Why XXX for Multifarious?

So.

It may be going through minds, so I’m going to answer it before I’m asked.

I’m offering Acquiring editors of POC, Transgender, Non-Binary (others) full acquisitional power on the stories we publish through Multifarious Press.

Yes, it’s a big deal. Because I own the press and my goal is diversity I can say that. I can *do* that.

I’m multi-racial, and it’s not my lane to decide which stories Black, Latinx, Asian, Pasifika, First Nations, readers want/need to read. It just isn’t. I *WANT* to offer lines of those stories. *I* can’t.

I’m genderqueer, but not trans or non-binary, so I’m not able to choose representative stories for those readers either.

I am a lot of things, intersectionally diverse especially. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses is important in life.

Providing an opportunity for people to help get the stories they need/want to be reading into the world? That I can facilitate. I’m putting my work, passion, and belief behind this.

So.

Change starts small. Shall we get the ball rolling?

 

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Multifarious Press

Welp, cat is officially out of the bag on this one. So, some words.

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The idea to found Multifarious Press smacked me like a freight train a little over a year ago. Remember I’ve been writing for a long time, editing for almost as long.

I discovered writer-twitter and the wonderful (and horrible) world it can be roughly two years ago.

Through that medium, I’ve met some amazing authors, many diverse, wonderful voices that have honored me by letting me read their words.

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I’d been chatting with an author who felt their chances for a book they’d written had been lost because the diverse voice was too real.

An autistic voice. Like my own.

Silenced.

My soul cried out at that, because I need more adult autistic voice stories, and this one might never see the light of day.

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In the two years I’ve been talking with authors on twitter, I’ve also seen so many diverse authors quit.

They stopped trying.

They stopped writing.

I’ve been working behind the scenes with my editors and web developer to get this fledgling press up and running for close to a year. From the seed of an idea to figuring out how we’ll work it all to getting people I trust to do what they’ll say they’ll do… it’s been a journey.

We’re all parents and people with lives and jobs and difficulties so you could say there were a few potholes.

But I am not going anywhere.

I’ll be honest, I’m bloody terrified that people won’t think I can do this, that they’ll think… unkind things about me, when all I want to do is help others like me. Diverse Voices.

One thing I’ve been accused of being a time or million is stubborn. Once I choose a piece of ground to stand for, I’ve been likened to a donkey with its feet planted in cement.

This is my ground.

I may not have a lot of experience with publishing, but by gods, I know how to get stories out there. I know how to edit and make covers and market. I know sales like the back of my hand because that was my career for the longest time.

If the world really wants diversity? (I think it does…) this press has a chance to open those doors to those authors who quit because they feel they’ll never make it in publishing.

I can make a difference.

I will. I will be the change in the world that I want to see.

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Go here for the Submissions Guidelines or check out the Multifarious Press website. 

Addendum post: https://kaelanrhywiol.com/2017/04/14/why-xxx-for-multifarious/

The Dark Side

of the force…

What? I couldn’t resist.

Resistance is futile, you know. Okay, fine, enough geek humor.

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At least the dark side has cookies, or so I tell myself.

I work as an editor for a small press, have for a while now, and I honestly felt like my best skills (with romance in general) weren’t utilized. So I asked for more romance subs.

Yay! I get some… Yay! I get to read the submission packages and decide… woah, I get to write the acceptance/rejection letters.

Whups.

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I didn’t think about that.

And I learned how bloody painful it is to reject a book someone has slaved over. 

I’m human (most days) and negative emotions are remembered more strongly than positive.

I have also enjoyed the experience of the giddy sense of OMG I LOVE THIS SUB I NEED THE REST OF IT RIGHT NOW, as well as that nasty, heart-stabbing pain of rejecting others.

I can say, having received a lot of rejections, that I at least made it a helpful one, listing my whys.

I can also see the reasoning behind why so many agents don’t bother to even use form emails, when inundated with subs, I can see how it would be overwhelming.

It doesn’t change my stance on querying future titles that I write, not sure anything can.

But I understand better now. 

I don’t know that I’ll ever be the type to not send some sort of feedback, I know too well the sense of questioning that comes with each rejection.

The people at THP are all good people, so I imagine we’ll be around for a while. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that I’ll get to the point where I’m inundated with subs and have to create a form email response.

For now though, I don’t have to do that, and I’m grateful for it. As painful as it is to write the rejections, it’s still more painful to receive them.

