Yaaay, it’s finally here! It seems like ages ago that I was sitting at work and was randomly hit with the idea: “What if someone started dating what they thought was one person, but they didn’t realise that they were actually seeing twins?” Obviously I couldn’t pass that up! ^-^
I knew almost instantly that the main character was going to be genderqueer, but for a long time I couldn’t quite get the setting right. I kept imagining the characters at a British-style magical academy, and feeling like it just wasn’t quite right. Then I realised that I was viewing the story through my “white person default” glasses, and decided to try switching the setting, and the story immediately came into focus! (Hasani as a blonde white guy? Uh, no. What was I thinking??)
Anyway, here are some of the places where you can purchase Double Take online, either for your e-reader, or to read on your computer:
I had a ton of fun writing this story, and I hope readers will enjoy it! I also want to draw everyone’s attention to the other stories in Less Than Three’s fab Trans Geek Out collection, because I truly believe it had something for everyone! It’s a lovely example of the diversity in the trans community, and how trans people can and should exist in all different types of stories.
I’ll let the fantastic covers speak for themselves, but click through for more info:
Thanks for reading! As always, have a picture of my cat looking impressed. She’s super proud of me for publishing a book. You can tell.
(Trigger warning on this post for mention of rape and incest.)
I meant to write this blog post ages ago, but the release date for Double Take totally snuck (sneaked?) up on me, so here I am writing it now! I did want to talk about this before release day, because I think it’s a fairly important topic.
So I’m of the opinion that there’s no such thing as a “bad” kink. The way I see it, kinks are natural, and no one should have to feel bad about something they can’t control. In fact, I think kinks are a great way to explore your sexuality and make your life more exciting! The thing is, some people have kinks that are inappropriate, immoral and/or illegal to act on. That’s why things like erotica and roleplay are important. They exist as safe and consensual ways to act out out a kink without actually hurting anyone.
But there are some people who feel that erotica that includes those kinds of kinks shouldn’t be published. Some people feel that by encouraging people who say, get turned on by reading about or roleplaying rape scenes, you’re encouraging those people to actually go out and rape someone. I don’t personally agree with that opinion, but that’s not what I want to discuss here. I want to discuss the opinion that books about certain kinks shouldn’t be published because they might trigger or upset someone who has experienced something horrible in a similar situation to the one that the book presents as sexy.
Which is a legitimate concern. I would absolutely hate to accidentally trigger or upset someone who has had a negative experience in the past, because they read my book without realising that it had sensitive content in it. But the answer is not to never publish anything that might trigger someone.
The answer, my friends, is content warnings.
Some people really don’t like the idea of content warnings. They think they’re a form of censorship, or an insult to the reader, who should apparently be able to handle anything the book throws at them, without any prior warning of the fact. Obviously, I don’t agree with that, and I’m luckily enough to write for a publisher who has a similar stance (and even has a nifty option to toggle content notes on and off on their website, so people can choose whether or not they want to be warned about potentially triggering or upsetting content.) I see content warnings as a common courtesy, a way to help potential readers make an informed choice, and maybe even get some new potential buyers, who like that particular kink that I’m “warning” them about.
In my opinion, it is absolutely acceptable for me to write about whatever kinks I want, and publish it for whoever wants to read it. But it’s also my responsibility as an author to do everything I can to keep someone from accidentally reading and being triggered by something I wrote. And one of the best ways I can accomplish that is to offer content warnings for my books.
So anyway, the point of all this is that my short story Double Take includes incest in it. The way it’s written, from the POV of a character who doesn’t realise at first that the person they’re seeing is actually twins, you don’t find that out right away. But I’m absolutely willing to sacrifice the “twist” element to make sure that no one goes into it unawares. Because while twincest is something that I enjoy reading and writing, there are people out there who have experienced incestuous abuse, and have to live with that, and I do not, in any way, feel that it’s acceptable to let my kink cross over and interfere in their real life recovery and happiness.
Anyway, I know this is all a bit heavy, considering Double Take is a cute, 14K smut fest, but I did feel it had to be said, and it applies to other stuff I might write in the future too. I hope that if Double Take is your thing, you’ll check it out, and if not, I hope you’ll check out the other stories in the Geek Out collection, as they’re all very different. A lovely testament to the diversity in the trans community and the geek community, I think. Thanks for reading! Have a picture of my cat!
I spent all last week in a blissful high that I call “not anxious or depressed”. I felt confident, sure of myself, and blissfully, freely happy. I try to savour those times as much as possible when I have them, and remember and document everything I’m feeling as rigorously as possible so that when I fall back into depression (as I have over the last few days- it seems to happen around the same time every month, like clockwork) I can remember everything I felt before, and remind myself that that’s what I really feel, and who I really am, not what my brain is currently trying to tell me.
