New Book Review: DARKLING by Brooklyn Ray

Queer, Paranormal Romance, Novella, Translit

Darkling-f500

Pub date January 8, 2018

BLURB:

Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.

Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.

Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.

Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.

REVIEW:

I received an ARC of this book via the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

I loved it so much.

I fell absolutely in love with the main character, Ryder. My gods, did I ever fall fast for him. Almost everything was perfect about this novella, characterization, pacing, the plot driving the sex… so much is so perfect and I’ll definitely be looking for more work by this author.

Content warning for blood exchange, cutting, and animal death. SPOILER: The last is okay, promise, he comes back.)

Things I loved:

The author didn’t screw up my faith: I’m a witch, both by bloodline/tradition and by choice of faith, and I can’t tell you the number of books and stories I’ve read/seen that get it wrong, harmfully wrong, sometimes. (Stop and think about it, how many books and shows use a pentacle for a fast an easy way of saying something is evil? When it’s actually the exact opposite?) This book deals heavily in the occult, paganism, magic and the author got it RIGHT! I grinned several times seeing my faith depicted well in the pages of this book.

On page consent: This is a HUGE plus for me, and I often mark a book lower in the stars department if it’s not there. If your characters are having sex, you have to write consent or indicate a conversation has happened that shows consent has been clearly, ideally verbally if physically possible, given. (NO EXCEPTIONS other than dubcon in a first-person PoV when you’re IN the character’s head and you, as the reader, KNOW they want it. Writing consent on the page and demanding it be there in our love stories is how we break down rape culture, you have to have it on the page.) Consent is sexy. It’s there in this book. I loved that.

The writing: By now, if you follow my reviews, you know that I’m extremely picky about writing. I have no issue what-so-ever with DNFing (Do Not Finish) a book. There are millions of books out there, my time is precious and I don’t read what I don’t at least like. Being an editor in my day-job means I’m INCREDIBLY picky about writing skill.

The use of language is rich, but not over the top. The description is AMAZING, I could smell the coffee and feel the mist on my skin, feel the cat’s fur and really get into the sex scenes. (Lolz, they did their job, put it like that.)

Ray has an excellent ability to write evocatively, and that is one of my favorite things in reading. If an author can transport me into their world for a few hours? I’m there. As I’ve come to expect from NineStar Press titles, the editing is top notch. I think I caught one homonym error in 33k plus words. That’s it.

On page representation of a non-binary character who uses they/them pronouns. It’s a secondary character, and there’re only a few lines, but the way the gender-neutral language is presented as a matter of course and automatically accepted is amazing. I loved it.

Trans masc main character: The character’s gender, even with graphic sex, is handled so smoothly and beautifully that YES, YES, YES. I rarely see trans romance written this well. I’m so grateful there’s more and more of it that I can get into my greedy little paws. Mirror books (the books I can see myself in) are so hard to find, and so very precious. I also really enjoyed it that the story wasn’t even remotely ABOUT him being trans. He’s trans, it’s fact, the story is about something else (and wow, what an amazing ride it was)!

On page rep of a bi/pansexual guy: I read the love-interest character, Liam as being bi, which makes him a bi guy with on page rep, another thing that I loved a lot. I can’t pinpoint a line that made me think he is bi, and it’s possible he’s gay instead, but either way, he’s wonderful. (I have a huge crush on Liam, too.)

It’s dark: The younger the characters, the darker the book has to be to rope me in. This book would technically fall under New Adult (the main characters are in their early 20s) and it’s extremely dark and delicious. I adored it.

It’s deliciously sexy: Yes, I’m ace (asexual) but I’m also autochorisexual, so I LOVE to read/write about sex. There’s a lot of hot, plot-driven, slightly kinky sex in Darkling. More please!

Things I had a problem with (and why this is a four-point-five-star review instead of a five-star, the writing and story are definitely five-star quality, even in my VERY persnickety opinion.

No safe sex discussion: I’m a former sexuality educator, I’m kinky, pansexual, polyamorous, and I write both erotic romance and erotica.

I had to dock a fantastic story with excellent writing half a review star because there was NO discussion of safe sex anywhere. Nothing about contraception (Ryder uses what I believe are testosterone shots, but it’s not discussed with Liam as anything other than a painful shot, and trans men can still become pregnant on testosterone therapy.)

