Promotion: Amazon and Patreon

I have done two things today. They both revolve around the attempt to make some kind of income from my words.

One: two of my three self-published books are now up on Amazon. Yay! However, I want to apologise to all Amazon customers for the fact that I can’t put my free reads (Crooked Words and Death is Only a Theoretical Concept) up as free reads on Amazon … so if you’re an Amazon reader, you’re going to have to either pay 99 cents US (or whatever the local equivalent is) or go over to Smashwords/Apple/Kobo/Scribd. I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to buy something that’s free to read elsewhere. I should state that I have no intention of price-matching: I released those books as free reads for a reason and mean to keep them that way.

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The other me: Death is Only a Theoretical Concept

I think you know, now, that I’ve been writing creatively for the best part of the last fifteen years. I’ve written and completed about eight novels (first drafts, trust me) and who knows how many incomplete novels and stories. The vast majority of this is never going to see the light of day, as is right: it takes millions of words to get really good, and while I still have plenty to learn, I have my current skill level because of the millions of words I’ve left in my wake.

Over that time my style and creative focus have changed such that I look at the person who wrote my earlier stories and don’t quite recognise them.

Some of the more recent stories, though – some of the things I’ve written in the last five years – are not terrible. They need work, yes; I’ve learnt a great deal in PWE. They are also, topically, not what I’d write today, which usually involves trans and non-binary identities alongside a collection of female characters with feminist leanings. They belong to the period of my life where I wrote about men because I was forced to live the life of a girl, a life that chafed me to the bone, and there was a great deal of liberation in being able to pick up the keyboard and step into an imaginary world where I could live, via proxy, the life I wanted. I read them today and shake my head at the absolute lack of women, at the overwhelming majority of cis male characters (writing a cis male majority means writing everyone gay/bi/pan, because I wasn’t interested in writing about straights even then) and the lack of understanding with regards to social issues.

I also read them today and realise something else: they’re still pretty damn funny.

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Launch: The Stillwater Files: Asylum

Well.

Good wine gets stashed in the cellar for a few years to age, right?

(I don’t really know, being that I don’t drink it.)

This post has been in my draft folder for nine months. Part of it is anxiety and part of it is that I’ve spent most of the last seven months thinking of nothing but my other novel, so Oscar and company got the short end of the stick despite the fact that the second book has been planned out since last year. It’s still ridiculous no matter how you cut it. The upside, however, is that my cover design skills and comfort level in Photoshop have improved, so you get a much better cover! (I’m not saying it’s spectacular, just that it’s better.) I know, I know, it’s an e-book – but you want it to look halfway decent in Calibre, right? Or is that just me?

I’m sure I’ve said it and implied it, but I’m a chronic pain sufferer. Three years, now. (Nigh on four, says the K. A. of nine months later.) Three years of not non-stop pain, but more pain than not most of if not much of the time. I’ve tried physio and ultrasound therapy and acupuncture and dry needling and occupational therapy (I can do shit, it just hurts) and mindfulness and meditation and weird computer programs and special brain training and … well. My reality is that since things haven’t improved in three years, the chance is small that they’re going to, and I’m facing down a life-long reality of pain. (Pain has allowed me to go out and begin my life, but it’s not easy to look ahead and know that in forty years I’ll still be struggling.) I’m one of the unlucky ones who has no readily-identifiable cause (most likely a combination of various things, but neither one on their own justifies the pain I’m in) and doesn’t fit the diagnostic criteria of any ‘physical’ pain disorder. This doesn’t mean my pain isn’t real. It just means they can’t figure out why my nerves are firing pain signals all the fucking time. Medical science hasn’t caught up to me yet.

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Launch Week: Up Close and Personal

Yesterday I went to the Professional Writing and Editing end-of-year break-up. Chat with fellow students and teachers, writers’ games (demonstrating the awesome talent in the room), awards, and the launch of the 2013 student anthology, Up Close and Personal.

On the one hand, I am thoroughly relieved to reach the end of the year (although it’s still not quite over for me – still got a project or two to wrestle with) because trying to balance full-time classwork and my projects was becoming difficult, especially when the lure of actually making things was taking hold. When I need to choose my computer time carefully, creative pursuits win over assignments (even though I’m pretty good at analysis and generally enjoy doing it). While I do enjoy learning and the academic environment, I enjoy creating things more, which makes sense: I am a creative. Now I know I have skills, now I have confidence in those skills, I am ready to get out of the classroom.

On the other hand, I am saying farewell to an environment where I am respected, appreciated, seen, and that doesn’t come without its sorrow; it’s too new a sensation to come without grief and anxiety attached for its loss.

Hold on while I venture into a tangent. It’ll make sense at the end, I promise.

My psychologist has given me homework: to stop and acknowledge my accomplishments. I’m not good at doing that. I feel tremendously guilty when I do, for how dare I put myself on a pedestal above anyone else? And at the same time, how dare I congratulate myself for doing something that’s just expected of me and anybody else anyway? I mean, sure, I’m dragging myself out of the pit that is anxiety and depression and family, and I’m becoming ever-more functional, but isn’t this just what I should have been? Therefore, isn’t it arrogance to give my accomplishments any weight at all?

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Launch Week: Crooked Words

This is the week where some of my projects begin their journeys out into the world.

Now, to change tack entirely for a moment:

Threaded through most of my posts, I think, is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the depiction of minority identities in the media. In particular, I’m talking about the aspects of identity, and their intersectionality, that most affect me—disability, mental illness, queerness, gender and misogyny. (These are by no means the only aspects of identity in need of validation through positive, accurate and honest media portrayals, but these are the aspects I have the right to speak about in an authoritative way.) Throw in a touch of spirituality, personal development and what it means to be an adult, and that’s pretty much where I write from in terms of my current and future blog posts, but also my fiction. Yes, I’m a fiction writer, and while I tackle many other publication production/editorial/non fiction projects because I enjoy most things about the writing business, I’m primarily a fiction or creative non fiction writer: I believe that story is the medium that most moves audiences.

For one of my classes this year, we were asked why we write. I get asked this a lot; I ask it of myself on a regular basis. I started this course thinking that I write to change people’s minds, to make them think, to educate, and this is, in fact, why most other people think I write—to tell cishet people that I exist and am deserving of acknowledgement. That’s a pretty good reason, and if cishet people happen to pick up my work and think about the world in which they live and how they create an oppressive environment for someone like me, I’m glad my words have had that much impact. That’s not why I write, though. I don’t write for cishets (or the able-bodied, or cis men, or people without mental illness). I don’t write for the majority. I don’t even want to market my work at the mainstream; I have no interest in it.

I write for us.

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