just me

Mental Hygiene

It's been a week, and I promised myself that I would consider whether or not I want to set any creative goals for March.

I don't. I really don't.

The week has been, overall, fine. I have made more notes for The Twin Etheriums, which is the working title for the Extremely Gay Prequel to The Moon Etherium. The Twin Etheriums now has protagonists and an outline, although I am not exactly happy with the outline. I am going to work on it some more and then try to cadge some friends into telling me if they think it'll make a good book. At present, the outline has an A plot and a B plot, and the B plot resolves waaaaay after the A plot, which does not strike me as optimal. So I'm going to try to beat the two plots into resolving closer together.

I have been working on mental hygiene, I guess you could call it? Specifically, I have been trying to dismantle the mental process that tells me "you NEED to be writing/editing/PRODUCING STUFF!" On the one hand, this feels like a dangerous choice: how will I keep making stuff if I don't set goals and expectations for myself? What happens if I start thinking that I have value outside of my ability to make things?

And on the other hand WOW UNHEALTHY MUCH GIRL??? Have I seriously designed an entire mental process around telling myself that I suck unless I'm churning out material? Yes. Yes I have. Why did this seem like a good idea. I don't know.

Ursula Vernon makes jokes about her anxiety kicking in if she's not working: "I gotta go write another book or I'll die in a ditch next to Wal-Mart." This is a great joke, but ... uh ... I do not want this as my role model. I do not suffer from anxiety, as a rule. My brain dysfunction of choice is depression. "I gotta write another book or I'll fall into the Pit of Eternal Despair." I don't want THAT as a role model, either. I want "I gotta write another book so I'll be able to read it." My next book's purposes is not to save me from poverty or death or despair. Its purpose is to be a fun thing to read. That should be enough.

That needs to be enough.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a blog post on productivity this week. One thing she wrote in it struck me:
"1,000 words of new material five days per week is 5,000 words per week, or 260,000 words of new material per year. That’s about three 90,000 word novels. Three novels is prolific by traditional publishing standards—hell, by any standards."

I wrote 330,000 words last year. I published three books last year and I expect to publish three books this year as well.

I do not feel prolific. I feel like I'm blundering along at the same sluggish pace that I took to write Prophecy, to be honest. But there is Kristine Rusch -- a blogger who has high expectations of writers, who believes in producing a high volume of work at a consistent, focused pace -- writing that three novels is prolific by any standards.

Huh.

I kind of want to frame that and put it on my wall or my desktop or something. Perspective. I need it.

But to get back to my earlier point: tying my self-worth to my productivity is Not Good. First, it's just wrong. If I told someone else "you're worthless if you're not making anything", I would slap myself. More importantly, it's counterproductive. Being miserable doesn't make me more creative! It just makes me miserable! My first rule of depression is "do not beat yourself up for being depressed." The corollary of that is "don't beat yourself up about the things you aren't doing because you're depressed." Maybe just "don't beat yourself up at all." Save guilt for the prevention of immoral and unethical acts. Girl, writing 1000 words a day is not a moral imperative.

So I am tuning the mental process of "you NEED to do author stuff" to "oh hey, you could be doing author stuff, no pressure though." When I'm bored or have some idle time, I'll think "I could use this time to write/edit/etc." But I am pruning away the part that continues "and if you DON'T that's because you're USELESS and BAD and you'll never finish another book EVER AGAIN."

I'm astonished that consciously deciding not to fall into a particular thought pattern has actually been working, but it has so far. o_o Might just be coincidence.

Anyway, I don't want goals right now. At the end of March, I will write up my usual "this is what I accomplished" post, and whatever it is, it will be enough.

This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/638311.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
downcast

February in Review

Health/Fitness

I spent all of February sick. With the same cough. That doesn't stop. x_x It was only really bad for the first week. I still have it, a little bit, but it's just "I cough a few times a day" now, so it's not waking me up at night anymore and I feel basically healthy. Still. Actually healthy would be nice.

