What You Can Learn From Bad Writing

What You Can Learn From Bad Writing



A quick rant I realized would be better served as ‘what to do when you encounter poor writing.’ Learn. When you see something doesn’t work, problem solve it so the next project you have can benefit later. The best tool a writer can gain is self editing. Solving problems in other works helps you learn to look at your own work objectively and see what’s lacking.

Why Ocean’s 8 didn’t work

So I watched this tonight with the bf. I don’t have a lot of time for reading, but I do have a few hours here and there to give to a movie. My main reason (outside of entertainment) is to learn as a writer. What I want to emulate and what I don’t. Here is what I learned from the failure of this movie.

(Disclaimer: I haven’t watched any other movies in the Oceans series. They never appealed. The idea of an all girl heist though did, plus the great cast, which just makes this all the more annoying.)

  • You need character connection. I didn’t care about any of them. At all. There was no emotional connection. There was no reason to empathize with these characters. None of them were struggling, none of them had problems or anything relatable. No pain in their lives. They were just there, pawns, with nothing to learn, nothing to prove, nothing to gain, and with no interest in growing.
  • You need stakes. When jail looks easy, when being poor with only $45 is as simple to remedy as conning someone at a register and snagging a hotel room, nothing matters if it all goes wrong. There were no stakes. There was no threat of violence or death. No mortality. It was a bunch of girls playing a game and the worst consequence was being locked away for a while. Yawn.
  • You need conflict/drama. Everyone was ‘IN.’ Everyone. No one fought it. No one fought each other. There was no one who wanted more, no one who couldn’t stand another character, no one who had something to prove. No egos. No sick child, or backstabbing sister, or nosy neighbor, or jealous ex. No broken leg, or sudden fog, or a panic attack, or a flat tire. This again comes back to that problem of lack of character development. They threw a bunch of characters in there but never fleshed them out. They didn’t come with baggage and unpredictable behavior like normal humans. They were perfect pawns and because of it they didn’t add an element of interest.
  • You need doubts. Every single character there had no fear of failure. They had no fear of jail. They had no fear of their family being targeted by other teammates because maybe one of them is a crazy bitch. They had no fear of leaving their kid alone to fend in the world cuz they’re in jail for the rest of their lives. Is the money worth it? Is the thrill? Is your life that bad that you’re throwing it all away over a hopeful payout? These characters were robots. Worse, they were sociopaths. They didn’t even get a thrill from their wins just as much as they felt no fear from losing. Boring.
  • You need feminism. They built an all girl cast for a reason, then they never followed through with how women kick ass. How they’re brilliant, how they’re overlooked and underestimated, and trying to reach impossible standards of external beauty plus work and home life perfectionism while their inner lives suffer. Because the characters were so 2 dimensional, the whole point of an all women cast was lost because the things that women are dealing with were ignored.
  • You need character goals. What would 38 million dollars mean to you? What would you do for that kind of shit? How committed would you be to get that money? How could that greed fuck up your actions? How could that motivation push you to be the best at something you might not be so great at anymore as you age? How could it get you to hurt people you love or cut off from society or crawl through a sewer or something? Get some fucking complexity in there! Character growth, push, pull—anything!
  • You need fuck ups. OMF, it all went according to plan. They told you what they were going to do and then they did it. That is not a movie; that’s a boring ass documentary. That’s leading a dog around a ring and being mundanely pleased when you win an award. Oh, it might be the ‘perfect plan’ but it makes for a fucking shitty movie—and that’s the biggest issue.

Things that work aren’t entertaining. Characters who get along aren’t entertaining. Movies without conflict about well off women who are bored being housewives or running their current successful business aren’t entertaining. You need the exaggeration, the contrast of rich and poverty. You need the drama. You need the conflict. You need the doubts and you need shit to go wrong. You need that one character who you’re certain is talking to the Feds but you can’t replace them because they’re essential, but wait, no, it was the other one and it wasn’t the Feds they were talking to, but your ex who tries to rob you with a bomb you manage to escape, but one of the other girls is caught in the explosion because life is fucking messy and shit goes wrong and if you were only a better person, less greedy, someone else wouldn’t have ended up dead.

*breathe* XD

You need humanity and its flaws, ugly and beautiful. A lab created diamond is flawless, and because of it, cheap as dirt. The real diamonds are identified and known by every flaw they hold. People are murdered by relatives to inherit these rocks. Entire communities are enslaved and left starving and in poverty while forced to mine diamonds even when we have so many already in the world, diamonds are fucking worthless and their circulation controlled to appear otherwise. Why? Because that’s humanity for you. Insane, impractical, driven by motivation and fear and self hate. Flawed and shiny.

Good stories are about people, not about plans. More so, it’s not the end (though the character should be driven to that goal and running from their fears and conflicts and sometimes fighting every damn step of the way) but the journey of how they get to the end that should be the focus. It bothers me that I keep finding lackluster storytelling among these beautiful sets, dazzling designs, and big named actors. Shouldn’t this shit be a given at this point? When did Hollywood forget how to write a solid story?

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Dark Fantasies For Abuse Survivors

Dark Fantasies For Abuse Survivors


An in depth look at abuse, the intelligence of the body and psyche, and how dark topic erotica helps survivors accept their bodies, their arousal, and themselves

Today I want to talk about dark fantasies for abuse survivors. Basically, I want to talk about why I write what I write, and the importance of it. I found my country under siege, in absolute pain from millions of sexual abuse survivors this month with the Kavanaugh hearings and the injustice of him being confirmed. This occurred as well when Trump, an accused rapist and assaulter was raised to the level of President of the United States and women (and men) worldwide screamed their rage and pain for another man being rewarded while taking from the bodies of women.

America has a rape problem. We have an incest problem. We have a pedophilia problem. And far far worse than all of it combined, we have a denial problem.

“Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:

  • 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;
  • Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
  • During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;
  • Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.”
* http://victimsofcrime.org/media/reporting-on-child-sexual-abuse/child-sexual-abuse-statistics

When these topics are discussed, they’re spoken as if some outsider, some stranger is roaming the land assaulting the naive and unsuspecting. What isn’t mentioned is many of these sex crimes occur in the house, in bedrooms, and are committed by family members. 34% of reported sex crimes are of family members—and let’s be real, when a family member sexually assaults, it is unlikely that it will ever be reported at all. This is a generational problem of abuse, one where many who have been abused find themselves abusing their own family in the future. This is a harsh, painful reality not just in this country, but all over the globe, and because of shame, because of denial, because of the way people would rather pretend reality doesn’t happen and blame some idea of a ‘predator,’ these crimes continue to occur.

So let’s talk about it.

How do I know sexual assault is more likely to occur by someone familiar than by a stranger?

I get a lot of readers who reach out, but they don’t always want to talk about my stories. They feel compelled to share their trauma, their pain, the fact that someone in their life, usually a loved one, usually when they were at their smallest and most vulnerable, took advantage of them. Why do my stories bring not only these past memories to the surface for abuse survivors, but also help them feel comfortable to talk about these experiences and face them? Because the author behind these stories is also an abuse survivor, and she didn’t know it when she started writing, but she was creating her own therapy in her erotica.

I was raped by my grandfather when I was three years old. On a conscious level, I didn’t know this occurred until I was the age of 35. I’m 36 as I write this post now. I have been writing erotica for three years up to this point, and have been having sexual fantasies far longer than that.

The first time my brain sent me one of these hidden, repressed memories, I was sitting in bed, reading a book by Janina Fisher titled ‘Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors.’ I was only in the prologue, and it was fascinating. I got to this passage where the author was explaining how the brain, the creative right brain, creates a false reality for the trauma victim to live out their life in a world completely crafted around that traumatic moment, and all that had to happen was for the left brain, the logical brain, to come in and pluck the consciousness free, and the false reality would crumble and PTSD would switch off.

Do you know what my brain said to me in that moment? A voice inside me, my consciousness said, ‘Oh yeah? Ya wanna fucking bet you can handle this?’ And that was when I had my first recovered memory.

And no, I couldn’t fucking handle it.

I spent the next half an hour, 30 minutes of my life, certain I was going to kill myself. I woke up my boyfriend, explained what I couldn’t really explain, and we sat in his car while I had a nice freak out repeating again and again, ‘I don’t know if this happened or not, it doesn’t feel like a real memory, but why would it be in my head if it wasn’t real, so it must have happened, but I don’t know if it did.’

He eventually said, the brilliant, compassionate man that he is, ‘It doesn’t matter if it happened or not. It’s real to your brain.’

And that was it. I could stop questioning. I could stop denying. I could stop asking ‘can I and this thought exist in this body together?’ It was my battle with the thought that had caused the distress and suicidal wish to not have to share space with that thought. And it was my acceptance of that thought that allowed me to exist in my body, in that car, in the present being okay with the fact that when I was three, my grandfather raped me.

I learned to sit with that thought a lot the next few weeks, this foreign, sickening, confusing thought and coexist. I had so many questions. Who was I with this thought as part of my identity? What did it mean for my current relationships to have this sexual betrayal of my boundaries during my very beginning in the world? What about as a writer? Was I hurting people with my writing? Had I been hurting myself with my writing? Why was I writing these dark stories and was it a way to hurt others?

Eventually, a new change came along with every answer I was seeking. One night I was reading an article about Eckhart Tolle, and the thought resurfaced again, this time with new memories far more vivid than before. This time I accepted it all with a ‘yes,’ and I had an ego death as my PTSD created false mind that existed since I was three years old crumbled away. No longer did I have to worry about coexisting with that thought because neither myself or my memories were real. I just was, and there was no right or wrong to define the thoughts that streamed through my mind. Thoughts just were as they pertained to me. They existed in the realm of my mind but they did not define me.

I existed, my thoughts existed, my body existed. It was enough.

Writing As Therapy

Writing erotica was what allowed me to get to this point of acceptance. Specifically, writing dark erotica that goes into taboo subjects such as incest, noncon/dubcon, bestiality, shota, slavery, and bdsm. These were sexual fantasies I admitted an attraction to, one so great I was willing to share it with the world and face whatever judgment might come. It didn’t matter what others thought; this belonged to me. It had value, a purpose, even if I couldn’t fully name it. I knew it was important. These last three years have been my sexual revolution and it’s far from over.

I questioned a lot of my writing when I first had my repressed memories resurface. Why was I writing Teddy, this highly sexual child, when I believe with all my heart that abuse against children is wrong? What message was I sending to my inner child self who endured sexual abuse? Was I trying to inflict some sort of pain on that child memory? How embarrassing to realize it was Ky’s grandfather whose face he shared that bred him to be his slave, while I was named after the man who used me as a child. My subconscious had been trying to tell me these things from the moment I started writing, and I hadn’t listened. In not listening, what was I missing? What was that inner self trying to say? Why was I abusing these characters and calling it erotic?

I was writing Hellcat during this time, and let me say, that book nearly died a million deaths. I almost stopped writing completely, and was considering something like urban fantasy, or nonfiction, or anything to avoid this conundrum of writing sex. That is, if I could write at all because for some reason words weren’t actually words, and I couldn’t organize things in my head the same way as before. It was like relearning how to think, never mind write.

Ego death had changed something in me. It had stripped all the rigid structure of the world away and had left me with questions instead. I like to write concrete imagery, concrete surrealism even—I like a concept to slam someone over the head instead of tickle them, and ego death had made it very difficult to find that solid footing again. There’s a reason for that, btw. I like the concrete because when I was a child, I was completely unhinged from it. My PTSD based mind was a terrifying place of unformed half realities and nightmares, a maze of emotions that felt more real than solid ground, so when I write, I combat that journey into my mind by creating a solid foundation to walk on. Otherwise, how frightening the dark woods that await just outside my path.

In all my inquiry, I started hearing the answers, answers that at first were difficult to face because they had to sit with that uncomfortable thought at the root of it all. Why was I writing what I was writing? Because I needed to accept it. I needed to accept that no matter the age, the human body is equipped with nerves and basic software that allows for sexual arousal and gratification. I needed to accept that no matter the object, the body can and will respond sexually to things/people/animals/thoughts/situations in a sexual way and that it is completely normal. I needed to accept that even when abuse happens, a person can still go on and live a life stronger, better, empowered. I needed to accept that fantasies are important, that denial of fantasies lead to a denial of self, and that fantasies don’t require anything but acceptance.

Most importantly, I needed to accept that sex, sexual desire, sexual thoughts, and sexual identity are a part of my body, this body I have been so detached from for so many years of my life because of the actions of one man whose face I can’t remember, and it’s okay to be in this body with those aspects of myself.

What happened once I could accept that what I wrote was valuable to me, to my healing, to that inner child I had ignored for so long? My writing flourished. I could look at my stories objectively instead of having my subconscious come in and try to take over and battle with if it should be allowed to be heard or not. Hellcat was the most fun writing such a raunchy, sexy, highly controversial story yet (come on, a shapeshifting demon lover? Awesome!) and I’m totally looking forward to writing the sequel.

I could embrace my fantasies now instead of just kind of tolerating this strange compulsion to write. I could love what I do again, instead of constantly questioning if the bullshit and judgment and forever being laid raw was worth it. I was the one judging me, and if others were, well, too fucking bad for them.

The act of writing was me accepting my fantasies exactly as they are, and that realization freed me to be a better writer. When I could accept that writing was a part of accepting everything about me, I could love every moment of the process and really put my stories out there proudly for others to read no matter the topic.

Dark Erotica As Therapy

Many people don’t understand fantasies. They think a fantasy is a reflection of the life you want to live, such as winning the lottery or becoming a rockstar. But have you ever talked to people who say they totally dream of winning a million dollars but they never actually play the lottery? Does your wannabe rockstar friend never bother to even pick up an instrument and learn to play? A fantasy isn’t necessarily the life you want to live; it’s just the life you want to explore in your mind. And that’s perfectly fine.

Books aren’t real. Fantasies aren’t real. They can’t reach out and force you to react, to respond, to attack, to be scarred, to be happy. A fantasy exists solely for it to be experienced in the human mind, and it is up to each individual human how that fantasy is fully experienced.

This might be difficult for some people to understand. For those who do, where this concept is so obvious you can’t understand why it’s even in question, I want to explain the traumatized brain a little. I’ve lived with PTSD since the age of three, and with that comes a very confused understanding of what is real, and what isn’t. When listening to classical music with no lyrics, for example, I could become so depressed or overwhelmed with emotion that I feared for my safety. I believed it was the music’s fault, that it was hurting me in some way, blind to how my brain had interpreted sound and then created a concept in my mind that resulted in internal pain. This is the same with words on a screen/page for many people.

These inert symbols you’re reading right now only have meaning because your brain is placing meaning on them. Yes, for the most part it is a shared, agreed upon meaning within the language and society who speaks this language, but there are still variants to that meaning. The same way I can type the word ‘cat,’ each mind will have a different idea of what a cat is. Some might have an emotional response to the word ‘cat’ because of current or past experience. They might have been scratched in the face, or have terribly allergies, or they might have seen a cat die gruesomely. Depending on these experiences might change how they view the word ‘cat.’ It might be so extreme to even see these three letters combined ‘C-A-T’ that they feel overwhelmed, angry, frightened, out of control, hysterical or full of sorrow.

Did that word do anything to them? No. But that is the power of the the mind, and that is part of what dark sexual fantasies battle when in the public eye. Some people cannot accept that words on a page are just that, and instead they see these words as a call to treat others poorly, criminally, abusively, etc. Be grateful if your mind is free from this confusing lack of emotional intelligence, because the people who cannot discern fiction from reality are suffering, and their actions usually cause suffering as they try to oppress people in their need to force others to agree with their irrational viewpoint.

When you’re reading a dark sexual fantasy, you’re not reading a reality. No one is going out saying this is how to live your life. The relationships revealed in dark erotica that lack balance, that lack stability and sanity are that way for a reason. You’re looking into the mindscape that is revealing itself in familiar descriptions to make it more relatable while other, deeper concepts are conveyed.

There is only one character in a love story. There is one person finding the other half of his/her self. One being who must face fears found only in his/her own eyes, and accept everything he/she sees and learn to love that reflection. And when that love story is also a lust story about dark topics, that one character is learning a lesson abuse victims struggle with going forward. Pleasure still feels like pleasure. Pain can feel like pleasure because pain is still just sensation, and the body in its amazing, adaptable coping strategies, seeks to transform pain to pleasure to make even the most horrendous bearable. Pain can be pleasurable and pleasure is okay.

What it takes to survive, to cope, to sit with a thought that has haunted you for a lifetime is accepting that we are still just base animals, that pleasure works in our bodies just like any other base animal, and once judgment is removed, there is no longer this wish to define what happened to a victim as wrong, or destructive, or a reason to murder the victim to save face in a family, or hide the victim away because they remind you of what another did. When you no longer have to define the abuse, you don’t need to define the person it was inflicted on as a victim, or guilty, or weak, or tragic, or a liar, or a slut, or whatever else pops in the cruelest of minds who cannot sit safely with these thoughts.

Why do people hate victims? Because they cannot face the weak, vulnerable person they once were who was victimized. Every time I see a victim blamer, I know I’m looking at an abuse victim who never learned to forgive his/her self for being weak when he/she wanted to be strong and in control. When someone refuses to offer comfort in the face of the most heinous of pain, I know it’s because he/she felt to receive comfort during such a time would destroy him/her.

Comfort means acknowledging the pain, and for those who can’t acknowledge, they prefer the cruel void of lies. They cannot sit with the thought and accept it. Instead they must destroy the thought, must blame the victim, must run, and run, and run for a lifetime to never have to find themselves alone with that thought with no compassionate, beautiful soul beside them to remind them that it doesn’t matter if it’s real, your brain just wants you to accept it.

Now, when I look back without the fragmented PTSD mind, I can see the reality of my childhood when I was so young, the dark presence always at the edge of my vision, the monster stalking me in my otherwise cozy, grandmother’s house of memory. Being trapped in a crib, at the most vulnerable, and having vision be darkness on the brightest of days because of his shadow. I can feel compassion for that trapped child, when before I tried to erase her so completely that I didn’t even know she was living inside me suffering from that abuse. She’s not suffering anymore. I have not locked her away, I have not blamed her, I have not hated her, and now she can just exist as we all just want to exist. Free.

The Burden Of Consent In The Society Of Victim Blaming

I want to speak of this because of the many very logical sounding arguments that have been raised about there being ‘no evidence’ in the Kavanaugh situation (while evidence is blatantly ignored.) The truth of the matter is, you cannot prove consent. You cannot prove a yes or a no when looking back. Unless people are writing contracts, and even then, if you are in mid interaction and you change your mind, consent is withdrawn and now it’s rape. This can and has happened to actors in the adult industry, and for fear of losing their jobs or being shunned from the industry, few speak up when it occurs.

You cannot hold consent up and go here is the proof she was okay with it! Here is the proof he wanted it! Here is the proof that the interaction is fine even though this human being in front of me is claiming it wasn’t.

