Get Yourself Listed, Maybe

Hi. I like lists.

You know what they say, list-makers’ gonna list.

This is my compilation of chicks and dicks who work closely with authors. AKA, the hard-working people we wouldn’t have much to show for if they weren’t around. Okay, that’s a wonky sentence, but you get my drift. I’m running low on sleep and high on caffeine.

I’ve only just started this index, so I’ll be adding continuously to it. When it’s someone I’ve personally worked with in one way or another, I’ll add my own notes. This list will get a button on my website so I can access it easily. I’ll probably rearrange the categories as the list grows, but for now, here we go!

If you know someone who should be listed, don’t hesitate to drop a link. I’ll add anyone who’s been recommended by others. Of course, you can throw self-promo my way, too. That’s a big part of what we do. If you’re an editor or proofer, though, have a couple testimonials around and I’m happy.

The “maybe” in the title is because this is for me. I just like sharing the links and work by those who help authors. In short, this isn’t some must-have list, but every little bit of sharing helps, right? Plus, I’ll link to this in my newsletter, so there’s that. Now’s when I stop rambling. Jesus H Christmas.


Editing & Proofing

Lisa at Silently Correcting Your Grammar gets personally offended by typos and misplaced commas, and she works crazy hours to hunt them all down. She edits for New York Times bestsellers (and me! :P) and shares my passion for research and accuracy. She’s my HBIC.

Jeanne McDonald is another Grammar Nazi whose clients have made the New York Times bestseller list. Additionally, she’s one of the sweetest women I’ve met in our mad industry, and she works hard to promote her author friends.

Rach Lawrence Books. Rachel has both formatted and proofed for me, and I couldn’t be happier with her work. Her perspective is fresh, and if there’s one thing an author needs after staring at the same document for months and months it’s a new pair of eyes that see what you miss.

Love Infinity Proofreading.

Gwyneiira’s Editing Services.

Formatting

Lindsey Gray Formatting Services.

Rach Lawrence Books.

Graphic Design

Jada D’Lee Designs did the covers for Aftermath and Outcome! Can’t say enough good things about her; she’s funny, so talented, and very accommodating.

Under Cover Designs.

Mayhem Cover Creations knows excellent design. I don’t even know what to say. It’s probably best to let her portfolio speak for itself because holy crap.

PA Services & PR Agencies

Eliza at Eliza Rae Services definitely goes the extra mile. She’s very professional, works hard, and has years of experience in everything I struggle with when all I want to do is write. You know, math and silly things like that. This woman, though, gets off on spreadsheets, feels at home in Excel, and lights up at a new challenge. I’m lucky to call her my PA. You can, too!

Neda at Ardent Prose PR was amazing to work with for my relaunch of Touch: The Complete Series. I’m filing her under #CareerGoals and hope to be able to work with her again soon.

Pretty Little Book Promotion & PA Services.

IndiGo Marketing & Design.

Signal Boost PR.

Jennifer at Jennifer R. Promotions is a friend and part of my Street Crew. She’s a sweetheart who stops at nothing to pimp out the authors she takes on.

Gay Book Promotions.

More coming soon

Always looking for indie swag makers…


Pssst. Uncomplicated Choices was released today!

When life gave you lemons, you learned who stayed and made lemonade with you. Or something to that effect. And the day Ellis Hayes kidnapped me—or, he borrowed a yacht and didn’t know I was on board—he’d definitely been handed too many lemons.

We faced a dilemma when I woke up hungover in the middle of the ocean. He needed to get the hell out of town to do some soul searching and decide whether or not to divorce his wife, and I needed to get back on land because humans didn’t belong on the water. There was also better cell service on land, and I had my four-year-old daughter on vacation in Paris to check in with.

Then I remembered I wasn’t a complete tool. Ellis wasn’t doing all right, and we were practically family. I had to stay and make lemonade with him. Of course, me being me, seemingly un-dateable and complicated, I had to develop feelings for him, too.

Autism In My Perfect World

I don’t necessarily write autistic characters every now and then to make a statement, or to even raise awareness, though it’s definitely a big bonus. I write autistic characters in some of my books because they’re real.

They walk among us.

😉

Or, we walk among you.

