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This will be one of my few open posts, because I feel it's important enough to share beyond my friends list. Note that

Kameron Hurley (whose Bel Dame trilogy is amazing) wrote an essay for Locus Magazine, which is also quite excellent. The essay is worth reading in its entirety, but in it, Hurley speaks about feeling like she had to make excuses for what she wrote.

A couple excerpts:

Yet I contributed to this very narrative about my work. Instead of talking about my books as serious (or at least fun) literature, I found myself fall­ing into the same self-conscious trap I had as a kid, when I muttered about how I was writing a story about an expedition to Venus where the volcanos erupted with flowers. I said stuff like: ‘‘Oh, you probably won’t like it. It’s pretty weird,’’ or ‘‘It’s not for everyone,’’ or ‘‘You’ll only like it if you read a lot of science fiction.’’


Her reaction made me re-evaluate how I talked to people outside of SF/F about the books I love. In SF/F circles, we delight in complexity and sense-of-wonder. We spend millions upon millions of words debating about the slim difference between ‘‘science fiction’’ and ‘‘fantasy.’’ But folks outside of it really couldn’t care less. People outside of the SF/F bubble just want to know, quickly and simply, what it’s about.

While there is definite truth to what Hurley is talking about (and let me say that I am not criticizing Hurley for not speaking about this; I am fairly certain it is something she is aware of herself, but there are many reasons she may have chosen not to address this), there is another factor that she hasn't addressed, and that is gender. Women are specifically taught from childhood not to "show off". Instead of talking excitedly about things we are interested or things we are creating, we are expected to be demure, humble, and even self-deprecating. Heaven forfend we actually take pride in our work.

It's difficult cultural training to overcome. Moreso if you also have social anxiety. Almost all writers are taught that it's just a hobby, that it's not real work, but there is a pernicious sexism when it comes to women. I'm considering some of the panels that I have seen, where there were both men and women on the panel. The men were exuberant and raring to talk about their book; the women visibly struggled to describe their books. These are all published authors.

I do not see the issue as much in romance, where men are uncommon. I see women excited and ready to share their stories, and full of pride about them -- well, so long as they are in groups where romance writing isn't considered "trash". In SFF, even now, there are is still the old boys' club, and while people are working to dismantle that, it takes time, beacuse there are people (usually men, but not always) fighting every step of the way.

While I have talked about being raised as male (long story, but the TL;DR version is that I was homeschooled and dreadfully isolated, and my father wanted a son; after my mother had my sister, she said no more children -- therefore and ever after, my dad dubbed me the son he did not have), I did not actually start talking about my writing much until I started embracing my femininity and womanhood. It was something I noticed, and it is something that worked its way into my subconscious.

It ties in, too, with Imposter Syndrome, which affects women at a higher rate than men. The downside of encouraging self-deprecation is that women start to believe it. When you believe that your work is shit and not worth anything, it's not surprising that women back down for fear of reprimand or scolding. There is a definite subset of people who seek to knock women who are confident about their abilities "down a peg."

In light of that, how can we expect women not to make excuses for their work? It's ingrained. It's there in our very society, and it is certainly there in writers' communities and organizations. It's insidious, to the point many of us don't even know we're doing it.

The solution? Become aware. Know that it is affecting us. Fight it when and where we can (and if and only if it is safe to do so; as important as it is, ideology is not worth someone's physical or mental well-being). At the very least, be proud of ourselves, even when we can't speak up. When we can, tell our stories, and tell people what they're about. Sometimes that means memorizing your blurb until you can say it in your sleep (I can't be the only one whose thoughts fly out of her head the moment she's put on the spot). Sometimes it means having the strength and will to just say it -- and it's hard to say, make no mistake.

But each time, it gets a little easier. (At least, it does for me.) If you're not able to, don't beat yourself up; there will be other chances. This is not an all or nothing game; this is a progression. For every two steps forward, there will be one step back. This is still progress.

Write what you love. Stand up for your work. Or don't, if it's not safe. But most of all: Be proud, because you have your work, and nobody can take that away from you.

I must also add: A great big thank you to Kameron Hurley for writing about this, because it's an important topic. I urge again, for anyone who is interested in a science fantasy Muslim based future setting with plenty of POC, a foul-mouthed and tough-as-nails queer assassin protagonist (who puts all the supposed "ass-kicking, tough-as-nails" women protagonists to shame), and an awesome team of characters that includes shape shifters and bug magic with a very devout but not so very good magician, and their many adventures -- CHECK THESE BOOKS OUT, THEY ROCK. (This series is probably my favorite from the entirety of 2013.)

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/512538.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I've posted about this before but since it's the last day and they are just a little bit short... and if they don't make it they have to pay essentially a penalty.... please pass along, and let's see if we can't get the rest of the way!

Also, there is one custom pony slot still open, and Naamah's ponies? Are fucking awesome. Don't believe me? Click here. (I will be getting one! AMG SQUEE. SQUEEE.)

