Me: Autistic.

I’m sitting here cuddling my sick son. Wondering how badly the world is going to chew him up and spit him out because he’s autistic. Just like I am. It’ll be bad. I know that. The world is going to break him. I would let it break me, over and over and over again to spare him this pain. I’d let the world tear into me, over and over again if I could just spare my kids from feeling like this.

Even once.

It’s why I’m talking about this right now, when I’d really, really rather not. When I’d just as soon leave the internet and stop tilting at the windmills of allistic society in a vain hope of educating people enough about autism that they don’t hurt my kids.

The world is going to take fat, wet bites out of both of my kids and leave them scarred. They’ll develop massive mental illness problems because of how they’re wired and because allistic society doesn’t bother to try to understand how autistics think, communicate and feel.

It’s been an absolutely terrible 24 hours for me. I lost my temper and wrote a blog post about marginalized readers, privileged writers and THINKING about what you write and why you’re writing it.

A couple of people I thought might eventually be people I could call friends attacked me for it.

They didn’t explain how it hurt them. They just… attacked me for it on twitter. I admit, I got defensive, but I don’t know a single person on the face of the planet who wouldn’t when you have three or four people who you thought might be okay people suddenly in your mentions claiming you’re a harmful person.

Without making it crystal clear exactly how they came to that conclusion.

I mean. They could’ve explained? Instead of clinging to hurt feelings and twisted meanings of my words? Instead of being sarcastic and just telling me not to read their books? Instead of being angry and hurtful when I said over, and over, and over again that ‘I do NOT understand’ and ‘How did I do that?’

They all knew I’m autistic. But they treated me exactly like they would another allistic.

Their expectations were exactly the ones they’d have expected from another allistic.

Their reactions did not take into account that I don’t perceive or understand things the same way they do. Which does not make me stupid by the way. I’m a tested and certified genius, for what it’s worth (which is absolutely nothing). It just means I’m wired differently.

They expected me to process the sarcasm they used as ‘you hurt me’. Instead of saying THESE WORDS YOU USED HERE HURT ME AND THIS IS WHY.

They expected screenshots of my words as receipts to give me some clue as to why they were hurt.

Does that actually work for allistics? It doesn’t for many autistics. It doesn’t for me.

They expected me not to react when four people were in my mentions accusing me of terrible things. Only autistics aren’t allowed to react to that you know. Quite a double standard there.

They expected me to be ABLE to process the information as fast as they could throw it at me. Which, like… I can’t.

Actually cannot. It takes me longer to process written information because I’m dyslexic. (A common comorbidity with autism.)

I’ve since been accused of using my neurodiversity as a shield for me being a dick.

Except I apologized, both publicly and privately to the person I hurt the most. If I could AT all wrap my head around how I hurt the one who hurt ME the most, I’d apologize there too.

But I don’t get it, no one wants to explain it and fuck me. Aren’t I allowed to be hurt and angry too?

No. Of course not. I’m autistic. I wrote the blog post that got twisted to hell and gone. I’m not allowed anything.

I have not received any apologies. I have received correction, for which I’m grateful. I am SO grateful for people when the call me on my bullshit. I’m human, I’m quite capable of making mistakes. I’m also capable of learning when I fuck up.

But I truly did NOT understand how my words could be twisted so. Still don’t, for what it’s worth.

You know. When you’re autistic, you’re not allowed any room to be autistic. It’s why we mask so much.

We process information differently. We communicate differently, but the second you prove you’re not allistic?

You’ll get attacked. Especially on social media. This has happened so many times to me. It’s so fucking exhausting.

I’m coining a hashtag. #GuiltyOfBeingAutisticOnSocialMedia

It’s so long it won’t catch on, but it’s so freaking common, and not just for me. SO, SO many autistics have been in my mentions the past 24 hours offering support, telling me their stories of similar experiences and also… telling me that the blog post did, in fact, say exactly what I meant it to say.

Now… I DO mean exactly what I said in that post. There is NO ulterior motive, no hidden meaning. I wrote it when I was angry and I wasn’t as clear as I could have been in some ways. I edited it for clarity after the fact and all edits are labeled as such. It makes it rather a mess to read, but I don’t want to be accused of changing anything to cover my ass on top of everything else I’ve been accused of being the past 24 hours.

I don’t understand how allistics can’t understand that many autistics communicate using words we ACTUALLY mean. And nothing more.

Like… twisting an autistic person’s words is just flabbergasting. Most of us TRULY don’t mean more than what we say, with the EXACT words we used. We don’t mean the opposite, we don’t mean twisted and turned meanings, there is no undertone to our words. Because we’re not allistic.

Allistics don’t tend to communicate the same way, and I think that is the source of the problems I ran into? Maybe? There’s always this subtext to allistic communication that autistics both don’t catch and are for most of us, incapable of comprehending.

Yes. I needed to wait to post that until I wasn’t angry and could’ve proofed it for clarity. My opinions are strong, I’m blunt and I say things people really don’t want to hear.

Like some stories aren’t yours to tell. People really hate hearing that one, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Especially, OMG especially white writers. Truly, they HATE hearing that one. If you chose to write a story, did your research and due diligence, of course you can write what you want. Even if it isn’t your story to tell. There aren’t any publishing police, no one is going to arrest you for it.

It’s your responsibility if you hurt someone too.

But yes, I’ve learned that the least I can do is make sure I proof posts for clarity before I release them onto the world.

Someone I regard as a friend said they could see how the post could be twisted and it doesn’t mean what I think it means.

I know what I meant. I SAID what I meant.

Even if I can’t understand the twisting, I can understand that some people will take my words and turn them into what they want them to mean rather than what I actually meant.

Isn’t that where asking for clarification is supposed to come into play?

