More TI work

I’ve got another feedback post up on the Tickled Ink blog. It’s a longer one but I found it quite engaging! Check it out and let me know what you think.

-R/AC

The Publishing Cycle

Last week I wrote a little piece over on the TI blog about the sad news regarding Less Than Three Press. The loss of this publisher has been felt deeply by myself, and many of my friends.

LT3 filled an important role in romance publishing. They actively supported marginalized voices, and treated their writers well. It was wonderful to have a mid sized publisher like them around, especially for new and emerging writers.

I have one title with LT3. It’s old enough now that I’m not entirely sure that I’ll re-release it. I haven’t decided. I photographed my own cover for the novella, so I’d still have that! The perfectionist in me wants to go back over the story and polish things up. I feel so much more confident about my writing these days, and I’m sure the piece could use some work.

At least two other authors I know have opted to not re-release their work that was with LT3, primarily for the same reason. They’re older works and perhaps not as reflective of their author’s current work. I get it.

There are a few uncomfortable realities that go along with this. The first is that as of now, both publishers I’ve worked with have closed. It’s a worrying pattern within small and mid range publishers. What will we have when none of these can survive? Will it only be the big publishers and self pub, with nothing in between? That’s quite worrisome.

The other is simply that it reminds me how long its been since I’ve published anything. It’s been years. I’m not a fan. I’ve spoken with a few friends and my current goal is to have another novel finished by the end of the year so I can start shopping it around to publishers.

I don’t know what I’m doing here

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘careers’ and identity. We’ve all been told for most of our lives that work and identity are essentially synonyms. It’s evident in how we talk about careers. We ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Which is very different from, “What kind of work would you like to do?”

For most of my life, I didn’t think I attached much of my identity to my job. After all, it was just a job. I worked hard, did excellent work, and remained employed, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t who I was as a person, it was just what I did.

Now that I can’t do it anymore, I’ve realized how wrong I was.

I took pride in my work. The quality of it, the hours I would devote to getting things done right, I wanted respect and acknowledgement from my peers. As the industry changed, I changed along with it. I had to adjust to new metrics of success, and I worked at them until I achieved them.

I never got the things I really wanted. I think I became bogged down in being a productive drone. After all, that used to be a respectable quality. I thought service and devotion to an industry would get me there.

It didn’t.

Now I have to change my paradigm again, and find myself without any sort of map.

People ask professional athletes and others who aim high, about their backup plans. We need to start thinking about those things for everyone. No matter what kind of work you do, regardless of industry.

We’re presented with a narrative about automation replacing human workers in production jobs, but that’s not the only place that happens. As I was explaining to someone exactly what I used to do ten years ago, I realized I had been replaced by a combination of a machine, apathy, and transferring the burden of quality on to the customer. Over the years I’ve worked in the arts, several jobs I’ve had have been replaced by machines.

My body is failing me. I know, it happens to all of us. For me, it has happened at an intense speed, in ways I never could have imagined, and targeting things that are most important to me.

I don’t know what I ‘do’ anymore, which has left me questioning who I am. This isn’t another instance of technology or priorities changing how I approach the industry within which I work, it’s starting over. I don’t have a backup plan, I didn’t think I needed one.

More Feedback Friday in July

I’ve done a few more feedback posts on the joint blog I participate in. Today’s post is located here! You can find them all over on the Tickled Ink blog.

It’s slow

Sometimes it’s slow. Right now, it’s slow. It’s hard to be okay with things not going how we want.

I have so many projects I’m excited about, but I can’t seem to get them together. It’s a struggle.

I suppose all there is to do is keep pushing forward.

Or not

Another FbF up on TI

The group blog I participate in has a new post up from me. Hooray!

It’s another Feedback Friday up on the Tickled Ink blog. (See, that’s what all those abbreviations mean!) This time, the word prompt was “Widdershins” and the author really knocked it out of the park. The piece is so fun, I highly recommend you go check it out.

Widdershins on TickledInkBlog

Starlight Gestalt released!

A few years ago, I sold a short story to be part of a Halloween romance anthology. Days before the collection went to press, the publisher closed. Editing was finished, we had cover art, and promotions began.

Then it was gone.

We all got our right back from the publisher, but I wasn’t sure what to do with the story. It didn’t feel right to shop it around, and to be honest, I was in a pretty rough place and wasn’t capable of any emotional labor.

Late last year, I shared it as a part of a rewards tier for a group Patreon I participated with an amazing group of people, calling ourselves, Crystal Queer. It was a delightful experience and really pushed me to continue to create through a dark time. I will forever be grateful to them.

I was encouraged by a few friends to simply self publish the story for people to enjoy. I was informed by one friend that it hit them, “right in the gender feels” which is pretty high praise, I’d say!

Available now on Amazon!

What is Starlight Gestalt?
* non binary MC
* sexy German poetry
* a hermit witch
* Will O The Wisps
* the forest at night
* Bananagrams!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially: CL, CM, DL, and LS

Starlight Gestalt book cover

-R/AC

Please Don’t Take My Man

As many of you know, I’m very active in animal rescue. My long term foster baby, Comet, was back in the hospital this past week and then spent some time in hospice care. I’ve had him for almost 4 months now and its been quite the journey.

On Saturday, I was finally able to bring him home. We were both thrilled to see each other to say the least. He jumped into my arms, licked my face over and over, and put his arms on my shoulders in a hug. I had been so worried about him and missed him so much!

He was hugging me so tightly, he wouldn’t let go. I had to carry him down the street to the car, and even then he wouldn’t let go. We sat together in the car for a long while as I tried to calm and reassure him. Poor sweet baby didn’t want to let go! So I did what any sensible person would do, I took a selfie with him!

It’s probably my favorite text exchange ever.

Like all good people, I’m a big fan of Dolly Parton. I’ve never been so thrilled to be called Jolene. Actually, I think I’d always be happy about to be called Jolene, it just doesn’t come up all that often. I should work on that…

My little guy might have a home lined up. Expect me to be a hot freaking mess when this baby goes.

-R/AC

Meanwhile, in community action

I’ve been working with the same writing group for the past 5 years. It’s been an amazing experience and I’m supremely grateful to all of them. They’re my Ride or Die Bitches.

It’s a good thing.

We have been putting together a community for writers and ourselves online to supplement our meat space community. Not everyone can come to Minneapolis to sit in with us every week.

Slackers.

But yeah, I’m blogging over on our site Tickled Ink and it’s been a lot of fun! My most recent post went up today and it’s about the joy of failure. Or being okay with being terrible. Something like that anyway. Check it out!