Back Again

NaNoWriMo 2018, Day 5, Elayna’s Log

Current Word Count: 12,065 words

Current GIF Mood

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It’s that magical time of year again friends, and even though I’m terrified of the election tomorrow and it often feels like the world has gone beyond dumpster fire into full on eldritch dystopian hellscape, I’m trying to find a tiny piece of hope to hold onto, and right now, that hope is NaNoWriMo. That hope is, as it always seems to be for me, Alteria.

You may recall a few months back when I made the whacky decision to try and write a third draft of book one at the same time as a first draft of book three. In retrospect…

tenor

Not the best idea.

It was a great idea in theory, but I burned out on that faster than a cheap t-light candle, and fell into a bit of a hole as I went through some stuff in my personal life. I wasn’t working on the story, book one OR three, and I was to be honest, feeling a bit trapped.

But then I applied for Pitch Wars 2018. I was more hopeful than I’ve been in a long, long time, thinking THIS IS IT. THE THING. IT IS HAPPENING. And then when I got a full manuscript request from one of the writers I was most stoked about pitching, I was bursting. Everything I’ve ever hoped and dreamed was so close I could taste it and friends it tasted like your favorite ice cream mixed with homemade cookies and goddamn rainbows.

When I got another email from that same writer, asking me specifics about the history of the manuscript and other questions of import, it felt like it was just a matter of time. I was drunk on hope, anxious with nerves, and really, really thought that my name was gonna be on that list on October 12th.

And then it wasn’t.

And then I broke a little.

Added to the six rejections I’ve gotten from agents in the last calendar year, that brings me to seven. When I got rejected from ANOTHER mentorship last week, that brought me to eight. I was feeling so kicked down, and scared that maybe I should quit. This manuscript will never be ready. The book will never be finished. I tried staying positive, but internally, the breakdown was more like an implosion.

Leave it to National Novel Writing Month to save the damn day and remind me to have hope in humans, existence, and my story.

The last five days working on this new draft (after an astronomical overhaul of the outline, plot, and even chopping some characters) I feel fan-bloody-tastic. Is this the honeymoon week of NaNo talking? Maybe. But who the hell cares if it means I feel rejuvenated in my writing?

7yAW

This draft, while in some ways very scary and new, is honestly one of the best decisions I’ve made creatively in a long time. Its outline came after talks with some closest friends about why I was getting stuck, and looking over rejection feedback, and a lot of it came down to this… there was something about my book that wasn’t personal enough.

If y’all have read my poetry, you know I go in. I lay myself out and say, this is what my soul looks like. But it turns out my fiction writing was full of just a little too much fiction, and not enough of my own voice. I was trying so hard to tell the plot of a sweeping epic trilogy, without telling the story of a girl who learns she’s got light inside of her. And so writing this so far has felt more authentic and honest than any drafts prior.

I’ve included places from my hometown. Woven in my own memories to Piper’s narrative. And if you can believe, I found a way to include poetry into my YA fantasy novel. I described the writing of this version as feeling like, “adding new plot elements, but talking to an old friend”, and so far, its been a magical decision.

I’ve got zero way of knowing right now if this is gonna be the one. I could still be in for a draft four, five, six, and twentyteen. Maybe this one will end up being too personal and I’ll have to go back and do this all over again. God only knows. But right now, I’m letting the delightful fire of a new draft fill me up and keep me warm. I’m enjoying the bejesus out of writing fiction, which I haven’t felt in some time. It’s a nice feeling. Just so nice.

giphy

Though now it’s time to get back to it. I’d love to try and stay as ahead as I can on this word count, so I can make the most of the end of month when I have some vacation days tucked away just for writing.

If you’re participating in NaNo as well, sound off in the comments so we can encourage each other! And as ever, thanks for listening to my ramble about this thing I love doing so dang much.

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• Nostalgia •

The word evokes in most
Nickelodeon or N*Sync
or any of the other trappings
of our childhoods.
But for me, nostalgia has always
emerged in ways that
to the world might seem strange.

Backstage darkness,
the smell of lumber,
the hum of light fixtures.
12 scoop ice cream sundaes
from Friendly’s after
every special occasion,
and lying in the freshly
mown grass of the football field.
Candle wax between my
fingers while lying on the driveway.
Nights looking for meteors,
and cool, rainy mornings
in the shadows of stone history
when we were hoping for a sunrise.