The basic building blocks of communication?

“Hey, did you MEAN what I THINK you meant?’ < Clear question of intent.

“Oh, gods no, I didn’t mean that! THIS is what I meant.’ < Explanation of actual intent

‘Oh, cool. Glad I asked, cause if you’d meant that it would’ve hurt me a lot. We good?’ < Acceptance that they needed to ask for clarification, explanation.

‘Yeah. We good, oh and man, I’m so sorry if I hurt you, it was totally unintentional.’ < ^^Acceptance and apology.

‘S’okay. I forgive you. You didn’t know.’ < Acceptance and apology.

You have now communicated. Level up! (I’m a gamer, I’m exhausted, in a fibromyalgia flare from emotional stress and massively hurt, down to my soul from this latest of blows from being autistic on social media.)

I think one of the ways the world is going to hurt my children the most is the ways in which it’s hurt me the most.

It takes my words, it twists them, it assumes meaning that isn’t there, then it penalizes me for what people THINK I said.

When I was trying so damned hard to be clear with my words too.

You know… there’s an old saw.

Assuming. When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME.

They assumed, and turned us all into asses.

I assumed that people would read the actual words on the page, and turned us all into asses.

And you know? I already know this post will be used as yet more evidence that I’m using my autism as a shield from me being a dick.

I’m not trying to. I’m trying to explain how I think, what I perceived as it was going down, and why it happened. I’m trying to make sense of it all, so maybe I can keep it from happening again.

I’m trying to learn how to guide my kids so they don’t get hurt by the world as much as do.

I AM wired differently. If that’s using my brain as a shield it’ll be awfully messy. Brains go squish.

But it’s sort of like a sighted person screaming at a blind person to LOOK, SEE. The blind person cannot.

It’s like being furious at a deaf person because they can’t hear what you can.

It’s like screaming at a person who cannot walk to get up and run.

I don’t often consider my autistic brain to be a disability. I love my brain, it’s awesome. I love what I can do and learn and perceive with it.

Today though? I’m well aware that I AM at a disadvantage when trying to communicate to allistics.

And so are my kids.

Because society makes no accommodation at all for differences.

Which is ableistic as fuck.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Queer Kerfluffles and Marginalized readers

Content warning bad words and loud opinions.

EDIT: JESUS FUCKING CHRIST ON A CRUTCH. Non-autistic readers, I am AUTISTIC, I mean ONLY what I’m saying with the words that are on the page. I am not IMPLYING anything. There is NO HIDDEN MESSAGE. Y’all have caused me to have an emotional meltdown with your accusations.

If I wanted to SAY don’t write something, I would say DON’T WRITE SOMETHING.

I was trying to convince myself not to write this post. I’m so flipping MAD right now, and I try not to emote too much when I’m mad. But I feel maybe I need to write this post. Both for me and for other marginalized readers.

Right now on Twitter there’s a kerfluffle in the m/m romance and erotica community. I don’t even know what originally started it and honestly, other than rabid curiosity  I don’t care that much.

I was vaguely aware of the dust-up but was ignoring it. I’ve got sequels to write and art to do and I just don’t have the time.

Until a former mutual made the mistake of saying readers should judge a book BY the book instead of by the author’s ID.

This was in regards to m/m romance.

No. Nope. Niet. Nix. Nie. Nein. No fucking way.

Why?

First point. It’s awfully fucking privileged to say that to a marginalized reader. And if you’re saying it on Twitter? You’re saying it to marginalized readers. We’re kinda everywhere there. You know?

It’s how we tend to get book recommendations.

Oh, yeah, I’m marginalized, I’m a special little snowflake. I’m mixed race, I’m queer as a three dollar bill (pansexual, kinky, asexual, non-binary trans), I’m mentally ill, I’m chronically ill (fibromyalgia/possibly EDS), I’m autistic… there’s probably more stuff I’m forgetting.

I NEED NEED NEED NEED good representation of my marginalizations. I need it like I need water to drink or air to breathe.

I need to see myself in fiction. In the pages of a book, on the screen. I need this so much.

And people are daring to tell me I shouldn’t care who writes the book?

Look. Don’t go off from here thinking I’m insisting every author out themselves. I’m not. It’s NOT a safe world to be any sort of marginalized author and I will never, ever say you have to out yourself.

But you shouldn’t be insisting that I read your books either, if you aren’t going to be out. If you absolutely aren’t marginalized? Where the fuck do you get off?

Now… the former mutual in question I know for a fact is an allo cis het vanilla writer of m/m kink. I know, because I asked, that they write it for money and because they love to read m/m porn.

Whatever… you do you. Write your books, take your lumps if you fuck it up. Just like any other author on the face of the planet. She gets to choose what she writes, and what she doesn’t and honestly? I could really care less.

But don’t tell me I have to read it. Don’t tell me or any other marginalized reader that it’ll be just as good as queer fiction.

I don’t have to read it and it almost certainly won’t be.

I do not in any way have to judge a book by the book itself, not if it’s written about one of my marginalizations.

Why?

Because historically marginalized people have had books written ABOUT us. They aren’t written FOR us. And trust me, there is a huge damned difference.

Do you know what doing that is? That’s profiting off the backs of our very existence, while edging us out of publishing, because when you’re white, cis, allo, het you AUTOMATICALLY HAVE A LEG UP IN THIS INDUSTRY.

And often? The books aren’t that good. They’re just not. Even IF the author hasn’t fucked it up, (and a lot of them really DO, see my ass sex post for just ONE of the ways they fuck it up) they completely miss the nuance that marginalized authors bring to their work.

Because they don’t live it, they cannot, as in they are NOT capable of actually repping that. I mean, how could they be?

No amount of research in the world can give you lived experience.

None.

