An idea for anyone interested …

I love to hear about new books as much as the next person.  And I’ve noticed that some of my readership is comprised of writers.  And a simple fact of life is that some have more and others less readership than I do.  Certainly it’s a given that we all have different readership.

I’ve heard of blog tours, guest bloggers, etc.  And this isn’t so different as that; but a little bit, yes. Continue reading

Mind leakage

Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)

Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, very recently I posted this which contemplated the ‘obligation’ of those of us who have a voice in the public ear to be out about … ourselves, really.

After much thought and discussion I’ve decide that I agree with myself.  I’ve no obligation whatsoever to say if I’m straight or gay, bi- or pansexual.  If I’m married, single, dating, taken a vow of chastity (though in all sincerity I share Sally’s view of that) that’s my own business.  Hell the only validity to saying if I’m male or female is because English has gendered pronouns; what anatomy I currently posses or have previously possessed is certainly no business to anyone except one who intends to make any use of that anatomy.

Hobbes (Calvin and Hobbes)

Hobbes (Calvin and Hobbes) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It can be argued that, were I gay or were I trans, or were I a particularly gifted gibbon that I ought to say so in order to show other gay writers, other trans writers, other gibbons that they too can be a published author.  No.  I can see a certain validity in that for things like acting or other things that truly put you in the public eye.  Writing is nothing at all like that.  I cite as my reference and infallible proof:  Bill Watterson.  This is a man who wrote a comic beloved by millions (billions?) through a number of years (decades?) and who some believe to be mythical as there is exactly one photograph that most anyone has ever seen and it’s been joked/rumoured that even his agent has no idea where he lives or what his phone number is.  He could be a she under a pen name.  We certainly know nothing about him – does he like men?  Women?  Sheep?  Does he speak Welsh, Russian, or Portugese?  Does he have testicles?  No one knows … and few have any reason to care.

What Bill teaches us is that, when we are invisible creators, us writers, we are as much or more inspirational than when we are visible.  Visible I’m clearly a 6′ tall transsexual lesbian gibbon with a unicorn horn and seven breasts.  Invisible I’m whatever and whoever I need to be to make you feel better.  I prefer semi-visible.  I mean, we learn a little of Bill from his incomparable Calvin and Hobbes comics (if you have been under a rock and know not of what I speak I suggest you hie thee to the nearest place of obtainment and remedy this unspeakable deficiency with all available alacrity); just as we learn a little of any author by taking her collected works as a whole.  I’ll talk about whole work versus single character/works later.  We learn a little from his name and that one photograph.  And we learn one more thing from his reclusiveness:  clearly he is a shy or at least not terribly egotistical man.

Lucy Pevensie

Lucy Pevensie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These little clues tell us some things.  Okay, he’s probably not a woman, he’s not a self-centred loudmouth, etc. and his characters tell us he’s probably a pretty swell and thoughtful person with a keen and well-read wit.  Does this help you decide if a cisgender llamaphilic lesbian nanny goat can make it big in the comics world?  Sort of, yes, actually – as I said, he proves that we’re anonymous behind our pages.  People see us as our creations on the page, not as the people our families look at during dinner.  Stephen King is a slightly known geekish face, a few people know he writes from his nightmares, and some know about his alcoholism – most people know him as a byline that scares the living shit out of them.

Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's T...

Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to authors who’ve discussed it, yes, in the publishing industry there are agents, editors, publishing overlords, etc. who will take one sex or another more seriously than the opposite.  SF tends to be dismissive of women is the biggest complaint, but men are sometimes given a little less attention in the romance universe, and people get funny ideas in mysteries and … stuff.  But look around.  There’re published women in SF (Elaine Cunningham, Andre Norton, etc.), men published under romance (Nicholas Sparks, lots of pseudonyms, etc.), Mary Shelly anyone?  Lord Byron?  No, in the end, the publishing world is wide open.  For one thing, if you must, just do it yourself.  Your work is what should matter.

