It’s Not My Problem YOU’RE on a Diet

I enjoy romances. I think every story is better with a romantic subplot, be it a thriller or hardcore military sci-fi space opera. I’ve written everything from slash fanfic, to steamy paranormal romance (Redclaw Security), to passionate, but closed-door historical romances (Redclaw Origins), and now cozy mysteries, which aren’t romances at all, but have a romantic arc (Ginny Reese Mysteries).

These days, as both a writer and a reader, I find myself leaning more toward off-page/closed door stories. That’s just where I am on my storytelling path in life right now. It doesn’t mean I find stories with more spice icky, or obscene, or whatever. Between the overwhelming stresses in my life and world events, such as the pandemic, I find myself craving a certain kind of story to get me through the day–and for me, personally, that happens not to be very spicy at the moment.

And might I say while I’m fine with describing stories with on-page sex scenes as “spicy” or “steamy” or filling up my texts with hot peppers or eggplant emojis, I LOATHE almost every term we use to describe books with no on-screen sex. “Sweet” is barely tolerable to me–it makes my teeth ache to think about it. “Clean” and/or “wholesome” make me want to throw things–as if stories with open door sex scenes are some how dirty, immoral, and obscene.

Romancelandia: we need a better term for closed door romances!! But I digress.

I happen to wander across this dividing line at will, choosing what level of heat I want to experience on a given day, in a given story, with a particular set of characters… and I know many other readers who do as well. There are also strong vocal defenders of their preferences. You’ll see discussions of “do they bang?” and there are websites devoted to providing readers with the information they desire about the kind of stories they seek. And yes, sometimes there is an element of condescension in some of these discussions conducted by the “we want banging!” side.

But you know what’s NOT there? Condemnation of readers and writers who prefer something else. 

Today I saw on Twitter a romance author share part of a communication she’d received from a reader that chastised her for taking what seemed to be a fun premise and sinking into “lewd” content that caused the reader not only to throw the book away, but contact the author to advise she should write more “wholesome” books.

I’m sorry, but this is wrong. You didn’t like the book? It didn’t meet your expectations? Fine. That happens. If that’s not the kind of story you want to read, you chalk it up to a mistake and you don’t purchase from that author again because now you know that this is the kind of story she enjoys writing. Have very specific reading needs where the romance heat levels don’t exceed your precise definitions? Create or join a Facebook or Discord group where you can gather with like-minded readers and share your recommendations.

I can’t imagine someone going to a closed-door romance writer and saying, “Based on the cover, title, and blurb, I thought this was going to be a fun, sexy romp. Instead, there was a level of chastity from the very beginning that made my skin crawl. How dare you take the characters into the bedroom and shut the door in my face! I was going to share this story with my friends, but instead I threw your book in the trash where it belongs. If you would consider taking that puritanical stick out of your characters’ butts and write a real, steamy romance story, I would consider reading it.”

Do you see how ludicrous that sounds?

What is different about the stance of some of the “wholesome” books-only reader is the level of righteousness that infuses their sense of entitlement. The implication that anyone who enjoys any other kind of content is somehow immoral, crude, and needs to be shamed. That their content should be modified–or banned.

Book banning is on the rise here in the US, with the rallying cry of “We must protect the children!” (despite the fact there has never been a mass killing of schoolchildren from reading a book, whereas guns are now the leading cause of death of children and adolescents in the US). Now a Virginia delegate, not content with having books reflecting diversity removed from schools, has filed a lawsuit against Barnes and Noble to prevent certain books from being sold to minors. Yes, in some cases, there are adult themes that can be controversial. However, the Virginia Beach school board member who has been spearheading many of the book banning campaigns reportedly hasn’t read many of the books she wants banned. I think it is very telling that the ten most frequently banned books in the US at this time most often deal with themes regarding self-discovery and embracing the differences of others. In Wyoming, some librarians may even face criminal charges for stocking certain books, usually pertaining to sex education and LBGTQ issues.

First they want to police the school library. Then it’s the public library. Now it’s an attempt to force a private company to do the same.

But tell me again how we shouldn’t perform background checks and waiting periods on people wishing to purchase automatic weapons, increase the age limit on buying guns, place restrictions on how much ammo can be purchased, and so on. It’s not the same, you say? You’re right. Because no one has ever walked into a school and killed a classroom of kids with a book. No one has ever walked into a church, a grocery store, or a movie theater carrying a book they got from the library and murdered the people within. No one has ever stood at window of a Vegas hotel and killed or injured nearly 500 people by lobbing books at them.

In another attempt to prevent school age children access to banned books, some school districts are removing the digital library service Overdrive from school access. Why? Because Overdrive lists books prohibited in those school districts.

