Gender-neutral Pronouns

Let’s talk about pronouns.

First-person pronouns are pretty straightforward: “I/me” and “we/us”. In English, since we no longer differentiate between second-person singular and second-person plural, using “you” for both, we get into a bit of trouble now and then. There’s a persistent sense that we need to be able to distinguish between the two sometimes for clarity, so we end up with “y’all” or “you guys” or any number of dialectical variants. We’re missing a pronoun that we clearly feel that we need. That’s more of an issue when speaking or addressing others directly, however. When it comes to narrative fiction, at worst a character may stumble over the ambiguity the same way it happens in real dialog, and need to clarify their meaning to their listeners in whatever way is appropriate.

At the end of that paragraph, I just ran into the big, and familiar to many, pronoun issue with third person. How to phrase it? His listeners? Her listeners? A character could be either. His or her listeners? There are two problems with that: it assumes that the character actually identifies as one or the other, and it gets really awkward-looking after a few repetitions. So I went with the singular “they,” as many now do. It works.

An increasing number of people prefer to have gender-neutral pronouns used for them, often singular “they/them,” because they do not feel that either set of gendered pronouns works for them, and to many people, “it” is dehumanizing and insulting. (Unfortunately, “they” is also the plural form of “it”: “Did you bring the books?” “Yes, I have them, they’re right here.”) I absolutely support everyone’s right to identify however they choose, to express that however they choose, and to have whichever pronouns they feel the most comfortable with used.

However, it creates a serious dilemma for an author of narrative fiction who wants to be inclusive and respectful. I’m including myself in that, as a pansexual ciswoman whose partner is trans, and whose fantasy novels frequently include characters that are non-traditional in a variety of ways, often involving sexuality or gender.

A major part of an author’s job is to make the words invisible: to draw each reader so deeply into the events that they forget that it’s being transmitted by words on a page or a screen and instead feel that it’s something they’re experiencing themselves. If the reader is constantly being jolted out of the flow by awkward phrasing or unfamiliar terms or other things that force the actual words to their attention, they’re going to have a lot more trouble getting lost in the story. The content has to be absolutely clear, otherwise your reader will be backtracking to re-read passages as they try to figure it out, which is also disruptive to the flow.

And yet, an author’s job is also to blaze trails and set examples, to show people what could be and to teach, ideally without the reader ever noticing that they’ve learned anything rather than just being entertained. That’s the power and the responsibility that come with storytelling: people typically don’t think critically about the messages they get from fiction. They absorb the story and with it whatever it conveys under the obvious level.

Non-heterosexual, polyamorous, responsibly kinky, and transgender, especially non-binary transgender, characters are sadly under-represented in any kind of fiction. When we do appear, it’s most often in endless rehashings of coming-out stories–which are valuable, but get repetitive, and imply that our existence is limited only to this single aspect of our personalities. Alternatively, we’re portrayed only in stereotypical one-dimensional forms. There needs to be more narrative in all genres that has characters who live anywhere within the alphabet soup of inclusion, narrative that expresses other aspects of those characters’ lives and shows them as multidimensional people, more than just their sexuality or gender.

Which brings us back to pronouns. And, specifically, the very large drawback to using third-person singular “they/them” as a gender neutral pronoun.

Singular “they/them” works in some contexts, but if you’re writing a novel and want any significant character to have a non-binary gender and use it as the neutral form, you’ve just run into a serious problem. Making it more difficult for novelists to include non-binary characters means fewer novelists will do so. Sure, there are some people who will, regardless. But like anything else, the more difficult it is, the fewer people will bother to do so.

Why is it such a problem? There’s the basic aesthetics of it, but people do adjust to different aesthetics constantly. Primarily it’s a problem because it interferes rather badly with clarity and smoothness in third-person narrative.

Like the distinction between the second-person singular and plural, a distinction between third-person singular and plural is highly useful when you’re writing about interactions within a group (which is something that tends to occur in any novel with more than one character). Imagine three characters having lunch together. Amy identifies with female pronouns, Bob is quite happy with male pronouns, and Cass chooses the neutral “they” for themself.

They finished. They paid. They left. Who did what, now?

They finished. Amy paid. They left. We’re getting closer, but we still don’t know clearly who has finished or who has left.

They all finished. Amy paid. The whole group headed back to work. Okay, now we’re clear on who did what, although it took some extra work and twice as many words (including a version of “y’all”). Not such a high price for the sake of being inclusive, even if it has rendered the plural “they” largely unusable without qualification.