Nostalgia tastes like
Charlie’s greasiest pizza,
smells like sweet incense,
feels like warm pavement,
and looks like starry skies.


Want to read more from Unraveling LightAdd the book on

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Buy the book on

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | IndieBound


(Featured Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash)

Return of Camp NaNo

Three summers ago I participated in my first ever July Camp NaNoWriMo, where I began writing what would go on to become my first fully completed draft of the first book in my Alteria Trilogy. This July, I come full circle.

This summer I am writing the first draft of the third book.

And the third draft of the first book.

Three summers later, and the Inception meme is still applicable.

959816683-Inception-Squint
BWAM BWWAAAM BWWWWWAAAAAAAMMMMM

I realize that writing two books at once (while also wrapping up production on Unraveling Light, which will be dropping VERY SOON!) is madness, but I’ve always been one for crazy endeavors, so why stop now.

The decision to work on Book 3 though this summer wasn’t an easy one to come to. I found myself so torn about whether or not it was the right call. I always told myself that Book 3 was a far off thing that I’d do well after the first and second books were done and out there. But I realized that 1) I have nothing to lose by writing a first draft of it early and 2) In fact, it will make the revision process for Book 1 go much smoother, because as I am writing the newest draft of it, I’ll know where the story ends, and thus, will be able to breadcrumb all the right things in there for readers.

The idea of really fine tuning They Are the Last before I begin a second round of querying feels right, but so does wrapping up the series by getting the first draft of Book 3 to paper. It’s going to be a writing adventure unlike anything I’ve done before, which fills me all kinds of up with the excitement and dread and wonderment that makes me love writing so. damn. much.

I will do my best to blog along in the process as I go this month, but I make no promises of writing every day, since every time I say I’m gonna do that, the pressure makes me never actually do it. Hopefully this bizarro journey will teach me some new things, and if I find any of that worth sharing, I’ll be sure to put that together into something for y’all.

I’m already three chapters into the third book, and already there’s been some majorly gut wrenching to write scenes. This is where everything comes together, friends. I cannot believe I have come to it, and that I will at last be finding out how Piper’s story ends. Many more drafts will surely come over the years of all 3 books, but to know generally speaking where my babies end their journeys makes me feel nine kinds of everything all at once.

Hoping to cross the 5K mark on the third book tonight, so it’s about time I get back to it. But to those of you who’ve been around since the beginning, thanks for sticking with me through this. For those of you just joining the journey, I’m glad you’re here. Off to Alteria we go…

1rP6XH_C
(Photo I took of the bridge that plays a huge part in the story, and Alteria shining in the distance.) ((Ok its the moon but LET ME DREAM OK))

 

Create What Awakens You

Creative advice abounds in today’s world of everyone-has-a-hot-take. We all have different ways that work for us, different things that inspire us and compel us to make stuff. This however isn’t a self-help article to tell you how to harness that magic for yourself. This is simply me, musing about how my imagination ignites, because it’s on my mind and I have to shake it out somehow. If it manages to spark something in you, well than all the better.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
—Maya Angelou

This past year is when I began actively writing poetry. I say actively because truth be told, my poems prior to the last year and some change were all accidental. They were sporadic moments when the spirit moved me to write something down. Then I’d tuck it away, not to be seen until months later when I was moved by something new. But last summer, I did my first poetry reading event, and within me that night, something shifted.

Whether it was the way people responded to my words, the confidence I felt in delivering said words, or something different entirely, I cannot say. All I know is that night, I felt awakened. A new candle was lit within me, and I wanted nothing more in those moments than to fan this new flame of it into something bright and strong and beautiful.

Writing poetry became a more frequent occurrence. The poems got better with each one, and expanded from internal struggles that I didn’t feel I could talk to anyone about, to bigger world issues that I wished more people would be talking about. I started getting more funky and creative with them, mixing my styles and my rhymes and my rhythms. When I was writing poetry as opposed to my usual YA sci-fi work,which always feels like it must be so carefully written, there was a certain freedom and a new-ness that made me feel more alive and present than I had in a long while.