There is nothing about STD protection, they don’t use condoms, or dams, or finger cots, so yeah. It lost half a star on this point alone, because that stuff is IMPORTANT.

When we write sex, we need to keep things like this in mind. The first place a LOT of people first encounter sex, (safe sex, consensual sex, kinky sex, ANY sex) is in written form. We as authors have a responsibility to be aware of that. We ALL need to be writing safe sex into stories that need it. The lack of discussion completely threw me out of enjoying the story.

Which stories need it? All of them. Unless there is an on-page reason for it not to be needed (IE: Some SFF stories have species that are immune to STDs/are sterile) if that’s stated somewhere, fine, safe sex talk not needed.

Historical and fairy-tale retelling fantasy type stories have a LITTLE wiggle room on this, but it should still be there because our ancestors knew about STDs, avoided them as much as we do, and condoms and sheaths were invented well before the 18th century, we have some records saying they went back to Egyptian times. So I’d still like to see it in historical.

In a contemporary book of ANY kind, there needs to be a safe sex discussion ON PAGE, or there needs to be mention that a safe sex discussion HAS OCCURRED between the lovers. In speculative fiction like paranormal? You could probably even come up with a reason it wouldn’t be needed, but then the reason needs to be stated.

Now. In Darkling, the two main characters have been friends for two years, so maybe they knew one another’s status, but *I* don’t discuss that with my friends as a matter of course, it just doesn’t come up, and the way the relationship is presented (friends to lovers) makes me disbelieve that they would’ve known. GETTING TESTED IS SEXY, have your characters talk about it.

I still really loved the book and I do HIGHLY recommend it. 🙂

SCORES

Readability: 5/5 star-1586412_1920 I’ve been ill, so haven’t been as easily beguiled by reading as I usually would have been with a book of this caliber. I fell in love with Ryder by the end of chapter one, and usually, I would’ve ripped through this book in a sitting. Instead, I lapped it up slowly, like good chocolate. It’s excellent.

ARCS: 5/5 star-1586412_1920 Story arc, plot arc, relationship arc, they’re all believable, well written and wonderful, my only complaint is that I wish the story had been longer! I hope the author has more to come.

Craft: 4/5 star-1586412_1920 Fantastic, evocative writing. Excellent editing, on par with other NineStar Press titles. Pacing was perfect, the plot drove the sex (something that not all erotic romance can boast of) and the only issue I had was lack of on-page STD/contraception discussion (with no spec fic/SFF reason to preclude its necessity).

Do give this book a read, it’s well worth the purchase price. A coffee costs more.

Buy from the publisher if you’re buying an e-copy, the author and publisher get more money that way, meaning they can keep bringing you more amazing books.

Amazon

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Cover Reveal: STAKE SAUCE by RoAnna Sylver

Today I’m helping reveal the cover for STAKE SAUCE ARC 1: THE SECRET INGREDIENT IS LOVE, NO, REALLY! It’s a fun, creepy, and dark-but-hopeful serial about queer punk vampires and the humans who love them, from RoAnna Sylver, author of the CHAMELEON MOON series. STAKE SAUCE releases October 31st, 2017 from The Kraken Collective! Check out the cover and learn more below – including how to pre-order and get a free short story, and exclusive bonus content!

 

The cover was designed and drawn by the author… and references this classic Dracula cover. Vampires then and now!

stake sauce arc 1 cover

STAKE SAUCE ARC 1:

THE SECRET INGREDIENT IS LOVE. NO, REALLY.

IN WHICH: A cute punk-rock vampire and a disabled firefighter-turned-mall-cop with a dark past join forces to battle the forces of evil.

Jude used to leap out of helicopters to rescue/protect people from terrifying infernos. Now, by day, he protects the local mall from rowdy teenagers who ride their skateboards inside. By night, he protects the the parking lot, and the rest of Portland, from undead, bloodsucking creatures of the darkness. Or would if he could find them.

But he’s just about ready to give it up (living with PTSD and pain from the traumatic event that cost him a leg, a friend, and a lot more is hard enough), when something crashes into his life. And his window.

It’s one of these creatures of the darkness – and he’s a lot less scary than expected. More cuddly, with dark fuzzy wings, and neon-bright hair.