I pulled this paragraph from my novel Renegade:

She didn’t raise her head from her pack until she was sure her expression would betray nothing. He might be a way of staying safe between here and Eyrie, but as soon as they got there, she’d have to make sure they parted ways, preferably before he could introduce her to any friends he had.

The protagonist is a cis woman, but let’s pretend she isn’t and try to do the same sentence using singular “they” in place of “she.” You get:

They didn’t raise their head from their pack until they were sure their expression would betray nothing. He might be a way of staying safe between here and Eyrie, but as soon as they got there, they’d have to make sure they parted ways, preferably before he could introduce them to any friends he had.

Do I need to break down why this is bad? I can try re-writing it:

Kisea didn’t raise their head from their pack until they were sure their expression would betray nothing. Kian might be a way of staying safe between here and Eyrie, but as soon as the two of them got there, they’d have to make sure to part ways with him, preferably before he could introduce them to any friends he had.

Okay, it works. Of course, once again it means avoiding any unqualified use of plural “they”, so your reader is clear on who is doing what. You effectively have to choose, for the novel, whether to use “they” as a singular or as a plural, and every time you vary from that, you have to qualify and clarify. Excessive use of proper names starts to feel awkward after a while, and starts to sound like the writer has a poor grasp of language.

Worse still, when you try to write an entire novel that way, including fast-paced scenes in which a lot is happening very rapidly, it gets really difficult really fast.

Take my word for this: writing a 50k- to 100k-word novel and making sure that there are no awkward sentences, missing words, punctuation problems, almost-but-not-quite-right words, unintentionally ambiguous descriptions, and all the rest, without even considering the content, is a sufficiently large challenge. Deliberately adding something new to watch for in every sentence as you proofread the manuscript for the thousandth time–and the odds of a test reader or editor catching this stuff is pretty low, so you’re on your own–is really not an idea that’s likely to have much appeal. It isn’t about being lazy or not caring. Editing is hard work. How many hard things do you do, that you voluntarily make even more difficult for yourself? How often is it something that will potentially offend or anger people if you get it wrong even after giving it your best effort? It’s easier just to not need the extra complication: don’t include characters that you can’t use either “he” or “she” for.

You don’t have to be transgender to write about trans characters plausibly and respectfully, any more than a cis woman author can write only female characters. If you’re cis, though, you may be hesitant to step onto this particular ground, for fear of being accused of doing an insensitive or inaccurate job of it. (Despite reassurance from my partner and others, an upcoming novel release of mine is making me rather nervous for exactly that reason.) One part of that is inevitably going to be the pronoun problem. If taking the chance means trying to restructure your writing around a set of pronouns that are going to present you with constant potential pitfalls and headaches, on top of all the other worries, you’re less likely to do it at all.

So, am I saying that no one should use, or ask others to use, singular “they”? No, I’m not. If you look, I’ve used it repeatedly through the course of writing this. It’s a useful form, no question. What I’m saying is that this particular gender-neutral form has a very large disadvantage, one that’s not going to be visible to most people: it’s going to discourage the presence of non-binary characters in narrative fiction. I don’t have a solution to offer, but I really wish I did. Using “he” or “she” automatically creates subtext and associations, which raises a different and equally serious problem. (I should add that, when writing about characters to whom one or the other applies, having gendered pronouns is extremely useful to an author, so let’s not abolish them.) In one case, for a work I may not finish for other reasons, I finally resorted to first person for the main character, who literally has no sex and no gender; Emma Bull did the same in one of hers, with brilliant subtlety. That isn’t a viable option for all narrative, and can have its own difficulties. With some characters, swapping between “he” and “she” works, but there can be scenes when it’s hard to tell which is more appropriate, and that only works with some gender identities. Invented or foreign pronouns tend to be jarring, as though the word is highlighted repeatedly on the page, drawing undue attention when pronouns should be invisible, although flexible readers may adjust and stop noticing eventually. (You can see an example of this at this link, where various pronoun sets have been swapped into an excerpt from Alice in Wonderland.) Nothing currently available that I’m aware of is a good substitute. The Gender Neutral Pronoun FAQ is now available only via the Internet Archive, but you can see a list of various proposed options and an evaluation of them at this link.

