Officially on sale!

Pooka

The Farther i Fall


It’s official! The Farther I Fall is available for pre-sale pretty much everywhere!


Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Books A Million ~ iBooks ~ Kobo


The official release date is January 20, 2015.



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Official News

Pooka
I have some! I am super-excited to announce that I am now being represented by Jennifer Udden of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. I'm using the pseudonym Lisa Nicholas, which if you know me, you'll know is close to but not quite my legal name. ;) I have an official Twitter here, and the beginnings of an official website here.

What is my life, even.

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So,just for the record

Pooka
I'm still alive. :) Like most fandom people, I live over on tumblr these days. That said, things are happening in my life, very exciting things.
  • My novel (working title The Farther I Fall) is finished, edited, and sitting in New York with an agent as we speak, and I'm awaiting official news.
  • My follow up (working title Past the Mission) is ongoing thanks to NaNoWriMo. Man, I think I've gotten better at this novel thing.
  • I have officially outed myself on Facebook as a writer of both romance and smut, and one who is trying to do so professionally.
  • Right now I suppose my genre is officially 'romantic suspense' or 'romantic thriller', but I'm inclined to think of it as 'women-centric action movies with lots of explosions, romance, and sex'.
  • My day job still rocks, and isn't going anywhere any time soon.
  • Still single, still entirely okay with it. Right now, between writing and my day job, I'm pretty much working two jobs. When would I have time for more?
More to come as soon as I know it. :)

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[reposted post] Episode 7.5 Could Still Be Dangerous

Ep7point5

Episode 7.5 - Could Still Be Dangerous, of the Three Patch Podcast, in which we continue our discussion of all things John Watson, is now available.  Show notes and direct download information are available here at three-patch.com. Or subscribe via RSS.

In this episode:


  • Shannon, Rachael, Katie, Roane, Drinkingcocoa and B finally sort John Watson and discuss what his Patronus would be.

  • Drinkingcocoa continues her interview with Emma Grant to find out more about the fics that inspire her and her thoughts on John Watson.

  • Dixie, Qui, Geny and Shannon share their recommendations for accommodations in London in the Consulting Travelers segment.

  • Shannon talks with Lynnette Porter, author of the performance biography Benedict Cumberbatch, In Transition about her book and Benedict’s career.

  • Roane and Fox share their recs for John is a BAMF fanworks.

Books read: 2012

Pooka
Since I seem to be reading a lot of fan fiction this year, and since Goodreads won't let me track it, I'm going to keep track of my reading here too. Counting books and fanfics of 50K words or over.

Currently reading:
  • The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Have His Carcase, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Shadow Unit 1, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, et. al.


In order of finishingCollapse )

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Speechless

Pooka
I have to share. Here's finished artwork based on Pull the Stars from the Sky, my Sherlock fic in progress: Seattle Rain by draloreshimare (NSFW for nudity, no slash).

I'd seen various stages of the WIP, but the final version is beautiful. And coincidentally, was one of my favorite scenes to write.

ETA: fixed link, as apparently you have to be a Deviant Art member to see it. Also, heck, it's behind the cut:

Pretty much the top 90% of the image is SFW, the bottom 10% isn"t. ;)Collapse )

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Heresy

Pooka
Supposedly scent is the strongest memory trigger, but I don't know. Music has to be at least a close second. I'm working on a Very Large writing project right now--maybe novel-length, maybe just novella--and it is very very music-centric, and set around 2000-2001. So I've been digging through some of my old favorites, and it is nostalgia central around my house lately.

I was always your basic boring pop music kid in high school. I liked a few more obscure things, but that's it. College too. Then, during 1994 when I was married and agoraphobic and miserable, my first internet crush (a gothy angsty 19 year old from England who wrote poetry about how his life was over because his one true love was married and in Tennessee--it wasn't pretty) sent me a mix tape. (Incidentally, my ex-husband probably still thinks said internet crush was responsible for our marriage ending. He's wrong. Depression ended my marriage. The internet--and crushes therein--made me realize that there was a world outside of the apartment I hadn't really left in 18 months and that I didn't have to be miserable forever.) The mix tape was full of pretty much three things: Tori Amos, Sisters of Mercy, and The Mission UK. It blew my mind.

