I have not been silent on my support of the Black Lives Matters movement and I’ve been doing that by one action alone; sharing and retweet the voices of those it affects most.
Today some of those words were lost. A clear screen shot on Taia Dominique’s Twitter can be seen that she posted the whole poem, but that later other parts of it were taken down.
This is not right, the words she’s spoken are true to what she feels and those are the words we need to hear right now.
Take the time, read the words, learn to listen.
This is an essential read for any author, regardless of your path. The actions of Red Sofa in the wake of the George Floyd murder and subsequent riots is terrible, but this is its own kind of awful. Many writers aspire to getting an agent, but please keep in mind that the actions of Red Sofa both now and then, is not acceptable behaviour.
This is not a post I ever thought I’d be writing, and I certainly didn’t expect to be writing it now, when there’s so many terrible things going on in the world. But the SFF writing and publishing community is not an island: we impact and are impacted by the world in turn, and it’s because of this relationship that I’m speaking now. This is a small matter in comparison to the ongoing protests over the extrajudicial murder of George Floyd and the egregious police brutality with which those protests have been met, but it is still, to me, an important matter, as how the SFF community responds to racism and bigotry in other contexts will always relate to how it deals with internal gatekeeping. After what’s happened, I don’t feel that I can in good conscience continue to remain silent.
Last week, Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary, who…
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In everything that’s going on at the moment I know some of you are more scared than you’ve ever been before.
There are a million things going on outside our control. Fear eats a hole in our stomachs as we twitch aside window curtains and wonder if just one more visit to the store will bring home a fatal virus.
We lived with our parents and grandparents dread of another global war, and this isn’t nearly so awful, but it doesn’t change that it’s a trial. Its hard. Its scary. And the most frustrating thing about this is that we are helpless.
We can stay at home but some of us have to work to pay bills.
We can lock ourselves inside but when you’re jobless, like I am, its stressful.
We can pretend that it will be alright even as we do all the right things and it doesn’t change the anxiety.
With all this time in doors we should be reading and writing and being creative with our free time.
Except everyone is stating they don’t have the capacity to write or create and then blaming themselves like they’re lazy or can’t be bothered.
So this is a nice reminder to all you to STOP DOING THAT.
You have a tank of emotional gas and you have run out.
That you have forgotten the emotional commitment to your projects is no surprise, so here is your reminder; you can’t invest what you don’t have.
Joy, sadness, grief, despair; when we can control these emotions and funnel them into our creation we are building on past trauma and experiences. We are dealing with these things in safe spaces. You don’t feel safe, you don’t even know what to feel anymore.
I know cause I’m there too.
I’ve been writing during the lock down but I have a confession to make.
None of it is on relevant projects.
Its all trash. Half baked ideas I’d never publish. A sex scene between two of my favourite characters. A conversation two of my characters wish they could have had and never got the chance. A random idea that I don’t think will go anywhere. I’ve started about six different novels. Written a novella.
And all of its trash.
Garbage words that I may be able to salvage but honestly, I just indulged in what I wanted to write. All of its in snapshots and time not well spent but it helped me to keep on creating, but more importantly give me something to do that isn’t worrying.
So, write that fanfic you’ve always longed to. Just start a fresh page and write about how angry, upset, and stressed out you are. Write that letter to your high school bully, or the first time you fell in love. Tell the person inside the words are still there, they’re just waiting for you to fill up the tank.
Th first few days were hard to do, but it’s been nice to be able to sit and know I’ve put in writing time. I’m not losing the habit. I’ve kept working despite everything even if it wasn’t specifically on the goals I wanted.
For all the time I’ve had at home I’ve also spent it doing things like the final proofread on Queen of Spades Awakening which has already garnered a few five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
I didn’t want to do it but I had a release date, so I played solitaire and listened to the entire book twice to be sure there were no mistakes. It was good because I got writing related work done, ensured the script it was the best it could be, and distracted myself from the enormity of the task by playing solitaire. All the little wins made for a huge win on the day.
Don’t look for big picture wins.
Look for the time you did the dishes. Posted on your blog. Joined a Twitter event. Wrote a review. You are contributing to the joy in the world. You are refilling other people’s tanks with your attention and your time.
We’re all locked in our homes together, but we can do that, and doing that for many of you has made my life better.