 

 

Meanderings of an exhausted mind

It’s me, so you gotta know this is likely going to be an uncomfy topic to talk about. Seems I excel in finding those to blog about.animal-983529_1920.jpg

A little forward for those who don’t follow my blog, I’m an excellent writer and a phenomenal editor (not my words). I’ve been writing for 29 years on and off, on spec for 5 years, I’ve queried 5 of my own books now, plus answered 4 proposal calls and submitted numerous short stories.

and I’m unpublished as far a traditional publishing is concerned. With no hope of an agent on the horizon. Now, it could be that my writing sucks, logistically minded, that’s me. But when I have international renown and high ratings on what I have self-pubbed, and a lot of strangers go out of their way to email me to tell me they love my work… well, I’m erring on the side of it being ‘not me/my writing’.

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So… I’ve just finished my fifth official book-query go round in the query lists. My mind feels exactly like I imagine a jouster’s would after the lists are closed.

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So many different kinds of forms to fill out, so many different kinds of submission packages to put together, so much sheer research to be done to make sure each particular agent represents what your current project is. (Especially for multiple sub-genre writers like me, this is incredibly hard.)

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We have to, (and should) make sure that their tastes haven’t changed, that they’re still where all the programs like querytracker.com and absolutewrite.com say they are as far as agency, that they’re OPEN to queries right then.

Making sure you’ve dotted all your eyes and crossed all your tees, and all the many other parameters are met or fulfilled or… control-427512_1920

It’s bloody exhausting. I’ve been doing this most days for over a month now and in that time I could have drafted another book, or most of one. A novella and two short stories for my readers at the very least.

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And… I think I’m done. This is likely the last book I’ll try to query to agents. Every time I get another rejection in my inbox, I’m basically checking off ever querying that agent for anything ever again. It’s not even anger, or angst or even negativity. It’s a cost/benefit scenario in my mind. It wasn’t worth the time to query that agent, hence I won’t do it again when I could be writing a book for indie-pub that will make me money doing what I love. Things could change, but… this isn’t the kind of thing one considers lightly.

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I admit, the first few books I tried weren’t that great, so it’s perfectly logical that they weren’t picked up. As far as quality of writing goes, though, there is no reason for the last two not to have been agented. No, that’s not my arrogance speaking, that’s professionals (editors, agent friends who don’t rep my genre etc) telling me that the writing is excellent. I have readers telling me the same, that the stories are amazing and could I maybe hurry up and write another one, please?

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I know all the arguments, that the market isn’t buying that kind of book, that the agent doesn’t have enough time, that, that, that…

But this go round, I’ve already gotten a very warmly worded rejection asking me to definitely query an agent with my next completed work because they loved the writing sample.

 

But. No. Unless something changes, I don’t think I will. 

Here’s why, We’re in a time of changing markets where the ease of self-publishing, and marketing groups, freelance editors, and cover artists, micro-presses and un-agented submissions to mid-level presses, all of it has completely changed the face of publishing.

I’m not the first person to point this out, to write an article like this one.

When I first started writing, oh… 29 years ago? The only way you got published was if an agent took you on and IF they managed to sell the book to one of the big 5 (then 6).

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If that didn’t happen, and you didn’t pay the massive amount of money to a vanity publisher just to see your words in print, you didn’t get published.

You HAD to keep trying with new books, had to keep querying agents, had to just keep trying. While the other books you’d written sat shelved. All that creativity wasted.

In this age, I don’t have to do that. We as writers don’t have to do that.

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We don’t have to obey the dictates of a publishing industry that limits debut authors to a short book, even when anyone who listens to readers (you know, the ones who actually buy the books??) would repeatedly hear them say they don’t like to spend their hard earned money on a short book, especially from a new author.

 

My readers keep asking me when I’m releasing another book. Because I’m sitting on three books in the query trenches right now… I don’t have an answer for them.

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I work as an editor and I see a lot of books in that role, many aren’t that great, much like my first few, (because it is true that almost every book you write is going to be better than the last). Some are absolutely outstanding and the authors often ask me, why, if it’s at least good, isn’t it getting picked up?

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Why can’t I make it as a writer?

Why am I still un-agented?

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Because that is still the end goal for many writers, (no shame in that at all) to be agented, to be partnered with someone who can sell their book, works contracts, have contacts in the industry and maybe inform them of the markets and all-in-all, help them along.

It’s why I’ve been trying. I don’t really like to talk to people on the phone, and that’s part of what I’m willing to pay an agent to do for me.

Forgot about that part? That it’s the writer paying the agent for their expertise and connections?

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Well. It is. it’s not the fault of the writer at all, it isn’t even the fault of the agents. It’s the industry behind everything that is a hide-bound dinosaur that doesn’t seem interested in change.

