Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group 7 June 2023

 

Image by kabe32 from Pixabay


June 7 question - If you ever did stop writing, what would you replace it with?

Death, probably.

I have bad news for everyone who wishes I’d stop inflicting my thoughts on the world.

I likely will never stop writing unless I’m dead. And, as the late, great Lemmy Kilmister said about music, we’ll have to see what happens after that. “That” being death of course.

Me, showing some skin. Or, more accurately, ink. This is my actual calf with the tattoo I got to honor Lemmy. Schmexy, no?

I’ve been writing stories since I was five years old. Almost fifty-five years beyond that, I’m still writing. As long as I’m alive and physically able to do so, I will probably always get my literary groove on in some capacity. Whether that writing takes the form of dystopian doom diaries, eye-popping erotica, lurid Lovecraftian fantasy, madcap microfiction, maudlin memoirs, pissed-off poetry, or some sanity-scarring combination of all the above, I’ll be doing the dirty deed till the day I pass away.

By dirty deed, I mean writing, of course. Get your mind out of the gutter!

My writing is done dirt cheap, by the way. In fact, you can always grab my e-books free on Amazon.

Why not pop on over to the official Naughty Netherworld Press website to check out some samples?

http://www.naughtynetherworldpress.com

Don’t say I never gave you nothin’!


~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Image by Victoria_Regen from Pixabay

Ya won't be able to get rid of me that easily! Even when my physical body is chilling in an urn, future generations can invoke my spirit by reading my words.

Maybe they can even sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with me.


You want a great soundtrack playing while drinking your coffee and reading my stories. I've gotcha covered there too!



Alternatively, cueing up some Motörhead is always an Ornery Owl approved choice.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group 3 May 2023

 

Image by Kevin Phillips from Pixabay

Anyone who knows anything about me is saying "Clearly that is not your desk, you lying liar!"

You're right, it isn't.

Here's the question.

May 3 question - When you are working on a story, what inspires you?

It can be any number of things. It's often something obscure. But I would probably never get any writing done if it wasn't for prompts. Those help me herd my wayward ideas into something cohesive. 

Image by Chen from Pixabay

Without prompts, my squirrely ADHD brain would probably never write anything publishable. 

Image by Gerhard Janson from Pixabay
"I'll be back, Owl."

Now you know what you need to do to stop me from publishing anything else. Send a cyborg back in time to kill all the prompt writers.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~

Image by Micha from Pixabay
Ornery Owl ain't afraid of no steenkin' Terminator.



Chill with me, People. 

Grab a cup of Coffee Brand Coffee.

You need better coffee. Why not join Ornery Owl in a coffee revolution? Support an independently owned business at an affordable price. No hype, just great coffee.





Saturday, April 22, 2023

S is for Scam

 

Image by Bliwii from Pixabay

This owl followed a link to a product that claims it will stop bleeding gums and even repair your teeth so you need never go to the dentist. Some ProDentim affiliates claim the product causes weight loss. I wonder if ProDentim could repair the hail damage and dented bumper on my car.

It took more than an hour for the ProDentim video to FINALLY reveal the secret to turning my teeth to titanium. Unsurprisingly, their claims were a load of manure.

Ornery Owl suggests following the link to Trust Pilot, where you can read the unpolished truth about ProDentim.

https://www.trustpilot.com/review/prodentim.com?page=2

Ornery Owl Has Spoken



Ornery Owl would much rather spend her money on a nifty new kitchen gadget than overpriced snake oil.





Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group April 5 2023

 

Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Fair warning, I cuss. A lot. If you prefer your reading experience less peppered with profanity, I suggest another post, blog, and author.

Also, fair warning that I keep things real. I will not sugarcoat shit and tell you it's candy. If something was bad, I'm not going to say "this was kind of not okay." I'm gonna tell you it's bad in no uncertain terms.


And now, on to the post!

Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

Holy guacamole and the entire bag of chips, you people are evil! This is something I really don't like to talk about, but since I'm hoping to eventually publish a book chock-a-block with encouraging thoughts for writers including thoughts like "sometimes you have a really shitty experience, but don't give up," I'll address it.

When I wrote my first book, I very much wanted to right a wrong. I'm going to be vague about certain details because even though very few copies of this book exist, I don't want anyone to find it. It is not available in e-book form and never will be. 

The lightly fictionalized version of the story goes a little bit something like this.

