A POLL about Reader’s Purchase Habits

Hello All!

A while back, I wrote a post about the KU Conundrum & KU Conundrum Cont’d and how this is impacting author earnings. Yesterday, I wrote a RANT about why I will no longer be selling novel-length books for $0.99. (My serialized stories will still have parts that are available for $0.99 since their typically below 20K words)

I reached out to my Newsletter list of 5000+ readers (hoping to get 1000 responses) and got 700+responses to the following questions:

  1. Are you a member of Kindle Unlimited?
  2. How much do you spend each month on eBooks & Paperback Books? (not including your KU monthly subscription, if you have one)
  3. Do you prefer eBooks or Paperbacks?
  4. Where do you primarily buy eBooks?
  5. What’s the most $$$ you’ll spend on an eBook?

First, I wanted to know what % of my readers were members of the KU (Kindle Unlimited) program.

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This informed me that less than half of my readers are in KU. As an author who has been adversely effected by the pages-read reporting flaws via KU, which Amazon is currently denying, I can still capture SALES instead of BORROWS from 58.2% of my readers.

Then, I wanted to know how much my readers are willing to spend on purchasing books each month.

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I wanted to get an idea of what reader’s monthly budgets are which also helps me figure out their annual budgets for reading purchases. Thankfully, more than 65% are willing to spend $11 or more.

Next, I wanted to know what they preferred to read. eBooks, Paperbacks or both.

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This was a pleasant surprise. I had anticipated about 70% to prefer eBooks. Turns out, it’s a nice balanced 53% that enjoy both. Which makes me wonder how many readers have purchased BOTH eBook and Paperback versions of books they loved.

Then, I wanted to know – where are you buying your books. This one was surprising. Overall market numbers dictate that Amazon dominates the market by 60-70%. Instead, a whopping 91% of my readers are purchasing/borrowing from Amazon. Yowsers!

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And then we come to the final question, which is perhaps the most important one for me. What’s the most a reader will pay for an individual eBook?

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I was glad to see that 72% are willing to pay $2.99+ for an eBook with a whopping 20% even willing to pay $6.99-$9.99. Since I’m not earning what I once used to by including eBooks in the KU program, I’ve had no choice but to pull them out and increase the prices for upcoming new releases.

Typically, more established writers can charge more. When you’re starting out as an INDIE author, to reach readers, authors will often keep their eBooks at $0.99 to entice readers new to their work. I’ve been publishing since 2012 and am established with over 5 years in publishing stories. I no longer care if I lose the business of those who only buy $0.99 eBooks. I’d rather lose sales that don’t really add up to much of a profit and instead entice NEW readers with copies of older stories that I provide for FREE. Something that I’ve always done over the years since I myself have sampled a lot of other authors’ books for FREE and then gone on to purchase other titles written by them. Yes, for more than $0.99.

Cheers,

Ruby / Emerald / Amber / Maddy / Cherry

p.s. Authors, if you would like your readers to participate in the study, please send them HERE. They do *not* have to provide an email address and can remain anonymous. Those who do, will get a FREE story. 

 

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Buzz Off & Back to your $5 latte! What $2.99 Pays For…

Warning! This is a RANT!!!!

mistress-rubys-coffee-beverage You’re paying for so much more than you ever realize when you buy an eBook from an Indie author.

You’re paying for us to disappear into our characters’ minds. To be them. Think like them. Feel like them. This takes time, bravery, energy, passion, belief, desire & a zillion more other emotions we experience as we write. It can be exhausting!

You’re paying for weaving together every.little.detail that makes a story, a story. So, so, so many details.

You’re paying for chapters deleted and lines rewritten. For editing scrutiny. For waking up in the middle of the night and realizing – I have to add this or delete that!

You’re paying for design. The way the book is formatted. The type of book cover that will capture the story. How we market to readers…

You’re paying for an average of 160 hours of time and 2-3 months of work, for every 25,000 – 45,000 words written. Minimum.

You’re paying for the time we take from friends, family and life responsibilities.

You’re paying so very little to receive a good amount of pleasure. Every day, most people easily spend $5 on a Starbucks beverage but then ping INDIE authors for FREE or $0.99 titles.

