Wondering

I really wonder why agents act like they’re the be all and end all of publishing? Of course, it’s not ALL agents.

I just closed out a bunch of queries after they hit the 90 day mark. Sure, I might still hear back on some of them, but at that point it’s unlikely.

I happened to read the note one of the agencies had (that I copied into my query tracker private comments section) and it said something along the lines of, don’t send multiple queries, it can take years and we might contact you later when markets shift… basically a don’t call us, we’ll call you sort of thing.

Years.

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Are they that out of touch with how much easier it is for an author to go with indie small-press or with indie self-pub?

This isn’t the same market as it was 29 years ago when I started writing.

It’s not even the same market it was 10 years ago.

I’m the one with the product here (and a good one, based on my stats and reviews) so, what gives?

Seriously. I’m asking the question, because some of my friends are agents, and they’ve been very supportive of the indie market and my choice to go indie.

So obviously it’s not ‘all’ agents.

Another thing I wonder… do the ones who do the whole ‘no response means no‘ thing realize that in any other industry that’d be a firing offense? Not to mention they’d be a laughing stock in any other professional field with that kind of policy.

Why is it de rigeur in publishing and other creative fields like acting?

That makes no sense to me, at all. I really do NOT understand how it’s even remotely okay.

Just ’cause they’re busy?

Yeahhhhnope. That doesn’t work for me. *I’m* incredibly busy between running the press and writing.

Everyone gets a response, and usually a reason if it’s a rejection or revise/resubmit. Even if it’s just an… I’m sorry, it’s subjective and I didn’t love it enough… people get something. It’s basic politeness as far as I’m concerned.

So why is it okay? Why do writers… the ones with the product, the ones who pay the agents in the end of things… why do we put up with it?

Especially when indie is so much easier in a lot of ways, especially if you’re marginalized.

I think this is one of those questions I’ll never get an answer to.

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New Release/Cover Reveal! MY SOUL TO GIVE by Magali A. Fréchette

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BLURB:

When Celina Leviet escapes the brutal home invasion that kills her husband, she’s left with a bullet in her gut and vengeance in her heart. An alluring demon, Mekaisto, offers an irresistible deal—in exchange for her soul, he’ll let her live long enough to get her revenge, but she must hunt and kill the murderers herself.

After sealing the contract, Celina digs into her husband’s past for clues about his murder, and what she uncovers makes her question everything she thought she knew about him.

His company never existed.
His family history was a lie.

And he was involved with The Lumen, a shadowy religious order whose members know too much about demons. As the life she thought she knew crumbles around her, Mekaisto’s charms become harder to resist. Forced to face a horrible truth, Celina struggles against her late husband’s betrayal and the dark seduction of the devil she knows.

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Short Excerpt

Her breath came faster, and he could smell what she wanted before she even knew what it was. “Please, Kai—I’m yours. I want more. I want everything you can give me.”

The wave of lust heating his body could have burned a city to the ground. “Well, now,” he whispered in her ear as he stood, lifting her up with him, “I need to oblige such begging with a reward.”

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BUY LINKS:

Evernight Publishing

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BIO

I’m passionate about writing, reading, photo manipulation artwork, animals, anime/manga, video games, the fandom world of TV shows and movies, and stuff like that. I’m a proud Ravenclaw: I’ve always been sorted into this house, but the recent Pottermore sorting placed me in Gryffindor―I don’t care since the Sorting Hat couldn’t consider my choice, so I identify with Ravenclaw, and that’s where I’ll remain!

I have two main hobbies: writing and creating book covers. I’m also a gamer (Diablo, Zelda, Final Fantasy), enjoy listening to music (and always singing along to Disney), have a passion for Japanese culture, and adore reading. I love anime/manga, Japanese Dramas and consider myself a proud fan of many different TV shows including Buffy, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Game of Thrones, Outlander, etc.

I wrote my first story when I was 12 years old (and we’ll never talk about that story), but started writing three years later. Since then, I always write, and this particular novel is my 19th story. It’s always been a dream to be a published author, and I can happily say I’ve reached that goal―I plan on continuing writing and publishing for the rest of my days.

Connect with Magali

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter
Goodreads

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Excerpt

(This story has two points of view )

“I am a demon, Celina, and above all else, demons love the hunt.” He smirked when her eyes widened.

“So, you see having sex with someone as a hunt?”

He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “By your expression, I would say you still do not quite understand.”

“It’s your twisted logic.”

Interesting…

“I take my time, stalk my prey first, count the number of breaths she takes, imagine her screams…”

She arched an eyebrow. “That’s not at all creepy.”

