I’ve been using challenges to learn things about myself, and the world around me for some time. NaNoWriMo for five years, the Bradbury Challenge a couple years ago, and last October I did Inktober and Drawtober,

Both ink and draw-tober are about drawing every day in October. I managed to draw 27 drawings, and ink 24 of them. I even add some color to a few.

For each challenge I put myself threw I try to take something out of it. From this one I learned that I loved drawing strange, and unusual things. I loved pushing my creativity in art as well as words. I hadn’t done more then cute little chibi’s of super heroes and other odd things lately, but this had me drawing steam powered submarines, and spider ballerinas, poison fairies and underwater wraiths. I did things with an ink pen I never would have thought to do before.

It was also invigorating. I did a lot of this challenge while we were traveling for twitchcon. We had days where we only slept for four hours, only to get up and put more leather together to get the armor set done. And yet I still managed to do so much. It just goes to show how much you can get done even when there’s a time crunch. Even when you’re sleep deprived. Even if you’re busy and the world doesn’t slow down so you can get your words, or ink lines in.

And in the end being creative is amazing, whatever creative thing you’re trying to do.

You can see more of the drawings, and pictures from twitchcon, over on instagram. 

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Posted by on November 12, 2017 in On Writing


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An open letter to Wil Wheaton

A couple years ago I turned on Twitter to read my feed and realized I hadn’t seen a post from Wil Wheaton in a while. He was one of the first celebrities I followed, first because I enjoyed Star Trek as a teen, and secondly because I enjoyed his writing. So I found it dismaying to go to his feed and discover I had been blocked.

I soon realized this was a thing, and that he blocked 20k+ people who he termed as trolls.

Me? A troll?

For a moment I tried to think of a reason I had been blocked, and then promptly forgot about it since it wasn’t that important. I hadn’t spoken to him, and while I found his content funny or interesting at times, it really didn’t make a huge difference. I stopped following his content, watching his YouTube, or buying his books, and found other authors who hadn’t blocked me.

But there was a consequence to him blocking me that I didn’t learn until later. You see Mr. Wheaton didn’t just block 20k+ people. He put out a block bot so that others could block them as well. Hundreds of people blocking me just because someone decided I was undesirable without even speaking to me.

What could I have done to be labled undesirable? Perhaps it was my insistence that wearing sexy armor in video games isn’t sexist, and can even be empowering for women. Mr Wheaton posts a lot of Suicide Girl content so you would think he’d agree with that.

Perhaps it was my insistence that as a survivor of rape and abuse I didn’t have to live as a victim, and others could be helped to stop letting their past dictate who they are, and instead take control of their life. Heaven knows at least one ‘friend’ ditched me after I said that to him.

Maybe it was because I follow many people labled ‘deplorable’, as well as those from the other side because I do not want to be part of an echo chamber. I want to see why others feel the way they do, and learn from that. I want to love my enemies, and give them fewer reasons to be my enemy. I want to be a shining example of what I always thought a good person would be. (Not that I’m always good at that part, but I try.) And to me being a good person always meant accepting people where they were, and trying to encourage them, not tear them down.

Maybe it’s because I was outspoken about my disagreements with Anita Sarkisian who saw sexism in everything, even Mario rescuing Peach. But you know what I think of when I see damsel in distress tropes? I think of my boyfriend who helped me cope with my social anxiety, who held my hand to steady me when I wanted to run from the room, who pushed me to run after my dreams instead of being afraid of them. Rescuing damsels isn’t just about blowing up bad guys and storming the castle, it’s about being a rock in the storm. A safety net. A partner. And my boyfriend definitely rescued me, many times.

Whatever reason Mr Wheaton decided to block me, that’s fine. But it saddens me that his judgment has been substituted for others. They blindly download his block list and do not make a choice for themselves, they allow the choice to be made for them.

I have been cut off from a segment of society that has decided the echo chamber is better. No opinion outside theirs is okay, and anyone who disagrees is banished.