I literally give away THOUSANDS of FREE eBooks every single month. These are OLD stories whose window for good sales have passed but still provide entertainment and give readers new to my pen-names a chance to taste what I write. To find out if they like my stories. But when you ask me to provide a NEW release for $0.99 or FREE, I no longer want you to read my stories.

Why?

Because for every $0.99 I sale, I earn a measly $0.35. That’s right! Only 1/3 of that dollar comes back to me, the author.

Because you’re not worthy. Not worthy of my time, my talent, my hard work and my imagination. I give ZERO fucks.

So, buzz off and back to your latte. Go read someone else’s $0.99 story, cuz it won’t be mine.

~ RUBY

p.s. my ARC team gets to read my stories for FREE. Consider joining!

AUDIOBOOKS >> SHIFTER: Black Bear

Hey Everyone!

How is the first week of 2017 treating you? I’m in California visiting family and soaking up some delicious sunshine on the Beach. In the meantime…

Got some good news for my AUDIOBOOK listeners & Emerald Wright readers… SHIFTER: Black Bear, Parts 1 & 2 are available now. Get ready to hold onto your panties, ladies! They might end up very wet… My narrator has a gorgeous voice. I mean gorgeous. Enjoy!

Readers who are signed up to my NEWSLETTER are provided the chance to win FREE AUDIO CODES (I’m able to give out 25 per title published).

DESCRIPTION:

An island to himself, will loner bear-shifter Ryker open his heart to a woman on the run from her abusive spouse?

A loner by nature, Ryker needs a day to himself to allow his inner bear out. So he hikes up to Emerald Lake.

Charlene never meant to be in trouble, but for whatever reason, trouble has a bad habit of finding her. She’s running from a monster. A monster who has made a habit of beating her nearly every week since they got married and she’s had enough. She’s on the run and leaving her soon to be ex-husband behind. For good.

Will they be able to overcome their challenges and embrace the love that’s destined to be theirs?

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MAID IN SPACE: Part’s 1, 2 & 3

MIS-teaserjpg.jpgHiya Readers!

I’m very excited about this 3-PART story (serial). The inspiration for it hit hard and the story pretty much wrote itself. If I’ve done my job right, your heart will ache for both the Hero and the Heroine. They are both lonely and aching to connect.

RELEASE SCHEDULE

  • PART/Book 1: 3/26
  • PART/Book 2: 4/15 – 4/30 (still firming up the date)
  • PART/Book 3: 5/15 – 5/30 (still firming up the date)

DESCRIPTIONCameron Duke the Fourth is fleeing Earth to escape all the unwanted attention from the masses. Literally, the world’s most eligible bachelor, he’s had enough of Earth women who only seek his prestige, power and money.

As the sole heir to his family’s businesses, he is the world’s first trillionaire.

Time and time again, Rachel Sioux has opened her heart only to be burned, jilted, dumped and left wanting. What’s wrong with her? So, when she is approached by her employer to interview for the job of a lifetime doing housecleaning work in the most unlikely of places for a very good salary, she hops at the opportunity.

Even if it is in space!

MIS-FINAL-Book-1 PART 1 BUY-LINKS:

MIS-FINAL-Book-2 PART 2 BUY-LINKS:

MIS-FINAL-Book-3b PART 3 BUY-LINKS Coming Soon!

  • Amazon
  • B&N Nook
  • PLAY
  • iBooks
  • Kobo

Happy Reading!

~ Amber  (Ruby)

PLEASE NOTE: Due to ongoing issues with Amazon not counting pages-read correctly by readers who borrow stories via Kindle Unlimited (KU), I don’t plan to include this story in KU. 

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CHAPTER ONE

1

Cameron

 

I sighed. Again.

Was no one getting the point? Why I wanted to leave Earth and live in space?

And no, this wasn’t just for a space trip. I was talking about full-on inhabitation aboard a space station all my own.

Unbeknownst to my executive team, I’d already started construction, a long while ago, on my uber secret project, the Duke 4, which was nearing completion and soon, would be ready for me to live in.

                “It can’t be done, it would take years to build it and do you really want to invest in something so expensive?” Jakob asked, an incredulous look on his face.

I snorted. Expensive? Was he kidding me?

