naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
It's that time again! And so soon. We must stop meeting like this. People will talk.

The Indiegogo campaign for Imperial Blood, our 9th Adventurotica novel, has launched! We have a little over a month to raise the funds to get us through to January.

This is the vampire novel I was talking about. It's gothic in the literary sense, somewhat lyrical, definitely going to be overwrought, and it's going to be full of kinky stuff. As usual, mostly het, but with M/M and F/F sex too. Yay, fucking!

What's it about?

Lucky you! You can has trailer!



Or you can read this summary:

From his dark palace at the northernmost part of the world, the dread Emperor Acrisius rules over his vast empire. Once every hundred years, he sends for a girl of royal lineage to be brought to his court. None are ever seen again.

When Sibylla is called, she must go, not knowing what will become of her. She fears the summons will mean her death, but she finds herself entangled in the ancient, complex life of the Dark Lord: a man who lives on blood, destroys all he touches, and yearns for a lost love he can never regain. He will seek to make her his in more ways than she can imagine, and if she is to remain herself, she must resist.

Garath, the young knight who loves her, dares everything to follow her into the north, willing to brave darkness, cold, and terror to save her. He falls into the hands of Minaraja, the Emperor's first bride, a creature of deathless cruelty and unending spite. Roused to hunger by his youth and beauty, she seeks to break his spirit with pleasure and terror.

Sibylla and Garath must find their own way through this dark place of intrigue, passion, and death unending.


See what I mean? We wanted it to be a sort of . . . well, here, this is what we said on the campaign page:

"Imperial Blood is a bit of a departure from our usual tales of derring-do and pornified sex. It is going to be a kind of dark fable, intentionally taking all the tropes of the Gothic Romance and turning them inside out while still maintaining the feel and atmosphere. It's going to be serious, kink-heavy, and fantastical. The essential, central idea was 'A Beauty and the Beast story where Beauty becomes the Beast.' It's also a fun chance to p*ss all over Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. It will feature male-dom and fem-dom BDSM, and while most of it will be het, girls will get it on with girls and guys will get it on with guys. Something for everyone, as long as you're kind of a perv."

Sargon's writing, I'm kink-consulting (Am I qualified for that? Can I get that on a business card?) and helping with sex scenes. I've read the first few chapters and I am definitely liking the tone and the places it's already going. Bad places.

Also! For those of you not so much into porn, vampires, or . . . vampire porn.



I'm offering these glass and wire ornaments in black and silvertone, instead of bookmarks. They're available a la carte, if you don't want us mailing random piles of porn to your place, which is probably understandable if you have unneutered pets who might Get Ideas or something. They're $25, and may I point out they make lovely gifts and it's not too early to think about the coming holidays. Yulepocalypse. Christmas. Or whatever you call it. They even come gift boxed so you don't have to worry about wrapping them!

AND FINALLY

Yes, I'm offering ponies again! Goth vampire ponies with optional fairy wings. At a slightly lower price this time, but they won't have as many accessories as the steamponies (pics coming), and I'm trying to move two, not just one plus a random drawing (which was fun). They WILL be fabulous. I'm seeing gothy eye makeup, maybe some flowing ribbons and/or fishnets, and possibly some fairy wings because I'd like to do more of those. And there's the NSFW bondage toys version. Yeah. Willing to go there.

So, stop by, or spread the word:

Imperial Blood, it will be awesome.

Now, oh my god, I need to use the sleep!
naamah_darling: Glass of tawny port on a table branded with a seven-pointed star. (Port Wine and the Morning Star)
A quiz on the Horror Writer's Association of L.A.'s website has provoked some indignation over the past couple days.

TEN QUESTIONS TO KNOW IF YOU’RE A PRO is a list of requirements for considering yourself a professional writer framed in the form of a quiz. A nicely passive-aggressive, unnecessarily judgmental, obnoxiously prescriptive, short-sighted bit of writing that falls firmly into creepy territory (this person's life must be pretty joyless and miserable, is all I'm saying).

I very much don't want to dogpile the original author, who made a misstep but doesn't deserve to have her door beaten down over it. (I doubt she anticipated it would draw this much attention.) I do think that it has sparked some great dialogue, and I do think that the original piece exemplifies a harmful and all-too-common school of thought that needs to be attacked and torn down, even as the author herself does not. (Frankly, this smacks of thoughtlessness, not malice.)

So, with that in mind, have links to some of the discussions sparked by the original article:

John Scalzi remarks that she is confusing process and product. In the comments, Chaosprime calls it "cargo cult reasoning," which I think covers it nicely.

Brian Keene reminds us that priorities are different for everyone.

Ursula Vernon may sum it up best.

This is pernicious and poisonous tripe. This serves no purpose but to make people who aren’t grimly self-confident feel bad, and make people who are grimly self-confident feel tired. If you read this and suffered a moment of angst, don’t.

You write, you’re a writer. You get paid to write, you’re a professional writer. If you aren’t a professional writer and you think of yourself as one anyway, the damage to me is surprisingly minimal.


Right on the nose.

And, finally, I just want to take the opportunity to point out that I covered the whole "what makes a Real Writer" thing a while back, right here.

I see the issue of disability brought up so very seldom in these cases. When it is brought up, it's usually by people condemning laziness and accusing people of hiding behind writers' block, often in exactly this sort of article. When people offer rebuttals to the flawed reasoning that says "There is only one right way to go about Being A Writer, and it is mine!", they almost never specifically address that issue. Well, I'm reminding everyone that not writing -- not being able to write -- is not always, or even usually, an issue springing from laziness. You can be a writer and have times where you are not able to write.

Tangentially related, I found this article about the toxicity of the idea that success is tied to sacrifice to be interesting.
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
Work on the steamponies has been stalled out as I fret over what to put on their butts, and fret over neither of them being awesome enough to justify the donation that got the person their perks. I'm aware that the second thing is probably totally bogus and in no way necessary, and I am fending that off successfully about 75% of the time, so I actually do call that a win. The cutie marks, though . . . holy CRAP, I am having NO LUCK. I may have to give UP and just go ahead and paint a cascade of little gears, even though gears are on the short list of shit I do not like to have to draw/paint EVER.

Work on Frontiers and Fables is stalled, too. This is normal. I'll finish two or three chapters, get nothing done for weeks, and then finish another two or three chapters. It's way, way better than no progress at all, which is what I was getting when my meds were messed up, but it's still frustrating, because I want to be finished already. Not that I'm tired of it, but I want that feeling of having actually completed something.