Singular “they/them” is not a perfect solution, and we need to not stop looking for a better one simply because this one is adequate in many contexts. One step in increasing the presence of agender and gender-fluid and other non-binary characters in narrative fiction is going to have to be a set of pronouns that don’t make using them an uphill battle. Languages evolve constantly in response to social needs, and we need to keep pushing it in this direction until we have a gender-neutral option that works in all contexts and makes it easier to include in narrative fiction characters with interesting stories to tell who do not fit within a gender binary.

Pansexual, not bisexual

I originally wrote this back in Sept 2015 for an online magazine to which I submitted a few short pieces. I’ve spent some time thinking about whether it really belongs here. I’ve decided that, while it isn’t specifically about writing as such, it does make a point about the importance of a single word, a label, in self-identity. This matters, or should matter, to anyone whose writing involves character diversity, and not only in regards to orientation or gender. Reposted here with a few small corrections.


When I first realized, a bit over two decades ago, that I wasn’t straight, I took a look around me for an alternative description for myself. This being the early nineties, research was more complicated than looking online, and community and support more limited. I quickly concluded that “lesbian” wasn’t quite accurate, despite some lesbians occasionally choosing sex with men. When I stumbled over the idea of bisexuality, I seized on that: here was a term that wouldn’t try to force me to choose, and would allow me to acknowledge that I found people of many kinds attractive and desirable.

Life went on, and I ran into all the wonderful stereotypes that people have about bisexuality. Men I barely knew hit on me with descriptions of their wives. People assumed that I was non-monogamous because if I were monogamous, I would no longer be bisexual. I heard the bad jokes and the slurs and the put-downs: can’t make up their minds, sitting on the fence, want it both ways, in denial, too horny to care who they sleep with, and all the rest. I learned fast to stay away from lesbian events locally, because there was an unspoken rule that bi women were welcome only if they could be assumed to be lesbian–a kind of don’t ask, don’t tell. Having just come out of one closet, I refused to go back into another one.

Through all of this, the self-identification as bisexual never really fit comfortably. Being a writer, I experimented with words that more clearly fit my own internal reality: ambisensual, pansensual, and others I’ve since forgotten. The term “bisexual” includes “bi” which means “two,” and therefore implies that there is some sort of division: two sexes or two genders or simply like-me and not-like-me, I’ve seen all suggested. This, for me, is a problem, because that’s just not how I experience the world and my interactions with people. I continued for a long time to use the bisexual label for myself, for no better reason than that most people would recognize the word and I wouldn’t have to constantly explain to everyone what an unfamiliar word meant. It was, basically, close enough.

But it really isn’t. My relationships with women have been scant, since it’s harder to find same-sex partners outside of specific circles and I did not feel welcome in the local environment. On the other hand, my relationships with men, or at least those presenting as men, have a distinct pattern. So many have either come out to me as transgender before we got far, or have done so later, that an online friend, hearing about a new relationship, promptly asked me, “So, how trans is s/he?” This wasn’t the result of a conscious bias, just a reflection of an openness to people who don’t fit neatly into a category of gender expression, and I actually find the whole thing rather amusing. As it became more and more clear to me that my orientation label needed to be broader, the bisexual label chafed more and more.

“Bisexual” is often defined as “loves both men and women,” or some variation thereof (there are other definitions). That fits with the etymology, and that’s fine, but it leaves out those who do not fall into one category or another. I’ve encountered many arguments that it covers those alternatives by implication, but I’m not sure it does, and even if it does, I don’t think that’s adequate. It strikes me as erasing them, making them invisible or irrelevant, just “Oh yeah, them too.” To me, it fails to acknowledge their existence, or that there’s something special and unique about a lover who is transgender just as there is about a lover who is a cis man or a lover who is a cis woman.

There’s actually a reason a step beyond that, that was why I finally completely rejected the label of bisexual and claimed pansexuality as part of my personal definition, despite the need to explain often what that means.

The definitions given always do so in terms of gender and/or sexual identity: pansexuals have sexual or romantic relationships with people of all genders and sexes. Well, yes, but then again, no. I do not think I’m the only pansexual who feels like this (in fact, I’m quite sure I’m not).

This pansexual does NOT have sexual or romantic relationships with people of all genders and sexes. This pansexual has intimate relationships, with or without sex, with people. Period.