There was an author. We'll call her Diana Desrosiers because that sounds like a name that an author who writes paranormal romance would have. Diana was an extremely sensitive lady who had never received much understanding from the people in her life. She was struggling with undiagnosed ADHD and improperly treated PTSD. Diana didn't like herself very much. She felt like she couldn't do anything right. She made the mistake of thinking she had to have a man in her life to be complete, and she almost always chose awful men who abused her.

When she was younger, Diana really wanted to be a musician. She was not innately gifted in this area. Her parents fought against the idea of her becoming a musician. They even went so far as selling all her instruments including the piano she had loved like a member of the family. Diana's parents didn't like her husband (let's call him Ivan) very much either. In fairness to Diana's husband, he did try to be a good guy, but there was too much hurt inside both of them for things to work out right. However, they made a commitment to being good parents to their son, whom we'll call Tristin. They consider each other to be family and will always be there for each other.

Diana really wanted to mend the rift between herself, Ivan, and her parents for Tristin's sake as much as her own. So the family went to counseling together. It didn't help. The only thing Diana remembered about the sessions was her father saying that she was the least musically talented person in the family. At that point, Diana, who had been struggling to maintain her belief in herself, gave up on music altogether. She has never touched a musical instrument since that day. She was twenty-five years old then. She is now approaching sixty.

Diana didn't know what to do with herself without music. One evening, she and Ivan went to dinner at a cafe they liked. There was a palm reader there, and Diana decided she wanted a reading, hoping it might give her a sense of direction. Diana said she'd always wanted to be a musician but didn't feel very hopeful about it right now.

The palm reader said music didn't seem to be the right path for Diana, but there was a very strong indication that she could be successful with writing. This made Diana happy. She had always excelled in writing when she was in school. Except for one teacher who was a total asshole, her teachers always praised her abilities. She wrote stories to help her feel better when she was being bullied at school, which was most of the time. Diana thanked the palm reader. Her path was clear now.

Diana wrote a little of this and a little of that, but she didn't have a clear goal in mind. Most of her writing was rather depressive because she was extremely depressed. She submitted her writing to a few publications, but it wasn't what they were looking for. 

One night Diana had a very vivid dream, and she decided she'd write a book about a lonely author in a bad marriage who falls in love with a seductive, reluctant vampire. Diana and Ivan's marriage wasn't going very well by this point, and she wanted to take her mind off how lousy her life felt. We'll call Diana's author character Amanda. Amanda's husband is Leland and the seductive vampire is Samir. We'll call her book The Beauty Within. 

Diana's story wasn't a bad story, but she didn't quite know what to do next. She didn't have all the amazing tools available to indie authors today. She didn't know how to query an agent or where to submit her work. She was distracted from her book for a time as her marriage to Ivan fell apart and she had to go back to work to support herself and Tristin. 

For a long time, Diana only wrote fan fiction. She had pretty well given up on the idea of becoming a published author. By the way, fan fiction is real writing. Ornery Owl is not one of those snobs who derides fan fiction as a lesser form of writing. Sure there is some garbage fan fiction out there, but there are also some garbage books published by large publishing houses. There is also some very well-written fan fiction that kicks the crap out of certain popular books that Ornery Owl is too polite to name. There is some great fan fiction that kicks the hell out of a certain movie that Ornery Owl is not too polite to name, that being the trash fire known as Alien 3.

Sorry, I digress. Let us return to the story of Diana the Hopeful Author.

Diana had always been very interested in the spirit world and practices such as channeling. One of her maternal great-grandfathers often saw ghosts, including people who were close to death but had not released their material bonds yet. Diana had only seen one ghost, but she sometimes had precognitive dreams and sometimes sensed things she shouldn't have been able to know but turned out to be true. Diana was empathic and had a sensitive soul. 

One day Diana learned about a young man in the underground music scene who had committed suicide by putting a shotgun to his head. We'll call him Niklas. The more she read about Niklas, the more she felt the way his death was treated as "something cool" was wrong. She reached out to Niklas and, it would seem, contacted him. She wanted to help him tell his story. She felt that she could revive The Beauty Within and incorporate it with Niklas' story, hoping that when people read the story they would see Niklas as a real person and not as the "icon of darkness" they'd made him into.

Although Diana's heart was in the right place, the way she went about enacting her goal was erroneous. She should not have used Niklas' real name or the real circumstances of his death when she wrote the story. She should not have revealed that she believed she had been in contact with his spirit. Diana received death threats from certain fans of the extreme metal genre. She had female fans of Niklas contacting her to ask her to put them in touch with him. The things some of these ladies said could make even the spirit of the late John C. Holmes blush. Ornery Owl will not repeat them here.

