What A Workout!

Yes, I still like my vague titles, lol. Keeps people curious. This is also a repost from my PG rated “main” blog but it lets folks know where I’ve been. All the embedded links go back to posts at the other blog also.

OK, so I had hoped to be back here (and at my other blog) writing again sooner, but things have been busy. There’s alot of little chores with a house this old and a fairly sizable yard. We’re also still sorting and tossing things in an effort to trim back and simplify.

On top of that, I’ve been working HARD at one of my New Year’s resolutions… You know, that one that EVERYBODY makes:

I’m Going to Get In Shape!!!

THIS has been my torture device of choice:

It’s a rowing machine with water based resistance. LONG story short, we decided months back that when we moved we were going to get one more exercise machine to go with our stationary bike. I thought long and hard about it, and pushed for a rowing machine because it works so many muscle groups at once.

It also works your back and shoulders. I even feel it in my forearms. Rowing around on a lake (in an inflatable boat) was how I first got in shape in my younger days, and it’s a habit I still enjoy, so this was a natural choice to me.

I still have yet to get a certain lazy spouse on it however. >_<

For those of you who have been slacking on your fitness… Let me tell yah; you don’t realize how badly you can go downhill before you truly feel it. I knew I was out of shape thanks to my back and neck keeping me sedentary for 8 or so years. I walked, I did things around the house, so I assumed I wasn’t THAT bad off.

The first time I got on the rower, I could only do fifty reps. 😶 NOT good, since the rower pretty much provides the same moderate level of resistance as real rowing.

I’ve busted my butt however, and am determined to NEVER go back to that condition I was in before decompression therapy. In roughly three weeks, I’ve gone from 50 reps to 1000 yesterday. Some of my improvement was probably just the exercise working fatigue poisons and other toxins out of my system. I know I’m feeling mentally and physically better, even if pushing hard leaves me wiped out afterwards. 😀

I’ve also lost 10 pounds, and I am determined to keep that up also.

The Best Diet Advice I Ever Got:

Was something so simple that most people wouldn’t believe it works; just SLOW DOWN and enjoy your food. Take your time, thoroughly chew it, actually make conversation with people while you eat, etc… The ideas being that first, it takes 15 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s had enough, no matter how much food you scarf down. So yes, closely related to that, it’s also better for your digestive system.

The hidden benefit to it though is that you AND your body will quickly figure out what’s truly good food. I was skeptical on this one and actually tested the idea on a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin one day. I used to love the things. Slowing down and chewing it though… truly giving myself time to sample the flavors… The sausage is REALLY disgusting, and the muffin and cheese aren’t much better.

Some of you may have had similar experiences with other foods. Little Ceasar’s pizza for example; it actually tastes good if it’s hot and you don’t truly take your time. Let it cool off even a little though… Yuck! Even if you eat it quickly.

If you want to read more about the whole concept, there’s a book called “The Slow Down Diet” that goes into more details, but I’ve given you most of the highlights here.

Make just that one simple change in your eating routine and see how much changes in your life.

The Ongoing Neck and Back War:

Speaking of the neck and back… Moving REALLY took a toll on both of them, given how rushed everything was. My worthless ProNex therapy tool broke on me also:

The damned thing tore in half at the narrow center section of the top piece, just from normal use. Talk about cheap! I mean I knew it was foam rubber, but still…

Pronex doesn’t stand by their products either, even if brand new. Needless to say, I’m changing my review to zero stars, wouldn’t recommend. After some meticulous research, I came across an alternative:

Only $50 more than the Pronex, but it’s solid construction, not low grade foam rubber.

Not me, LOL. An Amazon store page pic

It worked so well that we bought the lower back unit made by ComfortTrac also:

Another Amazon store page pic

With my bad back and the auto accident my other half suffered in the Subaru, this unit has been a godsend for both of us. Chiropractic treatment never did anything long term for my back, but this is helping tremendously.