His name is Pixie, and he refuses to bite anyone. Assault/murder/draining fluids isn’t punk, even if being a vampire really kind of is. He’s very hungry by now, and the much bigger, meaner, deadlier vamps kick him around on the nightly. Jude would love to find and fight some actual undead bullies. And Pixie could use some help staying… ‘alive.’ Time to make a deal.

Together they fight crime. And maybe even heal.

Of course, life still sucks when you’re a vampire who refuses to suck blood. Fortunately, there’s a really interesting new barbecue restaurant in the mall, with an intriguing new recipe. (We hear that the secret ingredient is… love. No, really.)

Add Stake Sauce Arc 1 to your Goodreads!

PRE-ORDER BONUS AND EXCLUSIVE CONTENT:

Pre-order the full first arc (containing 6 acts/parts!) on Gumroad, and get a free short story, What We Learned In The Fire! This takes place before the main book, and will introduce you to some super important people and… things. Stake Sauce Arc 1 releases October 31st; Happy Halloween!

Stake Sauce is also available (or soon will be, some distributors are pending) for pre-order from Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Google Play, and Kobo, as well as other retailers, but these do not carry the pre-order bonus story!

 SUBSCRIBE ON PATREON AND GET TONS OF EXCLUSIVE STAKE SAUCE BONUS CONTENT AND EARLY RELEASES!

FIND THE AUTHOR ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Gumroadhttps://gumroad.com/roannasylver

Author Spotlight & Interview LEIGH M. LORIEN author of JIGS AND REELS

 

I’m pleased to kick off my series of authorial interviews with my friend Leigh who has a book out this week!

I loved JIGS & REELS, it’s a sweet, sexy m/m romance novella. It has voice that leaps off the page and grabs the reader by the throat. I’m picky, and I loved it at beta reading stage, the version I bought is going to be even better. 🙂

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I sent Leigh a list of nosy parker questions and here’s what she said.

profile pic blue hair

  • What do you write? Queer romance. Meaning I don’t just write cisgender/allosexual characters. I have asexual, aromantic, transgender, and nonbinary characters in the works.
  • Why do you write it? Because I can’t not. Because the world is diverse and I am queer and why shouldn’t I write it? I write because I don’t know how to stop, and there is a community—to which I belong—that desperately needs to see themselves in stories. I’m asexual, but I didn’t realize it until I was 26 or 27. I’ve never seen an asexual character in anything mainstream, and even in indie/not mainstream things, I had to go hunting to find asexual representation. I wonder how different the past ten years of my life could have been if I’d known about asexuality when I was in high school. So I want to help put more queer characters out there, because we need it. (woo, getting deep on the second question)
  • Where do you write? I usually write on my laptop, in bed. This often results in waking up at 2am and realizing I wrote 12 pages of the letter f. Woops.
  • How long have you been writing? I started writing as soon as I could physically write letters and words—I made Sonic the Hedgehog story books when I was 4 or 5 years old—but I developed the habit of writing when I was eleven. I discovered Dragonball Z one weekend, and then, on a four-hour car trip later that same week, I wrote a Dragonball Z fanfiction by hand on a legal pad in the back of my dad’s car. So I have been writing consistently for over 15 years, but I think I’ve been a writer/storyteller since I was a toddler.
  • When did you first realize you wanted to be an author? This is an odd question for me, because I’ve been writing for a long time, but I’ve never actually considered myself an author or taken my writing seriously. It was a hobby, something I do to blow off steam, something I do because the ideas keep popping into my head and I have no way to get them out if I don’t write. About a year ago, I was thinking about picking up a hobby that I could make money from (crafts or something) when I suddenly realized I already have that hobby. And thus began my pursuit of publication.
  • What do you enjoy most about the writing process? – The brainstorming. Coming up with ideas is so much more fun than molding them into things that make sense and stringing them together in a coherent plot. Nothing quite equals the excitement I feel when I’m coming up with new ideas, talking ideas over with other people—hell, I like to talk about/brainstorm other peoples’ ideas as much as I like to talk about my own.
  • Where do you find inspiration? Books, TV, music, movies, real life. My ideas start with the vaguest concept sometimes—an emotion I want to capture, a single line of a song, the dynamic between two people having a conversation in the grocery store, a picture of beautiful scenery. I can’t even do yard work without thinking up ideas for stories.
  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I like gardening, hiking, photography, running, and anything that involves cute animals.
  • How many books have you written, and which is your favorite? Why? If you count first drafts, I’ve written five. How many of those will see the light of day remains to be determined. My favorite is probably the one I’m currently revising, which is a contemporary romance with BDSM and an asexual character. The characters bond over steak dinner and a conversation about Star Trek on their first date. I’ve poured a lot of myself into this book.
  • Do you have any advice to other writers/authors? Don’t compare yourself to other writers! It’s not a competition. I know it’s tempting to compare your accomplishments to other peoples’, but don’t. The only person you should compare yourself to, is you. As long as you’re still moving forward, no matter how fast or slow, you’re doing just fine.
  • What do you think makes a good story? Likeable characters. I can let plot holes and worldbuilding issues slip under the radar as long as I’m wrapped up in the characters’ emotions and struggles.
  • As a kid, what did you want to do when you grew up? As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals. As an adult, I realized I don’t have the constitution for that line of work. I’ll stick to adopting too many pets and pay someone else to handle the boo-boos and icky stuff.
  • Do you read a lot? What are your favorite genres? I don’t read as much as I should, but I love urban fantasy, science fiction, crime/mystery, and romance.
  • Where did your love of books/writing come from? I can thank my mother for that. My mother read to me when I was little. She read me a lot of Dr. Seuss, which she enjoys, and she enjoyed reading it to me, so I think I just naturally learned to associate books with joy and fun. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love books.
  • Who are some of your favorite authors who you feel have been most influential to your writing?I can’t point fingers at the authors who got me started on romance, because I blame fanfiction for that, but I can point fingers at some who influenced how I write. When I first started writing around age eleven, my voice was influenced by Douglas Adams and Lemony Snicket. More recently, it’s Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne. That kind of dry, dark, sarcastic, witty humor… except way more queer than any of the above. 😀