Diana also made the mistake of becoming involved on a personal level with some of the book's fans. These were troubled people and Diana's self-esteem was already fragile. To add diarrhea icing to the manure cake, Diana had spent thousands of dollars on a POD publisher only to pull the book from production because she could no longer deal with the death threats, lechery, and frenemies made from releasing this badly-advised book. 

Diana did not think she would ever write again and for a long time, she didn't. Then she slid back into writing fan fiction. 

Diana once thought she would become a FAMOUS AUTHOR and would salvage the reputation of a troubled young man who didn't deserve to remain infamous following his unfortunate suicide. At this point, she is not trying to become a FAMOUS AUTHOR. She is happy enough to be just an author. She has self-published a few of her stories on Amazon.

Ornery Owl Says:


Opening your greatest points of vulnerability to a large audience can be costly. It nearly cost me not only my craft but my life. It took me years to get over the pain inflicted by this experience. 

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~


Here's what I was listening to while I crafted this post. No, Odysee, I will never be That Asshole who enables autoplay.


Here's the link in case you can't see the player.

D is for Dementia

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I can no longer ignore the fact that my mother is showing signs of cognitive decline.

I finally emailed my brother to report my observations to him.

My mother still drives, which is a terrible idea. She has reported getting lost, turning onto a busy road that I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands driving on.

I live 125 miles from my mother. Visiting her is a 6-hour round trip. My own health isn’t great.

I hope to convince my mother to move closer to me so my son and I can check on her more easily.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~


Free use image by Willgard Krause on Pixabay


Tuesday, April 4, 2023

C is for Cashing In My Chips

 

Image by Tobias Dahlberg from Pixabay

It's a computer chip, geddit?

I considered cashing in my chips with this post, but then I thought, I’ve already written a couple thousand words today. Surely a hundred more won’t be that big of a deal.

I’m not entirely sure I’m going to see this project through. Quitting won’t be some sort of admission of defeat. It will simply be an acknowledgment that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I’m already writing a 30,000–50,000 word novella for potential publication by Totally Bound. I’m writing a poem a day. Not that writing these dumb drabbles is difficult, but full participation in the challenge may not be something I can manage right now.

I swear, if I write WRITE NOW one more time, Imma smack my own hand with a ruler!

Here's Beethoven's Emperor Concerto for your enjoyment.




#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter C

Monday, April 3, 2023

B is for Bully

 


Photo manipulation and text art by Ornery Owl
Created with a free-use image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
You are welcome to use my image, but please credit me.

The more Ornery Owl thinks about it, the more she believes the term bullying downplays the truth.

Some people think bullying is a rite of passage.

“If a kid gets bullied, it will toughen him up,” they proclaim.

“Kids need to learn to stand up for themselves.”

“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you.”

This old truism is patently false.

Words can leave permanent scars on a person’s psyche.

Words can kill.

Let’s stop soft-pedaling. Bullying is abuse.

Dealing with abusers may make a person tough.

They will still have scars on the inside.

Ornery Owl has spoken.

Image by Erik Karits from Pixabay

Obstinate

Rough-cut

Nervy

Empathetic

Real

Yearning


Oddball

Weird

Loner




Saturday, April 1, 2023

A is for Answering Service

 

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Why do answering services still exist?

It’s one thing if the answering service operator is there to contact a doctor on call in case of emergency.

It’s another thing if all the answering service operator does is tell people calling that they need to call back in a couple of hours so they can speak to someone who can actually help them.

I once applied for a job as an answering service operator.

That was back in 1984.

It would have involved sitting in a call center overnight.

I probably would have been bored out of my mind.

Ornery Owl has spoken.





Friday, March 31, 2023

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2023 Intro and Theme Reveal

Image by Irene K-s from Pixabay

How do you do? My name is Ornery Owl, and that is what you may call me. For some reason, I decided to participate in the A to Z challenge this year even though I am also trying to complete a poetry manuscript and a novella for Dragon Soul Press, plus another novella for Totally Bound Press while submitting a novelette I wrote in February to Passionate Ink and tying everything I write together into one horrible, sanity-scarring document for Camp NaNoWriMo. This document has been given the title Spring has Splatted.