Neither unit is QUITE as good as full blown professional decompression treatment, BUT with common sense and regular use, they come VERY VERY close, for a good deal less. My previous decompression treatments ran almost $4000, and the moving undid a large portion of that. These two units had a combined cost of roughly $1000 on Amazon. That’s still ALOT of money, but we’re both benefiting from them, and it’s cheaper than professional treatment, and FAR FAR cheaper than surgery.

If there’s enough interest, I’ll do a more in-depth review on both. For now, suffice it to say they’re a large part of why I’ve been able to push myself so hard, and will help guarantee I never go back to that broken down state EVER again.

Oh yes… Remember that recurve bow I bought also? Well, readers of THIS blog won’t but…

Well, I finally got it out and started shooting also. The weather has provided limited opportunities there, but I finally got out the other day and shot a few flights. This was at about 30 feet of distance BTW. Not too impressive. My first volley was a bit of a mess also, LOL:

I hit the target with all 3 arrows though! I consider that fairly good since it was the first time I’d shot a bow since 1987 or 88. There was no nock point (a little piece of brass wrapped around the string) on the bow string, no sights, and the tab (finger guard) I was using on my drawing hand was incredibly sloppy.

Another Amazon store pic to show what a tab looks like. Somebody chews their nails, lol.

I have to replace it with a shooting glove for sure.

BUT, I shot bare bow for the first time in 33 years and out of 50 arrows at between 30 and 35 feet, I only missed the target 3 times. By the last flight of arrows, my accuracy had improved too:

I even put one nearly dead center!

Funny… I was worried that a 40 pound draw weight on the bow might be a hair too much. It’s actually proving to be just about right for me, and is giving my arms a little extra workout also.

I’ve forgotten some of the technique I was taught back in college, but it’s amazing how I could pick up on what I was physically doing wrong with my shots; primarily being too tense, and sometimes not just simply releasing the bow string.

For those who have never shot a bow, the ideal release technique is to just simply let the fingers holding the bow string go limp. It prevents an accidental jerk of the string sideways, which will make your shot go wide. That can happen if you try to force your hand to release the string, or outright jerk your hand away.

ANYWAY… I need some practice for sure, but it wasn’t bad for a first outing. 🙂

I’ve also taken a few preliminary steps towards brushing up on my Kenpo and Wing Chun. That’s a story for another time however. 🙂

Five MAVO Points to anyone who can tell me what that last picture is though… WITHOUT an internet search.

Frustration

NO, not THAT kind, but it got your attention, didn’t it? 😁 I’m trying to keep my sense of humor despite all the nonsense and drama.

Anyhoo, yes I *am* still alive. It is LONG past due I checked in here also. Where’s the frustration, you ask? Primarily from the ongoing drama with our upstairs neighbors. It’s about a month and a half now with no end to the running the dogs back and forth around the apartment at all hours. The racket went on till 5am yesterday. It stopped about 12:30am today, so far (night’s not over after all).

No end to the noise, but we have made enough “noise” of our own that we’ve been given permission to break our lease, and we fully intend to do so. I also fully expect they’ll be ungodly noisy up to the day we’re gone, and beyond.

Enough said there however. I’ve ranted about it all enough lately in the other blog.

There’s more to it all though; a general frustration with life, lack of progress, and a strong dissatisfaction with my writing, and blogs.

Life, general frustrations and lack of progress could turn into a long one, so I’ll save that for another post… perhaps. Writing however…

Let’s start with the blogs. LOTS of frustration there. I work my butt off to network, publish content, etc… While it’s gotten me over 600 followers on the “safe” blog, less that 20 of them are real, active followers who ever read what I publish. It’s frustrating given some of the blogs out there I *do* see getting attention. The networking not paying off is possibly the worst part.

I sort through THOUSANDS of email notifications a month:

Not even a full month’s worth of emails

Post notifications I legitimately read, like, post replies to… Almost nothing to show for it also. Some changes need to be made there. I spend more time chasing emails than I do posting.

THIS blog, on the other hand; a completely different set of problems. Here, I’m actually grateful I’ve got the followers I do. Non-stop real life drama has kept me from doing anything meaningful with my erotica work and I still have 38 followers. Most everyone seems to read posts here sooner or later also.