Literally, one of the first things I did after leaving the ex--LITERALLY, I stopped on the drive from Tennessee to Michigan as I was leaving him--was buy two CDs. One was "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy" by Sarah McLachlan. The other... I think it might've been "Yes I Am" by Melissa Etheridge. Everyone was talking about "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails, so I got my hands on "Downward Spiral" as quick as I could, which led to "Pretty Hate Machine". More Tori. ALL THE TORI.

So I've been spending all this time listening to music from that time period, and a few years after. I spent maybe a few months in 1995 as a wannabe club kid--for values of 'club kid' that equal the two clubs in Ann Arbor/Ypsi at the time. This weekend, I pulled up "Downward Spiral" for the first time in YEARS, and the memory was SO clear.

Me, 23 years old, dancing at a club that doesn't exist anymore to NIN's "Heresy", sweaty and pogoing and screaming along with the lyrics ("God is dead and no one cares, if there is a hell I'll see you there"). I still remember what I was wearing, because I felt impossibly daring: sheerish pale green crepe-y poet shirt I'd bought at a ren fair (GOD I miss that shirt) with a black bra underneath (OMG, visible!), black leggings, giant Celtic cross necklace, the closest things I had to stompy boots (not terribly close, really), and what felt like a LOT of makeup. I was pretty sure that the people I had come with had taken LSD in the bathroom before we left a friend's apartment (and I was relieved/disappointed they hadn't asked me). I myself might have actually been TIPSY.

As rebellions go, pretty damn mild, right? But man, it felt like EVERYTHING. It was everything, because it was the first time in my life I'd ever dared anything like it. (You could probably argue that getting married and dropping out of college at 19 was rebellion, but that was more the act of a desperately unhappy person.)

Drunk and dancing and screaming lyrics that blasphemed against everything I was brought up to believe. It's a powerful memory, one of my first glimpses at the possibility of shaping my life by own rules.

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It's a very long meme.

Pooka
Comment to this post, and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.

I love these memes. So, this came from roseredhoofbeat, one of my Sherlock fan-buddies.

1) Slashfic and feminism
Whoo boy. This is a big topic. I have many varied and conflicting thoughts on this one. The biggest problem I have with slashfic is that--unless it's femme-slash, there aren't a lot of female characters featured. Despite the fact that I tend to create original female characters, they, by definition of the genre, tend to be relatively minor. (Okay, you could argue that Maggie in Defence Mechanisms is anything but minor given the pivotal plot role she plays, but... that's another story. Possibly an actual story, because really: who IS this woman and where can I find one?) So there's that.

It can also be the breeding ground for a lot of misogyny. The sheer levels of hate towards any female character with designs on someone's preferred pair is SCARY. (*coughIreneAdlercough*) And I know for some folks, the tendency to exoticize queer men is troubling. There's a LOT of very very unrealistic gay sex out there in slash-land. And a lot of strange ideas of what actually constitutes "sex". I just got a review on one of my stories today where the person said, "I'm glad they didn't actually have sex." And I thought, "Well what the hell did I just spend five pages writing, then?" But, in what is a pretty hetero-centrist mindset, if there isn't a penis penetrating something, it's not sex. Which makes me wonder what these people think women do together, but again, another topic for another day.

On the other hand, slash is a fantastic way to explore romance tropes without having to deal with the whole "Me Tarzan, you Jane" mentality so common in romance novels. I'm always bothered when a slash author feels the need to feminize one of the male characters (not gender-swap, that's a whole different matter), or equates certain sexual practices with gender roles. And as I've written about before, it's been very liberating for me personally. It's easier for me to write male/male romance than male/female. I think there's still a fear that if I write het romance, it'll be perceived as wish fulfillment from a fat single middle-aged crazy cat lady (whether it is or not). But if there's two men, well then. Any fear of perceived author self-insert is removed from the picture.