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I mean, why would they? It’s worked this way for a long time and if it isn’t broke, why fix it? Don’t forget that publishing is a corporation, they work like corporations do.

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So many agents I see list on their blogs the ‘ideals’ for a perfect client. Most will say commitment, ability to write, in it for the long haul, and you know, so many of us are?long-vehicle-320309_1920

But the way the system works just doesn’t work for us. Not the ones for whom this is a calling. The ones who have to make themselves stop writing vs the ones who have to make themselves start.

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I’m going to, lol, as I usually do, share an unpopular opinion.

we-2078025_1920.png Agents may have to change the way they do things.

The way they still function (on the surface anyway, I don’t have an agent so I don’t actually see behind the curtains) is very much the same as it was 20 years ago. 

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In today’s day and age, where it’s so much easier for a talented writer to say ‘screw this’ to the way THINGS ARE DONE and strike out on their own… I really think agents might need to be looking more to the clients, and not just at a book they can sell right now.

 

This is especially true for people like me, who write fast and self-edit well (no, not perfectly, I stand by my words that no author ever can see ALL their own mistakes because we’re too close).

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I highly doubt any agents are likely to read this blog post. But if you are, I’d suggest that when you find an author with a voice you love, you consider signing them on their voice and talent alone, vs whatever book they have at the time.

Here’s why.

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In a market as demanding as the one we’re all in, someone like me who has written custom stories for years, (and many good writers have, it’s easy money to ghostwrite, edit on spec, write custom kink stories…) those kinds of writers could very easily turn around a saleable book quite quickly. It takes me, probably 3 months (at most) to draft a book,

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Another month, maybe 2 (at most) to self-edit it to the point where it’s in better shape than a lot of NYT bestselling titles.

Seriously, one of my biggest complaints with big 5 pubbed books is the lack of editing that goes into many of the titles. (My other huge one is the lack of interesting new types of stories. I’m bored with the same old, same old. Something new please!)

So, that’s 2 books a year, and those are ones that I’m ripping up from the depths of my soul. The hard ones to write, my own creativity.crayon-2162075_1920.jpg

If I had a little guidance on what was likely to sell? What the market would be looking for in the near future? It’d likely be faster.

MUCH faster.

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If, for instance, I had a working partnership with an agent who loved my voice, my style and repped the genres I write in, vs a book I have right now, there’s no telling how many sales we could make. Which is rather the point of the whole author/agent relationship, isn’t it? To make sales so both of you make money? Maybe I’m romanticizing what I don’t have yet, a relationship with an agent, but I do write romance… so it’s in my nature.

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Oh, I know. I’m breaking the rules, I’m thumbing my nose at the way things are done. (Probably shooting myself in the foot with any agents I DO have queries out to.) But you know what?

Change starts somewhere.

It often starts with words.

If only it didn’t hurt so much to give up this idea that I could make more money with an agent, than without one.

I think part of that comes from having wasted months of my time querying, when maybe, I didn’t need to do that at all.

Buy Me a Coffee

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and Paypal  email addy is kaelan.rhywiol@gmail.com

Help me keep providing content, and you know, eating?

Amazon Wishlist too.

Drawing In and Untold Stories.

Community.

It’s about taking care of one another. Or it’s supposed to be.

It isn’t about tearing one another down, it’s about checking in on the ones who matter to you, or the ones in pain.

Yet, we in the modern age seem to have lost sight of this. We spend so much time trying to be right, to prove a point, to have what we want to have happen finally occur, that we fail as human beings. Especially online. My gods, do we ever fail at being human online. We fail to consider the damage our words and actions cause to real world people.

Many people fail to think about the fact that their words on a screen are being read by real people with their own burdens and their own pains. They don’t think about what they are doing when they post private information online (which is bloody illegal you know, it really is).

I reiterate, again, that posting private emails, DMs and PMs violates copyright and decreased expectation of privacy laws. So stop it. Seriously, enough. Eventually, someone is going to get really ticked off at that behavior and sue someone for it. They’d win too. There is case law and precedent already in place to penalize the person sharing the private communications.

We fail as a community to check in with others, with our networks.

We fail, a lot of the time to stand by our friends and acquaintances.

There have been a lot of attacks on innocent people, me included, in the past 8 months or so.

I keep wondering what in the world people are trying to accomplish.

I’ve seen a lot of it lately.

There is so much pain in the writing community right now, and there are many untold stories that haven’t been aired.

Because those who know them, can’t say anything out of fear.