Kai ignored her. “I am a creature of infinite time; the world creeps by, yet an intimate moment is so fleeting, it feels as though it is gone in less than a second.” He stopped, expecting an interruption again, but she stayed silent. “The pleasure is heightened by the danger, and in the throes of passion, I could lose my control and revert to the form least likely to be found pleasurable by my … partner?” He lost himself in the images in his mind, pinning down Celina’s body, taking her in a way she would never be able to recreate with a mere mortal man. “Hunting is simple. There is always one in the crowd that stands out—rarely is it the one searching for the one-night stand—no…” Kai locked his eyes with hers and goose bumps rose on her arms and legs. “No, the one unsure of what society wants her to be, the one who is desperate to be loved and appreciated. She is the one I seek.”

“So, social outcasts are your type?”

His eyes pierced her until he could see through her mind again, to all those curious little fantasies.

He smiled. “It’s about finesse, Celina. I listen to her, and as she speaks more confidently, I brush a hand over her skin”—his hand skimmed Celina’s neck as he brushed her back—“just enough so she shivers with anticipation of what my lips would feel like in the same spot.” He delved into Celina’s mind as his words worked against her disdain for him. “Then I caress her in a way she won’t notice, but her subconscious will let her lean into, let her mind take over and her body will beg for more.”

“She’d notice if…” She followed his gaze to his hand on her knee.

“Are you certain?” He’d worked his own body into a sensual frenzy as he’d drawn her into his web.

She stared at him, her cheeks flushing. “I—”

“Eventually, I suggest a night filled with pleasure.” He couldn’t contain his smile as he moved closer. “I keep touching her in small ways—maintaining physical contact at all times.” His hand inched up her side, until he tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She sucked in a breath and he cupped her cheek.

He sat close to her and her scent calmed and excited him at the same time.

“Kai?” Her voice wavered.

“Sex is fleeting.” He took her chin and drew her close. “But intimacy is endless, a continuous moment of gentle touches”—his hand dropped back to her knee, and then made its way up her thigh until she let out a small gasp—“personal boundaries broken, and pleasures that go beyond sex.”

She sat as if frozen. “It’s still a one-night stand.”

“Mine last longer—and you reveal not only your body.” His hand moved to the middle of her chest. “When you are intimate with a demon, you reveal your soul. You make yourself vulnerable and open.”

“Considering you’ll have my soul sometime soon, I’m not giving you a free sample.” She drew away from him and stood. “I won’t be your prey tonight.”

Another surge of heat rushed through him, but he pushed it down with a long, deep breath. “You would set me loose on another human?”

She glared at him. “I wasn’t aware I had a choice about what you do outside of our deal. This would be on you, not me.”

“You think you control what I do within our deal?”

She rubbed her arms when he stood. “Not when you say it like that.”

“Celina…” He stopped in front of her and leaned into her personal space, drawing a lungful of a scent he would only ever associate with her.

He wrapped his arms around her, swallowing the shiver that shook her body. “What are you—?”

“Let’s play, Celina. I can assure you, you will not regret a night in my arms.”

I want you… Against all my instincts, I need you close.

Celina pushed him as hard as she could, and he withdrew as disappointment withered his gaze.

“Let me go, Mekaisto.”

You are trembling again, my dove… Is it because you are scared you will give in? How far can I push you until you bend?

“What if I say no?”

She glared at him, but Kai’s smile widened. He could feel, even smell, the pulsing between her legs begging him to take her.

“Isn’t it enough you’re getting my life and my soul? Now you need my body, too?” She pushed against him again, but he only held tighter, unable to let her go. “Why are you doing this? I just lost my husband, found out things that break my heart. I can’t sit and flirt with you.”

“I am offering you the chance to forget.”

“No!” Her hands clenched to fists as she shoved even harder against his chest. “No! You want to take everything I have left.”

He grabbed her wrists, pushed her back on the sofa, and pinned her down, his body hovering over her. “What is your life without your body?” He tilted his head and flicked his tongue across his lips. “You never asked what selling your life and soul meant specifically. Allow me to enlighten you now.” He moved until his face loomed only an inch or so from her face and her breath caught. He let go of her wrists, but his gaze pinned her to the spot.

“What?” Her voice ached just above a whisper.

“I own every inch of you … body and soul.”

Her face flushed and her lips trembled. “I never agreed to that!”

“You agreed to living. The details did not matter to you.”

“I was dying! You told me I didn’t have much time left, so it—”

His smile widened. “Even if you had all the time in the world, it would not have made a difference. Humans never read the fine print.”
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TRIGGERED by Christian apologists.

CW/TW Christian abuse of queer kids. Childhood abuse.