Originally posted by [personal profile] naamah_darling at Imperial Blood: only 20 hours left! Last call!
Twenty hours to go on the Imperial Blood campaign. We are at 89%. That's $375 from goal. That's all!

If we sell that last pony slot, we're pretty much there. Home free.

Obviously I would really like to make it. Even two bucks, or five, makes a difference. If we don't make goal, we forfeit about $150 of what we've made, which would be less than ideal.

We also have those little guys for $25. The come already gift boxed to save you the frustration of trying to wrap something so weird.

So give it some thought, eh?

Thank you for everything. For all the boosting -- y'all have done a really outstanding job of it this time -- and thank you for the donations, and the words of support.

I truly, truly think this is one of the best things we've done, and if you are at all kinky, maybe give it a try.

The link, one last time!

We appreciate everything so much.  Cross your fingers.  I still think we can get there.

Someone buy that pony!

X-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment count: comment count unavailable

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/510448.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Note: Naamah is one of my oldest, dearest friends (and both she and her husband are amazing writers), and if folks would be willing to toss a little into the hat, or simply to signal boost, that would be awesome.

Originally posted by naamah_darling at Imperial Blood launches at Indiegogo!
It's that time again! And so soon. We must stop meeting like this. People will talk.

The Indiegogo campaign for Imperial Blood, our 9th Adventurotica novel, has launched! We have a little over a month to raise the funds to get us through to January.

This is the vampire novel I was talking about. It's gothic in the literary sense, somewhat lyrical, definitely going to be overwrought, and it's going to be full of kinky stuff. As usual, mostly het, but with M/M and F/F sex too. Yay, fucking!

What's it about?

Lucky you! You can has trailer!

Or you can read this summary:

From his dark palace at the northernmost part of the world, the dread Emperor Acrisius rules over his vast empire. Once every hundred years, he sends for a girl of royal lineage to be brought to his court. None are ever seen again.

When Sibylla is called, she must go, not knowing what will become of her. She fears the summons will mean her death, but she finds herself entangled in the ancient, complex life of the Dark Lord: a man who lives on blood, destroys all he touches, and yearns for a lost love he can never regain. He will seek to make her his in more ways than she can imagine, and if she is to remain herself, she must resist.

Garath, the young knight who loves her, dares everything to follow her into the north, willing to brave darkness, cold, and terror to save her. He falls into the hands of Minaraja, the Emperor's first bride, a creature of deathless cruelty and unending spite. Roused to hunger by his youth and beauty, she seeks to break his spirit with pleasure and terror.

Sibylla and Garath must find their own way through this dark place of intrigue, passion, and death unending.

See what I mean? We wanted it to be a sort of . . . well, here, this is what we said on the campaign page:

"Imperial Blood is a bit of a departure from our usual tales of derring-do and pornified sex. It is going to be a kind of dark fable, intentionally taking all the tropes of the Gothic Romance and turning them inside out while still maintaining the feel and atmosphere. It's going to be serious, kink-heavy, and fantastical. The essential, central idea was 'A Beauty and the Beast story where Beauty becomes the Beast.' It's also a fun chance to p*ss all over Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. It will feature male-dom and fem-dom BDSM, and while most of it will be het, girls will get it on with girls and guys will get it on with guys. Something for everyone, as long as you're kind of a perv."

Sargon's writing, I'm kink-consulting (Am I qualified for that? Can I get that on a business card?) and helping with sex scenes. I've read the first few chapters and I am definitely liking the tone and the places it's already going. Bad places.

Also! For those of you not so much into porn, vampires, or . . . vampire porn.

I'm offering these glass and wire ornaments in black and silvertone, instead of bookmarks. They're available a la carte, if you don't want us mailing random piles of porn to your place, which is probably understandable if you have unneutered pets who might Get Ideas or something. They're $25, and may I point out they make lovely gifts and it's not too early to think about the coming holidays. Yulepocalypse. Christmas. Or whatever you call it. They even come gift boxed so you don't have to worry about wrapping them!


Yes, I'm offering ponies again! Goth vampire ponies with optional fairy wings. At a slightly lower price this time, but they won't have as many accessories as the steamponies (pics coming), and I'm trying to move two, not just one plus a random drawing (which was fun). They WILL be fabulous. I'm seeing gothy eye makeup, maybe some flowing ribbons and/or fishnets, and possibly some fairy wings because I'd like to do more of those. And there's the NSFW bondage toys version. Yeah. Willing to go there.

So, stop by, or spread the word:

Imperial Blood, it will be awesome.

Now, oh my god, I need to use the sleep!

X-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment count: comment count unavailable
I am sharing this because Louis and Omi are dear friends of mine (Omi being actually my girlfriend). While they were visiting us here in late Spring/early Summer, they were supposed to get a regular check-up call from the Department of Social Services. However, Social Services never called, and even though Louis made multiple calls to try to get ahold of them, they were removed from the SNAP program. It is nearly six months later and they still are getting the run-around by their state, so they are having to use food banks in order to have enough food to eat.