Making gaming notes for one-on-one with Sargon, and still having trouble with that, despite it being arguably the easiest of all the things I have to do. My continual difficulty doing this is a source of neverending frustration to me, and no doubt to him as well. It's going more slowly than it should, but at least it's going.

I'm not having a bad time, I'm just frustrated and bored, and embarrassed a lot of the time by the fact that I'm in relatively good temper and yet unable to do anything constructive to justify my continued existence to myself. (I get cranky if I'm not producing things . . . I'm creative. I need to create. Otherwise I am not being myself. And if I am not being myself, what's the point?)

It's all ludicrous anyhow; it's not like I'm not doing anything, I'm just not working on any of the things I "should" be working on, or on anything that will make us money, which is apparently a huge part of what makes something "okay" to work on, feelings-wise.

I am working on -- and am excited about -- a box with a custom-fit satin lining (figured out how to do those a while back, and they look pretty amazing) for a new sex toy. (I love it that much.) As god is my judge, until I sat down to draw them, I did not realize just how much wolfsbane flowers look like pussy. Pretty, purply-blue alien princess pussy, but still, PUSSY. The background is black, and the flowers are pearly blue. The interior will be lined in this really friggin' gorgeous blue satin I have. I don't love it so far, but I don't hate it, and I NEED a place to store that toy. There will be pics, though (probably) not with the silicone monster cock included. (Would that be weird? I could tie a cute little ribbon around it. . . . That'd still be weird.)

I'd love for money to be enough of a non-issue that I didn't have to feel guilty about every fucking thing I do that is not potentially going to improve our situation.

Yeah.

Anyone have any tips on how to get the fuck over that part? No, seriously, it's annoying as shit.
naamah_darling: The waist and hips of a very trim man in lace-up leather pants. Delectable! (Lust)
GOAL! Throne of the Depths is now successful. With ~48 hours left to go, I'd love to make it even more successful. I mean, obviously. Do I even have to say that?

We still have loads of perks, so jump right in! We love a latecomer!

Thank you, thank you so very much, for helping. Again and again and again, thank you. You are the best.

In other writing news, I finished another two chapters of Frontiers and Fables tonight. Well, I finished one chapter and split it, but that's typical. This unwieldy thing keeps growing. I'll finish eventually. Hopefully at a quicker pace . . . otherwise it'll be 2018. I've already spent more time on it than anything else I've written. It's just that there aren't many days I can actually manage to write. I love the story, and writing is my oldest love, but it's hard, and the brain won't always cooperate.

I keep going. It'll never support me completely, and I wish it could, but it's not really about that, at the heart of it.

It's about profanity, drooling, and blowjobs.

Love you all.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
This is a happy entry.

I'm writing. Not, like, every day, but there are days when I want to, feel like I can, and then do it, and there are often more than two of them a week, which is fantastic. Previously, I was stuck at "wanting to."

People have started asking how it's going again.

"It's a mess," I say. The story picks fights with me. It doesn't want to go where I want it to go. I run into logic flaws. Sometimes I need the characters to do something, and only realize when I get there that they would never do that. There isn't always room for everything I want to include, and things get shelved or cut or, best case scenario, put off until later. Sometimes a scene just isn't going well, and I don't know why, and I'm stuck either figuring out what's wrong, tearing it down, and rebuilding it, or pushing through and fixing it in post. Once in a while, I'm just scared of a scene. Some scenes are scary. This whole part of the book is scary, actually. I'm not sure I've built it right, if everyone's motivations seem clear, and the amount of trust they are willing to place in one another -- or withhold from one another -- seems reasonable.

So I run into blocks. Before, these would stall me for weeks, often months. Writing was like this:



I would cry to Sargon, who could sometimes be able to help me through it and sometimes not. I am sure it was annoying for him, and I am annoyed with myself for needing the help. I should have just let the story rest, but I was so afraid of losing it that I couldn't.

Maybe only another writer can understand, but writing was all that kept me from feeling like a complete loss. It was sometimes the only candle in the dark, and I was afraid it was a Babylon candle that would burn down and leave me stranded who knew where. I was so afraid. I held my hands around the little flame of a story and even when I felt so crushed I could not breathe, I gave it what I had, because I love it. The way you will naturally love anything that is warm and makes hunger go away.

Writing is something I need. I make art, and that gives me joy, but writing gives me meaning. To be without it is to be without part of myself. If that's the price of remaining alive to do the other things that give me joy, I'll pay it, but it's painful, like the Little Mermaid walking on knives and glass.

Now, faced with these million little problems, it's like wrangling ornery ferrets. You get a grip on one and it just slips away. Shove one back in the cage and another slips out.

People ask me how it's going, and I say, "It's a mess. I could not be happier about it."

All of these problems are problems that happen when I am writing. They're the equivalent of saying "I set fire to the hotel curtains during the fantastic pervsex I was having last night, and now I have to pay for the damage."

And suddenly, it's easier for me to get through them alone. It still takes me a while, and I still need Sargon, because I sometimes need someone who has read the whole thing to bounce ideas off of. He's a writer, too, which makes him better at pinpointing what is wrong, and why something isn't working. But I can sometimes get through them alone. It's still frustrating, there may be hair-pulling, swearing, brooding, but I finish the fucking chapter. And every time I save another little .doc into that file labeled F&F, it's this flag-waving victory that feels like I won a long race with a heavy jockey.

I was talking to [personal profile] bat_cheva about all this yesterday. (I'm sorry if I bored you.) It's not possible for me to articulate what a difference this "being able to write" thing makes in my ability to Cope With Shit.

I really don't want to go back to the place where I can't do it. I'm scared to death of it. But right now I can, and that makes me happy.

Today I'm working on one of the final scenes on the Nemesis. I am going into a new part of the story. Valor, Vendetta, Rutter, and Max are escaping into the unknown. They are going to meet a person who will be good for them for the first time. They are going into the unknown, half running to and half running from, and none of them can say what is going to happen.

I am doing much the same. My detailed plotting ended here. I have broad strokes, a skeletal outline for the rest. Like, Act III looks like this: Go to the Princess of Texas, find Professor Paracelsus, get into some sort of climactic fight.