I probably should’ve written a blog post about this a while ago. Honestly? It’s not a place I like to go, it’s in the past and by all that I hold precious I wish it would stay there.

But SINCE I’m already there, and it’s Monday, I’ll talk about it.

First. A definition for anyone who needs it.

To be triggered is not to be made uncomfortable.

Here are a couple of places to look for further info… these are not, each, by themselves complete, because a trigger can be ANYTHING.

Wikipedia

Psych Central

I had to run away from my social media just now with my skin covered in sweat, my heart rocketing a mile a minute and feeling like I’m about to scream or curl up into a self protective ball until the memories fade back to the slime covered pit of my subconscious.

I can taste the dust of the Sunday school room. I can feel the way the pews felt. The nap of the carpet as it dug into my knees in the hours they made me kneel… all of it. It’s with me again in ways that I haven’t experienced in a while.

What caused it? What caused me to be triggered (out of the fucking blue this time, I didn’t expect it, didn’t even KNOW it was a trigger).

An apology.

A person apologized for the wounds their faith had done to me. A stranger in my mentions on Twitter. I get it, it’s not all Christians. I’m trying. It’s all I can offer, that I’m listening and trying.

Don’t apologize to me for the wounds your faith has done. FIX YOUR FAITH. Clean it up so other kids like I used to be aren’t wounded by it. (I guaran-damned-tee you someone is being hurt by your faith right now, probably in your own church.)

Don’t apologize. Saying you’re sorry to someone like me doesn’t help. It only hurts.

I haven’t yet (screamed) but I might… still. As I often do, I turn to writing as a method to self-soothe and expunge these memories and emotions.

An apology triggered me. Even if it was meant in good faith (and I believe it was) it triggered me.

You read me right.

A bit of background, since I’m already sitting in OMFG memories I didn’t need to revisit today-ville.

I was raised very poor, and very religious in the Adirondack mountains of upstate NY.

The Adirondacks, when they were stolen from the Kanien’kehá:ka, Mahican  & Abenaki, (and others) were settled mostly by Scots, English, and Irish settlers coming up from the south and later, escaped slaves (which is why even though a lot of people look white in upstate NY? They really aren’t.) It’s also why many people born and raised to the area have southern accents. They’ve stuck through the generations.

The settlers and escaped slaves brought their faith with them. Christianity.

It’s an odd sort of Christianity, for sure, because a LOT of the people I was raised with would now be considered ‘Christian witches’ even though I had it rammed into my head that horrible phrase about witches that I can’t even make myself write (and is a mistranslation by the way).

So 30 some odd years ago, I lived in a small town (tiny, we’re talking less that 300 people and that spread out over the mountains) the ONLY social centers were church and the local bars.

Lol, there were as many bars as churches, if that tells you anything.

There wasn’t any such thing as internet and the library was almost an hours drive away.

My mom was uber-religious. Like… I don’t even know how to find words to express that. She’d probably argue the fact, but she really was. (Still is, considering she completely rejected me after the Frumilstiltskin election because I wouldn’t shut up and she wouldn’t accept she’d done anything wrong, her faith and clinging to her perceived rightness ended up being more important than her eldest child.)

We went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays, (not for, like an hour, for the whole evening on W and the whole damned day on S) I’d been baptized three times by the time I was 11 (and from everything I know, I think it’s only supposed to need to be done once??)

I grew up, absolutely convinced I was going to hell because I’d been born a girl.

My mother’s friends were all, arguably, more religious than she was, because she doesn’t quite pass as far as the whole ‘looks white’ thing goes. (She wasn’t ever accepted because Jesus was WHITE you know. Eyerolls.)

So when my first sexual experience was with the minister’s daughter, you can damned well bet we didn’t tell anyone. 

Odd to think I didn’t actually KNOW it was possible to live a free and open life as who you are, all of who you are until I was in my early 20’s in University and I met my first openly gay couple.

When I had my first real crush on someone, it wasn’t on a guy. No, I never told anyone that either, because even though I didn’t ‘know’ what would happen to me… well. I knew how strictly my church stuck to scripture.

The Christian cross is a trigger for me. You try being beaten with a belt in front of it and see what kind of effect it has on your psychological health.

Try being in a Sunday school room and taunted, yelled at, screamed at and in other ways psychologically traumatized because you asked why Adam and Eve had belly buttons and why, if Jesus existed, he wasn’t black because people from the area he supposedly lived in very likely would have been. Why… if Christ was born in December, why isn’t there much if any reference of cold/snow on the ground in the bible? (It does, rarely, snow in Jerusalem in December.)

Remember I’ve mentioned that I’d read the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica by the time I was nine. I wasn’t joking. I loved maps too, and thinking about things.

