.

But they do so much more.

They keep me sane.

They keep me human.

They keep my feet on the ground.

They keep me centered.

They are shoulders to cry on, arms to embrace me, and a soft, safe spot to land when I need to jump off a ledge.

Thank God my for girlfriends.

when I’m not out with my girlfriends or being a hermit you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Imposter Syndrome, Part II

 

Last week I wrote a blog post about Imposter Syndrome. I was floored by the responses I received from readers and writers after it went live. For two days my email inbox was crawling with dozens of responses about what I’d written. Most of them were from authors – some of whom I don’t know personally. A few were from readers. All of them thanked me for calling out what it is to feel  like a professional failure, even though you’ve had a modicum of success. I ended that blog piece by saying, “STOP THINKING YOU ARE AN IMPOSTER AT THIS WHOLE WRITING THING. You write, ergo ( and don’t I just love being able to use that word!!) YOU ARE A WRITER!!!

Why don’t they get that?

A few authors wrote me that they felt like failures, and not “real” writers,  even though they had sold thousands of books, recently signed new contracts, and generally had well known names in the romance writing community. I was stunned by these revelations. My questions to each of them was : HOW DO YOU DEFINE A REAL WRITER and HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS, because it obviously isn’t in sales, or name recognition. The other question that blew through me was WHY? Why do you feel like a failure? You’ve written a book – some of you several books. They’ve been published – some traditionally, some independently. You’ve received royalties – some a lot, some not so much, but still…money! Readers know your name. Readers await your next book release. Readers WANT to read your work. So, again, WHY do you feel like professional failures?

I’m gonna take a wild guess here to answer that question, and I’m gonna ask for a little patience while I present my case, because some of you are gonna get all hot and bothered ( and not in the good, romance reading way) about what I think.

Since I write romance, that’s the genre I’m going to latch on to here for my discussion. The majority of romance writers are WOMEN. The majority of romance readers are WOMEN. The majority of people who pay cash-money for books of all genres are WOMEN. The majority of people who read for pleasure are WOMEN. The majority of people who make the most money on the planet and are responsible for the majority of decisions made ( and most of them are bad ones!) are ( wait for it ) MEN.

The definition for professional success for most men is very different for woman. Men equate success with money, material possessions, social status, and titles ( CEO, CFO, etc.) Women equate success almost the same way, but where a man will wear his success with pride and boast about it, women, it’s been my experience…will not. They tend to brush off well meaning compliments and try to turn any conversation away from themselves.

Again, this is my opinion based on years of being around very successful MEN and WOMEN and seeing how they react so differently when given praise or asked about their accomplishments. I’ve been in a room filled equally with writers of both sexes and the male voices are usually the loudest, the ones filled with the most hubris, and the ones bragging on their next book sales. The women, when given praise about their own bestsellers and highly anticipated new releases, have typically waved off the compliments, and redirected the praise. When you ask a male writer what he is working on you get chapter, book, verse and verbal diarrhea about the plot and everything else. Women will give you an elevator pitch and then move on to another topic.

Women do not like talking about themselves. Most women, that is. There are a few who drone on incessantly as if they were the only ones on the planet or in the discussion. We all know people like that. But for the majority, women still tend to take a back seat when it comes to broadcasting their successes and this is the reason I think they feel like imposters, frauds, and are faking it.

To these wonderful woman I say OWN IT!! 

Own your success. Wear it like a badge of courage for all your hard work.

 

I raised my daughter to be proud of herself – her successes and goal achievements. I raised her to accept her failures, learn from them and grow with them. I raised her with the knowledge she could walk through any door with her head held high, knowing she could make of herself anything she wanted. I thank the gods of everything she is the woman she was always meant to be. She doesn’t brag, but when given a compliment, accepts it, graciously. She doesn’t extol her own virtues and successes, but she doesn’t dismiss them with an embarrassed hand wave when someone mentions them, either. And she is forever lifting others up both verbally, spiritually, and emotionally.

To all the female writers I know who suffer thru imposter syndrome please know this: YOU ARE NOT AN IMPOSTER and no one has the right to make you feel less than a success.

Own it. Be it. Wear it. YOU ARE A WRITER.

‘Nuff said.

 

If you’re looking for me, I’m usually here:

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A #WonderWoman fan…

For all of you who read my blog the other day about the men who were bashing WonderWomen female only movie showings, this man is NOT one of those guys.

