I’m a Liberal Snowflake

I had a post all ready about the Women’s March, with pictures and links and deep thoughts about it and everything. But after this week’s political events, I think a shorter, simpler post is better.

I’m a liberal snowflake, and I’m proud.liberal-1

I care about people. I like freedom, all kinds of freedom but especially personal freedoms. I am “willing to discard traditional values” when they hurt people. (Also, calling something “traditional” does not make it right or good or fair. Genocide, rape, and war are all traditional.) I am open. I am generous. I am flexible. I am tolerant. I am a liberal.

Politically, I often find myself on the progressive end of the Liberal spectrum. I think the taxes we pay should go to helping the people who pay them, and I don’t mind paying taxes to help people.

I am starting to worry about the future of my country, and I feel strongly that something is going to happen, something bad and big and irreversible. I hope I am wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided that I am not powerless. Kindness is not a weakness. Liberal is not an insult. These are the tools I was given, and I’m going to use them to make the world a better place, even if I can only do that on a very small scale.

I will love people, I will show kindness, I will speak  out when I see wrongdoing or cruelty. I will be open to new ideas, I will listen, I will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

I’m a liberal snowflake, and I’m hoping to be part of the blizzard that makes the USA truly great.

LGBTQ History Lesson

I gave myself one, a few weeks ago 🙂

I stumbled across a post about Bayard Rustin and it shocked me. First, I had never heard of this person. Apparently, he was a major player in the civil rights movement, but I certainly never learned his name in school. Which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me. We only ever hear a handful of names, briefly focusing on only the most dramatic stories of what in reality was a long and multi-faceted movement.

652px-bayardrustinaug1963-libraryofcongress_cropSo, I spent an afternoon reading, doing research on Bayard Rustin. I learned he was openly gay (in the 1950’s!!), a pacifist, and a lifelong advocate for worker’s rights. The level of bravery and strength of spirit his accomplishments represent is amazing. It deserves remembrance.

I read a lot of negative material about Mr. Rustin, as well. His sexuality was a major point of contention in the civil rights movement. Black pastors and church leaders did not want to support him, and many feared he weakened the movement. His pacifism was another sticking point. Leaders like Malcom X insisted violence was a tool that should not be ignored, and thought Rustin was a fool for his nonviolent methods. Rustin was romantically linked to white men, which led to even more backlash.

Now, looking back on history, I think his contributions are clear. Though some might not agree with his non-violent methods, many more applaud him for just that. His work for and with labor unions is certainly notable, as is his LGBT activism. But to me, what was most impressive was the fact he dedicated his life to activism on behalf of all people, knowing he faced opposition from so many sides. To fight alongside people who you know don’t fully support you requires an inner strength I cannot imagine.

At the Women’s march this past weekend, I know many women did something similar. Trans women marched alongside cis women who wore shirts and signs equating vaginas with womanhood. Black women walked beside white women whose feminism often excludes or simply ignores POC. I think they probably did it for the same reason Rustin did: the cause was bigger than their individual needs at the time.

I am grateful for what I’ve learned about Bayard Rustin. I’m going to use it as a starting point to learn more about LGBT history! Hoping to post one each month here.

How about you? Do you know of any “forgotten heroes” of LGBT history? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Update on where to buy my books

Most people in the Romance community at this point have heard the sad news that All Romance E-books, a distributor of Romance and erotica, is closing. I have deactivated my books there, as they are not paying authors anymore. 😦

It got me thinking about what to do… Should I go back to being Amazon exclusive? It seems like KU is killing the competition, and maybe there is more money to be made by re-entering that program. But then, so many readers do not want to shop at Amazon, or can’t (for multiple reasons) so being tied down to just one vendor is maybe not the smartest.

For now, I’ve decided to stay “wide.” What that means is my books will continue to be available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, and Scribd.

Also, I have started a PayHip page for digital downloads of my books. Find it here: https://payhip.com/ameliabishop (I am working on a PayHip page for AC Bishop, too.)

