Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Rewarding But Sometimes Lonely Life Of a Writer

My guest is romantic suspense author Cherish D’Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif).

She was quite the encouragement to me when I began this blog, almost two years ago, and relatively unknown. Cheryl encouraged me to be bold in using my promotion/PR background with launching this blog and was a guest during the first month I was live.

Cheryl also spurred me on to be persistent in my writing. If it’s your passion, keep writing and the magic will come together. A writer writes.

I’m fortunate to have many friends who are authors and have encouraged me to keep writing despite rejections and all have their tales of their own.

Cherish touches upon the need of having a support system as a writer because, “[the] world of creating, writing, promoting and keeping up with all the industry changes isn't something easily shared with family or friends.” But I’ll let Cherish tell you a bit more about that.

Thank you, Sia, for hosting me during my Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour.

riting and the pursuit of publication, for the most part, is a singular venture fraught with ups and downs that only other writers truly understand, and it's because of this lonely world we write in that we must strive to make time for ourselves, our families and our friends. Sometimes that's easier said than done.

I've often found myself in my office for hours without speaking to another human being. While I'm there, I'm quite happy. I'm creating. Imagining. Fantasizing. I'm anywhere other than standing in my kitchen doing dishes or vacuuming the living room. In this respect, it's not a difficult choice to stay in my office and write. Dishes and vacuuming don't exist there. I don't think any of my characters have ever picked up a cloth and dusted.

But I'll admit something. I am sometimes lonely. It's not just the aloneness of my work that gets to me; it's the aloneness that comes with others not quite understanding what I'm doing or attempting to do. It's easy for a friend or spouse to say, "Find another publisher." Or "Find another agent." Or "Maybe you should quit, do something else." What they don't get is that it's NOT that easy. As for doing something else, there's nothing I'd rather do than write, no matter what challenges I may face.

What others may not understand is it's not as easy as "quitting". A writer's brain rarely shuts off; we're constantly creating stories, some of us more than others. I get novel ideas anywhere―while shopping, going to the bank, standing in line at the post office, driving down the road, while I'm sleeping, eating, breathing...

I write full time and I know I'm blessed to be able to do that. Many writers juggle full time or part time jobs―and young children. I don't have either. My daughter, though still at home, is twenty. Even she has a hard time appreciating that I work full time, regardless if I'm multi-tasking with the TV on, which I sometimes do if I'm working on promotional stuff. She doesn't understand my schedule or my goals or that they change daily. She has no idea what I go through every day in my endeavor to become successful or that what I do now could pay off for her in the future. My writing is her inheritance and this is one of the reasons I work so hard.

My career isn't always about being holed up in a room working on killing someone off in the next thriller. Besides working on a novel, there is article writing, research, book promotion, interviews, ISBN registering, keeping up with industry news, website updating, blog updating, guest blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, etc. There are times when I'm busy organizing events such as physical book signings or virtual events. I work about 10 hours a day, 6-7 days a week. By choice.

Because I'm considered to be an expert in book marketing, I coach other writers. I'm often asked how I do it all. Belief, persistence, organization and the openness to learn is key to promoting anything. My former job background was a mix of advertising, sales, marketing, business management and public speaking. I wasn't completely fulfilled, but these jobs prepared me for what I'd do later―find my passion. In writing.

I've always loved writing. I'd tried for years in my late teens and early twenties to learn everything I could about writing and publishing, and many a query went out to publishers, only to return months later with a neatly typed, generic form rejection letter. I have enough of those to wallpaper my office. Maybe twice.

Once I was published, I never looked back. I can't imagine doing anything else, regardless of the long hours and hard work. Emails from fans tell me I'm on the right track. The fact that schools have brought in my novel Whale Song as novel study material tells me I accomplished something even bigger than I'd set out to do. Hitting Amazon bestsellers' lists tells me my work sells. Having film producers and directors contact me because they're interested in turning my works into films means I am closer to the "big picture". I have big dreams!