I think I was 10 when I asked that question. Hunh… lol, maybe that’s why they baptized me so much, I kept asking questions? It was the old fashioned kinda baptism too, creepy white dress, bent over backwards in a gods fucking cold mountain stream.

Enough of that though.

Because I’m autistic and because I’m queer… (that ended up coming out, of course…)

I have HUGE TRAUMA RELATED ISSUES REGARDING CHRISTIANITY. I’m not going into the rest of it.

I refused to go near the church anymore after around the age of sixteen or so? So I did get out. It didn’t change living with a Christian parent, in a very Christian town.

It didn’t change what had already happened.

Christian holidays and their ever-present being shoved down my throat is also a trigger for me. I do my best to avoid it, just like I avoid the cross as best as I can. (I live in North America… it’s REALLY HARD to avoid.)

Knowing they are triggers helps me, because I know how much I can take, how I’m likely to react and I know when I need to find a safe escape route IRL. I know when I have to ask people to stop talking about it or when I need to stop taking part in a discussion online.

I do not want or expect people to stop showing their faith. (I mean, hell, it’d be nice if Christmas weren’t shoved down my throat from July to January, but I can deal/self-care, I’ve been through therapy.)

I know which times of year I need to stop being so active on social media (guess when?!)

I know which people of Christian faith are safe for me to follow on social media, and I know which ones aren’t. Because I do, in my heart, KNOW it’s Not All Christians. Here’s a clue for you, if it says in your bio you’re Christian, a Warrior for Christ or a Jesus-lover? I’m extremely unlikely to follow you back until you’ve proven you’re safe because I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE SAFE ONES.

If every one of your posts on social media includes prayer, or pray or a reference to a verse (with my eidetic memory, I probably remember more than you do anyway, unless you’re also so blessed/cursed.) You’ve got an unfollow coming up fast.

The unsafe ones have already caused me enough damage thank you very much.

Look, I get it. I’m happy you have a faith, I have one too. But faith is a lot like having a penis, don’t shove it down my throat without asking me first, hunh?

Knowing all of that doesn’t change my damage, or my triggers.

It doesn’t change how very blind-sided I feel by this one. 

Just be aware, please, that unless you HAVE triggers (regardless of what they are) you probably don’t understand how badly they can affect people. That your words have power that you may have no idea about.

Especially if the person you’re talking to is Queer, North American and you’re talking about Christianity.

Please.

Oh, and fun fact to blow your minds. The Christian church used to openly and joyfully marry queer folks, right up until the middle ages. 

Stick that in your craw and smoke it, then go fix your faith so no other kids are hurt like I was.

Boswell: Same sex unions in Premodern Europe

Freke/Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries

 

 

 

 

Breaking a Habit

They say it takes 21 days to truly break a habit.

I’m not sure how true that is, but I do know that I just had to stop myself from sending out another query.

I got yet another rejection, and I had to stop myself from sending a query to another agent at that house.

I could, I guess… I did say that I’d query everyone possible on BLOODBOUND, my fifth and last heavily queried title. But when I poke at my heart it hurts so damned badly at even the idea of putting another query letter together that I know I can’t do it.

That I shouldn’t do it.

That I’d be damaging myself further by doing so and that no, really, it’s not worth it.

So many people say… it only takes one yes! With regard to attracting an agent.

Not even a yes is going to be worth the pain I’ve self-inflicted by continuing to query in the face of 5 books worth of rejections.

Especially when readers love my stories.

Even if I DID get an offer of representation, AND chose to accept it… it still wouldn’t heal the damage.

I don’t know how people can think it would. Only one yes?

Sure, it only takes one.

But it’s one that I feel isn’t likely to come for me, and I’m just too tired to keep slogging through these trenches.

I tried to write yesterday, I found 560 or so words. It was like pulling teeth and does not at all feel like writing usually does for me (a joy). It felt painful and made me unhappy with myself.

Querying has taken my joy of writing from me. So no, I won’t send that query. There are 5 other agents at that agency I could query, that I had listed as being potentially interested in my work.

But no. I’m done. I have to be.

I don’t have joy in life for many reasons I’ve already discussed on my blog, but a large portion of that ability to feel joy has been bled away by querying, so yeah. I have to be done.

If that means I fail to query the ONE agent who might give me that ONE yes? Unfortunately, that’d be another cost of what querying has done to me.

The broken system has broken me. I’m not the only marginalized writer who has been broken by it all.

I’m just the latest.

 

Recovery

The first step to recovering from a slide into depression, or so my therapy has told me over time…

Is to change behavior, if you can.

I can’t do anything about the loss of our home, that’s just a wound I have to bear.