By the time I started sorting these new poems into an actual collection, I found myself wishing I had an artist who would be willing to do illustrations for it. I thought of all the artists I knew, but then thought of the empty-ness of my wallet. As someone who grew up with an artist for a sister, I know the value in their work, and didn’t want to ask someone to do it for free.

Around the same time, I’d entered a giveaway by an author I really admire, and actually won. Included in the prizes was a cool beanie, a bookmark, a pair of sweet headphones, and a sketch book, one that has the words ART HEALS painted on the cover…

Another new something had awakened. Another candle was lit.

Slowly, I started to find my medium. Sketchy ink doodles and abstract-y watercolors. I found a healing and a transcendence and a joy in making the art to accompany my poetry. It made them feel full, each work of art like the period to the sentence of each poem — something to complete them and make them whole. I was reminded of the Greek myth in which Zeus was said to have cut humankind in half, leaving each of us to spend our lives searching the soul we were split from. This fusion of poems and art pieces was like the two spirits of my creativity finding one another again.

The words informed the art, and the art deepened the meaning of the words. The further into my creative consciousness I ventured, the more myself I feel I became.

The original idea for this article came from my mulling over the phrase, “write what you know”. It is always the one creative piece of advice I have tried to follow, probably just because it is the set of advice most often heard. But as of late I have realized that writing what I know is only one small piece to the puzzle of being a creator. My poems and my paintings, my sketches and my science fictions, my blog posts and my Instagram stories — all of these things, different from one another though they may be, are part of who I am and what I create. Each of them ignites something different within me. Every form of art a single flame in my artistic bonfire.

When I walk through daily life, working a day job just to make it, I feel like I cannot wait to just lay down and go to sleep. But when I am creating, writing, drawing, and living the life that feels like I belong to it as much as it belongs to me, I am awakened.

I hope that you find the spark that awakens you, and I hope that you nurture that flame into a blaze that only you can make.



Cover Photo by
Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Fresh Start

It’s days like today where the subtitle for my blog (Capturing Life’s Chapters) feels particularly fitting. After writing yesterday about my end of an era with working for MuggleNet, today feels like a bright new beginning, with lots of exciting things ahead.

Now that I will have more time, I have big plans to make Elayna Musings my main focus. What with Unraveling Light on the way, pending queries out there for They Are the Last, and a bunch of bubbling new ideas, the next few months look to be unreal levels of exciting. So I thought to kick things off, I’d share an update, detailing all the awesomesauce things y’all have to look forward to in the next few months. Let’s get to it.

They Are the Last

As I’ve been working on the poetry, and also waiting to hear back on my first major round of query letters, this project has been on a bit of a hiatus. I’ve got big plans for working on what will be the third draft this summer, before sending out more queries this fall. Just know that even though I haven’t been talking about it as much online, does NOT mean it has gone anywhere. Trust friends, I’m doing my best to get Piper’s adventures into your hands ASAP.

Unraveling Light

As of this writing, the manuscript is in the hands of my editor. (GOSH DOES IT FEEL COOL TO TYPE THAT PHRASE) She is hard at work doing final edits, as I’m over here finalizing the art work and making perks. Currently, we’re still on schedule to release it June 26th, 2018, but keep your eyes on this space for any updates should that need to change! And while you’re waiting, feel free to add the book to your shelves on Goodreads! *faints in disbelief over having a book on Goodreads*

Patreon

This is something I have always regretted not having more time for, because so many of the volunteer things I was doing on the side took up my every extra hour. But now that I’m re-centering on my own creative works, I’m psyched to announce I have done a 100% overhaul of my Patreon page, including a new about section, rewards, and goals. Y’all know well enough by now that being a full time writer and making you more stuff is the dream, so if you have $1 a month to spare and want to help make that happen, head on over. It is in conjunction with Patreon that I am absolutely bursting to tell you about another new project I am launching as of today.

elluminations

Bringing Unraveling Light to life with you all has been one long, magical dream, and it has made me realize how much I desperately love writing poetry. Having to keep that book down to just poems that suited the themes became harder and harder as new poems and ideas poured out of me. But to publish full collections of them with art included on a frequent basis would be something that would burn me out faster than you could blink. However, Patreon’s monthly subscription model has birthed an idea for how I can share my poems with you all on a more regular basis, without fizzling out.

