Tuesday Straight Talk

Okay… I know that I usually do Tunes on Tuesday… But something came up yesterday, and I want to discuss it.

A friend in the indie writing community discovered a pirate site… With almost all of my books and all of Serena’s listed. Talk about mixed feelings… Part of me feels betrayed. The other part is like… Well, at least they are good enough for piracy. I am not going to lie, and say it is about my books being shared. I see piracy in two different ways. Things like peer2peer are different. I see that the same as me sharing the book with a friend. It is not going to make me money… But it is not offensive. At least not to me. The site last night is not p2p.

That site charges for my books. I get nothing from it. It is not certain whether the site delivers the book to the buyer. I don’t know if they are even using the buyer information properly.

So, I wanted to tell you that Serena and I both only publish to the above markets. If you find my books anywhere else then I did not give permission for it to be there. Let me know and I will proceed to attempt to get the cease and desist word to them.

Just an Fyi, it’s illegal to print ebooks. Any site telling you different is questionable anyway. I have arc files for those who are interested in leaving honest reviews, but can’t afford the book. It is not a hard thing to get a copy to read.

Originality

Ok… There’s a saying… Something like everything old is new again. So I have been told on a few occasions that my ideas for stories were already done.

My response is always yes but it was not done by me. Original content doesn’t always have to be new ideas, some times it is a new look at an old idea.

Now, be aware, I am by no means suggesting plagurism… Write the story in your own words. Your voice is what will make it original.

The banana in the picture above is original… It’s different. But it is still a banana. Serena rewrote the story of Peter Pan. She put a horror twist on the story… Her novella The Death of Neverland is nothing like the original Peter Pan. It is a dark exploration of the worst of humanity. Did it start with an old idea? Yes, it certainly did. We pull from the fount of our experience… We create from what we know. The stories from our childhood reflect in the stories we tell. No two humans have the exact same well to draw from.

Fan fiction is an often disputed art form. The first idea was put into the world as accepted cannon… But then a fan saw the way to take it in a new direction. I personally have read some amazing stories on fan fiction boards. Does that invalidate the story? No, far from it. It merely means that the author found inspiration in something that someone else wrote.

Don’t let the ones who are contrary about your inspiration dissuade you from writing. The story you want to write is original… After all, you have not written it yet.

Random thoughts of poetry.

Now I normally don’t do this. I don’t explain my poetry, or my art, because I think that most people see what they want to in anything creative. I feel like explanation ruins a piece. To be honest this post is not entirely an explanation… But rather an aside. I have been thinking a lot lately about accountability. About guilt and mistakes. About what I am responsible for in my life and what regrets I should have and what it all means.

I have thought about the regrets that others have expressed towards me. I find that I have very few actual regrets. Each of my choices I made with all of the knowledge that I had at the time. I have revisited some of them later… And hindsight makes regret easy… If you let it.

The problem comes in when you allow regret to consume your conscience. We are as a society, cold. We have lost the conscience. We have lost the knowledge of good and evil, or the will to care. When prison actually looks better than trying to make your way in this miserable world…lives of others no longer matter. That is not a mental illness thing… It is a wake up call.

We have a society where you can work 60+ hours a week and still not be able to afford to pay rent. We live in a society where there is often no way of breaking even, much less getting ahead. Where hate and violence is broadcast nightly on the news. So I have to wonder how we as a society can fix this? How can we take responsibility for the problem and fix it?

Negativity Disguised

So, I am about to rant. I am going to keep it civil… But I thought that meme funny and slightly appropriate. As you know, my new publishing company is doing a release event this week. Well yesterday was Serena’s day to post and bedtime loomed at 3pm as usual. So I was blessed when one of the other authors offered to do a live teaser reading for Serena.

Her reading actually caused ugly happy tears. Her video was full of comfortable homey behavior, very much of the southern charm that her writing is filled with. And somehow our event attracted a troll. This person, and I cannot be certain of their gender so I will be using they/them to refer to them, chose to complain about the sweet rambling on the video.