I found out I was autistic in my late twenties. Ironically, I read a book in which a character might as well have been me. It sparked my curiosity, because that guy in that book had the same questions I did. What the freaking frakk is so important about staring into each other’s eyeballs so much? Why did I have to suppress sheer rage just because a goddamn label in the neckline of a shirt rubbed against my skin? Why did sudden noises give me heart palpitations? Why didn’t I react like most others did? And did I really have an unhealthy attachment to my headphones?

When you’re diagnosed later in life, chances are a person has perfected the act of pretending to fit in. While I don’t understand certain social cues or always pick up on them, I can fake them damn well. I learn by shoving memories into a mental catalogue, memories of how others react to specific things, and if I make a wrong move, I probably won’t do it again. Instead I’ll mimic what’s normal. This is one of the reasons many—who found out about Autism later—get the grating question, “But you don’t seem autistic” here and there.

Would it help if I behaved like Rain Man?

I’m not interested in Rain Man. I’m interested in those who can’t guess the number of toothpicks on the floor with a single glance.

Whether it’s a car mechanic in Bakersfield or a three-year-old little girl who doesn’t speak, I write Autism on the spectrum that it exists. Everyday struggles included, some more relatable than others, some more severe than others. I want it real because Autism isn’t all adorable quirks and funny mishaps, though they take place, too… We are pretty fucking cute. But most of all, Autism is personal and can alienate someone in the blink of an eye. All it takes is a neurotypical person’s perfectly normal reaction for an autistic person to feel different. And if that person doesn’t know about Autism, he or she can easily turn that into there’s something wrong with me.

You only have to scratch the surface before you realize how common Autism is. Yet, it’s so easily misunderstood and misrepresented. Other than the fact that Autism is an interesting topic for me, that’s why I write autistic characters on occasion. Because we’re friggin’ everywhere. And this applies to many mental disorders, so when an author has the insight and ability, I think it’s kind of cool they/we give these disorders a voice. If then someone learns something on the way, fucking A.

A little understanding never killed anyone.

Autism in my perfect world of fiction is about normalizing something that’s already common.

That’s all.

Crap. I guess this qualifies as a statement, after all.

Are you sure you’re happy with your novel?

I published a new book the other day. Fist-pumps the air. The idea for this novel came to me seven years ago, title included. This was back when I wrote more fanfiction, so I still have the banner I created. January 27th, 2011. Path of Destruction. Since then, the idea of the rock-star romance has grown and developed in some dark corner of my mind. Names for characters popped up, scenes played out before my eyes, and boom, hey, let’s end the guy’s rock star career with a prison sentence, and hey, let’s research addiction and abuse for the heroine.

I lived and breathed that novel once I really started writing. I questioned myself at every turn, I dreamed about it and woke up with ideas and lines and various crap I just had to include in the book, I—as usual—stopped existing in real life, and I had notes everywhere that I swear some little gnome move around when I’m not looking.

Since I value realism and plausibility as much as I do, research is a big part of my work. It’s something I take pride in. For this particular novel, there was a lot to learn. Lincoln, my main guy, has spent the past ten years in prison, and can you imagine? He missed the internet explosion. He’s new to social media, and he can’t for the life of him understand why people text so fucking much. When he leaves prison, he thinks Walkman is still a thing. He’s overwhelmed and has a short fuse.

Rewind: my first thought, no matter how brief it was, was about reuniting him with the girl he lost when he was arrested. Then I thought, well…hold up, he’s been to prison, and ten years have passed. Let’s find out how he’s actually going to react. Freedom comes before the girl. The world has changed.

Step by step, I brought him out of that facility. Literally, step by step. He’ll register the familiar sounds of the locks and heavy doors, the comfort of the only clothes he’s worn for a decade, and when he’s given some pocket change, he notices the design of the money’s changed.

Research brings a story to life on another level, in my opinion. Whether I’m reading journals from inmates who have spent years and years locked up, or I’m asking my musician husband about Lincoln’s guitar playing, I try to cover everything I can think of. A book is a puzzle. Everything has to fit. Does the way he speak match his education and background, would Jesse and Abel accept Lincoln’s presence quickly or would there be issues, and when the hell can Lincoln and Adeline finally get together?