I've been walking less because it's miserable outside and also sick, but I'm still averaging 3,045,647 Google-Fit-increments per day. I don't understand how those translate to anything else. I used to think those were microseconds (it's labelled "duration (ms)" so that'd make sense?) But I know the total duration of "other" is way less than the number of minutes I entered so really, I got nothin'.

Ooh wait, I updated my numbers in the Google Fit app just before I downloaded it from my desktop. Maybe the app didn't sync before the download.

*attempts to force a sync*

No luck. But I think Google's just not adding in the numbers I entered today to the archive I'm grabbing today, because I added a new activity and it's not showing up at all.

The problem is that I've been tracking exercise in RealAppeal, which I can't export from, and also Google Fit, which I can export from but it's weird.

Anyway, my Google Fit numbers are:

November: 69 minutes per day
December: 64
January: 64
February: 51

February is probably undercounted due to syncing issues. I can see if it goes up retroactively when I grab numbers again at the end of March. But I also did exercise less in February. Because sick. For the whole month.

I am still doing RealAppeal. It hasn't altered my eating or exercise habits much. I eat slightly less and I exercise slightly more. I am kind of frustrated because the change I wanted to make was "eat more healthy foods" and that's not happening. On the other hand, eating slightly less and exercising slightly more is a good thing, so there's that. My weight as of today is 179, so I lost another pound, woo.

Writing
I made some notes for The Twin Etheriums, the prequel story for the Etherium setting that I want to write. It is not close to an actual outline yet.

The Business of Writing
I chopped out a novelette's worth of words from The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. There was a big chunk of backstory for one character that just doesn't fit in this book. I also added another 8000 words of Other Stuff in, so overall length hasn't changed much. I sent it to first readers last Sunday. I plan on starting final edits for it in April.

Art/Other
Oh hey I did a picture!

Gaming
I made level 39 in Pokemon GO, as anticipated, and am all of 10% of the way to level 40. I will stop posting level updates now.

Flight Rising added a "Hibernal Den", which gives you storage space for dragons you're not using but can't bear to part with. They have a bunch of quests for it. I've been playing a lot more Flight Rising lately.

Happiness
I have been grimly depressed for the past week or so.

Goals for coming month
So, depression has made it extremely difficult to get anything done, and -- BONUS -- trying makes me feel worse. YAY.

I am not sure that not-trying will help, but I sure don't feel in the mood for goal-setting. Here's my March goals for now:

* Care for Lut
* Do 2018 taxes
* Take stock on March 8 and see if I feel more like setting other goals or not.

Good enough. -_-


This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/638023.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

Frost in Lingerie

Some weeks ago, I saw a "DrawYourOCInThis tweet of some lovely lingerie.

My immediate thought: "I should draw Frost in this!"
Frost: "Really. Me."
Thistle: "yes pls."
Frost: "Don't you have at least twelve female protagonists you could draw instead?"
Me: "C'mon, Frost. You wear robes and gowns with long skirts in 90% of the book and when you're not wearing those, you're cross-dressing by your own culture's standards." Frost: "I do not object to it being feminine. I object to it being lingerie."
Me: "Just because I don't describe you in lingerie in the book doesn't mean you'd never wear it."
Frost: "I would not wear it in public."
Me: "Who says you're in public?"
Frost: "You are posting it on Twitter."
Me: ".... my feed isn't that popular?"
Frost: *narrows his eyes at me*
Me: "You're disrobing on the book cover!"
Frost: "Everyone undresses. Not everyone wears over-the-top lingerie. It's different."
Me: "...if you didn't want to be objectified you shouldn't've been fictional."
Collapse )


I am not sure why Frost is my go-to for objectification, though. I've drawn more pictures of him than any other character, outside of header images. By a huge margin. Most of my protagonists get maybe a thumbnail sketch, if that. Frost has his own folder. I dunno.