Consent is the heart of rape and all sexual abuse. It is when one party in an interaction does not want that interaction to occur. It can be when both parties of that interaction don’t want it to occur but feel pressured by society and ritual to interact anyways. Rape is not one act, not so defined as penetration, or touch of a certain area, violence or bruises, etc, so much as at least one individual did not consent to that interaction. When it pertains to minors, it will always be considered rape, because as a society, and as a law, we have decided that until a certain age, young people are not capable of understanding sexual interaction enough to give their consent. When parents give their minor of a daughter away to be married to an adult, they are giving her away to be raped because she is still a minor who has no ability to consent to sex on an equal standing. And yes, this practice is still happening in America.

The only proof of consent is within the individuals involved, and if you are not listening to those individuals when they say they did not give consent, then you are taking away their right to have consent. If women are ignored or told ‘they’re confused,’ every time they come forward after being raped, those denying their stories are indicating that women are not allowed to decide consent when it comes to their bodies.

It is patronizing, demeaning, and all around offensive to tell a woman that she cannot decide her own consent to sexual intercourse. This is not a message we have for the male gender even though the epidemic is not constrained to just women. Within the LGBTQ sphere; religious, military, and educational institutions; and the privacy of the home, male rape is happening and in desperate need of addressing. Culturally though, this message of not being allowed to decide one’s own consent is repeated generation after generation for the female gender.

A woman owns her body, and it is her right alone to decide if another person can interact with her in a sexual manner. If she says the sexual interaction was/is unwanted, she has a right to decide that, and she has a right to be believed for not giving her consent. She is the only one who has the right to give consent for her body, and she must be believed or her consent is not counted.

We are responsible for our actions, not the actions of others.

There has been a lot of push back against victims, blaming them for not stating their boundaries, for not speaking up, for not predicting and protecting themselves while in these interactions. What is continuously overlooked, quite deliberately I’m sure, is that we are all responsible for our actions. We are responsible for OUR actions, not the actions of others.

If you don’t want to rape someone, it is your responsibility to ensure the person you are with is consenting to the interaction. It is not on the other party to prove they do not want to have sex. It is on the person who is asking to ensure that they are gaining consent.

This means any interaction when alcohol, drugs, extreme tiredness, or any other influence that could make it difficult to discern if either 1) the other person is capable of consenting in their current state and 2) that you are capable of understanding if they are consenting in your current state, is your sole responsibility. It is not up to other people to have to defend themselves and their bodies from unwanted advances; it is the responsibility of the advancer to stop, to listen, and to respect what boundaries are in place.

Our culture is so ingrained in victim blaming that even in this obvious, basic understanding that we are responsible for our actions, we instead blame the victim for not stopping the actions they didn’t consent to. Madness.

Sex between coworkers where the power is imbalanced, or just in unbalanced relationships in general be it financial, societal, and age require an extra consideration of those imbalances. Can an employee truly consent to a sexual relationship with their boss when they could face a loss of work, income, and financial stability if they refuse? If they could potentially be shamed by peers, by coworkers, and forced to leave the workplace if the relationship is revealed? This is why proper offices disallow sexual relationships in the workplace; they understand the line of consent is completely blurred when power disparities are in play.

It’s the same with teachers and students of legal age. When someone is in an authority position where they can decide if the other passes or fails, gets advanced on their future career goals, etc, it is their responsibility to understand consent cannot fully be given if a sexual interaction were to occur, and in that case, to not have a sexual interaction with the student.

To be accused of rape and then blame the victim, is to take personal responsibility out of the hands of the person being accused. We should all be aware of our actions, especially when interacting with other human beings. It’s basic common courtesy. We ask that little of others when interacting with us, and we should assume the same accountability of our own actions when interacting with another.

We are responsible for our action, all of them. It’s what our laws are based upon. Ignoring this responsibility when it comes to sex only creates a society of invisible victims.

Emotional Intelligence

There has been such a loss or plain lacking of emotional intelligence when it comes to these topics. I understand why; I understand people don’t want to feel guilty for their interactions and so they just brush accountability off. I don’t imagine there isn’t a single couple out there who hasn’t had a misunderstanding of consent, or even a full out rape where one party is either oblivious or intentionally trying to block it out to keep the peace. These interactions don’t have to define a relationship, but they will when they are ignored and not acknowledged. You cannot be with a person, choose to spend your life with them, help them in their endeavors, and ignore the fact that boundaries were ignored, pushed, lost completely, and could still be left up in the air.

Do you know when you have sex if your partner is consenting? Every single time? Do you assume because you’re together they are automatically consenting? Is it the end of the world if you ask just to be sure?

Do you have a partner where, if you ask if they’re consenting, you suspect they might just say yes to not hurt your feelings? Do you understand that many partners say yes to sex just to keep the other person feeling confident in the relationship because they would rather be raped than hurt the feelings of someone they love? Did you know that you can rape someone and still have them love you? Can you face that and move forward with your partner as stronger individuals?

When I first starting dating my boyfriend, we had a horrendous habit of trying to please the other. It was exhausting and it went on far too long. We were not ourselves but instead, so conscientious of what we perceived the other wanted, we lost track as to what we as individuals wanted. Why? Because that’s what they did on TV and in movies. All the time. We thought by mirroring what we saw, we were having a relationship. And because of it, we made mistakes. A lot. Painful, angry, tired, frustrating mistakes. And only in facing those mistakes and allowing the relationship to evolve as two people living side by side instead of two people living for each other, were we able to have the healthy, boundary strong relationship we have now.

I understand facing this can be difficult, but it is necessary to move forward. We live in a culture that shows rape as glamorous, expected, where religious organization demand it because they think a marriage contract is consent for sexual interaction. It is not. We have mothers and fathers who blurred the lines without realizing it, who thought culture was consent when it was not and then taught that message to their children. Women have faced countless eras of oppression, a history that follows in every society our gender reaches, and with it, we carry the burden of needing to fight for our rights to our body, to our boundaries, to our consent.

Being married does not mean consent to sex. Consent to sex does not mean consent to being pregnant. Being pregnant is not consent to bearing a child to term. Consent to sex does not mean consent to marriage. Consent to marriage does not mean consent to being owned and having your consent taken away.

A relationship should not be an obligation of rules and tasks on each other but where two people join their lives where they naturally meet. Until our popular culture catches up and we start seeing these healthy relationships, the poisoned messages continue through to the next generation. Women screaming other women don’t have a right to abort their babies, like their bodies belong to a fetus instead of to themselves. Women screaming god owns them, their husband owns them, that they should be grateful to be raped because it’s a duty as a wife. Mothers ignoring their daughters when they are raped by their fathers, because those mothers believe rape must be okay because it happened to them as well.

Emotional intelligence requires being able to untangle yourself from the culture, from the bias, from the pain and vast history and false concepts and honestly look at reality. Rape is called rape because someone doesn’t want the interaction. Rape is unwanted. It is not the fault of the person who is too frightened to say no for fear of death, of financial ruin, of exile from family and community to somehow solve the problem of their rape. It is the responsibility of all of us to not rape people and ensure that consent is genuine in every sexual interaction.

Shame and Repression are deadly and create the most callous of humanity

Shame is learned behavior. It is unnatural. It is the response, usually when in the face of one’s sexual and/or bodily functions, when another voice comes in and screams ‘no, bad, wrong, disgusting, evil.’ I have seen shame in dogs when after they have had an accident inside the house, their owner screams at them, makes them to feel broken and wrong because the natural urge to have a bowel movement is not accepted as natural. And then the shame comes again every time that dog needs to have a bowel movement because they cannot differentiate that it was the act of it being in the house that angered the owner and not the act of pooping itself.

In humans, shame is far more reaching and even more insidious and it goes far beyond basic potty training.

Shame begets shame. It is learned. When someone wets the bed and are made to feel shame, they usually pass that lesson on to the next generation that you are supposed to feel ashamed for your body not being fully within your control. If someone is caught masturbating and made to feel ashamed, they usually pass that message on, while feeling sick inside for having a body that functions exactly how it is supposed to function. When you are ashamed of the level of fat, the color of your eyes, skin, shape of your genitals, the way you sweat, speak—name a function or an attribute of your body, and you can find all the many ways shame can cripple a human being.

Shame lives in the mind. It destroys people one by one, generation after generation, and its hold is so great, it will kill those who fight against it. When a closeted gay, such as the Florida nightclub shooter, was faced with a community of people embracing a sexuality he shared, shame spurred him to kill to avoid facing his sexuality. It was easier to kill, than fight the shame that told him an attraction to males was evil. Every LGBTQ teen who has been forced to go through conversion therapy because someone else was ashamed of their sexuality has felt the effects of shame. Every transgender who has been struck, raped, or killed has felt the consequences of shame living in the minds of other people. Every woman who has had her clitoris surgically mutilated has felt the poison of shame taking over a culture and infecting a community. Every black woman who is made to feel ashamed because her hair is gorgeously curly instead of straight has felt the oppression of shame on an entire race and gender.

Shame automatically leads to repression in a need to stop the shame feeling, and in fighting repression, the first feeling that pops up to keep someone repressed is shame. When people first try to fight against repression, they notice shame the most. For those new to writing and self publishing erotica, one of the most alarming and hardest to battle emotions of putting their work out there is the battle with shame they didn’t even know was lurking until that moment. Shame first comes from outside us, a cruel message that who we are is wrong and disgusting. But we carry the voice within of those learned, hateful messages, and then repress ourselves and those around us so we don’t have to feel the pain of shame.

Repression is a dangerous ailment on the mind and body. It is destructive, and in repression, people are more likely to act violently and/or criminally in the real world. The same way in just refusing to accept the memory of what my grandfather did to me spurred me to want to kill myself, people who refuse to accept the basic fact that they feel arousal over things they believe they shouldn’t feel arousal over can lead to them acting out dangerously in the real world. It can be violence or risk taking behavior toward themselves, and it can be violence and inappropriate behavior towards others.

It is only through acceptance that we can live the life we want in balance, okay with who we are out in the world while not infringing on the rights and safety of others. When we deny ourselves, our thoughts, our own boundaries, we are likely to do the same to others and hurt them in the process.

Shame Leads To Lying About Reality

Pedophilia is happening in homes all over this globe, and until society is willing as a whole to accept that truth and focus these sexual actions in ways that don’t harm children, it will continue to occur. A pedophile is still a human being, the same way anyone who has sexual urges is still a human being, and this dehumanizing of those with such sexual urges, (many who were victims of pedophilia themselves) only adds to the problems of repression and shame.

Child sex dolls exist and have already seen bans because of this fear of ‘normalizing’ pedophilia. Well, as a child who was raped, I would have preferred the normalization of having sex with dolls instead of the reality of children being molested. As someone who was once part of an institutional religion so ingrained with pedophilia and sex crimes that until the most recent Pope, the leadership was training deaf altar boys into sex slaves, I’m sure those boys would have preferred that these men of the cloth were allowed to marry, or have sex with consenting adults, or masturbate and fantasize without such crippling shame that they sought out the most vulnerable to attack. They certainly would have wanted society as a whole to stop pretending it wasn’t happening, to stop choosing concepts of god and religion over the actual safety of children.

Shame and repression have saved no one, but have damned countless. A sex doll is a far better option than a child. One is a real crime with a real victim, while the other is a concept with no crime or child being harmed. For every ‘well meaning’ individual who ignores the reality of what is happening to protect a concept of a child, real children are forced to suffer for their ignorance.

Rape is happening all over this globe. The Nobel Peace Prize was just awarded to two amazing people who are fighting against sexual violence being used as a weapon of war. Until we as a society can accept that women and men are being raped, adults and children, their bodies violated and taken out of their control, and that this is an actual crime that must be stopped, nothing will change. It baffles me how we blame the victims, how so much hate rises up when accusations are heard. Our society can’t face the reality that rape is happening and that people do not want to be raped. We go so far as to protect those who blatantly commit these crimes and instead destroy those who speak up against them. It is as if the world is running from the truth of rape at every turn.

We are too afraid to look at sex. There are too many who have been victimized who just want to pretend these crimes aren’t happening, that if they can erase it, they will never be touched by the pain of it. Shame screams loud every time sex rears, the voice of our mothers, fathers, victims, authorities all telling us that sex is why we’re broken, why we’re failing as humans. If only we could just remove sex, we would be pure. It doesn’t work that way. Like the Catholic church who is so pure they rape their children and their followers ignore it. Reality doesn’t work that way.

Denial of the body is denial of reality. Denial of sexual urges is denial of reality. Denial of reality leads to shame, repression, and crime.

By denying, by hiding from reality, society has allowed sexual crimes to grow, has accepted it as a norm, and then blamed the people who dare speak out and want better as if to reveal the rampant sex crimes happening all over the globe is to summon them into the world for the first time. These problems are not disappearing no matter how many times I hear of the police refusing to test the hundreds of thousands of rape kits waiting in their labs, or the public saying ‘she’s just confused,’ to the daughter of the man who molested her growing up. Those who are speaking up are not going away, and there are more to replace them every day because these crimes keep occurring.

Ignoring the problem has done nothing but traumatized all of humanity. How amazing would it be to find a way to heal us all instead.

Murdering the accused does not fix the problem but just leads to more repression

This will be probably the most controversial part of this post, and in that sense, the most important. We are all human. Sexual urges are normal. When shame is placed on people who have normal sexual urges, they act irrationally, criminally, abusively. I’m not saying there are not the anomalies out there, and even still, I call for rehabilitation instead of this cry of death, destruction, and pretending nothing is happening at all.

Was my grandfather a monster in every other aspect of his life? To the best of my knowledge, no. He built the house my grandmother and their children lived in. He did his best to provide a life for his family. I was taken from that family when I was very young after the sexual abuse, and the physical abuse from my father, and over all neglect. I didn’t see much first hand, but they were people, all of them. Human beings struggling in the world, trying to do the best they could while crippled in poverty, PTSD, trauma, and abuse. In my sister-in-law’s family where her father molested her and her siblings, I didn’t see a monster of a man domineering over his daughters, but a flawed, broken individual who could not break free from his own actions while trying to provide what he could for his family.

In the same way a victim of abuse can be saved, I believe a perpetrator of abuse can be saved. But first, we must admit that abusers are people too, and that the crimes they commit are crimes that need to be stopped.

We do not have to be defined by our worst of actions. We do not have to be labeled by the things that have happened to us, or the things we have done. But there must come acceptance of those acts first, otherwise both abuser and abused are trapped in that event, defined, with no way to move beyond.

To get past the pain we inflict on others, we must face it, admit it, repent however we can, and strive to do better from all we’ve learned. We must learn and grow, and neither is available when we merely condemn. This is a community effort, a society effort, a family effort because it is at the heart of every family that these incidences of abuse strike the deepest and most painful. Silence is not golden. Silence is where the wounds fester and rot away what little humanity is left, leaving people abused and traumatized and not living in their lives. For the world to heal, we have to face the pain, the wounds, and start treating the problems that leave us feeling trapped.

Humans hurt humans. There is no monster in human flesh; it is a human being. Until we can face that in our genetics, in our society, in the very nature of what being human is, is also this, this ability to do terrible things to each other, we can’t ask to be better. Until we face that within everyone is the capability to do harm, we cannot move forward to do the most help.

It Is Not The Duty Of The Traumatized To Forgive

I want to be clear about this. I do not come from my mindset of forgiveness and hope because of my experiences in being traumatized. I don’t even come from my mindset of forgiveness and hope because of my experiences in healing from trauma (although it did play its part.) I have that mindset outside of the realm of what happened to me, where I have compassion for all human beings and see that even the cruelest of us can also be a victim, that being a victim can make us act monstrously, and that actions do not have to be who we are if we are allowed the ability to change.

It is not the responsibility of a survivor to forgive anyone but his/her self. A survivor owes no one but his/her self when it comes to healing. We owe no one, especially our assailants, anything.

I come from a place of privilege where I can talk about these things and not be triggered constantly. It is a privilege to be able to be free of trauma when so many still live with it, still live feeling abused, oppressed, in constant pain and anxiety of another attack. It is a privilege to be able to study this with a clear head and emotional intelligence and then be able to express my thoughts and emotions in a way others can understand. I am privileged to be able to be so well adjusted, and although I worked my ass off to get to this place, I still readily admit it.

I understand my privilege, and I want to be clear to any and everyone who has ever been victimized: you don’t owe anyone anything. Take care of yourself. You are the only one you will live with every day until the very last breath, and you need to take care of you. It is your duty, your only duty. Love yourself and let the rest of the world burn if you have to. You are allowed.

Erotica Is Supposed To Titillate, Otherwise It’s Not Doing Its Job

I just want to end this on what I believe would be dangerous to overlook when I categorize dark erotic with sexual abuse survivors. Erotica is supposed to arouse you. It is supposed to get you off. It is supposed to create a sexual response out of a thought crafted from text on a screen/page. The arousal (and if you’re so lucky) the orgasm, is essential. Erotica is an embracing of sexual arousal out of thought, and if you’re not embracing it fully and instead are full of doubts, fears, pity, shame, etc, you’re not in the experience. But that’s okay, because you can try it again and again until you do learn to embrace it.

Dark erotica can be a guide to learning how to accept difficult thoughts and concepts in the mind. It is, in its own unique way, exposure therapy combined with positive reinforcement through the pleasure centers of the body and mind. It is a therapy done in the privacy of your own mind with no one but yourself to judge. When you feel that judgment, you are the one harming yourself, and in the same way, when you learn to release that judgment, you are the one freeing yourself.

I create dark, taboo erotica to remove shame from people’s psyches, and to help normalize sexual arousal in the body with the understanding that it’s safe, no one is hurt, and that it requires no action beyond. It is okay to have your thoughts and feel aroused. It is normal. It is exactly how you feel and it’s fine.

I don’t know why I feel the need to say it, but maybe it’s because of how erotica has been slurred for so long as being without value, or worse, ‘dirty, evil, wrong,’ and in doing so, society has said our sexual arousal is wrong and should just disappear. Our sexual urges are not disappearing, and the repression of said urges has led instead to mental illness, crimes, and trauma. You know what has never molested a child or raped a person? A fuck fic. Masturbation doesn’t hurt anyone (unless you’re doing it wrong. *wink*) Erotica is supposed to make you feel aroused. It’s supposed to help you enjoy a sexual feeling and enjoy your body. It’s okay. Even if the thoughts that lead to it are perceived as ‘dark,’ erotica is still there to help you enjoy that sexual exploration.

In exploring all the ways that we fear or are uncertain about sex in a fantasy setting, we are learning to accept that sexual thoughts are okay in our bodies and minds.

Erotica for sexual abuse survivors helps you come to terms with the fact that your body feels arousal, may have felt arousal during abuse and/or when thinking or remembering abuse, and that it’s perfectly normal and okay. That doesn’t mean dark erotica is supposed to make you feel okay about abuse or to normalize abuse in the real world; it just means you can feel okay with how your body copes, how it functions, how amazing it is to turn pain and fear into pleasure. And even if you do walk away feeling okay when thinking about abuse that has happened to you, that’s perfectly fine too.

