Hi, there.

Hello, wanderers.

rout_of_snails is the journal of the author once known as theskimblishone, now suffering less chronic pain, now publishing their old works as S. K. Een and new ones as K. A. Cook. They still answer to Skimbli. No, this isn't confusing. Feel free to say hi. There's no friends-locking: at this stage in their craziness, they have nothing left to hide. Just know that they're a swear-happy Australian who likes to freak people out by talking about themself, with non-binary pronouns no less, in the third person. They may or may not ramble on about writing and the publishing industry.

(Said pronouns are they/them/theirs/themself. This is why they are tempted to use the Style manual as a melee weapon any time anyone disputes their grammatical correctness.)

Still here?

I'm a non-binary/genderless queer Aussie with opinions on literature, creativity, narrative, feminism, mental illness, psychology, disability, society and gender. I mostly write about about crazy queer people (being a crazy queer person). When I'm not writing, reading, editing, designing or producing publications I like European metal, fashion dolls (Dynamite Girls, Monster High, Barbie) and anything that's brightly coloured. I sew and make wigs for said fashion dolls, collect buttons and house a growing horde of stuffed frogs.

I intend to repost some of my short fiction so I have these works linked to an account I can edit and update. I may add a few things that might be worth the reading, spam my flist with doll photos or repost a few things from my website, but I'm largely here to follow other awesome LJ users and communities.

I am a published and self-published author as well as being a professional editor, book (print and digital) designer/producer and a not-quite-professional cover designer. If you're interested in hiring my bad-arse skills in InDesign and Word (and my quasi-bad-arse skills in Photoshop), drop me a comment.

My old fic master post of doom is still accessible, although since I plan to either edit-and-self-publish or abandon-for-the-foreseeable-future it likely won't behoove you to check it out. (Besides, who wants a litany of comma faults, anyway?)

I write comedic and romantically-inclined short and long queer fiction:

I also write rambling and vaguely philosophical essays and creative non-fiction:

My books are available below:

Lastly, there are no snails here, just a literary fascination with terms of venery.
  • emotional status: working working
not swearing

Question: do you ever not read cishet writers of queer fiction?

I'm writing a blog post about the queer fiction market, my place in it as a queer writer, being a minority reader and why majority writers (my case example being straight writers of m/m or f/f solely because I know queer fiction) need to not go around patting themselves on the back because they're so open-minded they write about minorities (case example being gay cis dudes/cis lesbians). This post diverged, however, into my thoughts on transparency in queer writing as I started thinking about the genre itself, who writes it and who reads it.

My thoughts and some questions, if you don't mind answering.Collapse )

Note: I'm not here to argue or debate anyone's feelings on the matter. There's no right or wrong. I don't want this to be a debate; I want it to be a safe place for people to talk about their experiences and feelings, if they wish. (I hate how dialogue about queer fiction, representation and appropriation gets bottled up with anger, and I don't want that to happen. I'm fairly anti-ranting, these days.) I'm here to have my brain expanded and learn from you as people who are part of this genre, and I am so grateful for anyone who takes the time out to have an open discussion about this with me.

Hugs and gratitude,

  • place of residence: Melb
  • emotional status: introspective
  • rhythm and melody: She Keeps Me Warm - Mary Lambert
not swearing

You Just Don't Want to Live Next Door to One: The Attack

It goes like this.

For an assignment - my Story Structure class, which is all about story structure - we had to write about a dramatic scene with a cliffhanger ending, something like the mid-second-act low point in terms of a traditional narrative structure. I'd been stuck on Parker and Raif for a while at that point, and I thought writing the next scene as an assignment might help me figure it out. It did: Parker wouldn't have gotten in the car with Raif. Making him get in the car rendered the next scene utterly unwritable from both a characterisation standpoint (Parker being an anxious, mule-ish so-and-so for good reason) and a practicality standpoint (the end point I needed to reach was all but impossible). So I wrote the scene as though Raif just told Parker about the break-in and tried to get Parker to drive off with him, submitted the assignment and got 100%.

(For workshopping I had to read out my chapter to my workshop group. I was made to go first because everybody else chickened out. It was a mildly traumatic experience.)

So I have been, for a while, sitting on one latest chapter of a story I may or may not ever finish.

My current novel wasn't planned: it was one of those 'meant to be a short story and whoops, now it's a novel' ventures. Because of that, it required massive redrafting (the whole thing was rewritten, from scratch, three times: there is not a single sentence, over 140 000 words, that made it from first draft to third) to get the plot in order. I had the same experience with Asylum. Its sequel, Sanctuary, has a plan, and I am planning the second book in my trilogy. Were I to rewrite or keep writing Parker and Raif, I would have a fucking plan precisely to avoid these kinds of mistakes ... or the massive time-waste that happens when one redafts three times to figure out the plot.

(I'm never going to be a plot-heavy writer, but these days I'm better at writing scenes/chapters that mostly relate to the plot as opposed to being humorous digressions.)