Amazon has long dampened the ability for erotica to be found on a site search–now recent changes to their policies have stripped some books of their best-selling ranks and moved them out of their former categories into the erotica section, which greatly limits visibility and the ability to advertise these stories on the platform. Amazon makes up 80% of the average indie author’s sales. Amazon has the right as a private company to do this. Just as you have the right as a consumer not to read material you don’t want to read.

I find it ironic that the people who are the loudest about the “slippery slope” arguments when it comes to the 2nd Amendment have no problem icing down the sidewalks for the 1st Amendment, however.

Now you may think, well, this won’t affect me or my reading. And if you are part of the clean/wholesome only crowd, you may be right. For now.

Because there is always going to be someone out there who decides that their version of wholesome is the only correct, morally pure version–and that all other kinds of “wholesome” stories must follow suit or be banned.

And that’s my problem with this aspect of the creeping Purity Culture. It’s not enough to say, “I’ve decided to eliminate all gluten from my diet.” It’s saying “Gluten is an evil, horrible ingredient that should be banned from all food, and since no one in my family is eating gluten, we don’t think you should either.”

We don’t want pizza in our schools. Bakeries should stop selling cookies, croissants, doughnuts, and bagels. I refuse to have these things in my home and I DON’T WANT YOU TO HAVE THE PLEASURE OF CONSUMING THESE FOODS EITHER. The very fact that you take pleasure in a slice of warm crusty bread, fresh from the oven and slathered in butter means you are an immoral, filthy person. And if you are an immoral, dirty bread-eater, then your crude habits are putting my children and family at risk of doing the same. And THAT I will not tolerate.

See how that sounds?

You want to give up eating gluten? Want to go keto? Be my guest. But don’t cry foul when you have to walk past the bakery early on a Sunday morning and the smell of doughnuts reminds you of how good they can be.

First they came for the pregnant people…

I started to post this on Facebook, and then realized I needed more room to say what I have to say.

TW for SA, forced birth, loss of civil rights.

I may lose followers over this but I think it’s important that we understand ending Roe v Wade is not just about “stopping abortion”. If it was about that alone, then sex education and free birth control would be available to all. 

Roe v Wade was established on a fundamental right to privacy. Eliminate that, and you eliminate the right to privacy on everything. Everything.

They are already trying to ban ALL contraception in some states. Enacting laws that would require women to have a negative pregnancy test before leaving the state. Some people recommend you stop using any app that allows you to track your monthly cycles NOW. Can you imagine yourself as a business person, being required to show proof of a negative pregnancy test before you can fly out of state for your company? Before going on a trip to visit your family? Having your search history on your reproductive options–such as the one I used to put together this post–being used against you in a court of law?

They are currently creating laws that require a mother who has had a miscarriage prove that it wasn’t intentional while dealing with one of the worst emotional and physicals traumas of her life. Laws that make using an IUD a felony. Laws that prevent a woman from leaving an abusive relationship if she’s pregnant. Laws that force victims of rape to carry to term, even if that person is a minor. Laws that prevent the ending of a non-viable, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and demand the embryo be transferred and implanted: something that is NOT MEDICALLY POSSIBLE. Failure to terminate an ectopic pregnancy can kill the mother–but hey, what does that matter, right?

It’s about criminalizing anyone who seeks reproductive health care in this manner (or provides it) so they cannot vote again in the future.

It’s about ending your right to privacy: who you can love, marry, and build a family with.

It’s about creating a very specific theocracy that has no tolerance for other belief systems.

It’s about locking people into a cycle of poverty. It’s about preventing women from moving further up a corporate ladder, or being financially independent. It’s about eliminating each individual’s right to vote and creating a state where only the “head of house” is allowed to vote. It’s about giving that HOH absolute power over every family member, including the right to rape and perform incest.

At this point in time, 5% of all rape victims become pregnant as a result of their attack. Lawmakers are currently enacting legislation that would force victims to have continued contact with their rapists should the attack result in a pregnancy, giving the rapists more rights than the victims themselves. International law defends the right of a rape victim to get an abortion as a basic human right. How can we call ourselves the greatest nation on earth when we intend to strip half our citizens of a basic human right?

1% of all women using birth control still get pregnant. There are 72.7 million women of child-bearing age in the US right now. That comes to 727,000 unwanted pregnancies each year by people who took every precaution–short of not having sex with their partners–to prevent such a thing.

And that’s another factor in this creeping erosion of women’s rights: they want to be able to decide when we have sex and with whom. They want enjoying sex to be the prerogative of the impregnator, and the incubators just need to shut up and submit.