                I was Earth’s first and only trillionaire. The word, expensive, meant nothing to me. I could literally afford anything I wanted. Including the most expensive personal space station in existence. It had taken three long years to build and it was nearing completion. I was only just now informing the executives who worked for me that I was about to get on a space rocket-ship and leave Earth. I would continue to lead on key business matters with an emphasis on key. The rest, I was leaving to them to manage.

“Well, it’s been done,” I said, and opened my presentation that showed the first pictures revealed to anyone other than myself. “Here is the Duke 4, my future home. I leave in a month’s time.”

I smiled at all the looks of surprise and even a few mouths that were wide open as I continued the slideshow, revealing my new space quarters. The room went quiet, completely hush with awe.

“What do you think?” I asked my team.

“Why?” Tiffany asked, her eyes genuine with curiosity.

Because, dearheart – I’m sick to death of women like you. Blood-sucking, money-hungry and artificial in every way, down to her tits. And then there was the rest of the human race. No matter my philanthropic efforts that I’d started doing as a young man. As heir to my family’s legacy and immense fortune, I was fed up.

Angry. Jaded.

Not amused…

At age thirty-two, I wanted nothing to do with them. I wanted to hole myself up as far away from them as I could afford.

So, I’d staked several hundred billion into the project, hiring only the best and brightest minds to make it a reality. And there it was, spinning calmly in the vacuum of space. Guaranteed solitude. Other than staff needed to run and maintain, I had every intention of limiting my contact with other human beings to the bare minimum necessary.

“Why not?” I answered. I’d long since decided I’d never reveal my real reasons and let the world believe that I was just an eccentric rich man who wanted to hang out in space.

I’d never seen my executive team so gob-smacked. I was loving it. This was too delicious.

“Any other questions?” I asked.

Frank cleared his throat, a habit of his that told me he disapproved but would pretend otherwise. “Is this a safe place for you, Cameron?”

Safe?

I wanted to snort. No, not likely, but I was willing to take my chances. “As safe is possible at this time,” I said, dismissing his fake concern. The man had never liked me despite being my father’s primary advisor until his dying day.

Sue piped up. “Won’t this hurt investor relations? Our chief in outer space? I’m sure the media will make a hey-day of this. It’s just not done…”

I had to give Sue credit, she was the only one brave enough to challenge me. That was why I was giving her the promotion of a lifetime.

“Sue, how would you like to take the helm? Be the new chief?”

Once again, everyone went silent. I respected, but hated my team. They were the best at what they do and therefore some of the worst you could find in humankind. Ambitious, power-hungry and greedy to a fault. I’d hired every last one of them. Except for Frank. Besides having spent his life working for my Father, Frank had clout, reputation and the largest stake in my family’s many businesses.

Sue, was exceptionally, the worst of them all – which meant she’d be the best at running my business. I hated to admit it, but it was true.

“Are you serious, sir?” She asked, gulping and then beaming a greedy smile as wide as the Grand Canyon.

“Very much so, Sue. I’ve put a lot of thought into this and I think you’re the best candidate. Give it some thought and let me know. Let us know.”

“No need, Cameron. I’d be honored. I accept.”

“Good, then that is settled. Congratulations.”

Once again, the room was struck quiet. I had to admit, it was going just as well, if not better than planned.

“Anyone else with concerns or questions? If you don’t want to discuss here, than you can bring them to me privately, of course. In the meantime, I have a meeting with the head of staff for my new space-home.”

Everyone was looking at one another, waiting. For a room filled with thirteen executives, they were awfully quiet. I knew that the shit-storm was coming and I didn’t care. I was extricating myself from the nightmare I’d been living since I was twenty-two. I’d given a decade of my life to it and I felt as if I’d given it a hundred.

I was the wealthiest individual in the world and I wanted my time back.

The idea had started out as having a home at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, off of the coast of Hawaii but that had proven to be more difficult than the space-home. So, I’d gone the other direction. The ocean-home was still underway, but it was requiring more time. But I’d leave that disclosure for another time.

“Meeting over,” I said, smiling. “Have a good day,” I said, then stood to stroll out of the conference room.

Sir Cardiff…

My secret proclivities will be her undoing…

I’m an Alpha Male. A Master. A Noble. The world knows me as Sir Cardiff.