Image by Prawny from Pixabay

Why would I do something so crazy?

Well, some would call me the space cowgirl, and some would call me the gangster of love.

Okay, nobody has ever called me either of those things. Space cadet and the gangster of geek, maybe.

Perhaps I’m doing it just because.

Here are the disclosures and rules of engagement.

I am writing a series of drabbles about things that bemuse me.

I wrote a few of these posts in advance. That might be a good idea, except then I can't use them in my Camp NaNoWriMo word count. So, I won't do that next year if I do this thing again.

I have a potty mouth, and that spills onto the keyboard. If you are sensitive about swearing, the profane outbursts of Ornery Owl are not for you.

If you have a problem with people or owls writing naughty stories, this is not the blog for you.

If you have a problem with people or owls discussing sensitive topics, the thoughts of Ornery Owl are not for you.

If you don't appreciate a sense of humor that is at once absurd, cheeky, dry, and often pun-intensive, the words of Ornery Owl will not appeal to you.

You don’t have to agree with me about everything, or even about anything. Just remember that it is possible to disagree in a civil fashion or to simply move on to another blog if you don’t like what this one has to say.

If you would like to participate in the A to Z Challenge, you can learn more about it here.

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

If you would like to learn more about forthcoming anthology opportunities from Dragon Soul Press, follow this link.

https://dragonsoulpress.com/anthologies/

If you write steamy and/or erotic romance like Ornery Owl does in her guise as Lil DeVille, you may be interested in learning more about Passionate Ink and Totally Bound Press.

https://passionateink.org/

https://totallyentwinedgroup.com/submissions/submission-calls-totally-bound-publishing/

No need to thank me. I enjoy sharing the love with fellow authors. Even if something turns out to not be the right opportunity for me, it may be the right opportunity for you. Or it may be the right opportunity for both of us!

This will be my longest post in this year’s A to Z challenge.

Thank fuck for that!

Ornery Owl has spoken.


#AtoZChallenge 2023 Rectangular Banner

There is a possibility that I will not be considered an official participant in this challenge. I will continue to moderate comments, and I refuse to allow anonymous comments. When I have done so in the past, it has opened my blog up to spam and trolls. Ain't nobody got time for that. Especially me.

Whether I'm an official or unofficial participant, you can expect some Ornery wisdom every day in April.

Here's some mellow and relaxing music, because this Odysee channel deserves some views and because Ornery Owl needs to calm the fuck down.



Here's the link in case you can't see the player.

I can't believe that Odysee added an autoplay option for videos. Is there anyone who likes navigating to a page and having videos start playing automatically? I hate that crap. I don't even like it on band pages! Let me choose when the video starts playing.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Charity Sunday: Team Beans Infant Brain Tumor Fund

 


First, I am going to share the letter from Francesca's parents.

Help us fight childhood brain cancer for Beans

Today should be Francesca’s third birthday.

March 11, 2020 was the happiest day of our lives, getting to start a new exciting adventure with our first baby girl. Sadly, Beans got just nine short months on this Earth. 

We would love your support in honoring Francesca’s third birthday with a donation of $11 or more to the Team Beans Infant Brain Tumor Fund’s team in the Pan Mass Challenge. 

We try to honor her and remember her everyday. She should be running around and talking and getting ready to start school. Sadly, infant brain cancer stole that life from her that she should have gotten to live. 

We’ve set a goal of $150,000 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute - and would love your support to hit it and help us pass $3 million raised for infant brain tumor research!

Donate here:

https://profile.pmc.org/AK0302

Regardless of the number of comments, I intend to donate $11 to the Team Beans fund.

I am sharing a snippet from the memoir/workbook that I have been trying to create for years. Writing fiction is challenging. Revealing my own vulnerabilities is difficult in a different way. I discover time and again that most people don't understand what it is to live with a brain that works differently, and most of them don't want to. 

So, why in the world would I continue putting my truth out there?

Because I believe there are still young people whose neurological and cognitive differences and reactions to trauma are being misinterpreted and/or ignored. I want them to know it isn't their fault. So, here we go with a little snippet from my maybe memoir/workbook.

I used to hate the child I was. “What a little fuckup!” I thought. “If she could have just paid attention and done things ‘right,’ I’d be much further along in life!”