But every now and then, a bit of loneliness creeps in. My world of creating, writing, promoting and keeping up with all the industry changes isn't something easily shared with family or friends, even though I really do have a wonderful support system. It would be the same if one of my friends tried sharing information on her job studying bio-engineering or anything completely over my head. There are times when the only people I see for days are my husband, daughter and her boyfriend.

However, aloneness doesn't have to be lonely. As a writer, it's important to not only feed the body and mind, but also the spirit. For me, this means seeking out a friend and getting out of the house every now and then. Sometimes we'll meet for coffee or lunch. Sometimes I'll go shopping with a friend or by myself. Sometimes I’ll head to the spa...and wish I could stay all day.

I've learned to treat myself, reward myself. After all, I'm a self-employed writer. There's no boss to pat me on the head and tell me I did good (expect maybe a publisher or my awesome agent). No one gives me a Christmas bonus. There's no company Christmas party. No pension plan. No yearly raise. The hours I work are long and sometimes grueling.

But in the end, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm a writer. And I love it!

  • Writers, commit to taking time out for yourself even if only for one hour a week. Do something fun! What do you think you'll do this week?

  • Non-writers: how did you perceive a writer's life to be?

Leave a comment here, with email address, to be entered into the prize draws. You're guaranteed to receive at least 1 free ebook just for doing so. Plus you'll be entered to win a Kobo ereader. Winners will be announced after October 10th.

Lancelot's Lady Blurb:

A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

When palliative care nurse Rhianna McLeod is given a gift of a dream holiday to the Bahamas from her dying patient, billionaire JT Lance, Rhianna has no idea that her 'holiday' will include being stranded on a private island with Jonathan, an irritating but irresistibly handsome recluse. Or that she'll fall head over heels for the man.

Jonathan isn't happy to discover a drop-dead gorgeous redhead has invaded his island. But his anger soon turns to attraction. After one failed marriage, he has guarded his heart, but Rhianna's sudden appearance makes him yearn to throw caution to the wind.

To live fully in the present, Rhianna must resolve her own murky past, unravel the secret that haunts JT, foil the plans of a sleazy, blackmailing private investigator and help Jonathan find his muse. Only then can Rhianna find the love she's been searching for, and finally become...Lancelot's Lady.
Excerpt  Book Trailer
~ * ~ * ~

When romance author Cherish D'Angelo is not busy relaxing in her hot tub, sipping champagne, eating chocolate-covered strawberries or plotting romantic suspense with scintillating sensuality, she is ruthlessly killing people off in her thrillers as bestselling Canadian suspense author, Cheryl Kaye Tardif.

Cherish's debut romance, Lancelot's Lady placed in the semi-finals of Dorchester Publishing's "Next Best Celler" contest and went on to win an Editor's Choice Award from Textnovel. Currently living in Edmonton, Alberta, she enjoys long walks on the beach, except there aren't any around so she has to make do with trips around the hot tub or a vacation to a tropical paradise. And margaritas.

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at and Follow Cherish from September 27 to October 10 on her Cherish the Romance Virtual Book Tour and win prizes.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Welcome back to Over Coffee. It's great to have you visiting again, Cheryl. I'm really looking forward to reading this story, I love the premise and the excerpt.

JM said...

Your career is really inspiring to me, someone who is still hoping to publish a novel. After having a taste of publication with Chicken Soup for the Soul, I know that having my name on the cover of my my own book is my next goal. You make me feel like I can achieve that.

And you've helped me not feel so self-conscious about spending so much time in my head. ;)

Mason Canyon said...

Cheryl, enjoyed your post. At one time I imaged a writer's life was filled with more frills and less housework. LOL One important thing I've learned about writers is that they are a very caring and giving breed, helping not only other writers but non-writers as well.

Sia, another great interview. Thanks.

Thoughts in Progress

tonya kappes said...

Hi Cherish, I will be editing three chapters my editor sent me and it will take all week. I love that you can stay home and write full time. I have a full time job, but it's fun so I don't mind.

