Friday, August 31, 2012


Earlier this week a terrible thing happened in a town not far from me. An innocent 5-year old little girl was murdered by a teen the family knew well and had trusted. As of right now, the motive is not clear.

As a mom of a 9 year-old girl and 4 year-old boy, I sit here completely terrified. How can I prevent this from happening to us?

For me there is no greater fear than own, and of those I love. One moment I want to pull my kids and husband close and never ever leave the house. Just stay here in our little bubble. But the next moment I tell myself I will not let fear run my life. Is there a happy medium? Who knows? I'm sure this family thought they were fine. The girl was at her grandparent's house, as she often was, with a friend she often saw. They believed he was a good kid...he routinely helped the grandfather with chores around the house. What would make him do such a heinous thing?

I don't watch the news...and this is why. If I saw all the bad in the world, it would consume me. It would keep me up at night. It may sound like I am choosing to be ignorant..and maybe to some degree I am, but for my own sanity, I need to try and stay positive. That does not mean I am stupid or blissfully unaware. I am careful about everything I do, especially when it comes to my kids.

Sometimes my husband, and his family, who live in a rural town, think my city upbringing has made me paranoid. My husband used to laugh when I would lock our car doors in our own driveway. He's since reformed and become more careful after breaking free of his sheltered small-town bubble.

There is a lot of bad in the world...but I do believe there is good too. I see it all the time. It's extremely sad that there are people that, for whatever reason, feel the need to harm others. I just don't understand it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Once you've gone Erotic, can you ever go back?

With the popularity of a certain erotic bdsm trilogy that shall remain unnamed, it seems as if everyone is getting into the genre. I've heard from more than one reader, that until now, they didn't even know the genre existed. They want to know what to read next.

This is fantastic for all my erotic-writing author friends. For me, not so much.

I am beyond ecstatic that romance is in the spotlight right now, even if it's not exactly my type of romance. The world is proving that people love romantic fiction, and will buy it, by the millions. And now that consumers have been bitten by the bug, they just want more.

But I'm kinda concerned. Erotic bdsm romance is so intense, so detailed, so completely sexy. Having now gotten accustomed to such a high level of heat, will readers want to step back a little in the spiciness level?

My books are definitely steamy, but definitely not as detailed as erotic romance. I'm hoping readers will still find their way to me, even if that means the heat will be turned down a smidge.

Monday, August 27, 2012 sucks.

Today I'm over at Sandra Sookoo's blog talking about rejection and it's suckiness. Come on over and check it out!! Commiserate with me!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Speaking out on reviews????

Since before I even published my first book, it's been branded on my brain that it is taboo for authors to respond to reviewers. Many won't even read their reviews. I think thats smart to some degree, but I do read all of mine. I like to know what people think. If it's something I completely disagree with, I let it go. But if it's a valid point, I learn from it.

For the most part, my reviews have been positive. I've yet to receive a really awful review. There was one pretty negative review a while back, but it was obvious to me that the reader rarely read romance. They just didn't understand the fantasy aspect of the genre.

I used to thank people for their kind reviews, but then I learned even that was kinda taboo. Reviewers and readers, especially on sites like Goodreads, want the ability to talk about books without the intrusion of the author....whether good or bad. Now I know things can get really nasty on really bad, all out scathing reviews. And for an author, it can be devastating. We put so much blood, sweat, and tears into our books...they're our babies. It hurts to hear they're not liked. Or despised...or compared to the contents of a litter box.

Recently a very popular author made some comments about a negative review she received on Amazon...or rather her husband did. Whatever. This isn't new. It happens every so often. Some author flips out and chaos ensues. Her reactions after it all went down were less than favorable. And they make all authors look bad. This is a subjective business. Everyone will have their opinion, and not all of them will be nice. You have to grow a thick skin and put on your big girl panties if you want to survive this business. And keep your mouth shut. And make sure your husband keeps his mouth shut too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Does the pace a reader reads affect their opinion of the book?

