Tough Decisions

As I approach 800 followers, and with a new release hitting shelves in both print and e-book today. I’ve had to rethink what I do and how I do it.

For the 10 months I’ve been ‘trying’ to sell my writing as more than pay-per-story to private clients, I’ve been putting up a free story every 100 followers or making one of my pubbed stories free on kindle to celebrate.

As I get more followers who seem to like the words I say, (befuddlement abounds, really, I’m just ‘me’). I realize that I can’t keep doing this. The number of followers grows or shrinks every day with a net gain and the more I speak the more I have. I’m not complaining, I love every single one of my readers, because without you all, I’d just be a woman dreaming over my keyboard telling stories to myself.

I’m a mom, a wife, a home maker, I volunteer at school for the kids, I’m in the middle of a move where we’re downsizing. I’m working with my CP partners, working with my business partners at Iridescence and planning a heap big surprise for January with those and other business partners.

I can’t keep up.

Something has to give, and sadly, it’s the free stories. WordPress analytics tells me no one has even hit that page in a while. Whereas the pubbed short stories and novellas are doing well enough to give me hope that even if Traditional Publishing doesn’t want my work, my readers do. I’m not completely giving up on trad pub, but… after hard querying for a while now, and running through most of the agents open to my style of writing and not getting anywhere *shrugs* I’ll make my words available to the important people (my readers), somehow. (Patience hasn’t ever been my strong point.)

The free stories already there, will remain there, but my writing time is becoming so precious and it’s my truest joy in all of this. I enjoy most aspects of my newfound calling/career, but I don’t want my writing time reduced.

So what I have of it will go towards the Books, Short Stories and Novellas. I promise I’ll keep them as cheap as I can. I know how it is to not be able to afford books. I still need to afford to pay my bills though, and no one should believe that writing is easy. That it isn’t work. I think the only thing I’ve ever worked harder at is being a mom.

I may expand my patreon offerings. More patrons there can only help, and they do get to see whatever it is I happen to be working on that month. So there’s that.

If you’ve read this far, thank you so very much for reading my words in whatever fashion you find them in. If you bought them or are a patron, you’ve helped me keep writing in the most concrete way there is. If you’ve tweeted about my work, or followed me, or interacted with me on social media you’ve helped encourage me to keep going in what is a damned challenging career.

If you’ve pirated my work, I can’t condone it, even if I understand it. If there’re libraries near you, do me the solid of requesting they purchase my work (often times they will) if you’re in a country where they don’t have libraries, or you can’t get to one, do a favor for someone else, think of my name and hope for my success. Words can often be the only thread we hold on to in the dark, I don’t want people to deny themselves my words. I would ask, as a person who has clung tightly to the single thread of an author’s words before, hoping for the dawn to find me still breathing… pay it forward when you can. Hopefully the universe is listening.

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We’re All Mad Here.

Writers that is. I mean it, I think that quote from Lewis Carroll definitely sums up the writer community.

Who else can understand us as well as another person who does what we do?

Who knows just how freaking crazy it is to sit alone for days and weeks of our lives to put words on a page to share with the world.

Share a slice of our madness, of our souls.

Yet, though I call us mad (in the best way possible) I have rarely met a more giving, kind, well intentioned group of people than the community of writers on twitter.

I’m reading an amazing book by an amazing author and it just blows me away that this person is a colleague. That their words may be, in some small way, influenced by me.

That my stories may be (already have been) influenced by these other great writers. It eases that feeling of isolation so many writers have and I’m sappily grateful that writer twitter exists.

The people I’ve ‘met’ and grown to care for, even at a distance and likely to never meet in person, are such a gift to me.

Thank you.

We may all be mad here, but the best ones are.

 

Disingenuous

I’m seeing, what to me, is a disturbing trend in fiction.

Let me make it abundantly clear. I’ve been raped. Multiple times in different circumstances. (Familial abuse and SO abuse). So… when I talk about this concept, it’s not as an outsider looking in.

Specifically… there’s a trend in agents/traditional pub NOT accepting ANYTHING with rape even alluded to.

(Not just my stuff… I talk to a lot of writers with shelved books with some form of rape in them.)

I think I get what the industry is trying to do, maybe?