I’m rambling. I actually have a point to make, believe it or not.

When picking beta readers, the last thing I want is a group of ass-kissers. I want their honesty about everything, and I did get some criticism. Thank fuck. Because if they didn’t catch it, it would fall on the readers to get dissatisfied. So I went back and did some changes; my editor and I went back and forth for weeks, too. Then my proofer had her go, and again, some changes, very minor this time.

Last reading round, I was so fucking happy with Path of Destruction. The puzzle was complete, and I heard enough “This is your best book yet; I’ll never forget it” to make me soar.

Of course, me being me, I suck at promoting myself, so this is hardly a book that will hit any bestseller lists. But, no matter what, I’m very happy with my work. I continue to write what I want to read, and I actually read it yesterday. I recommend it. 😉

To my point. An author can never please everyone. There will probably be readers who completely trash Destruction on Amazon and Goodreads. It happens. Always. Now, it’s close to impossible to offend me, but I can still get my feelings hurt, so I tend to avoid reading reviews. The reviews are for readers, not for writers. My job is done. But yeah, there will be those who don’t like it, and here’s what won’t happen if/when I see someone tearing Path of Destruction to pieces: me venting about it online.

As a writer, I understand the sting. Goddammit, we put so much energy into these books. Someone calling them shit can hurt. Some readers get overly vicious, too. But I promise, turning it into a fight won’t change the reader’s mind. If anything, more will see an author throwing a tantrum because someone didn’t like their book. On social media, we never see every side of the story. We scroll down our feeds and see one side, one bitch fit. And I’ll never understand why.

Are you not happy with your book? If you are, then why let one reader ruin it for you? Did no one ever tell you to not feed the trolls? Or…did the review strike a chord; did the reader have a point? In which case, accept it and improve because your butthurt is showing.

As I write my book, I think some crazy shit

I’m going to focus. Concentrate. Hard. I’m going to write this bitch so good. I see the scene in my head, the one that will end up somewhere in the middle of the book where the hero shoves the heroine up against the wall and growls “I’m done pretending” before kissing her until her panties are ruined. Y’all know that scene. I see it, so I’m going to focus. Concentrate. Hard. I wonder how different the scene would look if I wrote heroin instead of heroine…

Focus!

*puts on headphones and stares at empty document.*

A familiar sight. New chapter. I should upgrade from Office 2003, but I hate change so much that… I just don’t like change. To some, it’s a regular personality trait. To some, it’s autism. It’s been a while since I went on Pinterest to look for Aspie memes…

Fuck, now I lost concentration. I’ll just play Blossom Blast on my phone for ten minutes, and then I’ll be ready to write this bitch. So. Good.

Ten minutes is silly, though. I have five lives; I might as well stick it through until I can’t. I’m no quitter!

*plays Blossom Blast.*

A human interrupts me. “You hungry?”

I glare at him. Can’t he see I’m busy? “I’m working! How many times do I have to tell you that when I’m wearing my headphones, I’m busy–”

He points to my phone. “It doesn’t look like work.”

I suppress a sigh. He wouldn’t understand. Muggle.

“I’m not hungry,” I say, returning to my Blossom Blast game.

I run out of lives and rub my hands together. Then I lose track of time as I write my next masterpiece. Oh it’s going to be so good. My hero’s past is tragic. He doesn’t have any parents. They died because I don’t want to write them. Boring. Now I don’t have to include them. I don’t have to think about them. There won’t be any in-between takes where he goes to visit his folks, no boring phone calls from his mother. It’s really easy to kill off parents in books.

*tilts head.*

I wonder how many orphans there are in fiction. Many. Do other writers kill them off for the same reason? Or just to build up the hero’s tragic past? Ugh. This is not original. Maybe mine will simply be a bitter bastard, not because he lost his folks but because…um. Oy, this is getting complicated.

*kills off parents.*

There. Done.

“How was work, hon?”

“Good, I killed some people.”

I have five lives on Blossom Blast again!

I get to the next level before I’m out of lives. It was a good break. I check the time and wonder where the time went. Shit. Well, I did refill the lives a couple times… A two hour break is perfectly fine, because now I’m ready to write this bitch so good.