My attraction to someone has nothing to do with their gender expression or identity, because to me they are all on a complex spectrum: there is no such thing as absolute masculinity or absolute femininity, only varying degrees of elemental shades mingling into unique and often beautiful colours. What anatomy they have I don’t care about and certainly won’t ask about. Not even if sex is on the horizon, because I’m going to be just fine with either standard set or any variation thereof. In the interests of complete honesty, I have a learned caution about relationships with exclusively heterosexual cis men, because I’ve spent far too much time dealing with fragile egos and masculine identity, but even in that case, if I encountered one that otherwise attracted me and was sufficiently confident, I could have a relationship with him. Many (not all) of the traits that appeal to me the most strongly are more commonly considered “feminine,” but I’ve found them in people of all sorts; other traits that appeal to me are considered “masculine” or assumed to be neutral.

None of this means that I find every single person that I meet attractive on any level. I meet many people that I have no interest in a deeper connection with. It doesn’t mean that I’m oblivious to gender. I love seeing individualistic and creative ways that people express their gendered selves, whether cis or trans. It means that my personal criteria for attraction do not include gender or sex, and that my personal worldview does not include boxes or categories or hard boundaries. Labels are convenient, and I use them too, but they shade into each other at the edges, impossible to draw a line between one and the next.

To me, pansexuality isn’t just a sexual orientation. It’s not about who I have sex with, or who I feel erotic desire for. It’s a way of seeing the world and interacting with everyone within it.

This doesn’t make me better than anyone else. It doesn’t make me worse, either. This works for me. If people with similar approaches wish to call themselves bisexual or anything else, they’re welcome to do so, and I respect their right to find a word that they can identify with. If people have their own definitions of or approach to pansexuality, that’s also their right.

I find it infuriating, though, when people claim that pansexuality is identical to bisexuality and pansexuals are trying to somehow escape the stigma associated with bisexuality. (Think there’s no special stigma and non-monosexuals by any name get to have it both ways? Wrong – we get dumped on by both heterosexuals and homosexuals.) I don’t see any logic to this, since anyone biphobic is going to lump us all in together anyway. Or people claim that we’re trying to say that we’re better and more open than bisexuals are. No, you can be and love whoever you like and define yourself as you please, and there should not be a value judgement attached, but I demand the same right.

While reading through GLAAD’s website regarding BiWeek, and following a link or two from it, I found this same sort of nonsense, masquerading as positivity.

I can see needing a single term to use for their awareness month. That’s fine. Trying to be inclusive can turn into alphabet soup in a big hurry, and brevity is useful. The site includes this quote: “Some people who are attracted to people of any gender self-identify with words such as ‘bisexual,’ ‘pansexual,’ ‘polysexual,’ ‘omnisexual,’ ‘fluid,’ ‘queer,’ or other terminology.” So I’ll give them points for that.

However, the infographic on this page is insulting. On a page about pansexual celebrities, they include a graphic that essentially absorbs pansexuality and any other non-monosexual identity into bisexuality, under the “bisexual umbrella.” (Yes, there is a disclaimer in the corner… but if you don’t choose to be under that umbrella, then I can’t help but wonder whether your orientation is considered real at all?) Just above that, there’s a reference to the bi umbrella in the main text. Given that I deliberately and consciously rejected the label of bisexual, I consider this essentially the equivalent of telling me that pansexuality is nothing more than a subset of bisexuality, effectively erasing it as an independent identity. If you want to put all non-monosexuals under an umbrella, that’s fine by me: we do have something in common, after all. I object strenuously, however, to using a single subcategory within the broader spectrum of non-monosexuality as the defining term for the entire concept. The text below it includes this line, at least: “While being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender, being pansexual means being attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender.” That, I can live with. But the “bisexual umbrella”? Way to be inclusive and accepting while celebrating BiWeek, GLAAD…

That same page has a link to another site, with more info on pansexuality. I would not direct anyone to this page to explain pansexuality to them, and not because it needs a proofreader (although it does). About halfway down is this paragraph: “Recognition of the existence of different genders and sexualities is a major aspect of pansexual identity. Pansexual people are bisexual, in-fact; however, bisexuality does not place the same emphasis on sexual and gender identity awareness, but more simply indicates attraction to the two (generally accepted) biological sexes.”

In other words, pansexuality doesn’t exist as a separate thing, just a refinement in global (or possibly PC) awareness of bisexuality. From here on down, this page reads to me, being a writer, as though written by someone who has definite opinions about the existence and validity of pansexuality as opposed to bisexuality, and yet is trying to be politically correct. Possibly, it’s just too poorly written to express what was intended. In either case, it shouldn’t be promoted as unbiased info, especially during BiWeek. That one statement is inexcusable. I’m not normally all that easily offended, but I generally object to having core aspects of my identity dismissed, erased, or otherwise devalued.