For those who have been victim to abuse, who have spent their entire lives trying to get past one terrible moment or a series of moments, if they can be okay with what happened, then they are finally free. I know because I am finally free.

That can be just as unsettling thought for someone to sit with, I admit. Not just to have the thought ‘I was raped by my grandfather at the age of three,’ but to also have next to it, ‘I am fine.’

I allowed myself that. I allowed myself to accept and let go, and I allow myself freedom today because of it. I would rather see the world heal, than suffer forever in pain of what cannot be changed. But that’s the funny thing about healing. You have to admit the wound is there first, you have to scream that pain until you, the one suffering, is willing to hear it. Then the healing can finally start.

It’s okay to get to that place of okay, no matter how repulsive it might seem when you’re not okay. Again, that’s my privilege of having healed. I don’t feel disgusted anymore at the idea of being raped. I don’t feel disgusted at the idea of being okay with being raped. I can allow myself to be okay with it. It’s a process.

I hope your process doesn’t take you 30 years like mine did, but even if it does, getting to acceptance is such a beautiful way to live. I want to see this world heal, and I know it’s a person at a time, an acceptance of truth at a time. With each person who learns to accept themselves exactly as they are, their thoughts, their desires, and just exist being okay with existing, the world becomes better.

When I stopped hurting myself, I was no longer being hurt. My trauma had ended over thirty years ago but I was still suffering from the pain I was committing on myself. To stop that cycle was to stop my pain. I want that for everyone; a world where we don’t have to hurt ourselves for a lifetime just because of the hurt that happened to us in the past. And yes, I know erotica is a great tool in getting to that place of self love. It asks nothing of you but acceptance of how you feel in response.

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$0 Cost Do It Yourself Audiobooks

$0 Cost Do It Yourself Audiobooks


An audiobook in 4 hours with no microphone, no narrator, and no cash? Yes, yes, and yes. After a ton of authors reached out to ask how I made my first audiobook, I decided this would be the best way to answer them all. Hello, blogging. Let’s jump in.

Why do it yourself?

It’s fun, you might be broke or unwilling to invest the money, and hey, maybe you have some time—or are looking for an excuse to pull away from a frustrating novel and you want to break up the monotony. No judgments. XD I wanted to see if it could be done. It can be. Really well. It can make you cash, too, which is a marvelous reason to play around for a day learning new things.

There’s a familiar diagram you may have seen, a triangle of Time, Money, and Quality with the caveat of two options balance the third. You can have something done cheap and fast, but the quality will go down. You can have something for good quality and quick, but you have to pay loads of money. And if you want something cheap but of good quality, you must invest the time. A do-it-yourself audiobook is all about time to get quality, because, whoot! You can make an audiobook for $0 starting out!

If you want to get an audiobook done on the cheap, I can point you the tools available, but know quality will depend on the time you’re willing to invest. Time to learn software, time to record the book, time to ensure the pacing of the speech is right, that the mistakes the text to speech voice makes are fixed, and everything is understandable. Tech has come a long way, but it’s still not perfect.

Why you might find doing it yourself for an audiobook to bite you on the ass

For every market, a sub-market grows.

So not every platform will allow audiobooks made with a synthetic voice. Audiobook creation is a service and there are those who would rather these services be bought instead of people doing it themselves. ACX is one of those services. From what I can see, Amazon uses them primarily, so don’t expect to have a synthetic voiced audiobook Amazon next to your actual book. I wouldn’t expect to have any voiced audiobook next to your actual book unless you go through ACX and pay a narrator and accept a 40% royalty for your audiobook. I can’t even find how audiobooks end up on Google Play, and I’m usually pretty good at these searches. I’m assuming ACX has a big corner on the market. Smashwords doesn’t offer audiobooks—you have to remember, audio files are large while an ebook can be pretty damn tiny. Which is why I don’t recommend storing them on your website unless you can afford the bandwidth to have them downloaded.

So, for now I’d say focus on selling on your website through Payhip, or a file sharing system, such as mediafire, and/or finding places where you can host podcasts such as SoundCloud. I specify podcasts because it’s audio that’s expected to be long, not short like a song track. Erotica, naturally, gets the shaft and you need to ensure your work is ‘acceptable’ on these sites. Assume they’re not *eyeroll* and expect at some point, any erotic sounding scenes may be the reason your file suddenly disappears. Anywho, if you’re not a dirty writer XD there are plenty of places you can host a sample of your book, or even the entire book if you want to give it away for free.

Basically, if you do it yourself in an ‘unapproved’ way, you’ll find your audiobooks aren’t welcome on the big platforms. As an erotica writer, I’m used to this kind of bs. Normal writers might find it not worth the time or effort if they can’t get their audiobook next to their kindle book on Amazon. It could also be a nice test to see if your readers are interested in an audio version without coughing up hundreds to get a narrator and studio involved. It’s up to you.

I don’t see this is as a huge setback, btw. As a self publisher, it’s been super important from the beginning to make my website the center of my book hub. Everything should link back to the website, and what better way to have that happen then to mention if you want the audiobook version you can go to www.sadiesinsbooks.com, in every description on every platform I sell my books on?

Creating an Audiobook

Okay, let’s get into the actual audiobook creation. We’re going to need text-to-speech software, an audio recorder, and an audio editor. But first…

Prepare your text file.

Copy and paste your finished book and save it with the word Audio in there. You do not want to ever mistake this file for your book file. By the time it’s done, it will be unreadable. For example, with Demon Bonded, my main character Ky had to be named Kye for the speech recognition, backyard became back yard, tear (as in to rip) became tare, lives had to be spelled liives, jaw became jah, minute was minet, commas were added and removed depending on pacing and pronounciation.

Don’t skip this simple step of making a new file. You will need a new file. XD Keeping a little notepad open for what becomes what is very useful later when you go to make another book, too.

Text to speech readers.

So this was, in my mind, the most important aspect of everything. If I couldn’t find a voice that sounded real enough, I didn’t think there would be any use to even going through with it all. I remembered this really cool, open-source realistic text to speech program a year or so back—maybe more, I was sick—and found out they were gone. It looks like Amazon bought them out, or at least one of the voices. That’s when I learned about Amazon Polly, and after the pain in the ass it was to sign up to AWS, I decided I was going to stick through with it long enough to see if it was worth all the fuss. I think it was.

Amazon Polly through AWS

So you signed up for AWS and you can’t find Polly? Welcome to the club. There is so much on that damn website. Here’s a link.

Charged $4 for every 1 million characters read aloud. It works out to about $2 for 80-100,000 words (understand, I’m pretty sure they’re counting spaces in those characters.)

Things to watch for. Timing, pacing, clarity of voice. Sometimes it goes too fast, sometimes it skips syllables, soft ‘t’ sounds on some words. Mispronunciations completely. You have to trick it, such as when you want bow (the verb instead of the noun) you need to spell it boww. Sometimes you need a comma or period just to get a more defined word, and then you have to go in and delete the extra pause in the spacing. Sometimes you have to delete commas altogether because the flow is just so bad, or it causes such a hard sound when the next word starts, that a pause deleted can’t soften the sound.

There’s a limitation of how much text you can put into the box at the time. I think it’s a good idea, actually. It forces you to pay attention. If you have a feeling you’ll be coming up across text that will give you trouble (lol, like Frrrling, and Chrrl and Grrr—as Demon Bonded XD) you can isolate it, pause the recording and figure out exactly how you want it to sound, and then record from there.

I honestly would put the most amount of time in the recording aspect. Stopping and fixing it at this point is far easier than having to go back in the middle of editing to get a better sample of the right pronunciation. The first episode I did, I ended up having to redo so much, it tripled the time spent because I flew through the recording aspect. Learning curve. So, although recording requires the most attention and focus, it will save you work later.

Audio Recorders

Audacity.  It’s free (my favorite!) it’s simple, and easy to learn. Get the plugins, including the MP3 conversion. The quickest things to learn are record, stop, cut, delete, and save and export. Learn the settings for your saves. Wavs are best if you’re editing the file after, or putting them together into one long audio track. You can find all the info you need with some googling.

Save/export as a wav. They’re larger, uncompressed files and allow you to work with a higher quality audio. I like to save in scenes. Chapter One, Scene One. Chapter One, Scene Two. Etc, etc. That way when you put it all together, you know how it all goes together and if something happens—something lost, your computer loses power, what have you—it’s very easy to know where you lost data and rerecord. It’s also just more manageable and great places to have a meaningful pause pacing wise so your listener could take a breath too. Also, once you get to the editing stage, you’ll find it useful for how you save the final format.

Audio Editing

I started out using Wondershare Filmora. I got this for video editing. They have a free version—I forget the difference of them all but you can look it up. I like things that work, and after fighting with a free program that didn’t work, I found this one and latched on. XD

After fiddling around, I realized I just liked working in Audacity with audio so much better. It’s easier to read, easier to see what you’re doing, and once I started seeing all the plugins available, I was able to work with the equalizer and get a consistent sound. I recommend you save all your wavs first, and then create a book project—or ‘chapter’ project of the book depending on the length. That way you can copy/paste the wavs you want to work with into the project without losing the raw data. Save the project, and then go from there.

So, I initially held back using Audacity for editing because I didn’t think you could combine audio files. You can. You just need to open up the wav you want to add, select the entire file, copy, and then paste it where you want to place it (usually the end of the project.) I like to give it a big space so I can see it and make sure I adjust later for a nice breath of air.

Fiddle. Play. See what happens. This shit is all new to me, and all I can say is the only way to really learn something is to nearly break it. XD Have fun and see what you can do to make that voice sound compelling and as far from synthetic as possible.


This is all about making things easy on your listener while trying to keep the quality as nice as possible. Size is a huge thing with audio. You don’t want your book to be dismissed because it slows down someone’s phone/computer. Fiddle, play and see how things sound. You can use Audacity to compress it down to your specifications now that you’ve got a final wav to work with. Final step after all the editing, aka, don’t compress beforehand!

I read a statistic that with Audible, a minute of audiobook mp3 is about a filesize of .23 mb or 230 kb. So, in that calculation, an hour should be 13.8 mb or 13800 kb.

So, after some fiddling with saving as an MP3 with Audacity, to get the rate above compression wise (remember, you want a mono file.) Set it to 32 kbps when exporting as an MP3. It shouldn’t degrade the quality of the recording (too much) and your listener’s computer will thank you.

You have your audiobook. Now what?

File storage/hosting

Soundcloud will host audiofiles. I found them because the podcasts I listen to are all here. They have privacy modes, and an ability for listeners to download the file too. I don’t know if they compress or not—I found the audio through them to not sound as good as the original file.

Amazon S3 is another service through AWS and it will allow you to not only store your audio, but play it on your website too. It’s not a file sharing site like Soundcloud, though, so you may be more interested in a setup where people can browse and find you through another platform.

MediaFire It won’t play on your website, just jump for a download, but it doesn’t give a fuck about content, size, obscenity, etc. I’m rather fond of the simplicity of it.

Maybe you want to splice your audiobook into imagery and make a movie you can put on Youtube for people to find. You can do anything you want, be creative, and see how people respond.


So, I’m just figuring this all out myself. I thought I was going to end up having to use my website shopping cart to sell through the site while using MediaFire—which is a fine option, but then I saw Payhip offers the ability to sell audio files. Sweet! It’s presentable, easy, and I’m already set up with Payhip, so super easy for me to add new products.

Payhip has a really easy product creation page. One page, upload your ebook or audio, upload a cover image, description, price, make sure you add a mailing list and you’re done. Made for the do-it-yourselfer who doesn’t need a million keywords and shit. Easy-peasy. Add the link to your website, or spam the fuck out of it on social media if you don’t have a website, and you now have an audiobook for sale.

And that’s it. Simple stuff, no cash lost–Amazon Polly will charge you eventually, but if you sell one audiobook, I think you have your costs covered just like that. Good luck, peeps, and have fun being a badass entrepreneur who doesn’t wait for someone to give them permission to get shit done. <3

Posted in Self-Publishing Tips, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

How To Craft An Outline Guide

How To Craft An Outline Guide


Alright, so this is a new idea for me and I thought it would be fun to share the process as I try to flesh it out. I’m not sure if this will be one post or two. We’ll see as I go along. It might be one of those projects that will require tweaking depending on the book it’s intended for.

So for starters, what is an outline guide? No clue. I haven’t come up with one yet. XD But I have an idea, a plan—or should I say, I have identified a problem while writing Hellcat and I’m seeking to craft a solution in this post for future books. Likely this will end up looking like a worksheet, a set of characteristics I want to pay attention to when crafting the outline and when approaching scenes, chapter and ‘events.’

Hellcat started off very different from anything I wrote before. I mean, not the initial outline I wrote over a year ago, that was the same old smut summary I understood. But I had tried out one of those how to outline books and Hellcat was my test. And fuck, it failed.

A word on failure—it is magnificent

It’s only when something gets fucked up that you start paying attention to it. It forces you to see something that before you just breezed through. I started Hellcat wanting to make a book that had stronger action in it than normal for me. I wanted to make a cute, quirky world where it wasn’t just the same old magic in the real world kind of thing. I wanted to add details that would flesh it out as unique. Unfortunately, that first draft failed to engage the characters and instead led them down a path. It was predictable, free of emotional conflict, and very little heat or tension. Although the plot itself offered conflict, the characters didn’t.

I have gone back (this being the third pass) to get Hellcat to actually ‘feel’ the way I want it to feel. It wasn’t a Sadie Sins book, it was barely a romance, even less an erotica. The characters were flat, and everything was action focused. No one was allowed to develop and grow and just exist in the world, they were pushed unceasingly forward by the plot. I noticed that the characters were all about reaction to the plot instead of reacting to their feelings about how the world was changing. What I did like was the action was strong, it pushed the plot forward, and the world itself was developed and quirky. I had a structure but no life in it.

Usually I write books with a character focus. The plot exists to be the foil to keep the characters apart and at each other’s throats until they finally fall in love and bed. But I wanted to try something different (or so I thought. XD) I wanted a more developed set of events that would surprise the reader, not just have it all be character drama, and I wanted those world building characteristics without a ton of exposition. By the time I finished the first Hellcat draft I also identified I wanted characters with clear motivation, I wanted their actions to be honest to their motivations instead of to the plot events, I wanted a stronger focus on the romance aspect, and I wanted way more heat. I decided Hellcat was going to be a XXX novel. I never wrote one before and it was fucking time. Take a failure and make it spectacular.

So, if I were to identify and group the elements of the story that really stood out as lacking or complete, it would look something like this.

Event Driven Plot:

Events happening in the structure of the story. These events happen no matter how the character feels about it—this is the body being discovered in a murder mystery, or the landlord coming in to evict the main character, or an ex showing up to make life difficult. The night and storm in a dark, stormy night. These are plot points that create a structure of events that keep a story together and the characters moving. It’s also where we world build. We can’t have events in a world that doesn’t exist, so all those things that define the nature of the world and setting in the story are found in this aspect of the plot. This is the basic structure of the entire book, as well as each event and each setting.

Character Driven Plot:

The soap opera effect. While the event driven plot gets the characters together into a room, the character driven plot is what makes them argue, or try to escape, or look for clues, etc. It’s the characters’ motivation, back story, growth and evolution. Characters can react to the Event driven plot—sometimes events are too big not to. But characters show their true selves when they’re reacting to the character driven plot. When their emotions, their past, their hopes and fears for the future make their decisions even when the world is crumbling around them. Each character driven plot will be unique depending on the character, aka, there will be multiple character driven plots in one story and they may vary depending on the events around them.

Romance Driven Plot:

This is specifically for romances and erotica, naturally, where the sexual tension is so important it needs to be plotted. It goes hand in hand with the character driven plot but with a focus, the push and pull between certain characters on an emotional and sexual level. Things to focus on would be how theses characters interact when together, and how they think of each other when apart. How the motivations and actions of the characters vary because of the romance driven plot. Sexual heat in the interactions. Each romance driven plot will be dependent on the characters involved in the romance. This means there can be more than one romance driven plot in a story—especially if you write multi. <3

So for the types of stories I write, I have three plot threads to juggle throughout a novel, or even a short story. The Event Driven Plot is the structure. It is the most basic world, as well as those plot points that force the characters forward. The Character Driven Plot is the motivation of each character as they not only react to the Event Driven Plot but create their own chaos based in their emotions, past, and future goals. Then there is the Romance Driven Plot, closely related to that Character Driven Plot but with a focus on certain character interactions. This ensures that the romantic interests don’t solve their problems and start getting too clingy and lose conflict before we get to the climax of a book. There is nothing more boring in a romance than a Romantic Driven Plot being concluded in the first chapter and then the rest of the book being all Event Driven. Hell, there’s nothing more boring than characters always getting along in a book and depending on the events alone to create conflict. Anywho…

The outline guide

So I’ve identified three threads of plot that are required to craft a strong story but how to approach from here? I think the best place to start would be the Event Driven Plot.

Plot the structure of the story. These are the events, the moments that are going to have readers on the edge of their seat and force the plot forward. This is what pulls your characters away from their jobs, their daily routine and comfortable couches to go and do something. Because I usually ignore this aspect and just have it be a foil for the character development, I think it’s the best place for me to start seeing as it’s the place I need work. I want to kick around and build a world, craft unique elements, give it a structure different from what I have before. I want to get in the habit of each story world being unique. And these could be multiple worlds in one story: your main character’s house and his/her world as he/she knows it. The villain’s world and the different aspects of that. The dark alley in the questionable part of town—each setting can be its own world, different rules of how characters act, etc. Having a focus on just this aspect of a story can give me really concrete, fun elements to build the characters on top of.

Second step would be to rough out the Romance Driven Plot. Examples would be plotting when the second character (our love interest) shows up, how they first interact, events as to how their interactions play out through out the other events happening in the background. A structure to ensure that we don’t resolve the romance aspect until near the end. Depending on intended heat level, this would be where I decide how much sex, what kinks to focus on, and just how strong the focus will be on heat in this plot line. In Hellcat, I literally went in and added a ‘dick filter’ scene by scene to ensure that the story had enough heat to honestly call it a XXX novel. The sexual aspect became an element all its own, which for me is what a romance/erotica is all about.

Lastly, Character Driven Plot. Once I roughed out a vague outline of events and romance, I think then would be the time to go in to the first ‘event’ and flesh it out with the characters themselves. Craft their backstory, their immediate motivations starting the story, their inner demons and desires and all that on another page along with their description, and then put them in the world and let them do their thing. And their thing might make it so getting to that next ‘event’ happens far later or sooner than anticipated. Characters are unpredictable and that’s why I love character driven stories.

These characters have hopes, dreams, loves and this is how the story will be experienced, through them. Allow them to set the base for their world when the first Event Driven Plot point comes in and turns it all upside down. I think how Awakening was set up worked nicely; the hook and then introducing what ‘normal’ is for Evan right before throwing him into abnormal. Demon Arms started in the hook, that first event that set everything off.

