Unrealistic portrayals #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

Happy Friday everyone, and a happy Easter weekend to everyone. It’s time to get our chocolate on, lol! I’m heading out of town, and with fingers crossed that the weather holds out. While not unusual in Canada, no one wants snow to ruin their Easter fun.

For today’s post I want to discuss the “too perfect” characters some authors expect us to buy into. Now, to be clear, I’m talking about human characters mainly but also paranormal. Aliens are outside my realm of writing, so they are exempt from today’s roasting. Everything else is fair game, so here we go.

We humans as a species are imperfect – fact. We all have flaws whether we admit to them or not – fact. We all have at least one thing, often more than one thing, that we absolutely hate about ourselves – fact. Absolutely no human being on earth is perfect – fact. I’m sorry if this has caused anyone some upset, but it happens to be the truth. Anyone that says otherwise is a bold faced liar.

So why the fuck do authors continue to make characters flawless in every way?

Let’s be clear, I don’t mean in appearance because this is not the point of today’s post. Appearance is only the books cover. Do we occasionally get snagged first by the hottie on the cover? Sure, and there’s nothing wrong with that or admitting to it. But if that’s ALL we’re looking at then it’s a pretty shallow interpretation. We have to get to know the heart of an individual to truly understand them. Looks may be our instinctive first impression, but it should never, ever be the last. We as human beings are run by chemical and electrical impulses, but it’s the story behind the cover that gives us the context we need. And now that I’ve mixed metaphors, and realities around, let me get back on track a bit here.

Every character needs at least one flaw. Not merely hair that’s unruly or a crooked tooth giving a smile some character, although it does help, but some quirk or trait or situation that makes them more human. Yes, not every character is human, fully or otherwise. But for the readers very human brain to better relate they have to see in each character something that makes them flawed or different or unique. Maybe your character was injured, and everyday is a struggle. Maybe s/he never learned to read until s/he was an adult and still struggles from time to time. You get the idea.

Too perfect characters are the ones with every hair in place, or that just styled look that we all (at least once) wish we had going for us at some point. They have the job, the car, own their house/condo before they’re fifty, dream job, amazing high powered friends, etc. They are the unicorn among the cattle. Look too long or hard and you’ll pretty much go blind. They can do no wrong. And, let’s be honest here, they are as boring as fuck! No one, I repeat, NO ONE is perfect.

Yes, romance is fiction. Yes, there is a fantasy element to romance works. Yes, we all have had dreams about “that” guy being ours. But the sad, harsh reality is that “that” guy is either the biggest dick on the planet, would have you bored to tears before your first drinks arrived, or even worse still, he bats for the other team. Talk about depressing, right?

People screw up, sometimes in little ways and sometimes to epic extremes. This is a fact. This is a reality. And when a character (male or female) screws up and has to dig themselves from the hole they just dug. They’re driving a beater that’s being held together by duct tape and a prayer. They’ve had some unexpected expense crop up that has them sweating making rent, the car payment, or the bill payments. They got a cold they just can’t seem to shake. They have hay fever, or allergies, or something else that seems super mundane but is necessary. We’ve been there, lived through it, or known someone that’s been there, we can all relate to them.

So, authors one and all, remember the seemingly little things. The details that turn your perfect smiling, classical beauty, sex goddess into someone a little less other worldly, and let’s your readers feel closer to them. It doesn’t have to be much, but even a little something makes a huge difference. Keep it real as it were.

A word to the readers #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here. I’m going to aim my post today specifically at the readers. Those lovely folks, who buy our books, cheer us on and generally speaking keep us writing.

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Us authors would be nothing without our readers, and we really do love loyal readers. I know, I love getting e-mails and messages, and I’ll do my utmost to reply in a timely and informative manner, as do most of us I should think.

Now, before I get to the point of this blog post let me say here that this is not aimed at any of my readers. And let me say a great big thank you to all them.

Thank You - Words on Yellow Sticky Notes

Like I said above us authorly types do love our readers. However… we love it less when our readers turn into hecklers.

What do I mean by that? Well, those that take it upon themselves to inform us not only how we should write, but what. The ones that are constantly asking after one character/story and get their knickers somewhat in a twist, when, in their eyes, the author doesn’t deliver.