Sarah Lynne said...

This is stop #27 for me!! This is fun!!!

Good luck with the tour!! I am following you around!! (More like stalking!!! lol)

I am enjoying finding all sorts of new blogs to follow!!

I am a much better reviewer/reader then a writer!! I envy you!!

All my best,


sarahcoulsey03 at gmail dot com

VA said...

By beliefs about a writer's life:

Then- When not contentedly tapping in the next great novel, she's " relaxing in her hot tub, sipping champagne, eating chocolate-covered strawberries" while pondering her grueling existence.

Now- She's frantically trying to cram three lives worth of efforts into one, and dreaming about " relaxing in her hot tub, sipping champagne, eating chocolate-covered strawberries" in between juggling marketing, edits, research, and oh, actual writing. This doesn't include the other realities of "real life" which intrude at varying levels depending on her circumstances.

I guess I imagined it to be something like out of Romancing the Stone, but a bit more social, though the allure of only having the demands of a cat to contend with do sound very tempting.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Vivian, I loved Romancing the Stone. I loved how she was in oh my god clothes and hair was a mess, stumbling around to find something for her and the cat to eat.

VA said...

"Joan Wilder, zee Joan Wilder?"

Loved it and still quote various lines from it.

"This is Pepe, my little mule."

The machete to the heels was a travesty or least it would have been if they weren't such a hideous beige form.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Sia, thank you for the warm welcome. I'm always happy to drop by your blog. I look forward to hearing what you think of Lancelot's Lady. :-)

JM, I'm so glad I said something that inspired you. You really CAN do this. And when you hold your first book in your hands, it will be like holding your first baby--awesome. Dare to dream and dream BIG! As for spending time in your head, hey, as long as you're entertaining yourself (and others in the future), you're just fine!

Mason, I had the same ideas about writing...except for the less housework part. I've made that a should see my messy kitchen! DOH! And you're right, writers are great people. :-)

Sarah, great to see you here. You're such a loyal stalker--I mean tour follower. ;-) And you can review and read my books any time. If writing is your passion, keep writing. You can only get better!

VA, LOL!!! Yeah...I could use the hot tub, chocolate covered strawberries etc...but it would be hard to keep track of my blog tour with my laptop in the hot tub. BTW, I LOVED Romancing the Stone!!! :-)

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

I still love the mud slide scene in Romancing the Stone, especially when Michael Douglas ends up with his head between her legs. LMAO!!!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Yes, that was a great one too.

Also loved all these hardened criminal types who have read all of Joan Wilder's books and have her read to them. Michael Douglas' reaction utter disbelief was a clincher.

I'll be sure to pass on my thoughts Cheryl, when I do read it. :-)

Kat Sheridan said...

Cherish, I love the realistic view you give of a writer's life. I think MANY of us dreamed of being Joan Wilder (my son has called me Joan from the time he was old enough to believe I should be writing!) I'm still working on the 'writing' part, although I've got the 'voices in my head' thing down to an art! The book sounds wonderful! I'm a huge fan of romantic suspense. Wishing you continued success!

VA said...

Cherish, you realize I quoted your author blurb, right? Yeah...didn't think you were getting around to enjoying all the goodies :)

It was a rude awakening when friends started discussing the truth.

Loved the excerpt and since it involves a Caribbean island, I know it has to be good.

Olivia Cunning said...

Oh geez! I love Romancing the Stone. And I look like Joan Wilder most writing days except not so bombshell and blonde. More don't have kleenex or toilet paper or paper towels so I blow my nose on a post it. Now if only I could go on a wild adventure with a hot guy and fall in love. sigh.....

Cheryl Kaye Tardif said...

Kat, I laughed when you wrote your son calls you Joan. lol Keep writing. Keep listening to those voices. The rest will happen.