Two paragraphs later, I’m hungry like whoa. I’m also stuck, so it’s best to take a break again. I cook dinner and get my fill of human interaction. I do human things, and it gets me thinking on realism. I like that in my books. My characters get hungry. They go to the bathroom. You rarely see that in the fluffier romance novels. Even rarer in BDSM books. They can go out for a Mexican bean fest for dinner and then they hit the lavish playroom for some good ‘ol anal sex and maybe even a fisting. Or a bondage session. And I’m sitting there, wondering if the sub never has to pee.

“What’re you thinking about?”

I snap out of my thoughts. “Um…realism?” I raise a solidarity fist. “Buttsex before burrito.”

He’s looking at me funny. “Right… I’m not sure if you’re asking for anal or if you’re still hungry.”

“I’m full.”

“So you wanna…?”

I forget to answer, already getting back into work mode. I make sure my character goes to the bathroom before he gets on his flight, because really, he’s six foot two and airplane bathrooms were built for…children. I don’t know the PC protocol. Is it okay to say midget? Dwarf? Little person? I’m useless about that. When I’m around people I’m comfortable with, I use the r-word and justify it with a diagnosis. I’m entitled to use the word like some black comedians can’t crack a joke without that other word. You know the one.

Another word many seem to dislike so much in books is cunt. I think it’s about exposure. I used to think it was too crass, or best used as an insult. But I’ve changed my mind after reading smut where it was all cunt, cunt, cunt.

It can be hot when used right.

I snicker. That’s what she said.

I’m such a fucking dork.

Focus!

Right. It’s been a while since I played Blossom Blast…

Then I realize it’s late, so I might as well call it a day. I got little to fuck-all done, but I’ll write this bitch so good tomorrow instead. Grammatically, I know it’s write this bitch so well. I’m not completely r-worded.

I’m asked how work went today.

I answer, “I put on my headphones but forgot to push play. How was yours?”

The next day, I’m unreachable. Everything just clicks, and I write forty pages in no time at all. I don’t understand it sometimes, how motivation and determination work, but I’m thankful it does work on occasion. Otherwise I’d have to get a normal-person job.

Gross.

 

The prologue of Noah, Julian’s POV

Noah 2

Copyright © 2016 by Cara Dee
All rights reserved
 
Edited by Silently Correcting Your Grammar, LLC.

*

Buy Noah on Amazon.

 This is the prologue of Noah that didn’t make the cut in the book.


Prologue

Then

Julian Hartley

Maybe it was a phase.

I shut down my laptop and placed it next to me on the bed. From downstairs, I could hear Uncle Noah had arrived, judging by the sheer volume of his booming voice and everyone in the family greeting him—always so loudly. It bugged me, though I tried not to let it show.

In the meantime, I was in his old room, surrounded by glimpses of his childhood. Football trophies from high school, more hockey memorabilia than I could count, and photos of him and his friends. He was ridiculously photogenic. Not afraid to take off his shirt and show his abs. He’d obviously been to many pool parties.

He lit up every picture, and I did not care for how I viewed him. Not unlike the guys I’d just watched on my laptop.

It was my ongoing trial…? I supposed. I couldn’t be blind anymore to the fact that I was attracted to guys, but now fingers were crossed it was just a phase and nothing permanent. I was only sixteen; my hormones were raging. It was a plausible explanation, and Uncle Noah was simply a handsome man. He had that kind of personality; everyone was drawn to him. But I had to wonder, was he really always that cheerful? There was something strange about people who were always in a good mood.

Having only known him for a few years, I couldn’t be certain, but the photos always showed him grinning, smiling, laughing—preeetty sure he looked giggly in one. Maybe he was intoxicated.

“Julian, honey!” Nana called from down the stairs. “Everyone’s here now!”

Duty called.

I’d kiss the ground my family walked on, but sometimes I felt so out of place. I let out a breath and stood up, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror on Uncle Noah’s door.

I made a face. My hair was a mess, I was all scrawny, and I looked as jet-lagged as I felt. Hopefully, I’d get some sleep tomorrow when we drove to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

This year, we were going camping for our reunion, and I was clueless. I’d spent last week walking in my new hiking boots Dad helped me pick out because, apparently, sneakers were no good.