I get it, you know. You, the reader love a particular series that author writes, so naturally, you can’t wait for the next installment. I stalk my favorite authors as much as the next person eagerly awaiting that next book.

And from an author’s point of view, it’s awesome to know that readers are so loving a series that they can’t wait for the next one.

However, and there is always a but in these things, it is never, ever okay to turn on said author and give him/her grief because he/she has chosen to write something else instead.

I use the term chosen tongue in cheek here, because most authors, myself certainly included in that, cannot write to order. We are slaves to our muses, and unless said muse wants you to write a particular story it’s just not going to get written. Trust me on this, we don’t chose to jump between series and leave you readers hanging.

So, next time, you find yourself tempted to voice your frustration about how long it takes an author to write, to finish that series, or, indeed, any other gripe that takes your fancy, remember us authors are only human.

We have lives, families, issues that we may not share with you, struggles that have nothing to do with writing, yet impact on it anyway.

By all means ask, just do so nicely, and know, we’ll try our best to deliver.

Do stay naughty, folks.

 

D xx

 

 

Admit when you’re wrong #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Welcome one and all to another #SensualSunday post. First up, I’ve gotta apologize for last weeks post and my boo-boo which has been fixed in the actual post. I blame it entirely on not enough sleep/coffee, the result being a fried brain getting all frazzled and confused. And I’m Canadian, it’s in my genetic makeup to extend a heartfelt apology when I’ve erred. Secondly, this leads into my post today so let’s hit it!

As a species authors can be categorized by many terms, and the longer you do this the more you’ll add to your portfolio. We’re crazy, absent minded, off our rockers, easily distracted by shiny/pretty objects/images, and so much more. It’s our creative nature that has us always searching for new material and ideas. We are who we are, and that’s pretty damn special. But we can make mistakes, we are only human after all.

One thing that every human being on the planet Earth needs to remember, get through their thick skulls, and practice at all times – if you are wrong about something, own the fuck up and admit your mistake. Too many times in the author world I’ve seen someone called out on something they genuinely believed in, but when they came around to realize their error and apologize, they are lamb basted. Come on people, get your heads out of your tightly pinched sphincters and chill. Authors are just as human as you, your neighbor, your co-worker, and everyone else in the world around you are.

Ah, but we’re held to a higher standard aren’t we?

It’s all because of this presumed “fame” we hold because we have published something, have our name on it, and our name is linked to however many dozens of other items on the Net (social media, our web site, author pages, etc). But this does not make us any less human. We were born, had scrapped knees, went to school, got a job (or two, or three), and we have bills to pay. Human right? Damn skippy. So why do readers/fans and others seem to think we are living in glass houses up on a pedestal where we do no wrong? Probably because the moment you gain “fame” in any form you are now no longer classed in the same rankings as the rest of the mere mortals.

If you stick me I bleed, how does the fact that I wrote and had a book published make me more than you?

Yes, there are authors out there who gladly soak up the adulation and don’t care when they screw the pooch. They are not the sort to apologize either, but this doesn’t mean they are not wrong. (I could insert some correlation between this and the US President – but I shall resist…mostly.) They are also not the types anyone should be looking up to, or using as their inspiration to be a better person.

Now, before I degrade into a full on rant let me end this post with this thought. If an author (one book or hundreds) speaks out in error, and you a “mere mortal” correct them and they apologize – fucking just accept it. They have been proven incorrect, and they realize that thus thanking you for pointing out their error in thinking with a heartfelt apology. Don’t lord it over them, don’t be a dick and rub it in repeatedly on social media (I won’t say what that makes you), just be a good human being to another human being and accept.

On the flip side of that, authors if you have been proven wrong, damn well apologize for the error already. Be the better human being, admit you were incorrect and show others how to do the right thing. Be the example people assume we’re supposed to be. We’d all be much better off if people would just apologize. Then we could all get on with living our screwed up little lives.

XO Moira Callahan

Mood & ‘tude #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Good morning one and all, it’s that time again. To turn your clocks ahead (oops! needed to edit this) one hour if you are among the unlucky stuck with Daylight Savings. An outdated, and in my opinion, useless practice that maybe made sense at one point, but seems to be nothing more than a major pain in the derriere now. If they wanted to make it less painful, they should actually put it in the middle of a Monday – at least in Spring – who wouldn’t mind losing an hour off their Monday?