Louis wrote this post because I was shocked at the quality/quantity -- or lack thereof -- of the food they were getting. I'm re-posting it because I expect I'm not the only one who was ignorant, and this is a pretty major deal; people who are going to food banks should not be receiving expired/rotten food. (They described receiving a food item with maggots at one point.)

Please read, and I would ask that people please re-post this, because having talked with some other friends, this is not an uncommon situation for food banks at all. (And I imagine that it is probably worse right now because of the gov't shutdown.)

Originally posted by [personal profile] louisadkins at Of Food Banks, or, Eating the Kindness of Strangers
(This post is posted public so that anyone can see it or share it, as needed.)

So, a friend asked me to sum up my experience with using the local food bank.

So, first thing to keep in mind. Our food bank is only able to provide service on a once-a-month basis. You tell them how many people you are providing for, and they base how much they give you off of that. In our case, they know we are a family of five.

In addition, you should know that the quality of the food is totally random. Sometimes you get name-brand goods, usually off-brand, a lot of the time the super-saver generic. It totally depends on the donations that keep the bank open.

Now, I don't know how much the bank pre-sorts out of the donations, but it is painfully obvious that some people use the food bank as a way to clean out their pantries of old, damaged, unused foodstuffs. Even after the pre-sorting, though, it's not all inside the "Best Used/Sold By" dates.

This month, we got a bit more overall than we had been getting; donations must have been up. (yay!)

Food Bank September 2013

Let me start with a list of what was, verifibly still "good" food - that is to say, still inside the date, not open, no signs of being off. :: We got a single package of bologna, a single package of hot dogs, five pounds of AP Flour, eight white hamburger buns, four boxes off-name mac and cheese, a box of spaghetti noodles, 2 single packets of Ramen (chicken flavor,) two boxes of noodles, a small canister of oats (steel cut, pleasant surprise,) six packets of cherry-lime diet drink powder, one bag Pinto Beans, two jars of peanut butter, a can of peas, two cans each of green beans, carrots, tomato sauce, and tomato soup, and a box of bran flakes cereal. There was also a flat of deli-made cupcakes that expired the day we got them.

We had some stuff that was not in its original packaging, but looked okay. :: Two sticks margarine, approx. two pounds cheddar flavored cheese shreddings (in a ziploc!), three half-sleeves of Ritz-style crackers, three individual-wrapped rice crispy treats, three packets Starbucks instant oats (no flavor,) and a loose Kroger sack of assorted pastries and cookies (about a dozen, in all.)

Now we get in to the fun stuff. The canned corn and grape jelly were missing their expiration dates, and the ten pound bag of bone-in chicken leg quarters was also missing it's exp date.. and looked to have partially thawed out, at some point. (ick.)

The rest was just plain out of expiration. The "Asian Blend" veggies that had started to rot in the bag were pretty bad. The two loaves of bread weren't growing anything, yet, so they were still edible. The Wheat Thins were out by over a month, but still fine. The ready rice from July.. not so much. The Jiffy mix from February, the box of hot chocolate from May, the PORK and beans can from May, and the black beans.. all out from early this year. The 40 oz can of yams from LAST year.. was pretty gross. There was also a half of a pudding cake that was out by a few weeks - half of that was dry, but the other half was still edible.

So, there you have it. That is what we got, for a month, from the food bank, for a family of five. (They also tossed in 16 oz laundry soap, and a couple other toiletries.) Some months we throw away more than we did, this time, some months a little less. It really depends on our luck of the draw.

I hope this write-up is helpful.

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/508109.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Anyone know anybody in the Yakima area who would have a place to stay?

Originally posted by naamah_darling at Friend needs a place to stay in eastern WA State/Yakima Valley. Please repost!
If you or anyone you know lives in Washington State, please read and repost; Grace/snowcoma has run into housing troubles and needs a place to stay.

So, the place where I am staying with my boyfriend is basically run by an extremely manipulative, abusive woman who also takes all our foodstamps and then barely lets us eat.

We're looking for ANY place to stay, short-term, in the Yakima Valley/Eastern WA.

I really don't know if this will help at all, but I'm falling apart due to her, and my BF and I have slept rough just to avoid it. We may end up sleeping rough again, and at this point we would be grateful to anyone who would let us on their land to do so.

I miss the hell out of you guys. I wish I could have better contact with y'all. *tight hugs* My phone is the best (only) way to contact me: 503-568-6660.

My phone is currently shut off so I can't get answers to questions or relay offers of help; you'll have to call. If anyone can help out by reposting or offering a place to sleep, it would be very much appreciated.

X-posted from Dreamwidth. Comment count: comment count unavailable
So, there's a particular article about what differentiates a hobbyist from a pro writer, that is full of BS that has been talked about by various people like Brian Keene and John Scalzi.

One thing, though, I haven't seen addressed is this:

"4. Would you rather receive useful criticism than praise?"

Okay, I really fucking loathe this dichotomy. I have seen it a lot in crit and writing groups. This idea that either you take criticism like a masochist, or you are an idiot who wants people to pander with praise, is fucking stupid.