I left the room I’d share with my little brother JJ and headed downstairs. Dinner smelled so good it made my mouth water. Nana was making her pulled pork casserole, and I couldn’t wait.

As I was about to round the corner to get to the kitchen, I slammed into something solid. For a second, I was wrapped up in warmth that smelled better than dinner. Whatever aftershave or cologne it was, it belonged to Uncle Noah, and he laughed as he steadied me. Two firm hands on my arms, and I looked up dazedly to see his grinning face.

“Oh, hey there, Julian.” His smile widened. “I was just about to get’cha. You excited to go camping tomorrow?”

I stared like a moron. Something had changed. I should speak, but I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t looking forward to camping at all. Could he do or say something loud and cheerful so it could bug me? I could talk easier when I was annoyed and…unmoved.

His expression changed into one of concern, and he slid one hand up to my shoulder, almost touching my neck. “You all right, kid?”

Good God, he was handsome. I hated him. He made life look wonderful. Or, scratch that, I hated myself. I wanted life to be wonderful, too. I’d heard great things about it.

Say something!

Crap.

I nodded dumbly and managed to look away from his eyes. “Yup, yes—er, sorry. I’m tired. Camping should be…fun?”

Uncle Noah laughed and ruffled my hair like I was a little child. Like I was JJ. “Lucky for you, you get my old bed all to yourself. I’m staying at a hotel.” He winked.

My face grew hot, and maybe I did hate him a little bit. What the hell was wrong with me? Now I was picturing things. Yes, much, much better he was staying at a hotel. The Hollywood golden boy. Boy, as in…big, tall, muscular, good-smelling man. And I was a freak. Someone should have me institutionalized.

“I, uh—well, I’m, um, I’m sharing with JJ,” I said, completely flustered. I needed to get away. “I’ll go, uh, help Nana with dinner.”

I made a hasty escape to the kitchen where Nana and Mom were chatting away while cooking and preparing snacks for the camping trip.

“There’s my favorite.” Mom smiled. “Come here, you can help me cut these sandwiches in half. They’ll be lunch tomorrow.”

I relaxed instantly and got to work. It wasn’t being called favorite that had made me comfortable around Mia Collins; it wasn’t what she said that had made her Mom. It was how she genuinely wanted me around and included me, which my biological mother had failed at over and over. Last time I’d called her, over a year ago, she’d answered with, “What do you want?” Whereas, Mom…sometimes still got teary-eyed just because I called her that. No one had made me feel as included in this family as her and Nana.

It was no wonder I preferred the kitchen over the living room where all the men gathered.

“You know, dear,” Nana said, checking the casserole, “Julian’s old enough to fly on his own now. He should come visit more often.”

“I don’t know, Ma…” Mom grimaced and handed me some plastic bags to put the sandwiches in. “Maybe next year. I already know I won’t be able to sleep when he goes off to Paris with his class this fall.”

I chuckled. “That’s not because I’ll be gone.”

“Oh, shut your pie hole,” she laughed.

“Am I missing something?” Nana turned to us. “I’m missing something.”

I couldn’t help but smirk. “Linda’s the fussiest baby ever, and I’m the only one who can lull her to sleep at night if she’s having a fit.” Which was a lot. She probably learned new ways to scream more often than she learned new words.

“He plays for her,” Mom gushed. “It’s the sweetest thing.”

I smiled and focused on the sandwiches as my damn cheeks burned.

*

During dinner, we talked mostly about the camping trip, and I did my best to not stare at Uncle Noah too much. Already it felt weird calling him uncle. He wasn’t even very unclelike. Maybe with JJ. Right before dinner, I caught Noah teaching JJ how to Saran-Wrap the toilet. The man was a kid like that. He also had a contest with my baby sister where they made funny faces at each other, and it was all fun and games until Linda began screaming and wanted to get away from Noah’s lap fast.

Dad and I cleared the dining room table while Nana and Uncle Noah prepared coffee and dessert in the living room. For the fucking life of me, I couldn’t stop observing him. Or maybe gawking? I wasn’t sure I knew where the line went.

“Did you hear what I said, son?” Dad chuckled.