I’m not a big fan of long intros with nothing happening. The beginning of a book requires a hook or you risk losing your readers before they start. I am one of those fucking picky readers who won’t go past the first chapter—sometimes the first few pages—if there is nothing of interest for me. So even when starting with a normal base moment in the characters’ day, I try to ensure it’s still holding some sort of conflict, something to make a reader wonder if the problem will be solved and what will happen next.

That said, you can always change the beginning at any time. An outline is a rough, it’s shaping and sculpting so you have a structure to work off where you flesh out and refine. It’s a structure that should be allowed to bend and twist to give you the story you really want to make. When you don’t become too attached to an idea, you’re allowed to change it to something even better.

Scene structure and/or ‘event’ structure

So I like the three threads of plot for the beginning of drafting the outline, but I want something for when I’m actually in each scene, something to keep me on track when fleshing it out. Basing off of above, I’m thinking these will be my questions:

What is the event conflict in this scene? What is the answer?
What is the romantic conflict in this scene? What is the answer?
What is the character conflict in this scene? What is the answer?
And some prompts:
World building—
Character(s) motivation—

You don’t actually want to solve conflicts in scenes, not till the end of the book. For the conflicts you do solve, they should be small steps in a bigger problem. Example: yes, the romantic interest is now willing to actually talk to our hero but he won’t date him. In a lot of ways, it’s like those murder mystery plots or thrillers even if it’s a romance. If all the conflicts are solved in the beginning, there’s no reason for a reader to hang around for the end.

I’m probably going to refine this sheet as I go along and see what really helps me. I want to make character sheets based off of the things I care about, not some ready made template as well.


An idea of what this scene guide might look like filled out for Scene #26 of Hellcat, which I’m currently writing today. You’re going to see more conflict resolution because this is the second to last scene in the book. An earlier scene will be mostly no answers.

What is the event conflict in this scene? Will Sean give in and take TJ?
What is the answer? Yes, finally.

What is the romantic conflict in this scene? Can Soot convince Sean that owning TJ is better than living without him?
What is the answer? Yes, but TJ isn’t on board with being a pet.

What is the character conflict in this scene? Can Sean win against his desire for TJ? Can TJ break free?
What is the answer? Nope and nope. He loses repeatedly. <3

World building—Top floor of Mystic Highrise. Demon characteristics Sean gains—is it the fever or him? Soot can have tentacle hair! XD Tiled floor, there’s a dragon’s corpse and a fluffy kitten running around somewhere (don’t forget to bring the kitten home!) We may have to consider a time limit, potential interruptions. Gargoyles outside the window, witches floors below who will eventually wonder why Divia isn’t responding… Oh, Divia had a dinner date after her work day. Maybe an intro to a potential villain in book 2?

Character(s) motivation—
TJ’s confused. Doesn’t like that Sean is siding with a demon when they’ve been friends forever, but more overwhelmed currently with Sean coming onto him sexually. TJ is ever forgiving to a fault, but we see signs he’s more into Sean than he’s willing to face.

Sean’s horny, heart broken, and reaching a mental place where nothing fucking matters to him but having TJ in his life—even if TJ hates him for it. What’s the point of having magic if you can’t get what you want? There is a cure to his TJ issue and it’s as simple as changing TJ into a demon thrall. It’s probably the worst line he can cross, but Sean can’t help himself. He’s tired of losing.

Soot/Fides wants Sean to be happy. He’s claimed his mate, he understands that Sean comes with baggage—a whimpering, jealous, totally shy TJ—and he doesn’t want Sean moping. Humans over-complicate things and he’s happy to fix things to where if Sean wins TJ, he’ll be in Soot’s debt forever. Useful when dealing with a strong-willed pet like Sean.

Heat—XXX dubcon straight into noncon, first time, straight to gay, multi, double penetration, bdsm… possibly mild humiliation depending on Sean’s mood. Sean grows more aggressive with each line he crosses, Soot’s encouragement, and TJ’s surprising responses. This interaction is going to set the tone for book 2, so make sure it’s not resolved. TJ gives in but he’s not won.


I like the feel of it. If I actually bothered to make a setting and character sheet, I could ensure I flesh out more of the setting–cuz I’m so lazy with setting and descriptions. XD Also realizing that the ‘event’ conflict just feels more like the main conflict in a scene lacking the emotional trapping. The point of the scene in general. Outline wise it will be different but this feels right. The point of the scene and then the character and romantic conflicts included. I’m going to give this a go for a few stories and see what I do with it.

I hope this post might help anyone trying to figure out how to keep on track with their own writing. The things you want to focus on in a story might be completely different from me, but you don’t know until you really go into your story and see what feels lacking and what feels perfect. Identifying what you value in your writing can help make sure you get it right with each new story and stay on point. A little bit of work today can give you everything you want for the future. ^^

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Why You’re the Worst Author Ever (with diagrams)

Aka, don’t pee in the pool

Full discloser about the title: No, there are no diagrams. I embellished for humor sake. I dabbled with the idea of actually naming an author—any random author from Shakespeare to Hemingway—but felt like that would only welcome in the drama I’m trying to say we should all be avoiding. I have a feeling that the title as it is will be upsetting enough to those so insecure they think it’s about them. This title is not directed at anyone but an intention to get you to read the post below. But that is the point in a lot of ways; people will read something and self identify with it even when it’s not directed at them. To be honest, we shouldn’t be identifying with what is directed at us, but that’s a different topic. If you reacted to this title, I’d like you to say hello to your ego. It showed up looking for a fight and it will be hard to let that feeling go.

There is a problem on the Internet, a problem that really is the definition of the Internet. People show up to be right, they show up to be validated, and they are ready to fight about it. It’s like the verse of one of my fav songs by Mindless Self Indulgence, “This Hurts:”

Oh, God I can’t exist
I need someone meaningless
To justify my existence
Fucking you will keep me alive
But it never does
And that’s the way it always was
Lovely ladies, maids of honor
(Fucking you will make me stronger)

This is humanity’s insecurity at its core and what better place to find it but on the Internet? It’s where people try to control and/or destroy someone else to prove their own value. It’s petty, it’s pointless, and it ruins lives. It’s also extremely bad for business which is the point of this post.

I watched the end of an exchange between authors where this recently happened. Fans got involved and one author swore off writing after being verbally pummeled by strangers. It was a lot of meaningless drama. My main thought as I scrolled through Facebook and read how someone was giving up writing over an argument? I will never willingly work with these individuals. It would be too dangerous for my career.

Writing is not just my love, it is how I make a living. It’s how I afford rent, electricity, food. This job is important to my survival. It is how many authors work their ass off to try and make a living. This kind of bullshit can be the kiss of death to a career and who would willing welcome that in? It doesn’t matter how successful, popular, or friendly someone might be if you can imagine for even a moment they might do this to you and cripple your ability to pay your rent. Can that author justify it was the right thing to do for the situation? Run the fuck away. They will hurt others and justify it too.

It’s not professional. It’s not conscious. It’s just the spewing of the human ego as it screams ‘I have value!’ and takes everyone out around it so it can grow stronger. Writing is a business, one that focuses on a lot of networking, cross promoting, and beta reading where authors need to be able to work with each other without fear of the world shaking apart every time someone has a feeling. It’s not another author’s job to moderate/validate your emotions, and disengaging is far safer than creating a situation where fans get involved to validate the pain you feel over words on the Internet. Once fans need to defend or attack for you, it’s beyond the point of no return.

I’ve had author peers jump at the chance to tell one of my reviewers off and all the warning bells flashed in my mind that drama would follow. I don’t need to be defended and there is no reason to attack a person over their opinion. Someone being mean on the Internet can’t hurt me. I’m an adult and people’s opinions of me do not change who I am. I’ve stopped leaving details about the things I’m bitching about on Facebook because I don’t want a repeat of that cringe worthy moment. I am responsible for the words I put out there and if my reviewers are attacked, the good ones might feel hesitant to want to say they liked a book for fear of retaliation. That’s bad business. Alienating your readers is bad in general.

Readers shouldn’t have to pick one author over another. They should never feel pressured to show loyalty to an author, and in doing so, hurt another. Readers don’t just read one author, one genre, one book merely because you wrote it, and to think they do and to feed your ego off of it is detrimental to everyone involved. I know it’s human nature, that at the core we struggle to find ourselves by pushing down others. It doesn’t mean it’s not shitty, juvenile behavior straight from the playground and it shouldn’t be accepted in the workplace.

Oh, authors work from home and on social media? Yeah, it doesn’t mean it’s any different. A peer is a peer, and arguing where everyone can see isn’t professional. If you walked into a restaurant and found two waiters screaming at the top of their lungs, and it got so bad the patrons at different tables started shouting too, would you really want to eat there? Would you really want to go up to one of the waiters and ask for a job with them? If you did, what does that mean about how you view the work you do and the atmosphere you want for your work environment? Do you need to dominate and destroy your peers to feel better about yourself? What does that do for the industry you’re in? When other authors are suffering and the industry is going downhill because of infighting, do you assume you will automatically end up on top in a dying business?

There’s a crude but poignant saying that fits this well. Don’t shit where you eat. In this case, don’t shit where everyone else is trying to run a business; you’re making us look bad and making others uncomfortable. A private conversation where you act out all your pain is perfectly acceptable and no one else need know or care or fear for their careers.

For every person who sees bullshit drama happening between their peers and needs to put their 2 cents in, remember there are plenty of silent people thinking to themselves ‘no way in fuck am I touching that and putting my business at risk.’ It’s rent, it’s food, it’s security and making sure your family is safe. I have watched people in all walks of life self destruct from their own bad behavior while sucking in people to help validate their spiral down. If we’re talking the animal kingdom and survival of the fittest, survival of the friendly, socially conscious but not dependent is what you see in the workplace. Drama = stress and stress = death. Some people feed off their death as they go kicking and screaming while knocking anyone they can reach. Others watch and move on to prosper.

I had someone cut me off while I was changing lanes on the highway. They were behind me on the on ramp, we both moved to the middle lane, and as I moved to the furthest left, they gunned it to get around and ahead of me and nearly pushed me into another car. I had this split moment of ‘do I fight them over my right to be here?’ I chose no, and let them get ahead. They nearly rear ended the car in front of them while beeping like a maniac. Then less than five minutes later I watched the same car sail all the way to the right and pull to the side of the highway and stop. I was on a long journey, 2 hours into I think a 3 hours drive. They stressed themselves out so much they couldn’t make it a few miles while I continued on safely and calmly to my destination.

The conflict wasn’t important to me because I had nothing to prove and I avoided it while that other person was in their car shaking to the point they couldn’t drive. Where do you want to be in life and in your career, freaking out over people’s opinions of you, or enjoying the drive? A pileup on the highway can ruin it for everyone; do you want to be the cause of so much suffering over your very important ego? It’s so freeing to be able to move more and more toward no in answer to that question.

So, why are you the worst author ever?

A quick address of the angry, defensive, insecure egos who might still be swirling over the title.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Do you really think so highly of yourself that you could be ‘the worst?’ Do you think you’re so important that I know who you are and wrote an article for you in this cautionary tale of don’t shit where you eat? I couldn’t even tell you the authors involved in the argument because I follow so many and they’re not really on my radar; I only noticed because they were crying in pain very loudly and I didn’t want to join them. Okay, do you know how many people are on this planet? How about throughout the lifetime of humanity and language? They are all writers as long as they put pencil to paper or share their thoughts. You still think you’re the worst when you can’t even compare to so many unknowns?

Do you honestly think only good writers get to succeed? How many products have you bought where they didn’t reach your expectations or they broke early on? Did any of those phone companies go out of business when their pretty glass screens started breaking in pockets? The top bestsellers list; have you actually read those books? Do you see many of them being put in museums any time soon for huge value to humanity or the universe? If you’re the worst, what makes them the best, because I don’t see it.

So, why could you be the worst author ever? Maybe you think your value as a person comes from what you do for a career. Maybe you think making money is how to judge if you’re succeeding. You might think what you do matters when all writing is expressing thoughts that are saved to be read by others later. When you identify in your thoughts, you can then define those thoughts as good and bad and you too as worthy or not. For some reason, a lot of writers choose not worthy and the ones who choose worthy find themselves defending that stance at the expense of others. They ‘deserve’ to be ahead of the other car and they will push others out of the way to get there. One is able to escape the negativity and bad feelings and it’s not the person who keeps lashing out.

I recommend you put your ego to sleep. No one can be the worst writer ever. Being the worst is a human perception that varies mind to mind. It’s not real, the same way thoughts aren’t real. Every book I write comes from an intangible reality in my brain and it is not more important or concrete than the real world. The only power words have are what we give them—and yeah, as the writer of this post I totally get the irony. I can will, and hope, and think I’m so right with all my words above but they’re just words. Millions on this planet can’t even read this language. It’s not that important, so try to let the feelings go.

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How To Write Real Characters

How To Write Real Characters


For those who don’t know, I come from a fanfiction background. That means for the first one to two dozen stories I dreamed up I was working with a character template laid down by another author. Sometimes by many authors. Fanfiction evolves characters beyond what the original author intended with tens to hundreds of new voices piping in with ideas. It’s a pretty awesome phenomenon. When I decided I wanted to write original stories, erotica at that, I was faced with a problem. How do I write a character from scratch? Not only that, how do I do it in a short format? How do I get the feeling of living, breathing, real characters when I only have 10,000 words to tell a story of them existing, meeting, and falling into bed (and love) together?

This problem stopped me for the longest time. As a new writer, I felt there was no way I could overcome such a complicated problem. How could anyone love my characters and feel for them the same way I did in the fanfictions I wrote? How could I love them—I didn’t even know them!

I researched, and kept coming across this rule of thumb I eventually decided to give a shot. The Blank Slate. Make your main character as flat and mundane as possible so the reader can relate. I wrote Coffee Guy. Jayden is the most unmemorable character for me, and I have a feeling for my readers as well. The supporting characters are more memorable than Jayden, whose biggest characterization is he likes tight jeans, moved from the country, and is a horny bitch.

So… Coffee Guy is pretty popular. Someone new reads it at least once a day if I go by my KU numbers. A lot of that has to do with it being a werewolf gangbang in an office setting with themes of BDSM, breeding, and humiliation. Keywords and hitting genres that interest people. And yeah, I have never worked in an office and have no interest in ever being in one, but hey, that was generic too in the hopes of reaching as wide a potential audience as possible. Offices are ‘adult’ jobs, so adults want to read about their lives or a life they find relatable. You’ll also notice I never revisited Coffee Guy. There was nothing there to go back to. I as an author don’t really care what happened to Jayden. There was nothing plot wise that made me go, crap, this needs a sequel so I can tell that story! It’s a bland fuck fic in a lot of ways no matter the knotting. It serves its purpose but I cannot, as a creative, sustain on writing things like that alone. I would become bored and stop—hence why you’ll never find me in an office. I don’t stick with things that bore me. I have to make the world I want to live in.

Fanfiction As A Cornerstone

Once I did finish Coffee Guy, it helped me see what I wanted as a writer, why I wrote all those fanfictions in the first place. I like to explore characters. I like to evolve them, I like to watch them grow, and learn, and fuck up, and all the things they do as people—that’s the story. That’s all my stories are. Yes, I’ll throw some fantastic elements in there sometimes on the paranormal level, plot to create conflict, but really I write stories (erotic stories) to explore the psyche of characters.

Doing Wrong started out as a fanfic (you can read the fanfic version for free here) This was my practice run. I turned a fanfiction into an original to try and understand the difference of original characters and fan characters. How could I write an entire backstory—one completely different from the fan character I based it off of—and still have it all fit? That’s what I set out to do. Instead, I ended up with a different question. Do I need to write a backstory? Just how original was the character template I was basing things off of in the first place?

What Makes a Character

As a new writer, I had it in my mind to truly understand a character you needed to know everything they went through. Events forged a character, and it was only once you knew that character their evolution through the events of the story would have an impact. Converting Doing Wrong helped me see it was unnecessary. I didn’t need to tell a story about who they used to be and how they got to that point, I needed to show the reader through the character’s actions, and thoughts who they are is being tested, questioned, challenged and asked to change in the events to come. Yes, some backstory helps in this endeavor, but it doesn’t require as much energy or page time as feared. The blanks are filled in by the character’s actions, and when you’re dealing with a short story, action is required over reflection. Things need to happen and unfold before you run out of words and your reader gets bored.

Crafting Your Character

If you’ve read any of my stories, you’ll find a pattern in the beginning, especially in the shorts. I spend the first scene(s) establishing the main character in the world. I understand that the conflicts to come are about changing my character, so I first want to establish who that character is so those changes are seen. Sure, this goes a bit into how he looks, where he lives, that sort of superficial thing. You can use these aspects of a character to help craft the setting. He’s this age, so he’s in this place in his life. He looks like this so he might be a paranormal. That sort of thing. Usually, though, I bring up how the character feels and the conflicts he’s facing in his everyday life. And with me, this is large and exaggerated. Short stories only have a few paragraphs to pull a reader in, so I enjoy establishing exaggerated emotions to keep eyes reading.

The creation of this character is not in how he looks, what he wears, and the things he owns. It’s all about how he reacts to things. Characters, like people, grow when faced with conflict. They also establish themselves and their uniqueness through how they interact with the world around them. That guy doesn’t like broccoli but just left a bizarre date who insisted he eat it, and he’s fuming for being treated like a child. That one is always tanned and dusty from his lawn work job; he doesn’t care what people think, he works hard. That guy hates Valentine’s Day. Why? Well, he’s going to bitch about it in his head and snarl at the people around him who love the day, and eventually, you’re going to find out his home life fuels his resentment of others in love. Yup, that’s how Drunk Blind, Stupid Cupid started.

Erotica Is Different?

Now, for erotica, the only expectation is to have sex be the center of it all. Sex is going to happen. Character growth, change, what have you, that’s more expected in, well, every other story out there that’s not erotica. I’m of the belief sex is a part of a human being and deserves the same respect and understanding as every other element. I write sex stories where people evolve on some level. I find it satisfying. I find the primitive nature of sex helps fuel growth better than other because it’s taking a character out of the societal structure and putting them into their body—a body is honest about its desires while a brain can lie a million times. This is why my approach is so different (and why I love dubcon.)

Let me say, in general, if you want to write great stories and strong characters no matter the focus of your story, this is how. You grow them. Great stories exist to make characters change and grow—it’s suddenly the meaning of life. Why do all these bad things happen? So you’ll become a better person or understand your existence more. If I were to rewrite Coffee Guy again, Jayden wouldn’t even start out a werewolf but a simple human trudging through his mundane life ignoring all the fun his irresponsible friends are having because he’s doing what he’s ‘supposed’ to. Gavin would flip his life upside down—maybe a corporate buyout if we’re keeping to the ‘office’ theme. He’d bite Jayden, and then we’d follow with a series of sexual encounters in this odd office setting guided by Gavin with a focus on voyeurism and Jayden letting go of his uptight need to be what he thinks the world demands. The events would revolve around changing Jayden through plot and sex instead of the initial story of sex for the sake of trying to sell a book.