Research can keep you from fucking it up (dear gods I hope, anyway) but it can’t let you know what it FEELS like to be autistic, or queer, or mentally ill, or (insert marginalization).

It just can’t.

We as authors of things, especially queer things, do need to make room for people who are exploring their queerness. Identity is weird everyone, it really is. Writing is often a way to find out that oh, hey, wow, I’m REALLY FUCKING QUEER.

Writing and reading helped me figure out that oh, wait, I’m actually trans and was so heavily socialized as a ‘girl’ that I didn’t know that.

So yes I’m absolutely willing to make room for those baby queers who are exploring. That’s not what this is about, so don’t even start with me about it.

(And you know, I’ve read work by people who *I* could tell they were queer even if they didn’t know it yet, I’ll never forget reading one of my favorite authors and being surprised as hell to find out that they thought they were straight and vanilla. Author came out later that year as being bi and kinky, but after reading their work? I already knew that.)

I’m not gatekeeping with this post. I really don’t care if you want to write marginalizations that aren’t yours. What I do care about is you insisting that we marginalized readers MUST give it a chance. We do not, in any way shape or form owe you that.

I once listened to a radio program on the CBC where an older white male writer opined that he thought HE could write what it felt like to be a black woman BETTER THAN A BLACK WOMAN.

Because he was objective and did his research. I swear to gods you can’t make this shit up.

The fucking arrogance is astounding. Truly.

So. How close do you have to be to write it right? (or at least WELL… jeez)

I think that depends on the topic, to be frank.

I really don’t want non-autistic writers writing about autism or having an autistic MC because they’re gonna get it wrong. There is SO MUCH misinformation out there about what an autistic is really like that… yeah, just don’t. Leave that to those of us who live it please and thank you. EDIT: If you absolutely feel compelled to write an autistic MC, HIRE A BLOODY AUTHENTICITY READER.

I think queer people can write pretty much any variety of queer fiction (EDIT: including kinky fiction, kink, trans, ace etc are all part of the LGBTQQIAAP2 acronym and I don’t understand how that is even a question. Kink is also a part of the QUILTBAG thank you very much), as long as they do their research and employ an authenticity (previously known as sensitivity) reader.

I include m/m sex in my books, yes, absolutely, but every m/m scene I include is beta read by three bi or gay male beta readers. I’ve known them since university and they have no trouble smacking me down if I get it wrong.

Trans fiction is tougher, I’m a little leary saying all queers could write trans fiction because…well… how would all queers know what it feels like to be trans? But they’re probably less likely to fuck it up than a cis person would be.

I think a mentally ill person can probably write most mental illnesses, but maybe not the really badly demonized ones like DID or sociopathy or BPD or even ED.

I think for kink? You really need to be kinky/think you’re kinky to be writing it. Not sorry. EDIT: It is POSSIBLE to write kink well without being kinky based on research alone. It may still ring false to a lifestyle kinkster, but as long as it’s not harmful? Enh? Go for it. The reason I’m fussy about this?

POINTS AT ALL THE DAMAGE 50 SHADES OF GAGS HAS DONE.

EDIT: I personally know people who will bear lifelong emotional and physical scars from their partners reading poorly written kink and then doing it. Kink. Is. Not. A. Game.

If you aren’t black, why are you writing a black MC? Seriously, you really think you’re better at writing their experience than they are? Please. EDIT: First Person POV. I think it’s fine, based on what I’ve seen black people say, to write a third person POV black person or Asian person (or other POC)… because in third person, you’re writing about/including them, not REPRESENTING them.

If you aren’t mixed race, or Asian, or… why? Why are you writing it?

If you aren’t asexual, you’re gonna fuck it up, because not even all of us aces agree on what good rep is. EDIT: So you fuck it up? Big deal. People have been fucking it up all through history. I’m not saying don’t write it. You do you.

At the end of the day, you, as a writer, need to ask yourself WHY you’re writing what you’re writing with regards to marginalizations. You need to ask yourself if it’s your story to tell, because some of them, no matter how shiny an idea or fluffy a plot-bunny, will not be your story to tell.

You need to ask yourself what kind of harm you’re doing (cause if you aren’t OF the marginalization, but you’ve chosen to write it anyway? YOU ARE CAPABLE OF DOING ENORMOUS HARM. Not Fucking Sorry).

If you’re a cis het non-queer of other variety person writing m/m fiction for money? I don’t have a lot of respect for you, but go for it. There’s a market full of cis het women dying to fetishize gay men. Have fun, just don’t pretend you’re doing anything but writing it for the money and the fetishization of real people.

If you’re writing it because you just happen to love gay romance? Get gay/bi male beta readers at the very least and DO YOUR RESEARCH.

If you’re white and you’re writing a first-person black POV MC? Also don’t have a hell of a lot of respect for you, because we all can see why you’re doing it. You think it’s the in thing and it’s gonna get you cookies. (It’s not, really, it might get you published, because you have a leg up in this industry over black and mixed race peeps right from the get go.)

*I* won’t even write some of my marginalizations. I have a black/native grandfather, and a native grandmother, that does not mean I have the right to write what it feels like to be black or native american. It just does not, cause hello… I turn into Casper in the winter.

(I’m mixed, I tan really well, but I’m not black or native american. EDIT: My great grandfather was Portuguese and Spanish, I’m technically latinx, EDIT: Apparently that doesn’t make me latinix, I’ve been educated about that. Still, I won’t write it. But I won’t write that either, not and rep what that experience feels like. I’m white coded and I have passing-privilege.) I do write a lot of mixed-race characters because I can authentically rep that.

I read mostly own-voices work these days, because hands down, the work is so much better than non-own-voices. It just IS.

It all comes down to some questions and statements.

Who are you writing for?