I now wish I could go back in time and reveal what I know now to my younger self. I wish I could hug her and let her howl out all her rage and pain. I’ve lived close to six decades and typing these words bring tears to my eyes. The world let that child down, my adult self included. It’s later than it should be, but now I’m trying to give her the understanding she missed out on.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~


Free use image from Open Clipart Vectors










Thursday, March 2, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group March 1, 2023


Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

Have you ever read a line in novel or a clever plot twist that caused you to have author envy?

That blasted Stephen King does this to me all the time. I'll be driving a million miles to some kind of medical appointment, listening to one of his Dark Tower novels, and wondering why I couldn't have been blessed with a fraction of his abilities in creating that amazing Universe.

Sorry, I know this isn't much of a post and it's late besides. I am extremely busy. I wish I didn't have to bother with annoying things like eating, sleeping, bathing, and going to the bathroom.

"So, what the hell are you up to, Ornery?"

Glad you asked. Wait, no I'm not. Now I have to answer. Oh, wait, I am! It gives me a chance at a little shameless self-promotion. 

I finished formatting and uploading the e-book, paperback, and hardcover versions of The Quest for the Wizard's Key, which is due to be released on April 1. The e-book is now available for pre-order. It's priced reasonably at $5.99, but if you want to wait a bit, I will do a free book promo soon after it releases. It's up to you!

https://amzn.to/3ZtZ09w

Now I need to finish a 30,000-word (or thereabouts) paranormal erotic romance novella by the end of the month for submission to Totally Bound Publishing. Here's the link to Totally Bound in case this sounds like it really might be your bag, Baby.

https://totallyentwinedgroup.com/submissions/submission-calls-totally-bound-publishing/

Wants stories between 30,000 and 50,000 words.

All Hallows Harem (submission due April 1) is looking for supernatural characters, menage or harem.  

Here's some music for you to listen to. A link follows in case you can't see the player.


Friday, February 17, 2023

Shit Just Got Real

Image by Square Frog from Pixabay

This post is going to be as real as it gets, which is something I haven't done for a long time. If the only words you can think of are critical and hateful, then don't say anything. In life, you are presented with times when you should speak up and other times when you should...


Now you know my situation may be sorry, but it isn't hopeless. If it were hopeless, I'd lose the ability to find the humor in something inappropriate and profane like the above image.

A couple more unhelpful suggestions (because believe me, I've heard and/or tried them numerous times)

"you should seek counseling."

Never helped. Don't trust them damn crooked vultures. I live in the middle of nowhere. I'm not making a 100-mile round trip once a week for nothing, which is exactly how much counseling has helped me in my life.

"You should get on medication."

I have paradoxical reactions to psych meds. I can deal with the black dog. I have a fragile peace with that bitch most of the time. Today she has the upper hand. We're lifelong companions, the black dog and me. What I can't deal with is being manic and psychotic, which is what psych meds make me.

Right, here it is.

I created Crazy Creatives Cheerleading Camp with the intent of talking about the mental health aspects of my life, but it’s never gotten the audience I hoped for. Sometimes I think I should just close it down. 

I feel like an outcast in the world of writers, particularly romance writers. I’ve never adapted very well to the promotion aspects of writing, which I feel take away from the, you know, WRITING aspects of writing. I'd leave the promotion stuff to my assistant if I could afford one. I suck at it.

I feel like I’m drowning or being crushed under a mountain of credit card debt. My credit score is below 500. I’m in the shit. I need to pay off and get rid of the cards that have annual fees. 

I always thought I’d be somewhat successful by now, but here I am approaching if not the ass end at least the lower back of my life and I am anything but successful.

I’m hungry, and I hate being hungry.

I wish I didn’t have to eat. In fact, right now, I kind of wish I was dead.

I’m so deeply ashamed of what I am. I can fool myself for a while, but the shame really never ends.

I’m a fuckup, a failure, a nothing nobody.

I can’t even tell anybody about it, because the fact of the matter is, nobody gives a fuck.

There’s nobody to hear my cries. It’s pull myself up by the bootstraps or die in the gutter.

There will never be a prince to ride along the sea and the mountain.

There will never be the roar of crowds.

There will only be a slow, plodding march to the grave. Or, in my case, a limp to the grave.

I still hate myself.

That's as real as it gets.


Free use image by Gordon Johnson on Pixabay

Give me silver, blue, and gold
The colors of the sky I'm told
My rainbow is overdue
--Bad Company



Thursday, February 2, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group February 2023

 

February 1 question - If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

First, I apologize for being tardy to the party. This often happens when the IWSG day falls on the first of the month. Or, sometimes, when it falls on any other day of the month.

