Sunday, June 7, 2020

Time To Get Political

Today's post is going to be a little different, and I'll try to be objective as possible and handle the subject matter with tact, but everything I'm about to discuss is personal to me, so I might get emotional. I'll give a quick update on my work at the end, but I think at this time we all need to have a moment of reflection and decide how the US will move forward as a country.

I am a black, trans, queer man (I relate more to genderqueer, but in binary terms I'll choose man) living in the US. When I made the conscious decision to transition to my true self ten years ago I knew that I would instantly have a target on my back the more masculine my appearance became due to the color of my skin. I sort of already had one since my appearance pre-transition was masculine leaning androgynous. However, my mental health and overall happiness required that I transitioned, and those feelings and emotions outweighed the fear of the inherent racism that is laced in American society.

I have been lucky because my appearance is non-threatening. I'm a short twig who doesn't cast an imposing shadow and I'm a pretty happy looking person for the most part, but when I see a white woman on the street, and if we make eye contact, I make sure to smile to let her know that I won't cause her any harm. Typically when I'm out and about, I don't make eye contact with anyone, and if I'm in a parking lot or walking down the street I make sure I am a million miles away from a white person or I walk quickly by them so they don't think I have bad intentions towards them. White men I don't even make eye contact with. Again, I'm a smol twig. I ain't about to get my ass kicked.

But do you see the trend here? I am constantly having to make conscious decisions to accommodate white people and their perceptions about me when I shouldn't have to. White people have stood inches behind me in line at the store to where I could feel their body heat. Like why are you that close?! I get certain looks from white people in stores when they think I don't belong in certain spaces. The point I'm getting at here, is that I'm forced to have these types of people take up space in my brain when they think very little about me.

I live like this because I'm trying to avoid a confrontational situation that could possibly escalate to the police being called. Also I hate confrontation in general. Again, I have been lucky enough to have very few interactions with police and have personally dealt with them twice in my life. Once was pre-transition and the other was three years into my transition. First interaction I was drunk as all hell and singing Kelly Clarkson out of the my friend's car window and we got pulled over. I was 19 and in a college town. But like even completely inebriated I was compliant, and some where in my drunken mind I knew I could go to jail because of how I looked. Luckily, I didn't probably because I was around a gang of white people.

Second time, was in 2013, got pulled over for speeding in a construction zone on the highway. I'm surprised I didn't suffer an anxiety attack. My mind immediately went to, "Am I going survive this?" Because of a routine traffic stop. For the most part I am a law abiding citizen and I don't have a criminal record, so when someone like me immediately jumps to such an extreme line of thinking what does that say about the society we live in? I'm pretty certain the cop probably saw how afraid I was by the whole interaction. I got a ticket, and I had planned to go to court to contest it, but I had a death in the family and ended up paying it.

Like even thinking about contesting the ticket in court made me apprehensive because I was pretty certain it wouldn't go my way because of the whole me being a black man thing. With each of these interactions with the police, I made myself small and became compliant to avoid something that would have me in jail or dead. A person shouldn't have to do that when interacting with a segment of the community that has sworn to protect and serve.

With all that being said, black men matter. Black women matter. Black queer people matter. Black trans people matter. BLACK LIVES MATTER. My existence is political on so many levels because other people have decided that aspects about me, which I have no control over, should be political. I support the protests and commend those going out there and fighting the good fight as well as those who are supporting the protestors by donating to bail funds and other non-profit organizations. I also applaud those that are opening their homes to protestors or providing them water or food. This is going to be a long and arduous fight because 200+ years of systemic racism is that ingrained in US society.

And if any of what I said has offended you, why? Take a look inside of yourself and find out why I, a black, trans, masculine presenting person, is a threat to you. I doubt you will.

I am a realist, but I do hope some dramatic and drastic changes are made to the very fabric of our society.

Okay so, after that food for thought, here is a quick update.

Fate Unseen is in round four of editing, and it is going. With all that has been going on around the world it's hard to focus on it because I want to stay up to date and informed, but I'm getting there thanks to an app called  Freedom. Blocks apps and websites on both my laptop and phone, so if I'm tempted I can't do anything and all I can work on is editing. Unless I leave my desk. That's a different story lol.

I'll come back with a better update but I wanted to voice my thoughts on what was going on with the world.

Here are a list of pro-black org and legal funds I would like everyone to consider donating to

There are so many more, and if you have something I didn't mention, drop a link in the comments so we can know about. This is a movement, not a moment, and we all need to do what we can to make some serious reforms to our country.

Until next time...