My work shows that I’m sympathetic – be I an ally or member – of the LGBTQ community.  My blogposts affirm this.  I am colourblind (not in the disability sense, but in the racial sense) – to me a human is a human, their skin colour is nothing but melanin, I even spent formative years of my life somewhere that it was white people who were not the racial powerhouses and, in fact, were discriminated against and bullied – the people of Hawai’i haven’t forgot the whole annexed at gunpoint and the very dubious circumstances of the vote for statehood things.  My name is in the feminine form.

People can make of that data, as they can with what they know of Bill Watterson, what they will.  No, I’m not going to make an evangelical Christian fundamentalist with very strong anti-LGBT philosophies feel much of a connection with me or my characters, not unless they’re inclined to changing their minds or at least have an open mind for lesbian characters despite their Views against their ‘lifestyle choices’.

J. R. R. Tolkien, 1916

J. R. R. Tolkien, 1916 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those looking for a rolemodel … in writing your role model should be the text on the page.  I’ve next to nothing whatsoever in common with Professor J R R Tolkien, the great man who brought us The Hobbit; I’ve little in common with C S Lewis, little in common with A A Milne or Ed Greenwood.  Spider Robinson, Arthur C Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Terry Pratchett, Lawrence Block, or William Shatner.  All of those are authors whose works I’ve enjoyed, authors who – along with many more – taught me to write by having themselves written and by my having read them and learned from those pages.  I do not know them, I do not feel I know them, I do not feel I must know them.  I do know Granny Weatherwax, Bilbo Baggins, Winnie the Pooh, Storm Silverhand, Lady Sally, HAL 9000, Bernie Rhodenbarr, Jake Cardigan, and Lucy Pevensiethey are the ones I met and the ones whose adventures I shared and share again & again.  They are the ones who taught me what is possible and how to dream and hope.  Those characters told me that it doesn’t matter that I’m a woman; they told me it doesn’t matter one way or the other who I love – just that I should love, and well; they taught me wonder, they taught me many things.

I think in most ways public figures only matter in what they do, not what they are.  Exceptions – always exceptions – would be those who rely on others to see their dreams through, like actors.  If, after coming out, Neil Patric Harris was never seen nor heard from again in Hollywood … well, that’s a pretty strong message.  Thing is, yeah, it makes sense that he should be out, and his career being so strong is inspirational – despite being a married gay father he is a beloved STAR, but actors have directors and producers who can decide to never give them a part because “I just can’t work with someone with green eyes, oh God no!  They’re really Satan come to Earth in disguise” and, necessarily, artistic pursuit is left open to some discrimination (hey, I’m sorry, if you’re not tall enough nor leggy enough you just can’t be a Radio City Rockette … the routines won’t work for it, learn ‘em and start a competing group of shorter folk, might work though) so stupid discrimination gets by far too often; sad but true.

But as writers we’re not selling ourselves – recently popular advice to the contrary exists, but it’s bull as the good Mr Watterson so fabulously illustrates (uhm … no pun intended).  We do not inspire with our selves, we inspire with our creations.  Writer is a, largely, crappy job – pay sucks, it’s sometimes (for some, rather often) thankless, it’s lonely … it’s a lot of things, none of them glamorous.  It is those who populate our pages they are our contributions to societal change and philosophical debate.  Professor Tolkien may have been a force to be reckoned with in the world of academia, but that inspired people studying philology and myths; Bilbo Baggins inspired people, lots of them.  Suddenly it didn’t matter how small or inexperienced you were, you could out riddle a voice in the dark, escape goblins, face down dragons, ride the skies with the eagles, meet elves, and live through the war of five armies – not bad for a timid little hobbit from The Shire.  Classics have few (no?) LGBTQ characters … at one time, including them would have actually got the authors worse than just shunned and boycotted, so give ‘em breaks.  Today … today we have Lauren & Sally, we have Dumbledore (I’m sorry, but I was not surprised when Ms Rowling said he’s gay).   We’re lacking, admittedly, in trans* representation.  I’ve only got Sally’s cousin Joe, and he’s pretty minor.  I’m sorry, I’ve just not met any trans characters in my head with a story to tell, just a few who exist as … decoration.  Maybe that’ll change one day, I certainly hope so, it’d be interesting to see what stories they tell.  I’m no expert, but I think it’s not unheard of in manga, for what it’s worth.