All right, enough moping, onto the post.

MOOD:  1 A temporary state of mind or feeling; 1.1 The atmosphere or pervading tone of something ~ Oxford online dictionary

ATTITUDE:  1 A settled way of thinking or feeling about something; 1.1 A position of the body indicating a particular mental state; 2 Truculent or uncooperative behavior ~ Oxford online dictionary

We authors are always trying to paint a certain mood with our stories. Whether it’s making the reader laugh, cry, or sit on the edge of their seats with tension, our goal is to create something the reader can’t help but get swept up into. Easy to do? Hell to the no it’s not! But every now and again the planets and stars align.

Then there is attitude, easy enough to portray with your characters actions and words, but there is a fine line of going too far or not far enough. No author wants a wishy-washy character who’s boring or dull, but you also don’t want a character that everyone is disgusted by or straight up hates. Unless they are the bad guy/gal in the story or the character to be reformed, then go for it. Make them reviled for every metaphorical breath they take. Have your readers hoping, and rooting for their demise.

Now there is the combination. Getting the right mood that works with the attitude’s you’re bringing to the scene, and vice versa. If one part is off it creates a disjointed scene that interrupts the entire flow to the story you’re telling. Learning to blend them in the right proportions does take time, and also takes listening to your beta readers and editors. They will help you to navigate these treacherous waters, and keep everything on the straight and narrow.

What may help you best is visualization of the scene. Put yourself into the mindset of the character, in that scene, and go from there. Not easy, but with time you’ll train your brain to do it and it’ll come faster, and easier with each story you write. This includes every character from your mains, to your antagonist, to the next door neighbor, to the individual at their “favorite” coffee house taking orders. The better you can picture them the better you can write them and create the realism that will help your readers view them as “real”.

So visualize the mood of your scene, get your character’s attitude geared up, and write. While there will be tweaks to be made – there always are – go with whatever you/they are feeling in that moment. You never know what might come about, or what you may create. Get your feels on folks.

XO Moira Callahan

From the chaos we must rise #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday posting. First off, I’m sicker than a dog this week – we had some “plague” (doubt it’s an actual plague) sweep through the day job this week taking out about 60% of us – so if this post meanders a little off track I shall state here and now, sorry! I’ll survive this, my nose may not from all the blowing, but it’s already starting to clear so my pre-first sniffle care obviously helped get me through this quicker. But you’re not here to read about the icky illness I’ve contracted, so on to the actual post.

Let me straight with you – the world is going to Hell in a hand basket, and there’s no one at the helm. I’m sorry, but that is my personal take on things. This makes me all the more desperate to bury myself in the various worlds my crazed mind has cooked up, and escape the insanity. But it still intrudes. Sometimes too close for comfort.

But that’s beyond today’s point. In our overly media saturated world with news, information, advertisements, peoples opinions, etc. streaming at us 24/7 from all around mediathe globe constantly bombarding us with truth, half-truth, and pure bullshit they scraped up from who knows where, we the authors need to remember our primary reason for having this gift to write.

We are the ones to give sanctuary and refuge to weary minds. To provide a place of respite, however brief, for our readers. We are the creative minds behind re-imagined, and imaginary worlds near and far with everything from humans to aliens inhabiting them. We have the skill set necessary to take something simple, transform it, and make it into a magical realm yet unseen by anyone before.

This may seem too great a burden for some, but really, is it? We are authors for a reason. We have a vision of a (sometimes) better world that we want to share with everyone we can. To give hope, to provide solace, and to encourage some mild escapism from the realities that are our current times. It is a great responsibility to be sure, but never think it to be a burden. It’s a gift, not a chore. And if it ever becomes either a burden, or a chore, then I’d advise you to rethink why you are writing.

We’ve all had times where it seems to be too much, don’t ever think you are alone in that. Each of us has hit a rough point, or three through the years. It’s like anything that challenges, and stretches you to be more, it’s fucking hard work. But we all feel the pure joy, and love in what we’ve created and that, that right there is why we keep moving forward. No matter what the world throws your way, no matter what insanity might next pop up in your news feeds, remember the love you have for creating your worlds, your characters, and your stories. Let it flow through you, onto the page, and out into the world. We all need it now more than ever before. So chin up, shoulders back, and know that you’ve got this.