I am a romance writer and reader. I love it. I have a hard time getting into a book if there is zero romance in it. I have always been a romantic at heart and my heart swoons whenever I read a book or watch a romantic movie. I yearn for the happily ever after for the characters.

After an interesting chat on my Facebook page the other day, I found myself wondering something.

Often the timeline in romance novels and romantic movies is very short...sometimes as short as a week or a month. It seems perfectly logical to me for a couple to find love in that short amount of time (I did!) but I know many others are skeptical about it. They believe lust is a possibility, but not love. I once had a reader tell me my book was unrealistic because my characters fell in love after only knowing each other a short time. But in romance novels, there is a level of suspended belief that must come along. It's a escape from reality. While some parts are realistic, some are not. And while my love story happened fast, I know it doesn't really happen for everyone. (Though all the successful marriages I know, it happened the same way as mine. My mom and dad dated for years then got married...divorced a few years later. My dad met my stepmom and 6 months later they got married. It's been 30 years.)

But anyway, the real point to my post today.

I started to wonder..... Say a hero and heroine fall in love and find their happily ever after in a novel that takes place over the course of a week. Say reader #1 reads this book in only 2 day's time. So for them, the entire relationship happened really really fast. But what about a slower reader who takes a month to read the same book. Do you think it's more believable for that reader, since they read slower and the relationship sorta took longer, in their mind, to develop??

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Summer's winding down.

In Western NY, you know summer is almost over when the Erie County Fair starts. It started last Wednesday. It's 12 days of fun that ends the 19th of August this year. After that, there's only a couple more weeks til Labor day, and the start of school. Right now everyone is trying to pack in as much fun as they can before life goes back to hectic schedules.

We haven't done anything super exciting this summer. Lots of little things though. We went to NYC the first weekend in June. We have season passes to Darien Lake, a local amusement park. We went to Niagara Falls Canada last weekend (it's maybe a 30 minute ride for us). My daughter did theater camp this summer. My son did a play group. We had a Toga party. We went to the beach a couple times. It's been a fun summer so far. We still have a few fun things left. We're going to the fair tomorrow. I was hoping to take a day trip to Toronto...but we'll have to see about that one.

Around here school starts after Labor Day. I know some kids around the country are starting up this week. But we still have a few weeks. We've already bought new sneakers and clothes, jeans and undies. Gotta get school supplies. I still don't have a list for my daughter, but I won't bore you all with the annoying details of that! My son is starting preschool this year, so I have to get the few things he needs too.

I'm looking forward to the fall and getting back into a normal routine. With my son starting school, though only for 2-1/2 hours a day, it will be time everyday that is silent for me. Pure gold to a writing mama. I need to work on my next book. I need to get something else finished and perfected and out there. I need to grab the attention of an agent if I ever want to get where I want to go.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Are you a quitter???

Ever since I started writing with the purpose of completing a book, and then getting that book published for the world to enjoy, it's been hammered into my head that only those who work hard and never quit succeed. Makes sense. But when I first started writing, I NEVER thought it would be so damn difficult.

My whole life I was taught that with hard work, you will get where you want to go. If you want to be a doctor, you go to school, get good grades, work hard, and eventually you will be a doctor. But with writing, it's not that cut and dry. You can work hard for years and go no where.

There are so many factors that can keep a writer from achieving their dream. Something as small as your book is too quirky. You need to write something that is popular enough to be accepted by the masses, but different enough to stand out from what's already been written. Take an old idea and put a completely different spin on it...but not too different or far fetched. At least in contemporary romance, which is what I write.

And the writing has to be perfect. For the most part, I think I have that down. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but my grammar is pretty darn good. My style is smooth. I've developed my own unique voice. It's taken quite a few years but I am really excited to have a style I love and one that is fun and flirty and really represents me. But obviously it's not enough to get me where I want to go.

