Monday, May 27, 2019
I won't lie to you: it's been a while since I've felt enthused about work. I'm having a midlife crisis, and everything is in flux. But I'm still here! I'm still scrawling away in the background, producing BRAND NEW EROTIC FICTION for you to enjoy at a later date.
But why am I even talking about writing? That's not what I'm here to tell you about. I'm here to tell you about a BRAND NEW PROJECT I've dreamed up that'll hopefully help those of us who are socially isolated feel not so alone.
Yes, you heard that right: I'm socially isolated. I don't think it was even a gradual thing, for me. I think that, once I started writing full-time, my world instantly grew smaller. In the beginning, I'd take on part-time jobs because I needed the money. I never realized how helpful it was for my mental health to interact with people out there in the world.
This summer, as I was dealing with the death of a family member who was also isolated and depressed, I realized I needed to change my life. I started doing volunteer work again, and that has helped tremendously (I highly recommend it!), but it wasn't a cure-all. My career as a writer is still very solitary, and I have trouble making friends and all that.
Months ago, I started thinking about how all the resources I've ever heard of that helped people who were socially isolated were for seniors. But the truth is that a lot of younger people feel isolated, too, these days. I wanted to create something online that would help us feel some connection, give us something to look forward to every day, but I didn't know what I could possibly do on a daily basis that wouldn't leave me disastrously overwhelmed.
Well, this week it hit me! I knew I wanted to do some kind of "friendly visitor" thing, but the other day I realized that I'm often posting whatever song is stuck in my head to Twitter. I LOVE music. Like, music is magic. Music saves me. So I thought... that's what I can do: create a home for us to gather in day by day, where we come together around a song!
Whether you feel socially isolated or you just love music, I hope you'll read about my new project, which I guess is called A FRIENDLY MUSICAL VISIT EVERY DAY and is located at https://friendlymusicvisitor.blogspot.com
I wrote up a whole thing last night, to introduce you to my new project and hopefully get you interested in returning each and ever day. You can read it right here: https://friendlymusicvisitor.blogspot.com/2019/05/what-is-this-where-am-i-whats-it-all.html
Wish me luck with this! There's nothing worse than starting something new only to find that no one cares. But, of course, that's not going to happen here! This is a great idea, and lots of people are going to love it! (I need to keep telling myself these things...)
Tell your friends!
Tuesday, May 21, 2019
I don't tend to keep on top of things.
That's especially true when it comes to the daily drama of the romance world.
But I happened to notice everybody freaking out about a chart-topper on Amazon. Apparently this book featured father/daughter incest and underage sex. It's since been removed from sale because both of those things go against Amazon's terms of service. This book's also been banned by Smashwords, and Smashwords will sell you books about getting fucked by your mom, a bull, and the family dog. It takes some effort to get your book bounced from their system.
Bottom line is you can't publish books featuring sex with minors. Ever. Anywhere. This is what we've all agreed to as authors.
So that whole thing happened.
But it didn't stop there.
Because after that incident, I started seeing authors hating on other books... books wherein the main characters were not related or underage. Books about legal adults engaged in consensual sex.
Hoo boy. Here we go.
Remember 10+ years ago, when authors supported each other? Helped each other? I do. I was blown away by the kindness and generosity other writers showed me when I was started out in this business.
Now what do we get? Authors tearing each other down. Authors scratching each other's eyes out. Petty jealousies that turn into witch hunts. That's what I've been seeing lately.
After the rapey child molester book was taken off the market, I saw authors calling for other books to be taken down too--pretty much any book featuring an older man and younger woman. Consenting adults with an age gap. Everything must go.
Look, I'm kind of glad nobody in that romance world really knows or cares I exist (or they've hated me for so long that it's not even fun anymore), because I've written a ridiculous amount of age gap fiction and I'm not going to stop because a bunch of angry authors think it's "disgusting."
Why do I so often write about older men and younger women? Because I lived it. You know this about me. You know I was involved with one of my high school teachers, a much older man, a very married man. I've told this story so many times you're bored just thinking about it. So am I.
Through fiction writing, I'm able to process my experiences as a teen and young adult. I'm able to think about that time in my life from every angle. I'm sure that, in reading my fiction, readers who've shared similar experiences are able to process their shit too. I recently heard someone say there's no "junk food" when it comes to media consumption. Even if you think of some stupid TV show you watch as a guilty pleasure, it changes you. Everything we consume (books, movies, TV, music) works inside our brains in ways we're not even aware of.
Okay, so one thing that attracted me to the older man I was involved with was that... this might sound a little strange... but he was just so sad. Like, really really sad. Existential ennui, depression, suicidal thoughts. I was so drawn to that. I just wanted to make him happy. I wanted to use my body to make him happy.
I was drawn to other qualities, too. He seemed so knowledgeable and wise. Nobody in my family had gone past high school, and he had a MASTER'S degree. Like, wow, so educated! *swoon* Smart and sad. Shut up and take my virginity!
Did I think our relationship was fucked up while it was happening? Of course not! I'd have gone to the ends of the earth to defend the choices we made. Looking back, do I think it was fucked up? Hell yes. But does that mean I regret my life choices? No, not at all. And does that mean I shouldn't fictionalize my personal experiences? No. It's my life. I'm gonna use it in my books.
"Fine, write your life--but depressing litfic only. It shouldn't be presented in a positive light."
Haha. That was the hottest sex of my life. You think I'm not going to present it that way? My libido's waning by the minute and I very often wish there was some way to recapture those delicious years. I can't recapture them in life. I can in fiction.