A Slice Of Life Technique

I’m going to snag an example from Taken By Beasts, my Halloween collection of short stories to show you what I mean by crafting your character in the moment. Remember, the first scenes establish who the character is now before we have the plot come in to change him. And sometimes, that plot is already in motion—short stories require this. And really, when you’re writing a novel, you still want to entice and hook a reader in the beginning. You want things to be in the works before the reader skips off bored.

‘Going Wild’ is a little over 12,000 words. There is no time to fill in every impactful event that happened in Neil’s life to make him the way he is when you first meet him. No, we need to follow him along, learn about him while he’s figuring shit out (maybe he’s doing a little wallowing) and the plot happens. It’s important the things you show of your character are relatable.

Remember how I talked about that rule of thumb of Blank Slate characters? I truly feel that idea was warped from a much better concept: Make Your Characters Relatable! This asks for your reader to fill the voids you leave with things they understand in their life, instead of going crazy into descriptions. It asks the characteristics you do write to engage a reader on a human level. When something happens, you need your character to have a relatable reaction. It might not be everyone’s reaction, your character is unique, but it still needs a human understanding to set it as real in the world so your reader can suspend disbelief. Relatable characters can validate any crazy, unrealistic plot. They turn superhero daydreams into blockbuster movies.

Excerpt: ‘Going Wild’ from ‘Taken By Beasts’ by Sadie Sins (Oct. 2016)

Scene One

Neil dashed to his car, the trail of his black coat swirling around his legs and threatening to trip him up. He was already running late and Dave’s house was over two hours away. If he wanted to make it to his friend’s costume party on time, he was going to have to speed to get there. Normally, being late wouldn’t have been an issue, but there had been a rumble about Dave maybe getting married soon, and an even quieter rumor that he might actually have a kid on the way. Two things Neil knew he’d be a total ass for missing the announcements of. Seeing as Dave loved Halloween and was throwing a huge bash the weekend before, Neil was certain tonight would be the night he’d be telling all his friends.

***First paragraph, what do we already know? Neil cares about his friends and will dress up for Halloween. He’s at an age in his life where his friends are getting married and having kids but they still have a youthfulness where they throw crazy Halloween parties. This is new adult leaning towards adult.

He cranked his radio, hoping to drown out the sound of his straining motor as he pulled out of his apartment parking lot. His car had been getting worse the last month but he really didn’t have the cash to get it looked at. Things had been tight ever since his break up with Kara. Not only had she left him, but also his apartment, footing him with half the rent and utilities until he could find a roommate. Things had been quiet since. Too quiet. He was really looking forward to Dave’s party if only to see all his old friends and remember what it was like to not feel so alone.

***Neil has car problems and just broke out of a serious enough relationship that it effected him financially. Again, this is aging him to be established as an adult in the world but not fully set financially. He’s lonely from the break up and his support system is far away.

He had moved out to the boonies to be with Kara. He had met her three years ago at a party, surprisingly enough, thrown by Dave. She had been the date of a guy who hadn’t lastest long enough for him to even learn the name of. No, Kara had danced her way straight into his heart in front of a bonfire while a group of guys had been drumming—really badly, at that. Neil had never thought he’d fall for a total hippie and move halfway across the state for her, but it had happened. Two months after the breakup and he was still reeling on just what the hell to do with himself.

***This guy is loyal. He will change his life for a girl he just met including leaving his home behind. He’s a puppy when in love and now he’s hurting. Kara went through a date right before meeting him but Neil thought he would last—idealistic.

He had been back home long enough to realize he really didn’t belong there anymore. The suburban town he had grown up in with their shopping malls and Starbucks and SUVs didn’t fit the way he saw the world anymore. The only problem was, neither did his lonely apartment or current job. He had no idea what he wanted out of life and even less idea where to look. Kara had been such a fixture in the world he had built the last three years and having her gone had torn out the foundation of everything he was.

***Neil is at a crossroads. Lost. He doesn’t know who he is. This is pretty common for this age. You don’t need to be at mid life to have a who the fuck am I and what the fuck am I doing with my life crisis. This is relatable humanity and it tends to hit whenever something big happens and a person feels left behind.

He caught his reflection in his rearview mirror, blinking for a moment until he remembered the crazy makeup he had put on for his costume. He had chosen to go as the Goblin King from Labyrinth in honor of David Bowie’s passing. Finding a wig that worked had been a bitch but he was pretty sure his costume was going to be a big hit. He wanted to be able to claim props for the ingenious costume and idea but it had just been another one of Kara’s couple costumes that he hadn’t been able to say no to at the time. Now he was wearing it because he couldn’t think of anything else.

Neil sighed heavily, trying to lose himself in the drive. His entire life, he’d always been a follower. It was just who he was. Some people, they’d talk about all their great ideas and the things they were doing, and he’d wonder how he could help them. He had wanted to help Kara start her new business running her dance and yoga studio. She had gotten frustrated at him, telling him he should have his own dreams. Apparently, his dreams of a big family with her had not been reciprocated. Then she had left him for a man that had built his own solar business from the ground up.

He had wished he was a different person then. It wasn’t that he was incapable of doing his own things—he could do pretty much anything he set his mind to. He was brilliant at numbers, industrious, fit, and rarely got sick. Neil should have been able to have reached any goal he set his mind to. But he never had the motivation to do things for himself. He was always looking for ways he could be useful to other people—It was the only way he felt right in his own skin and even though his friends had tried to change him, he was happy the way he was.

And now he was alone.

***Neil lacks self esteem. It’s part of him feeling like an accessory instead of a leader. He wants to find his value but he’s looking for someone else to give it to him. He assumes it’s in a relationship. This is pretty common—but let’s be honest, not necessarily an attractive main character trait. We’re used to those dashing heros who never second guess a thing. Neil is all about second guessing when he’s on his own. He’s a support character, like the majority of humanity. Neil is flawed in a normal, human way, which makes him relatable and hopefully inspires the reader to want to see him grow and have a happy ending. It’s easy to empathize with Neil.

All the friends he had made when moving in with Kara were connected to her. They had all pretty much chosen her in the breakup. He could understand it—from their point of view, he was the outsider. Even though he had done everything to be useful and pleasant. Generous to a fault; he used to think that couldn’t be possible. Now he was starting to see the faults in giving so much and not expecting anything in return.

Another deep sigh escaping him, he turned the car out onto the winding highway that would lead him first through forest and field before taking him back to his old home town. Still daylight, the drive was alight with a multitude of red, orange, and brown leaves, most on the ground while a few stragglers clung to their respective trees and quaked in the wind. He usually loved this time of year. Campfires and friends, the wild energy before winter came and put the world to sleep under a white blanket. Lately, Neil felt like those leaves, being blown around which ever way the wind chose at the time, small, fragile and without direction.

Hopefully seeing his old friends would change that. He desperately needed to be reminded of who he was before Kara had been in his life. His only fear being, he wasn’t sure if he had much liked that version of himself either.

***Human. Neil is seeking answers about himself outside of himself. He’s aware that he feels lost and like shit and is hoping by going home, he’ll find answers. But even he knows there isn’t any going back—the person he was before got him into the mess with Kara in the first place by falling for someone who didn’t appreciate his value. He needs a solution at this crossroads and he has no idea what it will look like.

Scene Two

“Shit… Mother fucking shit!” Neil resisted the urge to actually kick his car, falling back on stringing together a long line of curse words. Kara had hated when he swore. She would flinch, then say something about how he ‘needed to be positive for positive energy to come his way.’ Neil took a strange glee in thinking up and shouting five more swear words he hadn’t used since he was a teenager.

His car had just stopped. Well, not completely. It had whined when he was trying to get it to go up a mountain path, stuttered long before he even got to the crest of the steep hill, and then had made a terrible grinding noise before abruptly dying on him. And dead it was. It wouldn’t even make a noise when he turned the key, no warning ding or light to announce that the door was open. The fucking thing was dead.

***Remember how we mentioned the car in the first scene? Yeah, that was important. Small hints unveil a story. Neil here can’t even swear without thinking about how he’s breaking his ex’s rules. He’s just starting the path of being his own man and it’s seen in simple shit like swearing uselessly.

Drawing in a deep breath, Neil grabbed his cell phone from his car holder. “Fuckballs,” he muttered in disbelief. No reception. He couldn’t even call for a taxi or a tow. There was no way he’d make it to Dave’s now. He was an hour out into the middle of fucking nowhere, no one knew he was there, and he couldn’t even call for help.

***No, he cannot get a break. We are going to conflict the fuck out of this character to make him grow. Welcome to drama for the sake of plot and character development.

Making sure his emergency break was set so his car didn’t fall down the hill, Neil got out of his car and made sure all the doors were locked. He had taken this road before enough to remember that shortly after this hell of a hill there was a plateau for a long stretch and then a sharp decline with a gas station at the foot of the mountain. He couldn’t remember if they actually did repairs but he felt like he could remember there being a tow truck in the lot next to them whenever he had driven by. He glanced at his phone, swearing again when he saw the time. Nightfall was fast approaching and for all he knew, the place had already closed at 5.

It was his only plan though so he was going to stick with it. Neil had done his fair share of camping. He was hardly going to die if he had to huddle up against the side of a building until someone opened the place tomorrow morning. Decided, he set out up the last of the hill, keeping to the side of the road just in case a car came flying by. It was difficult walking, tall grass and brambles pulling at his clothes and skin, and the footing uneven at best. Still, it was safer than the middle of the road. The last thing he needed was to be hit by a car on top of his shit of a day.

***Our boy insists he’s a follower, but he’s brave, and leads his ass to doing what he needs to get done. He’s got a brain on him and when conflict knocks, he doesn’t hide in the car.

Neil huddled forward in his costumed jacket, wishing he had thought to bring a proper coat as the cold wind whipped around him. His high collared black jacket, ruffled white shirt, and black skinny jeans really weren’t designed to protect him from the elements. He didn’t want to think about what he was going to do come Monday morning. He had no money to repair his car and his boss was a very no-nonsense kind of guy. Being late was not an option. Maybe John would take pity on him? His coworker of the last three years, Neil hadn’t been able to get past simple small chat about the weather when it came to John. Still, his options were really limited and he needed to try them all before he admitted defeat.

***Three years and Neil hasn’t made any connections in his new home to even guarantee a ride into work. He depended solely on Kara and her circle of friends and never build a support system. This is not unheard of at his age—why is it so hard for people to make friends these days? Neil is on his own in so many aspects of his life and it can be relatable.

Neil had just made it to the crest of the hill when he stopped short, the lonely howl of a wolf rising up and echoing off the trees. He raised his head, truly looking around him for the first time in the growing twilight. It wasn’t something he had noticed while zipping along in his car but as the hair shivered up on the back of his neck, he found himself extremely aware of the fact that he was actually out in the wilderness, the world untouched except for the road he was following beside.

The air had an orange tint to it, the sun well on its way to setting for the evening, the forest around him looking nearly black in comparison. Life was rustling around him, or at least, the wind was making all the brush and trees move, Neil’s gaze jumping at each sound as he stared into the dark trees right next to him. He knew he was being paranoid but he felt like he was being watched. Fighting back a shiver, he forced his legs forward, going at a faster pace now that he was on level ground. He wasn’t sure how long the walk was going to take but he wanted to take advantage of the daylight for as long as it lasted.

Scene Three

By the time night had fallen fully around him, Neil was certain he was being followed. Beneath his labored breathing and the sounds of his footsteps crunching in the leaves, he could hear more than one body moving around in the dark. He was doing his best to ignore it; something primitive in the recesses of his mind warned him that when prey showed signs of being stalked, they were soon taken down. And stalked he felt, the sounds of bushes rustling far too close beside him while he kept as near to the dangerous highway as he dared. More leaves rustled behind him from different points, his ears straining as he tried to count just how many were behind him.

***Neil understands fear. He’s self aware enough to no only identify he might be followed but to not appear aware in case it alerted his hunters. Why does he keep thinking he’s a support character? That’s cool beans.

Not human—He could tell that much. Too low to the ground and full of growls and sometimes yips and whines that made him think of dogs, maybe coyotes or foxes. Wolves, probably. Given the howl he had heard earlier, he wouldn’t be surprised if they were wolves.

“You lost, boy?”

Neil stopped cold, holding his breath as he stared deep into the darkness to the right of him. He could have sworn he’d just heard a man call out to him. “Hello? Is… Is someone there?” He asked, his voice too sharp with fear.

***Some people would be so full of fear, defensive, worried whatever/whoever might be out there, it’s better to not get their attention. Neil is the trusting type to call out even though he’s scared. People don’t scare him although wolves might.

There was a crack, a stick breaking behind him. He whirled, gasping when for a moment he saw the burning eyes of a creature shining from the edge of the road, the clouded moonlight dimly illuminating bristling fur and sharp ears. It was a canine. A really big canine. Neil reached for his phone in his pocket, fumbling for a light. By the time he had it shining, there was nothing there to see.

“Ha ha, looks like we have a rocker, boys. A sexy one.”

Neil whirled, holding the light up, met only with a wall of tree trunks. He held himself still, straining to hear but the silence stretched on, broken only by the sounds of rustling leaves. Fuck, was he hearing things now?

He took a step back to where he was heading, jumping when another howl rang out, this one much closer than before. “Shit!” He yelped, clutching his chest where his heart was pounding as he looked around again. His cell illuminated something moving but it was too quick to really get a look at. It had seemed big. Big and furry.

Jesus, he was going to die out there.

***Neil feels mortal. He’s hearing things he’s certain are actually there, and he’s seeing things he’s pretty certain are real. This world hasn’t established if the paranormal are everyday. Neil isn’t in a rush to make a decision, he just wants out.

Whimpering under his breath, Neil forced his legs to move, his steps loud in his ears as he listened for signs of being followed. There were far too many, the bushes beside and behind him rustling as creatures nearly as large as him passed by.

“Aw, he’s scared,” a voice growled from behind him. Neil swallowed hard and kept walking. It didn’t sound human. He was either fucking hallucinating someone talking in the dark, or there was someone— “Come here, baby. I’ll be real sweet to you.”

Neil jolted as raucous laughter suddenly filled the air. “Real sweet, bitch!” Another voice howled, others joining in with half hoots, half yips of excitement.

He glared behind him, his hand shaking as he pointed his phone towards where he had thought the last voice had come from. He gasped, yards away a wolf staring back at him, its eyes glinting yellow even as the laughter faded from the air.

***So I love this. Because even though he’s terrified and thinks he’s going crazy, he does not like being made fun of enough he actually glares back defiantly. Neil has a backbone.

Oh, fuck… Fuck, fuck, fuck. His feet moving on their own accord, Neil backed away from the creature. The wind swept up, leaves swirling around him, his coat flapping wildly and obscuring his view.

“Whoo, look at that sweet ass! Come here, boy, I’m going to ride you!” Someone barked or yelled, the strange shout followed quickly by a howl, then another, the woods coming alive with the sounds of wolves.

All Neil could say for certain was the voice hadn’t come from the wolf he was staring at, although he couldn’t say it had come from a human, the words distorted and full of growls. Hell, he was either losing his mind or he was being hunted by a bunch of verbose, really dickish wolves. Looking behind him again, he saw two huge wolves this time, one pouncing on the other, growling and snapping at its nape. Snarling, the other twisted, wrestling the first to the leaf-strewn ground.

Fuck, he wasn’t imagining that. Neil was done wondering, done trying to figure out if he was crazy as fuck. He was ready to get the fuck away. Fear jolting through him, his hands shaking, he jumped the knee high metal barrier. Somehow he was certain if a car hit him, it would still be better than being caught in the jaws of those giant wolves. The valley was ahead. If he could just make it to the bottom, he could take shelter in the gas station where there would be at least an attendant and a phone.

As if reading his mind, the howls rang out again, clamorous, broken by barks and yips like a crazed battle cry.

***Neil is human; fear makes him either freeze, fight or flight. He is very smartly flighting.

“Mother fucker!” Neil took off, his feet slamming on the pavement as he ran as fast as his shaking limbs would allow. He hit the other side of the hill, the ground dropping down steeply in the dark. Eyes wide, he changed the angle of his feet, his arms wheeling, hands hitting the pavement while he bent sideways to keep from falling. He looked up when another strange howl rang out right next to his position, his breath hitching when he caught sight of the creature revealed in the breaking moonlight.

It had the head of a wolf, the muzzle open to reveal large fangs. But the rest—the rest was definitely human. Broad, smooth shoulders, bare torso, hard muscled thighs…

“Son of a bitch,” Neil whispered in shock the same instant his foot missed a step. He tumbled sideways, scraping his arm and cheek on the rough pavement. He flipped twice, finally catching himself, bruised and pained on the cement, his head throbbing dully. The night fell silent; he wasn’t sure because of the hit to his skull or if the wolves had left. Raising his head, he looked over to the woods, his stomach lurching when he found at least seven of the giant wolves glaring back at him, watching silently. There was no half wolf, half man—Not that it mattered. Neil knew the ones before him were definitely monstrous enough as they were.

***Again, human. Imperfect. He can fall on his ass, get hurt, not be a hero who does everything perfectly.

They weren’t moving, just staring, maybe trying to figure out if he had done all the work for them and gotten himself killed on his own. Not yet. Not if he could fucking help it. Actually—Neil scowled as he took in the panting expressions on the wolves’ faces. The fuckers looked like they were laughing at him!

***Ah, the outrage of being mortal. Love you, Neil.

Ignoring the quake to his limbs, the taste of blood, and sting of his palms, he pushed himself up back to his feet. He didn’t bother looking at the pack next to him—Either he’d run and they’d let him escape, or they’d kill him. He realized with a sinking that he was expecting the latter and really didn’t want to see it coming.

Fairly certain tripping just once more would be the death of him, Neil focused on what he could see of the black pavement coated in slippery leaves. The light of the gas station was in the distance. He was still far above it, the hill he was on inclining sharply before leveling out to reach the small refuge. God, if he could just make it there. It wasn’t too far—a football field, tops. He wasn’t dead yet.

The trail of his coat wrapped around his leg and he gasped, catching himself before he could fall again. He quickly twisted the trailing end around his arm and took sure, shaking steps sideways down the pavement, his hand held out to catch himself anytime too many leaves slipped under his shoes.

***Hyper focused on a task to block out fear. Again, human response. He’s still scared but he’s coping. Survival.

His fearful gasps loud in his ear and his eyes trained determinedly on the ground before him, it took Neil some time to realize that the noises of the wolves had not resumed. Biting his bottom lip, he dared to look back, his steps faltering again when he found the beasts still there. They hadn’t moved from their spot, staring down from the top of the hill like specters with glowing, deadly eyes.

