Writing About Gender Issues For Fun and Profit

I taught a whole generation that sexual harassment is okay

Image source: http://cheezburger.com/2247703296

Yesterday I wrote a bit of the “Finding Gaia” sequel in which Trish and Anna discuss their relative perspectives on women as prizes for men. It included Trish using the phrase “Pepe le Fucking Pew”.

Those of you who have read the first book and seem to love Trish so much no doubt want to read that conversation.

But I want to remind you all that I write more when I get sales. I’m almost at 150 copies sold, which is pretty good, but my break even point is just over 500 at the standard $4.99 price (and a lot of those 150 were with coupons, so really the required count is higher now). This is an indie book, but it had a professional editor, cover artist, and other costs to produce.

If everyone who bought it so far convinced three other friends to buy it, I’d be in the black and well on the way to getting the next one out.

Of course the “next one” may be a prequel since several of you have been begging for those as well.

So go get three friends to buy it, please. If you run a book blog or club that you think can get even more sales, let me know and I’ll make a coupon for you to share.

The main website lists many purchasing options, as does the sidebar on this post. If you’re holding out for a print copy, tell me here.

And if you liked it and haven’t posted a review, please do, especially on sales sites and Goodreads. These things do influence other potential buyers, and we indie authors depend on fans to help spread the word, especially those of us standing up to disempowering trends in the romance, science fiction, and fantasy genres in favour of actual examination of gender tropes. That’s never going to be mainstream, but you can help make it at least self-sustaining.

Thanks so much for all of your support. I am actually working, I promise!

New Goodreads Group, New Stores

Exciting news all over the place today!

First, yesterday I launched a Feminist Romance discussion group on Goodreads after seeing other topics pertaining to it. It turned out other folks were asking for the very same things I was in my blog posts (parts 1 and 2) but being pooh-poohed as “thinking too much” or otherwise failing to enjoy the “fantasy” that works for others. I had considered starting a group before, but was worried it’d just be me sitting there looking like a lonely weirdo. I’m so happy that there are at least 18 other no-longer-lonely weirdos joining me already. I’ve even had two others excitedly step up to help moderate. Yay! Come chat with us about this burgeoning sub-genre!

Second, Apple’s iBooks (through iTunes)icon and Diesel now list “Finding Gaia” for sale. They’re through Smashwords, so I get a lower cut on those, but a sale’s a sale and I’ll happily take it if those are your preferred channels. I get the biggest cut from the Gumroad links (see sidebar), then Smashwords, then Amazon, then Barnes & Noble.

I’ll be posting the iBooks and Diesel links throughout the site later today.

Sneak Peeks and Coupons For Google+ Pre-Fans

I’ve almost completed the soundtrack list. It has been unexpectedly grueling to track down buy links for some of the songs, especially when my preferred versions have gone out of print.

I’ll be opening up that and other Extras on the main website later this week, but folks in my Notification Circle on Google+ will get early sneak peeks. I will likely also post some kind of special Smashwords coupon for those early pre-fans as well. So go +1 or ask to be part of it before it’s too late!

I’m looking at various options for benefits and perks for friends/fans on Goodreads as well. Add me there as a friend and/or fan to be in on whatever I can manage on their platform.

Tell your friends, especially anyone you know who might dig an adventure-filled love story between people with super powers!

Status Update

There have been some delays getting things back from the editor, plus some technical issues, so the original intent to launch on July 2 is almost impossible at this point. Given that it’s a holiday week in the US anyway, perhaps it’s best to bump it.

Just to play on the safe side, I don’t want to promise for the second week of July. I have an actual-paid cake decorating order for early in the third week, but it’s a basic thing so hopefully I’ll be able to launch “Finding Gaia” that week as well. I definitely want it up before the fourth week!

So stay tuned. As always, you can subscribe to the notification circle on G+ to be told about updates (and I’m considering offering some kind of Smashwords coupon to folks in that circle), or you can subscribe to this blog with the link to the right.

The goal will be to have it available on Amazon, plus Smashwords in multiple platforms, which will then distribute to secondary sites like the iBookstore, Barnes and Noble, and the Sony Reader Store. I’ll also probably list it directly via Gumroad, which will pay me the largest percentage. I will be listing it without DRM where I can, but some sites will add their own DRM, so if that concerns you, you’ll want either the Smashwords or Gumroad options.

The price will be $4.99. I’m hoping that is low enough to entice people to buy, but high enough to not look cheap, and to help me pay my editing, cover art, and ISBN bills.

I’ll be counting on you early adopters to help me spread the word! Thanks for your ongoing support.

Finished Editing!

I just finished my end of the editing (pending a couple of clarifications from the editor on stuff she wanted done). Phew!

I got all tingly when I read the ending, which I suppose is a good indication, since it’s not like I didn’t know what was coming. I’m still very excited by these characters and this story, and I’m already knee-deep in prequels and a sequel.

My next steps will be to flesh out this website and start sharing things publicly, plus finalize decisions about how/where it will be sold.

Thanks to everyone for continued support!