Yes, they have the right to their opinions. We are trying to sell books, and not everyone is going to want the book that these writers have put their heart and soul into. However, they do not have the right to be rude about it.

I have no problem with expression of opinions. I have a problem with the ones who are just rude in how they express said opinion. This caused the authors in the anthology to do something amazing. In a very professional manner, they came forward to defend one of our own. They did not confront the troll. They tried to reason with the commentor. We ended up deleting that comment tree, because we felt that the negative energy involved was not appropriate for the event.

People… You want to give constructive criticism or feedback? Fine. Be discreet. Be kind. You have no idea what the person is going through. You can be a light or a toxin, the choice really is yours!

Vision issues

So thanks to a really screwed up business and their practices… It is unlikely that I will be getting my glasses this year. I went in march to get a eye exam to Charleston vision source. Now I highly recommend avoiding them. In good faith I gave them my insurance information, believing that they would tell me if it was something that they did not take or if it was something that would be a problem. So I had my eye exam done. Then, while I was hurting from the eye dilation, they tell me that I owe $240 …and that my insurance is out of network for them. So I ask about payments. Am told that they only take full amount. And I would not be allowed my prescription until I paid it. So I told them to charge my insurance company. Then I came home and called the insurance. They tell me that the office is in network. So the insurance company called the office. Told them how to charge it. Then came back and said that I needed to stop preventing the office from charging the insurance. I called the office back and reiterated that they needed to charge the insurance.
Well I waited a week. Called. Was told the insurance (medical) refused the charge. I said that they were told to charge the vision plan. Office manager said that the vision plan would not cover. So I reiterated… Charge vision plan.
Am told that they will. A month later, having heard nothing I arranged for another eye exam with a different dr. I show up to be told the eye exam had been paid. I still have not recieved the script. So I called the office. They claim that they will fax it over. We wait two hours. I call twice more. Finally I was given to the office manager. She said that they were not paid. I call insurance company. Insurance company sends proof of payment… Then office manager tells me $32 refraction fee and $12 were what I owed. I am beyond frustrated and hung up on her. So after calm down i call to get an exact owed $. And I was told $158. Locally that I have found… The cheapest eye exam is $105. My insurance will not cover another this year. So I am not getting glasses. And I have been screwed by bad business practices and a vision place who is less about visual health and more about money. I have made this post in hopes of this raising awareness in the way this place treats it’s patients. Please feel free to share. Charleston Vision source. Office of Alan Rada/ Laura Suppa. They are treating their patients poorly.

Miscommunication hazards

It hurts to be ignored. I was invited to help with an interesting project. I was to blog about a apocalyptic anthology. Then it was suggested that I might be able to contribute… By the editor, not the organizer. The organizer became very angry with me for contributing a poem as I was asked. So today I see her asking for female zombie writers. So I am doing the best for my mental health and walking away from the project.

I will still write (as Serena Mossgraves of course) apocalyptic fiction. My book (Rust, Gore, and the Junkyard Zombie) will be live on May first. I want the other authors in the project to do wonderfully well. I just will not be giving any more whispers of that project. I have been asked to assist with another anthology, and I will be posting more on that as it comes closer.

Please forgive my need to no longer speak of a project that I was obviously never wanted for.

Creative kindness

Creative folks are sensitive, and often it’s the little things that send us into waves of self doubt and wavering, crushing questions about our own worth.
Now I am not claiming that you should not be honest with those folks. Quite the opposite. Just be aware that jumping a creative soul for a miscommunication is likely to cause them to question their own worth. Their own value and whether the work that they they do is worth showing to the world.
So before jumping off the deep end when you are dealing with a creative soul, consider if they were aware of how things went on the other end? Consider asking instead of jumping on them. Because if you are wrong, you will result in them questioning their own worth. Questioning whether they have anything worth putting out into a busy world.
In all things please, be kind first. You don’t know who’s life it might save. And if you decide that you dislike what they have created? Again answer with kindness. Telling the creative to go kill themselves, well the likelihood of them taking it to heart is high. Think before you speak. Or risk the death of another creative soul.

Be kind to each other, for the human race needs one another.