I CAN do something about how badly querying is affecting me.

I stopped.

I’m done sending queries. I can feel myself lifting up with the realization that IF I ever write another query letter, it’ll be because I’ve written another book and pitched it during a contest.

IF I choose to do that.

My spirits are lifting, because I’ve removed that burden from myself.

It also hurts like a motherfucker and makes me feel like I’m giving up.

That… because I CAN’T do something, I’m weak, broken, ruined.

There’s no doubt left in me that I can keep querying. I can’t do it, it wrecks my mental health so badly that I stopped writing.

I haven’t written anything new in months, I can say that now. I can point at the fact that querying is what caused it, or maybe the rejections from querying.

I can feel the itch, the niggle, to begin writing again growing in me. This is good. It’s so good.

It really hurts to see people I’ve been slogging through the query trenches with announcing they have an agent, or even… in some cases, a second agent, a replacement one.

It hurts, like a stab to my heart because I know that I won’t ever be able to make that announcement for myself.

Because I had to give up to preserve my mental health.

I’m so happy for my friends who’ve managed to find the kind of success I was also looking for. I wish them the best of luck and bright careers and many sales.

It doesn’t change how much it hurts me to see them getting what I’ve tried for so long to achieve.

That I’ll likely never have.

 

 

 

What does an author owe a reader?

What do entertainers, especially writers for the purposes contained herein, owe to their readers? (It applies to other forms of entertainment too, in different ways.)

I’m going to approach this from the dual perspective of being an author AND being an avaricious, extremely loyal, reader.

On the author side: What do I owe my readers? Everything.

You see, I can’t be an author without people to buy and read my books. That’s basic economics, I need to eat and pay bills and have internet and a computer to write on, so I need the economic support for my work of people buying my books, recommending to others that they buy my books… it’s how it works and why digital piracy is so very wrong.

Without people reviewing my books to let me know they liked/loved/if I’ve screwed up… well, I also wouldn’t know how they’re perceived.

I wouldn’t know if I was just screaming into the void with my words or not.

So, an author, especially a famous one, really needs to remember that and stay humble.

That means you don’t raz your fans when they make suggestions. (I’ve had that happen and no I’m not buying that author’s books again, no matter how good they are.)

You can’t leave your fans hanging either, year, after year, after year.

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You just can’t. Humans are fickle creatures. Even ones who read a lot and show a lot of loyalty.

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Eventually, they’re gonna get tired of waiting and move on to the next shiny author. Sales are gonna decline, especially if the quality isn’t there.

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That famous author wouldn’t BE an author, not a working one anyway, if people didn’t consistently buy, review, and recommend their books.

They’d be that person sitting there telling themselves stories in a dark room with coffee stains on their tee-shirt and their hair in a pony tail (wait… yes, sorry, that was me looking in the mirror.)

I’m not famous, I’m too niche, probably, to ever find fame as an author. I’ll be happy if I can manage to have a loyal following who buys enough of my books that I can afford the basics of life. (By basics, I mean food, roof over my head, bills paid almost on time and somewhat regular medical/dental/eye care.)

What about time? Quality of work? Those two things are ideas worthy of note as well.

Now, some of us write incredibly fast. I am one of those. Since November 2015, I’ve written three full novels, numerous short stories and several vignettes. Some people don’t write as fast, and that’s fine.

Everyone works at their own pace, which needs to be respected. You know, for my favorite authors, at least… as long as they’re working on it, and maybe letting people know what’s going on… even with delays, I’d still buy the books. I mean, life happens.

One of my favs had their dog die in the middle of writing the climactic scene of their most recent book. I’d much rather they had waited and grieved and come back to it later, when they could do the story justice than what they actually did.

ghost-156969_1280.png(I’m suspicious the pub actually had it ghost-written, cause it was crap, didn’t sound like the author AT ALL.)

Which makes me MUCH less likely to buy another of that author’s books. It smacks as a lack of integrity to me. To let someone ghost-write a story under my name.

Anything with my name on it is always going to be my work. If I ever choose to sell some of my rights in a contract to a publisher, you can damn well bet that’s going to be in the contract. No ghost writers. (Which is ironic, since I’ve made money ghostwriting.)

Now, a particular author that I’ve been reading since the late 80s or early 90s (starts with a G ends with an M & has recently had a blockbusting show involving lots of dead people!) You know who I’m talkin’bout.

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He’s always been a slower writer. Which, you know, it’s fine. He was regular though, we could expect a book every 3 or 4 years, and they’d be QUALITY BOOKS. Until the last one.

Side characters, none of the mains, then nothing for years (cause someone is more interested in writing for the show than writing the damned books that people have been buying for decades that let him GET the show in the first place?) Yeah. That.

