burnt out, bummed out, and just out

Have written to page 113, four chapters in of Light-year Lion (#lion girl), which is Book 4 in The Prince of Qorlec (#girl prince).

I barely got any writing done. I usually average about thirty pages a day — meaning, I write one chapter a day because the goal with every chapter is 30 pages.

I didn’t get many written today. Maybe ten. Today was just not a happy day. I write more when I’m happier and not distracted by anything else.

I think Light-year Lion might be longer than the other books because the lore has been expanded, there are more characters, so more POV chapters, and Quinn’s journey to build an army is something that will come into play in Book 5, which right now is called Moon Fire. So to set the stage for all that, Book 4 might have to be long. Which means it’ll take longer to write.

Right now I’ve finally gotten to the part where Quinn is about to escape Vorgvon, the detainment prison for entirian prisoners on Kahz. It’s gonna be a fun chapter to write. We get a robot in this book (again) only this time the robot is on the protagonist’s side.

This book is also a little more heartbreaking, as even more characters die.

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“Strong Female Characters” rant cont.

This is kinda sorta a continuation of this post.

I wound up thinking of this tonight because I was trying to continue reading I, Robot, (I am never gonna find the time to finish this reading challenge) and I couldn’t keep reading it because I am so, so annoyed that Dr. Calvin wound up being a fucking stereotype.

In the short story “Liar!” everyone is manipulated by this robot who can read minds, through the use of their pride and arrogance, etc. For example, the mathematician (a man) was manipulated into thinking he was going to inherit the company. His pride and arrogance was used against him.

The way Dr. Calvin was manipulated was so, so typical of the way a female character is treated by male writers.

Dr. Calvin didn’t get to be proud or greedy or smug or any other human flaw. Instead she had the sexist  flaw of hating other women and being insecure about her appearance and longing for romance. 

As someone who writes about romance constantly, I’m still annoyed when romance is the sole defining characteristic of a female character. All too often, female characters are whittled down to wanting a husband and kids (Harley Quinn anyone?) and their desire to be pretty and validated as just as worthy as those prettier but stupidier women with big jugs that they hate. It’s . . . really, really annoying.

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from my ancestors with love

Last night I had a very weird, hellish dream in which I was stuck in a classroom with two of the biggest bullies from my highschool.

They weren’t the only bullies by far, but they were the ones who hurt me the most when I was a kid. It was a pretty horrible school, where everyone — even some of the teachers — joined in the bullying.

The dream felt like being taken back there, only in a college setting.

After being humiliated by a very mean girl, I put my head down on my desk and was very sad. Putting my head down was actually part of the game we were playing in class. Those who didn’t answer questions right had to put their heads down, so they weren’t chosen again.

My teacher noticed that I was upset and I was surprised when she came to me, put her head down next to mine, and expressed sympathy and concern. It was bizarre to me. In real life, no teacher ever cared about me or that I was being bullied. Perhaps if they had, perhaps if just one person had showed me any kindness, my life would have been vastly different.

The professor in my dream said a few very peculiar things. She told me she had been watching me a long time (as in all my life — very strange) and that I had a great laugh. She spoke like a family member, like someone who loved me (though she actually looked nothing like me). When I complained miserably about the bullies, she told me I could change things, which was — again — bizarre.

I suddenly realized I was dreaming and pulled myself out for fear it would become a nightmare.

There are many cultures in which people believe their ancestors watch over them from a spirit world, providing comfort and guidance. Even Catholics believe this.

I have never believed in anything like this — I mean, how boring would it be to sit around watching your ancestors descendants all the time? But after I woke up, I had the exact feeling that an ancestor, who’d been watching me all my miserable life, felt sorry for me and wanted me to know I was not alone.

The exact feeling.

I am still baffled that she told me I could change things. I think she meant that in a larger sense, as in I could have an impact on people, I could change the world.

That’s insane.

I’m a dot in the grand scheme of things. I don’t matter, not even to the other dots. I already learned a long time ago that no one cares about people like me. People like me don’t even get to be human. 

One thing I always loved about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings was the message behind it, that message being that even the smallest person can make a difference.

In real life, it’s not like that. In real life, smaller, physically weaker people are oppressed and bullied. We live in a society that mocks and belittles women for not being as physically powerful as men — as if physical power were the only thing a person’s worth should be determined by. (Here’s a hint: a person’s worth is not determined by physical strength.) In fact, it’s so awful, women aren’t even allowed to have power fantasies in fiction. We live in a world where it’s feasible that a tiny hobbit can save an entire world, but not a feminine woman (because women have to be masculine to be worth something, apparently). And god help her if she’s a woman of color, because that’s given as even more inconceivable.

So do I live in a world where I can change things? No. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t believe I do. In fact, there’s an entire system in place to make sure I don’t change things. And it extends into the literary world.