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PLAY | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon

This story has spanking, orgies, soft BDSM, and one complicated British noble known as Sir Sebastian Cardiff. He has a unique proclivity and pays the women he employs very well for their time and service. All it requires is a sexy maid uniform and the ability to titillate their employer.

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Celeste is in a dire spot. She needs money to pay the rent and has been fired from her maid job. So, when she is offered a unique arrangement for a generous monthly income, she jumps at the chance despite her concerns.

Her mysterious employer is pulled away from his New England estate to Cardiff, England due to an urgent family matter. He asks Celeste for her help, to play the part of his girlfriend so he can attend his Mother’s funeral with her on his arm.

But things get turned upside down when her life is in danger and he finally has to admit that he cares for her, as more than just a mere plaything. But will he be able to get her back?

COVER REVEAL >>> ‘Crown of Lies’ by Pepper Winters

Hello Dear Readers!

I’ve got something exciting to share with you… I am an avid Pepper Winters reader. She does DARK ROMANCE like no other! Are  you ready for her next book? Keep Reading…

~ Ruby

COVER REVEAL FOR CROWN OF LIES

A Brand New Erotic Romance Coming Soon From New York Times Bestseller, Pepper Winters.

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BLURB

“I met the man I wanted. But then he vanished and a new man claimed me instead. My father approved, my colleagues congratulated, and behind closed doors, I was bedded by a master.”

Noelle Charlston lived a fairy-tale life: a doting father, a powerful job, and a future blessed with financial security.

However, two meetings with two men changed her happy existence forever. First, she met the man who made her heart sing. Second, she met the man who made her blood quiver.

Noelle’s freedom was no longer hers. It belonged to the stranger her father believed was the perfect match. The stranger who pulled his lies over everyone he touched.

Including her.

The lies he spins, the truth he hides, the mystery he webs—it’s all enough to slowly erode the woman she’d been and turn her into something else.

Until her past collides with her present.

And it’s her turn to lie.

To everyone…including herself.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

R18 ONLY

(unedited, subject to change, copyright 2016 Pepper Winters)

* CROWN OF LIES *

“YOU MUST BE Chloe.”

“I am.” The girl who tormented me in high school simpered, tossing her chestnut hair like a high-strung pony. Her green dress complimented the tan she said she’d earned from the Caribbean last week. Her gaze sank into Penn as if he were some prize to be won. A prize she’d very much like to taste.

Penn pulled me into his side, running his hand erotically up and down my arm. “And I believe you know my partner Elle.”

“Wait, partner?” She blinked. “I thought she was with Greg.” Finally her eyes left Penn and locked on mine. “You got two men now, Ding Dong Bell? A little greedy don’t you think?” Her giggle sounded forced and fake.

I wanted to sink into the ground and never reappear.

I waited for Penn to mock the nickname, just like Greg had. But he stood cold and primitive, a velvet purr falling from his mouth. “She only has one. Believe me, all she needs is me.”

I opened my mouth to reply but Penn squeezed me, keeping me silent. His arm was a hot band controlling me and making me wet in equal measure.

The other girls from school slowly looked up from their conversations, paying attention while trying to appear uninterested.

They didn’t fool me or Penn as he smiled his signature sexy smirk and grabbed my chin. His lips planted on mine in a brutal kiss, bruising me, consuming me as his tongue took liberties and his power stole all my remaining breath.

He made me stupid.

He made me proud.

The instant I lost the tension in my spine, he let me go—almost as if he’d kissed me deliberately to keep me out of my head and in my body with him.

“Are you going to tell them the good news, or shall I?” His authoritative tone blended with a dark flirt.

I blinked. “Tell them what?”

I was one step behind. I couldn’t catch up. I’d never been that way before. I’d always been the boss, leading. I didn’t know if I liked being the follower.

“Tell them you’ve decided to let me own you.”

“Wait, what?” Chloe’s mouth hung open. “What does that mean?”

I shook my head, rubbing the sudden goosebumps on my arms. Penn said we were playing a game. And yet I didn’t know the rules or what was expected.

He answered for me again. “We met a few days ago and it was love at first sight.” He dragged me close, his eyes black. “It took some convincing but Elle has agreed to give me a chance.” He glanced at Chloe, filling his handsome face with ardent satisfaction. “She said yes.”

