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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ILAVANI COVER REVEAL

I have a new book out!

It will be released June 13th in roughly 13 chapter segments (+- 100 pages), it’s the first in a trilogy. I hope you all enjoy! Preorder links below.

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About ILAVANI

The first installment in a long-running, science fantasy series based in a queer, pagan, polyamorous, universe.

3800 years in the future.

Maëlcolm is a skilled BDSM trainer, a spy, and unfortunately, a prince.

Cameron is Maël’s older brother, titular heir to their father’s kingdom and in love with his enby bodyguard, Li.

Kat is a slave. A genetically modified being created for one purpose, and one alone. To please her masters in bed.

Los is a gifted Companion, the only thing that makes him happier than practicing his calling is loving Maël, the one man Los can’t have an official relationship with.

If Maël doesn’t give up his calling and do as the Ard Righ demands, his family loses everything.

If Cam doesn’t do what he needs to do to become worthy of the throne by the Ard Righ’s stringent standards, their family may be executed.

If Kat, autistic, touch-averse, and afraid, chooses to fight her fate, she’ll die.

When an artificial intelligence named ‘the high king’ is at the helm, the cost to human hearts may be impossible to bear.

Amazon Preorder Digital $1.51

http://amzn.to/2qNVAmf

ASIN: B071FWRR29 EBook

 

Amazon Preorder Print $6.00

http://amzn.to/2rElExo

ISBN: 9781521431429 Print

Epub available directly from me for $1.00 US emailed to paypal/skrill Kaelan.rhywiol@gmail.com

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Uncomfy Thoughts

My blog tends to be a combination of sounding board and journal.

Today is more of a journal type post, and even though, yes, I do journal (on paper even!) privately… I’m sharing this here because others may be feeling it too.

I talked about why I changed my pronouns here…Why Pronouns.

Today I ran into the first bit of… well, call a duck a duck… discrimination based on my chosen pronouns.

And… you know, I don’t think it was MEANT as discrimination? But it still hurt. It’s still with me several hours later. Which means I need to write about it.

My pronouns, xie/xem/xyr fit me so well that even after that smack in the face sensation of earlier today, I can’t regret choosing them.

Until now, it’s been an unalloyed JOY to claim them.

Problem I ran into today was that someone implied, didn’t say, but implied that I’m no longer a woman, (that I didn’t belong in a place for women)

I guess… by pronoun usage, I’m not?

Except I still have E/F sized boobs that I have to spend tons of money on bras for, I still have to get mammograms, I’m still called ‘Mom’. There is no way on the face of the earth anyone is ever going to mistake me for masculine.

I still refer to myself as ‘female’ when speaking of my sex even if I use the term non-binary because my sex is unequivocally, female. I don’t seek to change my sex. Not yet, maybe not ever. I’m not (to my knowledge because it can be hidden until it’s found in a surgical procedure) intersex. (If I were intersex it would explain a lot, but I don’t KNOW that I am.)

I still prefer the term enby/non-binary. Which is a GENDER definition. (It can apply to intersex individuals as well as others. It can apply to anyone who wants to claim it.)

Now, maybe it’s a confusion of concepts that caused this? It’s pretty common to conflate a couple of different things with regard to the topic.

From the Human Rights Campaign website: 

Gender identity

One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

Gender expression

External appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

From various sources:

Sex 

This is the parts one is born/lives with. Very often we’re Assigned Female At Birth or Assigned Male At Birth based on an innie or an outie, but there are more sexes than just two, there are intersex people as well as trans people and many varieties of human expression.

I’m A.F.A.B. As far as all medical care is concerned, I’m female, as far as all external perception of me goes… there too, I’m a woman.

I studied both Sex and Gender in my course-work as an Anthropologist, and for me, they have both, always been extremely separate IF POTENTIALLY RELATED things.

My Gender Identity is enby/non-binary/NB

My Gender Expression, too, is enby/non-binary/NB

My Sex is female/woman/AFAB.