Soon now I have to sit down and make some really frightening decisions, and make up some really important stuff. The story, from here out, changes shape. Until now it's been static, unmoving. They're all stuck on the Nemesis, under Savage's paw, and not a whole lot of external plot-related stuff is happening. (I've been too busy writing about fucking.) Now, in Book II, things open out. The world lies ahead, and the gods alone know what's going to happen. And I am right there with them. I'm heading into uncharted waters. I'm not lost, I've got stars to steer by, but it's an awfully big ocean and I'm not the most consistent captain.

I really hope I'm up to it. I hope this phase of being able to work lasts long enough for me to get this done. At this rate, about a chapter a week, I'll be done with this book in December, and with the one after it in October of 2014. That should finish off the series, and then I can move into the three standalone prequels I have planned. I'd like the sailing to be faster, much faster, but this is what I can manage, so this is as fast as I go.

And I hope, when I've finished exploring and come back with treasures and tales, there will be people waiting on the docks to welcome me and share what I've plundered. I hope there's a place for this gigantic thing I'm making. I hope it succeeds. I hope it does its first job of making many, many people very happy, and I hope it does well at its second job of getting me attention and money so I can rest easier on my next expedition.

I hope you're with me.

Now I'm going to go get these kids off the ship. Wish us all luck.
naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
So, I just sent the next four chapters of Frontiers and Fables to Sargon.  Only I sent it to the slightly wrong email address.

So some anonymous person just got four chapters of bisexual pirate bondage porn.  The first two are especially filthy.  Femdom flogging, restraint, bar gags, butt-plugs, F/F, female ejaculation, humiliation. . . .

I hope this random guy is understanding, or I'm gonna end up on some sort of watch list.

I did send another message with DEAR GOD PLEASE DISREGARD THE FORMER EMAIL in the title.  Hopefully he'll listen.  Or at least be entertained by what he finds.

I'm so sorry, random person.  I hope you like humiliation, ravishment, and fingerfucking. If it's any consolation, the third chapter has some nice dialogue.
naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
Cecilia Tan at Circlet Press is running a really cool thing. It's basically NaNoWriMo for smut writers.

I'm going to be sort-of trying it, either to finish Frontiers and Fables, sequel to Vengeance and Valor, or to start work on a new thing, tentatively titled Lawless Stars, which will be a space opera action-adventure BDSM smut novel. With pirates.

Because apparently, I cannot write anything pornographic lately without there being hot pirates.

Details of Cecilia's project are below, but came from here, so if you want to link back to anything, link back to there. You don't have to start today; the challenge runs until V-day on February 14th, so you still have some time to get your shit together if you want to try it. I say go for it. The world needs more smut.

***

Okay, we’re doing it! Organized Advanced Smut-writing Month (OrgASM) is happening Jan 1st through Feb 14th!

What is OrgASM? Organized Advanced Smut-writing Month (OrgASM) is kind of like NaNoWriMo, except each participant sets their own goal (novel? 2 short stories? post in your WIP every week? do a kink meme or fest? pro fic or fan fic welcome…) so long as the writing is erotic or about sex! All those who self-report as winners/having reached their goal will get an ebook of the new anthology Fantastic Erotica and a $25 gift certificate for any ebook(s) sold through circlet.com! Anyone who wants to work on an erotic writing project can join–you don’t have to be a previously published author, nor have any connection to Circlet Press.

Signups are going on now, and you can start posting your progress anytime between January 1-14. The challenge runs until Valentine’s Day, February 14th, so your “month” can be from Jan 3-Feb 3, for example. Totally up to you! Links and details below the cut:

The “advanced” part of the challenge is that what you are writing should be intended for publication/posting somewhere. Even if it’s fanfic, you should share it with the world when it’s done.

Signups and progress posts should be made in our Livejournal or Dreamwidth communities (ideally both, since LJ has been flake-tastic lately).

http://orgasm-circlet.livejournal.com

http://orgasm-circlet.dreamwidth.org/

The posts in the comms will be visible only to members of the comms, so please do post your progress, excerpts, rough samples, whatever you like, and please do give feedback and encouragement to others who post.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
In no particular order, things that are important or useful or fun.

The Omniscient Breasts, Kate Elliott

YOU CAN WRITE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF A FEMALE CHARACTER AND STILL BE WRITING WITH THE MALE GAZE

. . .

Imagine a female pov character is going along about her protagonist adventure, seeing things from her perspective of the world as written in third person. She hears, sees, considers, and makes decisions and reacts based on her view of the world and what she is aware of and encounters. Abruptly, a description is dropped into the text of her secondary sexual characteristics usually in the form of soft-focus Playboy-Magazine-style sexualized kitten-bunny-I-would-fuck-her-in-a-heartbeat lustrous-eyes-and-nipples phrases. Her breasts have just become omniscient breasts.

This is what I mean when I speak of the male gaze. The breasts are no longer her breasts, they have become the breasts as described by the omniscient heterosexual male narrator (in the person of the writer) who is usually not even aware that he has just dropped out of third person and into omniscient to describe her sexual attractiveness in a way that caters to a heterosexual male audience.


Of course, this goes for the female gaze as well. It is a sad fact, though, that female POV characters written as though they were men getting boners over their own boobies is very, very common. And in a culture where the female body is shorthand for sex, it is an easy mistake to make.

To be clear, it's not just about sexualizing characters unnecessarily. It's about failing in your job of writing authentically from your character's point of view.

The real goldmine of the article is this:

Many years ago, I was accused by a reader/reviewer of having a “homosexual agenda,” a comment which puzzled me. I certainly do have such an agenda if by that one means I support QUILTBAG rights (as well as marriage equality). However, the reader meant a deliberate hidden agenda inserted into the books to warp young minds, perhaps as a form of semantic contagion. I usually don’t argue with reviewers (except sometimes in my thoughts), but the way the statement was phrased really did make me wonder what in my work could possibly have triggered this particular interpretation.

In fact, I wondered so much that I did the thing I know better than to do: I emailed him.

He wrote back, and was polite but insistent that I had this agenda. We argued back and forth for a while until a lightbulb went on in my head.

The reader was reacting without understanding why to the fact that I often write men from a heterosexual female gaze. When I write female characters, I describe them sexually only if they’re being observed from the point of view of a character who is sexually interested in them. Those of my female characters who are heterosexual, however, will see and describe male characters through a sexual gaze directed onto the men.

