Name the five biggest distractions from your writing.
Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter, Twitter.
That doesn’t count as five answers?
Well, Twitter is the absolute obvious one. I get addicted to the flow of information, to wanting to know what’s going on next because there’s always something going on. I get caught up in these wide-ranging conversations, too, and next thing I know it’s been three hours and my life is nothing but cat GIFs, string theory, and debates over whether or not watermelons have a fixed number of seeds.
Human interaction in general is my second biggest distraction. I’m mostly an introvert, but with a solid circle of friends who patiently put up with me vanishing at random periods that may last two days or may last two months. In trying to maintain contact with my people and not neglect anyone, I often devote more of my time to making sure they’re okay, chatting with them, listening to their thoughts, etc. than I have hours in the day. I’ll often multitask chatting and writing in short sprints, but that goes out the window when I’m in more than one conversation, and generally there’s always someone I don’t want to ignore when they ping me while I’m already talking to someone else. Then there’s the random people stopping by my house to watch movies or hang out or drag me somewhere; sometimes we have writing parties, but usually it’s just “oh hey here’s four hours we’ll never get back no matter how fun they are.”
Third biggest distraction? Work. My day job has no boundaries, as a freelance business writer and career consultant. I keep trying to draw lines, and the companies I contract for keep walking all over them. Grinding their heels in, even, until sometimes I’m working from 6am to midnight and just ready to tear my hair out. Even when I work ahead and clear a day to try to write, they find a way to fill my day with a thousand little micro-tasks that have to be done right now, or clients who demand I drop everything and call them. It’s constantly hectic, and since I can’t clock out and it’s just a matter of going until the work’s done, sometimes I find myself just staring at the screen and wondering why I haven’t touched a manuscript in days when I’ve already spent myself and some 30,000 words on writing for work. Sometimes I try to steal even a hundred words during a 5-minute break, and sometimes that’s how I grind out progress an inch at a time. Whatever it takes.
Fourth is sleep. My body has this alarming habit of making me close my eyes, hold still, and not…do anything. It’s a strange and disturbing phenomenon, really. Sometimes I can stave it off for days at a time, but sometimes it catches me when I least expect it and next thing I know I’m waking up with a cat’s paw in my mouth and a sunburn on just one arm and I’m not quite sure what day it is or even who I am. Annoying, really. Eating up my productive time with the pointless needs of this malfunctioning flesh vehicle.
Fifth would be my mental health. If I’m honest, that’s probably first, but I’m listing it fifth because all the others really kind of feed into it. With depression, anxiety, and abuse-related PTSD, sometimes the combined pressure of social interaction and anxiety, whatever drama is going on, the microaggressions and awfulness happening around POC discussions on bookish social media, lack of sleep, general life and debt and such, and the unpredictable, draining chaos of work…I have zero spoons left. None. I am worn down to a stub, my thoughts a sluggish churn, my emotions nothing but tissue paper in the rain. I can’t cope. I can’t function. All I can do is exist, and I’m not even very good at that. Sometimes I have to watch for the perfect alignment of conditions where I’m rested, not ready to scream at work, able to calm my anxiety enough to detach from social media, and able to claw out past the dulling filter of my depression. When that alignment happens I am a perfect storm of productivity, and I take advantage and do as much as I can. But I also can’t wait for the conditions to be perfect, either, and often I do everything I can to just…push through. Even when I feel terrible, even when I feel like half a person, a hollowed shadow…I always try to push through, and hold on to the lifeline of the words I write until I can find my way to something better.
Title: Shatterproof by Xen Sanders
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Urban/Fantasy, Paranormal, M/M, Erotic, Romance
Length: 224 pages/Word Count: 61,300
Saint’s afraid to die. Grey can’t stand to live.
Grey Jean-Marcelin wants to die. He thought painting his passion—vivid portrayals of Haitian life and vodou faith—would be enough to anchor him to this world. But it isn’t. And when the mysterious man known only as Saint saves Grey from a suicide attempt, it’s more curse than blessing—until Grey discovers that Saint isn’t just an EMT. He’s a banished fae, and can only survive by draining the lives of those he loves.
All Saint needed was a simple bargain: one life willingly given for another. But as Saint’s feelings for Grey grow deeper, centuries of guilt leave him desperate to save a man who doesn’t want salvation, even if Grey’s life means Saint’s death.
When Grey’s depression consumes him, only he can decide if living is worth the struggle. Yet his choice may come too late to save his life . . . or Saint’s soul. And whatever choice he makes, it may shatter them both.
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Purchase Links: Riptide Publishing
Xen Sanders is a New Orleans-born Southern boy without the Southern accent, currently residing somewhere in the metropolitan wilds of the American Midwest. He spends his days as a suit-and-tie corporate consultant and business writer, and his nights writing genre-bending science fiction and fantasy tinged with a touch of horror and flavored by the influences of his multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual background—when he’s not being tackled by two hyperactive cats. He wavers between calling himself bisexual and calling himself queer, but no matter what word he uses, he’s a staunch advocate of LGBTQIA representation and visibility in genre fiction.
He also writes contemporary romance and erotica as Cole McCade. And while he spends more time than is healthy hiding in his writing cave instead of hanging around social media, you can generally find him in these usual haunts:
He’s recently launched the Speak Project, an online open-access platform where anyone can anonymously or openly share or read stories of abuse—a way for survivors to overcome the silencing tactics of abusers to speak out against what was done to them, and let other survivors know they’re not alone.
He also runs an advice column called Dammit, Cole, where he occasionally answers questions about everything from romance and dating to the culture of hypermasculinity, from the perspective of a male romance author:
Looking for more? You can get early access to cover reveals, blurbs, contests, and other exclusives by joining the McCade’s Marauders street team at:
To celebrate the release of Shatterproof, one lucky winner will receive $30 Riptide Credit and a $25 gift card to B&N or Amazon. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 10, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!