It's not a one or the other deal. You can want useful criticism for the things that you did wrong, or that you almost got right, or that could be better if you did this... and still want to be praised for the things you did well. There is an attitude in writer's groups that I find fucking harmful, which is that if you're a true pro, then you shouldn't care about praise.

It's fucking human to want praise. It's normal, and healthy, and for gods' sakes, I have seen so many crit groups where a badge of honor is taking sometimes downright abusive shit about your work, and not complaining. It's a toxic attitude. It's important for writers to hear both criticism and praise -- but too often, writers are told that if they even want praise, they obviously aren't serious.

Not to mention that praise is also an important part of a crit, because it helps you figure out what you're doing right. If all you have is a crit full of complaints, well, you can still work on improving, but it doesn't give you a very clear idea of your strengths.

You can want both. You should have both. And I am really annoyed at this all-or-nothing, one-or-the-other thinking. The world doesn't work that way.

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/506308.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


ashbet is trying to raise money for her daughter's heart treatments by selling ball jointed dolls. I know I have some folks on here who are BJD fans!

She is also taking Paypal donations, ashbet@gmail.com (or her donate link at the linked page)

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/505500.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Copying this from a friend of mine. Heather, aka serawench, aka Divalia for folks who know her from WoW, is a dear friend of mine and in need of help. The following is the post she has made to Tumblr, with my edit for her PayPal address (with permission!) If anybody is able to toss a few bucks her way, or signal boost this further, that would be most helpful. Thank you guys. <3

My name is Heather. I’m 35 and live in Edmonton, AB with my brother and two cats, Rorschach and Helios. We have to move from our current home and almost any place we would like to look at (within our budget) requires $250 per pet, non refundable. This is a problem. I am on disability and my brother is self employed - add to that, we’ve just had TWO second hand cars (one we paid for, one was a gift) break down. We can’t afford an additional $500 to keep our family together. I have a paypal account, but I can set up a crowd funding account if this gets legs. If you have any advice, housing links or any questions, please drop a note in my ask box. [Edit: Heather's Paypal is sera.wench@gmail.com ]


This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/504297.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I have a long-time friend, Beans, who I've known for, gods, ten years or more now. Beans is in the process of getting top surgery. Everything is in order, except there's the problem of being a few hundred dollars short for the surgery. This is in the area where even just a little bit could help -- a few bucks here, a few bucks there.

Here is the link to the donation page, please check it out and spread the word! <3

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/503217.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

[Signal boost] Emergency!

[personal profile] louisadkins, [personal profile] omimouse, and Jade are stranded in a small town in Wyoming on the way back to their home in West Virginia. They headed out from our place Friday, made good time on the trip, but the minivan they are driving started flickering with a oil pressure light and then ... pretty much died on the road. They have been able to get AAA to take them to a hotel and the vehicle to a mechanic's shop, but... the sounds the vehicle was making lead them to believe it's an engine failure.

Which is $$$$. Which they don't have, and they have no way of getting back home otherwise. Louis's paypal is louis.adkins@hotmail.com and anything anyone can spare, bumping the word, passing this around, is much appreciated as time is something they don't have (due to cost of hotels, food, etc).

TY guys so much.

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/502965.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
If you did not see, I posted yesterday about fundraising for a friend of mine who is disabled, lives in SF on way too little money, and is in need of a new computer because his went toes-up. A very lovely person is donating her older iBook, but we are still looking to get a NEW computer, or a refurb, since as well as writing, Robert does graphics work (and hey, being able to play games would be nice too).

We are at $300 and don't need a whole lot more before we bump into the range of GOOD computers/refurbs. Every little bit helps, but if you are unable to donate, can you please signal boost? TY so much. <3

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/502215.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

[Signal boost] Fundraiser help needed!

So, a friend of mine is in a really bad spot. robertsloan2 is living in San Francisco in a residence hotel on $750 a month disability. His rent is $600. (Or something like this. My details may be off but it is ridiculous.) While he gets food stamps, this puts him in a place where he cannot afford anything beyond bare necessities, and sometimes not even that.

Robert's computer died this morning. We are looking at donating our working laptop, but it is six years old, and I'm not sure how much time it has left. The Internet is Robert's support network and more than that, his livelihood, as he is a writer and looking to self-publish. Without a working computer, he can't do any of this.

Because of complications with Social Security counting any money that Robert receives through his paypal as income (and will thus take it out of his disability checks), I will be acting as guardian for the collected funds and will arrange to have the laptop purchased and sent to him, and will make sure that he receives any funds leftover. My paypal is mistressnonny@gmail.com.

Every little bit helps. Please pass this around! Thank you guys! :)

(And if someone else wants to write a more concise version, please go right ahead. I am not so great at doing that, LOL.)

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/501833.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
So, I was speaking with Paul yesterday and got an update on the situation with the kittens. If you have missed it, here is the previous update, and here the long version of the situation.