Is it your story to tell? Some stories ARE NOT YOURS TO TELL Not sorry.

What kind of harm can it do?

WHY are you writing it?

and the statements:

Make your worlds realistic with all kinds of people, YES ABSOLUTELY. 

PLEASE include us, but don’t USE us.

Lolz, and don’t tell us we have to read your books. I don’t owe a read to anyone, especially if they’re writing ABOUT me instead of FOR me.

EDIT: I have been attacked by non-autistic people that I thought were pretty cool and accepting types because of this post. I do not understand how they can think I’m saying ‘don’t write that’ ‘ace and trans aren’t queer’ from anything in this post. I have since edited it, all edits are noted with EDIT and colored a different shade, take all the receipts you want. I haven’t deleted anything, nor will I. It would be dishonorable.

Y’all. You could do a LITTLE bit of work when it comes to communicating with autistics. We work all the gods damned time to communicate with you.

There is NO implied meaning to any of that. None. That’s on the reader if they think there’s something more behind it. Not on me for saying what I actually mean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consent, #Metoo, Kink, Domination/submission, and owning our needs.

Content Warning: Sex, Sexual Abuse, Kink

I’m kinky, but y’all knew that if you’ve been following me for any time at all.

I’ve always BEEN kinky. I’ve also been the victim of sexual assault and rape.

And no, before you even think it, I’m not kinky because of my abuse. Kink has healed me from the effects of abuse, not the opposite.

Kink let me reclaim my sexuality in a way I’m not sure I ever would have been able to without it.

We’re in a time of social upheaval, when so many people are talking about what sexual abuse really is and how it contrasts to rape. I feel something needs to be added to this conversation.

We’re talking about how men (actually, anyone who wants to date, because f/f relationships and any relationship with an enby needs to pay attention to this conversation too) now have an opportunity to choose to be a different kind of person (if they aren’t already) than they were socialized to be.

We need to talk about kink and how it affects this conversation.

If you haven’t read this article, please make the time to do so. It’s fantastic.

The only thing that made me blink a bit in that article was a reference that made it seem bad if you are the kind of man who wants to dominate a woman.

Now, I don’t get the feeling Ms. Oluo was trying to say that kink is bad, she’s talking about something entirely different, but it did leave me a slight squirmy feeling in my gut.

So.

What about it? What if you ARE the kind of man (or woman or non-binary person) who wants to dominate someone else in the kinky sexual sense?

What if you are the kind of person regardless of gender who wants to be dominated? Or, lolz, to put it bluntly, what if it really gets you hot to submit to someone?

There isn’t anything wrong with that.

It’s okay. Really.

It is absolutely okay, if (and only if) you have the proper agreements with your partner if you submit to them, or if you dominate them.

That’s the beauty of kink, and of consent because I have very rarely met a committed kinkster who isn’t extremely respectful of consent. We usually tend to be very good at communication too, we have to be.

There is an aspect to this ongoing conversation that a lot of people may not be aware of.

I think it may be part of why many women are pushing back against the concept of what sexual assault is and isn’t. A smaller part, for sure, but it’s telling.

Women and femme presenting peeps aren’t, in any generation of any recent time, encouraged to embrace their needs.

Some people need to submit. Some people need to dominate. These are needs and largely unmet if they aren’t filled by being in a kinky relationship, or maybe the person who needs these things doesn’t even know that kink exists.

The one thing I’ll always be thankful to 50 shades for is that it brought kink out of the shadows. It’s a terribly written, abusive, harmful example of kink, but it did bring the idea of kink into the public conscious.

Hell, in my generation, (I’m currently 41, it’s 2018) we weren’t socialized to accept that we HAD sexual needs at all.

We were socialized to ‘please a man’, regardless of our own desires. We were socialized to so many things that many of us wouldn’t have chosen to do if we’d even known we had a choice.

So many of us didn’t just didn’t know, because we weren’t taught. The fault there lies with society, for certain, with patriarchy, often times with religion as well.

So it makes sense to me that a lot of women may not understand that they actually want to submit. That it’s a legitimate need and that there are safe, consensual ways that those needs can be met.

The reverse is true, as well.

These are just my rambly thoughts on the subject really, I’ve done no research to back up what is a gut instinct for me. Obviously this is a very wide-reaching, deep social problem that covers all shades of gray, and this is just one aspect of it.

In every conversation like this one, there are the polar opposites of GOOD and BAD, RIGHT and WRONG, but in between those opposites are all the shades of gray.

We need to talk about those too, or we’re not talking about the whole subject.

We need to be aware of why people are pushing back against social change, or we’ll slide right back down the slippery slope we’re all trying so desperately to claw our way up.

Everyone needs to own their needs and their responsibility to themselves and, extending that, society.

Everyone needs to get to the point where they are willing to clearly communicate what their needs are, and what they are absolutely NOT willing or able to do.

We ALL need to get to the point where NO is as acceptable (without consequences) as YES PLEASE will be.

We need to get to where we ask for verbal consent, where we make it sexy as fuck to ask (cause it really, really is) and where it’s AS sexy for people to say, ‘hey, can I try dominating you/submitting to you sometime?’

It’s going to take work. Work in ourselves to find out what we each of us needs. It’s going to take work to OWN those needs, to take responsibility for them, our selves, our bodies, and learn how to communicate about all of those things.

It’s going to take a lot of work for people to shrug off the generations of patriarchal socialization that is causing so many problems.

And I think, the very first step of that, is to be talking about it all.

We’ve made a start. I dearly hope for the sake of my children at least, that we can keep the conversation going.

Social media, New followers, Reviews and related STUFF.

You can tell, based on how chatty I’ve been lately on both my blog and social media that I’m stalled on drafting my WIP.

I’ll get back there when life calms down a little bit more.