Maybe it was too close to people or out of their territory? Neil could only hope, forcing his gaze forward and away from the strange wolves and focusing on the gas station now only twenty yards away. The ground was already flattening out, Neil’s hands shaking somehow even more as he found his sanctuary in sight. The entire building was a lit up beacon to any traveler on such a cold, dark night. As the light that illuminated the pumps reached him, Neil dared another look back to the hill. A howl rang out, then another until the entire night was filled with the joined cries. He shuddered, his mind flashing again to the voices he had heard… the wolf-headed man…

There had been men up there. Maybe crazy mountain men that thought it was funny to scare the fuck out of some broken down traveler while wearing masks. Or maybe wolf men…

Neil shook his head fiercely, stepping fully into the light of the gas station and pushing the thought from his mind. It was easy to let what he had feared in the dark slip away now in the artificial glow of humanity. Of course his mind had been playing tricks on him. That was all. He had been scared and in the dim light with the trees casting shadows and leaves all around, his brain had just pieced together the most ridiculous, terrifying of possibilities. Werewolves.

Everyone knew werewolves didn’t exist.

Looking at the small blue and white building, Neil altered his direction slightly, heading for the door where a neon ‘open’ sign glowed. There was indeed a tow truck parked in the otherwise empty lot. If his luck held out, the owner of it was inside.

***Neil explains his own rationalization. It is easy when afraid to act like it didn’t happen once you’re in an assumed place of safety. He doesn’t want werewolves to exist so he’s going to pretend it all away to be able to deal with his life. And that would totally work if this was the end of the story. Instead, we’re going to see how Neil acts when around another human being and isn’t just talking to himself.

Scene Four

The door chime that greeted him as he stepped into the gas station was surreal after what Neil had just been through.

“Hey, welcome to… Oh. My liege.”

Neil looked towards the counter cluttered with lighters and small impulse buys, confused to find a young man bowing, his arm sweeping out in a grand gesture. “Umm…”

“Goblin King, right? Labyrinth. I totally loved that movie.” The man straightened, his light brown hair teasing into his eyes as he flashed Neil an easy grin. “Total shame about Bowie.”

***Remember that costume he’s wearing? Yeah, you do now. It’s Halloween! Neil is also realizing as he fourth walls the next paragraph he’s fucked. Halloween and werewolves.

Neil had definitely walked onto some sort of horror movie set. Monster wolves outside and he was either staring at the hero or the hot model first to be devoured. The guy was hot—disturbingly, unnaturally, drooling on the floor hot. At least six-foot-five with a body that had all the right muscles without being built in a gym, the attendant was dressed simply in jeans and a tight gray t-shirt. Bristle darkened his square jaw, his amber eyes startling as he peered out from beneath sharp brows. As Neil watched, the man’s smile grew, revealing just a hint of sharp canines from between lush lips.

“Right, Bowie,” Neil said lamely, realizing he was totally staring and the man was still waiting for some sort of acknowledgment that he was alive and breathing. Fuck, he must look like a total mess. Not that it mattered—there was no way he was making the party now. No, instead he was out in the middle of nowhere, dressed like an idiot in front of the hottest guy he’d ever met.

***Now, if you didn’t read the previous stories, or the back of the book, you might not of realized until this point that this is actually a MM erotic story. I don’t usually take 4 scenes in before establishing our main character likes dick, but this was an exception because it was the last in a compilation, and I enjoy setting up scenarios before having characters go at it. Tension building.

Shit, how could he seriously give a fuck about something like that after being chased by a pack of wolves?

But Neil did, heat rising to his cheeks the longer the young man’s eyes moved none too subtly over him. He wasn’t even gay. Maybe bi—Neil had found himself looking at some guys but he had never actually acted on it. Women had been enough for him, at least, enough to not feel the need to open himself up to a world of confusion and potential social upheaval just by pursuing men. Not to mention, having to deal with rejection by an entirely new gender. No, he had enough problems.

***Aw, Neil. You just want to hug him and give that boy some self esteem. He’s just so damn human.

“I was headed to a Halloween party,” Neil finally mumbled, feeling like it was really important to mention he didn’t go around dressed like some sort of sexy goblin hottie every day.

“That’s too bad. And here I was thinking I was about to be whisked off to a land of magic and muppets,” super hot attendant teased, his eyes sparkling in a way that went straight to his dick.

Neil was pretty sure his night could not get any worse. Missing Dave’s party, the stalking by wolves, and now just having to deal with the overwhelming anxiety of having someone absolutely out of his league treat him like an interesting human being.

God, his life sucked.

***It’s tough, Neil, it’s tough. XD

“Yeah, um, well, the thing is, my car kind of broke down,” Neil said, stepping around a rack of maps to get to the counter, doing his best to not actually look the guy in the eye. He was pretty sure if he did, he’d start babbling like an imbecile. “Uh, well, it fully broke down. Dead. Might not be rising from the grave ever again,” he muttered, running his hand through his hair only to frown when he remembered he was wearing a very spiky wig straight from the 80’s.

“Hmm.” Assessing him for a silent moment, taking in the scrape on his cheek and the way his clothes were disheveled, the attendant straightened, his eyes going alert. “You didn’t happen to walk down that big hill, did you?”

Neil nodded, looking down and wiping his stinging, dirty palms on his form-fitting jeans. “More like rolled, a little bit of falling. Maybe even a flail or two…”

***Neil handles his low self esteem by joking. It belittles him while at the same time makes him feel interesting enough to overcome all his other downfalls. This couldn’t have been seen when he was on his own but now when faced with a hot guy he’s attracted to, his natural humor defense makes a showing.

His smile fading, the attendant stepped out from around the counter. “That’s a dangerous hill, especially in the dark on foot. Are you alright?”

Neil tried to dodge the hand reaching for his face but the man was faster, holding him by the side of the head while he stepped into his personal space and studied the bruise forming on his temple.

“I’m Silas, by the way.” Surprisingly gentle fingers probed the side of Neil’s face through his ridiculous wig. “And I think you’re going to survive, my goblin liege.”

His face bright red, Neil nodded weakly and mumbled out his name while stepping back. He missed when Silas leaned close, the man breathing him in silently, an intent expression on his face. Neil had made the drastic mistake of looking him in the eye and he now felt ready to crawl under a rock until his tongue eventually untied.

***As we can see, Kara must have tied Neil up to catch him because this boy cannot take charge. Maybe it’s because of Silas and he’s not great dealing with this side of his bi attraction, but you get the feeling Neil is just too adorable to handle being attracted to someone. Puppy.

“I have a tow truck parked out back.” Silas tilted his head towards the door Neil had come through. “We can go pick up your car. See if it can be raised from the dead one more time.”

The idea of claiming his property was ruined somewhat by what he was certain was still waiting for him if he dared anywhere near the top of that hill. “Uh… the thing is… there was something…” he trailed off, uncertainty filling him as he tried to filter just what exactly had happened through his fear. “Wolves,” he finally blurted, pursing his lips after.

His eyebrow raising, Silas leaned an arm on the counter behind him, taking in Neil’s nervous expression.


“Yeah.” He licked his lips nervously. “Really dickish wolves.”

Silas snorted, quickly schooling his features when Neil glared his way. “Dickish wolves?” He repeated with a note of humor in his voice.

“Yeah. Assholic, really.” Neil thought back to some of the things he had heard being growled and hollered out there in the dark among the howls, remembering the way the fuckers had been laughing at him. “Total dicks.”

Nodding his head with a look that spoke of how Silas was too polite to call someone crazy to their face—definitely hero quality—he pushed himself up again. “Let me just grab my keys and lock up, then we can get your car. Are you a long way off?”

“Uh, it was like an hour walk,” Neil said, his eyes widening. “Really, I don’t think it’s safe. There were like, seven of them at least.” Rude. Really rude, horny wolves that he just couldn’t explain, not wanting to seem absolutely insane at this point.

***Neil is starting to face what he went through because he has to go through it again—It was a weird walk of shame, huh? His fear does not overwhelm his annoyance at being wolf called while scared in the middle of nowhere. This is pretty quirky of him, and don’t you just love him for it?

His mouth quirking at the corner, Silas reached over and under the counter, Neil left to stare at the man’s perfect ass in jeans while he fished his keys free. “The thing is, Neil, there aren’t any wolves in these parts.” Silas ran a hand through his tousled locks as he straightened. “Well, none that would hurt a nice guy like you. You’ve got nothing to be afraid of—Well, except for having your car broken into because some asshole saw it abandoned on the side of the road.”

***I know I’m pointing out all of Neil’s characterizations. Silas has been giving off little hints like a motherfucker. It will continue. The audience is guessing. Neil might be a little dim.

Swallowing hard, Neil couldn’t answer. He didn’t want to go back out there but he knew he also couldn’t hide out in the small little gas station staring at sexy ass Silas for the rest of his life… Maybe he could. There was plenty of food there in the form of chips and microwaveable crap, bottles of fresh water, and even beer. He could even take up smoking to pass the time, given the cartons of the stuff. Silas seemed to think he was amusing—Or was just laughing at him.

Hey, being laughed at would still be better than being torn apart by wolves. Well, verbally torn apart.

“Total dicks,” Neil muttered under his breath, fuming every time he heard that laughter ring out in his mind.

***Aww. Pride, embarrassment, resentment, fear, and self jokes to make it all better.

“What was that?” Silas asked, fiddling with his key ring.

Neil bit his lip, glancing at the handsome man. Maybe the pack would be gone by now? There had to be better prey roaming around the forest by this point.

“Nothing. Think I could use your phone?” Neil asked, wondering if he could call Dave and let him know he wasn’t going to make it. Maybe let him know where he was just in case those wolves decided to use their teeth this time around.

Silas nearly dropped his keys, catching them before they hit the floor. “Sure, if it was working,” he said gruffly. “The wind keeps knocking it out. Too many trees out here. I keep asking them to fix it, but you know how the phone company gets.”

His heart sinking, Neil sighed. Of course. He had seen too many horror movies to expect otherwise.

“You wouldn’t happen to be a serial killer in disguise, would you?” Neil asked nonchalantly while Silas was locking the door behind them.

Glancing his way, amber eyes burning into his, Silas replied with a small smirk, “If I was, I probably shouldn’t tell you. Totally ruins the surprise, right?”

Right. Neil quickly asked where the bathroom was. If he was going to die, he wasn’t going to do it in crazy rocker hair and a coat that could have belonged to Liberace.

***Yup, Neil fourth walls all over this scene. He’s quirky like that. It really helps put you in the feel of a b horror movie.

Sooo… The next scenes are getting to know you, sex, werewolves fighting, and more sex. Don’t get me wrong, characterization happens in bounds still. Neil grows, he holds his own, he even gets into some werewolf face. It’s good stuff. But at this point, this is about the character evolving off of all the information we established him with in these first scenes. The first scenes are the most important for Neil. They build him. We’ve built Silas too, although not as thoroughly. Silas is that 2-D hero we need to ‘save’ Neil from his mundane, lost existence. His requirements are to be the puzzle piece to make Neil complete instead of a full exploration of his character. In a novel, that shit doesn’t fly, but it’s perfect for an erotic short.

Now, if you were asked to describe Neil, you might not really remember what he looks like outside of that Labyrinth costume (and if you don’t get the Bowie reference, alas, you know even less.) But you will know what he feels like. He’s the type of guy who wants to build a family with someone he loves. He wants a place where he fits. He doesn’t think well of himself but he’s starting to realize that he’s worth something even though he’s been left behind. He sure refuses to put up with jeers from asshole werewolves from the side of the road no matter how scared he is. When pushed, Neil pushes back while before he was unclaimed luggage. The more he walks on his own, the deeper he goes on this journey of self-discovery right into the den of a confident, welcoming, amber-eyed Silas and a pack of shit-talking werewolves.

This fuck fic is not a series of disconnected events, it’s a story to not only satisfy on a sexual level, but on an intellectual and spiritual level. When you write real characters, you want to see them grow. You want to see them find joy and love, and contentment just like what you want for people you care about. Conflict resolution involves that resolution at the end and that means not just for the plot, but for Neil. He needs to find who he is in all this, or at least the path that will lead him there, to make this story really shine.

Hey, thanks for taking the time to read my take on writing. <3 Love to hear what you think.

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Exhibitionism For Success

Exhibitionism For Success


Getting naked

This, my dears, is going to be an uncomfortable post. Not because of nakedness of the literal sense, but of the emotional kind. (Oh fuck, she said emotions. Run.) Why do people feel better in jobs with a name? How about the uniform? How many jobs allow you to hide in a role instead of asking you to be real, fallible, and imperfect? Guess what; self-publishing is not one of those jobs. Being an artist, in general, is about as vulnerable as someone can get.

If you’re a well-adjusted person who has never had anything twisted in your mind and psyche that makes you feel you don’t belong, that you aren’t allowed to succeed, that the world is stacked against you, this post is not for you. Congratulations, btw. I have no idea what any of that feels like. This post if for the people that struggle to find their place because they saw the signs, saw the ones that came before them and they know the world pushes back to keep them down. Even as adults who know the world can be anything they mold it into, they can’t break out of these inner messages telling them they can’t be what they want. This is for the people that fight themselves and can’t understand why they keep losing when they are trying so damn hard.

Writing can be fun, but it’s not always easy

Here’s the deal; anyone who ever said writing is easy was a cocky son of a bitch. Anyone who ever said writing erotica is easy is a fucking douchebag. Just write a lot of porn. Do this, this and this and your life will be set. Make money as a writer and have fun. Just ignore reviews—better yet, you don’t need reviews! Reviews are for novelists and professionals who write ‘proper’ stories, not you. You’re anti-establishment. People will just read your stuff and give you money, and they won’t judge you.


There’s a reason I go into the actual art of writing erotica. One, because I couldn’t find anyone talking about it and I wanted to. Two, the few who did were really vague; write in genres, or write the kinks people want, write better, or god help me, gloss over sex so the reader can use their imagination. Hello, sex is glossed over everywhere; the whole point of erotica is to get down to the dirty fun. But isn’t that an easy answer to someone who goes ‘I want to make a buttload of money writing sex, but sex makes me uncomfortable.’ Hmm… just don’t write sex? Ugh. You know what else these books don’t talk about? How fucking soul-crushingly painful it can be to do this job.

I’m not even talking about the bad reviews, or the freakouts from the unaware who foolishly didn’t read your warnings, or the book banning, or the fact you didn’t make a million bucks your first book (or tenth, or hundredth). To write erotica, you need to get naked. You need to put all the weird shit in your head in a book. You need to share with the world that you have desires that are unfulfilled in the real world and channel them into stories of epic exaggeration. You need to have an answer ready when someone asks you how you spend your days since you don’t have a ‘real’ job. You need to get the fuck over every goddamn insecurity you have all the fucking time.

It’s okay to like Twilight. There, I said it.

I haven’t read the Twilight series or seen the movies but I remember this one controversial thing that was brought up a few times among my circle of friends and really stuck with me. One of the male actors stated it felt like he was living in a young girl’s unrealistic sexual fantasy. There was a level of disgust and cruelty in that statement whenever I heard it referenced. Something that made an actor millions and brought him into fame, he chose to distance from and shun on a level while millions of women and men loved those movies. This didn’t stop Twilight from being huge, it didn’t stop him from being in it–it didn’t have any effect but to sour some shit and give fire to people to point and go I’m allowed not to like this because the cast doesn’t either. I’m allowed!

You know what that statement could have easily done and I have no connection or communication with the author of Twilight to ask or confirm? Send her into a shame spiral that might keep her from creating again. Because someone who was a part of that movie shamed her creation and her because they felt the need to judge her reasons for writing. Twilight is the representation of a young women’s sexual fantasy and who the fuck is anyone to say that doesn’t have a right to exist and be popular even if it’s not your cup of tea?

Writer’s block isn’t in the hands, it’s in the brain

I have never experienced a writer’s block that focused on a physical limitation. To illustrate, when I started writing I was living in a moldy apartment and suffered from arms that became too heavy to lift. My fingers were so weak I couldn’t hold knitting needles (yeah, I knit. Suck it.) I spent most days in bed—not having marathons of sex—and my brain was so fucked up from the inflammation, I could literally lose and not find my train of thought for ridiculous spans of time. I slept a lot. I also did a ton of writing during this time. Not watching TV, not reading books. Nope, I wrote. When I look back, it’s because I was motivated by death. Mortality really puts into perspective all the stupid shit that doesn’t mean anything.

Getting healthy suddenly added in levels of my psyche I was allowed to ignore when I was going ‘it doesn’t matter what I write or what people think, I’m sick and probably going to be dead.’ Suddenly, I cared. (Quick note; don’t do this. Don’t care. It sucks.) I decided I was going to be a legit writer and make money off this shit and I needed to join the ranks of promoters, marketers, and business-oriented authors and put my smutty books next to theirs and say ‘hey, buy my stuff too. It has value. Even though it’s full of incest and shifter dog dick.’

You’ll notice a lot of how to write erotica books don’t go into promoting your books. The above is why. Because dear fuck. There is Hollywood naked where they airbrush and photoshop the fuck out of you after that spray tan and vaseline covered camera lens, and then there is real naked. Raw, cellulite, hair, bruises, weird moles, scents, moisture, and jiggly bits. Welcome to my fucking world of what the hell am I doing with my life.

Shame for daring to try

I bring up the shame-based culture I live in a lot because it comes up all the time in my work. I exploit it for my darker stuff; shame can make sex poignant and memorable… if the characters don’t commit suicide first because they hate themselves. The real world is not a novel. We don’t solve our problems with a fuck scene. Although BDSM does try, and I appreciate their every attempt.

Shame of judgment is the biggest fear of being vulnerable. It’s such a human emotion. Animals don’t walk around wondering if they’re fat or if their fur pattern is ‘right.’ Do you know how alarming it is to see a dog experience shame? The level of empathetic intelligence I saw when a person yelled at a dog that pissed in the house made me want to cry for that animal. Shame is unique, and humans have this amazing ability to put shame on others. It never raises a being up, only pulls them inward into a spiral of self-hate and frozen fear. The more we strip our protective layers away—something needed when you put yourself out there to write and share—the more likely you’re going to come across this really shitty emotion and freeze.

For whatever reason, people feel shame. It can be as simple as being embarrassed because there’s a stain on your shirt and you’re worried people will think you’re a slob, to saying the wrong word and wondering if people will think you’re an idiot. Maybe you really want to have a job with a uniform because you spent your life being told those jobs have real value. Maybe your parents think making art is a waste. Maybe you do too but you can’t stop from wanting to. Maybe someone hates the stuff you write and feels the need to be vocal all the fucking time. Maybe you’re told you’re stupid for even trying. I know so many people that define their self-worth by their intelligence and they are a fucking mess because of it. Gold stars fuck people up. Achievement based culture is dangerous to the soul.

