I Should Be Writing

I should be writing, but I’m not. Instead, I’m surfing the internet. I’m watching television. I’m analyzing my book sales. I’m pondering the question of whether I should separate my PNR and contemporary romances by using a different pen name for my PNR.

I surf the internet for information that could help me with my current predicament. The sales of my paranormal romances are dismal. The television is on for white noise. While I’m surfing the internet and listening to the television, I review my sales spreadsheet from 2014 and 2015. Though sales of my PNR romances are good, I’m not thrilled by them. The numbers could be better. I then think over the cons of a separate pen name for my PNRs.

If I were to use a different pen name for my five PNR titles, I’d have to have:

  1. Separate social media accounts for FB and Twitter.
  2. A separate website page (possibly) OR combine with my current Ashlyn Mathews blog.
  3. New covers (added expense).
  4. A DBA name. I currently have my pen name (yes, Ashlyn Mathews is a pen name) and two publishing names (Commencement Bay Publishing and First Bite Publishing) registered as a “Doing Business As” in my current county.
  5. I’d lose my reviews for those five titles and would have to start over again.


Writing is difficult to begin with. There’s nothing easy about composing a story that should do so many things. Writers must hook their readers within the first five pages and keep them engage enough to finish the story. A story should be entertaining and have a message. Heroes and heroines should be flawed and lacking in character but have the potential to become redeemable and strong.

Personally, I feel this is more so in PNR. The heroine should be strong, smart, funny, likeable AND kick-ass, yet VULNERABLE, emotionally. The PNR hero should be Alpha, but not too Alpha that he comes off as being a douche bag. AND, the world building should meet readers’ expectations for each group of creatures (vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.) and be clear though the supernatural world is very complex. Did I mention how difficult writing is, let alone putting “The End,” on a book?

Normally, I don’t read reviews. A lot of authors don’t. But when I do, I look at the consistent messages in the reviews, and think through what the messages mean. When I look at my PNRs, the consistent message has been story confusion. I totally understand. The world building in a PNR can confuse any reader. I know. Believe me, I haven’t submerged myself in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series for that very reason.

Going forward, I’ll work harder on making sure my stories are clearer. Because that really is the crux of this post. It’s about WRITING BETTER, WRITING CLEARER, and KEEP ON WRITING. It’s about SELF-IMPROVEMENT and SELF-ASSESSMENT. It’s also about persistence and resilience, and discovery. All are within my control. As is the internet surfing, television watching (listening) and not writing when I should be. I’ll keep the television on for now, but I’ll be shutting down the internet soon so I can get back to writing. After all, a book won’t write itself.

Quote: Dear Self, Promise to treasure your time. Don’t fall in love with potential. Remember that just because you want it, doesn’t mean it deserves to have you. Be patient, but don’t procrastinate. Be hopeful, but not naïve. When it’s right, you’ll know. You don’t have to force it.

Song on replay: R5’s Heart Made Up On You