I need to say a few things that might be of use to peeps, given the increased numbers of new followers who’ve found me lately.

I’ll be brief (fine, I’ll try, don’t hold your breath).

A) I don’t habitually follow back. I’ve dealt with A LOT of harassment, mostly through Twitter, but also through facebook and my blog. I don’t even check my notifications for who has followed me or unfollowed me anymore.

I do check to see if a mutual *we both follow one another* unfollows, but as for new follows? I don’t even look.

Two reasons, I gain/lose upwards of 20 new followers daily, so I’d be a lot more swamped than I already am keeping up with social media if I auto-followed.

If you are someone who needs a follow back to feel okay with a relationship with me, I can’t really promise that? I respond to almost all @s on Twitter (unless I miss the notification, I hang in my mentions, not all-notifications, so I usually do see them) emails, etc, but I get it if that’s not enough for people.

The best way to get my attention is to talk at me a lot.

Like… a LOT. If, over time I feel we click, then I may eventually follow back.

I might not though. Because secondarily, I try to keep the numbers of accounts I follow lower because my feed is an absolute mess. I don’t see the peeps I want to see and talk with if I have too many peeps I follow. I tend to go through and do a semi-regular clean out of inactive accounts and people I haven’t connected with on a social sense as well. If I have to ask myself who the hell you are? You probably have an unfollow coming, even if we’re mutuals.

B) It used to really hurt me if a mutual unfollowed me. These days, if we haven’t connected in a social sense, godspeed and I wish you well. It’s really okay. You can go on and not have anything to do with me. I will unfollow you though. I’m not in this for a numbers game.

My one addendum on that is that if you’re an author, and we’ve been mutuals, I can promise I won’t be pushing your work anymore, nor will I be buying. There’s a bit of a professional give and take with an author/author relationship.

I’ll also notice if I’m the only one pushing your work, and you’re not pushing mine. I have a varied reading palate, not everyone does, so I get it, but if you want ME to be helping push your work, you gotta scratch my back, too. (lolz, doesn’t apply to super famous authors that I adore. I’m just thrilled y’all are following and talking to me, that’s more for authors who are around my same level of publication history. Though if we’ve been mutuals and suddenly we’re not, I’ll probably stop buying your books. Only cause it hurt me that that happened, and I probably didn’t understand the why.)

Just the way I’m wired. I’m contrary, I own it.

C) Please Please Please don’t @ me on twitter with your books unless I ASK for a link. It’s not quite a blocking offense, but I REALLY don’t like it.

I’m contrary by nature, so the second you do that? I can almost guarantee I won’t be reading it.

Same goes for sending me an email and asking me to pimp your book on my blog/buy your book to read for review.

Really people? No. Just no. Firstly, I think this probably violates spamming laws.

Secondly (and I’m not talking a review request, that’s a completely different animal) I’m not made of money. 99.9% of the books I read are ARC copies or from the library. I can’t afford to buy books by authors I KNOW I love. Why in the world would people think that I’m going to spend money on their books, just so I can review them? I don’t get it.

That’s not how reviewing works.

The way reviewing works is that you send me the book for free, AFTER asking if I might be interested in it, and AFTER reading my review policy to make sure it’s fine by you.

You don’t ask me to buy your book so I can review it. Nope.

Lolz, yes, this happens, A LOT.

You might be surprised at how often that happens.

Finally, if you’ve in any way been responsible for harassing me? (Subtweeting counts, especially if you’ve used my name or description, because you know? That actually IS legally harassment) you can consider yourself blocked and blacklisted FOREVER (or until you apologize).

Since most people who end up harassing me are doing it through an ableist lense, welp, I figure I’ll be in my grave before they confront their ableism and apologize for fucking up.

But, that’s really neither here nor there.

So that’s my social media update in a nutshell.

Guess I was long winded after all.

 

A reaction to The Last Jedi, from a die hard SW fan who hated Rogue One.

TL;DR is…

I fucking loved it so hard. You hate Frumplestiltskin, the GOP, and maybe even rich peeps?

See it, IN THEATRE.

Spoiler free review.

I’m not going to go into detail. I don’t usually review movies, I bitch about or laud them on twitter instead.

I reviewed Rogue One, but only cause I loathed it with every fiber of my being.

S’okay, you can disagree with me and I can judge your taste until the end-point of my being.

Lolz, we can still be friends. You’ll just get a side-eye from me about the movie, is all. (Seriously, my best friend completely adores it, we just look at each other weird about it.)

That review can be found here. I wasn’t kind, or nice, the movie was shite.

I’m someone who grew up on these movies, (I’m old, seriously, these movies were my childhood, I’m utterly unreasonable about them. I don’t CARE).

There’s a format to them.

You can scoff all you want at me but I’m actually an editor in real life, like, it’s my JOB to do this stuff.

Rogue one failed on pretty much every aspect except that it was sorta… not really… not even close… to being Star Wars Shaped.

It failed the format, it failed the canon, it failed everything, including the fucking romance.

Blech.

I’m thinking of torturing myself through it again, since it’s on netflix, to see if it was REALLY as bad as I thought. Preeeeety sure it was.

I’m a masochist. Don’t sue me, I’m broke.

The Last Jedi? I was actually terrified to go see it, because R1 made me hate Star Wars. People who LOVED R1 kinda made me look at the fandom in a WTAF sorta way.

Shrugs.

I had edits for The Last Jedi, if you know me AT ALL you know I’ve got edits on EVERYTHING. Including life.

The Last Jedi didn’t disappoint. I loved it. I loved every aspect of it.

I cried, I sobbed. I just. THAT IS STAR WARS!!!

THAT is what people who kept saying in 2016 that R1 ‘was the movie they needed to see’ (with regards to the resistance and a message of hope and the election and gahhhh)… nope.