That doesn’t matter, though, today you write your story.  You tell of the heroism of your pansexual Japanese trans woman, then you put it out there.  The more who do this the more it becomes visible.  Sooner or later someone else has to rise to the ranks of Pratchett and Rowling, King and Meyer … sooner or later no one will notice that a character in a story is a lesbian because it won’t be that important a detail, or that he’s transgender, or that she’s black, or that he’s Asian or … already that’s starting to happen, and it’s a Good Thing.  The key isn’t to make the books about being black, or about being Asian, or about being a sentient dolphin – not that those books aren’t helpful too, but they’re not necessarily as generally accessible as books not about those things – it’s to make books about fighting dragons, about saving the princess, about climbing Everest, about life but with characters who aren’t status quo.  Few, if any, who read The Hobbit were, themselves, hobbits … and it wasn’t exactly about him being a hobbit, it was about him being on an adventure despite all the things that define a hobbit, and proving that Gandalf was right in suggesting that one, this one in particular, be brought along; and who has never, not once in their lives, had something they had to be overcome, especially something that was no handicap whatsoever but rather only perceived as so by the short-sighted?

That is the obligation of a writer, I think, if we wish to be inspiring and to Change The World – we need to all have more Bilbo Bagginses.  We all need more Tiggers, and more Aslans, more Prince Thorks, and more Tee Tuckers.  It’s them who spread the message.  If your book preaches to the choir, you do a service and your book is important – it tells those who may feel excluded and alone that they are not alone; please by all means do still write and keep on writing them.  But if you don’t want to write a book about someone being gay, but you want to have a gay character … well … that’s a damned fine idea too – that‘s leading by example.

I think I’ve wandered and meandered long enough.  I’m going to stop here and hit publish.  I’m tired and almost afraid to actually spellcheck or proofread this.

A discussion, I hope.

English: Ellen DeGeneres in 2009.

English: Ellen DeGeneres in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was an article I found on Facebook, shared it too as I recall.  The Best Way to Change Minds:  Come Out, Stay Out, and Speak Out.

Of particular note, for me, is the first paragraph:

Last week my friend, Professor Jenny Boylan of Barnard College, penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times entitled “Trans Community Can Change Minds by Changing Discourse.” I think it’s very important that our scholars are finally being provided with a platform to reach a far wider audience, and Jenny is one of our most articulate spokeswomen. It’s also important to note that — gasp!trans women are Ivy League college professors. I will even go so far as to say that what she said is less important than the fact that she is published in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. That will have a great impact on accomplishing what she stressed as the goal of her piece: changing the nature of the public discourse around trans persons and the experience of being trans.

Now, of course, it’s about the transgender community.  Applicability, a word I learnt from the late Professor J R R Tolkien‘s lovely writings on the subject of storytelling, though means it says so very much more.  Amazing how much storytelling and life can have in common if you take a moment to look around and see it.

I’m rather torn on the subject myself.  This is why I hope this will be a discussion in the comments.  It’d be interesting to see the varied opinions and discourse on the matter.  I’m a private person.  I don’t like, as I’ve said before, giving details about myself.  I’ve no problem standing up for people.  Race, sexuality, gender expression, gender identity … we’re all people.  I stand up for people because first off, it just seems the right thing to do.  None of my business if someone is a woman, man, or other.  Doesn’t matter the slightest to me if they’re Buddhist, Pagan, Jew, Christian, Islamic, or pray before an old Pepsi can from 1973.  I certainly can’t imagine being too upset about anything that two or more consenting people might like to do with/to one another.  Above all else, I’m not going to say that someone doesn’t deserve the same rights as anyone else just because of who it is that they love and find attractive.

My point is; do people in the public eye – authors, actors, politicians, etc. – do we have some obligation to be out?  And out about any of it.  Out about being heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, pepsisexual, transgender, transvestite, transatlantic, or transmitted; anything.  Does it matter?