Maybe not a bad thing to be cut off from, it sounds incredibly stifling. But a bad trend in general. Echo chambers can never survive because no two people think exactly alike in all things. Eventually they break down.

And yet, other than being cut off from a few people, Mr Wheaton’s block list has not hurt my life. I guess it doesn’t really matter in the end.

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Posted by on November 6, 2017 in Personal Notes


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Me too. I was abused as a child. I was raped as an adult. So yes, I can say me too.

I also have male relatives that were molested as a child. And male friends who were asulted or abused as adults. I had a friend who was being stalked by his ex. I watched her beat him, throw things at him, and make him bleed. I watched him defend himself by begging her to leave, telling her she wasn’t supposed to be there. Do you know how ineffective begging your attacker to stop is? Pretty damn ineffective.

The outcome of that situation…she called the cops and said he broke the restraining order he had. All she had to do was say “I saw his truck pass by my place” and they went to pick him up, and put him back in jail. No proof. Often he was on the other side of town, nowhere near her, and they just picked him up.

But that restraining order was awesome. For an answer is perfect ammo to control your victim. She was able to get it in no time flat just by saying he hit her, even though he didn’t. And he felt so guilty for just holding her wrists so she couldn’t punch him that he just let it happen.

This is a culture where men have been told so often that they are the aggressors, they are the problem, they are the abusers, that when they are abused they can not see it. And when they speak out they are either ignored or told to shut up.

So, me too. I was abused. And I know a lot of women, and men, who have been abused. I know men and women who have been abusers. And I know that the law often is used as a way of abusing men because we are trained to believe women, not men.

I was abused, but the abuse that was done to me does not define me. I define me. And I will keep saying that, keep shouting that from the roofs, keep encouraging others to say that until we stop being sexist to men. Until we start treating women as actual human beings who can heal and grow instead of fragile flowers that must be protected from every little thing.

We can not move forward unless we acknowledge that humans are humans, and it does not matter what sex you are, what race you are, what religion you began with. Those things have more to do with what you were born to, and what genetics you have, then what mind you have inside you. None of those external things define you as much as your mind and heart do. And until we learn that, until we learn that we can be more than what others define us as, we can not move forward from this place.

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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in social issues


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One more day

Yesterday I finished writing Costume Shop, which I’ve been working on for a couple years. It’s a Halloween story, so I always worked on it in the fall. I’d write a few paragraphs then Halloween would be over and I’d move on to something else.

This year I had the beautiful art done by my daughter to spur me on. I really wanted to get it done, and out, so that everyone could see it. So I finally finished it.

Which brings us to the next part; editing. And I only have one more day to do that before we get in a car for a week long journey to LA, and twitchcon.

I’ve already done a bunch of editing, so it’s only a matter of going back over it once or twice and cleaning it up, but still…. I have to actually do it.

If I manage it Costume Shop will be available this weekend. It is an RL Stein style chapter book for younger readers. I might even do a few more in this style…. We will see.

For now I am mostly packed for twitchcon. Gregg has a few finishing touches to do tomorrow, and then we start driving. Well I start driving. I’m sure he’ll take the wheel after a much needed nap.

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Posted by on October 17, 2017 in Stories


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Review: The Orville

I grew up on Star Trek. I loved watching Kirk battle the monster of the week, especially if the monster was himself. I welcomed The Next Generation when it came out, and LOVED it, even i the first year was a little rough around the edges. I didn’t care, I was able to travel across the galaxy with a sentient android, and various crew members from different races.

I use to watch Voyager every night when I got home from work. I watched many episodes twice. I loved Janeway’s get it done attitude, and Checoti made a wonderful counterpoint to her sometimes blind desire to get the crew home.

I’ve also watched a lot of the fan made series on you tube, some of which are really good!

What I’m saying is….I LOVE STAR TREK! I love the messages, examining each story, seeing allegories in modern life, and the shear fun of monster of the week mayhem some days. Sometimes a bug is just a bug and you have to kill it.