No.

The Last Jedi carried that message, and then some.

Choice, Action, Consequences, Results, Lives lived on the edge, Heroic Sacrifice, Balance between light/dark, Space Battles, HOPE AGAINST THE DARK.

Yeah. THAT is Star Wars.

Also, I really want a Vulptex, (crystal fox) ridden by a Porg, followed by a Fathier, cause OMFG SQUEEEEEEE!

Okay. Stopping now. So I don’t spoil it. I loved it. It brought Star Wars back to me.

And after the godsfucked year a queer, autistic, mixed-race, pagan, expat American has had in 2017?

I needed THAT movie.

Go on now.

See it.

 

 

 

New Book Review: WALKING ON WATER by Matthew J. Metzger

LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling (Little Mermaid)

WalkingonWater-f

BLURB

When a cloud falls to earth, Calla sets out to find what lies beyond the sky. Father says there’s nothing, but Calla knows better. Something killed that cloud; someone brought it down.

Raised on legends of fabled skymen, Calla never expected them to be real, much less save one from drowning—and lose her heart to him. Who are the men who walk on water? And how can such strange creatures be so beautiful?

Infatuated and intrigued, Calla rises out of her world in pursuit of a skyman who doesn’t even speak her language. Above the waves lies more than princes and politics. Above the sky awaits the discovery of who Calla was always meant to be. But what if it also means never going home again?

REVIEW

Read it. Hie thee hence to a place to buy this book (ideally the publisher) and READ IT NOW.

I’m picky AF about books, those that I give an unreserved five-star score to and want to leap up and down on the top of a building for? Yeah. They’re GOOD.

I’d like to say I’m without words at how wonderful this book is, but it’s honestly just that I have SO MANY positive words about it that I’m having trouble expressing myself.

This book wrecked me in all the best ways possible.

It made me curse the author, it made me so flipping MAD, I cried, sniffly sort of crying and the ugly sobbing sort of crying. I laughed, snickered, and snorted a few times too, and at the end? I hugged my tablet to my chest and I’ve been walking around with the goofiest grin on my face since.

I loved it so much.

Even if reading it did make me forget to eat two meals and I forgot to drink my tea.

It gave me many things I didn’t know I needed to see on-page until I read them.

Trans rep– there is a whole chapter about one of the MCs that so clearly echoes exactly how I feel about my physical form some days that I cried to read it. I needed that. I needed a happy ever after kind of story for a trans person who had to choose not to be in contact with their family because of not being loved for who I am. I needed this book so very much and I didn’t know HOW MUCH I needed it until I read it.

Ace rep– I’m a sex-positive ace, but it’s rare as hen’s teeth to find ace rep of any kind, (thank goodness this is changing) and seeing the way the author deals with a sex-repulsed ace was still healing to me because she was there, on page, and her needs were respected and met. (There IS sex in this book, on page, erotic sex, but it’s not for the ace side character.)

Pain rep/cane use– I have chronic pain and use a cane and the way pain is handled in this book is so accurate, it’s perfect. (It’s pain from an injury, but the way the MC deals with it is true to my experience.)

Fat positivity Fat characters are also spoken of in a positive light. I liked that too.

Bisexual representation!– On page bisexual representation. Bisexual GUY on page rep and the story isn’t ABOUT being bi, they just are. Love to see that.

World building- Very gritty, realistic historical fantasy type world building.

The story itself and the author’s voice is enveloping, powerful, beautiful, and lyrical.

I especially enjoyed the unique descriptive qualities to the characters, unusual choices of words can be so lovely if used well.

In dual PoV books, it can be hard to nail the two different character voices, the author nailed it in this one. I loved the very different feeling to each of the two PoV MCs, side characters were as well developed and written as the MCs.

I want more books out in the world like this and I want it now.

Content warning on graphic battle scenes, graphic shape change scenes. (I loved them, but I love gore in book/movies.)

Content warning on a (very few, I wasn’t counting, but like three, I think) usages of ableist language for self-labeling.

SCORES

Readability: 5 of 5 star-1586412_1920 Though I pre-ordered this book, I waited to read it until I knew I’d have time to finish in one sitting. I’d heard it was really good, and I know what I’m like with a good book. I wasn’t wrong, life pulled me away the first two times I tried to read this (over the past two days) but I managed to read from about chapter 3 to the end today and OMG. What a freaking amazing ride. This is not the kind of book that you’ll be able to read just a chapter a night, it’s just that great.

Arcs: 5 of 5 star-1586412_1920 It’s a little mermaid retelling, so I knew sort of what would happen, the author stuck true to the tale as far as the details, but brought a completely unique and fresh perspective to it. The tension leading up to the first turning point and then again to the climax were so masterfully done that my heart was in my throat in both places. The climax itself had me cussing out the author. SERIOUSLY. YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO BREAK MY HEART. But I’m glad you did, cause you sewed it up again, better.

Craft: 5 of 5 star-1586412_1920  I need more stars for rating Ninestarpress’s books. I caught ONE typo, that’s it. I would’ve liked to see a little less passive voice, but there were really only maybe four sentences I caught it in that could’ve been more strongly worded (and as y’all know, passive voice is my Achilles heel in reading (writing too) so I have an unreasoning hatred for it. Four sentences of passive voice is far and away better than anything big 5 is putting out these days (barring some few authors who I will sell a kidney to buy their work if needed). This book is excellent, and it’s one I’m so happy I bought and own cause it’s definitely going to go into the re-read often pile. I might even buy a second bound-copy, because I want one.

Go on now, I wouldn’t steer you wrong, go buy the thing!

Remember if you buy directly from the publisher, the pub and author both get more money so the can keep bringing you more books.