HERE, the frustration is that life seems to keep screwing with my attempts at a writing career. Every time I start to get traction, I have something like the prick neighbors upstairs completely derail things for me.

There’s also a growing frustration with the quality of my writing also. My “Boobgasms” post I feel was 5 levels beneath where it should have been in all regards. The same is true with all my stories here really; rough draft quality material that I should have polished out much more before posting.

With posts like this, I don’t mind that the writing quality is a hair sloppy and casual. The posts are written with the mindset of talking casually with (or venting to) a friend.

I keep having doubts about the whole “Witchfire” project also. Part of me wants to show that even the worst of the metahuman genre could be much better. A growing part of me is thinking “why am I even giving this misogynist crap the free publicity of good (well, better anyway) storytelling with a new character?”.

Am I just being lazy and depending upon an established world to avoid white room syndrome? My initial justification was not burning through my own characters and ideas, or risking having them stolen. Maybe putting out content that is 100% my own is what I need to grow more as a writer though. “Fan Fiction” (and I’m using an exceedingly broad definition here) can become a crutch for storytelling after all.

The flip side to all of this is that I know I’m exceedingly frustrated on many levels now, and I’m much more prone to rushing into poor choices in that situation. I’m ALSO looking at the existing eleven chapters like a craftsman or artist who turned out something really bad and feels they NEED to re-do it to redeem themselves and prove they could do it right.

Maybe it’s all just part of the normal writing process and I need to just quit getting hung up at that “Dark Night” stage:

Image liberated from https://janeperkins.wordpress.com/ 🙂

Lots to think about moving forward…

Still Going

Real life has been hellish the last year, causing me to largely ignore this blog, but I’m determined to truly get going once and for all. Hence, I thought I should let those of you reading know that I’m still here and actively writing.

I have a LONG (26 pages and 12K + words) first chapter to my Witchfire series reboot started. In fact, it’s nearly done. I just need to get the actual naughty part just right. The original effort was kind of a train wreck, and I was pushing too hard to get content out instead of getting it right. I’m happy a few readers like it at all. THIS, I want to take to a whole new level.

I’m also working on a Conan era story with lots of sex and intrigue, but have just gotten started there. No telling how soon that will be up, but it IS a priority also.

I want to go back and re-work some of the existing mainstream erotica that I have posted also. As I’ve learned and grown, I’ve seen where I can do better with those as well.

Then, of course, there’s actually trying to get something finally published for sale instead of just talking about it forever and a day. A combination of self doubt and legitimately needing to improve more as a writer has been the problem there. At some point the training wheels have to come off though, or is that undies since we’re talking smut? LOL.

The most recent distraction has been exceedingly noisy neighbors upstairs. I’m not talking the fun kind of noises either. I’m talking about “we have two large dogs and we think it’s fun to have them chase things all around the house until 2am” noisy. No exaggeration either. Even trying to be good and understanding neighbors, we’ve had the police out five times in two weeks. The problem is made worse by the crappy construction of the apartments also.

To write quality erotica you have to be in a sexy mood, and it’s REALLY hard to feel sexy when you’re sleep deprived and pissed off.

Then I come back here and find somebody posted a comment that was nothing but a link to their blog. Best way in the world to get me to ignore you, no matter how good a writer you might be.

Yeah, I’m in a mood…

Gender Based Writing Differences

I originally did this post back on Feb 19th of this year.  It seems that the controversy which inspired it has flared up yet again on Facebook and Twitter though.  So, here’s a very slightly updated version of that post:

 

I’ve already made a few posts today.  I did say I was going to talk about that other recent Twitter notification that bothered me though.

It was one going around the erotica authors’ circle on Twitter.  It was all about how women were supposedly “educating” men about what horrible erotica authors they are and laughing at their “stupid” mistakes.  Not the first time I’ve seen such a post either.  During my few months on twitter, I found the erotica authors to be pretty judgmental and negative in general.  The key words there are “IN GENERAL”.  There are some wonderful, supportive and talented women (and men) there also.  I adore Ava Sterling and Aurora Blue in particular.  They’ve been helpful since the beginning.  They’re also both very talented and I highly recommend their books.