Introducing elluminations

elluminations is going to be a quarterly chapbook that I plan to put together for you all so that when I don’t have a major release coming out, you still can have new, original content from me. In keeping with the theme of Unraveling Light, I felt elluminations was the perfect name, because not only is it a nod to my first published collection AND my own name, but it also hearkens back to illuminated manuscripts of medieval texts, in which monks painted elaborate designs around their letters and pages.

A chapbook, for the uninitiated, is just a shorter collection of poems by a single author, so you can expect that each one will contain anywhere between 10 and 30 new poems for you. Since monthly would be too hectic of a turnaround, but one a year would be too few, I’ve decided I will release a new volume each season. (So for the rest of this year that means you can expect one in June, September, and December!) Each volume will be named by a unifying theme to tie these little collections together. I already have some ideas brewing about the first one, which I’m hoping to release right around the same time as Unraveling Light this June.

But HERE’S THE REAL EXCITING PART! These past few weeks, as things with Unraveling Light have been flourishing, I’ve managed to put together a Volume 0 which will be free and available to the public, both here on my blog and on Medium, so that you can get a taste of what to expect from future editions!

Volume 0 is titled Independent, and the theme deals with the journey I found myself on as I struggled through the loss of my parents. A rough topic to start on I know, but this mini collection (which features 17 poems in all) is very close to my heart. And if you end up enjoying what you read, you can hit up Patreon to become a supporter, so that you’ll get all the future volumes delivered to you once they’re done! (So for $5 a month, you get a subscription to elluminations plus a bunch of other cool stuff!) I am so, so excited to get this project started.

So that about wraps things up for now! As I said a dozen times in this post, I am THRILLED to finally be dedicating my time to writing and creating original things for you. 2018 really is shaping up to be one helluva creative year, and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. ^_^

 


 

Cover photo by unsplash-logoDebby Hudson

 

Survive

I do not always succeed. I feel I fail more often than not. But I am trying. I am fighting. I won’t let my efforts be forgot. There’s this pressure from the world, that I must meet specific goals. But my heart says something different, it sings a song of old. Before the world knew war, and before hatred plagued our souls, love brought about creation, the Greatest Story Ever Told. Evolution is a process, but does not mean love isn’t real. Science is the explanation, for why we feel the way we feel. To think the spirit does not exist, and that the soul is in our imaginations, is a fallacy most high, and shows the devil’s desperation. We are beings of magic and atoms, trying to do our best. And while we fail some of the time, we succeed the rest. Every second I keep breathing, is an accomplishment of joy. Every moment that I keep going, that’s a failure I’ve destroyed. I do not always succeed, but ever, I still try. I won’t let the world make me broken. Somehow, I’ll survive…

• ❇ •

This poem will be featured in Unraveling Light, my debut collection of poetry*.

 

(*Cries for days because I can finally say that phrase.)

My Turn

As a writer, I have always agreed with J.K. Rowling on her words…

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.

That statement has proven true in my life time and time again. For every word that has hurt me, there have been more that have healed. For all the words that cause me to doubt, there have been just as many to inspire, and it was three words my roommate said to me about two weeks back that ignited something inside me.

Our conversation wasn’t unlike many of the others we’ve had before. One of the biggest topics was my fear that I can’t do “this.” By “this”, I mean be a published author.

Waiting to hear back from agents is painstaking. Watching other debut authors bask in the glow of their first books is incredible. Feeling like I could never be among them even if I tried has been disheartening. But on this particular night, there was one thing my roommate said that must have been exactly what I needed to hear. With three simple words, he sparked a fire…

“It’s your turn…”

This struck me, and it is because of that conversation that a project that I’ve been working on for months is about to come alive in a way I had not originally planned, but which am now thrilled to pursue. It is because of those three words that I was able to find the courage at last, make this announcement, which I’m happy crying over as I type.

I’m publishing a book, y’all.

Allow me to (tearfully) present to you, Unraveling Light, my debut collection of poetry.

a collection of poetry

As of the time of this writing, you can click the above link and be whisked away through the interwebs to a Kickstarter campaign, where I am raising the set-up funds to self-publish the book this summer. My starting goal is only $900, which means if 36 people decide to pre-order a signed paperback right now (really, did I mention the link’s right here?) then that’s it. I’ll have the funds needed to publish, and the rest is just whipped cream and cherries.