To summarize, Buddy was seen for his anxiety and prescribed medication. It was also discovered that he had tapeworms and a UTI, which he has been treated for.

Paul says the medications have been helping very much, which is awesome. Buddy has been much more cheerful and friendly; he's ventured out from Paul's room, even past the big dog that Paul's housemates own. As far as the litter box, he is using it! Sorta. He still does not like litter, of which Paul is in the process of trying different types, but he is no longer freaking out at the presence of the box, and he is using the box with an old towel in it. It's not ideal, but it's a step in the right direction, and it's better than finding cat pee and poop everywhere else!

However, there is still an issue and that is also part of why I'm posting this.

Because of the tapeworms, Buddy's sister, Girlie, needed to be seen by the vet and treated herself. Between Girlie's visit, her medications, Buddy's medications, and purchasing different styles of litterboxes and litter to try... there is no more money left.

This is a problem because Buddy needs a follow-up on the UTI. They need to make sure that it is actually gone, and not something else that may require a special diet or other treatments. The vet visit is $50 flat plus whatever tests they have to do. Paul's monthly income is $197/mo through a state program. He is still waiting to hear back the decision of his disability hearing, and that could still take months.

So I am asking once again, if anyone has a spare buck or two, to please toss it in the hat. Paul's PayPal is p.a.pierce@gmail.com. I know money is tight for a lot of people, so if you're not able to do that, I would ask that you please boost the signal. I love these kitties dearly and worry so much about their health. I know that Paul is dedicated to making sure they get the care they need, but it's really hard when you're on such a limited budget.

I do not have the spoons to write a short version for copypasta; if someone is willing/able to do so in the comments, I will edit the post with it. Thank you all so very much. <3

Edit: Short version as provided by [personal profile] naamah_darling, who is made of awesome and win!

Buddy is a service kitty for Paul, a disabled person who is still waiting for the final decision of his disability hearing. Previous update. Full story, long version. Buddy's had problems with the litter box, and with serious anxiety/panic attacks lately, and was diagnosed with a UTI.

Good news: People have been super-generous, and that's awesome! Major steps have been made and things are going really well. Buddy is doing better now that he's got anxiety meds, and is learning to get along with the litter box again! He and his sister, Girlie, were both taken to the vet and wormed. Yay! Buddy's UTI appears to be improving, too! LOOK AT WHAT YOU PEOPLE DID! It's awesome!

Meh news: Between the vet visits, tests, worming for two cats, meds, and trying different kinds of litter/boxes to see what makes Buddy feel safe, funds are depleted. Buddy needs a follow-up with the vet to check on the UTI. If his litter issues are to be resolved, they gotta be sure they found the source, which means being sure they got the UTI fixed! That appointment will be $50, plus whatever they'll charge for the tests that need to be done.

How you can help: Reposting this, and linking it around, would be great. Also, donations. Paul's PayPal is p.a.pierce@gmail.com. This is a case where just a little money can make a big difference in the quality of life for a disabled dude and his loyal service kitty.

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/496847.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
A couple weeks back, I posted a signal boost for Paul and his cat Buddy. The simplified version, for those who missed it: Buddy is one of our former household kitties, who has anxiety issues related to using the litter box. He is Paul's service animal, and provides a great deal of support and aid for him, but his inability to use the litter box was putting his housing at risk. (I understand that now the situation has been explained, Paul's roommates are much more sympathetic and giving time for it to get sorted out.)

Anyway, I thought folks that signal boosted or donated might want an update. Paul was able to take Buddy in to the vet yesterday, and they did an exam and several tests. It turns out the poor kitty has a UTI as well as worms -- neither of which can be helping the poor thing! The vet prescribed antibiotics and treatment for the worms. The vet also prescribed amitryptiline for the anxiety.

Fortunately, Buddy apparently takes pills like a champ! Yay!

However, the tapeworms means that Buddy's sister Rowan will need to see the vet as well. This means more vet visits, fees, and medication. Our vet is awesome and was able to help out with aid programs they are part of, but unfortunately, vet bills add up. Getting Rowan treated as well is going to be even more expense, especially since Buddy may need further vet visits if this medication doesn't work. Plus, the vet is going to want to see him back again to make sure the UTI is gone.

Again, Paul's PayPal is p.a.pierce@gmail.com if you are able to donate. (And if you are not, a signal boost would be appreciated! TY all so much for everything you have done! <3)

Short version for easier copypasta:

Thanks to y'all being awesome, Paul has been able to take his service kitty Buddy to a vet to get his anxiety treated. However, the vet found other issues. Buddy has a UTI that is being treated, but he also has tapeworms -- which means his sister Rowan needs to get treated too. It also means that Buddy will need future visits to ensure the UTI is fully gone. Paul is in the process of applying for disability and has effectively $197/mo to live on. If anyone is able to chip in a buck or five or ten, anything helps. His PayPal is p.a.pierce@gmail.com. Please boost the signal if you can! Thank you all! Every little bit helps. <3

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/496601.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