OK, getting back to the subject, let’s be real.  There are quite a few bad male erotica authors out there.  What the ladies are NOT understanding though is that their (the women’s) way or view is NOT the only way.  I had a blog post about this in the past.  There was an article in The Atlantic magazine how authors had to write consent in romance novels.  The idea being essentially that if you didn’t have written and signed consent at every step of the way, you were writing and advocating rape.  Here’s that blog post:

A Minor Rant

My comments there are enough said.  Another example I saw in the past was a snarky agreement among some of those women that if bra or genital sizes were mentioned, they immediately stopped reading and declared the story was trash.  “What did they do, take out a measuring tape at that point?” was one reply.   What they were missing is that some people, particularly if they’re in fields that require regular measuring and sizing such as seamstresses and tailors, clothing sales people, construction and automotive workers, and even people that do crafty type things as hobbies, tend to be able to measure very accurately by eyesight.  Regardless of gender, they’re likely to be visual people as well.  It’s not unrealistic at all.  Overall, I’d agree that general size descriptors and leaving things to imagination is probably a little better though.

So where do I think the issues are being seen all wrong?  The ladies are missing a chance to grow their audience.  Men DO buy and read erotica also.  I get email from men and women both on my writing.

Saying “women don’t stand in front of mirrors and compare their boobs to fruit” misses the reality that men tend to be highly visual creatures and competition / comparison driven.  They care about things like are a female character’s boobs “pear shaped” or perfectly round and firm *cough*fakeboobs*cough* (lol).  They want to know who’s boobs are bigger and by how much also.  When you understand the male mindset, you can tailor your writing just a little so that you appeal more to them as well.  Bang, your sales go up.

Think carefully about that if you’re a romance or erotica author.  Do you want to shut out half the world’s population as a potential market?  If you bend just a little in your writing style you can reach a larger audience and still be true to yourself.

The whole idea of “teaching” men by belittling them is only going to backfire also.  For all their bravado, men have fragile egos, especially where women are concerned.  They’re also trained to suppress emotion early on, so they’re rarely all that intuitive, BUT they also are eager to please.

So here’s a tip, girls, both as authors and for relationships:  All you’ve got to do to get a decent guy to do what you want is ask nicely or gently suggest.  In the case of writing erotica, give them better, more natural ways to help relay visual information.  Explain to them that the act isn’t about rutting either when you’re a woman.  It’s about intimacy, emotional connection, and a primal need to feel desired, like that male character would sacrifice anything to have our heroine.  When an erotica author can impart all of those male and female perspective elements into a story, I think the sky is the limit.

Again, same holds true with relationships.  Too many women complain about men being clueless, and expect them to know exactly how to touch them, what to say to them, etc…  It takes communication.  Positive communication too.  “A little gentler (or rougher), oh yes!”, goes much farther with the typical clueless male than “not like that, you selfish idiot.”

A certain radio show host on relationships had it right; women have much more power in relationships than people think.  At least in reasonably healthy relationships.  It just has to be used in the right way.

A Look at the Comics Book Code

A post at LuaraVent69’s blog got me thinking about the role of the entertainment media in the violent, scary state of modern life.  I advocated in a reply that maybe the media needed to dial things back just a bit.  THAT, in turn, got me thinking about the ever present conundrum of “where do we draw the line”.  People rightfully have some concerns about restrictions of any sort of rights being a gateway to a total denial of said right.  It happens all the time in totalitarian systems.

Before I wander off into a tangent though… one past option came to mind and I began wondering if it would work today.  That being the now defunct “Comic Books Code”.

Approved_by_the_Comics_Code_Authority

Now, for those who aren’t familiar with it, I’ll start with a little background.  I’m running from memory, so if I goof a fact, it’s not intentional.  The code got it’s start in the the 1950s.  1954 if I’m not mistaken.  Some grown ups were concerned that comic books were becoming an increasingly bad influence on kids.  More adult content, etc…  Back then, kids were the only buyers too.  Anyway, the outrage got to the point that the major comic publishers were worried that Congress was going to take some heavy handed actions to regulate them.  Their alternative to head this off was a self-imposed code of conduct about what would appear in comic books.