As I’ve shared this news with friends and family in the past few weeks, some have expressed surprise that I write poetry. Trust me, no one is as surprised as I am that my first published work is going to be poems. For while I’ve been actively writing poetry for the past few years, I never would have dreamed when I started that it would ever be something I would want to share with others, because of how deeply personal much of it is. But as I’ve been chipping away at progress on my YA series, writing poetry has become a truly joyous outlet for me and has served as a magnificent means of self-expression. Putting together this collection, and subsequently finding a passion for doodling and word art that accompanies the poems, has been an unbelievable experience of growth, and so I couldn’t be happier to finally be ready enough to release it.

The campaign runs from today until April 25th, concluding on that date because that would have been my mother’s birthday, and she is the one to whom this book is dedicated. I tear up thinking about her, and wondering how she would feel to know that not only am I finally chasing my life’s greatest dream, but that I am doing it on my own terms. My mom always supported me, and I wouldn’t be the writer, dreamer, or person I am without her encouragement, even when the rest of the world didn’t believe in me.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some teasers of the book here on my blog, but you can get more frequent updates by donating to the Kickstarter today so that you get notified as soon as something new develops with the project! For donating, you can get all manner of fun things from handmade bookmarks, to audiobooks, to signed copies of the book, and even custom art prints. By donating, you’d be helping me to achieve something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. So basically a ton of great karma on top of all the swag. A pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

I know there’s not many people who read this blog. I know that as far as the publishing world is considered, I am still a nobody. Hell, even when this campaign succeeds and the book is out there, it still isn’t likely to be a bestseller or to change the world. But it is my heart put to paper. As my campaign page says…

The words in this volume serve as not just the written sum of one person’s experiences, but as a celebration of surviving them.

As I begin this journey, I find myself so happy to have survived. I am so happy to still be writing. I am so happy to be alive to share this with you. I hope that whoever you are, stranger or friend, you can find some shred of magic in my words, and that through that, you can feel the same hope I feel as I put Unraveling Light out into the world.

Here’s to Hope

Here we are. 2018. To be honest, after the past year, I honestly can’t believe we made it.

Hopelessness permeated the nation and the world last year. Hurricane after hurricane, shooting after shooting, scandal after scandal. I thought people had been happy to see 2016 go last year. But then 2017 rolled up and was like…

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You know nothing of pain, 2017…

But with all that dread and fear, came some moments of true inspiration which reminded me maybe the world hasn’t gone entirely to shit. The Women’s March turning out astronomically more people than a cheeto’s inauguration. The triumphant releases of films like Get Out and Wonder Woman and Girl’s Trip and Coco, proving that audiences are ready AF for more inclusive media. In a response to certain bigots getting elected, we saw a backlash of people running for office, and WINNING, like the amazing Danica Roem. 2018 looks to be even more promising on many of these fronts, what with things like Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time, and the elections that could flip the government in favor of, oh, I dunno, general human decency?

But this post isn’t meant to be a political commentary or an analyzation of media, even those are obviously both things I care about. It is meant most of all to say, 2017 was quite a year, and I’m ready to put it to bed and look forward to this year.

In terms of personal things this year, it was pretty fucking majestic. I finally got a promotion, moved into a new place with my best friend, published my first short story, launched a new podcast, traveled to Seattle and Orlando and New Hampshire, began a writing website with my friends, and nearly finished the first draft of You Are the Dawn. I think about all that I’ve done this year and I’m overcome with joy, that despite all the financial struggles and social struggles and mental health concerns I faced this year, I did what I said I hoped I would last year. I made things. I read books. I told stories. I lived.

It seems my experiment of putting down less concrete goals actually friggin worked, and so too this year, I want to do the same thing. As I go forth, I hope to blog & vlog more. I hope to go further into my work on the Alteria series. I hope amazing things happen for IndiePen Ink, and that all the ancillary things that are part of it will flourish. I want to *hopefully* move somewhere new where I can really spread my wings.

But there is one more concrete goal I have that I will put into words, in the hope that writing it here might help me speak it into existence. In 2018, I really hope I find my literary agent so They Are the Last can finally see light break on the horizon.