This is the kind of thing that pansexuals face on a regular basis. If bisexuality is overlooked and made invisible by our culture (celebrities who are bi are typically described as gay or lesbian, something that recently and visibly occurred on Freddy Mercury’s birthday, for example), it’s even harder for pansexuals. In a culture that is obsessed with drawing lines and putting everyone into boxes, an identity that refuses to recognize the existence of those boxes as anything but temporary and voluntary is hard for many people to grasp and even harder for them to accept as real and valid–even within the broader LGBT community.

But for some of us, “bisexual” is simply not the right word. So please, don’t call me bi. Don’t tell me that pansexuality is a subset of bisexuality. I’ll acknowledge your right to identify yourself in whatever way works for you, and consider it valid and real. Do the same in return.

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Short Story: Winterwood

Because I needed a bit of a break while trying to work out a plot snarl in Moonblood, I unearthed one of the very few short stories I like, gave it a bit of a polish, and posted it on its own page here.

A bit of male-male romance and some surprises, while on a little-travelled road in the middle of winter. (Other-world fantasy.)

Winterwood

Back in motion!

I mentioned previously that I hoped life could resume something like normality in early March. I’m extremely grateful that so far, that does seem to be the case. It’s going to take me a little time to get everything moving again, since so many different projects all stalled from lack of attention–and not only writing projects. But I’m feeling optimistic!

So optimistic that I’ve begun to release the first chapter of the new Moonblood adventure, as of this past Friday. That may not have been the wisest plan while the adventure itself is still incomplete, but at this point, 38k words into it, I doubt it’s going to involve any really major changes in the earlier chapters while I’m hammering out the later ones. Since the location, which is near the Garden of Umako that they visited previously, is very vaguely West African, I admit to feeling a bit nervous about possible accusations of cultural appropriation or related racism. One person’s “cultural appropriation” is another person’s “inspired by” and it’s not always a matter of insider vs outsider.I just can’t stand the thought, however, of the entire Moonblood world of Evanir, or at least the large continent our heroes wander, being an endless series of loosely medieval western European cultures, so I guess I’ll just have to hope for the best.

Overall, while looking back through the earlier adventures to remind myself of relevant information, I haven’t been entirely happy. As you’ll see if you looked at my main site, my usual format is the novel, generally one of substantial size. My work is, invariably, all about the characters and bringing them to life. To tell you the truth, I usually have only a very vague idea of what a new novel is going to be “about” since I create the characters (which can be a more difficult task than a non-writer might think) and then drop them somewhere to see what happens. Sooner or later, often thousands of words later, I spot something that looks like a plot and start to angle in that direction. I don’t know how many pros would consider it professional, but it’s a lot of fun and it means I know my characters very well. Usually I then put it aside for several months before editing it. Thanks to one person taking time, I now know how to edit the resulting mass of words into something coherent and consistent, though I generally keep a bit more of the “character development” material than conventional wisdom calls for. The thing is, none of this applies to Moonblood.

With Moonblood, I tried something new. I took a handful of very old characters (Neoma, Kieran, Tyrel, and Madoc have been around since I was in high school, and Kaveri nearly as long) and reimagined their world and their lives. The various adventures aren’t really stand-alone. They follow a sequence, and description of characters and all tends not to be repeated. They are, however, extremely compressed. Places where I would have included a scene showing something, I’ve summarized it into a paragraph before getting on to the next big event, trying to keep the pacing fast and something immediately interesting in each individual post (and not always succeeding). Some of the less-direct character interaction scenes that I’d have included in a novel have been cut or never written, and as a result, there are more places where I’m telling the reader about the characters instead of letting the characters demonstrate. Despite that, chapters are repeatedly broken into 2 or 3 posts to bring them to manageable size. I’m also finding things that I probably would have fixed or changed with more time to revise. I think I have to consider myself poorly suited to writing serial fiction. That shouldn’t come as too much surprise, since my short stories are few and far between. If an idea or, more often, a group of characters is interesting enough for me to do two or three thousand words, then it’s probably interesting enough that I’ll want to explore it or them in much more depth.