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Wonder Woman and mad men….#WTF??

Just read an article about a group of men who are super pissed that many theaters around the country hosted WOMEN ONLY screenings of the new WONDER WOMAN movie this weekend. I don’t want to copy the article in its entirety, so here’s the link. Men were tweeting that this is discriminatory and that they think someone should sue the theater chain holding the all female screenings for sexism,  gender discrimination, and male bashing which they equate to a hate crime.

Seriously?

With all the horrible shit currently happening – the Manchester and London bombings, North Korea’s nuclear tests, the US’s pullout of the climate accord, not to mention healthcare, welfare, hate crimes, and EVERYTHING ELSE important, some men are complaining because a movie about the first and only FEMALE SUPERHERO is catering to a female-only clientele? For real?

My only comment to these misguided, misogynistic men is, get a friggin’ life!

Male superheroes abound. Every weekend of the summer it seems a new male superhero movie opens up. Tony Spark (Ironman), Thor, SpiderMan, Batman, Captain America, the list goes on and on. And lest these knuckleheads who are protesting say something stupid like “what about Black Widow? She’s a superhero.” Yeah – a SECONDARY CHARACTER superhero. THAT’S IT!  There’s no movie in which Black Widow is the end all- be all. No storyline that a major movie company funded for her.

Diana Prince is the first female superhero to have her very own big budget, top studio-made movie. She is the star, the storyline is hers and hers alone.

The back story is hers. She’s female, she’s the protagonist, the movie was directed by a woman, and the cast features some of the baddest-assed women in entertainment today ( Anybody watching HOUSE OF CARDS want to debate that point about ROBIN WRIGHT?) This movie is showing girls everywhere, all girls – from toddlers to teens to middle aged and beyond – that girls have power. Girls are smart. They can think deductively. They can make a difference through their strength, their intellect, their courage, their compassion. This movie is a prime example of female empowerment in its purest form – and it relies on Diana Prince’s sense of inner humanity and her desire for the downtrodden of the world to have a voice. SHE is their voice.

 

I can’t possibly believe these men feel threatened in any way by the movie houses catering to women only for this release. Men, unfortunately, still rule the world in every way. They make more money than women for doing the same job, they hold the vast majority of political offices in the US and abroad, they manage most of the major corporations on the planet. Why are they so pissed off about a movie theater chain catering to a women-only audience for a few days?

Do they think that the message in the movie — that WOMEN — can fend for themselves, physically, economically, emotionally, and defensively without the help of men, is true? That a  society where women rule with peace and understanding, yet physical acumen, is a threat?  A potential future event? Are they so scared of a woman who believes it is her duty to right the wrongs generations and eons of men have thrust upon the world, is a bad thing?

Or are they just acting like bratty children who want something someone else has and can’t have and feel left out?

I’m gonna take a wild guess and say those same male protestors didn’t vote for a woman in the 2016 election…. just saying.

Oh, and BTW, the movie grossed $100,000,000 + in its opening weekend. That’s a huge chunk of change. Hollywood ( male dominated and run Hollywood) take notice. Again…just saying.

 

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Public Speaking…Part 2

So  I promised you I’d give you a little insight into the 2 sessions I taught ( very loose use of that word!) at last week’s Womens’ Weekend Retreat.

These were my notes for the two programs:

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One talk was called DREAM BIG, the other HOW TO WRITE A BOOK. That second one sounds a little pretentious, but it really wasn’t!

The Dream Big session was about how we, as women of a certain age ( read: menopausal and above) have tended to place our hopes and dreams on the back burners so our families, spouses, and everyone else can see fit to fulfill their hearts’ desires. I gave reasons why we do this, why we put ourselves last, why we never reach for the brass ring when we get to a certain age.

Then I told the group why they were all wrong to do that.

Yeah, that went over big.

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Using myself and many other much more well-known women as examples, I showed how it didn’t matter what age you’d reached in life, you could still fulfill the dream of your heart. You just had to believe you could make it come true and start figuring out ways you could, right away. Then I showed them what those ways were.

That went over a little better.

The second talk was basically an overview of how to get from idea to published. This talk was packed and it did my little heart so good to see so many women had a story to tell. And what stories they were!!

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I could have used two or more hours on this session because the women had sosososos many great questions.

