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.

(It's not really enough of a romance to qualify for most queer presses, and I need an agent to submit to those that will take it.)

Because I want to get picked up by an agent (and hopefully a mainstream publisher), I need to have an actual net presence and a readership, so I've been working on my blog and web presence. To that end, I'm meaning to edit and self-publish a bunch of posted and unposted short stories, most likely as free reads. (I'm thinking about starting a Patreon so I can make money from my writing, but I really want at least some of my works to be available to people, especially queer people, who may not be able to afford to buy books. We'll see how well this works in practice.) So I have my own domain name and a WordPress blog or two. I'm starting to get actual blog traffic, which is seriously exciting.

(I'm currently on the third draft of the Great-Aunty Lizzie story nobody ever read. Which has become a 50 000 word novella. Ooops. But we get to see Lizzie shoot up a zombie cow, right? Much to Abe's shock!)

It surprised and surprises me how much I'm enjoying going back to Steve and Abe. The stories need a lot of work, but ... man, I love writing Steve. I love writing humour. It's been so long since I've written as much for situational comedy than for drama!

I've been published (non-fiction) in a couple of editions of Platform magazine and worked as the managing editor for the last issue (16). I've had a few short stories published in anthologies, edited a few publications and self-published a few works of my own. My writing is all over the place, these days: I seem to write anything but poetry and straight-up reporting journalism, and I seem to write about any kinds of characters. Also, I now write in present tense. It's kind of weird.

I'm just about to start a job that's part editing, part retail and part social media at a friend's geek merch and editing business. Which is pretty damn cool. I'm currently tutoring a student in ebook production and design. I've designed flyers and postcards for Rotunda events (local literary community outreach) which has boosted my confidence in Photoshop and InDesign. I volunteer as front of house for Rotunda, which is getting me involved in the local community. I've spoken to classes and at a literary festival about my experiences in self-publishing. I'm feeling a lot more confident about what I can do as a publishing professional.

The really cool thing has been this explosion of actual writing and production skills. My anxiety is still there, and still makes just about everything harder than it has to be, but I'm working on doing stuff anyway and putting myself out there (and writing about my anxiety on my blog because this kind of dialogue is important to me, and it's easier to not feel so bad about the ways anxiety kicks my arse when I'm writing about living with it). The development of connections with people has been pretty awesome, and it amazes me every day that I'm doing so much design and production work. It's so liberating in terms of being able to publish my own works - and it's a different (fun) kind of creativity.

I'm still living on my own, collecting dolls, being weird, rocking the dapper-butch-masculine aesthetic. I'm not pain-free but I'm in less of it.

I've come to terms with the fact that gender isn't for me: it's annoying and stifling, so I'm done with it. (Which is why my novel has a non-binary protagonist.) No gender. It's really frustrating because people don't get it or my pronouns (or remember them) but it's also liberating to not try and force myself to be and live and behave as one gender or the other. Very freeing. I wish other people understood, but the lack of understanding/society's attitudes to the many things I am (a chronic pain sufferer, someone with mental illness, a genderless queer person) drives me to write all the things I do, so maybe it's not so terrible.

If I stop and think that four years ago I'd never have been doing most of the things I'm doing right now, it's pretty amazing. I'm writing a public blog where I get extremely personal and nothing horrible has happened (the contrary, in fact); I've been published; I'm self-publishing; I mean to submit a novel to an agent. I'd have died at the thought of writing about the things I now discuss outside of f-lock!

In a way, chronic pain was my push out into the life I should have been living. I'm not all the way out into good psychological health yet - I've got so much stuff to work on, seriously - but that will take time, and that's okay. Chronic pain ruined my life, but it wasn't the right life for me to begin with. It wasn't the road I was meant to take, so the universe kicked me up the arse. It's not good that I have to pay such a price to be who I am, but at least I get to be who I am.

So tell me, if you would, how you're doing! I've got a long time to catch up on!
it's really good to hear you're making the progress you are. It sounds like it should be easy to just be who you are, but I think it's one of the hardest things you can do if who you really are is outside the norms of society. Took me a while to get over that hump and, like you, I needed a huge life event to punch me in the head and make the change.

I've got a few more things published and actually have a fair sized novel coming out in November. It's zombies! I'm super excited about that. On the doll front, I have 24 of the wallet vampires now and am planning on another 2. Yes, I'm crazy, but I'm sure you understand the sly lure there. I'm also gong to a doll con in 8 days and I'm jazzed to the max over that.

I now have 2 grandkids and a lion-head bunny has been added to my household. I'm probably moderately addicted to an MMORPG called Neverwinter (go ahead and ask me WTF is that and I'll talk your ear off about it). My CPSP has decided to make my life ever so much more special by adding a new pain location just for shits and giggles *mutters darkly*. The only positive thing there is that unlike my leg, the abdominal pain comes and goes randomly although when it comes, it sometimes stays for 2 or 3 weeks at a go. Think... the worst PMS cramps you've ever had and then imagine them going on for 24/7 for nearly a month. Fun wow, huh?