The code essentially established that comics wouldn’t have any overtly sexual material, that the good guys would always win in the end, criminals wouldn’t be glorified in any way, and that things like drug use would be avoided also.  Gory violence was to be avoided, etc…   Well, heck, here’s the whole code for those who are interested:

The Comics Code of 1954

Some of it gets a bit silly, like the prohibition against vampires and werewolves.  ANYWAY… the code was enforced by a review board called the “Comics Code Authority”.  The whole thing came crashing down when rebellious comics writers wanted to do stories related to the drug trade.  They planned on portraying the effects of drugs in a negative manner, etc… but that didn’t matter to the Authority.  Net result; one by one the publishers pulled out and did their own thing.  If I recall correctly it started with a story Marvel wanted to run in Spider-Man comics but I might be wrong.

NOW, everything but hardcore porn seems to go in comic books.  How much of that is a good thing is open for a bit of debate.  For example, we wouldn’t have Power Girl’s massive mammaries if the code was still in effect.  Boys and lesbians love them, some women scream objectification and unrealistic body standards.

OK, let’s state the obvious…  Some of the code is silly in the modern world:

Policemen, judges, Government officials and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority

Really??  Is there a single reader out there that thinks all government officials are above reproach?

But in terms of some of the rest of it… Are we really in a better place in the world for books, films and TV shows that do glorify crime and criminals?  Is excessive gore in movies REALLY anything more than a crutch for poor story telling?  Alfred Hitchcock is considered a master of suspense and early horror, but never had to show anyone getting mutilated.  Is all the violence and glorification of gunplay as a way to resolve the plot really necessary?  Yes, I could by a hypocrite and ask the same questions about sex scenes also.

My personal opinion here?  Going back to something as restrictive as the Code probably isn’t a real answer.  Maybe taking a voluntary step back in that general direction wouldn’t hurt though.  There’s something wrong when a show like Breaking Bad that glorifies a man selling meth and ruining peoples’ lives, is a huge hit.  Before anyone argues that with me, they should google up pictures of what meth does to people.

methface

That’s what the poison Walter White was selling to people did.

Would the alternative work?  Just look at the original Star Wars trilogy.

Maybe if we quit glorifying all the darkest elements of society, we’ll get less of them in real life.

 

200!

Yep, despite my off and on posting, and wandering all over the place topics wise…

followed-blog-200-2x

Miracles happen, LOL.

I’m grateful for everyone that has decided to follow me also.  Thank you all. 🙂

Related to all of this, I have been reflecting on the blog and my writing since getting back from Hawai’i.  Aside from the lessons I’ve mentioned in past posts, I’ve realized that I need to get my life better organized.  I also need to re-focus on my actual writing instead of dancing around it like I have been the last few months.

Being in Hawai’i and having life on hold for a week, and then coming home, I realized just how spread thin I’ve felt (hell, actually been).  Worse, it’s led to a sort of analysis paralysis.  Trying to juggle priorities and adapt to a steady stream of changes has resulted in me just outright shutting down at times.  That, of course, only makes things worse, because it allows things to backlog even further.  If I’m going to regain control of my life and work on my writing, the pattern needs to change.

Dancing around my writing…  That, I believe, is a combination of time issues and some lingering doubts about writing erotica.  Instead of actually doing writing, I’m writing about everything else.

Granted, I also don’t want to blog work that I can potentially publish and sell.  I can write about writing rules, philosophy and strategy as well as come up with stories that are “Fan Fiction” or such and therefore can’t be published for profit without a licensing agreement.  Nothing wrong with other material also, so long as it’s not the bulk of my writing here.  It’s all about balance.  A writing blog has to be about writing though.

 

The Art of Persuasion Hasn’t Changed?!?