He’s also one of those authors who feels they owe nothing to their fans. Too big for their britches is what my gram would say about someone like that.

So nope. Won’t be buying another of his books again.

I’m on the edge of the danger zone with one of my all time fav series too. The Dresden Files has been, since I discovered it over a decade ago, one of my all time favorite urban fantasy series.

It’s quality work, the writing is top notch. The story is fantastic, and the author was regular with the releases, a year or so, give or take a bit in between books.

Hubs asked me to check on when Peace Talks is coming out (it’s the next one in the series) it’s been over three years.

Author has released a couple of other series (which kinda suck, honestly, writing is no where near as good, worldbuilding is lackluster and frankly? Nah… not interested.)

A graphic novel set in the DF world pubbed last year, but frankly? I don’t like the graphic novels.

I like graphic novels. OMG GO READ MONSTRESS (my most recent love) Ahem. Right.

I’m one of those people that the art AND the words need to mesh to make a gorgeous whole, though. If I don’t like the art (I don’t, in the newest ones) I’m not gonna like the story, even if it IS in the author’s words.

For that series, especially… the written word is much more effective at capturing me and taking me to the world of Dresden than a graphic novel is ever going to be.

But it’s been 3 years. I don’t have any hard and fast cut off point for a series, I guess if Mr. Butcher gets Peace Talks out in the next year or so, I’ll still buy it.

It won’t likely be a preorder though. It won’t be in the first week, which is how NYT judges their list to give ‘best-seller’ status to.

Because it’s been so long that I forget to look for it when I’m ordering books.

At this point, if I don’t see or hear about it being released through social media (I don’t read newsletters, which is why I don’t bother with having one… I subscribe to them to make people happy, but I don’t… you know, actually read them.) I’ll miss it (yeah, I’m on his mailing list, I think.)

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So, even if it DOES come out in the next year or so, yeah… I’ll probably miss it. Which means… it may be years before I notice it’s out, and by then… my interest in the series will be consigned to the dustbin.

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Did Mr. Butcher owe me better than that? Yeah. He kinda did. GRRM sure as hell owed me more than that.

Now, if you write stand alone books. You have no obligation to write another book in a series. No question. It’s standalone. Period.

If you write series books, you ARE obligated to somehow either keep writing those books or bring them to a conclusion. (Always assuming you’re still sucking wind and writing.)

Not a conclusion the reader is happy with (thinking of Abercrombie’s First Law) but A conclusion.

Here’s why. I as a reader, purchase series books over standalone every time. Because I prefer the depth an author can get into WRT everything offered by a series.

So I’m not only buying THAT book, by choosing a series, I’m ALSO investing in the longevity of that series. Whether it’s a trilogy or an ongoing doesn’t really matter to me as much as that there ‘will’ likely be more.

Then, after I fall in love with those characters, that world, YES I will automatically preorder the next book if I enjoyed the previous ones (& I know about it, which is why we need to self-promo as authors).

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An author doesn’t owe me anything else. They don’t owe me signings, appearances, interaction on social media, but they do owe me, the person paying their paycheck by buying their books and talking about their books… (and all the other people doing so) they owe us the story in a reasonable amount of time within their capabilities as an author and always assuming their world doesn’t implode. (Holy run-on sentence, but you know, I’m gonna leave it, cause I think it makes the point of how strongly I feel about this.)

I mean… the other things are really nice, and I’m much more likely to go out of my way to buy/review/suggest to library etc a book from an author who has interacted with me vs one who hasn’t.

But they don’t owe me anything except the story I’ve invested in for so long.

As an author… I honestly don’t understand how another author can NOT want to give their story the proper ending.

That story is their brain baby. They slaved long and hard to bring it into the world, I can’t, honestly, understand why an author would even consider just abandoning a series (especially a popular, well-loved one.)

Sure. As an author I also get it, you need a break from writing the same thing on and on, so, definitely, write other things, have more than one series.

Your fans aren’t obligated to like your other series though. Just cause it’s THAT author’s name on the book, it’s not going to make me automatically love the work.

Butcher can’t write good fantasy. I said it. It may be his true love, but it’s not within his skill set.

(I can’t either, for what it’s worth, not high-fantasy)

So. What does a reader owe an author?

Loyalty, if they still like the books. Buying/getting from the library instead of stealing the book. A review, maybe, if the person has a clue how valuable a review can be to an author.

What does an Author owe a reader? Everything.

Cause they wouldn’t be an author without them.

 

 

Mental Health Hiccup

Sorry, it’s another not so pretty blog post. You can pretty much tell my mood by how much effort I put into to putting images and what not into my blogs.

