Restraint (Power Exchange Book 4) or How This Disastrous Election Won’t Stop Me

I think I’m done reeling from the election results. I might have my balance back. Now, I’m rolling up my sleeves and ready to fight. I’m ready to take on those who want to see immigrants and Muslims and People of Color and LGBTQ people shuffled out of their country, into dark corners, or into some other kind of oblivion. President Trump is the dying gasp of a white patriarchy who can’t handle otherness, and while it may feel like a hurricane force wind right now, I’ve got lungs, too, and I plan to scream back. I will be like Lieutenant Dan, on the mast of a small ship riding stormy waves, screaming into the wind and the rain, “Is that all you got! Come on! Bring it!”

I will not go quietly into the closet/dark corners/oblivion like apparently half the voters in this country would like me and other marginalized groups to do. Nope. This is MY country, too and I absolutely refuse to be a doormat because these people have deemed my differences are not differences they can tolerate.

So much for America the melting pot.

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a 4th Power Exchange (this series has taught me to never say never. It keeps coming back so much I might as well make that the tagline). Ben of all people has been whispering to me, saying, “Hey, I have a story, too. Maybe I’m ready to let you tell it.” It has some legs, so I’ve tinkered out a plot and in the last couple weeks have gotten the first scene down amid a wedding, some serious personal strife that knocked me over like Hulk punching Thor, and this ugly, UGLY election. I cannot promise when Restraint will be released other than to say 2017. But it’s my foremost project, and is the one getting my attention. It may not go as fast as Consent did (4 months to write) or it may. The point is that I’m writing it and in the wake of heartbreaking, devastating news, I wanted to share with my people that maybe we still have things to look forward to. I know I still have a voice, and I plan to use it. I’m going to be getting louder. This is my way of saying I will not sit down, I will not shut up, and in fact, I will write about the love of people like me until I take my literal dying gasp. I will never quit.

So, as a promise to you all, I give you the first scene from Restraint, Power Exchange Book 4. I hope you like it and are excited Ben and Gavin have more to say. Click through to read on.

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Time to Fly

(If you were around on FB yesterday afternoon, this is old news, just saying up front.)

You never quite know when your life is about to change, do you? One minute, you’re thinking, “Ugh, it’s Wednesday, two and a half more days until the weekend,” and the next, you’re looking at the cliff you’re standing on. You’re left wondering if you jump, will you fly or splat?

It’s been my dream since I was a kid to write for a living. For the last, say, year or so, that dream has come closer to a plan, which was to get to a safe point where I could quit my day job (which I loathed to the eyerolling point of searing hatred with every breath I took inside that building’s walls). Safe meant having a good size cushion wherein I could relax for several months and write with little pressure, little distraction, and lots of time to prove myself, and I would make a solid living and be my own boss and huzzah, every other weekend, it would rain unicorns and pygmy goats. Re-reading that sentence, I’m seeing “safe” was sort of Norman Rockwellian. And dangerous every other weekend, what with creatures with pointy ends falling at terminal velocity.

We all know, life often doesn’t ask our permission before doing whatever it pleases anyway. Which is why at just before lunch time yesterday, I was sitting in HR listening to my boss shakily tell me he was laying me off (with sort of a gleam in his eye, because he disliked me almost as much as I disliked him, and man I wish I could have been the one to initiate the separation of our paths. I had some choice words). But the point isn’t that I no longer have to see that man, and if I do, I am justified in pretending I don’t recognize him. The point is my plan has to be strong enough on the legs I’ve already given it, because safe isn’t gonna happen. I don’t have the year of income saved up, nor am I much closer to being able to pay off the debt I wanted to. However, the terms of my being laid off allow me some freedom, and I have conservatively estimated that I have five to six months in which to make this writing gig pay enough to work for me.

So… this is me, inching closer to the cliff and praying my parachute opens so I can fly.


OMFG, or What Have I Done??

One of the most common questions I get is, “Will you be at GRL this year?”

For the last couple years, my answer has been the same, “I don’t think so. I can’t really do cons.” In the last six months, I’ve tacked on, “Never say never, though.”

While most of the people who’ve been around my blog/social media presence for a bit will assume that’s because of the fictional identity issue, it’s not. Some of you know I have pretty significant anxiety. There was a blog post that I floated talking about my inability to retain friendships without spazzing out (though there are a tenacious few who have managed to like being my friend despite my complete ineptitude, and I love them fiercely) and how meeting new people is one of the scariest things I can imagine. That blog post was live for about six hours before my addled brain said enough and I had to pull it down. My fleshy underbelly was too exposed. So I’mma try to get through the rest of this post without getting too emo so I can leave it up.

I want to go to cons. I see you guys all having fun, the facebook updates squeeing about having met this favorite author or that awesome internet friend, all the bookporn, and Edmond Manning, and I want a little piece of that. (Well, I don’t want a piece of Edmond Manning himself, because who knows when his expiration date is and I’d probably get food poisoning, but maybe a piece of his attention? Hell yeah.) But the truth is this:

It fucking terrifies me.

It’s not that I don’t want to meet readers.

It’s the noise.

It’s not that I don’t want to meet other authors.

It’s the unknown setting.

It’s not that I think the information from panels and such isn’t worthwhile.

It’s the crowds. No matter how friendly, I have major problems with crowds. And hugging. OMG I cannot hug you no matter how much I like you, unless in that moment, I feel it will be okay. But I won’t know until I’m there. Hugs are too much.

It’s not that I don’t want to stand side by side with the people I’ve come to care about and take pictures or mug funny faces for the camera.

It’s the idea of my face going online and it freaks my fucking shit out so hard I feel the need to go fetal in a dark corner and rock a little.

That’s not hyperbole. I really think about my picture being posted online and want to curl in a ball in a corner of a dark room.

My anxiety is crippling.

The only reason I can work outside my home at all is because everyone around me has assigned seating. I joke about hating my cubicle at work, but it’s my space and no one invades it without my permission. Cube = hamsterball. Anything else where there are a lot of people? Nope. I skip if I can, and if I can’t, I hide out in a bathroom more than I should. I can handle errands to the store and such because I have a cart to wield like a shield. And people have assigned roles. Shopper. Checker. Shelf stockers. I can plaster on a smile and speak to strangers without much trouble because we all keep to our roles.

But I’ve done a lot of thinking the last couple weeks. I know GRL is in San Diego next year. I am also well aware that I probably can’t gear up by then to go, no matter how much I want to. The thing that makes me the angriest is the anxiety is winning when it comes to this subject. This is my dream job, goddammit, and I’m missing out on part of it because I’m so twisted up about stupid stuff. I hate it. I hate anxiety so much. SDLKAHOERGHQOHR(key smash)

What am I gonna do about it? I’m going to overcome it. Maybe not all at once. Maybe not even next year. But I’m taking steps. I just want you guys to know, I am taking steps. There’s another con. Smaller. It has a policy about whose photos you can and can’t post online. And because of its location, I can make the trip part of a bigger trip with an entirely different focus than conference! Crowds! Unknown setting! Also, the attendees in this location are (possibly) less likely to hug me.

So I signed up (with Kate’s promise to never ever leave my side). I put down the deposit for the ticket, and hope when the money’s due, I can still see myself going. I hope when it’s time to make up the swag and ship the paperbacks, I can still keep calm. I hope when it’s time to fly over and show up, I can get over myself and actually register at check-in. And maybe then, when I set up my table to sign books, I can do it with a smile on my face, and you all won’t see the terror in my eyes.

Holy shit, people. (I think) I’m going to the UK Meet.