Things to Do and Jubilee

I’ve got the first edit draft back from the editor for Finding Gaia and I’m about 1/4 through.  The way it works (at least between Karen Babcock and I) is that she makes edits/marks/suggestions/comments throughout the piece I give her, all highlighted as her edits, then I go through and finalize them, clarify, fix, or whatever’s needed.

Other things to do this week include upgrading the main website, including posting the cover art I just got on the weekend from Charles Dowd:

Finding Gaia cover

Isn’t it awesome? I already posted it on G+ here. If you want to be informed of stuff early (including some seeeeekrit super special pre-release info), go tell me you want to be in the notification circle for that.

I also need to set up a Facebook page for the book (yes, I personally loathe the site and won’t ever be on there as me, but I’d be a fool not to market the book there, at least).

So there’s a bunch of online and offline stuff going on this week for the novel, all aimed at an early July release. Still waiting for final confirmation from the second music company for the permission for the John Denver lyrics (they’ve already given permission and taken payment but I need the final contract with the specified Acknowledgements information), but that should arrive any day now, so if all goes well, I’ll plan to release on Monday, July 2. Maybe it’ll be good post-Canada-Day, pre-Fourth-of-July reading material for some!

Other thoughts for today:

I was just at the gym on the treadmill (there’s something about a looming 40th birthday coupled with writing about immortal people that makes one take stock and decide to get some exercise), and the TV in front of me was covering the last day of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

Since the fake people who live in my head my characters are omnipresent, I found myself wondering how Jason would react to the Jubilee. How would a man born in 1620, who fought his first war under Cromwell’s wing, served as a Redcoat for many generations, but then became dedicated to peace and environmentalism and moved to the New York area in the early 1900s feel about the British monarchy today? I had conflicting thoughts about it for some time and realized that, in and of itself is the answer: he’d be conflicted.

One one hand, he has no love for authority taken by force. He came to despise both Cromwell and the monarchy equally, seeing them as puffed-up blowhards casually sending “lesser” men to their deaths. And his addiction to killing Frenchmen was less about service to the British King and much more about his own personal nefarious needs. But even the most begrudging soldier, over time, can come to see his colours as an important symbol, even with dying for. That’s part of the psychology of war. He never would have even contemplated turning sides to fight for the French.

After his despicable downfall, he rebuilt himself under Victoria’s reign and became a proper gentleman in that context. That would have included all due deference to Queen and country, and he most certainly appreciated – and still does – the finer qualities of Victorian culture. When he left England, it was not out of any disregard for his mother nation, but to advance his causes and avoid the temptation of the massive war on the horizon. He will always consider himself an Englishman at heart, even when he worked to adopt the accents and mannerisms of those around him in New York to better blend in.

Given all that, how would he regard the Jubilee? Going by the timeline, Trish and Don are around now, and Trish would consider it a gigantic waste of money for a bunch of rich, spoiled, living anachronisms. Don wouldn’t care, as there’s not a great deal of interest in royal watching for a man consumed by the harder sciences. It wouldn’t specifically be on Jason’s radar to pay attention, but what if he, like me today, happened across a television showing the Queen on a balcony, flanked by Charles and William, with WWII planes going overhead and the crowd singing, “God Save The Queen”?

That much I know: he’d stop and look, compelled to. He’d feel a tugging in his heart at every scene showing portions of London, the city where he was born. He’d sigh once again at how much it’s all changed in nearly 400 years. He’d want to look away and tell himself that it’s a bunch of useless posturing, and possibly even use Trish’s sneering to bolster that, but then the flags would wave and the anthem would ring in his ears, forcing him to stand there, transfixed, likely with his arms crossed defensively against his chest. He’d ache for his old estate and remember how the cold, rough stone of the outside corner felt on his hand when last he touched it and the servant behind him had said the words that echo in his mind every time he feels perpetually alone and adrift: “We none of us can live in the past, sir.” A lump would come to his throat, and he’d want to hide that, especially from Trish, lest she notice and tease him. It would be too painful to be teased about. If she was in the room, he’d turn to keep his face unseen, but not so much as to make her notice him hiding.

But at the same time, he’d feel pride in the people of his homeland. He’d see the crowd on television and wish to be anonymously among them. He’d smile at the ladies dabbing their eyes, and ache to be one of the stalwart men doing likewise. He’d likely tell himself that his bevy of emotions were about the people, the land, and the history, not about Elizabeth and most certainly not about Charles. His brow would furrow when Charles next came on the screen, and that, coupled with the coverage turning to an ad break, would break the spell. He’d take a deep breath, walk away, and try to forget about the whole rotten business.

Only later that night, as he stared at his white ceiling in his bedroom, would it occur to him that it might have been worth scanning the crowd for Gaia’s face. At this point in the timeline, he’s reasonably sure she’s in North America, but it would occur to him that it’s not unthinkable that she too may have felt the pull of an historic event and gone back to England. Only by contemplating the enormity of the cost and hassle for her would he be able to shake the feeling that he ought to have at least looked. Then he’d fall into a troubled sleep, replete with nightmares of ancient battles.

Fortunately for him, Gaia is nowhere near the Jubilee, and doesn’t even know it’s happening. But it’s quite unfortunate for her, because she knows little of anything happening up on the surface…