I had a mental health hiccup this week.

For so many reasons.

Let me count the ways. (That’s a Shakes joke, laugh already, I’m funny!)

Where to start though?

I don’t know how to make my life work again.

I found myself wandering in the aisles of a store, looking for something I was supposed to buy and wanting to just stop. Not be, anymore. At that moment, if I could’ve pushed a button and not been? I might have.

What it comes down to is this.

I don’t know how to pick up the pieces and rebuild my life, again.

Regular readers of my blog or people I talk to on twitter know that the past year has been absolute hell for me.

We lost our home. It was the second house we’d lost that I’d thought we wouldn’t ever leave unless we wanted to. First one was in the ‘housing bubble’ in the US. We were some of the people taken advantage of by shoddy mortgage practices because we didn’t know any better (I even thought I’d done my research, HA!). So that was house one.

We eventually moved to another country based on promises of family to help us get established. Hubs family is well off, to put it blandly. WE are not.

Nothing has ever seemed to work the way things are SUPPOSED to.

Hubs and I are both well educated, we listened to our elders and betters and went to University, got the degrees, got the jobs with the decent paychecks.

We still lost our house. (Some of that was our fault because we didn’t manage money well, most of it was rapacious mortgaging practices).

We’re both professionals, between the two of us we hold 6 university degrees and multiple certifications and clearances and what not.

Still couldn’t make ends meet in the states once we had a kid. I didn’t make enough to pay for what childcare cost, so we elected to have me stay home.

Then came the invitation to uproot and move to a different country with help from family to get us settled.

Except, when it turned out that it would take 6 years (instead of the 6 months it should’ve taken) to get my immigration paperwork ironed out (because we again, listened to our elders and betters and used one of their lawyer friends, who subsequently fucked us over) their help and patience with us dried up like a drop of water in a desert.

No matter how much we did for them to try to help them, the fact that I legally couldn’t work in this country was somehow our fault. It was somehow our fault that my hubs company closed the branch in town he worked at and he was, once again, unemployed.

(The Parents In Law take narcissistic toxic relationships to the next level, just saying.)

It didn’t matter that he went to work at one of his parent’s companies for a pittance, just to keep food on the table.

All that mattered, to them, was that we ‘hadn’t held up our end of the deal’ (That we’d take over the mortgage in full, vs in part.)

We were really close too, about 3 more months would see my husband’s practice start making enough that we could afford the mortgage and start paying back the 8 months of back payments to them. We’d been up to date until he lost his job. (I did mention that they’re well off? Between the pair of them, they make easily over 400k a year, and that’s not counting the millions they have in investments from previous businesses, sales, and working in tax free countries.

But they’d made up their minds. They were done supporting us. (They weren’t. The amount of things we did free of charge for them as far as working on their house, helping them with things, being paid less than minimum wage to work at the business… yeah… it equaled out, if you’re talking sweat equity. The number of times I changed my plans to watch their stupid dogs, or to feed their stupid fish… all so that we could somehow make recompense for the shitty hand we’d been dealt? It equaled out.)

We never got back the 40k of our cash we sank into the house in upkeep and repairs, either. Because that wasn’t counted in the final reckoning.

So.

The house, my kids backyard with playset, sandbox, deck. My garden, which I’d poured blood, sweat, labor, and tears into for 6 years.

It’s all gone. We’re in a much smaller, crappier house (which is, ironically, more expensive than the mortgage was, and we’re paying it, for now, until something else goes wrong).

Then November 8th happened, and my family showed me their true colors. I’m totally not going there right now, if you go back to November in my blog you can read up. I talked about it there.

Then in February, I started querying again. With my fifth completed novel.

Let me tell you something. I love writing like I’ve rarely loved anything I’ve ever done in my entire life.

This should’ve been obvious I suppose, I did start writing when I was 11 (officially anyway, I drew/wrote my first book in kindergarten, with the cover on upside down).

I’ve always written, it seems. So it really shouldn’t’ve surprised me how much I love to write.

The business aspect of attempting to land an agent and a traditional publishing deal has completely gutted my already fragile mental health.

I decided to try one last time, with this last book, book 5. I slogged through the shit-covered swill of the query trenches. I’ve sent over 150 queries to agents and small press on that book.

Lol, yeah, I know what you’re thinking, it’s the writing? The pacing? The plot?

Nope. Sorry. All these rejections would be easier to take if it was. I have multi-published authors as critique partners, & one of my CPs is an editor at small press with tons of history in the field. That book has been beta tested to upwards of twenty readers (strangers, not friends or family), they’ve all, each and every one, enjoyed it or outright loved it.