I turned to him quickly, eyes wide, and nearly dropped a dish as I was putting it in the dishwasher. “What?”

He smirked and shook his head. “You’ve been distracted all evening. I asked if you wanted to come out in the yard and play football with us.”

Since when do I play football?

“Uh…no, thanks. I can watch, though…?”

Poor Dad. I bet he wished I was more like him, into football and soccer, guy stuff and whatnot. Luckily for him, JJ was already sold on all that.

“Fair enough.” He started to leave the kitchen, but he came back to give the top of my head a quick kiss. Then he left, and it was awkward. I was dumb, wasn’t I? Maybe I should fake it. Pretend I was into that stuff. Dad would certainly like it.

“Hey, Dad?” I called, and he popped his head in the door opening. “One game.”

He smiled widely.

*

If only dessert lasted forever, but it didn’t. Dad and Uncle Noah were itching to go outside, as was JJ, so I was doomed. I sat on the old porch swing in the backyard and tied my sneakers as Noah and Mom decided the teams. I ended up with Mom and Dad, and we were playing against Uncle Noah, JJ, and Pops.

“We’re gonna win, Uncle Noah!” JJ shouted.

“Of course we are.” Noah had just taught him how to fist-bump, so they did that every other minute when JJ ran toward him with his fist up high. Uncle Noah grinned and turned to Mom. “The fuck they changing their accents for?”

“What?” Mom frowned.

“JJ sounds more British than American, and Julian over there—” Noah jerked his chin at me “—ain’t far off.”

“I don’t sound British,” I said. That was crazy.

“They’re attending an international school until they’re fluent in German,” Dad said. “Most teachers are from the UK, so it wouldn’t be implausible for their accents to change a bit.”

“I don’t sound British!” I repeated.

Pops hemmed and hawed. “You all sound like Americans who’ve lived in England too long. You clearly need more teachers from Pittsburgh in Berlin. I can volunteer, you know. Teach them Europeans a thing or two about ‘merica.”

I sighed, and Mom said it was enough chitchat because she wanted to destroy her brother in football. That made Noah guffaw.

*

I was the weak link in our team, something Noah took advantage of way too often. JJ was focused on Mom and Dad, and Pops merely played for fun, but Noah played to win.

I had no idea what the score was. Maybe we were in the lead? Either way, it made Noah more competitive, and he kind of forgot to include JJ. Instead, he tackled Dad, ran past Mom, whom Pops was blocking, and then all I heard was incoherent yelling. Oh my God. Between Noah and the goal was just me.

“You can take him, honey!” Nana hollered.

I really, truly can’t!

I glanced over quickly at Dad, who had this hopeful look on his face. I hated the game he loved, but I guessed in some way I wanted to give him at least this. Holy hell, I was going to go down fast, but I found some inner courage and braced myself for impact.

Noah wore a dark smirk as he ran closer. I was toast. I was really toast. But if I got lucky, maybe I could stall him enough for Mom and Dad to catch up. And a second later, all thoughts flew out of my head. I intercepted Noah’s path, and he crashed into me. The ball bounced and rolled out of his reach, and I grunted as my back hit the grass.

The pain shot through me, causing me to groan, and I couldn’t breathe very well with Noah right on top of me. I didn’t know my eyes had closed, but the thought of him lying on me made them flash open.

I wasn’t the only one in pain, thank goodness. He was groaning too, and I became painfully aware of everything that wasn’t painful. His body was solid, larger than mine, and it felt…good. Oh God, it felt extremely good, and he smelled amazing.

I vaguely registered Mom grabbing the ball with a “Ha-ha!” that made Noah curse and slam his fist down on the grass. After that, he looked down at me and chuckled, half irritated, half amused.

“You okay?” he asked.

I shook my head because I was about to panic. I couldn’t fucking stop my body from reacting. “My spine,” I lied.

“Oh shit, I’m sorry, kid.” He rushed off me and grabbed my hand to help me up. It was dizzying, and I was mortified.

Putting some distance between us, I hoped no one could see how flustered I was, or how utterly embarrassed. Or that I was kind of hard. I hated myself.

I made my way over to the porch swing again and sat down, relieved it masked my arousal. When Mom and Dad hurried over to make sure I was okay, it was easier to lie.