I guess I'm a hybrid author. I have published my own work and have also had my stories published in anthologies. 

When it comes to the stories in the anthologies, my input on the cover is zip, zero, zilch, and nada. That's fine with me.

With the books I've published, there's a fair likelihood that I've designed my own cover with the photo manipulation software at pixlr.com and a free use image from Pixabay. Results may vary, but since I'm a broke-ass who hasn't yet reached Kinglike status in the world of authordom, my questionable artistic abilities will have to suffice for the time being.

There are a few things I've learned along the way. Many of you may have known these things before I did. Good on you. I provide the information for the benefit of those who may not know.

Avoid using images including real people unless you can get a copy of a model release. If you do use images with real people, don't include their faces. 


For the cover of the erotic romance novelette, The Shape of Heat: Awakening, I selected an image of a young adult man and woman holding their hands together to form the shape of a heart. I chose this image because the protagonists in the novel are in their early to mid-twenties and because no faces are visible in the image. I discovered the hard way that Amazon gives erotica authors a hard time if they include a real person's face on their cover.


I am planning on using the same background I used to create this banner for the cover of the forthcoming Lovecraftian fantasy novel, The Quest for the Wizard's Key. 

Daft though I may be, I am not so daft as to think my design abilities are good enough that I could charge other people money for them. I'm a graphic design school dropout, and my grandmother lamented the fact that I'm the kind of person who has no eye for anything, I just know what I like. She tried to take me shopping once to help her pick out components for a room. It was a disaster. I had no idea what I was doing. 

However, nobody can design covers for my books at a lower rate than I can. As far as book cover creators go, at this juncture, it's gotta be me.

~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~


Free Use Image from Open Clipart Vectors

"Ornery Owl's book covers look like she must have been drunk when she designed them." --K. Ritik










Thursday, January 5, 2023

Make It Happen Thursday: The Ethical Author Campaign and Other Thoughts

 


So, I found a link to a post about something called "The Ethical Author Campaign."


According to the post:

The Ethical Author Code was first devised as a “Big Idea” for The Bookseller's  FutureBook Conference 2014. The idea was to give authors a way to signal to readers that their publishing business activities are aligned with industry best practices.

I don't believe there's a problem with me sharing the tenets of the Ethical Author Campaign. In the interest of full disclosure, I didn't create this list, I copy-pasted it.

The Ethical Author Code

Guiding principle: Putting the reader first

When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I don’t engage in any practices that have the effect of misleading the readers and buyers of my books.

Courtesy

I behave with courtesy and respect toward readers, other authors, reviewers and industry professionals such as agents and publishers. I behave professionally online and offline. If I find myself in disagreement, I focus on issues rather than airing grievances or complaints in the press or online, or engaging in personal attacks of any kind.

Aliases

I do not hide behind an alias to boost my own sales or damage the sales or reputation of another person. If I adopt a pen name for legitimate reasons, I use it consistently and carefully.

Reviewing and rating books

I do not review or rate my own or another author’s books in any way that misleads or deceives the reader. I am transparent about my relationships with other authors when reviewing their books.

I am transparent about any reciprocal reviewing arrangements, and avoid any practices that result in the reader being deceived.

Reacting to reviews

I do not react to any book review by harassing the reviewer, getting a third party to harass the reviewer, or making any form of intrusive contact with the reviewer. If I’ve been the subject of a personal attack in a review, I respond in a way that is consistent with professional behavior.

Book promotions

I do not promote my books by making false statements about, for example, their position on bestseller lists, or consent to anyone else promoting them for me in a misleading manner.

Plagiarism

I know that plagiarism is a serious matter, and I don’t intentionally try to pass off another writer’s words as my own.

Financial ethics

In my business dealings as an author, I make every effort to be accurate and prompt with payments and financial calculations. If I make a financial error, I remedy it as soon as it’s brought to my notice.

Use of Tools and AI

I edit and curate the output of any tool I use to ensure the text is not discriminatory, libellous, an infringement of copyright or otherwise illegal or illicit. I recognise that it is my job to ensure I am legally compliant, not the AI tool or service I use. I declare use of AI and other tools, where appropriate.

Responsibility

I take responsibility for how my books are sold and marketed. If I realize anyone is acting against the spirit or letter of this Code on my behalf, I will refer them to this Code and ask them to modify their behavior.