XO Moira Callahan

bearded macho man with roses

 

Be careful with that shtick #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

It’s Sunday folks, which means it’s time for Moira to post. Hope you’ve all had a great week. It’s been an interesting one I have to admit, not always in a good way but at least it provides plenty of fodder for my writing.

Before I get started on this weeks post, a huge shout out to our newest member Jules Dixon who will be taking over our Friday posting slot as Michelle Roth steps aside to focus on her writing, and all things she needs to. We’re thrilled to have Jules joining us and can’t wait to see what she might have to share.

This week I need to be straight with you authors. Lay off the gimmicks already! While it’s one thing to use a shtick (Yiddish for gimmick) in your promo, it’s another to constantly be using it in your writing. There is a huge difference between plotline, and a gimmick. I think some of you may need to learn the difference, and quickly.

3d cartoon laughing, 3d renderingNow, I’m NOT saying you should not have characters with unique “special traits, interests, or activities”, that isn’t what this is about. What I want to discuss is the same, running gag line in some series. Once is a belly laugh, twice is a chuckle, three times gets old and earns an eye roll. Don’t even get me started on when I see it in four or more books in the same series.

A plotline is one thing, and if your series has a continuous plotline from book one to forty, great! This provides a continuity between each unique book in the series tying them all together. There are authors out there that are MASTERS of this, making each book a stand-alone while still melding each from the series tightly together. This is a good thing.

But a running shtick gets old, and fast. Have a gimmick between two of your characters during their story, go for it, it provides a little side humor and shows a deeper bond between them especially when it’s in fun, and done properly. When it runs for a series, and every single character – can you say “boring”? Readers will spot it nearly as fast as they will that glaring spelling mistake in your first paragraph, and they WILL call you on it. Don’t keep doing the same thing time and again. Tried and true is okay, but it won’t bring in new readers, and it won’t keep the ones you have in the long haul. So drop the shtick, and grow your skills. In the end you’ll thank yourself for doing it, and your readers will too.

XO Moira Callahan

Hombre Fuerte

Does size REALLY matter? #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you to the latest #SensualSunday post. I have to say, to date, 2017 hasn’t been half bad. The weather has had its ups and downs, thermometer wise I mean, but I’ve been puttering along in my happy little writing bubble so there is that. Sadly my holiday time is coming to an end, which means that I shall be in full sloth mode (while writing) today. It might carry over into my evil day job tomorrow too – I have yet to decide, lol!

ruler macroBut enough of that, let’s get to the matter at hand. I’m sure many read my post title and scampered over here to see just what I might be discussing. First things first,

GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTERS!

Sorry, but this is not THAT type of post. Maybe another time. No, today I’m talking about books. There are so many readers out there, and I’m NOT pointing fingers at anyone – this is a general, blanket type statement, who whine and snivel about paying for books based on their page count. So, right off, let’s clear up some shit right quick…

  1. Authors who write for a publisher DO NOT SET THEIR PRICES, in fact, we have nearly Z-E-R-O (that’s a big fat goose egg) say in the matter. The only time that MIGHT be different (and I’m speaking from my experience with my publisher here) is if you make a special request that the price be set at 99 pennies, or a “Free Read” for a set time. More questions about this? See what several other authors who have posted on the Naughty Quills blog have said on this very subject.
  2. Reading corner - Window seat with cushions and a line of booksAuthors put in as much effort on a 58 page story as they do on a 400 page story, we don’t scrimp – at least those with a conscience/moral standard. We put the same blood, sweat and tears into that 58 page story as we do into a 400 page story. The ONLY difference is…you get the 58 page story sooner. That’s right, because it’s a shorter story you see it on virtual shelves sooner. That. Is. It.
  3. Authors cannot determine how long any story will be. “Sure you can!”, I hear someone spouting off – likely a non-author. No, actually we can’t. Could we force out another chapter or three? Sure. Would said chapter(s) likely be flat and unnecessary? Most likely. Would it change the price of the work? See #1 for that answer. An author can only write what fits the story-line. We can only write what our characters give us. We can ONLY write what works for the story, and what gives it flow, growth, and depth. Nothing more, nothing less.
  4. Authors are slaves to their muse. This is a fact. Without our muse we are nothing more than a carbon based life form requiring oxygen to survive on this blue marble in the universe – just like everyone else. We have to feed our muse, find inspiration in everything from the mundane to the insane just to thrive. We have many similarities 2D Man think bubbleto every other artistic individual out there. A dancer can’t give a performance of a lifetime without feeling the soul of the music and the story they portray. A painter can’t do justice to their subject if they do not see the imperfections that make it unique and all the more beautiful. So why do so many readers assume authors are any different? I have an answer for that but it’s not very polite, and could get me in deep shit, so I shall bite my tongue.