Annnnd, then there's the whole issue of the female gaze. I know not everyone who reads/writes slash is female, or even necessarily interested in men. But I'd guess that predominantly, that's the case. Venture somewhere like Tumblr (my favorite flavor of fandom crack right now) and there is SO much discussion about so-and-so's [pick a body part] it's not even funny. Well okay, I actually DO think it's funny. And much weeping and gnashing of teeth over how attractive various actors are. (Yup, I do it too, I'm--mostly--not ashamed. Have you SEEN the men in Sherlock?) There's also a strong component of "Yes, he's brilliant, he has a lovely mind, but can you please post that gif where he takes his scarf off again? I need to stare at it for a while." It's a very female-oriented community that talks a lot about sex, which is kind of novel for me.

2) BBC-verse fandom (Who, Sherlock, Merlin, pick one)
The BBC is a giant plot by the UK government to take over their old empire by inducing an utter lack of productivity in the rest of the world through the quality of their television shows. And also, they found Benedict Cumberbatch when his spaceship crashed at the foot of a BBC broadcast tower, because that man is not human.

3) Working in a shelter
It's honestly the best job I've ever had. I don't think I could ever go back to working in a strictly corporate setting again. Because I work on the fundraising side of things, I definitely see more of the good side of people than the folks who work directly with the animals, but the horror stories are hard to deal with sometimes. That's probably been the toughest realization, that no matter how good this place is (and I'd rate it as one of the best shelters in the country), you're never going to be able to save every animal, and you're never going to be able to educate every person. Once you get past that, it gets easier.


4) Your critters
I am a crazy cat lady. Right now, I live with four cats (Pooka, Rumpus, Neville, and Belle) and one dog (Maddie the golden retriever). Pooka was my first rescue pet, a tortico (her coloring is tortie with big white patches--see icon) adopted ten years ago. She's a little old lady now (at least 12, possibly older). Rumpus I also adopted ten years ago, but he was a tiny kitten. He's a 'fraidy cat who runs from everything. Likewise Neville the brown tabby, who was a foster cat that wound up staying. He runs from me every chance he gets, but will occasionally come and get attention. And Belle, my problem child. Two years ago, I was fostering kittens for the shelter, and it was a terrible year, for everybody. Orphaned kittens are fragile at the best of times, but that year every single kitten I fostered died. Except for Belle, and it was a near thing with her. She has been a pushy brat from the very beginning, and she stole my heart. When she turned out to be the only survivor, I couldn't give her up. (Incidentally, I haven't really fostered since. That was a TOUGH year.)

And Maddie. My 8 year old baby girl, you can read all about how she wound up with me here.

5) Turning 40
Which I am doing in about 3 and a half months. (July 7th!) I'm kind of excited about it. My thirties have been full of a lot of suck, but mostly, the kind of suck that results in personal growth in a major major way. I'm hoping that in my forties I'm able to start taking advantage of all this growing I've been doing. I'm a little sad that turning 40 makes some things less likely (the idea that I'm ever going to settle down and have a family is growing more and more distant), but overall, I'm pretty optimistic.

6) Size acceptance
For reference, me:Collapse )
Oh god. Quite possibly my salvation. Some time in my 20s I discovered the size acceptance or fat acceptance movement through an email list. I have been fat my entire life. I think I started getting chubby around the age of 4. My mother dealt with it in THE WORST possible manner, and as a result I spent most of my childhood on diets and hating myself, and have wound up with a serious eating disorder. The discovery that there were a WHOLE GROUP OF FAT PEOPLE OUT THERE, and that they didn't hate themselves, and that they didn't spend every day wishing they were someone else--that was pretty revolutionary for me.

It's been about 15 years, and if I'd never stumbled on to the crazy notion that I deserved love and respect regardless of my weight, I don't know that I would have come as far down the path of healing as I have. It's still difficult. I am a very large person, through a complex combination of genetics and mental illness and addiction and poor habits. Other people are varying sizes for their own complex set of reasons. Just accepting that, and accepting that it is NEVER as simple as "well you should just walk more" or whatever the latest line of diet bullshit is, has brought a lot of peace for me.

