I wrote Twilight when I was 18 years old

I don’t mean the Stephenie Meyer novel – my version had a different title, different characters, different settings…but the similarities are many and varied. I wrote my novel from the 1st of October 1994 to the 31st of March 1995; Meyer wrote Twilight in the early 2000s, but no, she did not plagiarise me, or anyone. So why all the similarities (which I’ll later touch on in this blog post)? Not because anyone copied anyone else, but because the tropes are popular, and with good reason. However, Twilight and my embarrassingly bad teenage attempt at literature are both samey, derivative, hackneyed, unoriginal pap. And yet, I still look upon both with a great deal of affection.

Jenny Trout has said that Stephenie Meyer perfectly nails the intensity of first love and that’s definitely part of it. But then, you read Twilight wondering why none of Bella’s caregivers (her father, mother, teachers, friends, fellow residents of Forks, hell, anyone) step in to save her from a manipulative relationship. There is no reason for her to love Edward beyond the stated unearthly beauty of the man, or should I say boy; he’s frozen at the age of seventeen, after all. Crushes fade in time, so, had their relationship been allowed to continue unimpeded without the interference of vampires, werewolves, the promise of immortality, half-vampire demon babies (yes, really) and other supernatural plot points, Bella would probably have gone off Edward…even though she insists time and time again that no, she will love him, like, fuh-eva.

First love burns brightly, but it burns out.

Continue reading

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Posted in A Little Death, Bring Me to Life, Come to Me, trunk novels, Twilight | Leave a comment

A bit of housekeeping

It’s about time I blogged about something writing-related. I’ve been doing some housekeeping on the blog – changed the background colour, made up a new header. The old one was a scenic pic I took on my holidays a few years back and while it’s one of my favourite parts of Scotland, it’s not entirely relevant to my writing career. (Unless a panorama of Culloden is indicative of my writing plans being a lost cause about which future folk groups will sing mournful ballads which will later be covered for a theme song on a TV show that mangles Scottish history.)

Anyhoo…I’ve toned down the background colour and made my own header, from four pieces of my cover art. I was going to add text to it, just my name and a tagline, but it looked too busy, and I couldn’t get it to look ‘right’, so thought, sod it, I’ll leave it as a simple row of four of my covers. My name is above the header anyway, as is my tagline.

Also streamlined my book categories with drop-down menus. The LGBT category has been changed to M/M and one of the books featuring bi characters is now sitting in its own menu, Contemporary Menage. Why? Well, too often LGBT is used as a catch-all in erotic romance for “books about two men fucking” and I wanted to be more specific than “here lies teh queer stuff” because…well, there are letters in the acronym other than G.

By the Book would need its own category soon enough anyway as I have another menage idea bubbling away in the back of my mind and, fingers crossed, I’ll get it written by the end of the year…or at least outlined and started.

Another thing about the drop-downs: if you click on the actual menu name (M/M contemporary, Paranormal, whatever) rather than an actual book title, you’ll see the ‘home page’ of each menu simply has a list of covers from that category. Each piece of cover art, if you click on it, is a link to that book’s individual page. Or you could just go to the drop-down and click on the book title itself to be taken to that page.

Another thing I’m doing with each book’s page is adding the first chapter. So you’ll have the blurb, then buy links, and below that, a hefty chunk of the book itself for free, in the hopes it’ll entice you in. 😉 I did think about going blurb~chapter~buy links, but…I’m not gonna lie, I reasoned it was probably a good idea to get “Here’s where you can find my books for sale,” out there as soon as possible. And if you’re on my blog reading about my published works, I can safely assume you’re already interested in my fiction anyway.

I haven’t added all the first chapters yet, but I’m working my way through and I’ll get there in the end.

I recently changed the pricing system of my books, too – around about the time I went wide with distribution, in fact. Instead of thinking, “Should I price individually for each book market, or how recent the book is, or whether it’s been published before, or how popular the book is, or, or…” I kept it simple.

Word count.

I’ve based the pricing for all of my self-published work on word count, tying it to the dollar and letting Amazon and Draft 2 Digital translate that price into other currencies for me. I don’t count front or back matter, just the text of the story itself.

  • <25,000 words – $2.99
  • 25,001-50,000 words – $3.99
  • 50,001-75,000 words – $4.99
  • 75,001+ words – $5.99

There were one or two of my books that were just on the borderline and if they’d only been a page or so longer, they would have been into another price range, but just so you guys know, I always erred on the side of the lower price point.

