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 ❤

She drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. 

I don’t care who you really are

This isn’t a post about the women using male names thing. But it is somewhat related, I guess.

I keep seeing posts and status updates and comments that say “I don’t care who you really are” and I feel like I am the only person who is offended by that sentiment. I’m almost certain the people who say it are trying to be nice. They mean that they don’t judge their friends, that they accept everyone, regardless of color, gender, orientation, etc. I feel sure the intent behind the words is a positive, inclusive one. But personally, the phrase makes me cringe.

“I don’t care who you really are”

Really? You don’t care? To me it sounds like the old “I don’t see color” bullshit. A lot like it.

I always want to speak up, and sometimes I do, but it usually ends with me looking like the asshole in the situation and generally results in one less friend for me. So I’m going to try to spell out my objections here, in the hopes that a careful phrasing will work out better. And because I don’t think I have any friends left to lose, it doesn’t matter much if I fail. So here goes…

I DO care who you really are. And I kind of hope there might be someone out there who cares who I am.

If I say, “I’m a mother of two” and you answer “I don’t care! I don’t care who you really are!! 🙂 🙂 ” then honestly, you’re an asshole. I told you I was a mother because it is an important thing to me, it is a part of my identity at this point, and I was sharing that with you. That’s how people get to know each other, right? If someone tells you they are transitioning from male to female, and you say “I don’t care! I don’t care who you really are!! 🙂 🙂 ” then, again, you’re an asshole. That person told you something difficult and meaningful, they trusted you. Dismissing that is rude.

All of those details, those things we’re not supposed to care about – race, age, gender, sexuality – those things make up who we are. They are part of us. They are not irrelevant details. They constitute our life experiences, our identity.

Some people consider their gender to be a huge and inexorable part of their identity. Some others think of it as just another personal detail, like hair color or ethnicity. Same with sexuality. Some people really see themselves as “a bisexual person,” where their sexuality comes first as a modifier for their humanity. And other people think of it as just one of their personal quirks. Either way, if I am their friend, and they told me about this detail, exposed this part of themselves, I care about it. The same way I care about which of my friends is allergic to shellfish and which has a child with autism and which is a devout christian and which lost a parent to cancer: they are the details that make up that person’s self. More importantly: they are the details that person chose to share with me.

Saying “I don’t care who you really are” might be a good thing to say before making friends, if you really want to be clear that you’ll be friends with anyone no matter their personal details or history…. But are there really people out there who are NOT going to be friends with someone because of their race or gender or sexuality or age? I hope not, at least not in the m/m romance “community.”

But saying “I don’t care who you really are” after making friends with people is, I think, really mean. However, I’m starting to think I am the only person who feels this way. So far, it has been said in two of my critique groups, both of which are fairly small and (I thought) close-knit groups. I’ve also seen it on my facebook feed at least three times, and I’ve noticed it in comment threads a lot (I didn’t count but definitely saw more than a few instances of that exact phrase.) I’ve never seen anyone contradict the phrase or question it. Am I crazy? Oversensitive? Naive?

Most of the people who’ve used this phrase are writers, and I wonder if they would be so flippant with the details of their characters. LOL maybe next time someone says “My MC, Jacob, is a gay cis white man in his twenties–” I should cut in and say “Eh-eh-eh! I don’t CARE who he really is! I don’t care about any of that! I like him 🙂 🙂 🙂 ” and see how they react. Or the next time someone says “tell me about your characters,” I should answer “well…they’re human? what else do you need to know? does it really matter???” and see how that goes over.

For now, I’m going to chalk it up to me being stupid. And I’m going to use it as another reminder that I should be writing, and selling books, and not making “friends.” Probably it is good to remember that most of the people I interact with online don’t actually care about me, and that most of them lie about their personal details. I will try!

But I will probably fail.

If you post about your cat dying or your kid being sick or your car breaking down and I comment my sympathy or commiseration, I’ll do so because I actually give a shit. And while I will never ask for personal details, I will always honor and respect the details you do choose to share with me. Because, I do care who you really are. I can’t help it.

edit: I think I have figured out this thing. So what I think is that people MEAN to say: “I’ll like you no matter what.” (I think?) and that is a nice message, but the way they ARE saying it is: “I don’t care if you lie to me.” which is a much different thing to say and I think not a very friendship-inducing sentiment.

I’m not sure what to make of it all, except that I definitely lost the last shred of hope that I might ever find a group of writing-friends. I am solo! Probably for as long as I last in this genre.