As an astute reader, this person was picking up on this (not particularly graphic) sexual description of men. Because virtually all the fiction he had read had been written from the heterosexual male gaze, to him a sexual gaze was by default a male gaze. I the writer was causing this reader to “see” male characters through a sexual gaze. Therefore, he interpreted my narrative gaze as a homosexual male gaze since “the gaze” and “the sexual gaze” by definition had to be male; thus he identified this as a homosexual agenda.

It’s been my observation that in our culture women can read comfortably about men’s sexual interest in women because it is considered normal and expected and acceptable, but men cannot always read comfortably about women’s sexual interest in men. In the US in particular, I perceive that we have a cultural comfort in looking at women sexually and (although this is slowly changing) a discomfort in looking at men sexually.

This reader hadn’t thought to consider there might be another “gaze” possible in this story. The concept of a female heterosexual gaze as something that could be present in fiction had never occurred to him. To give him credit, when I pointed this out, he immediately got it.


Homosexual agenda. Goodness. I got a good laugh out of that one.

*****

Overtelling, Overshowing, Overselling, Jane Lebak

What if the most poignant parts of your story are the parts you don't say?

Beginning writers hear it dozens of times: show, don't tell.

. . .

When we first start telling stories, it's difficult to prioritize what needs to be in and what needs to be left out. Back when I was in college, one of my best mentors read one of my early novels . . . and she told me to back off the reader. "Don't keep reminding us of things," she said. "Every time this character showed up, he had green eyes. Every time. I thought, maybe they change? No, they're always green, and eventually, whenever he showed up, I'd find myself waiting for the green eyes."

We do this because as writers we're afraid the readers are going to forget, or are going to miss something.

. . .

But what if you take it one step further and deliberately undershow and undertell? How would it work? I'll tell you, done right, it works beautifully.

Try framing it the way Ivy Reisner did to me: partner with your reader. Give two parts and let the reader fill in the third. Ted picks up that pottery jug and cocks his arm, and in the next moment, ceramic shatters against the concrete. Your reader will know he threw it at the wall without your saying so. If Jill takes a pregnancy test and shrieks when reading the result, the reader will probably know what it was.

I call this 'elision.' And it's a lot of fun: how much can you remove without losing the reader?

. . .

Does this require your reader to pay attention? Yes. Does it require you to place a great deal of faith in both your skills and your reader? Yes. Will some people miss a point until they've read the story twice, and therefore many will never get some of your finer details? Yes.

Is it worth it anyhow? Absolutely yes.

Sometimes the writer's most important job is to get out of the way of the story.


*****

Unleashing the Internal Editor: A Self-Editing Checklist, Jody Hedlund.

I don't know the writer from Eve, but the self-editing checklist is fantastic. Basically:

o Maximize sensory details; make sure to include the lesser senses at least 1x per scene:

o View the scene through POV character.

o Make sure the setting is detailed enough.

o Spice up the scene with appropriate smiles and metaphors.

o Check for strong verbs.

o Check for accuracy of unclear details.

o Trim the excess FAT! (Repetition; excess internal narration, questioning, and reflection; over-description; resist the urge to explain.)

*****

Scott Lynch hands it to a reader who thinks that because there were no female characters in history, there should be no female characters in fiction.

You know what? Yeah, Zamira Drakasha, middle-aged pirate mother of two, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy. I realized this as she was evolving on the page, and you know what? I fucking embrace it.

Why shouldn’t middle-aged mothers get a wish-fulfillment character, you sad little bigot? Everyone else does. H.L. Mencken once wrote that “Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” I can’t think of anyone to whom that applies more than my own mom, and the mothers on my friends list, with the incredible demands on time and spirit they face in their efforts to raise their kids, preserve their families, and save their own identity/sanity into the bargain.

Shit yes, Zamira Drakasha, leaping across the gap between burning ships with twin sabers in hand to kick in some fucking heads and sail off into the sunset with her toddlers in her arms and a hold full of plundered goods, is a wish-fulfillment fantasy from hell. I offer her up on a silver platter with a fucking bow on top; I hope she amuses and delights. In my fictional world, opportunities for butt-kicking do not cease merely because one isn’t a beautiful teenager or a muscle-wrapped font of testosterone. In my fictional universe, the main characters are a fat ugly guy and a skinny forgettable guy, with a supporting cast that includes “SBF, 41, nonsmoker, 2 children, buccaneer of no fixed abode, seeks unescorted merchant for light boarding, heavy plunder.”

You don’t like it? Don’t buy my books. Get your own fictional universe. Your cabbage-water vision of worldbuilding bores me to tears.


(Reproduced in its entirety because I just could not bring myself to cut it.)

*****

To that end:

A link to a bunch of links about writing characters of color tastefully. I have not been through every link on this list, so I can't vouch for it all being perfect, or even necessarily good, but there is some good stuff there from what I've seen so far, and it's a beginning, at least.

*****

I just thought this was neat. It's a breakdown of character archetypes. It's concise and really nifty. Again, I don't know this person at all, but I thought it was a cool breakdown. Useful for certain kinds of writer.

*****

An article about Angela Carter. And if you don't know who Angela Carter is, and you write anything fairy-tale related, you should look into her, because she held the door for you before you even knew you wanted to go through it. Start with The Bloody Chamber.

Angela Carter . . . refused to join in rejecting or denouncing fairy tales, but instead embraced the whole stigmatized genre, its stock characters and well-known plots, and with wonderful verve and invention, perverse grace and wicked fun, soaked them in a new fiery liquor that brought them leaping back to life. From her childhood, through her English degree at the University of Bristol where she specialised in Medieval Literature, and her experiences as a young woman on the folk-music circuit in the West Country, Angela Carter was steeped in English and Celtic faerie, in romances of chivalry and the grail, Chaucerian storytelling and Spenserian allegory, and she was to become fairy tale’s rescuer, the form’s own knight errant, who seized hold of it in its moribund state and plunged it into the fontaine de jouvence itself.


I adore that book, and I consider it essential for anyone working with myth, fairy tale, and women's stories, or who wants to tell heavily symbolic stories, or who wants to write lovely, lyrical tales.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
We will be doing a mini-Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign to do a print edition of Pride and Prostitutes next week. Short, like two weeks.

It's a huge-ass honkin' book at around 500 pages, so it won't be le cheap, but hopefully those of y'all who have been pining for a print edition (count me among you) will be glad to hear that and will jump on board.

The advantage I'm throwing at all y'all who haven't read it is that if you don't know if you want a print copy or not, you can buy the ebook and see.

From now until next Tuesday, Pride and Prostitutes is on sale at Smashwords for 33% off! Enter coupon code UD83V at checkout to get your discount!