All of which is a marvellously productive way of avoiding writing the book I should be working on.

I also need to decide which excerpts to send out to my Patreon patrons this month and whether they should be from the book I’m currently working on, or the one I’m about to start…hmm, decisions, decisions…

Posted in Amazon KDP, blogging, Draft 2 Digital, self-publishing | Leave a comment

Here’s that attention you ordered!

I’ve had to put up with shit on my spare Twitter account, and now it’s spread to my blog.
Still on Twitter

Obviously “Still on Twitter” has a problem with reading comprehension and logic, as well as punctuation. It’s just a shame whoever it is didn’t have the balls to identify themselves. (Note, I’m not asking for a real name, but really, “Still on Twitter”? Stay classy. You don’t even claim to be a reader, a follower, a member of a writing forum, a rival writer, someone with whom I’ve interacted before. You’ve, funnily enough, picked yourself out as…a nobody.)

If I annoyed you so much, why did you read my tweets? You do realise you could have blocked me instead of whoring for attention on my blog? If I’m always spewing something vile and toxic, it’s clearly a pattern of behaviour and if you, “Still on Twitter”, can identify my patterns of behaviour, that shows you are a long-term follower of mine. If you claim to hate me but still read every word I write…bitch, you’re a fan.

But I guess someone like you isn’t intelligent enough to realise any of that. Especially as you’re whining about me wishing death on a whole group of people. I mean, really? Really? You accuse me of not just telling one Nazi to die in a fire but a whole group of them, as if…as if not liking Nazis is a bad thing? Do you even read your own words?

The people I lost my temper with? They were gun nuts, Republicans and misogynists who were in my mentions and DMs with abuse, threats and commentary on a level of literacy similar to yours. So I guess you would defend people of that sort, wouldn’t you?

Anyway – you know my email address if you want to have the courage of your convictions and identify yourself. I won’t hold my breath. I know you’re more scared of me than I ever could be of a whining little pissbaby like you.

Posted in "Still on Twitter" is a whining little pissbaby who wants attention | Leave a comment

Quick Twitter update

My appeal got turned down of course, so I moved onto my other account, @EvilRedClone, while I was dealing with that mess. Because I dared tweet about Scarlett Parrish from that account, I started getting abuse from, surprise surprise, a male man of the opposite sex whose dick fell off because a woman had an opinion on the internet.

Twitter is absolutely fucking toxic and the above paragraph just perfectly illustrates for me how little Twitter (Doesn’t) Support cares about the safety of women. They enact bullshit anti-hate policies which…I dunno…are supposed to crack down on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia…but do fuck all but give them a cover to suspend the accounts of women who dare speak out against those very things. Black is white and white is black. We have always been at war with Easteasia.

This is the second appeal I sent in, which is technically less an appeal, more me going to the cupboard and realising I’ve run out of fucks.

Screenshot 2018-10-09 at 11.57.13 - Edited

* * * * *

Screenshot 2018-10-09 at 11.58.44 - Edited

I apologise for being a bit “All Twitter, all the time,” lately; that will change, I promise.

This evening I’m going to stuff some meatballs in my face and get back to working on Drink Me. I’ve been really bad about knuckling down and finishing this manuscript, or so it seems; it’s just that my characters keep moving the goalposts and demanding more angst and trauma. This book will definitely be much longer than Eat Me, the first in the series. Google Sheets, the spreadsheet I use for working out word counts and projected totals, predicts we’ll be in the lower end of the word count range for a novel, but I refuse, ah tells thee – REFUSE.

Posted in Drink Me, Twitter | Leave a comment

And the needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before

I’m not even going to add an explanation for this beyond a few words:
Screenshot 2018-10-08 at 22.37.42 - Edited
Screenshot 2018-10-08 at 22.38.17 - Edited
You may think the above, the tweets for which I was suspended, are terrible enough to warrant a permanent suspension without warning. To that, I would say BULLSHIT. I’ve had threats like you would not believe, abusive DMs, you name it. All worse than anything I’ve ever tweeted. Yes, I reported. No, I wasn’t listened to.

Sound familiar?

I sent this in as my appeal:
Screenshot 2018-10-08 at 13.56.00 - Edited
I’m beyond bored with this now. I’m disgusted. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reported guys getting in my mentions with insults, abuse, threats…only to be told they do not violate Twitter’s Terms of Service.

But apparently answering back to a bunch of right-wing gun nuts does. Is anyone even surprised?