“Yes to what?” Frankie appeared, eyeing Penn from his black shoes to his five o’ clock shadow.

“Yes to marrying me.”

The world screeched to a halt.

What?

I flinched, trying to tear myself from Penn’s embrace.

He held me tighter, his fingers sinking like keys into my arms, turning a lock, keeping me bound to him and useless.

Chloe’s mouth hung open. “Wow, Elle, I never knew—”

“Never knew she was the sexiest woman alive?” Penn snarled with sudden viciousness. “Never knew she worked so damn hard, first for her father and now for thousands of employees around the world? Never knew she was one of the richest women alive? Never knew that she was ten times the fucking woman you’ll ever be?”

Whoa, this was too much. Too fast. Too scary. Too far out of my comfort zone.

Yes to marrying him?

I never agreed to that.

I’d agreed to sex.

Stupid, silly, sensual sex.

And now it’s time to say no.

I tore myself from his embrace, my body shaking. “Stop. That’s not true. Don’t spread such lies.” I stared helplessly at Chloe whose face had turned snow white. “I’m so sorry. Ignore him. I don’t know what’s gotten into him. We’ve only just got together. We’re not engaged. He’s not—”

“What my fiancé here is trying to say—” Penn interrupted. “Is she’s too kind-hearted to rub her success in your face even though you do the same to her. I don’t need to hear stories of what it was like to grow up with you. I see her and I see you and I understand the shadow you made her exist in. But not anymore.”

His teeth flashed as he snarled, “I’m stealing her from you now. From all of you. She’s mine. And it’s a sad loss that you never figured out what an incredible creature you had under your noses the entire time.”

Greg sidled up, hate stares fired at Penn.

“That includes you.” Penn pointed at him. “I don’t know how long you’ve known each other but you fucked up.” He laughed low. “You’ll never get her back because she’ll never be the same once I’ve had her.”

My cheeks turned into flames of hell. I ducked my chin, doing my best to hide. I wanted the club to vanish and Penn to disintegrate into dust.

Words and curses tangled to spew at him but he pulled me from the crowd, away from cringe-worthy declarations, away from high-school trolls and wanna-be boyfriends, and through the nightclub to the fresh air outside.

I managed a few gulps of oxygen before he yanked me down the alleyway between the nightclub and a restaurant and slammed me against the brick wall.

Quicksilver memories of another alleyway and another man once upon a time tried to twist my present with my past, and then it had no power as Penn’s lips crashed over mine and he kissed me.

He kissed me and then he kissed me.

Each swipe of his tongue blasted through my decorum, dragging alive the sexual being inside who’d never been allowed to evolve.

His right hand bunched my dress up my leg. My brain tried to split—to focus on the foot traffic only a few metres away and not on the blistering heat of his fingertips on my inner thigh.

And then nothing else mattered as his touch found my core, pushing against my underwear.

He didn’t ask permission.

He didn’t pull back to see if I was okay with this.

He merely kissed me and fingered me over the lace.

All I wanted to do was to let go. To trust in the magic he created in my blood and allow him to be as arrogant as he wanted. To take charge.

But I couldn’t.

I couldn’t let him get away with what he’d said. His lies. His verbal telling off to people I had to converse with.

He was far too brash and daredevil for my world.

His mouth kept working mine, dragging a moan deep from my lungs.

I had a second before I drowned under his powerful wave and lost myself. A second and then I would be gone and I couldn’t blame anyone but myself.

So I bit him.

My teeth sank into his lip, not holding back as I did the only thing I could to slow things down and breathe.

He stumbled backward, holding his bottom lip where a bead of blood welled. “Fuck.”

My ribcage rose and fell. I sucked in gasps, giving in to the slight hysteria he’d caused. I held up a shaky finger. “Don’t touch me.”

“Touch you? Fuck, I own you.”

My plait caught like Velcro on the bricks behind me as I shook my head. “No, you don’t.”

His eyes etched with black. “You said yes, remember?”

“Yes to a beneficial sexual relationship. Not to damn marriage!”

He chuckled. “That’s what’s got you afraid? Marriage? I have no intention of marrying you.”

I frowned. “Then why lie about it?”

“Why not?” He shrugged. “Why do other people have to know exactly what we do and who we are? Why do they have to hear our truth when they’re so fucking fake themselves?”