The thing I am happiest about with this picture is that I managed to draw a male character in a feminine outfit but he still looks like a man. I am bad at drawing men that look male so this is a triumph for me.

Frost is from Frost and Desire.
The pose reference is from SenshiStock.
The background reference is from a photo I took of a plaza in Venice. (Piazzo San Marco, IIRC.)
This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/637782.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
studious

Call for First Readers!

I have finished initial revisions on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince! That means I need first readers for it!

Blurb:

After the kingdom of Mireni is conquered by a vicious dragon, Mireni's king-in-exile is willing to do anything to save his kingdom, including promising half of his kingdom and his daughter, Princess Cherish, to whomsoever stops the cruel beast. With luck, he reasons, one or more of the neighboring kingdoms will come to their aid, and some eligible prince will claim his daughter's hand. Perhaps even some palatable individual, like the handsome Prince Eclipse, who is already on friendly terms with Cherish.

It does not occur to Cherish's father that she might have her own ideas about whom she should marry --

-- Or that the best individual to stop a dragon is, of course, another dragon.

~

This is a standalone polyamorous fantasy romance, set in one of the mortal realms through which the fey shard (the setting for the Etherium novels) passes. It's not an Etherium novel and there is no need to have read the Etherium books to follow this one. The titular prince is a transman in a transphobic culture, so content warning for transphobia. Also contains explicit lesbian and straight sex. 

If you'd like to be a first reader, send me your email! You can leave a message with it here (comments are screened), or email my gmail account, LadyRowyn.  Or DM me on Twitter (also LadyRowyn).

Thanks for reading!

This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/637489.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
studious

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

I heard a lot about this book when it was released two years ago; it's a contemporary young adult drama. I've read plenty of YA but I seldom read contemporary books of any kind. Still, I decided to put the e-book of this on hold at the library after I saw a trailer for the movie.

I am glad that I read this book after I started listening to the Fsck Em All podcast. Before I listened to Fsck Em All, I had a vague notion that the American justice system discriminated against black people. But I had no idea how common it was for cops (a) to straight-up kill black people for no reason and (b) that there were basically no consequences for cops for doing so. I'd heard about a handful of cases but I was a white middle-class woman and I thought they were aberrations. Nope. That's the norm. Happens every week. Cop shoots unarmed black guy. Cops release statement giving BS reason why this was justified. Cop is put on paid administrative leave. Initial statement turns out to be full of lies but the lies don't get as much attention as the initial statement so it doesn't matter. Grand jury usually does not indite cop. If he is indited, he's probably not convicted. If he is convicted, he usually doesn't get jail time. Cop is normally not fired. If he does gets fired, he's hired by some other police department and likely goes on to murder some other black guy for the crime of Driving While Black. This is not an aberration. This is the entire system.

Since I went in knowing that this was the whole system, things that might have surprised me or seemed unduly cynical were just "yup, that sure is the American what-passes-for Justice System." In a few ways, the book was less harsh than I had expected. (Spoiler: For example, I fully expected that the cops would try to smear the protagonist as some form of criminal, the same way they smear the murdered black kid as a "suspected drug dealer".)

The Hate U Give is centered on a specific incident of this systemic injustice: the protagonist is the witness when her friend is murdered by a cop. However, the book is as much about the protagonist's life in general as it is about her murdered friend and the subsequent fallout. Her friends, her school, her parents and her extended family all feature prominently. Her uncle -- who helped raise her -- is a cop. This is not a book about how all cops are bad. It is not even about how the cop who murdered her friend is bad. It's about a black teenager trying to find a way to thrive despite all the craptastic systems in place. And about community: how so many people around her are supportive despite the craptastic systems.

It's an excellent book, particularly in the sense of "accomplishing the things it is trying to accomplish." It's evocative of all the complexities and difficulties of its situation. It grapples with all the hard questions and has no pat solutions. And it has so much heart and love that it doesn't feel like a grim book despite how grim the inciting event and fallout all are. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it. I would give it an 8 on my "enjoyed it" scale; if contemporary drama was actually a genre I liked it'd be a 9, I'm sure. Well done.