What pisses me off the most is, I have ten self-published books with my Twitter handle in the front- and back-matter and that means reformatting twenty times – each book for Amazon and, separately, Draft 2 Digital – to make my manuscripts ‘clean’ and up to date.

I mean, there’s always the chance Twitter will lift the suspension (again) but Jesus H. Fucking Corbett – how many times is this going to happen?

Why did I keep going back to Twitter? To promote my books. It was the most convenient social media site for me…in between all the Nazis and rape threats, of course. But apparently Twitter H.Q. thinks that’s a fair price for a woman to pay. You mention your books now and again, we’ll pay lip service to a fair code of conduct and ban any woman who responds to abuse with anger of her own.

Anyway. I said I’d keep it to a few comments and anger has made me verbose.

The good news with regard to my writing is that the pomodoro technique definitely works for me. I’ve tried 25-minute and 15-minute focus periods today and I’d say I favour the former. It’s enough for me to push for a thousand words (not quite made it yet; the closest I got was in the high 800s) and brief enough to not lose my concentration. Quarter hours are okay, but I like going for that elusive near-thirty-minute thousand…although, I have to say…my writing notebook tells me that in one 15-minute period today I got as high as 597 words. That’s at a rate of more than a thousand words in half an hour.

When I read back over what I write, it’s not bad. Not bad at all. There are literary tics there that I’d do well to edit out. Favourite words, repetition and so on, but for a first draft? It’s solid.

If you’d like to be kept up to date about upcoming projects in more detail, you can sign up to my Patreon page here. Rewards for each tier include different extracts from works-in-progress (of 1,000 and 2,500 words), playlists for each book, cover art reveals and the chance to get yourself namechecked in each self-published release. Plus, if I can’t decide which plot bunny to focus on next, you get to tell me which book to write.

(I’d very much appreciate it if folks posted my Patreon link on Facebook as I don’t have an account there, and Twitter as APPARENTLY mouthy women aren’t too popular on that incinerated wheelie bin of a hellsite.)

No, it’s fine. I’m okay. I’m okay.

*seethes*

Posted in Jack Dorsey is a tiki torch-waving Nazi cunt who hates women and is cool with rape threats, pomodoro, Twitter | Leave a comment

Free writing my way to an explanation

I’m not usually one for free writing or journalling, reasoning that any words I put down should go towards my work-in-progress, otherwise they’re going to waste. However, I listened to a podcast about self-sabotage and procrastination earlier and it recommends free-writing to find out why you procrastinate.

So, I tried. I mean, if I’m spending all that energy on avoiding writing, it’s not like I have any words on paper to waste at all, is it? Started off in longhand, and this is what I came up with:

* * * * *

Why do I self-sabotage by procrastinating? Fear of making all that effort for nothing.

Looking back at all the time wasted and knowing that if I became super-productive now, it proves that I could have done it then, and I’d have concrete proof that all that time really was wasted – I’d feel the most regret over the fact I’d never get it back.

Why did I procrastinate when I was younger? I thought I had all the time in the world and I’d be mega-successful “later”. I also believed I was already a great writer so had nothing left to learn. Therefore, success was only a matter of time, not effort. I didn’t have to put in any more work, because I was already as good as I could get.

And if good writers meet with the success they deserve and writing a good book is all you need to do, my part was done.

BUT.

My writing wasn’t great. It was abysmal. So I didn’t meet with the success I felt I was owed.

Not only that, but there’s now some uncertainty over good books always finding a market, or readers. So even if I’d written a fantastic book (I hadn’t), it wasn’t enough to send out terribly-written, scattergun submissions and let my innate talent for fiction shine through.

Why did I collect rejections in my teens and twenties?

My submissions, as well as the book I was trying to sell, were awful. Unfocused, no idea of my target audience. I was entitled. How dare they say no, even if my letters were the unprofessional equivalent of “Do you like me, tick yes or no?”

My fiction was derivative – as a teen, I read a lot, but my pool of resources (favourite authors) was shallow. I read neither widely nor with any depth. I didn’t have the tools to write well. What I churned out was cliched. My heroines were Mary Sues, my writing bland and basic, falling back on stylistic tics I picked up from reading the same authors over and over again.

In my 30s it all became a self-fulfilling prophecy. My writing had improved by then, thank goodness, but I didn’t meet with the success I’d been led to believe by others was possible, and because I didn’t sell as many books as they did (or rather, as they claimed they did), that got me in a funk. I stopped trying so hard to write more, more, more, not out of arrogance and the certainty I was already great, but despair and the feeling I was banging my head against a brick wall. I’d gotten over myself and put in the work, improved my craft, hell, sold my first erotic romance to the very first publisher I sent it to, but even that wasn’t enough to become successful. Whatever success is.