I’m writing this in response to an article I came across on the Harvard Business Review (HBR).  They sometimes have some good stuff, but I think this particular article was a little short sighted

The irony here is that the author is a Harvard professor in communications.  He had a point about the basics not changing since Aristotle.  His list of the five basics are:

  1. (Establishing) Character
  2. Reason
  3. Emotion
  4. Metaphor
  5. Brevity

The only one I could argue with is that I think establishing character is now often replaced with establishing some sort of (often imagined or exaggerated) expertise or credibility.  Morals don’t matter so long as you’re an expert, a victim or better yet both.

Re-reading the article, maybe it’s fairer to say that while I agree those key foundations haven’t changed much, I’ve seen a great deal of change in the nature of persuasion.

Misrepresentation and half truths have always been a tool of the unscrupulous.  Nothing new there.  I’m seeing them used FAR more often nowadays though.  The media and politicians on both sides do this constantly anymore, to the point I don’t believe anything they say without extensive fact checking.  There’s a HUGE difference between “unarmed man shot by police” and “unarmed man high on drugs shot by police while trying to wrestle gun away from officer”.  The former gets far more ratings than the latter though.

Combine that with sarcasm and you’ve got the play book for all the late night talk shows.  A far cry from the days of Carson.

As I mentioned in a reply to another blog, I also see deliberately vague communication being used much more frequently.  Typically with the goal of creating some sort of deniability on the speaker’s part if they’re called out on anything.  I miss the days when  “establishing Character” and speaking plainly yet in a civil manner was considered a virtue.

The biggest change in persuasion specifically that I’ve seen is the use of manipulative language.  Without getting into politics, let’s take another look at the news.  We’ve all heard the term “collusion” tossed about in excess the last few years.  It sounds horrible and it’s used to provoke a strong negative emotional reaction.  Yet, there’s no LEGAL basis for the term.  It was used in place of the proper criminal term of “conspiracy” because then the media and various other people can’t be sued or prosecuted for making false criminal charges.  The Left did it with Trump and the Right did it with Hillary.  That was just an easy and blatant example.  I’m not taking sides at all here either.  I think we all would have been better served by honest discussions about what may have been illegal and what may have been legal but was certainly bad form or outright immoral.  The lesson here remains to be aware of the manipulative use of language.

Persuasion has become far more of a science today also.  People know that if they can get a peer in a group to say something is good or bad, the rest of the group is much more likely to follow suit.  That’s the whole trick to selling Tupperware or Mary Kay.  I could go on for quite a while here, but there are dozens of websites devoted to revealing sales tricks like that, push-pull techniques, take aways and imagined scarcity, etc…

Probably the most insidious form of persuasion is Neuro-Linguistic Programming or NLP.  I’ve mentioned this a few times in previous posts.  NLP was first created in the late 70s with the goal of figuring out how the best in any given field do what they do and making it repeatable.  NLP quickly became focused on communication and persuasion, and borrows heavily from Ericksonian Hypnosis.  It’s used in everything from selling to seduction too.

To over simplify it, NLP persuasion (at it’s most basic levels) relies on subtle “hypnotic” commands and catch phrases to trick people into thinking they want to do or not do something.

For example; “what was it like when you…” will get a person to recall a specific experience.  Anything from sex to the first time they saw and fell in love with their dream car.  Don’t believe me?  Ask yourself about something that way and see if your mind doesn’t begin recalling that experience.

There are dozens of phrases like that also.  “What would it be like if…” for example.  The whole idea being to capture and lead the target’s imagination toward a desired result.  There are other tricks used along with those phrases, such as the human mind’s inability to process a negative.  Phrase anything as a “don’t want to” and the other person’s subconscious will process it as a “want to”.  Which sounds more sincere?  “I don’t want to have sex.” or “I just want to cuddle and relax.”