This is Ash, better known as Buddy, being held by nonny. Buddy is an anxious cat who has panic attacks. One of his triggers is the litter box. He can't use them. Therefore, he urinates and defecates elsewhere. This is creating problems, as can be expected, in his person's living situation. His person, Paul, lives on $200 a month in an apartment with two other people. Buddy is Paul's service animal; he's done things like bring Paul his bag of medication. Buddy is also tightly bonded to his sister, Girlie, and they cannot be separated. Paul can't afford to take Buddy to a vet, get him diagnosed as anxious, and started on medication to try to work on the litterbox issue without help. Because of his income, he doesn't qualify for Care Credit, and most vets don't do payment plans. If you can donate, Paul's PayPal account is p.a.pierce@gmail.com. If you want more information on the situation, nonny has a post about it.
Let me introduce you a darling cat named Ash, better known to his friends as Buddy. Buddy and his sister Rowan (aka Girlie) were born in our household in 2009.

Here's Buddy! (This is the only recent pic I had of him, with his famous "OMG!ANXIOUS" expression.)

Ever since he was little, Buddy has been incredibly anxious. Loud noises make him jump. If you reach to pet him, and he doesn't see you coming, he freaks out. Lots of things make him freak out, honestly. Many people, including our own household, commented that he acted like an abused cat... except we have raised him literally from the moment his Mama birthed him into our housemate's hand, and he and his sister have always been treated with love and care. I have an anxiety disorder myself, and I recognize the signs of a panic attack, even in an animal. His eyes dialate, his breathing sharpens, and he looks for somewhere to hide -- and if he can't, he flails and screeches wildly. It's heartbreaking.

But above and beyond that, Buddy has a bigger problem. One of Buddy's anxiety triggers? Is the litter box. We have tried many things. We've tried moving the litter box, dedicated litter box, different litters... if you can think it, we have tried it. *

Three months ago, a lot of crap happened; the details of which are not relevant. The end result is that our former housemate, Paul, moved out, and with him went Buddy and Girlie, who had bonded to him and truthfully did not get along well with our other cats. We hoped that Buddy's litter box issues would get better being away from our other cats, some of whom are, well, a little hostile.

However, this has not been the case. In fact, it has gotten worse. Paul has been trying in vain to litter train Buddy. Currently, Paul is living with two roommates who are losing patience (and I truthfully cannot blame them) with a cat who is not litter box trained and is putting their apt housing at risk (plus, cat pee just plain stinks). Paul has been trying to train Buddy, but it's not working -- anything that means Buddy has to get close to a litter box means that Buddy freaks out. Paul has been forced to put Buddy in a kennel with a litter pan when he has had to leave the apt, and Buddy freaked out so badly that he tore up his nose to the point it looks like it will scar.

Buddy does not have a lot of time. He needs help, and he needs it now. Paul's roommates have been trying to be patient, but it has been close to three months now, and no progress has been made. Paul's roommates have said that if Buddy's behavior doesn't improve -- soon -- that he will have to rehome him.

Buddy is four years old this summer. He's a gorgeous cat who is, when he's not having panic attacks, cuddly and sweet and darling. Even more than that, Paul is disabled and Buddy is his emotional support and service animal. (I have personally witnessed Buddy pulling Paul's bag of medications to him when he has been in so much pain that he cannot move. Paul's quality of life would be greatly diminished without Buddy in it.)

Even more than that, it would be nearly impossible to rehome Buddy. A four year old cat who can't use a litter box? Local no-kill shelters are filled to the brim, and there is virtually no way he would get a placement. Plus, he is absolutely devoted to his sister; the two are nearly inseparable. It would destroy the both of them.

The reason I am writing this is because Paul is disabled and waiting on the judgement of his disability hearing, which took place in early November. It could be several months before he finds out whether he has been approved, plus the time from judgement to when they actually pay out. Buddy does not have that time.

Friends of mine know that there is some not-so-great history between Paul and myself; for those that know the details, I ask you to put that aside for Buddy's sake. Because of Buddy's litter box issues (and the fact that we are now fostering 2 cats and cannot handle a 7 cat household when we are already dealing with territory battles), we cannot take him or Girlie back if Paul isn't able to get him help.

Paul is living on a $200/mo stipend from the state. He can't afford to take Buddy to a vet, which I estimate will be at least $200-300 for the vet visit, testing, and medication (based on what I had to pay for Ebony's elder care, tests, and arthritis diagnosis/medications; it could possibly be more, depending on what all they need to do). Paul does not qualify for CareCredit so any vet bills must be paid up front and in full. (This is also not counting cost of transportation, which is an issue as Paul does not have reliable transport.)

Paul's PayPal is p.a.pierce@gmail.com. If you have a buck or five or ten or anything and can spare it, I ask you to consider it. Buddy is one of the sweetest cats I have ever known, and it is not his fault that he has anxiety issues. Even aside from the fact that his housing (and by extension, his life) is at risk, he shouldn't have to live with daily anxiety like this. I remember what it was like for me before I got medication, and I would not wish that on anyone, let alone a poor innocent kitty.