I do feel that we should certainly speak our minds if we’re willing and able.  I’m somewhat able and somewhat willing, so I do.  But that’s not because of our being public.  I think that’s just a very good and human thing to do.  If you want to be objectivist about it and find some self-serving reason for it then how about Martin Niemöller‘s words:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Should it matter if you are gay or trans*?  Should it matter if I am?  Your cousin?  Should it be enough that you don’t feel that anyone should ever be treated as less than human?

So I do, I ask:  am I right or wrong?  Is it enough to speak out, even if I will not come out cis/trans/queer, gay/straight/bi/other? I am out on one point:  I’m an out redhead and an out woman.  I’m also an out writer (exceedingly vague reference to The Notebooks of Lazarus Long).  Does it add some weight to what I say if I am Cis or if I’m trans?  If I’m gay or straight?

The article seems to think so.  At least taken in an extrapolated form.  To be fair, the article itself isn’t talking so much about the Laverne Coxes, the Ellen Pages, the George Takeis of the world.  It’s talking about the guy who bags your groceries, the woman who delivers your mail, etc.  It’s about advocating by simple example.  By not isolating yourself, as a trans person, estranged from anyone who ever knew you as your assigned gender to begin fresh and reborn as your true gender in another town all alone … It points out that, if no one can really identify with an issue, put a real face and person to it they’re not really going to feel much point in supporting the cause.  Little girls like Jazz, women like Laverne Cox; they may seem unreal to people, or isolated curiosities.  George Takei and Ellen DeGeneres; same thing.  They plant the seed, the curiosity, the vocabulary.  They shout the issues from the rooftops, but the ones who prove them right are the gay parents at the PTA conference for their’s daughters’ school; it’s the little boy struggling to be allowed to play for the boys’ team instead of the girls'; it’s your trans brother and your lesbian sister-in-law, your bi cousin.  That point I don’t argue with.  Those who know me I’m out about my sexuality with, my marital status, etc.  What I can’t seem to make up my mind about is this:  does it matter in either direction to the public?

Funny I should say this, given my post about representation, but I guess it comes down to this:  representation in my work exists.  I’d assume that my characters present far more valid role models than myself.  You get to know them, you see their thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, all of that – you share a bond with them.  Me?  What am I?  A dyslexic typist who happens to occasionally take it into her head to string several English words together in something like a logical and coherent order.  Does this make me the kind of public figure whose personal details matters for representing anything or anyone?  I can paint landscapes populated by cis/trans/queer alike, homo/hetero/bi/pan/a whatever, but I can do that regardless my gender, race, height, weight, bust size, inseam, zodiac sign, sexuality, etc.

Still, perhaps I’m wrong.  I’d love to hear what others think:  does my sexuality, gender-status, marital status, etc. matter?  Never mind me specifically, I mean anyone.  Does J K Rowlings’?  Does Stephen King’s?  George R R Martin’s?  Neil Gaiman‘s?

Is it me or is that a long list of Caucasian, cisgender, heterosexual people?  Look, writing as a profession or even hobby doesn’t actually need representation, does it?!  I mean, the anonymity of the pen/keyboard?  How many authors use pseudonyms!  I mean … people know this right?  I mean were I gay or bi or whatever, that wouldn’t make a difference to whether or not some little girl who falls in love with my books decides to take up the quill and tell her own tales … would it?

Damn, now I can actually see arguments both ways.  Stupid blogpost … bad blogpost, no cookies!

Life would be so much easier if humanity weren’t so caught up on the idea of finding reasons to look down on one another.  I mean, aside from obvious ones like rape, murder, theft … people are starving, and there’re religious groups spending money and energy on fighting the legality of Portia and Ellen’s marriage.  Really?!

Still, these comments are no less moderated than any others.  Your comment won’t show up unless you have a previously approved comment or unless I hit the magical, mystical approval button.  But, you know, discuss away.  Between the comments and my own soul searching, maybe I’ll get around to writing up some kind of bio about myself.  Maybe I won’t.  I’m still leaning to “it doesn’t matter”, besides … could turn out I’m just as status quo as Ms Rowling; at least with the silence there’s a mystique.