It’s also hard to know what is truth, what is false, and what is a spin on reality that makes things look bad. Many people don’t bother to read critically and think, they go off on tangents that have nothing to do with fact. I just don’t understand how they can do that. I mean, I literally do not understand how someone can speak without researching and reading exhaustively about a topic. It completely boggles my mind. I fact check EVERYTHING before I talk about it… how can people… you know, not??

It really is hard to know the truth online. People can be anything or anyone hidden behind a screen.

Knowing that people maintain a level of mystery about themselves online, and my Asperger’s brain, lets me look at things critically, not emotionally.

It doesn’t help the pain I feel, though. Losing people I would’ve stood by because they couldn’t bother to read and think about something hurt. 

They assumed. They didn’t read, they assumed or believed rumor.

I also know how self-serving most humans are.

We really are, it’s just how we’re wired. Any parent with a young child will tell you the same if they’re feeling like being honest.

When we speak, it’s often to pad our words to make ourselves look better in the eye of the beholder. When we post things or share things, there is often an element of self-service to it.

When there is so much hurt in the community, in your  community of friends, loved ones, and associates. I hope you will draw in, and talk to the people who matter to you. I hope you will check on those you haven’t heard from lately, to make sure they’re okay.

I hope that everyone takes a breath and thinks about what they are saying before they get into something with someone online. Because it really isn’t worth the potential pain.

This really isn’t even about just one platform or one topic, there have been so many instances of hatred online lately that it’s mindboggling and making me want to stop using social media at all.

I can’t though, because for me, this is as much business as it is pleasure. This is my career, writing, and editing, and I need an internet presence for that.

How do we draw in?

We stop, we breathe. We step away from the computer and we sit with our emotions until we can react less emotionally and more logically.

We ask ourselves if the potential pain of what we want to say is worth inflicting, and hopefully, decide not to do that.

We go and get a snack, water, take a nap.

We call, or message people we care about to make sure they’re okay. I’m so grateful for the people who check on me. They are heroes.

We stand by our friends, and we ask them about something before abandoning them.

We don’t assume.

We take care of our community.

Instead of letting it burn.

Buy Me a Coffee

Patreon image.pngPatreon is here

and Paypal  email addy is kaelan.rhywiol@gmail.com

Help me keep providing content, and you know, eating?

Amazon Wishlist too.

 

 

Cover Reveal! CROWN OF ICE & SCEPTER OF FIRE by Vicki L.Weavil

Today I’m participating in a special double cover reveal for the first two books in the Mirror of Immortality Trilogy by Vicki L. Weavil. The all-new second edition of the first book, Crown of Ice, releases on May 9 from Snowy Wings Publishing, with the second book, Scepter of Fire, coming on May 23!

Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Crown of Ice
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

Snow Queen Thyra Winther is immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles.

Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s love, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could prove her ultimate undoing.

Add Crown of Ice on Goodreads!

 

Cover designed by Deranged Doctor Design

Title: Scepter of Fire
Author: Vicki L. Weavil
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing

She’s the ugly duckling in a family of swans. But Varna Lund is determined to live a life that matters.

Ridiculed by the young men of her village, Varna vows she’ll become the finest healer in the land. The skills she’s learned from her ancient mentor prove vital when she encounters Erik Stahl, a young soldier who deserted the battlefield to carry an injured friend to safety. Aided by her sister Gerda, she cares for the soldiers in secret.

When betrayal catapults the four young people into life on the run, Varna encounters her former mentor—now revealed as the sorcerer, Sten Rask. Seeking an enchanted mirror that offers unlimited power, Rask appears determined to seduce Varna to his side.

To protect their country, Varna and her companions form an alliance with a former Snow Queen, a scholar, and an enchantress. But when Rask tempts her with beauty and power, Varna’s heart becomes a battlefield. Caught between loyalty to her companions and a man whose kisses ignite a fire on her lips, Varna must choose—embrace her own desires, or fight for a society that’s always spurned her.

Add Scepter of Fire on Goodreads!

About the Author:

Vicki L. Weavil turned her early obsession with reading into a career as a librarian. After obtaining a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she continued her education by receiving a Masters in Library Science and a M.A. in Liberal Studies. She is currently the Library Director for a performing and visual arts university.

An avid reader who appreciates good writing in all genres, Vicki has been known to read seven books in as many days. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, listening to music, gardening, or traveling. Vicki, who writes in other genres under the pennames V. E. Lemp and Victoria Gilbert, is represented by Frances Black of Literary Counsel, NY, NY. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.

Visit Vicki online at vickilweavil.com, or on Twitter at @VickiLWeavil or Facebook at @VickiLWeavil.