Here’s to hope. Here’s to love. Here is to 2018 overflowing with light for you and yours and for all of us. Live loud and be blessed, friends.

What I’m Going To Do

Current NaNoWriMo Word Count: 12,522 words

Current NaNoWriMo Mood (via a GIF):

tumblr_inline_n12kxrpQzY1qgp297

Kind of kicking myself for waiting till the 12th day of the month to update y’all on my NaNoWriMo progress, but the timing works I suppose since yesterday was the best writing day I’ve had in a long time, for a lot of different reasons.

For one, it was 11/11, which is my favorite day because my favorite number is 11. Good mojo from the jump on that front. Add that to the fact that we had an extended Write In with some of my friends from the PhillyWrimos group, and you have the recipie for a very good writing day.

And boy howdy was it.

Wrote just over 5,300 words yesterday, definitely my best writing day since the summer, and by a long shot my best one of the month so far. Not only was the quantity of words exciting to reach, but the content of those words was so wonderfully unexpected and important to the core of the story I’m trying to tell. Obviously the writing of it itself is probably swiftly written garbage that will need lots of revising, but the ideas are there. The framework has been laid down, and I feel as if yesterday’s writing is something truly thrilling that I will get to build upon later.

The month as a whole has gone pretty well, even though I did have a several day dry spell where I couldn’t get anything down. (Though to be fair, that was less about not being inspired to write and more about being too busy/tired to actually sit down and try any writing.) The month goes on though, and to be honest, it goes a little too quickly for my liking. I can’t believe we’re almost half way through it.

But even as time flies by, I have to say this experience so far this November has been like 90% blessed and 10% stressed, because there is a indescribable thrill that comes with first drafting for me. Its like the one Terry Pratchett quote, “The first draft is you telling yourself the story.” That has largely been how I’ve felt. Its like I’m an archaeologist of my own subconscious, digging around in there and uncovering characters and plot points and moments of meaning. My love for the exploratory nature of first drafts knows no bounds in this or any universe.

I know that the writing process is made of many hills and valleys, and so I don’t expect things with this draft to stay lovely forever. I know I’m going to go through times of writers block, plenty of low points, and if I haven’t tried to defenestrate the manuscript at least a half dozen times before its done, I’m doing something wrong. But every part of the process, both the good and the bad, is what makes me love it. For every murky moment of self doubt, there’s a time for clarity and confidence. When I one day hold the finished thing in my hands, it’ll be worth every second of it, because I didn’t give up on it, and I made a thing that didn’t exist in the universe before. Even in the darkest of times, the little spark of hope inside me holds onto that thought, and it is what keeps me writing. No matter how many times I think I’m going to quit, I just ask myself the one question that’s been my guiding light this year… WWWWD? (What Would Wonder Woman Do?)

Not give up, that’s for damn sure.

tenor

Back to the words. I’ll check in again soon.

 

Your Story Deserves Better

Exactly six months ago today, I was basking in one of the most incredible sensations I’ve ever felt in my life. My short story, Continuum, was going to be published in a short story anthology by a publisher called Inkshares. We won The Nerdist Video Games Contest, and sold the highest number of pre-orders, which meant we’d receive full publication. As of today, you can still visit the page for the book where it’s the #1 Bestseller in Video Game related books. I have never felt as euphoric as I did on July 15th. I made a video in which I cried and poured my heart out about how good it felt to be accomplishing a dream I’d had my whole life at the young age of 25. I never released that video to the public, and given my news from this weekend, I doubt I now ever will.

Why? Because Inkshares emailed us this past weekend to tell us they were cancelling our book.

My first published work is getting ripped out from under me, and I refuse to pretend that I’m not simultaneously devastated and mad as hell.

Inkshares was a company that, this time last year, I believed in so fervently I could barely get through a day without telling someone about it. I sang their praises till I was blue in the face, and believed in them the way a kid believes in their parents. I thought Inkshares was it. My gateway to the world of being a published author. I had more hope than I can convey in words that this would be how my book got into the world. I believed this so much so that I ignored any opposing views that might suggest otherwise. How could a site that had given me so much (friends, a platform, hope) be so bad?

I look back on that time and long for it, because while the first five months were full of learning and growing and trying new things, every month since their change in management has been a nightmare for me and countless other authors, and given this weekend’s events, I can no longer stay quiet about it.