Ninestar Press 

Amazon

Don’t forget to review! Reviews sell books for authors. 🙂

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads here.

As an extra, Matthew was kind enough to give me a character interview for one of my favorite side characters, Doktor Karl Hauser, you can read that here.

 

Knowing now…

It changed my perspective on the world. Reading that horrible book.

My reaction, the twitter threads, my review

Not only in the obvious way, in that I still feel like I waded through sewage to read it, and can’t quite get the stink off my soul.

But also in finding out how deeply caring the #actuallyautistic community is.

I sort of knew that, I mean, I’ve never met a more empathic group of people than autistics, (most of them, there’s bad apples everywhere, but by and large, autistics are wonderful people) but I’ve never been deeply involved in the community. Mostly because I only got my DX a couple of years ago.

I post on the #actuallyautistic hashtag when I remember to, but I’m ridiculously busy.

It feels like all of my time is taken up by being a mom of two, a spouse, a writer, an editor, a sensitivity reader, a reviewer, and a critique partner to several other authors as well as trying to be a good friend to the people I’m close to.

So the outpouring of appreciation and love from the autistic community and our allies has just amazed me.

I didn’t expect it.

I’m so grateful for it, because after reading that book? I really needed it.

Thank you, all of you, so much.

The faith I lost in a lot of NT people has been replaced by faith in all of us. Together, I really do think we can make our voices heard.

And for the sake of future generations of autistics, I think we have to.

I’ve been contacted privately by dozens of NTs who really do want to learn to do better.

So no. As tired as I am, I’m not shutting up and I’m not backing down.

It takes a lot to make me angry, long, long fuse, but I’m both angry and determined now.

My kids, all autistic kids, all autistics… we all deserve a better world than the one that lauds a book like To Siri with Love.

I have no idea how we’ll make that happen, but I think if we stand together, and we don’t let ourselves get too exhausted by it all, we can do it.

So, in all of this, do remember to take care of yourselves. I know the emotions are strong, they really, really, are, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Remember to rest, and care for yourselves.

Kae-

 

A reaction to reading TO SIRI WITH LOVE from an #actuallyautistic author.

You know. I started reading that horrific book as a bit of a whim, thinking it wouldn’t be that bad.

I’m the autistic mom of autistic kids, my husband is autistic, we value and appreciate our children and ourselves in pretty much every particular. Are there challenges? Absolutely. But they aren’t anything that neurotypicals don’t deal with, we just deal with them differently.

Usually by communication. We use text a lot with each other, because a lot of times it’s far easier to type or sign than it is to talk.

The point isn’t how we use adaptive technology to make our lives run smoothly, the point is that we communicate.

So I honestly, to the soul of me, didn’t understand how a mother could write and publish a book that would be anything except a joyful celebration of her child’s uniqueness.

I had hoped, foolishly, I guess, that the screenshots of the book I’d seen before reading it had somehow been… not so much taken out of context, but perhaps were just… I don’t even know, overblown maybe?

I didn’t understand how a mother could think those things about her brilliant child.

And never for a moment did I think, reading about Gus, that he’s anything less than brilliant.

He’s so smart I have a feeling he’s manipulating his mom because of how she so very clearly infantilizes him and shows overweening favoritism to his twin Henry, who is also autistic.

Though obviously, neither the author nor Henry know this. Henry shows all the markers of autism, he just presents differently.

We ALL present differently. Which is part of why autism is so hard for most people to recognize when they see it, and that absolutely includes so-called professionals (most of whom are neurotypical) in the field of diagnosis.

It’s a common reaction for autistics when we are abused by ABA practices (to learn to manipulate) especially if ABA therapies are impinged upon us by parents who believe the revolting bullshit that Auti$m $peaks tends to tout.

We learn to do everything in our power to protect ourselves, because we don’t have any choice.

This author… the things she does to both of her sons. It’s utterly appalling.

I can’t, even still, after reading that atrocity… I still can’t believe that a mother could write those things about her kids!

I can’t believe she’d share such personal things about her KNOWN autistic son, without his permission.

Without his knowledge.

Medical information, daydreams about having a ‘normal’ Gus… I just…

Reading that book broke something in me. It really did. It broke a faith I had that neurotypical society didn’t really hate me and the way I’m made.

And a couple of days after reading it and posting my review, I’m still shaken by it. I’m recovering, but it’ll take a week or more to regain my emotional equilibrium.

The outpouring of love and support I’ve received from the autistic community and a large number of neurotypical people have restored my faith in most of humanity.

“Autism parents”, however? They’re on my shit-list for life.

You can read my full review here, with links to the live-tweet threads I did as I broke it down, chapter by chapter.

If you want to know about the experience of being autistic, the hashtags #actuallyautistic and #askanautistic are far better resources than pretty much anything else I can think of.

 

NaNoWriMo 2017, Let’s Do This!

Okay. So.

Everyone has to find their own method for writing novels. Shhh. I’m serious! Pipe down!

There is a metric TON of ‘writing advice’ out there but there isn’t a skeleton key or a magical panacea that is going to help YOU get YOUR novel written.

‘Cause that’s on you. You’re the one who has to BICHOK it (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard)

And it’s HARD. Give yourself a pat on the back for even trying!

I figured I’d outline my methodology and the tools I use, so that if any of them can be of help to you, you can steal’em.

First things first. I rarely wait until exactly midnight on nano eve. I know, I know. But I try to make sure I sleep during dark hours during nano. I have insomnia, so on the nights when I’m likely to sleep, I try to make that happen. You need to be aware as you’re going through nano, especially if this is your first one, that if you want to ‘win’ you’ll have to write, a LOT. That means it’s really easy to neglect your health. Drink water! Take your vitamins! Try to be aware of that thing called sleep as well as that thing called writing.