Do we wish we all have 400 page stories to tell? Sure. I for one would love to have a story so intense, so breathtaking, so deep and moving that it took me 400 pages to tell it. To bring it the justice it truly deserved. Do I have one inside? Maybe. But if it is there it’s not ready to be told, and until it is it will remain tucked away being nurtured by the stories I am telling, the works I read, and by all that I am learning on this amazing journey as an author.

Now, before this degrades into a full on rant let me leave you with some last thoughts. The next time you even consider bitching at an author for the length of their book versus the cost – STOP. The next time you think about whining to an author that they really need to write longer stories because you want to know some detail, see more on this/that character, whatever – STOP. We authors tell the story that needs to be told, however it needs to be told, nothing more and nothing less. It might be long, it might be short, and it might be somewhere in the middle.

words Thank you typography lettering decorative text cardInstead of being a sniveling little windbag why not thank the author for their hard work. The time they took away from their families, the stress they suffered, the sleepless nights their muse and characters caused, the grey hairs they’ve gained, the horrible eating habits they’ve endured during their quest to put everything on paper, the struggle to keep everything moving in the right direction, or just generally thank them for providing you with something you didn’t have before. A story that they created. If you can’t do that then it’s best to say nothing at all.

XO Moira Callahan

Elegant couple posing together.

Reader Expectation #TuesdayThoughts with Doris (@mamaD8)

Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with her Tuesday Thoughts. I hope you all had a great slide into 2017. Ours started with a hilarious phone call from one of our grown up sons. Let’s just say he was a little worse for wear, and we were all in hysterics listening to him. We may or may not have recorded that conversation to play it back at his upcoming wedding in the summer.

WEG!

With all the upheavals in the publishing industry 2016 brought, all of which we Quillers have blogged about on here, I’m a tad glad to see the end of it.

I started 2017 like I mean to go on. Writing to the best of my ability, and whatever my muse dictates. She seems to be on a shifter streak at the moment, so expect lots of paranormal stories from me this year, until she changes her mind again.

Which brings me nicely to that little thing called reader expectation.

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As writers, we all strive to meet our reader expectations. That beloved series they want more of…. you write more. That trope they seem to like so much… the same.  Read a reader thread where they voice their opinion on what drives them mad when authors do xyz… well, naturally you try not to do that in your next book, right?

Well, actually…. yes and no.

Of course, if you consistently hear that your books are unrealistic, or full of plot holes, or cliffhangers, which most readers, including myself here, hate with a vengeance to name but a few common reader complaints, then you’d do well to try to avoid those.

A good editor should have caught most of those and certainly if you go through a publisher, these should have been caught in the acquisitions process, and most likely would have resulted in a rejection, or revise and resubmit.

Let’s play devil’s advocate here and say they weren’t. Say, you’re an Indie author, and thus completely free to write what you want, then what…

Well, it comes back to reader expectations. There are plenty of readers who will overlook poor grammar, etc for a good story. Many that will not, however, and certainly, if you hit their triggers, they might never read you again.

I’ve covered the importance of research on this blog before, especially if you write BDSM. This goes for any subject matter, however, unless you write complete fantasy in a world set entirely to new rules.

Though, in that case, please make sure you are consistently following those rules that you set. Otherwise, it gets confusing and you will lose readers. I would go as far as to say that a grain of truth even in a complete make-believe world adds that certain little something.

I know when I write paranormal or scifi, I always ask myself this question.

“Could this actually happen, if such beings existed.”

I like to imagine that the stories could become real. A dose of realism added to any story makes or breaks it in my opinion, at least.

So, what has all this got to do with reader expectation? Well, just this. If you take everything to heart that readers say, you will tie yourself in knots and never write anything. Like I said above do listen to the things, especially about your writing, which come up consistently.