Vivian, I did see that you quoted my 'fake' bio...hehe. And if you think I'm sitting in my hot tub right now eating chocolate, you're dreaming. I'm in my comfy clothes, no socks, no makeup...yeah, a writer's life is oh so glamorous.

Olivia, I look like Joan Wilder too. When she was in the mud. hehehe (I'll never look at a post-it the same way again...) ;-)


~Sia McKye~ said...

That's it, I'm hiding all my post-its, Olivia. I could just see you going on an adventure with a hot guy, but do you really want to be adventuring in the hot humid jungle like Joan and Jack? Well, the wrecked plane had some advantages. lolol!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Cherish, what's next for you? Can you give us a hint?

VA said...

Doesn't that chafe, Olivia?

As long as I get the machete, I'm fine with the jungle thing and there are plenty of sources of hydration.

Oh so glamorous, I'm nibbling one of Sia's bon-bons right now.

Olivia Cunning said...

Seriously? None of you remember Joan blowing her nose on a post it at the very beginning of Romancing the Stone? Did I dream it or something? I don't think so. She's sobbing at the end of her book. No Kleenex. Goes to bathroom. No TP. Goes to kitchen. No papertowels. Finds post it that says "Buy Kleenex" and blows her nose on it. Right? Please tell me I haven't totally lost my mind. Now I'm going to have to go rent that movie.

Helen Ginger said...

A support system is important for anyone, but perhaps more so for writers who often are loners. I have one. I'm glad to hear you do, as well.

JM said...

Romancing the Stone is one of all my all time favourite movies! I remember the snotty post-it. Hee hee.

I didn't have a support system for a long time, and I think that hindered my writing. Now I am embracing the writer's life, surrounding myself with writerly things and people, and I feel so inspired again.

Kelly Komm said...

Great post, Cheryl! It's so true, you know. And no one knows like a writer does! When this crazy tour is over, let's do coffee and talk about all these stories in our heads! I need a date!

Sia, great blog! I'll be bookmarking you! And as for an answer to your question about what Cherish is doing next, I asked her that in my interview! October third!!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kelly, I'll have to check it out and thank you for the bookmark, I need to go find your blog now. :-)

Alright, I had forgotten that bit about the post-its, lol! Thanks Olivia, I remember now and my reaction was still eww.

JM, Romancing the Stone is right up there with Princess Bride.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, there's a lot more to it than just writing, and since I always have music or the TV on, it sometimes doesn't look like I'm working. And I take time every day to play my guitar for 30 minutes, just to relax me.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia and Cheryl .. I can imagine - just writing is far more pleasurable than hoovering or doing the dishes ..

That balance is life is always difficult to attain .. but it's just adjusting the mind.

Lancelot's Lady Blurb .. sounds eerily irrestible .. past terrors and chases .. and love of course - all interweaving together .. good to hear about.

Thanks - Hilary

Eileen Schuh: said...

re house work-- I don't know how to politely say this, but my novella "Schrodinger's Cat" starts with the heroine, Chordelia, cleaning her toilet...

I was trying for something different, okay? Or maybe a bit authobiographical? It always ticks me that in movies the women get out of bed in the morning looking glorious. It also ticks me that characters in books don't have to do housework--so I changed that.

Now my characters are ticked...

Eileen Schuh, Author
Schrodinger's Cat

Nicole H. said...

How will I treat myself? I took a half day out Saturday and went to the lake with a friend, it was a relaxing 3 hours of sunshine, laughter, the sound of the waves lapping the shore, and me wishing I had my laptop and could write in the idyllic time. LOL! Unfortunately between editing and reviewing what little time I have I devote to writing, and any break I take is a guilty pleasure. But it does become a bit lonely in those intermittent times when you are able to drag yourself from your work.


Pam S (pams00) said...

I'm not a writer. I'm a freelancer designer, but I can totally relate to being tied to the home office/pc for hours at a time.

I'd like to think writers get to lead glamorous lives, but I've talked to several and most have a tough, hectic/crazy schedule.

pams00 @