Now there is a new Star Trek, and it’s locked safely behind a paywall, so I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve heard mixed reviews. Some love it, some find it a little too preachy. The fact that the writers specifically said their Klingon’s are modeled off “Trump supporters” gives me some reservations, but I’m willing to give it a shot. After all, the original Star Trek often comments on society, and ways to improve it. Maybe this one will have some good insights as well.

But for now, since I’m not going to pay for a paywall till the full season is out, I am watching The Orville.

I caught a glimpse of the Orville while at work and thought the design, space, and ship looked a bit like Star Trek, though not quite. I also saw that it was advertised as a comedy. Of course I had to try it.

What I found wasn’t quite a sitcom in space, and it wasn’t quite a Star Trek space opera. It was something in the middle, with enough parody to keep it from tripping copyright, and enough space opera goodness to quench my craving for the cheesy experience.

The juxtaposition of cliche modern language in a space ship that is supposed to be from the future is kind of absurd, but it works. The ex husband and wife team cause just enough strife to keep everyone on their toes, but they also work well together because they know each other. The two pilots often say inane things that remind you they are two dudes from this world, and this time line, that got to play a role on their favorite space opera. Their reactions often would have no place outside a college dorm, or a sports party. And yet it works.

The first few episodes have ship to ship and hand to hand battles. There is character growth, unusually characters from other cultures, and even some important discussion of two cultures colliding, and not seeing eye to eye.

And while all of that is what I expect from a space opera style show I can also see that it’s campy, throws in jokes that aren’t always appropriate to the time period, and setting. But that’s the charm. The original Star Trek had bad fx and latex masks, The Orville has cheesy jokes at odd places. It works.

Now, I it isn’t perfect. The writing is still rough, but I think it’s showing some potential. I also like that it doesn’t spoon feed you a moral. On the third episode dealing with a child that was born the wrong gender, and dealing with the sex change of the child, the answer wasn’t handed to you neatly packaged as “this is the truth”, rather it was “this is what’s happening, but we feel uncomfortable about it even if this is how it has to be…for now.” And we, as the audience, are allowed to decide for ourselves why these things happened the way it did, and the ramifications of it all.

I’ll be watching more of The Orville, and I hope they will take us to many places far far away, with interesting characters and species from the edges of the galaxy.

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Posted by on October 14, 2017 in On Writing


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I wrote a post on Quora today that iIthought would be fitting here. 

Question: How do I write a character to contradict their values. 

My answer: What is the value? What value do they hold higher than that? They will make a choice.

Example, they value life and think guns are bad. But they value their life and their child’s life more. So when a masked guy breaks into their home and somehow the main character gets a gun in their hand they have a choice…. Die and hold the value that guns are evil, or use it against the bad guy.

We make choices like this all the time. Sometimes it’s as simple as “don’t hurt bugs” until the creepy spider shows up in your bathtub. Sometimes it’s something bigger. There is always the question of what is more important to them.

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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in On Writing


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Grorg Club

I’d like to take a moment to talk about Grorg club. I know, I know, I’m not a member of Grorg club so I really don’t know anything about Grorg club, and I’m supposed to keep my mouth shut and just listen to people in Grorg club talk. I know that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

But…I was also told that the reason people who aren’t in Grorg club are so afraid of Grorgists is because we don’t discuss Grorgology. I mean, I’d like to understand what it is to be a Grorgist, and why it’s different than being a non-Grorgist, but I’m not supposed to talk, or ask questions.

Then yesterday I saw a textbook from a kids elementary school. It was the teachers version that just showed what the teacher is supposed to know that the students don’t generally know, but is there to influence the teacher in how they teach the class. It said anyone who isn’t a Grorgist, and part of the club, must be an anti-Grorgist. That means they hate them, even if they don’t think they do. I mean…I’ve never been part of Grorg club, but I’ve met a lot of Grorgists. Some have been my bosses at work, or people I talk to at stores, or grocery store clerks. They all seem very nice, and I’ve never felt anything but kindness to them. But…this says I must be anti-Grorgist and hate them even though I don’t. And that I benefit from everyone who isn’t a Grorg club member being anti-Grorgist.