DJ Small

Friday, May 1, 2020

3rd Time Is A Charm

Oh, man, trying to write a blog post has been a challenging thing for me this month. Hopefully this round will stick. I hope we're all doing okay and keeping safe out there. I know some states are opening up, and I hope those of you that are affected by that are doing the best you can to keep yourselves and your inner circle healthy and minimize your exposure. I'm not going to say anything further because if I do, it's not going to be nice and next thing I know the NSA is coming to me saying, "We just wanna talk to you."

In the last iteration of this post, I had no updates. That all changed on Monday. Fate Unseen was returned to me after being in my editor's very capable hands. Let's give a shout out to my editor who has worked tirelessly to get this back to me in a timely fashion despite everything going on personally and pandemically. She is a wonderful lady.

Now the ball is back in my court. Normally when my editor sends a manuscript back to me, I'm anxious to read her notes and comments, but lately I have been dreading getting Fate Unseen back, so when I got the email that she was done with it, I groaned a little. I still need to go through the doc and read her comments and notes. With that being said, May 4th begins the marathon sessions of me trying to get this thing knocked out. I've got my notes from my beta readers and editor, and I'm ready to clean this story up a bit more.

Fate Unseen will be hitting your eReaders/Kindles/tablets/phones this year, but when that will be exactly is up in the air. In fact, it's so up in the air that it's in the stratosphere. I honestly thought about shelving this project because of my feelings towards it, but I'm going to push through because it's not like I'm writing a whole new story. It's just editing, and I'm always whining about editing. So look forward to that.

I also have another piece of news. I've edited the first episode of Adventures of Swift, and by the time this posts, it'll probably be up. I'm taking a fanfic approach with this, which is edit it and post. The edits are a one time, maybe twice, edit by me. Depending on how the first episode is received, I'll see how I feel about posting the second episode. This is going to be posted on my Patreon, so the first episode will be free, but the ones after that, you'll have to subscribe to access. $1 gets you access to everything because I'm still working on things for the Patreon.

I had a Smashwords sale in April, and I thought all my books were on sale for 99¢, but that wasn't the case. Murderous Profession wasn't on sale, so during the month of May I'll be giving it way via BookFunnel promo. I'm trying to engage my readers more and I figured a giveaway would be the best way to do that. I'm also working on getting a paperback version of this book up. Should have happened a while ago, but man was motivation shit.

All right, I think that's all I have for an update. Thank you to everyone that has supported indie and self-published authors as well as independent bookstores during these "uncertain times" (I put that in quotes because it has become nothing but a marketing ploy). You're supporting a lot of people who are struggling right now and it means a lot. Even more so when you review books because it gets me and others authors exposed to other readers. Especially us queer writers who don't have a big readership. So thank you for that.

All right, I'm going to go open this Fate Unseen doc and see what mysteries await me. Stay safe, be vigilant, and I'm sending nothing but positive vibes to each and every one of you.

Until next time....

-DJ Small

Sunday, March 22, 2020

How We All Doing?

The world is a little crazy right now, and times are super hectic, but I hope everyone that is reading this is doing their part and doing what they can to make sure we keep our fellow humans healthy and safe.

Because of the Covid-19, I'm now working from home, and I'm glad that decision was finally made Tuesday of last week. The weeks prior to that, when everything was really snowballing, all the uncertainty had me anxious. Now I can do my work without the anxiety and uncertainty.

As for my other work, my work of bringing you fine folks entertaining stories, I'm going to get episode one of Adventures of Swift up this week on my Patreon. It was supposed to be up on Saturday, but I decided to visit my sister and get the 411 on my older family members to make sure they're being isolated and taken care of. My grandpa is 90-something. This isn't how he's supposed to go out.

I'm still working on finishing the second half of season one for Adventures of Swift, but I'm hoping episode 2 will be ready for posting on April 11th, and the subsequent episodes will post every two weeks after that.

A paperback edition of Murderous Profession is on its way. I got my proof on Friday, and I'll be going through it this week as my bedtime reading to see what I needs to be fixed and get ideas for the one-shots that will be posted on my Patreon for it. I'm not sure when that will be live, but it will go up as soon as I'm satisfied with it.

Fate Unseen has gotten good feedback from my beta readers, but the consensus is that it's a long story with a lot of information, so once I get my editor's edits back we'll see what I can do with it. I'm hoping a mental breakdown does not occur, and that I don't put it on the shelf because it gives me migraines lol, but we shall see. Sometimes you got to put things to the side and come back to them later. It happens.

Other than that, I'm going to try and create some normalcy in the havoc, and I hope you all are able to do the same. If you need something to help distract you from the insanity all my books are a part of the Smashwords Authors Give Back sale, and they are free. Also you can email me if you don't have Smashwords and I'll send you a free copy of one of my books. Just one and one per person.

That's all I have, but before I go, be fantastic humans and review the books your read. It means a lot to authors, especially us indies, on so many levels.