I am showing you the cover again because I still think it is really cool:



In the meantime! I would like to invite everyone who has read the book to go and review it, because I might be picking some quotes from the reviews to go on the back. Also, because that would be just generally helpful.

(And for those who ask, I prefer to sell through Smashwords, but reviews help more on Amazon.)

ETA: Got the right cover in this time. DAMN YOU CTRL+C.
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
The Golden Mask has started, and the serial has just finished its first week. There's three chapters for your perusal, now. Go take a look! It is seriously the coolest, and you will love it. I'm completely in love with it. I'll try to post regular updates about this one. I've been slacking off too much on that because I've been so damn tired, and I feel awful about that.

Speaking of which, I am tired like it is a full-time job. I've been feeling better overall, but the past month has been exhausting, and I underestimated how long it would take to recover. I want to do something entertaining this weekend, but Jesus, I am too tired to seriously contemplate anything that requires leaving the house or being sociable. I am hoping to feel well enough to go to the writers' meeting tomorrow, or at least hang with friends, but I don't know.

If you have contacted me about something, or I agreed to do paid work for you: please remind me what you needed me to do. I've got a couple things going for Amber, and another bondage pony for an undisclosed recipient, and if there is anything else, let me know. My brain is like a sieve.

I've got Halloween ponies to take pictures of and post pictures of. They're seriously adorable, but I haven't had the energy to take pics yet. I'll probably do that tomorrow. Thrilling. But I get to play with tiny pumpkins, so it's all good.

I am nearly done with a winter-themed baby pony who will, if all goes well, have fairy wings. I've made the wings already, my first attempt, and they aren't bad at all. Not what I was aiming for but still really pretty. I just have to install them. I don't think I'll foul it up, but never say never. I am ready to do it over if I have to. I'm happy learning.

I finished the formatting for Fox's Tale, which means it will be an ebook super-soon. I added a super-sweet and adorable bonus scene that also has lots of sex in it, so if you wanted your Valbrand/Taon/Shennar three-way, well, I made you something cute.

I've plotted out most of the rest of the second Vengeance and Valor book in broad details, and made sketchy jabs at the final book, and will start work on Frontiers and Fables as soon as I clear enough of the other stuff off my table to be able to spend the time on it. There is going to be so much awesome shit in this next book, seriously. Here's where it becomes an adventure. I want it finished, because I want to know what happens, and that's the best motivation to work that I've found yet.

And that's about it for now. I have to sleep, because I have not done that yet today.
naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
This will be long, and for that I apologize. It will be angry and profanity-laden, and for that I will not apologize. I'll also say that you can link to this if you want to, no problem.

In comments to a post by [profile] gaaneden, rather a long time ago, I said: I often feel shit out of luck in that I can't really do anything every day except the bare needs of life itself – eat, sleep, etc. – and sometimes I don't even do that very well, as my lengthy bouts with insomnia prove. I have gone through periods where I write every day, but it's not consistent. It's part of what sucks tremendously about being bipolar and having issues getting properly treated and medicated.

Then, quite recently, I read a post from a multiply-published, award-winning writer talking about how people who don't work every day are not and never will be "real writers." (No, I am not naming names. This isn't about them.)

The "you MUST write every day or you will never be a Real Writer" assertion really irritates the shit out of me.

See, I can't always write every day. I go through months where I can't write. Years. And to way, way too many people who should know better, that means that I am not now and never will be a Real Writer.

You know, I don't want to do this job any less just because I'm fuckin' crazy. That's not how that shit works.

I am still a Real Writer, thank you very goddamned much. I dare you to read my work and tell me that I am "not a real writer." I dare you to look at what I do and have done and tell me that I am "not a real writer." Because pretty much the only ways in which I am "not a real writer" are:

I am only sparsely published with short stories, and have no books out that were not put out by myself. Since writers are always talking about how publication is not what makes a writer, so that argument can end right here.

I cannot reliably support myself with my writing. That is true of almost every writer, ever, so we can ignore that, too.

I write erotica. Some people regard erotica as a redheaded stepgenre not worthy of their attention. Some people think erotica writers are writers who couldn't hack it anywhere else. Some think erotica writers are just pathetic losers in general, probably perverts too. If you are one of those people, kindly fuck off. Nothing you say matters. Erotica is a real genre, plagued with problems and terrible writing though it may be, and shunting it aside as unworthy of better treatment sure doesn't help things any.

The last way in which I am not a real writer is this: I don't write every day. I don't even write regularly. And that is what I am attacking here.

There's a lot of talk about being a highly-functional mentally ill person and still being a happy, functional artist, but there's not a whole lot that addresses the feelings of those for whom consistent artistic functionality is just a daydream, but who still love their art, and pursue it as hard as they can.

We judge people according to how functional they are. We judge people who cannot keep a regular job. Writing is a job. We judge writers who cannot write. If you're going to argue that writing is a "real job" because you quite fairly want credit for doing a "real job", you have to accept that blaming a depressed person for not being able to write is no different from blaming a mentally ill person for being unable to hold down a 40-hour-a-week clerical job. (Unless you are the kind of person who would blame a mentally ill person for that, in which case, again, there's an off you should be fucking, somewhere in the vicinity of your mom.)

Writing is a complicated and difficult task. A symptom of many forms of mental illness is the inability to deal with complicated and difficult tasks.

Writing is in many ways a decision-making/problem solving process. It has been proven – and mentally ill folks all know this firsthand – that many forms of mental illness impair the decision-making/problem solving process. Meds can do that, too.

While writing, writers make many necessary decisions instinctively, without thinking about it on a conscious level, as the flow of words unspools. It's hard work but it's part of the background process, the behind the scenes stuff. Still takes energy, but it's not what's on stage.

Writers learn to problem-solve, mostly in the editing process, but often while the writing is happening. It's pretty difficult for a healthy person even on a good day. That's why we call it "revision hell."

Mental illness takes all those background processes and drags them under the spotlight. It makes solving problems incredibly difficult. Suddenly, writing is a lot harder. So imagine that your ability to solve those problems and make those decisions was reduced 50%. Now imagine it at only 25%. How much would you be able to get done in a day? Would you even be able to work? Because that percentage does sometimes hit zero. And sometimes it stays there for days. Weeks. Months. Years.