Now, the point of this blog was to talk about public speaking and how much I abhor it. I know people always smirk and lift their eyebrows in wonder when I say that because, well, I talk all the time. A lot. I’ll talk to a rock if no one else is around. But talking one-on-one with someone is sososososos much easier than having to get up in a group and deliver an erudite message.

And the last word anyone can associate me with is erudite. Look it up if you don’t know what it means.

But…

I sucked up my nerves and luckily there were a few women I knew personally in the groups, so that made my whole speaking to strangers anxiety abate a tad. What I truly did was just have a conversation with the women. Not a talk, well, not a classroom-like one, anyway, Just a basic back and forth interchange of ideas and questions.

This I could do. Easily.

And– yowza– I did! It was…fun. Much more so than I’d originally thought. In truth, anytime you get a group of women of a certain age in a room together, the exchange of thoughts, ideas, information, and laughs is soul-elevating.

So, if they ask me to come back again next year I….might.  I’ll certainly reboot my “talks” and make some changes, but I think I might be okay doing it again. I didn’t fall flat on my face, cry, or speak in tongues from nerves, so those are all positives, right??

When I’m not having anxiety attacks about public speaking you can find me here:

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One event down…

Last weekend I was thrilled to be included in this event:

womensweekendad2016-copy

I thought I’d give you a little overview of what it’s like for someone like me – basically, a total introvert/hermit – to attend an event like this as a vendor, hawking my books, and as a presenter, giving two diverse classes.

The Friday night meet-n-greet included a few hours where volunteer vendors could meet the women attending the weekend and sell their wares. After an hour of setup here’s what my table looked like:

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Yes, that’s a banner with my smiling mug on it that you see. I used one of Stephanie’s pictures from my recent photo shoot and sent it to Vistaprint, where, for about $20.00, I had this banner made. It has my name, tagline, and website address on it. Conceited, much??!!

Anyway…

Those are all the print books I have out right now on the table, along with a promo-card for my holiday release of A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS which is in galley edits right now and which I should have a release day for any minute ( I HOPE)

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There is also a big basket of favors on that table, complete with individually wrapped portions of M&Ms, PepperMintPatties, and Hersey’s Kisses attached to one of my bookmarks. I use this as promo too, because, really, who doesn’t like free chocolate and a bookmark??

SO, for a few hours I stood, talked, smiled, schmoozed with the other vendors and tried to engage and entice people over to my table ( free chocolate, remember?), and sold books.

I am going to admit freely that this is the hardest, most difficult thing I do as a writer.

I am not a natural salesperson. My thought is browsing is king and if you need to ask a question, find a store clerk. I hate being accosted by salespeople when I shop, so I don’t like to accost people when I am the one doing the “selling.” In all honesty, in this day and age, this is not a good way for a writer to be, I KNOW this. So I tried to accost without, you know, accosting and being obvious about it. It must have worked because I had a lot of people at my table.

In my next blog I’ll tell you how the classes I taught ( and I use that word very very very loosely) went.

When I’m not hawking my books, you can find me here:

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Filed under Author, community advocacy, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Friends, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Proud Mama…

Yesterday, my niece and nephew had school pictures taken, one of those rights of passage I miss now that my own daughter is an adult.

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Anyway. ..

My sister-and brother-in-law both posted the picture of the two kids as they were leaving for school on their facebook pages and texted them to family members so we could see how great they both looked. My niece, as always, is just stunning. Truly. She is already a blonde beauty just like her mother. My nephew also looked stunning. He is one handsome little gent, made more so yesterday because he wore a tuxedo to picture day. Why, you ask? I did too, and My S-I-L told me he wanted to wear one so he’d look good,  so they rented one for his size.

Really, too adorable for words.

Apparently, on his FB page, under the picture, my bro-in-law put  a caption that read a little like this: Bond, James Bond and a beautiful Bond girl. ( Not an exact quote, but mostly.)

I thought: “How cute.”

My daughter, who happens to be this niece’s God Mother, commented, “*** ( My niece’s name, which I am not going to publicize because she is just a kid!) is not a Bond Girl. She’s the next M.”

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LOL!

Truly, you know you have raised an amazeballs daughter when she puts something like that into the universe! Proud never seems to be an adequate descriptor for me when I talk about her. Amazing. Empowering. Powerful. Intuitive. Brilliant.  All those and many more are better descriptions of the human being she is.

 

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So, for all those mamas who have raised amazeballs daughters who are actually making a difference in the world’s perceptions and thoughts about females : God Bless and Congrats!!!

 

erin3

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