But my boss is a Grorgist, and they are one of my favorite people. How did they suffer for being Grorgist? In fact I would even say they had some advantages because they decided that they wanted something and they went out and got it, regardless of what others would say about it. They are kind of inspirational, and a wonderful part of the community. Almost everyone thinks so, those who are part of the Grorg club, and those who aren’t, just because they are so absolutely wonderful in general.

But…serious talk for a moment. I’ve never understood the mentality that if you aren’t part of my group you must be against me, or if you’re not part of my group you can’t have an opinion on my group. It’s like telling a person who has no kids that they can’t spot a naughty child. Sorry, that child is jumping up and down in the middle of a restaurant and the parents are ignoring it, that’s a naughty child and EVERYONE can see it. You don’t always have to be a parent to see bad behavior.

Now you can insert whatever group you want with Grorg. In fact my direct supervisor at work belongs to at least four of those groups. And you know why they got the job? Because they worked their ass off, and did everything they could to show they were a good candidate. And they do a fantastic job of inspiring the team every day, even when things are falling apart around us and we have to work with broken tools. Their group affiliation didn’t matter, the club they belong to didn’t matter. When it came down to it they put in the work and they did a great job. And they are succeeding.

I belong to a few of those groups myself. But I don’t care about any of that. I care about getting up in the morning, going to work, feeding my family, and making good art. My group affiliations don’t help me. In fact they hurt me. Why? Not because of anti-whatever people. On the contrary, my group affiliations hurt me because people who are obsessed with the group tend to try and make me a victim of innumerable things. If I started letting myself feel like a victim again…well what was the point of getting out of the abusive relationship? Seriously…

I know a lot of people who go through traumatic experiences need to heal, or time to adjust. But pushing the group narrative of victimhood is a disservice.

When I finally came out of the closet about my rape I had a lot of things to figure out. There were moments when my boyfriend, the kindest and most loving person in the world, would try to touch me in a gentle way and I would jump. I wasn’t in danger, and I wanted his touch, but my body was expecting something worse. My body, and my mind, had to relearn how to be in a healthy relationship because I had been trained to expect pain, and abuse, from people who said they loved me.

Being around people who reinforce that idea of victimhood, who keep telling you it’s okay…this is a normal way to act…they HURT me more than helped me. I was trying to learn to act normal to a touch from someone who did love me, and I loved. A touch I was consenting too. And they were reinforcing the idea that flinching was a normal reaction.

IT’S NOT NORMAL!!! Nothing about it is normal. Yes, it’s a natural response, but just like you were trained to flinch you can be trained to stop flinching. You’re supposed to flinch when danger is there, not when someone is being kind to you.

Once I realized my physical and emotional responses were totally fucked up from being in an abusive relationship I was able to say “no, this is wrong” and start relearning proper responses. Had I stayed around people who encouraged me to stay a victim I never would have relearned how to have a real relationship.

I don’t flinch when my boyfriend touches me anymore. I don’t get scared when a man walks behind me on the sidewalk. I don’t respond with negativity when someone gives me a compliment. Because I am no longer a victim.

So, even though I could be part of some of the Grorgist clubs, I don’t feel part of them. I wouldn’t want to be part of the club. I don’t want to be a victim again. But should I be able to talk about them? Should I be able to discuss them? I think so. Just like when I woke up to what was happening to me, I NEEDED to talk about it. I needed to find the truth, and share my experience with others. I needed to know what I was feeling wasn’t in my imagination.

But there comes a point where you have to stop talking and start moving on. I will talk to anyone about my past that wants to talk about it, especially if they were also a victim and need to move from that twisted reality to something healthy. But it isn’t the focus of my life, and it never should be.

Anyway, that’s my two cents for the day. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I just needed to share it. Telling people who were victims that they can learn to stop being victims isn’t the most popular idea out there, but I feel it’s necessary to say. Honestly, the people who want you to stay a victim are the ones who have no respect for you, and think you’re too weak to move on. Not the ones that want to see you get better.

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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in On Writing


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