And now…my productivity has slowed to a crawl. If it picks up, if I force myself to get the words down on paper…what then? There will be nothing left to do. You can improve on bad writing, you can polish a bad submission package, you can produce more manuscripts in a shorter space of time but what happens if, after doing all that, it’s still not enough?

I guess that’s what I’m scared of, ultimately – doing my best and it still not being good enough. I’ve been half-assing my writing career so I’ve got something to blame it on when the results I say I want don’t show up.

* * * * *

Not all of the above was in the forefront of my consciousness, only showing itself as I wrote, so. There it is. And I’ll tell you something else that showed up – wrist strain. It’s been a long time since I wrote longhand.

Ironically, the first crappy book I wrote to completion? 420 A4 pages of it, all in longhand. I’m telling you, way back in the 90s, it would have been a kindness if I’d suffered a broken wrist so it never came to fruition.

Then again, it contributed to the writer I am today, so I guess I should be grateful. Maybe.

Posted in writing | Leave a comment

Spreading my seed across teh intarwebs

Looking back over recent blog posts, I see there’s too much Twitter. Well, I mean if they weren’t such a bunch o’ bams over there, I wouldn’t have to whinge over here, but things seemed to have calmed down regarding my Twitter account, touch wood.

There’s obviously going to come a time when I get locked, banned or suspended again because Jack Dorsey’s a white supremacist who hates women, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

And there will be plenty of trolls living there, too, no doubt.

So! On with the writing-related stuff. I recently started up a couple other projects, if you can call them that. First up, I have a Ko-fi page now, and I’ll be adding a link to my ‘tips jar’ on my blog sidebar. It’s still in its very early stages, but if you like my blog and Twitter content, but would rather not buy any of my books (or if you’ve already read them all), feel free to empty your entire purses into my tips jar. Please and thank you. 😀

Secondly, I have a Patreon page! I had planned a lead-up to the launch but got impatient, thought “Sod it,” and just pressed the launch button. So here it is.

As a quick run-down of Patreon benefits, the $2-a-month tier (Sossidges) gets you first look at all cover art reveals – this will be when my books are at the early drafting stage; covers won’t be sent out to my newsletter until the first draft is complete – and monthly writing updates. The $5 tier (Bacon butties) gets you the same, plus a 1,000-word excerpt on the 20th of each month and the ability to vote in polls regarding book titles, which project should be my next, and so on. $10 patrons (Unicorns) gets you all of the above, an additional 2,500-word excerpt, your name in the acknowledgements of each book and a free copy of same in any eBook format of your choice.

Full details are in this public post here, Hello and welcome, potential patrons!

I hope you find something of interest to you over there. My blog will be concentrating on, let’s be honest here, anything that blows up on Twitter. Very brief writing snippets to protect the integrity of my Patreon page, only a paragraph or so at a time as a wee taster. Book recommendations, snark about the publishing world, new release announcements and so on. Any stuff that doesn’t impinge on the boundaries I’ve set up for Patreon.

For a while now I’ve been tinkering with the idea of doing a series of blog posts regarding not what I write, but rather, how I write it – the kind of outlines I use, complete with screenshots, that kind of thing. But at this stage it’s uncertain, as I feel I ought to work up to becoming more productive before I start opining about the artistic process and all that wank. Like, show us your methods bloody work before you start sounding off about them, Scarlett.

So if you don’t mind, I’m off to stuff my face with Weetabix then go out peopling because apparently I hate myself.

Posted in Ko-fi, Patreon | Leave a comment

Twitter’s at it again and I’m so damn tired

I don’t even know what to say about this shit any more. I’m just tired.

This happened last night:

Screenshot 2018-08-14 at 22.03.23
Screenshot 2018-08-14 at 22.03.30

So I sent them this:

Screenshot 2018-08-14 at 22.19.12

And the same old, same old happened. Within an hour, I was back in. What happened was, I automatically went to type in a tweet out of habit and hit send. Then I said to myself, “Oh, I forgot; I’m blocked. Again.” But the tweet posted. So that’s how I knew my account had been un-suspended, after I used those two words again. I didn’t get an email in response, or an explanation, or a reason why my account had been blocked supposedly for twelve hours. They just lifted the ban without telling me and quietly cleared me for posting again.