A while back I had created a square store for selling signed paperbacks. So if that is something you are interested in, you can find those here. (US shipping only)

Is there a place you like to buy (or sell) your Romance fiction? I’d love to know!

I’ll cry if I want to

Maybe we shouldn’t blame 2016 for all the celebrity deaths and general calamity that have occurred during the past 12 months. People die all the time, famous or not, and it has little to do with the calendar year or any superstitious nonsense. And maybe we should all spend a bit more time mourning the innocent lives lost in Aleppo and less time grieving over celebrities. Maybe.

But the heart does not always heed logic. So I’ll mourn those who have touched my life, even if their deaths were less than tragic. I think that is a rational, human response. And I’ll blame this shitty year for all the shitty things that happened during it. I don’t care much if that is a rational response or just a convenient one, I’m still doing it.

You never know which deaths are going to hurt the most. I’ve lost family members, friends, and acquaintances. Some personal losses hurt more than others, and it is the same with celebrity or public-figure deaths. I was sad when Alan Rickman died, and David Bowie, and George Michael. I am sad today, hearing of Carrie Fisher’s passing. I’m also sad to read on social media so many posts proclaiming the foolishness of feeling bad over celebrity deaths.

It made me think about “why.” Why am I sad about Carrie Fisher but not Zsa Zsa Gabor? I suppose for the same reason I’m sad about George Michael but not (as much) Leonard Cohen. It’s not about who was the more talented or important person, it’s much more personal. I enjoyed some Leonard Cohen songs, and Zsa Zsa always made me smile, but George Michael and Carrie Fisher influenced me personally. They were threads in the fabric of my life. Small pieces, sure, but they meant something to me.

I remember being a pre-teen, dancing to Wham! songs in my room on sleepovers. Those early songs, and the music that George Michael made in the 90’s, were the background music of my adolescence and young adulthood. Eventually, his sexuality became a big part of his impact on me. My friends and I were more than ready for an openly gay pop star, but his struggle to come out publicly proved the world did not share our enthusiasm. It was like a barometer of the world’s homophobia, the timing of that coming-out, and I learned a lot from it.

I’m a Star Wars fan, but when I saw Postcards from the Edge, that was when I fell in love with Carrie Fisher. I must have watched that a dozen times, (with my mother, who herself was a bit eccentric and often embarrassing) and it soothed me and made me laugh and brought me a kind of peaceful joy I can’t really put into words. Then, much later when I saw her perform Wishful Drinking, I felt that same thing again.

So when I see posts telling me (not really “me” but people who have posted their grief which is similar to mine) to get over it, or to stop being so dramatic, I have to just say: Fuck off.

I’ll cry if I want to.

Today I mourn Carrie Fisher, a feminist, a public figure who was unapologetic about her mental illness, and one hell of a funny lady. If her death does not sting you, that is fine. We all have our influences and our loves. All I ask is a bit of empathy and respect.

Peace ❤

carrie_fisher_2013
She drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. 

Beyond the ‘Zon

Hello! I’ve made a decision, and have it almost fully implemented: I’m going wide with all my titles. Yes, from here on out I am no longer in the KU (kindle Unlimited) program, which required Amazon exclusivity. Now my books are available at Barnes & Noble, kobo, All Romance, and other major retailers. (I’ve updated my “books” page with buy links)

I’m not sure if this is a good choice or a bad one, I guess we never know that about any decision until it is too late, right? I’m just hoping this isn’t a mistake. But I suppose, if it is, it can be reversed.

I’m kind of sorry to be out of KU, only because I loved the idea of an amazon subscription service. As a reader, I think that kind of thing is fantastic. But as a writer, having to be exclusive with one retailer is tough. It means if I don’t get enough “reads” on the subscription, the program is not really worthwhile. I wonder about non-exclusive sites like 24 symbols and  scribd (which I have a few books on!) and how long they will last. It seems most of the subscription sites have been short lived, especially the ones that paid authors well.