[Weeping with joy] FINALLY!

Ready or Not (concept only)Ready or Not is available in print!

At this very specific moment only this store but it should be on Amazon by the end of the day at earliest, sometime tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.

Available to other places (BAM!, B&N, your local mom & pop’s ordering system, etc.) … well, really, they could be as early as for Amazon, but more likely they’ll start showing up around Friday and trickle in over the next week or so.

9781482631173 is the ISBN you’re asking for (yes, you can just say “Ready or Not by Jaye Em Edgecliff” or “What do you have by Jaye Em Edgecliff” or whatever, but this theoretically saves time and is really handy for putting in some search functions at some bookstores).

In any event, please enjoy.

I’m not sure if I should scream, cry, or both

English: A kitten crying.

English: A kitten crying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I figured out the trouble with Ready or Not, sort of.

My initial problem was that the PDF had decided to be 8.5in x 11in.  The book is 6in x 9in.

The program I’d made the PDF with was refusing to make a 6×9 PDF.  Even though it has done so in the past.

So I use a different program to make the PDF.  YAY!  Fits … but now Createspace is convinced that something is off the edge of the page … which isn’t … and wouldn’t let me approve the proof.

So I use another another PDF creator … proof is approvable!  Yay!  Excess blank pages are randomly inserted into the middle of sections of the book, one of them near the beginning so that page … n/m, just awkwardness happens.  Oh, and to top it off?  Suddenly one of my fleurons is 72dpi, despite the fact that I copy/paste the same image every single time and there are over 100 in there, just the one near the top of page 16.  I’d ignore it, but since I need to fix the blank pages, I may as well figure it out too.

Oh, and why must I use a PDF?  Because Word refuses to embed all the fonts I used, CreateSpace doesn’t have all the fonts I used, and LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Pages, and KOffice all don’t embed those fonts either.

RIP Robin Williams

American comedian Robin Williams at "Stan...

American comedian Robin Williams at “Stand Up for Heroes,” a comedy and music benefit organized by the Bob Woodruff Family Fund to raise money for injured U.S. servicemen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, by now I’m sure everyone’s heard the news:  The great Robin Williams is dead, having committed suicide yesterday.

The world is a far lesser place without the laughter and joy he has brought to so very many souls in his life.

Depression is no joke.  It can blind one to just how much you mean to others and leaves you feeling worthless even when you might be one of the most precious people of an age.  True, a lot of us never knew Robin well, but what if he knew how his death would affect the world … would he still have?  Maybe, it’s hard to say.  We don’t know what in his life was such a tragedy to him – the sad thing about depression is, there doesn’t even have to be.

Still, perhaps he’ll be making the world a better place even now as he brings laughter and joy to the gods and heavens instead.

If you’re feeling a bit down yourself, find someone to talk to.  You may just find there’s something to live for.  Never underestimate the restorative powers of a pet, either.

For those in the US try this:  http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

For those in other countries, I’m sorry, but Google was being rather Amero-centric and its typical unhelpful self.  Please, put the revolver or sleeping pills down and take a few seconds to find your equivocal, or go find a priest, any priest, or just hold a purring cat … something.

Absent-minded = ME!

Oh GOD!  I just realised I never put the sample chapters of Ready or Not up on the site!  And, if Love or Lust‘s sample is anything to go by people do like to read those before buying.

I’m terribly sorry.  I got distracted by issues with the print edition, and various things simply classified as ‘Life’.

It’ll take a little bit to get it set up in a way that doesn’t fight with WordPress, but I’ll have it up later today or sometime tomorrow.

#Ashamed

Upadate: Sample is up.

Ready or Not – Print Edition: Still delayed

Ready or Not (concept only)For those who prefer a nice physical, bound book to hold in their hands … I’m sorry but I’m still working on that for Ready or Not.