Annnd, I think that's it for the big time stuff.
I love how it usually takes something horrible to get one going, doesn't it? Damn, universe, couldn't you have just sent me a letter or something?

I saw your post about OMG PRINT BOOK. (And zombies. I need all my zombie icons again.) You should be stoked! I've had a couple of pieces printed in print anthologies, and I actually self-published my novella Asylum as a print book (it was for a class assignment, so I now have twenty copies of my book in a box in my wardrobe I need to do something with) and it's so exciting to hold a book, with pages, in your hands, that has your name on it. And on the spine. (And, unlike mine, yours will have an ISBN and be available for people to buy.) Go you!

24! Awesome. (Wallet vampires. Brilliant.) Do you have an updated cast photo?

I haven't bought many new dolls in a while, but that doesn't mean I don't buy them second hand (I live near a really good Savers). This year I've been making my own yarn wigs (I can't reroot dolls any more because of my hands - holding a pair of pliers or a rerooting tool is just way too painful). One day I'll afford to get back into expensive (by which I mean cost more than $10) dolls again. A Bobobie Isabella would be a lot of fun to make wigs for...

(Wig making is so damn addictive, I swear.)

Congrats on the grandkids and bunny. (Everyone I know, it seems is gathering cute pets. I'm very jealous.)

I'm sorry to hear you've got a new pain location, especially of that ferocity! Shit. I hope you're not like me and find pain meds actually effective?
There's just something about a dead tree version. I have books out there, but to have a physical one to hold (and love him and squeeze him and call him George)... it seems more... real? The upcoming novel is roughly 102K and called ZA: And The Dead Shall Rise.

Yep, 24 of them. Some of my newer ones include an albino Naga and... wait for it... a Wight that is in zombie skin *dies*. Ain't nothing wrong with new to you/pre-loved dolls. Quite a few of mine are that vintage. For some, that was the only way I could get my hands on them. I don't have a current group shot. The latest is from... 2 years ago when I dragged everybody out.

Jolen has a yarn wig I made him. That was a challenge as he needs ankle-length hair and he's a 44cm doll. His default wig is one I sized down (from a 7/8 to a 6.5), modified to allow for his very cool but huge ears and then custom dyed. weft by weft before sewing everything back together. I've also made wig for other dolls of mine with faux fur and a few of them wear real fur wig. Sleet wear a faux fur I made that also has synthetic hair that I made into a weft.

For pain management, it depends on the drug. CPSP in my leg has been a constant for so long now that I ignore it for the most part. That one, one a regular day, feels like your muscle after you've just had a charlie horse go away; deep achy pain and tenderness. Bad days have it feel like hot broken glass being ground into your flesh, which, oddly enough, I do know what that feels like via bare foot accident while playing hide and seek.

Tylenol 3's (a scrip med here in Canada) work like a charm. Problem is, they make me dumber than a bag of hair, knock me out cold in under an hour and leave me fuzzy-headed with the brain power of a retarded 12 year old the next day. I only take them when the pain makes me cry. regular OTC's do squat for the CPSP.

Interestingly enough, medical grade morphine does absolutely nothing to me. You might as well shoot me up with tap water because it's the same effect. I'm one of the 1% of the population that is immune to the effects of morphine. Found out the painful way after surgery. They shot me up with the max dose in 10 minutes and... nothing. It is genetic with those of Aboriginal descent having a higher likelihood of not having the pleasure. The Boy also found out that he is immune to tear gas during his basic training, which is also a genetic thing and kinda cool although we're not sure which of us (mom/dad) carries that gene. He, like me, is immune to the effects of morphine as well.
I know. The whole it's a book feeling feels so much stronger.

A wight in zombie skin! OMG, that's so cool!

I want to get my hands on some faux fur for wig-making, one day. Right now I mostly use different kinds of yarn (unravelled, brushed, straightened) which is great for fun textures, but my Urban Vita Edge, Vin, tells me ze wants a fur wig. I can't imagine keeping all the wefts tidy for a long-haired 44 cm doll while attaching them to the wig cap, though. (Unless you crocheted it? I don't crochet, so I sew wefts to the cap. Maybe crochet would have been easier.) That must have been fun!