If you’re a reader, and you prefer a retailer other than Amazon, here are my pages on Barnes & NoblekoboAll Romance e-Books

If you are an author, what are your thoughts on KU now? Is it still working for you? Or are you out, as well?

Finding the time to write

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeHello! Welcome to yet another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post 🙂 Today’s topic is “How do you find the time to write in your busy day?” Visit the Main Page and hop around to all the other great posts on this topic! And if you are an insecure writer yourself, join the hop! It’s fun and very supportive.

I have to admit to not writing much lately. Part of it has been due to busy days. Summer vacation for my kids means no real breaks for me. Not that I’m complaining, really. I spent my summer camping, going to the beach, and doing all kinds of fun stuff with my two favorite people in the world: my babies ❤

But another reason for my not finding time to write has just been lack of drive to do so. I’ve found myself wondering why I even do it. Why create things not many people are interested in reading? No matter how much I love my work, and no matter how much I try to “write for myself,” I have to admit it often feels pointless.

My most “successful” story so far is Bound, a m/m Romance about a man in a wheelchair and his return to mild BDSM. It’s a free story, which is why I put the quotes around successful. I still consider it a success, because people have enjoyed it and I’m proud of it, but it’s not a money maker. It wasn’t written to be a money maker, though, it was written as part of a free anthology. So there is no disappointment in its lack of earnings, only pride in its popularity. If I could re-create that feeling with my other books—that distance from the “commercial” market—then maybe I could regain some of the joy in writing. If anyone knows the trick to this, please, please tell me! In the meantime, I’m fighting the worry that what I write is not marketable (because it usually isn’t) and that has been a real hindrance to my desire to make time for writing.

I’m hoping to start a new job soon, though, only part time but I hope it might give some structure to my days and maybe that will get me writing again. The kids are back in school 😦 and the summer is nearly over, so the beach is less of a distraction, too. I’m confident I can make some time for writing again.

What about you? Have you managed to make a writing schedule? Or do you write in small bits, whenever you can spare a moment? Do you struggle to find time to write, or do you make it a priority? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below (click on the title of this post if you’re on my main page & comments are not visible) and tell me about your writing.

What was your first writing?

Hello! Welcome to another Insecure Writer’s Support Group post 🙂 It seems these are all I post, lately… Sorry about that. I will try to get more active in posting to this blog.Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

This week’s IWSG question is: “What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?”

My first piece of writing was an erotic short story I called “guilty pleasures.” It was pretty awful. I kept thinking about it, though, and I couldn’t stop writing it. The weird thing was that even though it was a very smutty piece of writing, I didn’t really feel very aroused about it. (Sorry if that is TMI.) It just came to me as a powerful little story and so I wrote it down. I’d never written any fiction, at least not seriously, before. But this story I did feel kind of serious about, and I published it myself on Amazon, because I could. 🙂

I never told anyone about it, although I had to tell my husband. I had to explain what I was doing on the computer so much! LOL! When I sold my first copy, I was sure he had bought it. I confronted him, and he reminded me that he didn’t even know my pen name. That feeling of knowing that a complete stranger was reading the crazy (and embarrassing) words I’d written was probably the weirdest emotion I’d ever experienced. casual man acting as a fortune teller

I went on to write two follow-up novellas, and one of them was essentially a m/m romance. That one (honest desires) sold quite a bit, and that success led me to focus more on m/m stuff. But my heart still beats strongest for menage stories. ❤

I unpublished Guilty Pleasures a while later. (Though I did leave it out there for much too long. If you bought the first version: I’m so, so sorry.) Last year I revised it and re-published it under my “new” erotica name, AC Bishop. So if you want to read it, you can now find it here. No one ever buys it anymore. It is a very dirty fairy-tale type story, m/m/f menage, a little on the kinky side. I probably should be way more embarrassed than I am about it!

Anyway, what about you? What was the first thing you ever “seriously” wrote? What happened to it? I’d love to hear! 🙂