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here’s how quinn (and all the entirian) looks to me

Finished Chapter 9 of SoA tonight (4/12/2017). Also, I found a picture of what I imagine Quinn looks like. (You’d have to come to my wordpress to see it, though.)

Chapter 9 is the chapter where Quinn is at boot camp and has to earn everyone’s respect there. It was actually a very difficult chapter to write because it gave me some unpleasant flashbacks and I had to stop writing it for a bit.

I did enjoy writing most of it, though. The only part that really sucked was the scene where Quinn finally earns everyone’s respect. It didn’t . . . resonate with me, so I doubt it’ll resonate with readers, even though it’s supposed to be a powerful and defining moment for Quinn. I just didn’t . . . pull it off. I’m thinking that scene will need many rewrites or else I’ll have to come up with a different idea.

Right now, I feel like SoA can be explained this way: the first half of the book is sex, gender, and sexuality, the second half of the book is friendship, family, blood and gore.

It’s like that because the book begins when Quinn is still a teenager and is getting her weird alien period and exploring her sexuality. Also, Ckylar and General Miora both give Quinn “the talk” since her mother Rose is not there.

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you tried to hack me? how cute

I’m not going to schedule this post, so it’s going up in real time, out of order with my scheduled posts. I don’t care.

You know that saying “don’t poke a sleeping dragon in the eye?” Yeah. Fuck with me, hackers. We’ll see how this goes for you.

To explain my rambling, someone tried to hack into my old Outlook email. Someone in California. Outlook was kind enough to tell me and I changed my password to something really long and really hard (snort).

This must be the same person who’s been stalking me since I joined Goodreads, trying to scam me out of money with their “book promotion.” I’m guessing they didn’t like it when I told them to fuck off in that old post of mine, so they tried to hack me, in which case they can still fuck off.

In other news, I finished Chapter 5 of The Suns of Anarchy bk3 from PoQ tonight, which is about Thalcu’s imprisonment in a POW camp. She gets separated from Varzo and Mercy, so the next chapter will be about Varzo and Mercy slaving in the prison picking beans and getting whipped and the trouble they get into (right now, some murder is involved).

The side plot I made for the side characters is pretty interesting (at least to me) and I feel kinda crappy that my side characters are still more interesting than Quinn, the friggin main character.

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davidge is a “mary sue” . . . lol

Timestamp — 4/7/2017

I’m writing this post with the assumption most people know what a mary sue is. If you don’t, check out this post that sums it up better than I can . . .

Why the Concept of the Mary Sue has BECOME Sexist

So a couple weeks ago, I was watching one of my favorite sci fi films Enemy Mine (I would still love to read the book one day) and I got to the part at the end, and it occurred to me that Davidge winning the day all by himself was really, really unlikely, especially after all the evidence we had previously been presented of him being a shitty soldier.

I’m not trashing this film because I love it and I honestly don’t care if Davidge is a “mary sue.” The fact of the matter is, most male protagonists are easily “mary sues” because they are power fantasies specifically built for a male audience to self-insert.

The “mary sue” crap became sexist because misogynists decided to use it as a way to mock women for doing the same thing.

Sometimes I wonder if my books benefit from the fact that I tend to avoid creating power fantasy characters. I enjoy writing characters so real, they could live next door to you.

Rigg from The Thieves of Nottica is not a power fantasy but was meant to be a realistic person (setting aside the alien shapeshifting) who still triumphs in the end and beats the odds.  The same goes for Thalcu in The Harvest, and pretty much all my characters.

And I wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing because most people read genre fiction to escape and, therefore, expect to be able to self-insert themselves on power fantasy protagonists.

Ah well. I don’t write to please, I write what I want.

This post is about how I came to the conclusion that Davidge is actually a “mary sue” — or at least would be called such if male characters were ever criticized on the same level as female characters.

Before proceeding, turn your sarcasm detector on. Is it on? You’ll need it for the rest of this post.

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Dear Book Promotion Scammers

I doubt this will stop you harassing me, but at this point I’ll try anything. So here goes.

Leave me the fuck alone. 

I do not want your “help” promoting my book. I know it’s a scam, and even if it’s isn’t, it is still a violation of my privacy to snatch my email off a website and use it to harass me (you are seriously not going to get any customers by annoying people).

Long after I block you everywhere else, you still find some way to annoy me.

Somehow I knew I would regret posting my email publicly in a goodreads group  (but those were the rules so it’s what I had to do in order to sign up).

What did you do? Go down the list of self-published authors who posted in the group and just email everyone? For fuck’s sake.

Do you really think self-published authors are so stupid that we’ll just hand you our money because you say our book looks like a “masterpiece”?

Um, no. No, we aren’t that stupid. And we aren’t that desperate.

And I’m not laboring under any delusions that I have written any “masterpiece.”  You are not going to flatter 60 bucks out of me.

Please fuck off and die.

Love,

Ash Gray