BUT (You knew that was coming)… rape exists.

It has existed throughout the course of human history.

It’s disingenuous to deny stories publication ‘just because they have rape as a concept’.

By denying those stories page time, the industry is folding to patriarchy. (Yes, you read that correctly. In trying to pretend rape doesn’t happen (by not publishing it) the trad pub industry is giving power over to the rapist, not the raped.

Having words on the page of how people (Male, Female, Genderfluid, Trans) have experienced AND OVERCOME, their rapes is a needful thing.

I rather doubt anyone in the industry listens to my words here, but I needed to say them.

Release of Mothmen upcoming!

I’ve mentioned it on twitter, but since not everyone here follows me there, and vice versa I’ll let you all know too.

I wrote a ‘long’ short story (12k) for an anthology call. It hasn’t been picked up (and I can find nothing about the anthology actually being pubbed, which is a disturbing trend I’m seeing in these calls). SO since I had so much fun writing it, I decided I’d increase the word count to Novella Length and self-pub it.

Cover reveal day (cover courtesy of Victoria Winters Studios) is set for next Tuesday, that’s Oct 18th. I’m sending out E-ARCs to anyone who requests one before that date.

Industry standard, if you request the ARC you review it, ideally within a week of release day, which is set for Oct 25th.

This is a Halloween themed, Urban Legend Based, Paranormal (shifters) Erotic Romance, it comes in at just under 20k words.

It’s kinky (like anything I write tends to be) and involves a polyamorous ménage of m/m/f.

If my readers love reading it half as much as I loved writing it, I’ll be thrilled.

-Kaelan

Request an ARC here.

Discombobulation

That is one of my favorite words you know. Discombobulation. Confused.

It’s exhausting to me to be aspie/have asperger’s/ASD (I test, for what it matters, high on the scale of female traits for ASD diagnosis, meaning I’m more autistic than aspie.)

98% of the time I adore my brain, I love how it stores and retrieves information. I love it that I rarely forget anything and I love my nigh eidetic memory. I enjoy my gift of words and my ability to transport my readers into a different experience for a short time. If I could choose to be neurotypical, I’d choose to remain neurodiverse.

When it comes to being social though, that’s where it gets bloody exhausting.

I can fuck up the simplest social interaction and turn it awkward, in seconds it seems.

If I’m trying, for instance to share an experience I’ve had with someone I respect and like, 50% or higher chance that it’ll be perceived wrong, because of how my brain works.

I won’t even know I’ve fucked up until later, when I lose a friend or have offended someone or I get called out for something I didn’t even know I’d done wrong.

Sad thing is, half the time I still, even after getting called on something, won’t understand, intrinsically, what I’ve done that offended.

I can file the information away in my computer like brain and avoid situations like that in the future, avoid the people involved, but I won’t ever really understand it. I can and do sincerely apologize when I fuck up, it happens, I’m human. Even when I’m trying really hard to get along and function in a society made up of a majority of neurotypical individuals, I still screw up. I apologize, try to learn and move on as best I can.

That doesn’t mean I’m any less confused as to how and why something went wrong.

1 in 68 children are identified as having some form of ASD. I’m going to round that figure out to being around 1 in 50, because I know a lot of parents who are in absolute denial about their children having ASD because of social stigma. (That’s personally know, so I’m guessing it’s widespread.) That means that at least 1 in 50 adults is on the Autistic Spectrum.

Most adults know at least 50 people, can you look around you in your life and identify which ones are on the spectrum? No?

I talk about it a lot on my blog, but most people in my life deny I’m ASD, despite diagnosis, because I pass so well. Because I have excellent coping mechanisms learned through tons of trial and error. Because I’m intelligent, I hold a job, I’m a parent. I’m not what the social stigma of ASD says it’s supposed to be.

1 in 50. Do you know who around you, in your life is struggling every second of every damned day just to understand the way the rest of the world thinks and functions? Who feel such massive emotional pain when they can’t?

Who gets their heart broken, repeatedly, by fucking up socially? Who rarely if ever sees themselves in fiction, and if they do, it’s often wrong?

Who wonders if today, maybe, might be the day they finally say fuck it to trying to fit in socially and becomes a hermit? It’s looking awfully nice today, for me.