Yeah, I ignore my left wrist all the time. You just get used to it hurting. *nods*

I haven't had morphine (yet), but over-the-counter meds do nothing for my pain, codeine is like drinking water and tramadol does something for my mood but nothing for the pain (also, way horrible side-effects until accustomed to it). I'm in the same amount of pain; I just feel a little less like crying over it. Pregabalin didn't touch my pain and made me kind of stoned. I've tried a bunch of things and nope. My family, on the other hand, can take paracetamol for a headache and have it actually work. Me, I have to lie down on my bed and wait it out...
I crocheted a wig cap and then did a sort of latch hook method to get the strands attached to the wig cap. I used bamboo yarn for the main colour with cotton crochet thread to add depth/accent.
Wig cap wig 2 photo Jolenwig2.jpg

Finished wig wig 4 photo JolenWig4.jpg

he wears the synthetic wig as a default even though I like how the yarn one turned out.
That's a seriously, seriously gorgeous wig. And my 16 inch doll Rin has multiple wigs - isn't that the fun of it?

I make my wig caps with glue and fabric, string wefts onto stronger cord and sew the wefts into a circle around the cap - following this series of tutorials. I've got examples on my Tumblr.
Those wigs look awesome. Well done. I was toying for some time with the idea of getting an MH Spectra. In the end, I didn't. I'm not sure how well a girl doll would do in my house (it's a total sausage-fest here *snickers*). The price though is very tempting and I just love the clear hands/feet of her.

To date, I only have the possibility of 2 female dolls. One is a cat-headed tiny who would be Bast (Egyptian goddess). The other would be Xinda, one of the characters from my Awh'anise world and she would be modded to have a penis as she is a true hermaphrodite with functioning sex organs of both sexes (I do have a doll in-house who is a hermaphrodite, Misu, but he identifies as male). She also doesn't do the whole girly thing much and I'd need to deal with yet another doll with wings, which is a bit of a pain in the ass despite how awesome cool they look. Naturally, if I got Xinda, I'd need to get her lover, Chane (who'd be a purple doll!) and I'm trying to keep the resin army at a reasonable size. I think I'm losing that battle though.
I've been busy working. The floral manager (my boss) was in a car accident at the end of last July (right before my vacation I had to cancel half of) and she was out until October last year. This June she finally got the first of the surgeries she needed, so I've been in charge all summer. And this time, since I had warning, I had to learn and do all the manager stuff. Way too much, and 40+ hour weeks instead of 32, so I've had almost no time to write this year and writing is what keeps me sane.

What time I do have has mostly been editing Be My Queen first for an anthology, then a bit more when they asked if I wouldn't rather have it as a stand alone (it's got unwritten sequels, so I chose that option) and now to do copy edits. I'm also in the middle of rewriting a foursome story which I didn't realize was one until halfway through the first draft. But as I'm stuck in the same place I was the first time around (that break as 18 months long) I'm considering if something isn't wrong with the story itself.

I'm also trying to write a 1001 type story where the main character tells stories to his long time crush, a recently widowed king who refuses to remarry and instead has daughters (and now a son) of his councilors stay in the palace for a while before marrying them off. (instead of marrying then killing them). I know his story (for the most part) and the tale he's telling, but getting them to mesh is becoming the problem.

But like I said I've got hardly any time to write, which is why the story I've been posting (Trifecta) has gone to the wayside. But my manager will be back in October, hopefully before my vacation. And October isn't that far off anymore.


I'm glad you're doing so well. I've missed you. I was going to asked your preferred pronoun, but then I read your Ego Status and figured it out for myself.

I look forward to your novel/trilogy. I don't know your teacher's method for cutting down on words, but I've found that tight third works well. Now if I only used fewer characters.

I spent time yesterday adding drop-down menus to my WordPress blogs (I'm trying to look like a professional-ish writer person) and while I was at it, I added my pronouns essay. I should probably link it somewhere in case anyone who doesn't know me happens across this LJ...

(Do you know how nice it is to be in conversation with people who care and make an effort about my pronouns? The amount of people I know IRL - who are otherwise awesome people - who care in anything close to the same way can be counted on one hand, no exaggeration, and that's quite saddening. Although I am getting a thank-you reference in my student's book and she was very careful to use 'they', which is awesome. She's the exception, though.)

Oh, wow. That sounds like a lot of work and stress. I hope that gets better for you very soon. (Writing is definitely the thing that keeps me sane! Sane-ish?)

That's so awesome, though, to literally have someone tell you that your book is good enough for a stand-alone publication (with the chance of continuing the series). I hope you get lots of sales, because you're writing something that matters in a genre desperate for good representation and good writing.

I hate it when I keep getting stuck in the same place. Me, I usually get stuck because I either don't have enough plot (I've done a lot of work on including plot in my writing the last year or so) or I don't know enough of what I'm writing about. (Or, sometimes, I'm writing something I think people want but I don't really want to write it.) Realising that tendency in my own creativity has been quite enlightening.

I love Scheherazade, so any kind of play on that tradition interests/intrigues me. I'm curious to see where that goes, when you have the time and space for everything to come together.