Pretty much everything I write is massively fucked up. I'd be bored if it wasn't. If a bunch of other authors hate me because I write taboo erotica or student/teacher sex or adultery or age play, let them hate. I stopped caring a long time ago.
Except I guess I do still get riled up, or why would I be writing these words?
And why would I have decided to post my new adult novella CHERRY for free at Wattpad?
It's about an 18-year-old girl who falls for her father's best friend on vacation. It's pretty much exactly the kind of book a lot of authors seem to want to burn these days. What I keep thinking is: if a book doesn't appeal to you, DON'T READ IT. It's obviously not for you. It's probably for the person who's been through this--who's going through it now or who went through it when they were younger. Or maybe it's just for the reader who wants to peep some hot sex between an older man and a young woman. Why so much judgement? Sheesh.
Anyway, today I posted the first chapter from CHERRY at Wattpad so people can read it for free. I'm going to post a new chapter every day until I'm out of chapters. More info here.
People who find this kind of book offensive can skip it. Or hate-read it. I really don't care. I'm making CHERRY available FOR FREE for the people who want to read it--to process their experiences... or just to get off.
Saturday, May 11, 2019
The more I write about grief and depression, the more followers I lose. So why do I do it? Why do something that seems, on the surface, pretty bad for my writing career? Because I'm finally realizing there's truth to that old saying I never used to believe: if your work helps just one person, it's worth doing. Even if fair-weather fans bail, I'm here for YOU, you dear, darling ONE person who needs this post.
Yes, it might be a bummer! Read it if you want, don't if you don't. I'm not forcing anyone. Do what's right for you.
I want to talk about Mother's Day, because it's tomorrow, and it's on my mind.
As you probably know, my grandmother died six months ago. My cousin died just a couple months before her. I think that's all the background you need.
This'll be the first Mother's Day since my grandma's death, and it's hitting me hard. Not just my grandmother's absence (and I do miss her hugely), but the feeling that my family is disintegrating without her. She was the glue. She was the matriarch. Without her, how do we hold together?
For the past ten or twenty years, the whole family's been assembling at my grandmother's house on Mother's Day. It was never a planned event, like Christmas and Grandma's birthday, which were the other two occasions on which you could be sure to see all the aunts, uncles, cousins, babies. Everybody just sort of showed up at Grandma's house because she was the mother of the family. Where else would we spend Mother's Day?
My grandmother never wanted a "final resting place." She didn't believe in that sort of thing. So she doesn't have one. I really wish she did, because I want to visit her, especially on a day like Mother's Day. Although, that's the whole reason she didn't want a gravesite: she wouldn't be there, so why would we waste our time going there to see her?
Why? Because there's nowhere else to go...
I watched this TV show called Seatbelt Psychic, where a ride share driver who is also a medium does readings while he's driving people places. One thing he said was that our dead loved ones are always around us. It really upset me to hear that, because all I could think was: if they're around me, why can't I feel them?
I can never feel them. All I feel is alone.
Perhaps I shouldn't feel alone. I do have family. I have my mother and my siblings. That's who I'll be spending Mother's Day with. And I do feel fortunate, especially as a queer person, to have a solid relationship with my family. I know I'm lucky to have more siblings than a lot of people do, these days. A big family is nice. That's why I want to spend special occasions with my many, many aunts and uncles and cousins and their children.
After the death of my cousin this summer, I found out that he looked forward to our family gatherings as much as I did. They were a high point on his calendar. You make so many assumptions about other people's lives, you know? You assume they've got all this cool stuff going on. I'm sure people think that about me, too, that I've got this cool queer life doing cool queer stuff. The truth is that I look forward to returning library materials. I look forward to chatting with friendly cashiers. I don't have much going on, and depression steals your will to seek out new things to do.
My cousin was depressed. That's something else I didn't know about him. I didn't know that until after he died.
Sweet asked why I don't organize a big family event for Mother's Day, if I want one so badly. It's a nice idea, but it would have required more energy than I currently have available. Took me two weeks just to pin down my siblings. Maybe next year I'll be more emotionally stable. Maybe then I'll be able to take initiative. Then again, part of me just wants to be a kid (a 40-year-old kid...) who shows up at the party and doesn't have to do any of the organizing.
I love my family. I don't want us to fall apart. But, my mental health being what it is, I don't know how to keep us together.
Friday, May 3, 2019
Is it psychological or paranormal? You be the judge.
My novel IN SHADOW centres around a young woman who really needs to process her emotions. She's buried a lot of really painful stuff so deep down she actively denies its existence. How does her pain manifest itself? In her shadow--a shadow with a mind of its own... one that can detach from her entirely to fuck her up the ass!
Or is it something else entirely? Is it the ghost of someone who hurt her deeply? Is it a force even greater than one individual? How can we ever know for sure?
An Audiobook written and narrated by Giselle Renarde
As far as Clover’s concerned, she’s got two choices: remain an outcast in the small town where she’s lived her whole life, or move clear across the country like her prodigal stepbrother Mason. Clover is forever paying for her father’s sins at home, but the idea of leaving is too daunting to imagine. When Mason comes home for their sister’s wedding, his presence reignites Clover’s past. A dark force follows her everywhere she goes. Even in dreams, there’s no escaping a hungry shadow...
...and many other audiobook retailers and streaming systems! Check for In Shadow wherever you listen to audiobooks. Check your local library, too!