It’s not necessary for you to immediately realize just how twisted this can get.  If you think about it though, you might find yourself aware of just how great the potential for abuse here is.  😉

Presuppositions are another NLP trick used by nearly everyone today.  A presupposition is something stated as fact and used as a premise for an argument / persuasion attempt.  Let’s avoid politics and the media for this example.  If I said “It’s going to rain today, so you should take your umbrella.”, the presupposition there is that it is indeed going to rain.  That may or may not be true, but by stating it as fact, the debate on if the umbrella is needed is derailed unless the likelihood of rain is challenged.  That challenge is less likely since the rain was stated as a matter of fact.

Again, if you pay attention (an NLP embedded command to do so), you’ll see presuppositions used everywhere.  Anything from you need something being sold, and that it can be a benefit to you, so something that “other” group over did was evil and clearly motivated by malice.

So yes, the very basics of communication may not have changed much, but I think it’s easy to see that the science and morals of how one goes about persuading have changed a great deal.

English Lesson of the Day

Grammar and sentence structure matters.  When you don’t pay attention to it, wildly inappropriate messages can result.  😀

Just Wrong

Yes, that is an absolutely real part of a Hawaiian tour company’s website with various tour packages, LOL.  A small part part of me wants to be offended by what’s unintentionally implied there, BUT their wording screw up is too funny in  a twisted way.  It’s just wrong on soooo many levels.

Perhaps “BBQ and Dolphin Watch” would have been better wording?

Realizations on Writing

I teased this a couple of posts ago, and I suppose its time to pay it off.  I’m not getting any sleep tonight either with a pack of teenage hooligans roaming the neighborhood on foot for since 1:30am

So long story short, I’ve spent my down time trying to figure out why I was feeling so frustrated, (and thus burnt out) with my writing before my long break.  I came to a couple of conclusions:  I wasn’t writing for me, I was overly concerned about offending people, and I’m still trying to find my exact niche on writing.

The not writing for me thing is ironic, since during my time on twitter, I was constantly encouraging people and telling them that if THEY don’t enjoy what they’re writing, it will show through in their writing and it won’t be their best work.  I’ve studied public speaking and communication, and let myself get too wrapped up in the admonitions to tailor your communication to your audience.  That’s fine if you have a specific audience you’re reaching out to.  When you’re trying to write something that will appeal to wider demographics though, you have to set those admonitions aside to a degree and be true to yourself.  Otherwise your writing or words won’t be genuine.  People pick up on that too, at least on a subconscious level.

Twitter was a horrible experience for me in terms of creating that worry about offending people.  Despite all the talk about how great the writing community is, I saw alot of clique behavior.  Erotica authors aren’t real writers.  If you do this in your erotica (such as mentioning bra sizes), you’re a crappy writer and I won’t read you, etc…

The main gaggle of female erotica authors would even ghost you if you didn’t support their beliefs that women shouldn’t be held to any conduct, dress, etc… standards and similar extreme SJW ideas.  heaven help you if you supported a male erotica author also.  Kind of sad really.

I could (and maybe will do) a whole separate post on my thoughts there.  It does impact my writing after all.  LONG story short however, suffice it to say I do believe in women’s sexual empowerment, but I also believe in common sense limits on everything.  Wear a short, tight dress and flaunt what you’ve got for example.  Just don’t get mad if you’re dressing sexy and guys (or other women) flirt with you or check you out.  You have EVERY right to be completely safe dressed like that.  No should always mean no as well.  How you dress does nothing to change that.  Getting bitchy when you get harmless attention when you’re dressing to get attention is immature at best though.

As much as I love sex and sensuality, I also believe some things belong behind closed doors.  That’s another thing that seems to set me apart at least from some of the younger erotica authors.  I’m libertarian enough to believe anything kinky you want to do behind closed doors is fine.  Common decency and general self respect dictate some things should stay private, not flaunted in public though.  Bottom line, I’ve learned to stop caring what the twitter crowd thinks.  Shame since Twitter could be a good marketing tool.

Then there’s the whole finding my niche thing.  My Witchfire stories have been an attempt to see if I could combine superheroes and erotica in a real way.  The trouble with that specific genre is that the internet is loaded with sites catering to pubescent boys and outright misogynists, that glorify raping superheroines and “putting them in their place”.   They completely dehumanize woman, and mock strong, capable women.  That’s the last thing I want to contribute to.