Five minutes of fussing later, I was left alone while they finished the game without me. I blew out a breath and leaned forward. My erection had thankfully gone down, but the mortification hadn’t.

The man who was supposed to be my uncle had made me hard, for God’s sake. I needed to dig a hole in the ground and lie down. Hell, the more I thought about it, the more awful it got. What if he’d felt it? Had he? No, that was unlikely. But what if he had? I’d kill myself. I was only starting this hell ride of being controlled by hormones. It was bound to get worse.

I groaned quietly into my hands and berated myself for coming to the reunion. And we had a whole week to go before I could return home and suppress this memory.

You want to run into him again, idiot.

This wasn’t a damn phase. I was fucking gay. Just another thing to add to the list of crap that made me different from all others.

I wished I could be normal for once.

#

Noah 3

Dear Reviewer, You’re Wrong

In the past few days, I’ve been going through my Twitter account. I figured there’s no need to follow people who haven’t tweeted anything in three years. Plus, I wanted to find some new reviewers to follow.

As I was tracking those down, of course I saw their short bios, too. And let me tell ya, if I see another “I’m not an author, just another reviewer,” I’mma go postal. So this is my open letter to Just Another Reviewer.

You’re wrong.

You clearly don’t see how invaluable you are. A while back, I tried the promo thing. I paid x amount of ka’ching to have Breaking Free and With Brave Wings promoted like nothing else. Bloggers signed up, and I saw links being tweeted to left and right for two days. It felt…notsogood. I was invisible. I became an ad, and in today’s society we filter those out.

But you, Just Another Reviewer, take the time to read my book. There’s no one I’ll throw a book at faster than a reviewer. You make notes, rate it, and post it on social media for readers to see. You are not just another reviewer. You are my biggest support in getting the word out there.

My sales didn’t spike after doing promo. Every now and then, however, they spike because a reviewer liked my book and told people about it. A couple months after I released With Brave Wings, my sales skyrocketed, and I knew it was because of a reviewer or two. Same thing happened with Northbound and Northland, not to mention Aftermath for which I still get tagged on Facebook almost three years after the publishing date.

I don’t give a flying fuck about how small you think your following is—if you have thousands or you consider yourself a reader who “only” chats about a book online with a few friends after reading it. Publishing in the jungle that is today’s book industry would be a whole lot more difficult without you.

Sincerely,
Just another author.

Keep your fanfiction to yourself.

“You might want to keep your fanfiction writing to yourself. It’s sort of a curse word, you know? You don’t want to be labeled as a fanfiction writer.”

This is a message I received today. Friendly advice from someone who also wrote to tell me she loved Northland, my last novel.

Hey. Lady. First of all, mind ya neck. What I do in my spare time is none of your business. I’m stoked that you loved Northland, but you know where it all started for me? Fanfiction. Without it, there would be no Northland.

Second of all, telling an author she should keep her fanfiction to herself is like telling a chef not to advertise the fact that she cooks at home. Because the thing is, fanfiction is a hobby. We’re all entitled to those. And just because a chef makes mac and cheese at home doesn’t mean she’s gonna charge for it in a restaurant. Same applies to me; I might take a few more liberties in my fanfiction, but that doesn’t mean I’ll do the same in original fiction. I know there’s a difference between the two.

One is a part of a fandom. One is an industry.

I take my work seriously because I love it. It’s my dream job, and I’m lucky enough to be able to live off of it. It doesn’t matter if it’s research or editing or character development or marketing or formatting or sentence structure, everything I’ve learned started with fanfiction and the people I’ve gotten to know in my fandom.

My writing has changed a lot over the years, but no matter how hard you work, if you erase the beginning, you still end up with nothing.

I know there are writers who start with fanfiction and move over to original fiction way before they’re ready, hence the bad rep fanfiction has earned. But to assume we’re all like that is insulting.

If I were ashamed of writing fanfiction, it’d be like saying fuck you to every single reader who’ve encouraged me to publish in the first place. If it weren’t for them, I don’t even know what I’d be doing today.

I write what I want to read, and I will continue to do so, whether it’s original fiction or mac and cheese.