You guys refilled my tank.
Tell me what I can do to help you, and we will get through this together.
Queen of Spades Trilogy by E.J. Dawson: Awakening, Darkening, Reckoning
The first book in the Queen of Spades Trilogy, Awakening, will be available 10th of April 2020 and the pre-order is only 99 cents!
A scifi action with a side of romance, it has all the violence, banter, and tension of great character driven scifi with psychic abilities giving it an edge that keeps the story on its toes.
Ayla is a villain. With a gift that allows her to see when anyone will die, she’s remorseless in her profession as the perfect assassin. When she wakes up in a cryo-tank three thousand years in the future, and no idea how she came to be there, all that matters is survival.
Rescued by Leith and the crew of the Nuria, Ayla discovers a far evolved world of space ships and galactic colonization. But everything comes with a price, and…
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I know everything is stressful right now and we all have stuff we need to focus on but I’m taking the wins, the little ones, and this is one of them.
The cover for Queen of Spades; Awakening is on All Author and up for cover of the month!
Massive shout out to Violeta who worked so hard getting the trilogy of covers just right for me. For those of you who can, get her to do your covers she is amazing!
If you’ve got the time please give it a vote, I’d appreciate it!
I’m not brave.
If I were being honest with myself, I’m a coward.
I fight when I know I can win and I’m defensive when I know I’ll lose.
That’s a hard thing to admit but this week its been so important to be able to say and here is why; you are rarely the presumption you put upon yourself.
Discussing the motivations of Letitia to my mother she criticized my analysis of the heroine of Behind the Veil.
“Yeah, Mum,” I replied. “Its because she’s a coward. She’s afraid and hiding behind self-preservation so she doesn’t have to face the truth.”
“No, she isn’t.” My mother cuts me off, and she’s adamant, she doesn’t give a shit it’s my story, she has her own theory. “Letitia’s so very brave. She’s willing to face what she’s most scared of, what terrifies her beyond all other things, in spite of her fear, that’s what makes her brave. No one else can do this but her, no one else risks as much as she does, and she does the right thing. She’s the bravest one of them all.”
I’d never heard my mother talk about a fictional person I created with so much emphasis. Or felt like my cowardness, my excuses, my depression and anxiety, mattered so little. It wasn’t because it didn’t matter. And it was because I was brave.
Bravery isn’t when you know you’ll win.
Courage isn’t there for the confident.
And valour isn’t for those who don’t doubt themselves.
But that didn’t change I was all of those things. And none of them.
I was a coward.
I kept a 9 to 5 job under the conviction that’s what it was to be safe. I wanted to be me, but I had to have someone else’s approval.
I was the lion in Dorothy’s story.
I was hiding behind the shadow of social media’s self-importance to pretend I had something worthwhile.
When all that time I had something more.
Do you know I’ve written over twenty books.
When I do a tally, novellas included, its closer to twenty five books now, but that’s not important.
Do you know I found within me the strength to self-publish three when I had no idea what I was doing?
And do you know that they sold well?
Being brave and courageous is never about the moments you’ll know you’ll win.
They’re about the moments you think you’ll fail.
I just quit my job without another one to go to because without details I thought I was doing the right thing. It turns out that wasn’t the case and I still don’t regret my decision.
I could be scared, terrified, left wondering if I’ve made the right choice.
Like Letitia, the coward. Except according to my mother she isn’t.
I’m a coward.
But I’ve let go of convention to do something I never thought was possible. I gave up security to find myself, and the part of me that knows my stories *MATTER*.
I was brave when the lights went out, the beasts are coming, the darkness has my soul and I don’t know if I’ll ever escape, if I’ve given the light up on a dream that will morph into a nightmare reminding me of all the stupid decisions I’ve ever made.
That’s what bravery looks like.
That’s what it is, to be a coward… and follow your dreams anyway.
The next time you’re scared, the next time you’re letting fear hold you back, you remember this, the grit in my teeth, the panic failure is at my door, and still is, the dread I will drag my life down into fiscal regret and half imagined dreams…
…and despite all this my stories matter. No one can take that away, from me, or from you, so while I’m down here, I’m smiling, because I have something no one else has, not hope or false promises.
I have conviction.
I am a coward…
…but I am still here.