This week I started writing a rather lengthy post about everything that had happened to me during 2018. It took me about two hours to write it and it passed some time on a difficult morning when Luke had just had an asthma attack and had to be taken to hospital. Unfortunately, it got trashed. You might be wondering why, so I’ll tell you. It was basically detailing events, which read more like a list than a blog post. So, instead of that list, here is a summary of things that have happened in my life this year, and how they have changed me.
My Blog Became A Magazine
This isn’t something I’m happy about. Those who have been Rock Paper Spirit readers since the early days will know that I had this vision of a blog that covered topics I can really care about. I wanted to get into the guts of issues like whether it’s worth using vegan beauty products and how we can tackle mental health problems using creative pursuits. I wanted to share funny stories like my Dad being a secret YouTuber and the time I tried to sell my trashed shoes to fetishists thinking it would make me a millionaire somehow. Rock Paper Spirit was going to be a blog with substance. Then came poverty and a shady link buyer waving money in my face if I would publish their articles. So I did. I have continued to do so. Now, the posts on my site have very little substance, are ghost-written by God knows who and I’m lucky if I’ve made £100. So not worth it.
Rather than feel sad about this, which I can assure you I do if I allow myself to, I’m going to re-brand Rock Paper Spirit as a magazine and start doing some real writing and blogging again on my old site.
I Started A Smut Empire
I have mixed feelings about this next one. Oh jings, I don’t know where to start. Let’s start with what my vision was for my writing career. I was going to write chick-lit novels. I wanted to make them a cross between Belinda Jones and Irvine Welsh. So, that was travel-infused chick-lit but with a large dose of reality. With The Tangled Web, my first novel (available on Amazon since 2011) I feel like I achieved that. Then I started going a little experimental and I wrote Baked and Omelette On The Rampage, followed by the Leger series. Lacey Dearie has become synonymous with Glaswegian cat detective novellas. I went off the rails with some fairy tales after that. It was a weird time in my life and I needed to write those books. But now, Leger isn’t really selling apart from a small but awesome group of readers who have remained loyal, the fairy tales are in the past and there’s only so many stories you can write about sexually active breakfast foods. So, I started a smut empire, comprising of erotic short stories and an online store which isn’t active yet.
So far, I’ve published a handful of erotic short stories under two names and they’re outselling Leger by 5 to 1. A few people have asked for my new pseudonyms, thinking I’m writing bog-standard one man-one woman BDSM and I’ve declined because my stories are not 50 Shades. They’re a little more extreme, sometimes weird. That’s why they’re selling. I’m not quite at Chuck Tingle territory yet but I’ve had two stories locked in Amazon’s “adult dungeon” already and I’m learning a lot about what language I can and cannot use.
Will it be successful in the long run? Will I make enough money from this to keep me from the bread-line? Most importantly, will it make enough money to allow me to keep writing as Lacey Dearie and keep Leger alive? We’ll find out in 2019.
And then there’s the stuff I’m not allowed to write for legal reasons…
A bad thing happened to me this year. It’s something I’m keen to share and to use as material for a series of blog posts but there’s an ongoing police investigation into this and I’m not allowed to share too much. I’ve linked, so if you click here you can read an article about it in the local news. I’m one of the women involved in this and I remember the man who is responsible very well from my x-ray in June. He stuck in my mind because his behaviour was so off-beat. He was not an administrator or someone who had just been brought in off the street. He was a radiographer, a professional, someone who we all should have been able to trust. This has been confirmed by the hospital when I spoke to someone a couple of weeks ago.
The problem is, when asked if he has contacted me by phone or email, I can’t say yes or no. My lifestyle as a digital content writer (e-books, blogs, social media content) means that I regularly have people contacting me out of the blue, both male and female, from all over the world. I assume they found my details from a blog, or a PR outreach company and I do engage in conversation because it’s how I do business. Now, I find that I don’t know who to trust. I’m questioning everyone who contacts me, everyone I’ve spoken to since June, every business association I have with someone I met online.
This isn’t right. It is not normal. It’s not fair that I should be in this position. And I’m angry about it. If there is anyone in this world you should be able to trust, it’s healthcare professionals, but that ability to trust them has been taken away from me. A bulk-generated letter of apology to all women involved is not good enough.
I guess this has been instrumental in my decision to keep my new pseudonyms a secret from everyone except my husband and two friends who have written similar material in the past. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have struggled through low moods and suicidal thoughts in the past. In the last few weeks, I’ve had more bad days than good and they were triggered by this incident. I’ve been picturing myself in Baku a lot and I’ve felt very alone.
Plans For 2019
I don’t even know what to tell you here, except that I still have hope. I’m not sure what I’m hoping for but even with all the disappointment and upset through 2018, I’m still somehow clinging on to the idea that things might change. Maybe people will start reading Leger books again. Maybe my smut empire will make me a six-figure earner (although I’d settle for being a four-figure earner again at this stage). Maybe I’ll make a success of the craft fairs I’m planning to visit next year where I’ll sell my own paperbacks and other people’s. Maybe I’ll get justice against those who thought I didn’t deserve privacy and respect. Or maybe I’ll finally visit Baku.
In an ideal world, I’d like to be earning enough money that I have to start paying for my university course. I’d like to buy a Renault Zoe and a house with a garage, EV charging point, balcony, two en suites and conservatory. I’d love to go back to Cyprus and to have people take my work seriously. But right now, I’ll settle for making enough to get off benefits.
Have a merry Christmas everyone and I’ll see you again, in some form, in 2019,