Again, stay safe, wash your hands, and if possible, socially distance yourself so this thing can fade into the abyss or wherever viruses go.

Until next time....

-DJ Small

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

I Swear I Haven't Disappeared

If you follow me on Twitter, my feed has been pretty much dead the last week or so. There was one day I was going to attempt being productive, but it wasn't in the cards. A lot of life stuff has gotten in the way, and after editing Fate Unseen, I wanted to become a sloth, which is what I've done for the last week or so, but I think I am back.

I think. I'm going to try and get a late February newsletter out on Saturday. It's going to include a cover reveal for Fate Unseen and I'm thinking about throwing in an excerpt of The Adventures of Swift. Should I do that, it'll probably be a buffed up version of the first episode. If you're interested, sign-up for the newsletter here.

Honestly outside of that, there isn't much else to ramble about. I'm going to start getting my life together for QFX in May. If you're going, don't forget to stop by and say hello. I'll have a listing of special deals when the date gets closer. Probably around mid-April I will have everything put together. I know for certain there will be a QFX eBook bundle exclusive, which may or may not include book 2 of The Last Pureblood Series. Again, still ironing out those details.

Oh, before I end this, last week to get Reappearance of Summer, Murderous Profession, and Pool of Lies on sale for 99¢ on Amazon and Smashwords, so go get those before they go back to regular price.

Other than that, the quickest way to an authors heart is through a review 😁

-DJ Small

Thursday, January 23, 2020

*leans against wall, huffing and puffing* Goodness....January Is Almost Over

I would say happy New Year, but at this point, it would be supremely awkward.

I honestly have no idea where this month has gone, but here we are. Just a quick blog post to let everyone know I'm alive.

Fate Unseen is getting put out of its misery this weekend, if not the beginning of next week. I have taken some time off from work to dedicate my life to it, so that is exciting. Once I get it to my editor, I'll be doing a cover reveal. Newsletter subscribers will see it first, and a few days later, I'll make a blog post about it. I hope I don't forget to do that, but I'm sure someone will keep me on track. Teaser chapters will be posted on my Patreon once I review my editor's edits. If I'm happy with the chapter, it'll go up as soon as I'm done with my review. Remember, I only put out 3 teaser chapters.

For book release time frame, I am looking at April or May. Way later than I wanted it to be, but that's fine considering how much I was struggling to ge Fate Unseen edited. I'm surprised I'll get out in the first half of the year.

Once these edits are done, this thing is going to get going like a steam roller, which means I'm going to be gassing up the heavy machinery. I'm plotting a story currently, and I'm going to get the first five episodes of Adventure of Swift written and edited. That will probably be making an appearance around late summer. Since I don't have any big trips planned, I should be able to stick to that. This is a year of frugal living for me since I splurged all last year. Oooh chile!

In exciting news, I'll be doing my first "event." I won't be doing a panel or anything, but I will be at QFX East in May, peddling my hard written books. As we get closer, I'll be able to let everyone know what the exclusives will be and how you can get them. I'm excited and nervous about this, but I think it will be a good time, and I'm excited to meet everyone.

Oh, price drop announcement! All my books are available for $2.99 at all eBook retailers, or it should be. If there are any issues let me know. I'm working on getting Murderous Profession in paperback format. It'll probably come out the same time as Fate Unseen.

Going completely off-topic, I'm sure everyone as heard about a major writers' organization taking a hard nose dive and imploding on itself, and while absorbing the facts and tea spilling of this clusterfuck, it made me wonder why there isn't a dedicated queer writers organization. I know these things take time to get off the ground, but like queer writers have to exist as a subset of  these bigger organizations and fight twice as hard to get some kind of recognition. I know this is the same story with other marginalized groups, and that these bigger organizations have resources and whatnot, but at the same time, why the hell don't we give it the old college try?

I'm sure someone out there is grinding the gears for that, or I at least hope they are. I think my only criteria would be that the organization not be restricted to one genre, because I'm not exclusive to one genre, and secondly that it broadly covers the entire queer spectrum.

I have a lot of thoughts on that, and I'm not sure if I'm going to bite the bullet on that one. I would need a helping hand or two because I want to write, and y'know, do hood rat things with my friends.

This post has gotten away from me, but I actually had thoughts and news this time! Seriously though let's all get excited that Fate Unseen is getting closer to being out in the world, and I'm anxious to know how everyone feels about it. Things get a bit more supernaturally, and Avery faces a whole slew of obstacles.

Also get pumped for Adventures of Swift. This was almost a Swan Queen fanfic instead of being an original story, so there is a bit of a zeal in it because Swan Queen is one of my 5ever ships.

All right, I'm off to edit. Remember to review your books, especially for those written by indie authors like myself. Oh, and enjoy the rest of your January 😊