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Blurb & Excerpt:

LENGTH: 18,020 words
RATING: flame rating 3

Elijah works in a cubicle, lives with his parents, and never goes on dates. It isn’t an exciting life, but it’s safe and easy and that’s good enough.

Then he meets Peter, a whirlwind of a man who leads a traveling renaissance band. Peter represents everything Eli usually avoids, but his boisterous enthusiasm is infectious… and his band needs a fiddle player.

When Eli agrees to fill in for a weekend, he awakens a part of himself he thought long gone. With Peter’s help, he shakes off the dust that has settled on his soul and remembers how to have fun.

But when the band asks him to join them permanently, is Eli’s newborn sense of adventure — and insane crush on a man he barely knows — enough to make him leave the safety of a life he’s clung to for years?

EXCERPT:

“Wait, what?” My heartrate spiked and I swallowed against a sudden wave of nausea. No one had mentioned this before. Morrison’s? We hadn’t practiced Morrison’s. I knew the tune, but man, I was not prepared for this. The past few days were really pushing the limits of my spontaneity for the week. Month. Hell, I hadn’t been this spontaneous in years. Seeing my anxiety, Peter caught my shaky hand as I reached for a bottle of water. My eyes widened and I glanced around, but everyone else had better things to do than watch my every move.

“Hey,” he said softly, and brought my hand to his lips for a kiss, like an old-fashioned gentleman. “You’ll be great. You know these songs, you’ve been on stage before, nothing is different.”

“No?” I said in a choked whisper. He wasn’t letting go of my hand. His skin was soft, smooth as silk, warm, and dry. Well, it had been dry before he’d grabbed my sweaty mitt. “I don’t know you guys at all. I’m going to fuck up, I’m going to miss a cue or, or, play a song too fast or too slow or get up there and forget how to play everything I’ve ever learned. I’m going to be too stiff, people are going to look at me and think I’m a zombie or something, some kind of weird fiddle-playing corpse, an animatronic fiddler. I don’t move around much, that was something Toby always told me, too. My ex … band leader. Toby. He got on my case, said if I was going to be so still I might as well just sit in a chair for all the more entertaining I was on stage. I have no stage presence. I just –”

Soft fingers touched my lips. He didn’t put any pressure on me, but the mere presence of the touch made me shut up. “Shh,” Peter cooed. He met my eyes and smiled, but it wasn’t an impish, teasing smile this time. It was gentle and earnest. “You’re not going to forget those songs.” The fingers brushed back along my cheek until he cupped my jaw in his palm, thumb coming to rest on my lower lip. Why was I just standing there like an idiot? Do something! Those bright eyes had me hypnotized. I couldn’t have pulled away if I’d wanted to.