Humans only have so much mental energy to expend each day. Mentally ill people have less, and they have to spend a lot of it forcing themselves to do things that their illness makes really difficult. They use up the energy they'd use for problem solving and decision-making faster than non-mentally-ill folks. They have to use it on everyday things that would not ordinarily tax their resources. Not big decisions, but an endless nickel and diming over these tiny, bullshit, fucking embarrassing things that normal people – even you on a good day – take completely for granted.

After the cost of real-life living comes out, sometimes there isn't much left for writing. It's not a matter of making writing a priority. By the time you get done with the non-negotiable basics, the stuff everyone absolutely has to do, no exception, there's sometimes nothing left for writing. Sometimes, it's not hard to do simple things like put pants on or brush your teeth, but more complicated tasks are impossible. I call it the three-step problem. Things that take more than three steps to solve become almost impossible when I am in a really bad place.

Writing? It's way more than a three-step process. It is incredibly complicated and at least a little difficult for everyone who does it. If it was easy, everyone would be able to do it. Not everyone can. And not everyone who can is able to do it all the time.

Some people do have problems with laziness and not making ass-in-chair time a priority or wanting the fame but not wanting to do the work. Yes. Absolutely. Laziness, not prioritizing, and wanting all the fun parts of fame without all the bad parts of having an actual career are very human problems and at some time or another, every single human being has problems with one or all of those things.

Those are not the people I am talking about when I talk about mentally ill people having difficulty writing, but mentally ill folks get lumped in with them, and I think that is unfair. Not because I'm judging lazy people with poor time management skills and a sweet tooth for validation, I am totally sympathetic to those people, but because it is unfair to treat one like the other.

Treating people with a poor writing work ethic like mentally ill people is unfair because it doesn't teach not-crazy people the very important skill of how to manage themselves. Treating mentally ill folks like folks with a poor work ethic is unfair because it blames them for something they literally cannot change. (If they fucking could, they would.)

It's not an issue of laziness or not making it a priority. It's a matter of being unable to do an incredibly complicated and difficult thing because your brain is honest-to-goodness unable to sustain that level of coordination. I'm not fucking around, here. I'm not making excuses, I am telling you the truth, spot-on, from someone with firsthand experience. In other words, if anyone is qualified to tell you that this is true, I am. Sometimes, when you are crazy, it is literally impossible to make fiction happen. You, personally, may have horrendous mental health issues even worse than mine – I am sorry if you do, that shit sucks and I feel you on that – and still be able to write. That's you, dude. That's not something everyone can do. It's admirable, sure, but you shouldn't hold everyone to that standard. Not everyone's crazy works the same way!

Sigh.

I am making an issue out of this because I think it is unfair and damaging. I am raising a stink, and it will probably piss a few people off, and . . . you know, I honestly hope it does, because I have had about enough of this dismissive shit.

I think it discourages people – especially young people – from doing something that is difficult and sometimes maddening, but is also rewarding beyond any price and beyond the understanding of most people. These people still have valuable things to say, beautiful stories to tell, and they may have quite a future ahead of them. Do not, for fuck's sake, tell them they have already fucking failed.

I think it makes people who work very hard and still can't do it every day feel even more horrible for not "doing it right," or not doing what they "should" be doing. We are shamed so much for the ways mental illness fucks us up. It hurts even more when it affects something we truly do wish we could do.

I think it is extremely disrespectful to the people who can't do it every day, but come back to it again and again and again, wearing away at that stone, not knowing if they will ever be able to make anything of it, but trying as often as they can and as hard as they can because it is a fucking amazing thing to be able to do and nothing else in the world, not even unicorn sex, feels this good.

I am reminded of what little Gaelic I managed to learn years and years ago. If I am remembering it correctly, Gaelic grammar does not say "I am a harper." It says "It is the harper that is in me." Go ahead and get that one good snicker out of your system. I did it, too. Now really think about it. It's beautiful. The harper is in me. The singer is in me. The sculptor is in me. The writer is in me. In a very small and roundabout way, it says that we do is inside of us, a part of us. That it's not an identity we assume, but something that comes from within. From our hearts.

If you can write every day, if you have iron discipline, if you are a workaholic who never misses a deadline, that is amazing and I congratulate you. I love a prolific, hardworking witer! It doesn't mean, though, that people who are not Super-Writer are not real writers. Acknowledging that they are real writers because writing is something that they do, something that is inside them, does not cheapen your accomplishment or your status as a writer. It doesn't cheapen anything.

There are jerks that call themselves writers without having that inside them, people who put that identity on like a fancy shirt, hoping it will get them attention and validation. Absolutely, there are, and I loathe those people too. They are not writers, because the writer is not in them. Bullshit is in them.

There are lazy folks who want it but don't have the dedication, and I don't loathe them because at least they want the thing itself, and not the approval they think it will get them. They are not writers because they don't do the writing, even though they could.

And there are people who are fucking crazy, who sometimes cannot even manage to relibably obtain food on their own, and yet they write every moment they are able to. Who work hard when they can work. Who never let go. Who love that place inside all writers go to, that place that is also outside, in every drop of ink and every pixel, between every word and every line and the pages of every book. Who are every bit as dedicated as you, and just don't have the capacity to do it as much as you do. People who have that inside them. And if you have any respect for your craft at all, you should respect that. You should not judge.

I am not trying to evoke pity, but I am going to ask you to imagine that you literally cannot do the only thing in the world you want to do. Maybe you already know that feeling. Picture it now. Feel it in your bones. That feeling is where people like me spend a hell of a lot of time. We're stuck tasting it and then starving, not knowing how long either will last. We don't know if the next time it leaves us will be the last, leaving the husks of stories we still want to tell dead in the fields. We are stuck knowing what we are missing. We love our characters and we want to tell our stories and we feel the need to make things out of words and pretty lies every bit as keenly as you do.

Picture that feeling, picture how we go back to it again and again, trying like hell, until we are able to climb that never-ending wall a little further.

If you are a writer, imagine the stories inside you, the ones you want to tell. You probably know there will never be enough time to tell them all, and that probably causes you very real pain. How many will you have time to tell? Twenty more? Ten? Imagine having your hundred stories inside you, and knowing that you might only get one more. Or two. Because something in you is broken. Not your fault, but broken just the same.

Imagine being desperately poor, but loving something so goddamn much that you spend your time and effort, what little you have to spare, doing that, instead of doing things that might make you money for food and housing, because feeding your spirit is more important. Imagine being judged by ignorant assholes for doing something "frivolous" when you should be working a "real job," and still being told that you aren't a "real writer" by other writers because you can't do it every day. Or most days.