If your readers like a series it makes sense to give them more, if you can. Forcing another story out of a series, which is finished in your mind….. that’s not going to work, folks. Well, maybe some writers can write to order like that, but I am certainly not one of them.

I’ve said it many times, I’m a slave to my unpredictable muse. It is infuriating and exhilarating in equal measures. I would dearly love to be able to stick to one series while I’m writing, for instance. Especially, when I know readers are waiting for the next instalment, but in five years of being published that has only happened to me once.

Most of the time, the ideas are there, but my muse’s attention flits from series to series to stand alone in no particular order. If I don’t listen to her, no writing happens, because she takes off in a huff.

So, I know, for me, at least, I do try to meet reader expectations, but with the best will in the world, sometimes that is just not possible. And if I have learnt one thing over the last five years, it is this.

You cannot please everyone.

It is simply impossible and even die-hard fans of your writing will love one book more than the other, and there might even be the one or two that do not resonate with them at all, and you know what?

That’s ok.

It means your writing does not fall into the same old, same old mode, and that is a good thing. It might lose you sales, it might not. What it will do, however, is ensure that your stories stay fresh, exciting, and that will, hopefully, garner you readers who will come back time and time again to read your stories. They won’t mind… too much… if they have to wait for the next instalment to that series they love so much because they know that, eventually, you will get there. And that next instalment will have been worth waiting for.

At least that’s my take on it, and it is the only way that I can write.

That’s all from me today.

Do stay naughty, folks.

D xxx

My opinion is my story #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you to another #SensualSunday posting. I want to get right down to it, and get this post rolling. So buckle up, keep your arms and legs inside the ride, and remember not to attempt standing until the ride has come to a full and complete stop.

First off, this post was inspired by something an author friend on FB shared by an author friend of their own. I do not know the original poster, have never spoken to the original poster, but it resonated with me. This post is not directed at any one individual, group or otherwise, it is what it is. An opinion. Mine. And it just might offend some folks. Such is life.

OPINION: 1) a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter; 2a) belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge; 2b) a generally held view Merriam-Webster online dictionary

FeedbackEvery single person on the planet has an opinion. About pretty much everything. Yes, some folks will fall in line with a stronger personalities views because they aren’t the sort to make waves by stating their own opinion. But that does not mean they do not have one. We are after all human. Which means we come with this fantastic thing called free will. It permits us to each form, and hold our own thoughts about anything, and everything in the world around us. It’s only when we speak out about them in person, or on social media in all it’s forums that we then have to deal with other’s opinions.

That doesn’t make us wrong, or right. It merely makes us human.

Now this does not include the uniformed individuals who are out spouting rhetoric in all it’s forms. Whether from their pastor, a strong leader they admire, or from someone more intimately close to them (brother, sister, father, mother, lover, friend). I truly believe that if you have done your research, you have looked at both sides, and have formed an opinion based on all that then it’s a perfectly valid opinion. Is it right? Maybe, maybe not. That is not the question. We all have the right to speak to our personal opinions on everything as long as it is properly informed. Those who speak out without any real knowledge, or actual proof are the real danger to society as a whole. Because they are usually the ones who know just what to say, in just the right way to create a group dynamic full of sheeple. Or another term for this – cult.

But I’m getting off topic here, so here’s me wrenching things back in line.

As an author we all have our opinions. We write them every single day into our stories, our worlds, our characters. I for example detest liver and brussels sprouts. D-E-T-E-S-T them. This personal opinion is based on having had them for a meal on more than one occasion during one of my mother’s “phases”. I grew up in a home that you ate what was served or you made your own, or went hungry. That simple. It was the parent’s rule, and Brussels sproutsone I could live with. The point here is, that every single one of my characters will hate these two items, along with a few other food choices that I have negative connotations with. Same thing with certain types of music that I personally cannot stand, various types of movies, and so forth. Because it’s my personal opinion it affects the characters and worlds I create. But my readers still read my works because those little, trivial items are not really that big in the grand old scheme of things.