One of the symptoms of depression that I struggle with a lot is a deep feeling of dissatisfaction. When I fall into a particularly bad bout, the things I normally like and take pleasure in suddenly no longer interest me. I try to be excited about the things that I normally am, but I just can’t feel it. And despite the fact that I know it’s my brain playing tricks on me, I can’t help but feel like everything about my life right now is not as good as it could be. When this happens, I start getting obsessed with and worrying about the future.
For instance, the bf and I are planning on buying a condo sometime this year. I habitually look at places for sale online, and think about design and decor ideas that I’ll be able to realise once I have my own place. It’s a nice pastime, but I’m okay about being patient, and I’m still quite happy in our current rental apartment. At least… most of the time.
When the dissatisfaction sets in, my brain tries to convince me that the reason I’m feeling this way is not because I’m lacking chemicals in my brain, but because I must be deeply unhappy and satisfied with my current living arrangements. I become obsessed with finding a new place to live, pining after the happiness that I’ve convinced myself I’ll be able to access once I have a better place.
This is bullshit, of course. It’s playing right into the “grass is greener” fallacy, and I know it. But my brain is nothing if not insidious.
The other problem I have a lot is with my writing. A lot of authors talk about how they have more ideas than they’ll ever be able to write down. That’s not exactly true for me. I mean, I’ve never gotten to the end of a project and had no inspiration for what to write next. But I often don’t get that inspiration until about two weeks before I finish my current project. Which means that right now I’m only 20K into what’s probably going to be a 60-80K project, but I’m already worried that when I finish this story, I won’t have anything to write next. I should be focusing on my current project, not worrying about the future.
And I know better. I know that if I try to come up with an idea for my next story now, I won’t be inspired to write it by the time I get around to it. And I know that buying a new condo isn’t going to magically make me happy if I’m not happy right now, especially since the unhappiness is so obviously to do with my brain, and not my environment.
I don’t know what to do except keep telling myself that this will pass. That there’s no reason for me to be feeling unhappy, and thinking up magical solutions for the future is only going to make me more frustrated and unhappy. I try my hardest to live in the moment, to be happy with what I have, and with the wonderful life that I’ve carved for myself. It frustrates me when my brain switches off, and tries to tell me that I’m not happy, when I know, I know that I am.
Ah, I don’t know what to do about it besides ride it out. I was gonna try to make the end of this blog post all uplifting and cheerful, but … really, all I can do is try to keep myself comfortable and calm and wait this damn thing out.
I’m gonna write anyway, by the way. Because damnit, I’m a professional.
J.K. Pendragon writes stories, even when dealing with crippling cases of the sads. A lot of the time they’re super cute and fluffy, to make up for it. Like this one, which is coming out January 28th:
Double Take Wordcount: 14,500 Price: $2.99 Genre: Fantasy, Genderqueer, Poly
Studying magical science at the prestigious Kemet Academy is a privilege and dream come true for Teka, a poor student from D’mt. But focusing on school doesn’t mean xe can’t also admire Hasani, the handsome graduate student overseeing Teka’s work.
Then late one night at the school library, Teka runs Hasani and is completely astonished when the stern, quiet man xe knows by day acts so flirty and casual, it’s like he’s a different person. When the late night encounter leads to dating, Teka can scarcely believe xyr luck.
But the luck plays out when xe discovers why Hasani seems so different between night and day, a discovery that seems to have no resolution except heartache…
Warning: This story features a poly relationship that includes twin brothers.
It’s kind of an obsession. I mean, you wouldn’t know it as I have exactly two whole tattoos, but that’s to do with the flesh being willing and the wallet being weak, if you know what I mean. Were money not an option, I would probably be covered in the things. Also, I’m incredibly picky, and there are only a few tattoo artists in the world who I actually want to draw stuff on my body. And here they are:
Starting with Nomi because she’s based in Vancouver, and I’m really hoping I’ll actually be able to get some work done by her. She has a fantastic, sketchy, different style, and (like a lot of tattoo artists) works in several different styles besides tattooing. But I’m going to share some of her tattoos for now.
Colin works out of Denmark, and is one of a few different artists (all based out of the Netherlands) who do these absolutely amazing dotwork-style viking designs.
That last one was tattoed by hand, ie poke and rub. It’s often done outdoors (don’t worry, he’s a professional, so it’s completely sanitary) and getting a tattoo like this is absolutely on my bucket list.)
Jeff Gogue is totally in a league of his own when it comes to tattoing. He works out of Oregon, and mostly only works with established clients on big pieces, so it’s almost impossible to get a tattoo by him, but looking is amazing too.
Finally, Sam is the artist I went to to get my tattoo, which I love. She’s in Calgary now, and I may yet make a trip to see her again. Her work is solid and bright with a lovely art nouveau touch.
So there you have it! Some of my favourite tattoo artists. I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting, so I may make a part 2 at some point. For now I’m going to lay about thinking wistfully about tattoos I’ll likely never have. And writing books with tatted up characters, of course.
