Queer lit: a most binary pandemonium

I wrote an annoyed short post on my Tumblr after reading several comments in a cis m/m romance novel that left my skin crawling. There’s nothing like biphobia or bisexual erasure to drag me out of a story, these days. Well, save for transphobia and non-binary erasure, of course. Or misogyny and slut shaming. Or … well, there’s an awful lot of things that drag me out of a story, but of late it feels as though biphobia lurks everywhere I turn, and one post on Tumblr isn’t enough for me to feel I’ve done my frustration justice – not when bi and pan representation means as much to me as a non-binary reader as it does to me as a pansexual one.

That’s right. I, as a non-binary reader, need bi and pan heroes.

What, you think I exist in gay and lesbian literature?

(I’m going to need a minute to stop laughing. Maybe two. Or ten. How about you come back in half an hour?)

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Self-publishing (as a beginning author)

My friend J. P. Kyle links my last post on Amazon and Patreon and provides a great many links useful to self-published writers. Worth reading for this alone! It just so happens, however, to be a launching off-point for several essay-length comments by yours truly (yes, of course I write essay-length comments) about the self-publishing experience, blogging here at QWG and what it means to be a beginning/just-starting indie author…

(Also, Asylum is now up on Amazon. Yay!)

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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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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How much do we value our words, anyway?

Firstly: http://willylitfest.org.au/

Or, rather: http://willylitfest.org.au/2014-williamstown-literary-festival-program/46-the-changing-world-of-publishing-sherryl-clark-ian-syson-kim-cook-panel/

Yes, I am doing a talking thing, and I’m very much not thinking about it at this point. That’s a valid survival mechanism, right?

(And I’ve also been asked to come in and do another talk at school with professional-level payment involved. It baffles me that I can be paid a lot more money for talking about writing and publishing than actually doing it. It also baffles me that for some reason people think I can speak well enough to other people that they ask me to do it. I stutter! I tangle my thoughts! I lose words! If you think I repeat myself a lot in my writing – and I know I do – then wait until you fucking hear me speak!)

So if I have any readers in Melbourne who don’t already know me, come along. It should be interesting, and Sherryl Clark is always worth the listen. And go to Michael Kitson’s bookseller’s panel – he’s a great guy and a great speaker!

Secondly: I want to say a most profound thank you to the people in my life who are willing and able to help financially support a creative person in the challenge of being an independent creative person. I’m thrilled, flattered and touched that you’re able to do that, and it’s been a humble lesson in the importance of giving, when and where you can, to artistic people. The rent’s got to be paid, after all, and in a society where art is financially undervalued, we are dependent on the generosity of people who buck the trend. I hope I’m soon in a position where I can pay that kindness forwards.

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Yes, I signed up for this.

I have a week and a half of class to go (and a week after that to finish the class anthology).

In that time I have to pick up my book from my printer (I owe my customer service rep at my printer a box of Roses for being so fucking awesome … note to self, buy said Roses), finish the PDF layout on one e-book, proof another e-book, complete the sixth round of proofing on a magazine, give a speech, get more print quotes, give a second speech, finish the scene breakdown of my screenplay, write a report, assist the design on another print book, get that book printed, go to school, create the EPUB version of one of those e-books, proof that e-book and the new print book, start styling copy for the layout of yet another publication, phone the person paying me to do said setting of styles on copy…

(There will be more I have forgotten.)

Oh, and eat, sleep, rest my hands, survive.

After all that, I want to go and make the e-versions of Asylum so people who want to read my book can do so without selling half their soul to Australia Post (and so that people who don’t want to or can’t read print books have choices). But. It is a print book, and I am ridiculously pleased at how well I’ve somehow managed to style the text. I’m not a graphic designer and the cover is simple, but the inside, if I say so myself, looks gorgeous. And real. Like a real fucking book. I have made a book. I can do the layout of a book.

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Platform and other worthwhile objects

The last few weeks I have been rushed-off-my-face busy. This is likely to continue.

I spent a fortnight learning how to make handmade hard-cover books in Editing 2, and surprised myself, the teachers and the class by inventing a way to improve the process through section sewing rather than webbing the page sections together. Being a hand-crafty sort—before I injured my hands, I sewed dolls clothes, cross stitch, felt animals and other crafty things all the time—this immediately became one of those new hobby-obsessions, in part because I had half the supplies already and, well, who needs an excuse to go out and buy more craft materials, right? (As someone who writes things down and is never without a notebook or my laptop, I also find the idea of writing in a book I’ve made—an object infused with my own energy—rather appealing.) Be warned, everyone: you’re all getting handmade books for Christmas.

As soon as I have time, I mean to take photos and put together a how-to guide. The heavy cardboard covers are covered with fabric, which makes them very durable (no dog-eared corners or bent covers, which is always nice for the anxious types, myself included) for toting around in one’s backpack. I’ve made one with striped coloured fabric for every-day use, and I enjoy writing in it.

My intention, when I’ve finished this semester and have published my novella, is to offer a give-away for a copy of my book and a handmade journal. So if you want free stuff (come on, who doesn’t want free stuff?) come back in November. I may even custom-make the journal for the winner in their preferred colours.

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