I hated that he had a point.

He placed a hand on the brick wall by my head, his body swaying into mine. If he touched me again, I doubted I’d have the willpower to stop him. My clit still throbbed from his touch, the echoing bands of release a phantom cry in my veins.

“Stay back.”

He lowered his head, a tight smile on his lips. “Fine.” Holding his hands up in surrender, he kept his distance but didn’t move away. “What will it take for you to let me touch you again?” His voice dropped to sand and sleet. “Because I really want to touch you again, Elle.”

I shivered, doing my best to keep my thoughts focused and not on the molten heat inside. Having him so close didn’t help. He’d been gorgeous in the club—dappled in strobes and painted in shadows—but out here; out here where the vague lights of apartments and street lamps didn’t dare enter the sanctity of the alleyway, he was cloaked in darkness.

His shoulders strained against the stitches of his suit. His forearms ropy and tanned with his cuffs pushed up. His entire body flexed as he waved a hand with feline grace, hiding the throbbing tension between us, pretending he hadn’t just fired my libido to the point of excruciation.

“I’m not answering anymore of your questions,” I hissed. “Who the hell are you? What do you want from me?”

Sighing heavily, his lips pouted, blood smeared a little to make him seem part vampire. “You already know what I want.”

“But who are you?”

“I’m someone you can be free with.”

“I don’t know what that means.”

“It means you don’t need to be afraid of me.”

I clasped my hands together, seeking comfort from myself. Fighting with a strange man—even one who’d touched and kissed me—in an empty alleyway wasn’t exactly encouraged. “I’m not afraid of you.”

He cocked his head, his throat muscles tight and tense. “Are you sure about that?”

“I’m not sure about anything anymore.”

He ran a hand through his hair, disrupting the strands into a mess. “Isn’t that the point?”

“Stop answering everything with a question.”

“Fine.” He stood tall, his legs spread with dominion. “You said yes to me. I won’t let you take that back. But I will try to ease your mind.” His face tightened as if this game had higher stakes for him than he let on. “I’ll only say this once so listen carefully. I will lie to others about us. I will paint a picture that isn’t true for people who wish to know what we do. I will curse and hurt and do whatever I damn well want, but you have my word on one thing.”

My voice carried on a hesitant whisper. “What word?”

“That I won’t lie to you. What you see from me will be the honest fucking truth. I’ll only hurt you if you want me to hurt you and I’ll protect you even while I do it. Give me yourself, let me take control, and I promise you, you’ll enjoy it.”

3d-cover-trans

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2fhNdcM

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About the Author

Pepper Winters wears many roles. Some of them include writer, reader, sometimes wife. She loves dark, taboo stories that twist with your head. The more tortured the hero, the better, and she constantly thinks up ways to break and fix her characters. Oh, and sex… her books have sex.

She loves to travel and has an amazing, fabulous hubby who puts up with her love affair with her book boyfriends.

STALK Pepper: Website | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads

Ho Ho Ho, Bah Humbug…

bahhumbug It’s the week before Christmas and I’m doing my best to be in the Holiday spirit. But, I have to admit – I’m pretty bummed out.

Maybe it’s the KU Conundrum, maybe it’s because it’s been 2016, maybe it’s because I want to be happy, but the circumstance of my life just doesn’t allow for it?

2016sucked A few years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple health issues that have seriously impeded with the quality of my life, my energy level, and the ability to just experience some joy. For a while, the Holiday season was cheering me up, but today – I’m just all bah-humbuged out. Bleh!

bahhumbug2 One of the challenges in writing is that it requires inspiration, constant tenacity and a type of determination to see the story through – to the ending. About endings, I’m having a hard time writing them. I have a dozen stories that need to be finished and I think my own life circumstance is dictating my writing mojo.

I just can’t seem to get over the hump. And it’s driving me crazy. But today, I recognized that I can’t foresee my own ending with my ongoing health struggles and in a way, this has paralyzed my writing.

I have writer’s block.

Not sure how I’m going to get over the hump… I keep hoping to wake up with some inspiration, but nope. So, I’m not gonna expect it. Give myself a reprieve and see what happens.

Maybe 2017 will be better. I really can’t imagine it getting worse… Oi!

2017

Cheers,

Ruby