If you aren't able to donate (and even if you are), please signal boost this far and wide. Buddy's life and well-being depends on it. I have great faith in the LJ/DW Catsignal! <3

* (Please no suggestions. We have done a great deal of research and tried just about every non-drug, non-vet option available. The intent is appreciated but I hope you understand why hearing suggestions of things we have already done would be frustrating!)

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Signal Boost: Kittehs! in Seattle!

Okay, so I'm copy-pasting this from my friend naamah_darling's LJ as I don't have the spoons to write up a post of my own. For those wondering and may remember, yes, the Grace in question is my ex... and what she's going through, no person should ever have to. We are fostering her other two kitties, Duke and Toaster, but there is no way we could take 4 with the number of cats we already have.

If anybody is able to foster or knows people that might be willing or can please get the word out... please, please, please do so. I know these cats, and they are very sweet, affectionate kitties.

Okey-dokey. Here's the deal.

My friend Grace (aka snowcoma) still desperately needs to find a long-term fosterer for her kitties. Their names are Little Owl and Edward-Cat. They are in Seattle.

Grace is in about the worst place a person can be in. She's currently homeless, and while she has a temporary place to stay while she gets back on her feet, her cats are being boarded -- extremely temporarily -- at a vet's office.

If nobody can take them, they'll go to the shelter. We all know how overloaded shelters everywhere are. We all know what happens to adult cats in shelters. I don't like putting it like that, but . . . yes. At the very least, they would be adopted by gods-know-who and she would never see them again. That's unacceptable to me. No. That's just unthinkable.

Grace . . . Grace is extremely bipolar, like me, and like me, she relies on her cats for emotional support. Being separated from them is bad enough. The prospect of having them put down and losing them forever just because life is shitty and crazy is shittier is absolutely horrific. Like, I've had nightmares about it level horrific.

These cats come with character references out the wazoo. Neutered, shots, etc. Get along together just fine. Basically, perfect cats.

Guys. That face.

What we need:

Help finding them a foster home, long-term would be best, but at this point, we are just trying to keep them out of kill shelters. Local to Seattle-ish would be best, but if necessary, maybe we could get them driven out somewhere else. Maybe folks could help arrange transport. Grace can be reached at: 503-568-6660. She keeps odd hours, so don't hesitate to leave voicemail.


Donations to help keep them boarded at the vet's. It's about $28 a day for both of them. If you can donate to this, please contact ashbet. Her email address is ashbet@gmail.com. Ashbet is an amazing person, by the way, and is why they are currently in a vet's being boarded, not in a shelter. So, thank you, babe.

I've posted about this before trying to get them a permanent place to stay, and the best we've got so far is this (very much appreciated) temporary boarding deal. We really need to make this happen. Mostly I just throw the cat halp stuff up here and say "f-list, f-list, do as you will." This time, we need to make the magic happen. I need signal boosts on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Livejournal, and anywhere else you can boost it. I need a fucking miracle, Internet. I'm not just trying to help a friend, I'm trying to help keep a fellow lycanthrope from losing her heart, when she has lost just about everything else a person can lose.

Nobody deserves this. Nobody. Can we please make the world just this one tiny bit less cruel?

Here's the link again. Please spread it around.

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/491091.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

[unfiltered] Signal Boost: Pe'sla

Summary: Several Native American tribes are in danger of losing sacred land, as the owner of the land who has let them use it for ceremonies is now selling it. The South Dakota gov't has expressed that they intend to buy the land, and tear it down to build a highway and development projects through it. They are trying to raise money to buy at least part of the land back. Which, as the land was originally theirs, is fucking sickening.

Please check it out.


This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/485525.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Since the internet has been abuzz with rants and raves about this particular book... well. Initially, I was going to be the Cool Kid and not read it, but I gave in. ;) As always, I has thoughts!

(For those who have been living under a rock, Fifty Shades of Grey is a barely rewritten Twilight/Edward alternate universe fanfic in which Bella (Ana) is just graduating college and Edward (Christian) is a multimillionaire businessman. The book is about their romance and involves a lot of sex and BDSM. It's very clearly smut. The author, E. L. James published it through a small press which I believe is an author co-op and somehow, it sold like hotcakes. James now has a contract with Random House and a movie deal is in the works, though I have no idea how they're going to make this into anything less than an NC-17 rated movie.)

Let me get this out of the way first: The book is a hot mess. I have read significantly better prose in crit groups, and this is some of the worst writing I've encountered. I'm not surprised that the "publisher" was actually an author co-op, because it's pretty obvious between grammar errors, bad formatting, horrible punctuation, and writing that just plain doesn't make sense, that no editor touched this thing.

However, having read it, I'm not surprised it's popular. Let's face it: Many readers are not as discerning as writers are (which makes sense; we work hard at our skill and thus we see errors more easily), and I've honestly lost track of the number of times I've heard a reader say they care more about the story; good writing is just a bonus. On top of that, the story follows a well-worn wish fulfillment fantasy: that of the hot, wealthy businessman with loads of issues who falls in love with the girl next door and can only be healed by the power of true love. Look at pretty much every Harlequin Presents romance in existence; these books are not uncommon. The big difference with Fifty Shades is that it became popular outside of romance circles.