This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/637303.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo

I actually read a book! This is 100% not the book I would've expected to pick up and read in a weekend, yet Here We Are.

Marie Kondo is a Japanese decluttering consultant, and she's recently become much more visible after doing a Netflix reality show. But I first heard about her a couple of years ago from my friend Ciel on Twitter/Mastodon; Ciel has mentioned using the KonMari method for some time now. He remarked that a lot of the book is Marie saying "I did [X] once [or many times]! It turned out to be a terrible idea. Don't do that yourself." This approach -- that frankness in speaking of one's own missteps along the path -- sounded endearing and I decided to put the book on reserve at the library.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a surprisingly fun, quick read. Props to the author and her translator for taking the boring topic of "how to make your home a better place to live" and making it entertaining.

It's also way more persuasive than I expected. What makes the book special to me is less its tips on process and more "Marie Kondo will now give you permission to get rid of all that stuff you own and don't like and don't use but feel guilty about throwing away." Halfway through the book, I started laundry. As soon as my clothes were clean, I put the book down to dump the clean laundry, all the clothing from my drawers, and a chunk of clothes from my closet onto the couch and proceeded to weed out two-thirds of it. Felt great!

I don't know if I will have my life changed by this book -- it's a lot of stuff to go through, and a lot of the things in my house are Lut's and not mine. One of the charming things about the book, however, is the way it tells you to handle living with other people. "Don't worry about their things. Just take care of your own stuff and your own possessions. That's probably the real source of your clutter-related anxiety anyway." So I can separate out what's mine and go through it and if the place is still cluttered afterwards, that's okay.

Also, it made me realize that almost all the stuff in the bedroom is mine. Trask has his side of the headboard and a few things stored under the bed, but almost everything in their is mine to declutter. MWAHAHA.

If nothing else, I will have 3 fewer bags full of clothing I don't like and don't wear.

Anyway, fun book, recommended if you have a cluttered home and wish you didn't. Especially if you feel guilty for throwing things out. MARIE KONDO WILL ABSOLVE YOUR GUILT. It's great.

This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/637149.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

January in Review

Health/Fitness
[Content note: I actually talk about weight and calories and such in this one.]

This year, my health insurer started paying for a weight loss program called "RealAppeal".

I am, on the one hand, not much interested in weight loss anymore. Years ago, one of my friends described me as "smokin' hot", and whenever I think about my appearance, this is the line that comes to mind. It's a valuation that has become independent of objective reality in my head. "Everyone who I would be interested in already finds me attractive. My weight is irrelevant."

Beyond that, weight as a measure of overall fitness is highly suspect. I have been exercising regularly for about 15 years now, while generally gaining a few pounds a year. I am fitter now than I was when I was 60 pounds lighter back in the late 90s. Medical professionals tend to blame everything on "patient is overweight", and the accordingly lowered standard of care fat people get may contribute more to poor health outcomes for them than any actual weight-related issues.

On the other hand, my diet is terrible. I don't mean "I eat too much", I mean "I survive mostly on sugar and fat." And my health insurance company is not paying for this program out of charity or kindness. They are a business; they would not pay for RealAppeal if they did not believe, based on evidence, that RealAppeal would improve the insurer's bottom line by improving the health of their customers. (My insurer may well be wrong about this! They're run by humans with the same biases as all other humans. But they are definitely not doing it because they think I'd be pretty if I just lost a few pounds.)

So I signed up for it -- it's free, I can always quit, why not?

The emphasis on weight loss is just as annoying as I thought it would be. I feel like RealAppeal is negging me: "take a picture of yourself now so you can see how much better you look after losing weight!"

I am SMOKIN' HOT RIGHT NOW, RealAppeal, and nothing you or a camera says will change that.

SMOKIN' HOT.