I suspect, though, that it was down to me showing support for someone else who’d got a twelve hour ban. I asked Twitter, quite openly, why they were locking down people’s accounts without giving a reason but letting Donald Trump carry on doing his thing, even calling a black woman a dog. God forbid anyone criticise the Mango Mussolini.

As more than one friend has said, it’s beginning to look like because I’ve been in trouble before, justified or not, as soon as someone maliciously reports me, or my tweets are flagged for whatever reason, the ban-hammer comes down. It’s not because of anything in particular I say, just the fact I’m openly critical of them.

Upshot is, Twitter isn’t exactly unsafe, but it’s unstable, so I’m encouraging people to keep in touch with me through this blog, or my newsletter instead. And to keep an eye out for any other, more suitable, social media sites, because Twitter isn’t just going down the pan; it’s been flushed and is gurgling over the U-bend.

Posted in Twitter | Leave a comment

Fail to plan, plan to fail

I’ve recently discovered the joys of calendar blocking, which is amazing as I’ve had my Chromebook for something like four years, and a smartphone for around two, so it’s taken me this long to start using Google Calendar.

This video, from Amy Landino, inspired me:

You’d be much better off watching her video than putting up with me attempting to explain it all, even with scrappy screenshots from my Google Calendar – besides which, there, I name current and upcoming writing projects and also private matters (medical appointments and suchlike) that are, frankly, no-one else’s business.

So! I’ve been using a Leuchtturm1917 dot-grid notebook as a Bullet Journal since last September and am only now just getting to the end of it. When I first bought it, I thought it would last me three or four months at the most, but I still have some pages left nearly a year later, because I use it primarily as a daily to-do list rather than anything more detailed. Many people have elaborate sketches they laughingly refer to as mere ‘doodles’ in their BuJo, or to-read lists, or extremely detailed notes for this project or that. Me? Hell, on days when I’m ill with a migraine, I don’t even use it at all.

Anyhoo, as I neared the end of the book I began to wonder if I should splash out on a new Leuchtturm, use another style of notebook, or find another method of organising my appointments and scheduling my work.

Quite by chance, I came across the above video on YouTube and that inspired me to ‘go digital’ with my organisation. It would be a concern if I ever lost internet access as everything’s stored in the cloud, but as my smartphone has 4G I could get by with that for as long as I needed to. Typing on a phone is a lot more fiddly than a Chromebook, but at least I’d have access to my digital planner, still.

And that’s the beauty of calendar blocking – my entire Bullet Journal or planner now fits in my handbag in the form of my phone, or whichever device I happen to be using. Google Calendar synchs across them all.

Now, I’ve not been that great at sticking to to-do lists lately, but in the hopes that the freshness of using a planner in another format will give me some momentum, I’ve blocked out huge chunks of the coming week. But not just for writing. I have everything (that I can currently think of) scheduled for the next seven days. Sleep, chores, washing my hair, a doctor’s appointment, other real life matters. Yes, colour coded, naturally.

It may well be that I rebel against a to-do list that’s that structured. It may well be that I need such a high level of structure in my time, to make me do stuff. It may very well go tits up before we’re halfway through the week, but I’ll keep you guys posted.

At the very least I’ve passed a very pleasant hour colouring in a page of Google Calendar, which is very therapeutic after such a monumentally depressive episode of mental (un)health recently, which even yet I’m struggling to pull myself out of.

(Honestly, I’ll try not to beat myself up if/when I don’t meet my targets, and to give myself credit for any productive work I do manage.)

Posted in calendar blocking | 2 Comments

Just call me Lazarus Boomerang

So, they let me back in and when you find out why, you’ll shit.

Unsurprisingly, my (first) appeal to Twitter was rejected. So I lost my shit and sent them this:

Screenshot 2018-08-09 at 17.01.17

I had occasion to go out, so hit ‘send’, got my coat on, went out. At the other end of my journey I checked my emails on my phone and…

Twitter had reactivated my account. After I had sent them a riff on the fourteen words and ended my message with “Sieg Heil!”

Think about that for a moment.

In under an hour, Twitter reactivated the account of someone who ended their appeal message with the fourteen words and “Hail, victory!”.

Are you getting it yet?

Which means we went from this:

Screenshot 2018-08-10 at 01.42.36

to this:

Screenshot 2018-08-10 at 01.42.50

because of a message referencing the fourteen words and Sieg Heil.

Remind me again how Twitter isn’t run by white supremacists?

Posted in Twitter | 11 Comments