Which means that once I finish Return, I am going to take a more deliberate break from this particular project. At some point, between other writing projects, I plan to seriously revise it from a different approach. Instead of treating it as web fiction, I’ll consider it the rough draft of a novel of sorts with an unusual internal structure, and see what happens. I think it will give me the room to flesh out the characters the way they deserve.

That said… I do have one old but rather good idea that would be hopeless as a novel but might someday work in serial format… so who knows?

While this has been all about Moonblood so far, that isn’t the only thing I’m doing. Leaving the overall arc unresolved has been nagging at me, so it became the first thing to pick back up. Lamia‘s revised re-release is coming up, I hope before May. Once that is done, that’s it for my earlier novels, the ones that I previously finished and put on my old site essentially expecting only friends to see them, generally after years being kicked around and re-written and taken apart and stitched back together, and everything from there on is shiny-new and made from whole cloth, so to speak. (I really should write something about the difference, someday soon.) I’m hoping to get Shaman released by June. I’ve had requests for print versions of books, though that’s only available for Yin-Yang currently, so I need to get that sorted out. (That project costs a bit, since I have to buy test copies, and the household budget is tight… but I’ve had a few voluntary payments for ebooks, which I think will cover it.) I think I’m going to re-issue Renegade with the introduction, explaining its history, at the end, in hopes of scaring off fewer people–although I do find it interesting, and probably indicative of current demand, that the urban fantasy with expressly LGBT content has sold 4 times as many as the other-world fantasy that I can’t really tag LGBT. And… all the others, novels and blog posts, waiting in the wings for me to get my feet back under me and get back to work.

Since my household is now in a new and safer apartment that humans and felines consider an enormous improvement, the health and other crises seem to be winding down, and spring is in the air, getting back to work is definitely a high priority. Writing isn’t just something I do, it’s a central part of who I am, and a stretch of several months with only a small amount of sporadic writing is difficult. While I’m not attracting large numbers of readers, I am attracting a few, and given the huge amount of time and effort that goes into polishing a novel for release, it’s good to know that they do interest people. I have my fingers crossed that the LGBT urban fantasy will appeal to people, but I have too much fun to give up doing the occasional other-world fantasy!

No updates or releases? Why?

Even a quick look will show that everything writing-related has come to a halt: no blog posts, no new novel releases, no new chapters in the serial Moonblood. No signs of life for several months now. I know if I came across that, I’d assume that the writer had given up or moved on to something else.

That isn’t the case. I’m still around, still writing (or trying to!), and still have every intention of releasing more novels, more blog posts, and wrapping up neatly with Moonblood.

Recent months have swamped my household with human health issues, feline health issues, housing issues, and a variety of other complications that have had to take higher priority as far as my time and energy. (That includes several unexpected days in the hospital myself, plus recovery time.)

Despite that, the final draft of Lamia is underway (although I haven’t come up with a plan for a cover yet). I’m rather looking forward to doing the final revisions on Shaman and releasing it, even though I admit to being a bit apprehensive about reception of a novel with a trans main character written by a cis author. The next installment of Moonblood is sitting on my netbook, waiting for me to have the concentration to work out a tangle in the thread so I can get on with it. I wrote a piece on gender and pronouns for an online magazine I was briefly associated with, and plan to revise it and post it here. Faerie Tale‘s first draft is about 75% complete, and still looking very promising (if a bit unusual). I have several other novels begun, in varying stages.

In other words, nothing has been abandoned, just put on hold, and I very much hope that the series of crises resolves very soon so I can pick up where I left off. Tentatively, life should begin to quiet down in early March. I’m not optimistic about it happening before that, however.

I was somewhat surprised to drop by Smashwords and discover that, while I’ve been distracted, there has been a slow but steady trickle of sales. I freely admit that I am very bad at self-promotion and networking. I think I’ve mentioned elsewhere before that being disabled, I have to choose where to put my finite personal resources (how to spend my spoons, to use a recent Internet analogy) and if I have to choose between creating or promoting, creating will win. I can only hope that my work speaks for itself. That said, my attempt at honesty about the origins of Renegade seem to have backfired, since very few copies of it have sold compared to Yin-Yang and Black Wolf, even taking the time since release into consideration. That does make me somewhat sad, since I think it’s an excellent story on its own. Maybe that will change at some point.

But I digress. Those of you who have enjoyed my work enough to download it or read it on Prysmcat Books directly, and the very few who have left ratings or reviews or let me know privately what you think – thank you, and please bear with me. There’s plenty more of my own slightly odd fantasy coming, I promise!