However! Despite this, I actually like the program so far.

It has weekly online classes, which I thought was going to be super annoying ("ugh, stuck in front of a computer watching a video for 45 minutes?") But their mobile app can play the online classes, so I go for a walk while I watch/listen to the class. The classes are with the same people and the same coach every week (you are encouraged to stick with your time slot, although you can take a make-up class if you miss one). My coach, Cass, is adorable, fun to listen to, and very relatable. She has struggled with bad eating habits too. She was talking about one of the tactics for staying on track -- "write down your motivation somewhere that you'll see it" -- and that the motivation can be very personal. Hers had been a note on her fridge: "Are you hungry? :)" And I thought that was great: at once an invitation to eat if you ARE hungry, and a gentle reminder that if you're not hungry maybe food is not the fix for whatever problem you do have.

You can also schedule 1-on-1 time with your coach if you want to discuss specific issues or just for bonding. I am a big believer in the power of bonding to promote good habits, so I feel like the existence of a coach who is invested in me eating well and exercising is useful by itself.

The site has a tracker, which is much less annoying to use than the last few times I tried food trackers. With the exception of meals from restaurants that aren't chains, it's had all the food I eat already in it. Generally, I can just type part of a name, pick what I had off a picklist, and set the portion size, and I'm done.

Moreover, I love having data and graphs and charts, so it's something I get a kick out of having done.

So I've been tracking what I eat for a couple of weeks. I already tracked exercise through Google Fit. Tracking leads to me eating a little less junk food: there is the act of thinking "do I actually want this or am I just eating it out of habit?" which leads to the occasional "yeah, I don't actually want this" in response.

The program lets you set your own targets, and the competing information is deeply amusing to me.

Video on calorie targets: "Women should set a target between 1200-1500 depending on how active you are!"

Me: "Nopenopenope" *nopetopuses on out of here*

Website, looking at my specific height/weight/exercise levels: "How's 2000-2200 calories sound?"

Me: "Okay that's fine."

I guess the "guideline" targets are aimed at the "I need to see VISIBLE RESULTS IMMEDIATELY or I will give up." But the last time I set calorie targets like that, I (a) soon hated tracking (b) also having to think about what I was eating all the time and (c) didn't lose weight anyway.

So I set my calorie target at 2000, in case I get lazier about exercise, and told the site I wanted to lose 0.25 pounds a week (the smallest number it allows).

In general, I've been either walking or dancing every day for 45-60 minutes, and eating between 1600-1900 calories. I have chosen not to eat food that I would have otherwise had, because it would put me over my target. Like yesterday I got a "pick two" and a frozen mocha from Panera, and then realized this is Too Much Food, so I took the soup and roll home as leftovers instead of eating them.

I have not, at any point, thought "I'm hungry and this takes too much willpower."

I've lost three pounds, much to my surprise. I'm not sure how that happened? This may just be the initial "oh it's a diet you're allowed to lose a couple pounds" before my body adjusts to the new normal and stops losing weight.

But since my actual goal is "exercise and eat better": as long as those things are happening, I don't care about the scale. 95% of why I am weighing myself is that the program asks me to, and since I don't care, I might as well make them happy.

Oh, for anyone curious: I started at 183 lbs and am currently 180 lbs.

Writing
I finished the initial draft of The Twilight Etherium! My belief that "the second half will be shorter" was way more accurate than I thought it would be. First half: 74,400 words. Second half: 28,500. Total word count: 102,900.

So the book ended up right in the 100-120k range, same as the other Etherium books. AW YEAH. I am pleased. Also glad to have the first draft done. And also thinking next book I will try to estimate word count per bullet point instead of "eh, historically each bullet point is around 1500ish words" because while that was still right ON AVERAGE, it was wackily far off when it came to estimating how much book was left on this one.

The Business of Writing
NEW BOOK RELEASE WOOOO! Frost and Desire is now out in the wild. I love this book, y'all. ❤️

I also did some more revisions on The Princess, Her Dragon, and Their Prince. I crossed of another 12 items on the planned changes list. 23 more to go!