7) Being a fanfic author
I love it. I unabashedly love it. My brain still tries to tell me sometimes that I should be writing "real" stories, and that I CERTAINLY shouldn't be wasting my time/talent/whatever writing SLASH (the brain says snootily), but mostly I'm past it. I get nothing but pure JOY from telling these stories. The fact that I have a growing audience is still blowing me out of the water. It makes me squee and dance around my apartment. The only time I got anything approaching this kind of charge writing original fiction was if I got a rejection letter that didn't suck quite as much as the others (or the couple of times I got an acceptance). Seriously. The one rejection letter that I got that was written by the head editor of a magazine as opposed to his assistant? That was pure gold. :)

But with fanfic, I post stuff, and people like it. I mean, I'm sure there are people that hate it, but they've been quiet so far. Yesterday, someone actually asked me if they could translate one of my stories into Chinese, so non-English speakers could read it. CHINESE. A couple of people have been clamoring for artwork based on that same story. ("Perchance to Dream"--shamelessly short and schmoopy.) I'm approaching 'somebody pinch me' levels of glee. Because it's not quite real.

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Pooka
Here's something I wouldn't think was possible: I've improved as a writer over the past ten years, despite having hardly written a word. And I think it's nothing but a case of being ten years older. I understand people better now. My worldview isn't as black and white. I'm writing things now that I would never have been able to write ten years ago. I don't just mean sex, although that's certainly a big part of it. I used to hold back with some of my writing, fearing--somewhere deep down--that if I wrote a character as wanting something, or being a certain way, that someone would think that that was what I wanted, or how I was. And I was so determined to be a "good girl", even at 30.

Probably the first revolutionary act of my writing was when I started The Exile's Daughter (2003) with the main character saying, "Fuck". (The whole thing was a terrible first line, but at the time, it was exhilarating.) It's not like I never said the word, but I don't know that I'd ever included it in fiction before. The second revolutionary act was writing "Sic Transit Gloria" (also 2003, which is still one of my favorite stories, and I'm kind of sad it never got published): main character of indeterminate gender (at least until the end), grappling with seeing his/her former teen idol now aged and damaged, but still feeling that pull. That was probably the first time I wrote about any character actually feeling sexual desire. Hadn't done it before then, nope nope nope. All of my characters were waist-up beings only. And I think they suffered for that.

This isn't to say I never wrote about sex at all. I was an avid online roleplayer in the late 90s, and for all that pretty much everybody publicly denigrated the idea, there were a LOT of people roleplaying sex, me included. That was different though. That wasn't meant for public consumption--and in my case particularly, was tied up in a lot of messy feelings for my roleplaying partner(s). That was personal. And deeply embarrassing, a dirty little secret.

And now, nearly 40, I find myself in an online community that is smart, engaging, and celebrates the ever-living hell out of sex. Publicly. And very vocally. It took some getting used to. And it was embarrassing at first. The first time I tried to read slash, I kept mentally skimming past the characters' names because it seemed so WRONG. Fortunately (unfortunately?) the two writers I started with are stellar, and I somehow accidentally started with nuclear weaponry-level slash, instead of something milder.

(Yes, fellow Sherlock fans, while [archiveofourown.org profile] greywash may have written the first S/J sex scenes I ever read, the first actual slash-slash I read was... Two Two One Bravo Baker. Is it any wonder I've imprinted on [archiveofourown.org profile] abundantlyqueer like a demented baby duck?)

So it is about sex, but it isn't. The characters I used to write were sterile in the truest sense of the word. They were missing huge giant swaths of human experience. They weren't messy, they weren't terribly damaged, necessarily, they didn't want things that weren't completely okay to want. Because I wanted so desperately to be "normal" and "good", I tried to make them "normal" and "good". Which made a lot of them pretty boring.

Since I last wrote seriously, I've discovered just how messy and broken I am. I've started putting myself back together. I know who I am now. I know what got me here, what broke me, what's healing me. I am able (most of the time) to accept myself as a sexual being, even a sexual being who's made unconventional (and sometimes poorly thought-out) choices. I am no longer so utterly locked-down as a human being that I can't even contemplate fictional characters who aren't also locked-down.

And now I'm playing in this sandbox where the two main characters are so utterly, gloriously human and broken and tough, and I'm finally in a place where I can appreciate that, and play with it. And far from finding it threatening or scary, it's liberating as HELL. And for that, I owe fandom one hell of a debt.

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