At the same time, you have women fighting the worst elements of humanity in these stories, so there’s a question realism with never having it happen.  My original thinking was to keep it rare, not glorify it, and also have the heroine(s) escape / turn the tables, or at least get back at their attackers later.  Avoiding it entirely would be easy if I was only writing a sexy story.  I have been trying to spin a real, ongoing story between the sex scenes though.  Intrigue, personality conflicts, human problems, etc…

Part of the problem with Witchfire was that I was rushing the content also.  I think it made the story chapters far more sloppy than they should have been, and took a few aspects of the stories in directions I didn’t intend to go also.  If I pick up work there again, I’m likely to start over from scratch and treat the existing content thus far as rough drafts.

I admit, I’ve also felt dirty at times writing erotica.  My sexy, passionate side is balanced by a fairly strong religious and spiritual side as well.  To thine own self be true however.  I can’t pretend the sexy side doesn’t exist.  I have a real talent for smut also, lol.  I know ultimately I’d like to evolve into more of a mainstream fiction writer who includes some very racy scenes.  Yes, the unicorn known as porn with a plot for you cynical people, LOL.  Getting there means accepting all of me though, and seeing what that allows me to grow into.

And there you have it.  My continuing path to self-realization thus far as a would be author.

Keep Being the Light

WordPress isn’t letting me reblog my own post, so I’m going to cut and paste it below.  I originally wrote this after getting REALLY fed up with all the negativity and hypocrisy on Twitter.  The advice speaks for itself, with one possible exception.  It IS written from a Christian perspective since it was a church service that inspired it.  None the less, I don’t believe that Christians have a monopoly on morals or leading by example.  What’s written here is a universal truth (for lack of better wording).

 

I’m sure I’m confusing people on twitter with my moderate’s disdain for the political extremes running amok there.  I’m grateful that some people seem to get it though.

My “No Politics” post didn’t make things as clear as I’d have liked.  I have TWO big problems with politics and the way people talk to others:

 

1) Issues are NEVER as simple as the extremists and demagogues on either side make them out to be.  For example, gangs are just one good reason for a border wall, BUT we have to overhaul our immigration system as well and allow good people a chance at the American Dream, take an honest look at what we may be doing to contribute to problems in Latin America, and see if we can do things to help them help themselves.

2) These extremists not only shut down thinking and discussion, they spread hate and poison.  There’s a principle of metaphysics that says hate only attracts more hate and conflict.  It doesn’t matter how righteous you THINK your cause is, if your answer is trashing and threatening violence against those you disagree with, you are part of the PROBLEM, not the solution.  You are also actively working to make the world a DARKER place.

I keep saying be more like Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Jesus, Buddha, etc…  I have a perfect story that illustrates the point also.  The Christmas Eve service is the one time this heathen is guaranteed to turn up at church.  The closing part of the services; the same every year, are exactly why:

The Pastor talks about the need to carry the Christmas Spirit into and through the new year, and how the world is a dark place if everybody withholds their love, compassion and caring from the world.  To illustrate the point, the lights are turned off in the chapel.

Now, everybody is given a candle entering the service.  They’re all being lit as the Pastor speaks.  He tells everyone to keep the candles low at first also; withhold their light from the world metaphorically.  Then he starts talking about how people can be the light, and make the world a better place.  Then all 3000 people (It’s a big church) hold up their candles.  It’s beautiful and amazing the difference it makes

Bayside Church Candle Lighting & Silent Night

Afterwards everyone sings Silent Night and then the services are over.

Watch the YouTube video through to the end and see if it doesn’t have the same impact on you as it did me.  It’s alot of light, and it’s people wanting said light to better the world, NOT burn it down.  THINK about that. Remember the people you disagree with are human beings with legitimate reasons for feeling and thinking the way they do.  If you actually talk to them like human beings, you will PROBABLY find out that you have more in common than you realize once you get past artificial labels.

Think win-win and you can probably also find a solution that’s not perfect, but works for both of you.

BE THE LIGHT