Ink & Flowers is about a shy, repressed art student, and a gruff ex-tattoo-artist with a heart of gold. It was recently released as an audiobook through Less Than Three Press, and I’m super excited and happy with it!
Click Here to buy it in audio from various retailers or Here to see the ebook version.
How does one protect freedom of speech without condoning the actions of those who’s speech you’re protecting? I like to think it’s possible. The very notion of “free speech” says that people are allowed to say things that others agree or disagree with without fear of being legally or physically attacked. But there’s a line where freedom of speech and “hate speech” intersect. Where the hateful, racist, sexist or homophobic words of people cause harm and pain to others. Free speech is necessary because it allows people to speak out against their governments and their superiors without being silenced. But because of this, it also allows people to speak out against those who are vulnerable, and cause tremendous hurt while being protected from any legal repercussions. Because of this, I think of free speech as a sort of necessary evil.
When free speech is threatened by outside forces it is, obviously deplorable. Attacking or threatening to attack people who say things you disagree with is evil and unacceptable. But I find it interesting the way the internet responds differently to similar situations. When terrorists threatened to bomb screenings of “The Interview”, many people responded with an outcry that this was an attack on free speech. However, many more people responded to this with derision, saying that the threat was in no way an attack on free speech, and that the movie The Interview was deeply racist and hurtful anyway. But now, with the similar (and incredibly tragic) attack on the French satire publisher Charlie Hebdo, people are again responding to this by rallying to protect the paper’s right to free speech, despite the fact that the paper has been known to publish plenty of racist content.
And I’ll be honest, seeing all these protests and the “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag has me really, really uncomfortable. And not because I don’t think free speech is important. But because, honestly, I’m much more worried about how the French Muslim community are going to be affected by this, than I am about the French people being unable to safely express their opinions.
Islamophobia runs rampant in America and Canada, but also in European countries. When a white Christian person is responsible for a mass murder or a bombing, he is considered an outlier, or a lone gunman. But when it’s a person of middle-eastern descent, the entire Muslim religion is considered responsible. Following these kinds of attacks, many Muslim people are afraid to leave their homes. They endure horrific abuse at the hands of racists who feel completely justified in their behavior because a very small group of religious extremists’ behavior is applied to the entire religion. Earlier today, the hashtag “KillAllMuslims” was trending.
And I’m honestly more worried about this than I am about the free speech of people in western countries. I imagine being a Muslim person seeing those crowds gathered in France and wondering how many of those people are there not because of the tragic deaths that occurred, but because of the vitriol of their hatred towards Islam. Vitriol that right now they feel completely supported and justified in. I wonder what it’s like to be a person of colour seeing Charlie Hebdo praised and revered as the paragon of free speech, and knowing the the fact that they published cartoons like this doesn’t factor into anyone’s opinion of them. Because for so many people, “free speech” doesn’t mean being able to stand up to an oppressive government, or live their lives free of persecution. It just means being able to say whatever hateful, racist things they want, and get away with it.
My heart goes out to the people and families of people who died today. I condemn the actions of the shooters whole-heartedly. I think it’s important that people and papers be allowed to say and print what they want without legal repercussions. But I’m extremely critical of the fact that this is what the media and the public have chosen to latch on to and focus on.
So, with the #weneeddiversebooks movement still going strong, and everyone tweeting about their hopes and desires for #Romance2015, I thought I’d take a minute to take stock of how I’m doing diversity-wise with my books.
I’m doing this both because I want to highlight and promote my books in the hopes of getting them to people who want to read them, but also because I talk a lot of talk about writing diverse fiction, but at this point I don’t feel like my books 100% back me up. I want to see where I’m lacking, and how I can improve going forward.
I also want to encourage my author friends and followers to do this as well, because I want to read and support all your diverse books as well! So, without further adieu, here are My Diverse Books 2015:
None! In fact, I don’t currently have any books published with a female main character. This is something I really hope to remedy in the future, and I currently have two books in the works with female main characters. I’m very excited!
None! But people fall in love later in life too, so I want to write about that as well.
So, most of these lists are pretty sadly short. I especially need to make more of an effort to write female main characters, and more trans characters! And the two can definitely intersect. I also want to write more characters with disabilities, and who aren’t traditionally attractive and/or young.
I’m a little worried about this list though, because I don’t want to make diversity in my stories into something that I can check off and then go back to writing perfect white cis dudes. I want to throw out the idea that those characters are the default, and that everyone else is a special alternative. Writing diverse characters means that every time I come up with a new character, I’m drawing from the complete well of human experiences, and getting a new, unique person every time. It’s not about creating a character and then arbitrarily assigning them a minority. It’s about allowing my characters to be that way in the first place. If I chose human beings at random, and asked them to tell me their stories, I know those lists up there would fill up pretty fast. So I hope that in my writing I can reflect that.
Please let me know in the comments if you think of any other categories to add, and let me know the stories that you would like to see in 2015. Thank you for reading, and I hope everyone has a wonderful new year!