(Also I must add here: Not all romances follow this trope. There are plenty of well-written romances with strong heroines and non-asshole heroes. Considering I write romance, I don't really want to hear crap about the genre, thanks. ;)

But that's not what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is the BDSM aspects. And for this I'm continuing under a cut with WARNING for frank talk about sex, BDSM, consent, coercion/sexual assault, and related stuffs; also includes some discussion of victim-blamingCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/478761.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Recently, I came across a few posts about Imposter Syndrome. Along with that link, there is a very good personal essay about one woman's experience with it over on Geek Feminism.

The short definition is "Impostor syndrome describes a situation where someone feels like an imposter or fraud because they think that their accomplishments are nowhere near as good as those of the people around them. Usually, their accomplishments are just as good, and the person is being needlessly insecure."[above link]

I was struck when I first started reading about this, because it absolutely describes the problems I have faced in trying to learn more about computer technology. I've wanted to learn various things, but feel that I'm not good enough, and I frequently find myself denying what I know I'm good at. I'm always second-guessing myself.

And then I realized that it's not just the geeky stuff that it affects; it affects my writing, too.

If someone asks me about my writing achievements, I will certainly mention what I've done, but I'm quick follow up with "but." "But I'm just e-published." "But I haven't sold much." "But it's not that good." I don't feel like I have made any huge accomplishments to be proud of, in part because I'm not published through a big New York house. Realistically, that is becoming less important every single year, and even if I were, I think I would still feel the same way.

It's something I hear a lot from writers. I've been in a lot of writers' groups, and it's so very common that someone will get published, but still feel like they're some kind of sham. That it's not real. That they're making it up. I suspect the "sophomore novel" blues that frequently are discussed have something to do with Imposter Syndrome -- we have trouble believing that what we've done is real and valuable, and now that the whole world is looking at us, now they're going to see what a farce we really are.

This year, I wanted to submit ideas for panels to my local SF convention. I went last year, and they had a wide range of panelists. Many people only had short story publications, and some were not even published, but had real life experience in what they were talking about. Despite having several e-published books, I couldn't believe that anyone would take me seriously. I was convinced people would just laugh at me. That they'd see that I was some sort of fake, a fraud. And then came the shame, that, who the hell did I think I was, trying to present myself as some sort of expert? What the fuck was I thinking, that I had anything worthwhile to share?

All these things ran through my head, and my gut twisted and turned, and I just let the deadline pass, because deep-down, some part of me doesn't believe that I have the credentials to speak on -- well, any issue. And truthfully, I don't think it would be any different if I were NY published. Because I have seen the same thing from NY published authors.

And it seems primarily a problem that affects women. We are so devalued by society that it is hard for us to believe that our ideas and experiences are worthwhile. It is hard to believe that there are those that would value our expertise when it is still common to run across people who tell you to shut up and demand to speak to a man instead. It's something that is reiterated through all our lives, when as kids boys are called on more often in class to answer questions and rewarded more.

Even now, just writing this, my gut is twisting and I fear that I'll be ridiculed for speaking about this with any sort of authority -- because, after all, don't others have it worse? Aren't there other people better able to speak? Why should anyone believe me?

It's part of what led to a breakdown the other night when I received a hurtful comment related to some of my writing. The comment came from someone I trusted, and the novel the commentary was about was one that I had some amount of confidence about. The end result being that I was completely torn up and questioning whether I should even keep at this thing, because, well, obviously I'm just a fake and not anywhere near as good as I think, and I should just give up and make way for Real Writers...

And I know that's bullshit. I really do. And I suspect some people are going to be rolling their eyes here and thinking that I need to get some self-confidence. But it isn't about that, really. It's a cultural issue. Otherwise this wouldn't be so common. Otherwise you would not see professional, published authors, some of them award-winning even, convinced that they suck.

It's not generally talked about. I think it needs to be. I think that's the only way that it will ever change -- that we speak up about our fears and our doubts and these deep feelings that we aren't good enough. Because, you know, I can't put into words how it felt when I first read that article on Imposter Syndrome. I just about burst into tears, because, oh my gods, there was someone out there that was going through the same thing. It wasn't just me. I wasn't crazy.

And I'm writing this, and I'm convinced that I'm going to be told that I'm crazy, that I don't know what I'm talking about, that it isn't that big a deal, that I need to suck it up, that I'm some kind of fraud, that I can't speak about these issues, that this isn't a real issue, that I'm just making it up. I'm scared to the point of my gut knotting and feeling like I'm going to throw up. But I have to write this, and get it out there, because if I feel this way, there have to be others. I know there are others.

This is a discussion that we need to have. Let's start.

This entry was originally posted at http://nonny.dreamwidth.org/476367.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


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