Why is it always the Neurodiverse who have to learn to navigate around those who are Neurotypical? Most of us with ASD have pretty clear rules that we’re happy to communicate to others if asked.

Mine are:

Don’t lie to me: I can almost always tell and I’d prefer a harsh truth to a social lie. I find it incredibly disrespectful to me as a thinking, feeling person when I’m lied to.

Don’t embarrass me in public: If you have a problem with me, address it privately if at all possible. There’s history here of being bullied and tortured for not fitting in as a kid, and it’s a common thread for ASD people. Calling me out in public on anything, calling attention to me = a PTSD reaction for me. (I’d hazard to say to a lot of people with ASD have this reaction, especially adults). It’s incredibly unpleasant, terrifying. Please don’t do this to me. I’m accessible. My email is public, my DM’s and PM’s are open for this reason.

Don’t break a promise to me: If you promise something, deliver, if you can’t follow through, apologize. I take words literally, words such as oath, promise and honor mean something concrete to me.

Own your own shit and don’t put your issues on me: It’s not my fault that I’m wired differently and I don’t understand a neurotypical person any more than it’s their fault that they don’t understand me. I guarantee that I’m at least trying, it’s the only way I can survive as a person with ASD in a largely neurotypical world. Can you say the same? Are you trying to understand neurodiverse individuals? Do you apologize if you fuck up?

If the answer is no, maybe think about that?

Seconds

I ventured off into the wilds of suburbia today to grab a few things from the market for thanksgiving dinner (Canadian one, we celebrate both being a family with dual citizens) and on the way home… I had a huge reminder of how life can change in a second.

A passenger car ahead of me wrecked. T-boned. No survivors. Too much traffic to detour, so we had to wait for emergency response to get to the scene to clear the road.

I’ve been a first responder and though my skills aren’t up to date, you still try. Especially when you’re the only one who can. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do, there wasn’t.

The day before Thanksgiving, family was probably traveling to be with theirs.

It takes a second of distracted driving to change, to stop lives.

Even young ones.

Remember, please, in all you do, it takes seconds. Your life is made up of moments, and you choose how those moments are used.

A second to glance at a cell phone or to click like on a post or to hurt someone’s feelings. A second to offer support to a struggling internet friend. A second to hold a hug with an elder. A second to smile at a child. A second of ill thought out temper to sever a relationship.

A second.

Take a second and hug someone you love, or send a message to a friend, or give yourself an encouraging mental pat on the back.

It takes just a second.

It also takes just a second to hurt someone. My friend, Erin Jeffreys Hodges, is having a bad time with that right now.

ASD vs. Asperger’s, some thoughts.

I need to talk about why I continue to use the term Aspie. It’s a relatively unpopular choice, considering the changes in diagnostic criteria in recent years.

I’m angry, I guess, at the short sighted change in the DSM-V. (Also late to the party, but, hey, it’s on my mind now, because of a recent unpleasant experience.)

I have Asperger’s. It significantly impacts my life, especially socially. Gods does it ever and it always has. It always will. I don’t understand the way people… work… I guess, not in the moment. If I have time to think about it I can apply my learned knowledge to past situations. (probably why I’m good at this writing thing) But in the moment, when I’m supposed to react a certain ‘socially acceptable/normal’ way, I’ll usually feck it up. I don’t have a lot of friends because of this. I have emotional rules that I follow, I have repetitive behaviors and encyclopedic knowledge of certain aspects of life. In short, I’m Aspie. High functioning autistic. (Yes, I know the kerfluffle about the term High Functioning too, I’m not sure I care anymore.)

Dr. Asperger did so much research and classification on this subset of what is now classified as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Regardless of how badly I’m affected in my life by what is clearly a version of ASD, I’m not classified as autistic. Neither are my kids. Not anymore.

We’ve been told that ‘if Asperger’s were still an acceptable diagnosis, you’d definitely fit the bill’. But, it isn’t, so basically fuck you very much and we’re going to condescend to you because, and here’s the kicker…

You’re Autistic, but you’re not Autistic enough.

You’re normal enough to function on a scale higher than we have for ASD diagnosis.