And I didn’t want to. It had been way too long since I’d had affection. Hell, even if it had just been last week, I figured Peter would have been able to entrance me. He just had that energy about him, that insane, hell bent for leather, bright-eyed confidence like he could go out the door one day intending to get the newspaper and end up taking over the world. Katie had a similar sort of energy. I was drawn to it like a stupid moth to a lamp. And, much like a stupid moth, I could not actually obtain that energy for myself. I just bounced around it until it became too much to handle and I dropped.

“We’ve had two fiddlers since we got together, and a couple other temp stand-in members,” Peter said, still holding my hand, still caressing my lip with his thumb. “We’re used to adjusting to new members, but I don’t foresee it being an issue. You and I click, musically. You pick up on cues like a pro.”

“Well,” I said, my voice matching his soft timbre, “you’re not exactly subtle.”

Peter laughed. “No time in life for pussy-footing around.” He let go of my hand and brought his other hand up to cup my other cheek, holding my face. He was taller than me, I realized. Not much, but just enough that I noticed when he tipped my face up towards his. He didn’t lean in though, just kept smiling. “What kind of cues are you picking up on right now?”

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TRIGGERED by Christian apologists.

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

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

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

First. A definition for anyone who needs it.

To be triggered is not to be made uncomfortable.

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

Wikipedia

Psych Central

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

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

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

An apology.

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

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

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

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

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

You read me right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enough of that though.

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

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

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

It didn’t change what had already happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please.

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

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

Boswell: Same sex unions in Premodern Europe

Freke/Gandy: The Jesus Mysteries

 

 

 

 

Social Media

Narrated version of post here. (It’s outdated, I’ll update if I can find time, the written version is more accurate!)

Edit: Since the election, I’ve become political just by breathing. I’ve always voted with as much knowledge and consideration to the issues as I knew how. I’ve always tried to vote with conscience toward my fellow humans.

I’m #queer, in so many senses of the word. I’m #pansexual, #kinky and #asexual. I’m autistic and I have no patience for Nazis. Oh wait, is that not politically correct?

Fuck it.

I’m real, and I write beautiful stories detailing love, grief, life and graphic, open door sex. Usually with more than two people.

If you’re looking for someone to follow who isn’t political, who isn’t going to be real in everything I do. Unfollow button is on the right.

If you’d like to know me better, for whatever reason, read my blog and interact with me on twitter or in the comments.

Now… to the meat of how I do Twitter.

I gotta say something about Twitter. (Which I adore). A couple things maybe, I’ll try not to rant (too badly).

I don’t auto-follow. I can’t if I want to keep seeing the peeps I want to see in my feed.

Until recently, I’d extend the hand of internet friendship pretty easily. Some unpleasantness made me close my DMs to all but mutuals and I no longer auto-follow at all. If you want a follow back you’ll have to interact quite a bit (talk at me!) to get a follow-back.

I also unfollow for unfollow with mutuals. It hurts me, because if we’ve been interacting and suddenly you UF me, I don’t understand it.

I used to try to tell people if I had to UF them, and wanted the same from others. Since the harassment issues, I’d still LIKE to do that (for others as well as receive that for myself) but in all reality, I will curate my space for an optimal feeling of safety and you should do the same however that works for you.

I follow a few people who aren’t mutuals, in some cases it’s me reaching out a hand of internet friendship (and that ends pretty quickly if it doesn’t feel like they want me around/following them/aren’t ever likely to follow back). Others I follow it’s because I fan-by like crazy about their work (usually authors, but I fan-by actors and musicians too). (Just a snippet of info for the authors, if you interact with me, I’m MUCH more likely to go out of my way to get the library to order your book. I’m more likely to post a review of your work on my site, and best of all, I’m much more likely to buy your book.)