So while this makes me an absolute tease, I thought I'd post this just so as to do something with it. I don't actually expect anyone to read it; I just wanted to post it somewhere. (Maybe I'll write out that fucking plan someday. Maybe I'll just write rough chapters and post them here for the heck of writing without redrafting three times, because I miss that, a little. Maybe...)

Title: The Attack
Series: You Just Don't Want to Live Next Door to One
Genre: paranormal queer romance
Content: violence, fighting, blood loss, Raif being an arse, Raif being an absolute arse, Raif not thinking shit through
Length: 3058 words
Summary: When his neighbour invades his workplace using the old romantic ploy to drag him out into the car park, Parker thinks he's justly owed an explanation. Raif, on the other hand, seems to have a mortal phobia of actually making sense...

Link to the old entries. My eye twitches a little at the comma faults and use of speech tags.

AN: What's never explicitly said until later is that Parker's house is trashed so that the assassin will follow Raif to the library, and then follow them both until he finds an opportunistic moment.

Letting us think you're a terminal cancer patient instead of a bloodsucker—yes, that's being open and honest!Collapse )
not swearing

Update ramble

What have I been doing?

I'm still at school, finishing one last unit before I decide what to enroll in for postgrad. Need to do some thinking on that pretty soon, actually. My non-fiction teacher is currently trying to help me write with fewer words.

I've written a 140 000 word fantasy novel (first of a trilogy) featuring trans and non-binary mentally-ill protagonists, a diverse queer-as-fuck supporting cast and a pairing who weren't supposed to have chemistry but kind of ended up with it. It's currently at my boss/editor now for a manuscript assessment, along with a couple of other writing and trans friends. One of them told me that she loved how real the characters felt with regards my depiction of mental illness, so I'm exited. My plan is to try and submit it to agents at the end of the year; my end goal is to see it on the fantasy bookshelf of a regular bookstore. This may not happen, but I mean to try. And I can publish it myself if nothing else works out.

On publication, production and minor detours into philosophy!Collapse )

So tell me, if you would, how you're doing! I've got a long time to catch up on!
not swearing

Book: Death is Only a Theoretical Concept


Vendors: Smashwords

Download: PDF (note: Smashwords PDF is not recommended, so please download mine!)

Word count: 26 000 words (plus bonus vignette)

Epub ISBN: 9781311283115

Note: Yet another present-tense book. This is an extremely revised and extended version of the original story, which is still up on my old LiveJournal should anyone care to Google. (I don't recommend it: this edition has more awesome ladies and far fewer comma faults.) Please don't expect them to be all that similar beyond plot: the original was written before I knew the characters all that well, and it shows.

Credits: Cover typeset in Idolwild by pizzadude.dk. Vector zombie image by OpenClips. Layout and design by yours truly. Much gratitude to the LiveJournal gang for their brilliant levels of encouragement, enthusiasm and commentary.

Blurb: Welcome to Port Carmila, population 15, 725. Half that count isn’t even human, and that’s not including feral zombies, ghouls and ghosts, mostly because they don’t stand still long enough for counting. It’s a melting pot of the living, the immortal, and the dead … where death means you still have to pay the rent, the merfolk are experts in tax evasion, everybody hates the corny Dead Centre of Australia T-shirts sold at the tourist information centre, and the local police encourage you to carry a weapon at all times, regardless of legality. Sometimes the zombies aren’t your much-loved next-door neighbours…

When Steve Nakamura is dared—after a long-standing Port Carmila tradition—to seduce a vampire in return for his birthday present, he thinks it will be easy. Scrub up, find a hot undead girl who won’t care that he’ll start shambling the moment he stops breathing, kiss her, earn enough money for a new car stereo. Simple, if he doesn’t mind losing a little blood in the process. The cute and anxious Abe Browning, however, is surely undead and just as surely not a girl, and, as it turns out, that’s the last thing Steve needs to worry about when it comes to hooking up with vampires...

Genre: Comedic paranormal queer romance between a gay cis vampire and a pansexual DMAB person whose grasp on sex and gender is, well, fluid.

Content warnings: Fantastical racism (lifeism), actual racism, magic with rape overtones, uses of homophobic slurs and recollections of homophobia. The treatment of the undead in this story is absolutely a metaphor for civil rights. Yes, I poke fun at the vampire literary canon. This is the kind of setting where people use slurs, but they're generally (not always) used in an accepting kind of way in an environment where most don't take offense.

Links: If you read this and you absolutely want more Port Carmila, I will be posting vignettes and short stories at Port Carmila (on WordPress). If you ever want to know what it is Johanna and Izzy text Jack and Phil while Steve's dancing with Abe, I just might reveal that and much more text-message ridiculousness at Texts From Port Carmila (over on Tumblr). For my thoughts on the creation of DiOaTC, check out my QWG post (WordPress).

In the not-quite two weeks I've had this on Smashwords, I've had more than two hundred downloads. Pretty. Fucking. Stoked. Bring on Great-Aunty Lizzie!

(Also, I forgot just how shit the LJ rich text editor is. WordPress has spoiled me.)