My teacher is very into tight writing. (She's a non-fiction specialist and I'm a fiction writer dabbling in non-fic, so we have differing approaches as well.) It's sometimes frustrating, but I'm learning a lot and it will serve me well in the end, I think!

Have you ever done the character relationships exercise (plotting out the relationships between and what they think about each other character)? I'm impressed that you can keep it all organised.
I read your essay. I use the singular they all the time when talking. It's not that hard.

I've found that many people who insist on things are showing shocking ignorance of the way those things work. I've been 'corrected' for using sentence adverbs.

The not taking people's comfort into account reminds me that just this week we had a customer waiting for the handicap stall in the ladies' room. I spoke at a normal tone (the woman in the chair was whispering) to let the woman inside know someone was waiting. My coworker tried to find an alternative. Could she fit in a normal stall? No. Maybe the men's room with someone waiting outside the door, but it wasn't empty. Then the woman finally came out, totally unapologetic, and the lady in the chair got relief. We went into the break room and talked with other employees about the episode and how we try never to used the larger stall and how could anyone not move to the next stall...

I was trying to learn very tight writing, but discovered that I like a little fluff (adverbs exist for a reason). I read recently that should and its cousins as well as it was (which I'd been trying to remove from my writing) place a reader more firmly in a character's POV. So I let some of them slide.

I've never done a relationship exercise like that, at least not what they think part. Most of my stories with a large cast only have one POV, which makes keeping tract a bit easier. But I think I might want to do it for BMQ part two. Everyone will know each other except for the main character who only knows the male lead.

Hello, it's great to hear from you again. It sounds like stuff has been working out really well for you, meanwhile. Good to hear how it's all coming together.

I am much as always. I have three interrelated fiction ebooks out now, set in ancient Rome. I'm currently in the last throes of editing a fantasy vampire romance called Mortal Peril, which I am also serialising here on LJ.

I am also working part time in a hostel and am furthermore proud guardian of a small black cat, officially named Achilles but generally called Boo.
I linked your WordPress site, actually, on a queer genre fic post I made (as you write historical queer fiction). I hope you don't mind (I like to pimp out people I know, especially fellow indie writers/authors because it's not easy finding a readership). Congrats on keeping on with your writing, though.

(Oooh, vampires. I'll probably wait until you've done the edits and published - read it all in one hit - but I'll be looking forward to that.)

Hey, I've actually got a question for you. I'm wanting to put my stuff up on Amazon (as is my student, actually), but I'm also needing to mail all the stupid tax forms to the US IRS so I don't make, oh, five cents per book sale. Do you need to have all that done first before you put up on Amazon, or can you have them hold your money (like Smashwords) until you've sorted out all your tax witholding horribleness? Amazon's guides to KDP are absolute rubbish and I'm having trouble figuring out just how it works. I mean, I've got free reads I want to put up there just for exposure, and I can't even figure out if I can do that without declaring to Amazon my tax status (or sighing and resolving myself to the thirty percent witholding from the IRS - which, by the time Amazon takes their cut and then the Australian government, leaves me with nothing). Can you advise? It feels like a dumb-arse question, but I can't figure it out.

OMG, why does everybody I know now have really cute pets? I'm dying of jealousy over here. Black cats are my absolute favourite!
Thanks for pimping my site! :) It can always do with more pimpage.

Annoyingly, Amazon doesn't seem to offer the facility to put payments on hold before getting your tax forms in. (Which is something I still need to do.) It also restricts your ability to offer work for free, where you either make your work exclusive to Amazon and then they let you offer a work for free for a limited period, or you advertise it for free elsewhere and wait for Amazon to price-match.

I much prefer Smashwords for how much more autonomy they leave to the author, but unfortunately, they don't seem to make nearly as many sales. I keep my Smashwords account so I can discount or give freebies whenever I like but make most of my sales from Amazon.
I wouldn't be where I am without other people promoting me - I only really have hits on my blog because of a few friends who promote my posts - so I like to pay that one forwards where and when I can. Since I have a website with a few readers and even a tiny amount of reach, it's wrong not to use it to help out my friends.

I was afraid of that, but thank you for confirming it (again, the KDP info isn't as clear as it should be). Damn. Yeah, I've so been putting off those tax forms (oh, yes, I want to SNAIL MAIL shit to the IRS. Fun). And double-damn, because really, I want a good proportion of my works to be free.

It really sucks to not be American and self-publish, doesn't it? (I'm feeling a blog post about this because this side of it isn't mentioned as much as it could/should be.)

I might just pop everything up, take the hit and change the tax withholding later, because yeah, I know that I'm going to get far more downloads on Amazon. I don't even want to make money as much as just build an audience (but it'd be nice to make something) and be able to show download figures to prospective agents, but I shouldn't have to rip myself off to do it, either because I'm not American.

Thanks for all that. :)