Gaming
As predicted last month, Pokemon Go play remains way down. I'm still level 38. I will probably make 39 sometime in February; I have one last friend who regularly opens gifts to get to Best Friends status, and that'll pretty much push me over. But I suspect I won't make level 40 until late this year, assuming I don't just quit entirely. On the other hand, spring and summer weather may make playing more appealing.

Happiness
I was pretty glum for a week or so this month, but my mood turned around a couple of weeks ago and I've been upbeat since then. It's nice.

Report Card for January Goals
* Care for Lut: yup, did that
* Finish 17 more bullet points on The Twilight Etherium: finished 37 points and the whole draft. CRUSHED IT.
* And/or finish 17 bullet points on the editing list for The Princess, Her Dragon and Their Prince, or some combination of these two: only did 12, but this was an "in combination with the above" so this is all gravy.
* Release Frost and Desire: done!
* Spend 15 hours reading stuff that I didn't write. Books, graphic novels, blog posts, articles, and short stories all count. Twitter, Discord, and Tootplanet do not. Lol nope. I caught up on my Dreamwidth feed, which is nice, and I tried reading some books without making much progress. But I didn't even try to track my time spent reading and I'm confident it didn't make it to half an hour a day. This should be easy. I don't know why it isn't anymore. MEH.

Goals for February
* Care for Lut
* Finish revisions on Princess and send to first readers
* Think about next book(s)

I haven't solidified what I'm writing next yet. I am most inclined to write an EXTREMELY QUEER prequel to The Moon Etherium, but since I don't have a solid concept for it yet, I'm not committed. I am farther along on my year's work than I expected to be at this point, so I'm not concerned, either.

This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/636888.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

Bad Romance

I started reading romance novels in the 80s. I was a voracious reader, and exhausted the little branch library's allotment of the genre quickly. I could only afford to buy so many new books, so I bought a lot of used books. The used book store charged half cover price, which made 60s and 70s romances cheap.

After a couple dozen, I stopped reading 60s and 70s romances because even teenage me was appalled by the rampant misogyny in them. These were books for woman, by women, starring women characters, and YET. The female protagonists were often caricatures: helpless creatures, with no ambitions beyond love, marriage, and children.

I was, in one way, fascinated by this, because I read much older books that portrayed women in a far more attractive light. Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte gave me independent, confident, interesting women. Why were 60s romances so bad at this?

While I recognized the shallowness of the characters early on, it took much, much longer for me to realize how unhealthy many of the relationships were. It wasn't uncommon to read a romance in which the male protagonist outright raped the female protagonist. I don't mean "this is kind of rapey because she's uncomfortable about having sex" but "woman is saying "no" over and over again while ineffectually trying to push him away, and man ignores her protests and rapes her".

The Flame and the Flower was a 1972 romance showcasing this trope on the lame excuse that the man thought she was a prostitute and I guess prostitutes don't get consent? And this was one of the romances I liked as a teen. I read my favorite parts over and over again.

By the 2000s, most romances had gone from "rape is a good way to get the protagonists in bed because it lets you have your pure female character and sex too" to "howabout we portray the kind of healthy relationships we'd like to be in, instead?"

I love healthy romances. I write about characters who are careful with one another, who consider issues of power and consent, who have an unselfish love for one another. They do not seek to gratify their own desires without regard for the object thereof. Even in Frost and Desire, I cling to that overall tone, despite having a scene of mind control and rape. This trend delights me.

But I feel as if romance is now held to a different standard from every other genre. We don't just say "Wow, that relationship in The Flame and the Flower is messed up": we say "This book is objectively bad because the relationship is unhealthy". When teens say they love TWILIGHT, we fret that they plan to get into abusive relationships.