Are those feelings familiar to you already, maybe?

Look at all that common ground, that common love, that common struggle, that common fear, and then look me in the eye and tell me I am not a real writer.

I am a real writer. And goddamn to hell anyone who tries to tell me otherwise and spits on all the effort it took to kick ass and take names and go hungry and sleep scared and endure scorn for being "lazy" and "not working" a "real job" just to be able to do the one thing worth doing – if you're a writer you know what I mean by that. It spits on everything I have managed to accomplish in the face of an illness that has tried to kill me, and might.

If you are a writer, I do not want your fucking pity. I want your fucking respect. I may not be as good as you are line by line, I may not ever have a bestseller, I may have no critical acclaim, I may never publish an actual book, I may swear a lot more than you think is appropriate, I may not look the part, I may not work every day, I may utterly suck at self-promotion, I may be fucking terrible at this in every way, but everything I have to give, I give to this one thing that I love.

In any way that matters, how are we different?

I am every inch as much a writer as you.
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
I finished Vengeance and Valor.

If you want the numbers, it's 44 chapters, 158,464 words. It's HUGE.

It's only book one out of three that will probably be about the same length, but the book is done.

The job isn't done, the story isn't even close to done, but the book is done.

I have a lot of ironing and filling and spackling and stitching to do in revision, but the book is done.

DONE.

So . . . I believe I am proud of myself. I had a long depressive episode in the middle which stalled me for a couple of years, but I never let the story die. I held on, and I finished it.

I'm a little off-balance, though, because the beginning of it is so . . . slightly absurd, humorous young adult novel-like, it's got a very light, very funny tone. And it just kept getting darker and darker. Not, like, never anything funny or silly, but . . . I can't say it ended on an up note for everyone. And I don't know if I should go back and kind of tone down the beginning, or leave it as it is, with the tone shift paralleling the characters' departure from what is normal for them into what is really a pretty dark and dangerous world. I don't know if it works.

I won't be looking at publishing this until the whole thing is done, because the plot is so complicated and parts of it are changing as things progress, so I am continually having to go back and slip stuff into earlier chapters. I don't want to be locked down by having it out anywhere officially. So, it will take time. But it's happening.

I still love these characters.
naamah_darling: The Punisher skull with a red ribbon barrette. (Punisher Ribbon)
The place I am getting therapy at is . . . kind of jacked up, as we have discussed. I won't go into that again. But I do want to note that I like my therapist so far, and while he's a bit fluffy and soft, he's also just a little relentless, kind of like one of those big ol' sheepdogs. He might also be able to keep up with me, or at least prevent me from running circles around him. He asks good questions.

I can't say if it's what's helping, but every time I have gone, a day or two later something will bubble up out of the tar pit of my subconscious and I will figure something out, or talk through something with Sargon, and progress is made. I am untangling a lot of ugly crap that's been tangling up my feet. I may never be able to run, a "normal" life is out of the question, but even being able to slog at this point is a good feeling. The scenery has improved.

Thank you, everyone. Actually talking this stuff out with you, reading what you have to say, hearing your stories, sharing mine, is an incredibly helpful thing, and I . . . I kinda blame y'all for a lot of my strength.

I am going to go write now. Writing, which I have not been doing this steadily in years. And there are new chapters, and an ending being written right now, and the next book to start, and I am proud of that. And so happy. It takes a lot of control not to post excerpts constantly, because I have been bubbling over with excitement over the new words. And I think I improved during the fallow period. That's good, too.

I hope things are well with you all. Wherever you are. And if they are not, I know that feeling, and I hope that you find something that sustains you and gives you hope.
naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
FOR ART! Involving MAD SCIENCE!

Anyone have any experience with electroplay? Anyone know anyone into electroplay?

Are y'all/they willing to answer questions about what that feels like?

Stuff I have experienced:

Mild charge from a hand-held defense device (I hesitate to call it a taser, because it was nowhere near that scary). Felt like tattoo fill needles. Divine.

Violet wand play. Felt sticky, and then prickly, and then snappy and sharp and stingy.

TENS unit, pads applied externally to peripheral areas (arms, legs) and to upper back. Felt thrummy and zingy and very nice. I am a fan of this.

Stuff I wanna know about, sensation-wise:

TENS unit or similar devices used externally on the naughty bits.

Inseratable attachments for the TENS unit or similar devices. Any orifice.

Raise your hand if you've had e-stim induced orgasms!

Any authenticating detail I can't ask about because I don't know about it. Something that people who have done it will read and go "Oh, yeah, that happens!", and people who have not done it might find interesting.

Adjectives or similes you'd use to describe the sensation are great.

Anything else I haven't thought to wonder about, but will think of immediately after posting.

This is definitely TMI might feel uncomfortable talking about it territory, but I really, really don't want to get into writing those bits until I've at least talked to some people who have done it. I can't do it myself right now, so secondhand will have to do.

I am having problems with LJ PM right now, apparently, so if you are leery of leaving an anonymous comment, I can be reached by email at Naamah at gmail.
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)
All right. We're doing crowdfunding for the next novel, The Golden Mask, which is a swashbuckling adventure story with sex. Sort of like Zorro meets the Three Musketeers, only with fucking. I think it's going to be a shitload of fun, and am really excited to get going on that.

Memberships at Adventurotica have not been great (and I take some responsibility for that, since keeping up with articles has been more than I can deal with, and I've not felt up to writing story stuff, either) and we are at the point where we need to try something new.

So . . . we're going to try an IndieGoGo campaign for the new serial, to raise some money for living expenses for the next four months.

I am terrified, because we have never done this before, and I am 0% sure it will work. I don't even know how to do it.

But we are launching in a few days, so . . . maybe think about giving us a boost when that comes around?
naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
Work on V&V proceeds slowly, but it proceeds. I just checked the count and it's at 32 chapters and 118,548 words. I've added maybe 15,000 words since the beginning of the year, which is . . . abysmal, actually, but what are you going to do?

Anyway, the thing is huge, and I'm only just closing in on the end of Book I. Yes, it's a multi-book affair. I cringe, believe me, I cringe. I never wanted to commit trilogy, but sex scenes take up a lot of space when you write them like I do.

I am kind of in a tight spot with this one; I am going to finish it, but gods alone know how long that will take me. And when I do, I have to decide what to do with it.