Yet if I were to post on social media, or my blog even that I had a hate on for liver and brussels sprouts I can GUARANTEE there would be at least a few individuals who would pipe up to take on the defense of that poor liver, or share a “divine” recipe for brussels sprouts. As is their right to do, because that happens to be their opinion. And I would never even think to trample another persons opinion. Now if those same individuals got into name calling, or flat out trying to verbally spear me for my opinion – well they would be gone from my social media in a hot New York minute. Because while I am more than willing to hear other’s opinions, and even hold lively debate, when someone goes on the attack it’s no longer about opinions. It’s about them believing they are right over everyone else, and if you don’t agree, then you are wrong. End of story.

Which, when I see an author talking about how a reader basically told said author to “keep your opinion to yourself” – on the authors own page I should mention – it gets my fur up, so to speak. Our pages on FB, our feeds on Twitter, our blogs on our sites are pieces of who we are. It’s where we can be ourselves, talk normal things if that’s what we want, and to interact with our followers and readers. Which means to have a reader, a follower, a supporter of said authors works tell the author to basically stuff their opinion where the sun don’t shine, something needs to be said. The author in question who unknowingly spawned the inspiration for this post has already replied to the unwanted, uneducated, and unwarranted attack on them. But the word must be spread that this is not alright, in any way, in any form, at any time.

Broken heart on slate backgroundWe are authors. We have been molded into who we are by our experiences through our lives to this point. We will continue to be changed by whatever the future holds. We will not be silenced by the uninformed, uneducated, and misguided attempts by anyone who doesn’t agree with us. We are authors, and we have the same right to voice our opinions as everyone else does. Do we need to take a greater care in how we may phrase it? Sure, none of us wants to alienate every person on our boards/sites. Do we deserved to be muzzled because someone thinks we should be? Hell to the fucking no! We are authors, we are human, we are flawed, we are growing, we are learning, we are who we are. But if you don’t like my opinion, or anyone else’s why read our books? Because every single story we right holds that same opinion within it’s pages. More elegantly scripted than the usual posting on social media sure, that’s why we have editor’s after all, but it is still OUR PERSONAL VIEW OF THE WORLD AS WE SEE IT.

We are authors, and we have the same right as you to speak about what hurts, touches, molds us into who we are. We are authors, hear us roar.

XO Moira Callahan

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Makes me see red #SensualSunday @AuthorMoira

Sensual-Sunday

Moira here welcoming you back to another #SensualSunday post. Before I get into the main topic today I want to wish everyone a safe, and wonderful Halloween. It’s my most favorite holiday of all – ghosts, and ghouls, goblins, and all manner of spookiness. Really, it’s my kindred holiday because I’ve always been a little weird, always a prankster, and it speaks to me. So have a good one folks!

Now, onto today’s topic. Which I will warn now may well degrade into a rant, may well get some panties in a twist, and may well have some people becoming all indignant. Suck it up buttercups. If you do get your panties in a twist, or start spluttering and becoming indignant – then maybe this hits too close to home and you should really take a look at yourself. Because this is an ongoing issue that only seems to get worse the more technology takes over, and society slides deeper into the gutter. I’ve touched on this topic before, as I believe some other Naughty Quiller’s have as well, but it quite obviously needs to be mentioned yet again.

BULLYING

I was bullied in my teen years, junior high to be more specific. A group of three slightly older, definitely bigger girls thought I would be a great target because I was quiet, and usually had my nose stuck in a book. What I knew even before that first day of them harassing me was to give them nothing. I wouldn’t give them a response, I wouldn’t give them a look, I wouldn’t give them a hint of anything I was feeling, and most of all I wouldn’t give them the fucking time of day. They were not worth wasting a single second on.

That was then, and this is now. I’ve grown up and realize that their lives were either in turmoil, or something was going on that they felt they themselves had no self-worth. To make themselves feel better they tried to take me down a peg, and ruin who I was so they could puff themselves up. Do I occasionally think about those days they would follow me home taunting, teasing, and occasionally throwing items at my back while I purposefully ignored them or chatted about fun things with the friend at my side? Sure! Who wouldn’t Stop Bullying Poster Infographicwhen it was such a pivotal time in my life. I was … 13? … at the time give or take, that’s a tough time in any kids life. Between the hormones, the body changes, and everything else – we’re pretty damn fucked up for a while there. Not that it gets any easier in the years that immediately follow, but eventually it does and life goes on.