 

Empathy

I think, for me… what it comes down to is the kind of person I want and choose to be.

I have fear of backlash for posting this, but in the end, if I can’t respect myself… I’ve got nothing. If I don’t speak, I can’t respect me. So.

I won’t speak for anyone but myself.

For what it’s worth. I’m an autistic, disabled, queer (pansexual, kinky, gray-aro, gray-ace, polyamorous) genderqueer person of mixed descent. I’ve spoken about it elsewhere on my blog, but my close ancestors are from four different ethnicities. European, First Nations, Latinx, and Black. I am a trauma, sexual abuse, self-harm survivor. I cope with depression/anxiety and several diagnosed chronic illnesses.

I was raised privileged being taught to pass (violently taught in some cases). I still pass, and because I do and have privilege (neurotypical, cis, religious, white… almost all of the privilege out there can apply to me) I still have a lot of unpacking to do.

I’m trying.

They say that autistics tend to turn everything back to themselves when we talk about the experiences of others, it’s part of why we’re often misunderstood, accused of lying or other things.

But you see, when you’re autistic, (and speaking only of myself) a lot of the time that’s HOW you learn to understand what another person is experiencing. You turn it around and put it on like a raincoat to see what it feels like. So you can understand. We know it’s not about us, but that… trying it on, it’s how we make it fit into our computer-like brains, (or at least that’s how I do things).

Isn’t that what empathy really is? The ability to feel someone else’s pain for your own?

I suppose that’s a piss poor analogy, but with my heart weighing down the center of my chest like a fucking elephant, well… it may be the best I can do.

I’ve been asked often today if I’m angry. To turn it to me intentionally for just a second, all I feel is sadness for the family’s loss and the snuffing of a bright light far too soon. A diverse writer who the world really needed. I feel deep, abiding grief, and that’s all. No. I’m not angry.

The rest of this post, I’m just trying to explain the thoughts running like mice around my noggin… I’m not (though it’ll probably seem like it to the neurotypical) trying to center me and my experience. I’m only trying to communicate.

You see, I understand what it feels like to try so damned hard to communicate… and still not be understood or believed. To feel like you never will be.

I also know despair the likes of which causes a person to take their own life. By some random chance (and a cat) I didn’t succeed.

I know the utter rage, searing pain, sense of violation and lack of peace, the hurt, despair, all of it… when someone you love does succeed.

I know that one too well. I wish I didn’t.

He was my brother, it was almost three years ago (I promise I’m not trying to center myself or make this about me.)

Today is for her.

Not me.

This post is for her, not me.

Two-dimensional words on a page are not going to get that through, I know that. They’re all I have.

For so many reasons, I can’t stay silent. It’s not really in my nature for one. She deserves better, for two.

What little part I played, either by not being outspoken enough because my life was in the way, or by not knowing, or by staying silent… by not immediately shutting down comments on my blog, by not knowing if I’m conflating separate arguments into one with privilege… by following who I want to follow on social media for my own reasons, I am sorry for the part I played.

None of us can know the ripples from the stones we cast.

Words are tricksy things. The saying of them and the interpretation of them, too.

Perception is the key and the only thing that matters.

See, that’s where so many writers have it wrong. Intent is meaningless. Desire is meaningless.

Not when it comes to pain and harm.

My intent/need to spend less time on twitter and more with my family caused me to miss things.

My life imploding around me with the move and the election and my family choosing to have nothing to do with me because of the way I’m born and how I won’t be quiet… that doesn’t matter either.

My intent to help other writers blew up badly, for all the wrong reasons and my intent there doesn’t matter either.

My desire and intent to educate on things that feel as plain as day to me is also meaningless, and I may be very wrong about some of it. I’m still listening and trying to learn what I don’t know.

I am autistic, I do see a large percentage of things in right/wrong answers. I also often fail to understand emotional and social responses, especially if the person isn’t standing right in front of me.

My desire to stay silent because I just didn’t understand what the hell was going on and I didn’t feel it truly involved me… that too is completely irrelevant.

It also doesn’t matter that I didn’t feel I knew most of the people at the center of the issues.

Harm, Pain, Life, Death… those are what matter.

Pain is real.

I’m sorry for pain I caused.

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t KNOW I was causing pain and harm. (FWIW I didn’t) what matters is that inadvertently, I caused the pain. I will try to do better. It’s all I’ve got.

Though I know more than most that at such a time, words are useless. I need to say them.

I’m sorry.

May your spirit fly free

Julie. I speak your name and remember.