I will unfollow for a number of reasons, mainly because twitter is ‘social’ media. I’m here for the ‘social’ aspect of it, not for numbers or a platform. Having people interested in my work of words and wanting to hear when the shorts and books are published is amazeballs, don’t get me wrong! At the end of the day though, I both want and need interaction from my tweeps. (It’s often the only adult contact I have ’til hubby gets home, writing and being a SAHM is lonely business to the adult mind, you know?)

If you’re not interacting with me in some way (or if I don’t obsessively fangirl your work) I’m very likely to stop following you. I’m on twitter to make connections with people and enjoy short conversations, not to get lots of followers. Obviously, more people who like what I say or what I write is awesome (it really is, so much) but that’s not why I’m so active on Twitter. (Oh, and I’m really active, feel free to mute me or unfollow if I clutter your feed too much, I announce all bookish stuff on facebook and my web page too) I’m also on twitter to learn more about this writing thing I do and connect with others crazy enough to do it (also fan-bying… mustn’t forget that. Wait… did I mention that already?) 🙂

I’ll unfollow someone if I can’t handle their viewpoints, I’ll unfollow if I can’t remember why I followed them (meaning they probably haven’t interacted with me recently).

If I have to ask myself who the heck you are when I see a post of yours in my feed? Um. UF is coming, even if we’re mutuals. Sorry.

This too, if we’ve been mutually following one another AND interacting, then *you* unfollow me? It hurts, I don’t understand it, and I’m likely to mute or unfollow you. Look, I get it, it’s incredibly hard to keep up with anything more than 3 or 4 hundred followers (At most) but, if we’ve been ‘friends’ and interacting, then you unfollow, it leaves me wondering what *I’ve* done. I’m well aware that this is likely because of my autistic nature, I tend to overanalyze everything. (really, it’s exhausting sometimes) but… it’s the way I work, and I’m fully accepting of myself.

Another thing I don’t do (mostly cause I just don’t understand it) is call out others for a retweet or a like or a follow. It makes me uncomfy. *I* don’t want to be publicly thanked for a retweet and honestly, it clutters up my notifications page terribly. So if I don’t ‘like’ a thank you, that’s why, I already have a lot of stuff on that page to go through and I want the conversations and connections, not the list of names, ya know?

Probably weird of me…

Here’s the last thing, we as writers are often cautioned against following/unfollowing industry people or other authors. I need to say something about this.

When we enter contests, we’re encouraged to follow all the judges/organizers/agents involved. That makes my twitterfeed explode. I can’t keep up with the peeps I want to. So I selectively follow, those I’m *interested* in. By interested, in this context, it means just that, I’m interested and would like to know that person better. Half of the authors I follow I can’t/don’t even read their books for one reason or another. (Not my genre usually, or it’s only mono romance and gah… I’ve had enough mono romance to last me forever. I’ll still occasionally buy and read one, but the premise, details or writing has to be different enough to anything else I’ve read before to make it interesting.)

Building a tribe of writer-y peeps who get how crazy this thing we do is… wow, highly important to me. I might choose to follow a person because I think I can learn from them, rarely if I think they might be interested in what I write and only so I can figure out if they are a fit for me (twitter is fantastic for getting to know someone) or I support something they do/are doing (writing diverse stories for instance). As for agents, I follow a number of them that I can’t or won’t query, for one reason or another, simply because I like who they are. Some of them don’t rep what I write, some have strict length rules and anyone who knows me knows I write long… so.

When it comes to unfollowing, esp author/mentor/judges, I know it’s not ‘nice’ but if we haven’t connected in a social sense, if we haven’t interacted, I’ll eventually unfollow.

If I’ve followed a fellow author through a contest, and we’ve interacted, especially a lot, and I keep on keeping on getting the track notification saying they’re still not following me, then if the interaction drops off, yeah, you guessed it, unfollow.

My feed is a place I go to for fun, and honestly, the longer I’m on twitter, the more I’m learning what makes it fun for me, and what hurts me.  Me following people I’m interested in (unless they’re uber famous and probably aren’t checking their own feed in any case) the person interacting with me, then not following… yeah, it hurts, so I don’t do it much. Or I stop doing it when it starts hurting.

I’m weird, I know. I’m good with being me in all facets of me.

Just in case anyone is curious about how I do Twitter… thems are the whys.

Now. More editing, cause that just never ends.