People, I loved The Flame and the Flower and A Woman Without Lies and I've never been in anything close to an abusive relationship, or thought that abusive relationships were a good idea. I loved reading books about these warped relationships that somehow magically turned out for the best because they were fun, not because they were my role model.

We don't wonder if people who love horror are going to become serial killers, or expect that people who read mysteries will become either cops or murderers. We don't watch Game of Thrones because we long for a return to the War of the Roses.

But romances, ah, if they show unhealthy behaviors, it has to be because the author and the readers endorse those behaviors in the real world.

As I built my playlist of dysfunctional love songs for Frost, I found it freeing to realize just how much music glorified terrible relationships. Music is expected to cover the full spectrum of relationships, from happy to broken to dysfunctional. Music is cathartic, not a model of the ideal.

I came up with the plot for Frost in 2015, and I put off writing it for three years in part because "people will assume I think this is a romantic ideal".

And I finally decided to write my messy hurt/comfort problematic romance anyway.

Because yes, it's great that so many romance novels now model strong, healthy relationships.

But fantasies that would make for bad realities have their place, too. This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/636585.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Me 2012

New Release! Frost and Desire

 Frost and Desire book cover: torso of a long-haired man partially disrobed
 
Frost and Desire
 
 
Frost, master sorcerer, wanted an apprentice: someone who would perform the tedious parts of sorcery, while Frost enjoyed the more sophisticated and varied aspects. Sorcery-bound individuals are vanishingly rare, so when he stumbled upon one who'd been overlooked by testers, he counted himself lucky indeed. No matter if the boy was old to begin an apprenticeship; he would learn.
 
After growing up a bastard and a whipping boy, the promise of a future as a rare powerful sorcerer seemed impossible to Thistle. He braced himself for failure and disappointment.
 
But nothing could prepare him for his growing attraction to his master. And it turns out there is one thing worse than an unrequited infatuation with one's mentor:
 
Having it reciprocated.
 
Author Comments

Woo! Finally done!
 

Frost and Desire
is a standalone M/M fantasy romance in a new setting. I thought of the idea for this story in 2015, wrote most of an outline, and then trunked it as too self-indulgent. Last year, after I finished drafting Angel's Sigil, I decided I was entitled to indulge myself for a little while.
 
The self-indulgent part: one of my favorite variations on the "hurt/comfort" trope is when one character hurts another and then feels awful and guilty about it and spends the rest of the book trying to make up for it. In real life, this does not make for healthy relationships. But this is fiction, and it can be just as much fun to read about relationships that don't work in the real world as it is to read about magic systems and interstellar spaceships that don't work in the real world, either.
 
I enjoyed writing this book, and I enjoy re-reading it even more. It is so finely-crafted to cater to my particular tastes that I will not fault anyone else for finding it unappealing. But if it sounds intriguing to you, I daresay you will love it!
 
Spoliers and Content Notes

This novel depicts a relationship that begins as healthy and platonic but eventually becomes abusive. After the breaking point and a long separation, the characters gradually work their way to their happily-ever-after. This is a fantasy. It is not intended to suggest that real-world abusive relationships should be "worked on" until they become healthy ones, or that teacher-pupil romances are a good idea (they are not even a good idea in the story). Novel contains an incident of mind-control, nonconsensual sex transformation, and rape. Also contains explicit sex and consensual bondage. It is not erotica; sex scenes comprise very little of the book. Similarly, despite some dark scenes, most of the book is upbeat: it wallows in the "comfort" side of hurt/comfort.
 
Thank you for reading!
 
This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/636372.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
cute

Not Rabid

 For anyone worried that I might die of rabies because I didn't get the vaccine: I saw the cat who bit me last night. He's still alive (and still feeling kind of bitey, though he did not bite me). Rabies is only contagious after symptoms show, and dogs and cats will die of it within ten days of symptoms showing. It's been over two weeks. I'm safe. n.n

This entry was originally posted at https://rowyn.dreamwidth.org/636066.html. Please comment there using OpenID.