Do I no longer belong in women’s spaces? If I’d know I’d be excluded from women’s spaces based on my pronouns, would I have chosen to claim them? I think that yes, I still would have, but I may have been more prepared for this hurt.

I don’t know how to answer that question, whether I belong in women’s spaces or not, even for myself. Part of me wants to stand by and say well… if I claim NB/enby/non-binary, then, of course, I can’t claim female/woman too. But my gut instinct is to say that is part of the binary thought process which injures so many people, just like me.

That part of me says hell no at the idea of my daughter, even if she chooses to use non-binary definitions and pronouns being excluded from women’s spaces if she wants to be there.

It’s the same part of me that insists that if a person identifies as a woman in any way or form they are welcome in women’s spaces.

That part of me says it’s nowhere near as simple as a binary. That you can’t break these extremely complex ideas down to things as simple as lists and labels and spaces and things like that.

I think, as I sit with this, I’m going to lean towards the latter because you really CAN’T make things like this ‘simple’. I can be both woman and NB, I even say it on my profile. A.F.A.B./NB. (That could change in future, you know? Because sexuality and gender is FLUID.)

They aren’t simple. Having a gender identity & expression which is different from your sex already makes things complicated.

That’s sort of the space that enbys take up, I think. One of the complicated ones.

I’m still hurt by this, and I don’t actually know how to dig out any more words about it.

So I’ll sit, and think some more.

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Reviews

Yeah, yeah, we all know we need to review books.

I mean… we DO know that right?

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Backing up, just a bit in case you DON’T know.

Reviews sell books for authors. There is NOTHING you can do more to support an author (other than buying the book in the first place/asking your library to buy the book) that will help them more.

Because people read reviews, they look at the star ratings on Amazon/Goodreads/B&N etc.

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They decide whether to buy a book based on what other people have said.

Even as something as simple as I LOVED IT with a 5 star rating can help sell a book to the next person who might enjoy it. It doesn’t need to be a long paragraph on why.

Those help, of course, (if you look at the reviews section of my website, I go to great length to tell my readers why I liked/didn’t like something).

But that very fact of ‘how books get sold’ is why I RELIGIOUSLY review everything I read. Even if it’s something I didn’t like, or wasn’t a ME book.

I still review it.

As far as algorithms go on places like Amazon and Goodreads, reviews count for visibility too. The more reviews an author has on a particular book, the higher their rating on Amazon, meaning it’ll show to more people who might be looking for THAT kind of book. I assume it works the same on non-amazon sites.

But, that’s just background to what I really wanted to say.

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I wanted to say thank you.

Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has left me a review, anywhere.

I read my reviews, I mean, we as authors are told we shouldn’t, but honestly? I want to know if I’ve fecked up somehow, so reading reviews is the best way to do that.

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I… don’t yet have a bad one. For which I feel incredibly fortunate.

I know… the first bad one is gonna sting like blazes.

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BUT… right now, as I’m sitting here proofing my next release, ILAVANI, for July sale, reading reviews, (some which were new to me) from my author central page, and seeing the OVERWHELMING support for my work. The sheer hunger for the kinds of things I write…

Y’all give me faith.

That what I’m doing is really needed. That my voice has worth in a world where I can’t land a publishing contract.

That my words, my work, my writing… is wanted.

That, it’s so important.

My critique partners and betas tell me they love my words. By and large they know me though, lol, my beloved CPs have the unenviable job of thumping me over the head with my own stubbornness…

I’m stubborn. Trust me on that.

Betas have the thankless job of reading something before publication… so, their words are incredibly important and I absolutely could NOT do this without my CPs and Betas.

Hearing from strangers, who have bought my book(s), read it, loved it, and then taken the time to review it for me?

That’s yet another level of gratitude.

I have so, so much gratitude for everyone who helps me in this writing journey.

I’m never going to be one of those authors who doesn’t appreciate those who read their words.

‘Cause without you all? I’d be nothing more than a writer telling stories to myself over my keyboard.

Thank you. So very much.

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