Now, please keep in mind as you read this, that my opinions are MINE. I’m in no way speaking for any other person who has ever been tied to Inkshares, mainly because some of them have had fine and dandy experiences. To them I say, that’s great. That’s not my experience, and from the conversations with friends, the emails I’ve seen (or lack of correspondence and transparency all together) on the parts of others, has led me to be utterly appalled at the way business is now being run. While there are perfectly lovely people working there, recent decisions have been made without any regard for the creators who fuel the site. Here is what transpired for me with them since things began to change.

In June of 2016, a small band of authors from Inkshares got the idea to write an anthology and enter it in the Nerdist Contest. Weary that perhaps an anthology would be unfair to other authors, several members of our group reached out to the staff at Inkshares (honestly can’t remember if it was 3 people or 5 people) and we were given the go ahead. Their staff was enthusiastic. Said it would be great. Several of said staff bought copies almost immediately. All of us authors were THRILLED when the book took the lead. We had done everything to make sure the company deemed this entry fair, and were succeeding.

In July, we won the contest. Our book sold over 400 copies to 366 unique readers. I cried and felt that immeasurable joy described at the start of this blog post. It was brought up that the new CEO of the company was less than thrilled at the notion of our anthology. But we had won the contest, which meant we would be published. All seemed well. We submitted our manuscript in August, then waited for news.

In December, we FINALLY heard from the CEO! He was asking us for a synopsis and a log line for each of our stories. While his email read like he didn’t even know we’d submitted our manuscript, we sent them anyway. Some in our group had hope that this would mean we’d soon have feedback on our pages. Some were frustrated that it took them this long to acknowledge our existence. I toed the line between the two, the optimist in me still really hoping I was wrong about my mounting fears that were based on bad experiences others at the site I knew were dealing with.

Cut to Friday. We received an email from the CEO saying our book had been cancelled. It was a flat dismissal, with no room for discussion. The basic issue was that some of the stories were not closely related enough to video games, which would make Legendary (the production house) frown on the submission as a “bait-and-switch.” He also claimed that, because the stories weren’t all video-gamey, that some readers would feel deceived by the anthology.

Why does that have anything to do with them publishing the book? We won the contest, they publish the book. Selling the intellectual property to a production studio is secondary.

The real kicker though, was this line:

“Some of you did write stories about video games, and I very much regret if you feel that you are being unfairly punished.”

 Basically, sorry not sorry to those of you who tried. Even though you did as asked, you don’t deserve publication because we as a company are too lazy to do our job and help you work through your manuscript to make it the best it can be for the readers who paid for it.

After hearing other stories of disappointment and hurt, many of which had to do with this obsession with IP sales, this felt like the nail in the coffin.

My story is not the only one. I have a list of friends with concerns regarding this site that’s as long as my arm, and while I would love to share more on that, it’s not my place. And I note again, I speak for NO ONE else in this anthology but myself. I know many of them will probably not agree with me sharing the information I have already, but I for one cannot continue to stay quiet about the way in which some authors I know have been treated. All of us in this anthology were cheated, and I don’t feel it was fair to any of us to have this taken away when the concerns expressed were something that could have been easily resolved.

I don’t come here to tell you, HATE INKSHARES THEY SUCK, because that is not true, nor is it fair. Plenty of people have had great experiences publishing through Inkshares, and I am sure those individuals will continue to defend them tooth and nail, as is their right. But it is also my right to tell another side of the story. A side some would rather have kept quiet. I leave it to you to decide whether or not to ever publish with them or purchase with them. But you cannot make an informed decision when all you hear is the sunshine and daisies side of the story, just as you cannot know everything from reading this overwhelmingly negative (and lengthy) blog post.

I just encourage that you think for yourself. Ask questions, ESPECIALLY when people are telling you not to. And know that if you are a writer seeking publication through Inkshares, you don’t deserve to be treated like this. You as a writer deserve respect and fairness and honesty, because these are things every human being deserves. You do NOT deserve to have your work dismissed and cancelled because it isn’t good enough for someone else, or because they don’t want to spend the time of day to help you publish the book you crowdfunded. Whether you write with Inkshares or not, your stories are worth fighting for. Your story deserves better, and so do you.