The times I most think back to those girls who likely had shitty lives, and felt no self-worth is when I see bullying on the Internet. Mainly on FB, but it’s everywhere – don’t be fooled into thinking it’s not. The really “good” bullies on the Net are the ones who do it on the sly, the down low, and with little tricks. These are the sick shits you have to watch out for, because they are trying to rip you to shreds anonymously. After all, how many of us can say we know the true identity of all our “friends” on social media? I can’t, I know the real names of maybe a 1/3, tops. But even then, social media and the Net provide them with a certain shroud that allows them the power to think they can say, do and get away with anything.

Some examples of bullying, especially among authors, on social media I’ve seen most recently are, but no where near limited to:

  • Post pulling – This is where a bully makes a comment on a thread and then when their target speaks up to commiserate, send condolences, etc they delete their comment leaving only the reply which now makes the other individual look completely off their rocker.
  • PM asides – This is where a bully, usually with a group they’ve conned into thinking they are the “victim”, black balls a person in the privacy of Private Messaging (PM’ing) all while making seemingly odd, off the wall comments in a thread conversation. The real trash talk is taking place behind the scenes while they drop seemingly benign comments that only the true victim (the bullied individual) can read into.
  • Passive-aggressive “help” – This is where a bully gives you “helpful” advise while still putting you down, or belittling you. To an outsider who doesn’t know the whole truth it reads as nothing more that what it says. To the bullied individual it’s yet another cut to their heart and soul. For example, if a group of people are getting together, chatting on social media about the when and where, and suddenly the bully in the group singles out someone with a “well-intentioned helpful tip”. This is where it reads like helpful advise, or even a way out while still keeping face, in reality it is a slight, a stab to the back, and it is filled with only hateful intent. They don’t want you there because they have plans to further ostracize you in the group and it’s easier if you don’t show.

These are only but a few examples of shit bullies pull on the Net. There are so many examples that it would take me literally days to write them all up. But there is a solution. If you or someone you know is being bullied on social media, report it and warn others. They may not listen, but eventually (next week or three years down the road) that “friend” they think is the bees knees will turn on them and make them the next victim. Do not stand idly Schild 106 - Teamworkby if you witness someone, even a stranger, being bullied. We need to stop this shit, in RL and on the Net, in it’s tracks. We need to be the ones to make the Internet and all it’s social media a safe place to be once more.

Bullying is particularly rampant in the author community. I’m not talking the one to two star zingers on GR, I’m talking about the authors who play the victim on the Net to lure in “friends” to “protect” them from the “big bad”. I’m talking about the authors who are pleasant to your face, and stabbing you in the back in their next breath. I’m talking about the authors who spread rumors, and vitriol in private, yet appear helpful in public. They are NOT the victim, they ARE the disease. And it’s a disease that will take ALL of us to eradicate. Bullies on the Net are essentially stalkers. It’s true. They stalk their targeted victim, get them to open up, save up the information they’ve gathered, and then they begin their campaign to ruin them. It always starts small with something like, “hey did you hear what so-and-so said, is it true?”, but it grows quickly and insidiously.

Do not stand idly by while someone is being repeatedly targeted. Be the better human being and speak out. Tell them it’s NOT okay for them to be speaking out of turn, because they may not know the true context in which someone said something. We can all agree that we have said something in the heat of the moment that we regret when we cool down. Do YOU want that to be the ONLY thing you are EVER remembered for?

I. Think. Not.

Be better, be stronger, be a role model for others. If you screw up, own it and apologize. While the other party may not accept at least you did your best, you were open and honest – that’s the best you can do. Let’s fight bullying in all it’s forms together with kindness, understanding, and unity. We are authors, a few thousand among the billions living on this world who are our reader base. There are more than enough out there for us all to have a piece of the pie. There is no reason why we can’t all play nice in the sandbox.

Now, before I let you go after this rather long and wild post – it kinda came in a mad gush of words – a couple last things to cover. You are amazing, you are strong, and you are beautiful just how you are. We were all put here to be unique, to be a piece to the bigger puzzle. Not everyone is out to screw with you, your life, or your career. But I hope that what I’ve shared will assist you in being aware, and help you to watch out for those out to harm rather than help. Let’s all stop trying to be someone we’re not, and be who we are meant to be instead.

XO Moira Callahan

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