Quitting has crossed my mind on several occasions. And again very recently. A couple weeks ago I had the worst week in a long time. Rejection after rejection. I'm not a quitter...never have been. (Well, once. I did quit dance class when I was 12. It wasn't fun anymore when the teacher was yelling at us when we didn't do a step properly.) But never in my life have I felt so downtrodden....hopeless. In my first career, I worked hard, perfected my craft, made a successful business. It was all pretty easy. This is not. I know nothing worth having comes easy, but I'm getting to the point where I just wanna scream, "Come on, already!" How much rejection can a person take--should they take-- before they throw in the towel? Was I crazy to think I could stand out in such an over saturated talent-filled industry?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Is Twitter for you?

I started a Twitter account a while back...and I won't lie. It's main purpose was to stalk follow celebrities. It was pretty cool to read the daily thoughts of people I admired and idolized.

But then I started realizing it might be a good idea to get on there and network with many of my fellow authors. So I started a new account, since the first was not my actual name. (The one I use now is @stephanihaefner, in case you wanna go follow me!) I started following writers I already knew and agents I wanted. I started making lots of friends and it started to be really fun. I gained a small following and it was so cool. And yeah, I still follow celebrities ;)

So is Twitter for everyone? No. It really depends on what you want to gain from social networking.

If you want to share photo albums, keep in touch with family and friends, send lengthy private messages, and organize events, Facebook is definitely far better for all that. Twitter is tough, with it's 140 character limit and all.

If you want to meet new people with similar interests, Twitter is the place. In my opinion, since Twitter has a very limited profile page--bio is all you have and it's pretty short-- to me it feels a bit more private. There's no pics of me, accept my one profile pic. There's none of my kids. It's simple. And I feel like it's a better place to converse with people you don't know in real life, if that makes any kind of sense.

If you're looking to network and meet people in your line of business, Twitter is DEFINITELY the place to be. I have made SOOOOOOO many connections there and found out about so many opportunities. Invaluable! :)

And if you want to stalk celebrities, definitely check Twitter out! :) It really is cool :) And you just never know when one will actually reply to you! Just today I was beyond ecstatic to get a RT (that's retweet, for those of you not versed in Twitter-speak) and a direct Tweet from Josh Henderson, one of the hotties on the new Dallas (the hottest, IMHO!) Many celebs post pics you wouldn't get to see otherwise. Very cool stuff :)

If you like to keep up on news, current events, anything happening in the world or in your town, with up-to-the-minute posts, Twitter is for you. I follow several news outlets, including my local newspaper. They update throughout the day with breaking news.

I really love Twitter...far more than I ever expected.

So, do you Twitter? Why? What do you like about it? What do you hate?

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm read all over the world!

I have to say, one of the coolest things about writing this blog is connecting with people from all over the world.

Years ago, before the internet and all it's glory, I NEVER would have thought I'd get the chance to meet and chat with people on the other side of the globe. Well, I guess that's a lie. When I was a kid I had two pen pals. One was from England and the other Italy. It was so so cool to get their letters. I wrote back right away and couldn't wait for the next to come. My penal in England even sent me gifts from time to time. So so cool!! :)

Ever have a penal when you were a kid???

And then the internet made it possible for anyone to make friends with people from any country. Kinda made the earth not seem so big anymore :)

I periodically check out where my blog hits come from and MANY of them come from Russia! Hello friends!!! Thanks for stopping by!!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How do people become pychotic?

In the wake of tragedy, I think everyone asks: Why? How did he get to be that way?

I like to think babies are not born psychotic. But could they be born with mental illness? And without proper care, it can turn into something serious?

Are people products of their environment? I think a person's upbringing has a lot to do with how they turn out. Children of poverty have more obstacles to overcome.

Are parents 100% to blame for how their child turns out? Our job as parents is to mold children into who they should become, teach them right from wrong, teach respect and kindness. But sometimes even despite our best efforts, they turn out differently. Are parents still to blame? Should they have noticed something sooner? I think all parents should be aware of what their children are doing. No one becomes psychotic overnight. I think it takes years.