One of the things me starting a day or so ahead of time gives me is a bit of a cushion. Usually by the time nano rolls around ‘officially’ I have a word count cushion of between 6 and 20K. This year, I started with 17k, most of that was actually cut from the end of the first book in this series and will be part of the second act of this second book, because it fit better in the timeline.

It equals out, because my goal for nano is never the 50k. It’s always the first draft of a full novel, and my novels range between 80 and 145k. This year, I’m shooting for 100k.

Nano is me lighting a fire under my butt to help myself remember how much I really do love fast drafting (and I adore it. It’s wonderful.)

Now, to the tools and techniques.

I outline ahead of time. It was a hard-won skill for me because, at heart, I’m a pantser. I learned in nano 2015 (when I drafted what became Ilavani) that in order to write that fast, you NEED to let go of ye’old editor brain and just WRITE.

Having a skeleton outline helps me do that. (It also saves my butt on revising and editing, too, which helps, a lot.) I focus on making it pretty AFTERWARDS.

I use Scapple to outline. It’s free-form, so you can use the Three Act Structure or the 8 point story arc or whatever version of outlining works for you. You can do a free trial of it, it’s made by the same peeps who make scrivener.

You Don’t Have To Outline. 

But it works for me.

Secondly, I use word count goals, I write in Scrivener (you can get a free trial of that too). Under the PROJECT tab, click PROJECT TARGET. It’ll let you customize it to how long your books should be and how many words you should shoot for per day. (NaNo suggests you shoot for 1667 words per day.)

I use AeonTimeline for keeping track of what is supposed to be happening when, and making sure that X event happens before Y and Z comes after both. Downloading the software automatically gives you a free trial. It has a bit of a steep learning curve, but there’re videos on youtube to help you out.

I utterly love the word counting function on Nano. I found Pacemaker to be quite helpful when NaNo isn’t available for tracking purposes.

Don’t forget that I have a resources page here on my site, some of the weird stuff I link there may be of help.

Now, go out and write some words!

 

 

Asexual Identity and the Power of Fiction

Growing up, after I learned to read (I’m dyslexic, in a time when it wasn’t recognized or treated) I was always the kid with their nose stuck in a book.

Books were a way for me to live lives that weren’t as abused as mine was. They were places I could escape to when life, as it often proved, hurt too much.

That hasn’t really changed.

But when I think back to the youth I was, and what words I needed to be reading then… how much they would’ve helped me…

How having words to describe my ME, back then… would’ve saved me so much pain, it makes me wish, fleetingly, that I actually had the skill to write YA. (I don’t, we’re not really in much danger of that, writing for kids has to be the hardest type of writing there is.)

But that’s truly beside the point. Having words like asexual, demisexual, autochorisexual, aromantic, bisexual, pansexual… all of the queer words I needed then in the fiction I was able to access at the time. It would’ve been so world changing for me.

Never forget that kids (many young adults read up, I know I certainly did) learn from our fictional words and worlds. We need the words on the page and we need them by own voice authors so that we can get the full spectrum of aromanticism and asexual identity on the page for people to read.

People who. like me, needed it when they were younger, and maybe even people like me at 39, who’d never heard of the term ace or asexual or demisexual… we need these words on the page and we need publishing to give us books WITH these words.

A while ago, I wrote this letter to my younger self. If I could send it back through the years, so many choices I made back then would’ve been made differently.


Dearest Kae,

You won’t believe this, but I’m sending you this letter from the future. I need to tell you some very important things. Things I wish I’d known when I was you.

Right now, you are surrounded by people who are doing terrible things, trying to convince you to do things you will regret even when you reach as old as forty.

I know, you’re sixteen, you probably think forty is ancient. It’s a long time to carry a regret, I can tell you that much.

There is a word for why you’ve never understood wanting to have sex and relationships like everyone around you is so very convinced you should.

Three, actually.

Demisexuality means that you must have an emotional attachment to someone before you can enjoy sex or a relationship with them. You may not even feel physical desire without emotional connection. You don’t feel that with him, you know you don’t. You will regret letting him pressure you into things you don’t want to do.

Gray aromanticism and autochorisexuality are the words describing how romance doesn’t make sense to you outside of books. That too, is something you’ll regret pressing on with until it happens naturally.

All three are forms of asexuality, and being asexual is not a curse. Above all, you need to know you aren’t broken.

And it’s truly okay for you to say no until you meet someone who you do feel romantically inclined for. It happens when you’re twenty. Sex will be all the more worth waiting for, if you do.

I promise.

It’s not the same for people like you are, like me, as it is for many people, and I wouldn’t suggest this to someone who actually wanted to have sex. For someone who wanted to, I’d suggest they get education and protection and enjoy themselves. But you and I both know that you don’t really want to go there.

I know, from the advantage of age, how much you’ll regret it, and that it isn’t worth it.

Unfortunately, the books you read don’t have the experience or the words for you to learn. I wish, with all my heart, that you did. It’s 2017 now, and I’m writing from a time period when we’re finally seeing these words and these experiences on the page.

Giving in to the kind of pressure you’re under, it will not make you happy. I know that, because I am you.

What will make you happier is concentrating on your studies so that you can have your pick of Universities to go to. Whole new worlds open up to you in University. You’ll be shocked at how many friends you end up making. At the wonderful doors that open to you.

I needed to share my hard-won words with you. I wish I’d known them when I was your age. I would’ve made many different decisions.

Chosen other paths.

Words are important.

There is so much more. Remember, never stop writing, no matter what. Oh! Before I forget, you’re pansexual and pagan, too. From my vantage point, you’ve written several beautiful books, have a beloved husband of 19 years and two wonderful kids.

Told you I had some things to tell you.

Kaelan