This is the main reason why ‘smart’ books don’t sell mass market, btw. It doesn’t matter how much you love yourself and your elaborate vocabulary when the person who picks up your book automatically feels shame and self-hate because they don’t understand the words you’re using. For that reader, you just attacked them and made them feel stupid (without knowing they exist.) It’s not your fault; the achievement based school system made them feel to not achieve intellectually was to be a bad person innately. Their parents maybe went through the same shit and probably sent a message that smart people are condescending assholes. And really, this person knows what they like and they don’t want to have to learn a new language to read it.

Why readers hurt writers

Don’t think they’ll be nice about it after their self esteem took a hit. Some readers will attack back with defensive reviews. Others shame books that seem ‘dumb’ to their level because how dare they exist and be popular when they feel ostracized for their high level of intelligence? Those reviews tend to have a push back from the lovers of those books who don’t want to feel judged for liking what they like. Cuz why the fuck should you be judged for liking a book? The most frustrating reviews? You realize the reader isn’t even talking about your book, they’re talking about the book they wanted to read. The one they didn’t write but they are really fucking angry you didn’t write either. It was SUPPOSED to be this way and what a bitch you are for not writing to their standards. It’s the only way to write so you better get with their level of giving a fuck.

People don’t want to be judged and in their quest to rise above it, many judge the fuck out of everyone else. Welcome to humanity.

It’s the playground. You either choose to try and fit in and jump through the stupid hoops the popular kids set up, or you walk away and do your own thing while wondering if you’re going to be hassled. As an adult, it’s harder to walk away because it comes down to cash. The popular tropes make money you need to conform to, and the outcasts have to have ‘hobbies,’ not legitimate jobs. I read a how to write erotica and make money article by someone who claimed to have made six figures, and they managed to not make it sound like they worked their ass off writing and facing their fears but that they knew how to work the system. You know, like what they did wasn’t really legit but a subculture of writing. Just throw magical words out there that hit the right kink and you win the lottery. Even the people thriving don’t seem to understand the value of their work to the people that read it. They don’t want to get into it cuz then they’re getting into why they really write this stuff. Naked.

Being naked sucks

To be clear, I do not write erotica to make money. That’s just the goal for what I’m doing along the way. I write this stuff because I love it. Every story. No matter how sick or depraved or immoral or sweet or sappy or weird. I love what I write. There is no other opinion out there in this world that will ever compel me to do what I do the way that love for what I do does. And in the same breath, there is only one person that can keep me from doing this gig. The stupid fucker writing this blog post. Being naked sucks.

As someone who grew up and still struggles with PTSD, I know all about ignoring emotions. Dissociation is a wonderful coping tool that can lead you to a blade if you don’t deal with your shit eventually. And damn, I have watched many an adult die never facing their shit. It can be done. Writer’s block comes from the unresolved shit inside you. It’s the parts of you ashamed about what you’re doing, or afraid to be judged, or just can’t cope with a new identity as someone who writes. Reality has nothing to do with the things that freeze you from going after your dream. Everything can feel like death to face those inner fears. This is not easy.

There is never a legitimate excuse for not doing the things you love. People spend hours in front of the television. They make it to work usually doing shit they hate. They manage not to starve to death or have their bladders explode every day. There is no excuse to not get to your writing unless you’re dealing with some internal, emotional bullshit. It’s easier to run from it when you start out. Practice. No one judges you the first time cuz you don’t judge yourself. But the wall always comes up and it isn’t your friends, family, or the strangers on the street. It’s you holding you back. All that nakedness you can’t face. All you.

You can’t be vulnerable with a bunch of people on the Internet and then refuse to be vulnerable with yourself. Or more, you can, but that’s where this shit gets more broken. It’s dangerous to put your self-worth in other people’s hands. Depending on how you feel about yourself and how critical you are, it can be dangerous to not realize self-worth comes from you and you’re crushing what little you have. It’s your job to feed your self-esteem. If it’s bad, you got to get on that shit. If you don’t like what you look like naked and can’t change how you look, you need to learn to like what is there.

Feeling ugly is pretty fucking common no matter how you look

This is not easy shit. People seem to have perfected how to destroy themselves while creating beautiful things at the same time. Your fear, shame, and pain are not unique. We can all feel this way at some point. When you pursue a living where you strip for an audience and put your thoughts, emotions and sexual desires out there which are not considered ‘the norm’ (even if they are ‘the norm’) you are damn likely to feel this way more than others. It’s a process. Knowing it needs to happen and that you will grow stronger is the way you get through it. At your pace, because there is no instruction manual. There is no one size fits all to being a writer on the edge of acceptable culture.

This is a real problem for artists—and not just the ones that delve into sexual fantasies. Anyone that delves inside themselves to create something outside of them opens up for the possibility of being judged, ridiculed, questioned, shamed and shunned. This is reality and the brighter you shine, the more likely those disenchanted and bitter masses want to tear you down to feel better about how they are stuck. Name one popular thing or person out there that doesn’t have a list of people who tear them apart whenever they can. I can’t. Part of being seen is understanding that people will come at you and put their personal shit into the words they say to hurt you. You are you but you might represent something else to a total stranger and there is little you can do but prepare.

Do you know how many people don’t share their practice, only the final results? They don’t want to be burned by showing it didn’t start perfect. It’s why I spent years posting every sketch, every crappy attempt when I was growing as an artist. Even then I forced myself to recognize my growth instead of focusing on my feelings of fail. We can’t see growth if we’re ashamed we haven’t reached our goals.

When I used to sing, there was never a wall or computer screen; it was literally being face to face with people who were going to decide if my ability was worth their time and ears. Naked. And when I sing alone in the car, I still hesitate when I pull up next to another car. I think I sing okay but what will they think? Naked in the car. We do this to ourselves. One little thought can crush our self-esteem!

Your self-esteem is your personal responsibility

Knowing vulnerability is going to come up and preparing for it (as in, learning to love yourself no matter what the fuck anyone says) is part of a creator’s job. I’m sorry no one ever told you when they said being an artist was a quick way to make cash. And the ones who say being an artist isn’t a real job? They don’t fucking even know the work it requires. Nothing demands this of you the same way. Maybe if you went out to save people by being a therapist, you would need to face this internal stuff. Maybe leaders of countries or amazing parents that want to really not fuck it all up go through this. When it is your job, your livelihood, and everything is riding on it from money to artistic integrity, you are taking on yourself and every insecurity you have. It is not easy but the rewards of who you can become and how you see yourself can be worth this journey.

This is the shit you need to walk this path. Bravery. A willingness to be naked and let the world beat the crap out of you. Knowing your strength comes from within. Forgiving yourself for not being perfect. Falling on your ass and taking a photo of it to share. Letting yourself fail and then get back up and try again.

Margaret Cho is a naked goddess

So back in the day I caught this amazing stand-up of Margaret Cho who went into this whole bit of how she ended up crapping her pants in her car. No one would have ever known she was sitting in her own shit mortified. Then she embraced it, called her friend to tell the crazy story, and then tells a fucking audience where she later broadcasts on television. She made laughs and cash out of one of the most embarrassing moments of her life.

I’m not saying you need to embarrass the life out of yourself or defecate your pants to be an artist. But you do need to embrace your imperfections and get over being human. And no, it is not easy, and I won’t bullshit you, and you might think you got it all figured out only to one day face this all over again because you want to run and hide.

The lucky people get over shit right away. The well-adjusted. I am not one of them, and I know there are plenty out there who are the same. It’s work. And it’s okay. You are a work in progress. I am a work in progress. I may never be the writer I dream of being, but I will never question if I’m a writer. Every step I share—even the shitty ones—prove to me and the world that I am on this journey. If I didn’t do it from the beginning with those years of making (let’s be honest) bad art, or questionable fanfics, or humming in my car, I don’t know if I’d be able to do what I’m doing now. You can’t expect it to happen overnight. But take each step for what it is, honor it and your horribly uncomfortable emotions, and know that you will be ready to take another step soon enough.

Level Up

You will level up! It happens. You might not grow a foot or sparkle with inspirational gaming music, but we reach taller and gain goals when we push hard enough. Even if you feel like most days are scrambling just to get out of the pit. We grow.

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Book Banning Is Discrimination

Book Banning Is Discrimination


No one ever told me writing would result in a constant struggle with society. No one ever said sex isn’t protected under freedom of speech. It’s convenient for a company to have a ‘policy.’ The rules. This type of writing is okay while this type doesn’t belong. We don’t make the rules; we just enforce them. Banning books is discrimination. It is an attack on free speech, and it discriminates against not only the authors but the readers of those books that are told their topic of interest is not welcome.

I am a bisexual woman, and I have been discriminated against a hundred times more for the words I write than the people I fuck. Every book feels like I’m slamming on an invisible door, shouting I have a right to exist. I write dark fantasies. I am willing to admit that dark fantasies exist in every human being and I write about them. I know the dangers of denying the aspects people keep in the shadows. Many of my stories go into what shame is and how it holds people back. Shame begets shame. It never makes someone feel better. Freedom from shame is the only way to learn to love yourself as you are. Human, not divine.

I was raised in a shame-based culture. Most of that shame came from an institution I endured every Sunday. It’s where my parents learned shame, and I was indoctrinated into the soul crippling, self-hating world of religion. God loves us all just so long as you are weak, hate your body, and are obedient. The freedom of religion to practice in America is protected under our laws. They allow religion to write incredible fantasies of people dying and coming back to life, of magical acts and winged men and demons. These laws allow religion to tell children their bodies are unclean, women are born inferior, and sex is wrong unless it’s for reproduction.

Look in any bookstore; the bible isn’t in the fiction section. It’s not hidden away although it inarguably has harmed more people than I can even imagine by the shame it places on everyday functions, never mind the wars it has been the center of. You know what you’ll be hard pressed to find in a bookstore? Books about sexual fantasies.

They have to hide under romance. The promise of love makes sex okay. You can find some very dark sex in crime and horror. Apparently, murder or just the genre can legitimize the act of sex. It has to be an addition, not a selling point. Sex sells, but it’s not allowed if you’re blatant. No, then that book is wrong. The ideas are wrong. The people that want to read it are wrong, and so are the authors. No, that book needs to be removed so that no one else will know that something so wrong existed in so many. Let them feel ashamed for not knowing that there were others like them, that their fantasy is normal, that every fantasy is normal and healthy. Let them hate themselves, hurt themselves, conform to be something they were never meant to be. Let them be straight and shining and soldiers of God until they slit their wrists to finally be free.

I laugh that I was named after an angel. The only angel that could have been a woman; Gabriel transcended genders. There is no fucking escaping religion for me. I worked in a church for ten years, sang in a choir, was a cantor, and once fully believed in God because I knew the absolute fear of death at the age of seven and I didn’t want to die. I hated my body because my religion told me god didn’t talk to girls, that girls had to obey and be weak and never question. I didn’t know that even as I broke free of that brainwashing through bitter, bitter years to get to the other side, I would still be fighting it in my society as an adult.

I am not fighting morality or ethics or laws when my books are banned. I am fighting an overreaching religion that wants people to hate themselves and their bodies and their minds so that they will conform. People are easier to control when they hate themselves. They’re easier to break. And what better way to break someone than to tell them that their creator god is disgusted by their natural sexual urges?

What gets a sex book banned in a supposedly enlightened society?

Better yet, why are certain dark themes prevalent in gay fantasy? I was first introduced to dubcon, bestiality, incest, BDSM, noncon, and shota all in the mm genre. Why do these themes exist and why are people—those normal, healthy, godfearing people—so confused about the right of these topics to exist in fantasy? Why can you write a serial killer that murders hundreds in gruesome ways but can’t write about a kinky sexual encounter without fear of being banned?

Most topics in sexual fantasies are metaphors even if the reader and many authors are unaware. The same way dreams share certain themes, so too do sex fantasies. Familiar archetypes are used to get deep into the psyche of a reader. Incest is coming of age, learning to love self through the closest individual you grew up with. Dubcon/noncon and straight to gay are coming of age about learning to love self through a sexual experience one is too afraid to embark on without a guiding hand. BDSM is about giving up control to learn to accept self and sexual urges. Shota is coming of age to accept sexual desire. Bestiality is coming of age to accept what society would label as ‘abnormal’ desires. Slavery—BDSM without consent—again, being forced to accept sexual urges. All degradation is about being forced to accept what society labels as ‘abnormal’ (normal sexual urges) while still having society look at you as abnormal and feeling that shame; it’s facing the thing that tries to oppress you. All of these topics are about the battle against society to have sexual freedom. The irony being, that these are the topics banned from society.

I’ve been reading and writing about sex for a while now. When I decided to do it for a living, I looked into what people responded to, why these topics were so popular. I wanted to make stories speak to the truth in every kink so that even if I wasn’t fully familiar with it, I could give the reader what they were looking for. Abduction, control, the stealing of control, degradation; every ‘dark’ topic, every kink is a battle against social norms and self. What better place to find acceptance than in LGBTQ fiction? LGBTQs can explain how we are born this way and that still, we fight against a society that tells us that we’re abnormal, the minority, not fully included. For the many, those demented ideas from society we unwittingly took into ourselves and used to self-hate. Look at the LGBTQ section of a bookstore and realize that every other book in that store is about straight people and their lives, hopes, dreams, and fantasies. LGBTQ is condensed into a section instead of accepted as part of the norm. Together but not equal.

Shame makes for bad policies. It allows a group to discriminate while claiming protection or decency. It closes eyes and hearts because people are too uncomfortable with their own wiring to look closely. They make a rule, a wall, and refuse to deal with it.

Shame makes for bad actions. That gay nightclub shooting in Florida was a man fighting against his own natural sexual urges. His religion, his personal society, told him that being gay was wrong, and although he fought, he could not win the battle deep in his psyche. It resulted in death, chaos, pain and fear. Human beings are not meant to hate themselves. Shame is a learned idea, one that causes pain in that individual and then spreads pain as they grow. I write stories that explore shame and then relieve it because on a base level that is what many are looking for in a sexual fantasy. Shame has become so indoctrinated with our sexual urges that the fantasies that free us must go through the exploration of that shame first.

Unfortunately, people that are full of shame can’t see that. They’re too busy seeing the act or feeling the emotions that make them hate their bodies for not responding in a ‘divine’ or ‘moral’ way. They don’t want other people to feel so much hatred towards themselves; but they don’t realize it’s not the text that made them feel that way, but the cruel, unaccepting society they grew up in. They repeat what was inflicted on them. They oppress, suppress, hide away, and pretend that those things that made them uncomfortable don’t exist. Because of this, the people that suffer, that are looking to be free from shame, have to do so in the shadows while being told, once again, that they’re wrong, inappropriate, abnormal because those ideas aren’t accepted here.

Every time one of my books is banned, I not only feel the blow personally for being told that I wrote something that even freedom of speech cannot protect but I feel the blow for my readers. They are told that the story they enjoyed was wrong and that they are wrong and not accepted in whatever community removed that book. They are being forced into the dark over fiction, over natural urges, over the fact that they dared not to hate themselves while others still do. Every time my books are banned I face the question of should I be financially supporting an institution that discriminates against my readers and me? If I walk away, am I giving that institution exactly what they want by pretending that the topics I write don’t exist and aren’t popular, healthy and normal?

Every book I put out into the world becomes more than just a book but a push for civil liberty because of these sweeping, discriminatory policies. It is exhausting.

Banning books is discrimination. Banning books about sex is sexual discrimination. Going into a genre and deciding that one sexual act is okay and another isn’t is discrimination. You can talk all about morality, about ethics and the need to protect those from dangerous or uncomfortable ideas but what it boils down to is that someone made a rule that allows to discriminate against one type of writing. They made a policy that discriminates against a group of people. With that policy, they try to shame people into leaving or conforming instead of accepting those individuals for who they are. They take livelihoods away and hurt self-esteem. It is discrimination and goes against freedom of speech.

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Newsletters That Sell

Newsletters That Sell


I’ve been getting some feedback the last month, stuff I hadn’t focused in on too much because I was so busy with the Demon Arms edit. But a fair amount of readers took the time to respond to my newsletters, for varying reasons. And many of them also felt the need to thank me for writing interesting newsletters in those responses. No other author newsletter addresses them the same way. They enjoy hearing about my life, or my rants XD and getting the free and discounted books and learning about the other writers in the mm world.

It’s pretty intense when I think about it, and it got my mind going. One, I’m glad I’m doing something right that people would take the time to thank me. Seriously, wow. Two, what the hell is going on in these other newsletters?

I’ve been busy, I have, and I isolate myself from all the digital bombardment to get stuff done. So I went into my emails because I’m on a lot of author newsletter lists (Instafreebie *__* The struggle is real.) The first one—very first newsletter I opened—was a call to Kindle users to preorder their newest book. That’s it. Picture of book, blurb, preorder here. Wham, bam, thank you, mam, but without the thank you. It was like someone threw an advertisement into my inbox. To be clear, this is the entire reason I’m writing this blog post, because holy fuck, I was offended. Offended for me as a reader, and offended for all the readers out there that have to put up with this likely well-intentioned but poorly executed newsletter.

The purpose of a Newsletter

Let’s get into this. What is the purpose of a newsletter? Now if you’re an author, your immediate reaction might be ‘to sell my books, so I don’t starve.’ I get that, I do, but I want you to look at a newsletter from a reader’s point of view. Why do you, as a reader, open up an email from an author you enjoy enough to follow? What do you want to get out of that experience? You probably want to know about their upcoming book—it is nice to know that there will be a creative escape coming up soon. What else? Do you want to know a little bit about your author friend? Maybe it’s not all about just that author? Maybe it’s about the fact that you like the genre you’re reading, and you want to know what’s happening. In my case, in MM in general. Maybe you want to be cheered up from a shitty day and here’s this familiar writer that has a chance to connect with you.

I don’t know how to break it to you, my author friends, but that newsletter is not for you. It is for your readers. And not just all your readers as a whole, it is for every single individual that clicks on your email and turns their eyes on your words. You are dealing with living, breathing, thinking human beings and it is your job to engage them. That is what being a writer in general is.

Language is about communication. There are two parts; the quest to express in a way that embraces the essence of yourself and thoughts, and the need for another human being to read and understand your words and be moved by it. You cannot just have the first half and assume you’re at the top of your game. If you are not engaging another soul and ensuring they respond, you are failing as a writer. And damn, the newsletter is the perfect place to see this all go down.

A sampling of newsletters

I’m going to summarize and share my reactions to the next five newsletters chosen at random in my inbox.

1) Uses my name in the greeting—I personally hate this because I know it’s just a robot, but I understand the mentality of it to try and engage the reader. I see this too many times with mass produced store emails, so it’s hard to view it differently. It feels forced and fake to me. The soul focus is on the book with language that tries to engage. They use ‘you’ like they’re talking to me—but again, it feels really targeted. They’re trying instead of relaxed, and I can tell. This particular newsletter is featuring someone else’s book, not the author’s, and it’s in the genre I enjoy. I feel a little sold—this newsletter is a total salespitch—but they’re pitching someone else’s book so I automatically feel like the author cares about their author friend and is sharing something with me, so I’m more open to look.