What this means, on the ground and in the experience of Asperger’s is that I and my kids, despite being on the old spectrum of ASD diagnosis, are now left out in the cold when it comes to accessing help.

Talk about erasure.

There’s a whole subset of people now, just like me and my family, who no longer have even that slip of paper that explains why we’re different. It wasn’t much, but it was knowledge and it was something we could wave in the faces of HR when we fuck up something socially so we wouldn’t lose our livelihoods.

It was something. Now, because we’re normal enough to blend, to almost get by in society (it’s a daily fucking struggle, I’ll tell you that as fact). We don’t exist to the general world of ASD.

It’s a spectrum for a reason, a spectrum means you’re going to have people who fall on the extremes of both ends and everywhere in the middle.

That’s why I still use the term Aspie, and why I’ll continue to do so. Even if the medical community at large no longer recognizes my existence, my difficulties, I’m still here.

I still exist.

It’s still feminism:

So, I came to my blog to talk about the hurt that ripped through me upon catching up on the TW disaster in the making on twitter. Dude doesn’t know what’s coming to him when he gets back. Read here, if you want… TW trashheap  But. I’m finding that I really, really don’t want to talk about it.

I listen to my gut, and since it’s telling me not to go there, that I’ve already had way more than my share of experience with suicide, I won’t talk about it. I’ll cover it in my YA memoir, when I get there, if I’m brave enough to finish writing the damned thing.

So. I’m going to talk about something that I love. Kink.

Lol, who, me? Love Kink? Naw… pshaw, not really, she’d never do that?!

*giggles madly*

Ahem. Serious authorial face… okay, fine, I tried. I’m rarely serious enough, despite my resting bitch face, to pull off gravitas.

So.

It’s still feminism to like to be hit, spanked, humiliated, used et cetera, in a consensual, sexual manner.

It really is.

It’s still feminism to like to hit, spank, humiliate, use et cetera, in a consensual, sexual manner.

I’d hope that anyone following me by now knows that I’m an unapologetic feminist.

I also love men/males for all the glorious masculinity they can express.

I see it mixed up sometimes, hell, a lot of the time, that feminism=man hating. It really doesn’t.

For those who need a refresher. Feminism on Wikipedia.

Feminism, at it’s core, is the struggle for equality.

That means what it seems to, that males are equal-if-different to females, that gender fluid individual and trans individuals are equal. Same rights, same responsibilities, same repercussions.

I’ve had individuals read my work and attempt to censure me for the characters liking to (Insert kink practice).

But that’s just it. If we’re equal, we all get to say what we like and what we don’t like. NO one gets to tell us, hey, we don’t like that so you aren’t allowed to.

So, if I say that I like to both Spank, AND Be Spanked by a consenting partner in a scene, I’m exercising my right to my own equality.

I’m not supporting male dominant in a cishetwhite society by enjoying a good flogging, (although in the right circumstances, oh yes, sir, please may I have some more! 😉 geez, you had to know that was coming.)

It means that I’m saying that no one other than myself owns my body and how I use it or choose to allow it to be used. It means I’m supporting my own right to acknowledge my needs and desires and to go after them in a respectful way. It means that I want to (and have to) accept that my partners desires may not be my own, and that that is okay too.

It means, I’m supporting my right to exercise the very basis of equality, that of free choice.

For years now, I’ve really longed to rip a certain series of Shades books to pieces. Honorably, I choose not to do that to another author. Being a writer is damned hard, and even if I feel the writing misrepresented my lifestyle in a dangerous way, I won’t castigate the person who wrote it.

I will say this though. Respecting ‘no’ is just as important as respecting ‘yes’. I know, so many people still struggle with the concept of respecting ‘no’ (not many kinksters that I’ve met, thank goodness.) Actually, I’ve never met a lifestyle kinkster who didn’t hold the word ‘no/chosen safeword’ as holy, but, I digress.

Respecting anyones’ right to say, in whatever fashion floats their boat, ‘yes, please I’d like some more’ is just as deep a tenant of feminism as respecting anyones’ right to say ‘no’.

If you may be lagging behind on that concept. I invite you to consider what being a feminist means. Equality.

‘Cause the worst detractors I’ve ever met of kinksters ability and right to say ‘yes’ are a certain brand of “feminist.”