Agents, obviously, don’t.

Small press… so far… obviously doesn’t.

Wait, Kae, don’t you own a press? Indicating some knowledge on how to get books onto the market?

You’re perceptive aren’t ya, my reader? Yes, I know how to do all that.

Yes. I opened a press to act as a safety net for marginalized writers who write good stories and don’t want to self-pub. As I say on my website though, editing and publishing are not my first love. Unless I or one of my editors absolutely LOVE a story, we’re not going to sign it. Just because it isn’t our all-encompassing, driving, passion, to be publishing books. We do want to make a difference, we do want to offer more marginalized stories to the world, but… none of us are going to make money doing this, and we all have lives and jobs and our own books to write.

I have no chance of making money off of all of my hard work if I go with my press. If I had a traditional publishing deal, I might get an advance, I’d at least have the cachet of a ‘name’ behind me. That still, oddly, given the quality of books they’ve been putting out lately, has meaning to so many people. (Not to me, unless I KNOW an author is good, I don’t buy big5 books anymore. I just don’t. There are very few authors who I do, and that number is falling fast.)

Which is why, even in the face of desires to self-harm for the first time in over a decade, I still kept on sending queries out.

I have to stop though.

I have to.

The advice to keep trying, keep trunking novels… you know, that might work for non-marginalized writers, it certainly works for agents, cause they have the pick of the crop to their own taste.

I know that I, as a marginalized writer, can’t keep doing this. Their system is broken and wasn’t ever meant for someone like me.

Keep Writing! We’re excoriated. When out on submission, write something else!

Okay. But what if you can’t?

I literally cannot write when I’ve got a book stuck in the query trenches. I can’t do it.

It’s going on a month and a half, at least (probably more, but I’ve been trying not to count). Since I’ve been able to put words on screen.

Considering that writing is my principal method of coping, self-care, and helping myself get on with living in the face of anxiety, depression, PTSD and searing loneliness?

This whole situation isn’t working for me.

It’s making me more suicidal than I’ve been since I was a young adult.

It’s making me want to cut myself, just so I can feel alive and have some control over my pain.

I’m a mom, and I won’t deprive my kids of the shambling wreck of a being they have to call mother. My mess behind the loving mask they see.

I’m better than nothing, I guess. Sometimes.

I’m constantly battling with my own mind that is always whispering to me that everyone I know and love, my husband and kids especially would be better off if I died.

If I weren’t a burden to them anymore.

In my rational moments, I know this to be the depression talking. I know it’s my mental illness. Not the truth.

My rational moments are fading into static.

Depression meds don’t work for me by the way, in case you’re wondering why I don’t seek them out (not that I could afford them, really… but, you know, that’s a separate issue). They cause a whole mass of problems that are worse than the symptoms.

Writing helps. When I can do it. I’m a much happier, more stable person when I’m able to write every day (or most days).

I’m a much happier person when I hear from a reader who loves my words or read a review that lets me know that my work meant something to someone.

Yet. Standing in that aisle at the store on Saturday? I didn’t want to take another step. I didn’t want to suck another breath.

I wanted to stop.

Everything.

Knowing the kids were waiting for me at home was the only thing that made me take the next step, made me suck the next breath.

I don’t know if they’ll ever know how many times they’ve saved my life. Kept me breathing, kept me doing and moving.

I can’t say I’m entirely grateful, weeks like this week, I’d just as soon lay down and never get up again.

Dying is easy. It’s living, and bearing up and continuing on despite wanting to die that’s hard.

So hard.

One of my favorite activities used to be gardening. I let the kids talk me into getting some organic plants to put in our tiny patch of ground out back. We used to garden together every summer. So we did it, and I have the sore ass and thigh muscles to prove it.

I found no joy in it though. Only more pain. I find no joy in anything anymore. I don’t know how to pick up the pieces of my life and make them make sense again.

In mental health jargon they call it resiliency. The ability to take a knock and keep going, to pick yourself up and start again when things go wrong.

This last blow, and maybe the continuing blows of rejections, closed-no responses, etc on my queries…

It’s all reduced me to a bag of bloody, broken shards of glass.

Nothing fits, and I cut myself to bleed all over whenever I try to glue the pieces back together.

With dried up super glue.

I’m not a danger to myself or anyone else. I can’t will myself to stop breathing, body won’t let me do that. I’ll never willingly take my life away from my kids.

Even this piss poor excuse for a mother is better than none.

It doesn’t make it easier to keep going though.

Some days. I just want it all to stop.

I’d like to feel joy, excitement, and passion again.

Maybe someday, if I keep sucking wind, I will.

Optimist. That’s me.