Theoretically this should be ridiculously easy and all, but Createspace is what I go through for the print because it’s the highest quality Print On Demand publishing service after Lightning Source, which I’d prefer to use but lack the Photoshop skills necessary to get the cover and page layout right in a single go and thus would get obscenely expensive.  Problem is, though, that Createspace apparently hates me.  It’ll lay the pages out pretty neatly while I’m experimenting along the way still writing the book and such; then I upload the final document file which, in theory, ought to be perfect since I’ve been testing along the way … … … random badness happens.  In this case it keeps setting the pages several inches too high up and to the right.

So far I’ve found all the things not causing that.  I pray it’ll only be another few days to a week before it’s up, but it could be as many as two or three more weeks.

I’d go with a publisher and save myself these headaches, but I’d be simply trading them in for different headaches.  At least this way I keep full control and don’t have to worry about some artist getting strange ideas about what my covers should look like (for those who think an author has control of her cover art through most publishers, all I can say is, “that is adorably naïve, honey.”), higher royalties, an editor I know well and trust not to decide to rewrite the book for me (yes, it happens), and control over release date (sort of).

Ready or Not on sale now

Ready or Not (concept only)Ready or Not is now on sale!

This does not include the print edition, sadly.  I’m having arguments with the layout for no reason that makes logical sense.  It should only be another few hours to couple of days.

Too the various ebook retailers take their own variable time-frames to put the book on their virtual shelves.  If your favourite doesn’t have it yet — give it a few more hours.  If it isn’t there by 6pm US/Eastern then please contact me.  Odds are I already know about it, but can’t hurt to make sure.

 

Available now for us$3.99 (and various proportionate prices in various other countries and currencies) from:

smashwordsibooks-button-graphicallromanceebooksdt-fiction3dwebnookkindle-logo

 

 

 

Dropping Kobo support

Kobo eReader

Kobo eReader (Photo credit: ndh)

I like supporting various e-readers and their associated services.  It’s, frankly, not usually very difficult.

Sadly, Kobo has decided to make it so.  For no reason I can fathom they do not accept ePub files that even the most exacting alternatives accept without question and that work on their App (I don’t have one of their devices so have no idea), won’t accept a MOBI file that Amazon took no issue with, and does very strange things when fed a raw .doc/.docx file.  Therefore, while Love or Lust will continue to be sold there for the foreseeable future, Ready or Not will not be carried there nor will any future books.

I’m sorry.

If you’re a Kobo user you can get ePub copies from Apple, DriveThru Fiction, and Smashwords.  Nook is also an ePub version, but it can be awkward to get at the file, though not impossible — so Barnes & Noble is another source of the file.  I do not use DRM so the file you get from any of those sources will play happily with your device so long as Kobo continues to support standard ePub format.  My personal recommendation is not-Smashwords as the formatting gets a little weird after the trip through their “meat grinder” which is as horrible as it sounds.

I am actually very sad to be leaving Kobo, and I may return some day if their service to the publisher/author improves.  They are almost as respectful to their content providers as Apple and offer many of the same services.  Only DriveThru Fiction can remotely say the same.  Still I have no intention to spend hours or even days pulling my hair out trying to track down its various imagined code errors.

Ready or Not pre-orders

Ready or Not (concept only)Well, it’s finally done with my editor.  A quick proofread by me and some arguing with the various retailers, then the book will be available.

Smashwords and iBooks allow pre-orders, though it is not yet listed with Apple.  Smashwords is another story.

I’ll have the first two chapters up for samples sometime in the next couple of days.

The release is scheduled for 26 July.  Even if Apple doesn’t get the pre-order set up before then, the book ought to be available for purchase and download by then.

The other retailers: Kobo, DriveThru Fiction, All Romance eBooks, Kindle, and Nook will start showing up on that date as they each complete their own listing processing.

There, of course, will also be a print edition; and most likely a Goodreads give-away for an autographed copy or two.

Love or Lust will be reduced to us$2.99, Ready or Not will be us$3.99 their print editions will remain us$17.99.

Hope you will enjoy it as much as you did book 1.  It was certainly a lot of fun to write if not nearly so much fun to edit.  Book 3 still has no title, but one will be announced by the end of the year.