2) This one has a cute title and starts with the author talking to me like we’re having a conversation. I immediately know that a real person is talking to me and I feel like they realize that I’m a real person in return. And as they talk to me, they tell me about their book for sale and preorder. This is a very focused newsletter—the author is all about writing and the books for sale. They offer a few freebies at the bottom from the author’s works and lists what looks like every book they’ve ever written at the bottom. This is very focused on the author of this newsletter. Yes, they are kinda engaging, but they only seem to have one thing on their mind—buy my books.

3) Next one is a genre based newsletter focused on mm. Get a casual greeting, a little update about the author, and then a shit ton of book deals. It took me a moment to remember who this personality was from the small greeting (had to scroll to the bottom) but when I did, I had a smile cus I like this person, and when I have the time, I totally love a free or cheap book. Straight and to the point. I enjoyed the deals, and felt like a human being was talking to me like I am a human being.

4) Oh, baby, so this one I love, but there is a specific reason. This newsletter offered me information that concerns my job and how to do it better. This is an author reaching out to other authors to help them with a very common problem. Not only do they admit their personal difficulties with this problem (which humanizes them) but then offers to help me. For free. No call to buy a book, no call to buy anything, no need to even go to their website where I might be bombarded with sales pitches. I was just given free information, and I’m smiling.

5) Last one. This is an author I immediately recognize by name and enjoy, so I’m looking forward to an update. They start out telling me about what’s going on in their life (I’m so jealous; they seem to be having fun. XD) And then they want to give me free books in the mm genre and show me where I can snag some cheap reads. At the bottom, they tell me where I can find their books and their bestsellers. I’m not offended by it—this author has treated me like a person, talked to me like we’re in a conversation, and has a generosity that I appreciate. But I’m also not in a rush to read through their stuff atm. If I wanted to, I would have just searched them on Amazon.

What should a good Newsletter do?


Engage your readers. That’s the point of a newsletter. It’s also the point of writing a book. There is no other point to a newsletter but this, and when you understand that, you will start getting a response. Engage your reader. How do you engage your readers? Given my own personal responses to the above, I have a few ideas.

Have a genuine voice

When someone speaks naturally, they not only reveal that they are human, but they see the person they’re speaking to as human. And yes, you are talking to humans. Talk like you’re talking to a friend—because you are! The person reading your newsletter took time out of their busy life to read your words. They are taking the time to ‘listen.’ Do you know how freaking huge that is? Appreciate it and talk to that person like you’re talking to an actual person. (Have you noticed how I’m talking to you, the reader right now? Like you’re a human being that I expect to be following along? Yeah, just fourth walled for this post. Hardcore.)

Give it away

Give them something. Be it information, gossip, sneak peeks, free books, deals, or an invitation into your world. Give that shit away. Someone opened your email. There better be something in it.

No strings

Give something away without strings. Yeah, there is a caveat to the above. When you give something away, make sure you’re not guilting the fuck out of your readers. They are not reading your newsletter to feel bad about not buying your shit. They are not there to feel ‘required’ to comment, review, share, read, etc. They are there because they want to be there and they don’t want to be manipulated. Your readers are not idiots, and they know when they’re being sold, and they know when someone is putting pressure on them. Don’t be a douchebag salesman.


It’s okay to ask. Just to add to the no strings thing; it’s okay to ask of your readers. It never hurts to ask. But no guilt, no requirements, no pressure. You are there to open their eyes to the world you live and work in. You can invite them to look around, meet authors and books—your readers will love that. It’s an experience. They might love the chance to give you a review or share your stuff because they want to help you or new authors. Some are desperate to give something back because they might feel guilty that you keep giving them so much free stuff (sorry, babes.) But you want their actions to come from a place of honesty, not guilt. You’re dealing with human beings. Do you want to feel pressured and guilty every time you open an email? I sure don’t.

Entertain aka Share

You are inviting your reader into your world. You’re giving them a view of life through your eyes. So do it. Tell them about your life, or something you stumbled across that made you laugh, cry, stand up and go Oh my fuck! Whatever. I’m not a particularly entertaining person (that I’m aware of,) but I do love to share. There are comedians out there, charismatic, brilliant people I am never going to be. I pretty much just ramble about my life because that’s my thing. I rant, rave, gossip with the sole purpose of reaching out and hoping to get a human reaction back. I share because I am seeking connection. Because of it, I have brought up controversial topics. Anyone in ‘business’ will tell you what a bad thing that is, that it might alienate your readers to bring up politics or your failing health, or the dark things happening in the world. It’s your call.

Just remember, when you hold back, you are holding back who you are. You are placing a wall up that says your readers can see only this much of you. Boundaries are good, they’re important, but be aware where yours are, why they’re there, and how they affect your ability to communicate. I write some pretty intense stories. I’m not even talking about the erotica. Demon Arms goes into very raw, difficult feelings of what I experienced in foster care; abandonment issues, self-hate, fear of connection, trauma. My ability to share these difficult emotions—and believe me, I fight with my vulnerability no matter how many times I share these things—allows for a more engaging, real story. My readers can feel things they might have never felt. Or, more likely, they get to experience familiar feelings in a totally different context and explore those emotions safely. Books are great like that; they’re a safe place to learn about yourself and the world and not be judged.

Do you know how relieving it is to know other people feel the same shit you feel? That they get scared, inspired, angry, embarrassed, anxious, horny, joyful just like you do? That they face adversity in their daily lives and want to know that others face it and make it through? Those very uncomfortable things in life are real. They are far more real than a stiff sales pitch. So if you have an engagement problem, this is a good place to look. Do readers email you back and tell you about their lives, about their problems or joys? Mine do, and it is fucking amazing to have met so many people just by sharing my writing. It is a gift every time I get an email reaching out to me, and I genuinely feel like an ass when I don’t get to them in a timely fashion. Someone shared a bit of themself with me, and they deserve to know how fucking amazing that is. It is to be cherished.

Are you afraid to connect? Are you afraid that if people truly see you, they won’t like what’s there? If this sounds like you, it’s going to make it very hard to engage with your reading base. To be clear, I still feel all this terrible shit. Every book. I share deep, personal things in characters that I’m sure can be picked up by my readers because I don’t hold back. I’m terrified about Sorcerer Slayer and keep hitting writer’s block because of some of the fucking shit I’m digging up. I almost had a damn breakdown releasing the edited version of Demon Arms because going through that book reminded me of every fucking thing I put in there of myself that made me feel small and worthless and not wanting to be judged. But at the end of the day, I push through because communication is not one sided. I expressed all of that stuff so that it could be understood by another person. To not go that next step would be to fail myself and anyone that needs to know they’re not alone in the world.

I know the struggle, and we are all different about how much we can handle. It’s up to you if you want to let it hold you back from sharing and connecting.

Stop selling your books

I see a lot of newsletters that are very on point, aka, they are all about the sales pitch. Sometimes it’s the sales pitch that doesn’t look like a sales pitch. I get it—there is a lot of information out there that tells authors that you need to sell your books while looking like you’re not actually selling your books. My response to that is just stop selling your fucking books! Stop. Step into your newsletter and realize you are having a conversation with another person and they don’t want to be sold; they want to be informed and entertained. They are there by choice. They sat down in front of their computer or phone and opened your email because they want to. They know you write—we all fucking know. It’s not something you need to sell them. They’re going to buy your book if they’re in the mood and can afford it just so long as they know it’s there.

So what the hell are the two of you there for if not a sale? Connecting. People interact to connect. Yeah, very simple. If in that connection you can offer them a piece of work you created that helps them have a new experience, lighten their day, fall in love, or get them off, awesome. But you are offering them an experience, not selling a book. And if you’re not offering an experience, you need to rethink why you’re writing.

It goes back to that communication thing. You just spent days, possibly months creating a piece of work that reflects emotions, experiences, and ingenuity that you did your best to express as genuinely as possible. You are trying to communicate with your art. You don’t communicate your art by selling it, you communicate it by having it be experienced. Those that enjoy the experience come back for more. They understand that to do what you do, you need to make a living and when they can provide, they will. Not because they feel they owe you but because they want to thank you for those experiences. They want to thank you for taking the time to address them as a human being, for being vulnerable and open and real and doing the same thing we all try to do every day. Reach out. Your newsletter allows you to engage with every reader that might come your way. It is a gift and readers can tell when you treat it as such. (even if you might rant about some bullshit at times >_> )

I seriously hope this helps people. A healthy newsletter is the lifeblood of a self-published author. It’s how we make a living. And still, I’m telling you straight; it’s not where you sell your book. Any questions, shoot them down below and I’ll get to them when I can.

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What It Really Takes To Self-Publish

What It Really Takes To Self-Publish


So you want to self-publish

I’m going to assume you can write a story. Maybe you had an experience where you read a story, was so disappointed with the execution and thought, ha! I could so do that better. Then you sat your ass down, and you did. It’s awesome, it’s better than anything else out there, and you deserve millions. Now what? Just what does it take to self-publish a book and make a living from it?

Here’s a rundown of all the things I do to self-publish. When looking at this list, remember this is all on me. Being self-published means you’re doing all the work—wearing all the different hats. Sometimes you’re going to purchase one of these services from another person in a hat that does it better. But if you’re low on funds, or want the challenge, you’re doing it yourself.

So what old school reference are we talking about when I bring up hats? Too old for me to know. Totally. >_> But here are the jobs you can expect to do if you want to self-publish successfully.

Researcher: This is something you’re going to be constantly doing. Even when you know it all, you’ll return to this hat because things change and you need to stay with the trends. It involves reading and asking questions from people that know more than you. Taking classes, courses, and observing what works so you can replicate it. Reading this article is researching.

Writer: Author of books. Rinse, repeat indefinitely.

Editor: Fixer of books. Eyes may bleed.

Formatter: From text to ebook. Html might be involved. From text to print book, again html, templates, etc.

Marketer: Packages books into a polished product that’s prime for sales. Coming up with catchy blurbs and quick one-liners that draw a reader in. Having an eye for what works and brutally cutting what doesn’t. Creating a brand, not just a bunch of books.

Manager: Makes sure you’re organized and all the things that need to get done get done on time without fuckups. The writer of schedules, guider of energy and snapper of whips. Rewarder of lollipops. <3

Artist: Book cover artist, website designer, banner and advertising designer. This is practical art and mostly involves graphic design than anything else. It involves an eye for trends and an understanding of how book marketing requires certain visual cues depending on the genre.

Promoter: Selling your product and you. Putting your books out there in front of people. Creating newsletters and sending them out. Seeking out other authors in your genre to cross-promote. Coming up with deals, looking for the next big thing and jumping a ride on the train (trains are these things that used to exist… Nevermind.) Advertising. Going to local book stores. Getting ARCs and reviews. Utilizing social media, giveaways, and any new shit you can to get your name heard. Blogger and tweeter of interesting things.

Networker: Communicating with other people in hats, usually of the creative and promoting kind. There is information to be had, support to give and gain, and it’s nice to know you’re not the only one working your ass off trying to whore your creative babies out in the big world.

Accountant: Money in, money out, taxes, financial goals, advertising bills, minor freakouts, etc.

Public Figure: Yeah, this too. Answerer of emails, talker of your books, blogger of realness but not too real, because hearing about the ear infection you had full of puss doesn’t really draw the people in. Being personable and thick skinned and not having anyone to hide behind because this is part of your job. Being seen.

Website Manager: Running that website you need to have for your readers to find your books. Html, coding, bandwith, SEO, ping and trackbacks, etc.

Mailing List Manager: Pretty self-explanatory but should be listed as its own thing. Why? Because a mailing list is the most important tool you’re ever going to have as an author. It’s more important than all those books you haven’t written yet.

That must seem like a lot of work. I do it every day. I started self-publishing November, 2015 and I’ve written and self-published 38 books already. Did you know I’m disabled? Did you know I was bed bound through most of that time? I only recently moved out of a moldy apartment that was crippling not only my body but limiting my brain capacity. So yes, that might look like a lot of work but a disabled chick without a college degree did it while suffering from mold toxicity and Lyme disease. I think you can handle it.

Every job of a self-publisher can be outsourced

Okay, so the nice thing about these many hats is if you have the money, you could hire a team of people to do this shit. Look at them all. It’s like a damn publishing house all in one exhausted little self-publisher. Every job you do could be hired out to people that are more experienced and more confident than you are. But the reality is, if you had the money you probably wouldn’t be that driven to self-publish in the first place. You could just hang around with heart in throat every time you submit to a publisher while picking away at your next masterpiece novel. Getting published could be easier than all the work that goes into this, but it might not have the same results—be that good or bad depending on your abilities.

When you’re published, the end results are not in your control. You’re completely dependent on the ability and experience of the people you’re working with. For someone inexperienced that doesn’t want to go into all the work above, that might sound like a great deal. But if your book doesn’t sell, or you don’t understand what your book could make in the first place because you’re ignorant, you don’t really know if you’re in a good deal or what to do to change things. If you self-publish for long enough and then choose to be published, you’ll be going into a situation with a lot more understanding than someone who’s on the outside looking in.

If you’re already a self-published writer, congratulations on making it this far because this is a shit ton of work and there is no one but you to keep you on course. There is no A+B = Guaranteed Success Forever. No advanced payout, not promise of anything. No one is rushing to take your kids to daycare and do your laundry and clean your house so you can run a business. Every book is a new launch, every moment in between launches is writing, promoting, and list building, and every experience is working towards the next experience. And my god, I love it all.

Do you know what an adrenaline junkie is? O_o Let’s go with masochist; I might seek the pain a bit. XD There are certain things, particular hats that I loathe but I’m of this horrible mindset that when I recognize I’m not good at something, I have to study and work until I can kick its ass. It’s this messed up thing in my head and I am not happy sitting still. Ever. No matter how tired I get. No matter how much I’d rather live happily under a rock. I want to grow, I want to live, and I want to mess it up along the way. Curiosity is my BFF, and if someone says I can’t do something, I immediately go ‘like fuck I can’t.’

If I self-published for the money alone, I wouldn’t. The money starting out wasn’t enough; the money now is enough and moving towards more than I know what to do with, and even though my eye keeps drifting that way to see cause and effects of actions in dollar signs, it is not why I self-publish. It goes back to that adrenaline junkie of a masochist that needs to feel like I’m doing something valuable in my life. I created a job that makes me feel good about myself, and I feel like my books offer the world something that we need more of—shameless, sexy fun that accepts our darkest fantasies. I also enjoy using my brain and solving problems and the biggest problem in my life at the time was how do I make money while not having to leave my sick bed when I had no college degree or cash to spare and was living off of disability.

Problem solved in the form of self-publishing.

If you’re doing this for the money alone, there is going to come the point where you’ll need to reconsider everything. You’re either not going to be able to break the threshold and you’ll need a new strategy for profit, or you’re going to surpass all your expectations and be left wondering what the hell is next. See all the work above? You should probably figure out just why you’re ready to put yourself through all that. It’s not just work, it’s boundaries you push every day with yourself. Creative boundaries, social boundaries, questioning and push back to every fear and doubt you have about your skills and your self-worth and if you should be allowed to make a living doing what you love. This is not just a job, this is a growth of you in every step. Are you ready for it?

The Cage of Can’t

I always think it’s such bullshit when someone tries to sell you a system. Just do 1, 2, and 3 and have perseverance, and you’ll be a millionaire! They absolutely disregard the reality that it doesn’t matter how much someone wants something, or how capable they are to follow guidelines or adapt. Most people aren’t held back by a lack of ability or knowledge—google is everywhere. One web search can tell you everything you ever needed to know about self-publishing. No, we’re held back by ourselves.

For me, it was the challenge of being a battered child that grew up with PTSD. Inescapable trauma that twisted my thoughts, my actions, my perspective of self, hopes and dreams. An invisible cage that kept me from doing the things I wanted to do by ‘deciding’ I can’t. Lyme disease and mold toxicity, the things killing me for the last four years? Wake up call. They allowed me to stop running and face my shit with therapy. Near death was my rock bottom of I’m done living like this. My cage was able to be identified and stepped out of but don’t think for a moment that I’m still not fighting old ideas of self and world. Every day is a reimagining as I prove that I can write a fantasy and sell a book. And most days, it’s that battle of self that is more emotionally exhausting than the jobs above.

You don’t have to have lived my past to have your own cage of can’t. Maybe your mother told you that you were book smart, not street smart and you don’t think you’ll ever be able to promote yourself. Maybe your fifth-grade teacher said your story telling was unimaginative and every time you go to write, you wonder why you even bother. Maybe you keep hearing people insist that work is for making money, not doing things you like and you think you’re an asshole for wanting different.

I mean, really, who the hell do you think you are wanting to do something you love every day when other people you know and love settle, compromise, work themselves sick doing things they hate just to feed their family? What a selfish ass you are for wanting a different path when it’s good enough for them. That has to hurt someone, right? There is no way you can be happy without destroying someone somewhere. If you make more money, someone else will obviously have to have less. That’s just the law of the universe, so you better stop dreaming because getting ahead is the most hurtful thing you can do to everyone around you.

Yeah, so that might seem like the most unlogical thing ever to a rational person but people have these emotional hidden ‘truths’ ingrained inside from past experiences that keep them from moving forward, and they are rarely rational. Nope, they just might appear rational because the human in charge of these twisted ideas puts a lot of work into convincing themselves that these emotional truths are literally true. They get covered in bullshit to keep the owner of these thoughts safe in a familiar, unhappy world. It might as well be some ordained voice on high telling them that they better not try because the possibility of change is terrifying.

My answer to that? So be terrified and do it anyways. You are the only one holding yourself back. Not your job, not your family, not your friends and neighbors, not your financial situation or the world around you. You are choosing to not go for it and you can make a different choice. Add the hat.

Grower of self: It’s the number one job you have and taking it on is something only the rare person does. This is what defines if you will make it as a self-publisher. It requires bravery, a no bullshit attitude, a willingness to feel like shit, cripplingly vulnerable, and then get over it and be ready to feel like shit again. It’s a goal of eventual self-worth enough to realize you deserve the things you want and more. It requires you to trust yourself, be able to listen to advice that matters from experts, be criticized and not take it as a personal attack. This is the bridge past holding yourself back—and we all do it. Even a little, we stop ourselves from being more.

Do you want to feel unstoppable? This is the hat. Do you want to start a task and grow a career, help people, come up with new ideas and never hit a wall you can’t surpass? Right here. This is what allows you to fail, repeatedly, because this gives you the power to get back up each time and try. It’s the difference of a pause where you reassess the path compared to a dead stop where you tell yourself you’re not good enough and never will be. This is the hardest, most rewarding job you’re ever going to have no matter what you decide to do out in the world.

This is what it takes to do all the stuff above, and no amount of lying to yourself will change it. And no, I won’t lie to you either. I can tell you how to do everything and you can understand it perfectly, but that doesn’t mean you’ll ever even try. No matter how much you want it. People that hold themselves back won’t make it until they allow themselves to succeed. Get a therapist if you are in an invisible cage you can’t get out of. It’s your tool to being free to live life on your terms.

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