I'm already transparent about things. I don't overprice my books, or claim to be some sort of guru, ultimate authority, or anything of that nature. I don't badmouth other writers to make myself seem superior. Doing that would just make me look like an ass. 

I do wonder a bit about the wording on this:

If I adopt a pen name for legitimate reasons, I use it consistently and carefully.

I mean...what?

What are illegitimate reasons for adopting a pen name?

As far as I know, there are two reasons people use pen names. The first is fear for their well-being including their professional well-being if they write under their own name. The second is because they want to use a pen name to differentiate their writing persona from their everyday self. 

And now, let's have a little fun. 

Are the names H. P. Lovecraft or J. K. Rowling pen names?

I say no. The legal names of these authors are Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Joanne K. Rowling. However, when Ms. Rowling writes crime novels under the name Robert Galbraith, she is using a pen name.

If Stephen King were to write as S.E. King, that wouldn't be a pen name, it would just be Stephen King using his first name and middle initial with his last name. Richard Bachman, however, was a pen name for Stephen King. 

The Richard Bachman story is fun to read. Basically, it boils down to Stephen wondering if people would still enjoy his work if it didn't have the Stephen King brand. 

Also, according to the Wikipedia article, "At the beginning of King's career, the general view among publishers was that an author was limited to one book per year, since publishing more would be unacceptable to the public."


This isn't why I have two pen names. I write in radically different genres. I thought it would muddy the waters too much to publish both my erotic and non-erotic stories under the same name. I also wanted to differentiate my fiction writing from my poetry and nonfiction. 

I chose the name Lil DeVille for my erotica author pen name because I felt it was both very feminine and very cheeky. Lil's a Li'l Devil writing her naughty stories, geddit? 

I initially published my Lovecraftian fiction using the pen name Team Netherworld to represent the various writing personas I'd developed over the years to help me deal with my trauma. I never had dissociative identity disorder. I've always been one "me," but that self was badly fractured, so I developed various personas to help me through. As I started to build my self-esteem a bit more, I realized the "Team Netherworld" pen name was a bit cumbersome, so I replaced it with C. L. Hart.

Although C and L are my real first and middle initials and Hart is the first syllable of my surname, I categorize this moniker as an actual nom de plume. I wouldn't be able to use it in a legal and binding context. C. L. Hartley is a variation of my name that I could use to sign documents. C. L. Hart is not.

Some might say "C. L. Hartley seems like a perfectly good name to use as a byline. Why didn't you use that?"

Well, because I use my real name as a byline on the Ornery Owl Poetry Collections, so I wanted something a little different for the byline on my non-erotic fiction. 

I plan to use my first name and last initial as the byline on my nonfiction memoir/self-help workbooks in keeping with the AA and NA tradition. You may wonder why I'd do this since I've never gone through recovery for alcohol or narcotics. 

While I used to be a heavy drinker and I did use drugs, sometimes fairly heavily, I was never addicted to either substance and I stopped using them on my own. However, I am not fully recovered from my trauma and I still have a tendency to sabotage myself. I like the tenet of AA and NA where people only use their first names. It doesn't matter if the person is well-known or unknown. 

Nobody has any more inherent worth than anyone else. That's the point I'm trying to get across by using Cara H as my byline on the Ornery Owl Diary and Workbook series. I'm neither better nor worse than anyone else. When I create these books with the intent of helping others, I am not Cara Hartley, Poet and Writer. I am not C. L. Hart, author of weird fiction. I am not Lil DeVille, High Priestess of Pornographic Cheek. I'm Cara H aka Ornery Owl, someone who quite possibly should not be alive given the abuse heaped on me by myself and others, but I'm here anyway and maybe there's a reason for that. 

And why Ornery Owl you may ask?

Perhaps in part simply because I like owls. However, another part of the answer lies in the serenity prayer.

grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

The severed, broken, damaged, abused, lonely, outcast human does not always possess that wisdom. The Owl knows, and she is Ornery enough to persevere. 

That's the reason behind Ornery Owl.

Free use image from Vintage Snips and Clips on Pixabay


Eugenia hosted Make It Happen Thursday at the Go Dog Go Cafe blog from 2018 to 2022. She stepped aside at the end of 2022 to concentrate on her other blogs. I'm not sure if anyone else will take up the reins, but I still like the Make It Happen Thursday concept--when I'm not doing FOAD Thursday, that is! 

Go Dog Go Cafe is still worth a visit!