If I throw it at an erotica publisher they'd probably bite, since it's really good and the genre is hot right now. That'd be great in terms of publicity, editing, and maybe having someone else to do the frigging cover, or at least having the budget for a cover. (Least favorite part. Ever. Seriously. Doing your own covers? Sucks ass.)

Not so great in terms of length, since most erotica publishers consider a "novel" to be somewhere between 25,000 and 70,000 words.

Not so great in terms of expecting me to produce the sequel, either, so I'd need to finish the whole thing, which might take six years or more.

If we do it on Adventurotica, I'd have to deal with awkward chapter lengths (we usually run chapters at around 2,500 words each, 3x a week; V&V chapters average around 4,000) meaning we might have to drop to 2x a week.

I'd have to deal with a lack of support from a publicity team, pro editors. I'd have to do the cover.

And I'd still have to finish the damn thing before running it, because the last thing I want to do is crap out on people and make them wait years before they get the next book.

But it was popular while I was running it. It could be the thing that makes us, that breaks us out and gets people to start reading.

So I just don't know. I'm excited by the possibilities, but it's frustrating to contemplate. I suppose I just shouldn't do that, then, since it's not like it will be an issue tomorrow, or next week, or next month.

Something they don't talk about, regarding writing and being mentally ill: if you have an illness that fucks up your creativity, you're putting all your ducks in one creative basket. It sinks, you sink. Popping out the next book isn't like "push button, receive bacon." Even for prolific writers, it's not that easy. If you're crazy, you're looking at potentially years of work for each finished product. It's not just a huge investment of energy, it's a huge investment of time. You keep going because that's just what you do, but you will never have the body of work that a not-crazy person will have. You will never get that many chances to write something really extraordinary, so there's all this pressure on you to make everything extraordinary.

So that's sort of depressing in a passive, not-terribly-bothersome way. It's mostly just a frustration of the hope I should be feeling about a new project, only the project isn't new, nor likely to be finished anytime soon.

I love these characters, and I love my setting and all the crazy places in it. I love that I will get to briefly visit Century, KS, which was where Pride and Prostitutes was set, and where Heritage of Steel is also set, way in the future. I love the fact that I will get to write an aircraft-carrier-sized airship brothel. I love the fact that I will get to write about secret treasure vaults and flying islands and scary monsters and bulletproof corsets and beautiful boys. I love Val, who is so much smarter than he thinks, and Vendetta, who is so delightfully wicked and intractably wild. I love Max and Rutter. I love Savage and her little devil cat. I love Fury and Sin. I love all the things I haven't even thought of yet.

I'll finish this, but it's a long haul, and I want it to be over so I can know what happens, because right now? I don't know. I don't know, and it's glorious.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Capacitors
Batteries
Male corsetry
Kevlar
Galvanic fluid
Faraday cage
Tesla coil
Hailstorms
Victorian dildos
Leather tanning
Japanned leather
Smell of patent leather distinctive?
Smell of REAL patent leather -PVC -vinyl -latex -rubber
D-rings historical
Carabiners invented
Harness leather
Saltwater crocodiles
Draft horse crossbreeds
Horse breeds hunters + jumpers
naamah_darling: Picture of a treasure chest with a skull and crossbones on top. My art! (Artistic)


Sky Pirates of the Rio Grande is out on Smashwords and Amazon!

You can get it at Smashwords here, and the Amazon link is here. We get the money faster and get a better cut if you buy through Smashwords, and reviews are great everywhere.

I'm sorry for not getting it out sooner. I know some of you have been waiting, and I apologize for that. Things got a little rough. But here it is in all its cheesy glory! How, I ask you, can you not love a book that has a hot tiger-striped chick bronco-busting a pterodactyl?

But wait, there's more!

Sky Pirates of the Rio Grande!

The year is 1867, and mad science has made the Wild West even wilder. Sky pirates haunt the western territories, savage prehistoric beasts have been set loose to roam the grasslands, and the science-enhanced Experimentals are hunted by the government that made them.

Eden Kane is a shy girl working a dead-end job as a clerk with the Smithsonian's Department of Hazardous Artifacts. Unable to explain that her brilliant Experimental mind makes her uniquely qualified for the task, she is rudely refused a position on a dangerous assignment to reclaim the sky pirates' secret Dark Aetheric Transmitter.

She mounts her own expedition, freeing Zenobia Santiago, ex-bandit and Experimental tiger-woman, to guide her through a West full of criminals, rogue Experimentals, and dinosaurs, and into the secret lair of the Sky Pirates of the Rio Grande.

A secret war is brewing in the West. Hunted by desperados and government agents alike, Eden and Zenobia may be the only two people who can stop it.
naamah_darling: Cartoony picture of a black panther with curved horns and a red ball in his mouth. He wants to play. (Jandar Sad)
The going off the Seroquel is going well, by which I mean it's fine at the reduced dosage so long as I don't forget a pill.

If I do, it's a lot like the benzodiazepine withdrawal effects I went through when I tapered off the regular clonazepam/temazepam, which I suppose isn't that surprising considering that quetiapine -- Seroquel -- is related to the benzos, and while most folks supposedly don't have withdrawal symptoms from Seroquel, the ones who do may feel it in much the same way. It's less severe by far, and totally tolerable, but it's intermittently unpleasant, and it sometimes makes doing things not very enjoyable. And my mental energy has been quick to exhaust itself.

Other than that, I've been more alert and animated and able to think much more clearly. I've just been getting to sleep very late, and it's been harder, which is what the Seroquel helped me with.

And this week was the one-year anniversary of Tazendra's stroke. I've tried to not remember it, because it's easier, healthier, for me to weather grief that way, to just lose track of time and let days be days and not reminders of anything. It usually works well for me, but I can't forget the Ides of March, you know? So I'm trying to ignore the hurt as best I can and contemplating posting the silly song parody I started writing for her before she died. I spend every day mourning her loss, and it's still too near for me to spend a day celebrating her life. It's a nice sentiment, but that's for another time.

I really just . . . I just want to look in her cockeyed little goblin face and say "I missed you."

On the bright side, I wrote about 2,000 new words last night on Vengeance and Valor, and got some plotting done tonight, which is more than I've been able to do in the past year altogether, I think. It's a looong way from being done, still, but I'm hoping that being off the Seroquel will help, will be enough to get me writing regularly again. I really love this story, and don't want it to die just because I'm bipolar and the meds I need to take sometimes keep me from getting my shit together.

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