People tend to forget that it wasn’t all that long ago that women were not allowed to do certain things in the US that we take for granted today. Spousal rape wasn’t criminalized in all 50 states until 1993. Women were routinely charged more for health insurance until 2010. The birth control pill, which had been available since the 1950s, was not available to all unmarried women until 1972, and up until 1978 someone could get fired merely for being pregnant. A woman could not get a credit card in her own name until 1974, and many banks required they bring a male relative with them to co-sign. Women were deemed too “fragile” to serve on most juries until 1975, fight on the front lines until 2015, and were shut out of most Ivy League colleges until the 1970s as well. They could not take action against workplace sexual harassment until 1977. It was 1980 before workplace sexual harassment was considered a form of sexual discrimination.

My point being this: these hard-fought rights were not achieved all that long ago. And we are facing our biggest threat to those rights today. People like to believe that once civil rights have been granted, we can stop worrying about them. The truth is, they must be defended every single day, or else someone will try to take them from you.

I would like to say to those people who staunchly maintain that any baby’s life is more important than that of the mother, who do you intend to raise that baby? Feed it, clothe it, nurture and love it? Because as soon as that baby is born, the forced-birth extremists cease to care about it. No formula in the stores, no social programs, no safety net.

How about the fact that for a developed nation, the US has one of the worst records on maternal care? At least 2 people die in childbirth in the US each day, despite our spending more on healthcare than other developed nation. Most die from preventable causes. Black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, but that’s another stat these people don’t care about, because part of this drive to forced-birth extremism is about making more white babies. Tennis player Serena Williams, who had a history of blood clots in 2010 before her 2017 pregnancy, had to fight to get her medical team to screen her for blood clots when she lost the feeling in her legs after delivery of her daughter. If she had not been educated about her health issues, if she had not been a famous person, would she have survived?

Odds are, if she lived the Southern US, no.

To those who say that it’s God’s will a rape victim gets pregnant, or any person practicing birth control gets pregnant, I ask this: does this mean you don’t want to be treated for cancer? That you should be allowed to bleed out at the scene of a traffic accident? And whoa, who needs Viagra anymore, because isn’t that also GOD’S WILL?

If you think this is going to end with abortion rights, you are wrong. If you think this doesn’t apply to you personally, you are wrong. It may start with Roe v Wade, but it will spread to same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, what can be taught in schools, and book-banning. It will force a rape victim to give parental rights to her attacker. It will force people to remain in abusive relationships. It will strip large numbers of citizens of their right to vote, in part because the powerful want to remain in power. We can’t just move out of state, either. We must stand our ground and vote where we live while we still can vote.

And if you or anyone you know is capable of having babies, I would think long and hard about that vacation trip to New Orleans or sending my daughter to university in a red state right now.

 

An Embarrassment of Itches is Shortlisted for a Selfie Award!

A bit of a funny story here. See, I tend to submit my stories to a lot of awards contests. Not because I have an inflated idea of their worth–it’s mostly because I figure the more eyes I get on my stories, the greater the chance they will be seen and read by even more people. And if they final or win awards, the extra validation doesn’t hurt either.

This year, I found myself with my first ever cozy mystery, and many of the awards contests I’d entered in the past for my romances didn’t apply. I scrambled to find appropriate contests to enter and didn’t find out about some of the most prestigious awards contests until too late to submit. When I came across the Selfies, I banged out a submission but as soon as I clicked “enter”, I thought I’d made a big mistake.

There were no subcategories, only the single one of “adult fiction.” Mysteries, romance, women’s lit, you name it. All under one roof. And hosted by Publishers Weekly and Booklife. Kind of a big deal. I actually went so far as to wonder if this was even an appropriate contest to enter, and if I should contact the people in charge to see if I could get a refund. I figured they would email me and say An Embarrassment of Itches didn’t qualify, or at worse, they would keep my money and say tough luck, so in the end I let it go. Lesson learned, right?

Only last week, I got a Tweet from Maria Vale congratulating me on having Itches shortlisted for a Selfie. Because it was announced in Publishers Weekly!!! And I did one of those embarrassing, “Excuse me, what?” responses, and then dashed off to check my publishing email, which I don’t check nearly as often as I should because there was an email congratulating me on making the shortlist.

I am simply flabbergasted by this. I know I say this a lot, but I am. I really am. And while I have few expectations against so many great names and titles, I am honored beyond words.

I do like this story, too. If you haven’t read it, please consider checking it out.

Who Do I Have To Kill To Win A RONE Award?

Hah-hah. Just kidding. But it made you look, right? 🙂

I write cozy mysteries, so it amused my husband to suggest I would kill for an award. I told him if his brilliant idea for a blog post title backfired, I was blaming him.

An Embarrassment of Itches is up for a RONE Award for Best Mystery, and voting in this category to advance to the next round is now open! This is a prestigious award, and the competition is fierce! If you’re not familiar with the awards, this is a prestigious indie book award run by InD’Tale Magazine, and only those stories given a Crowned Heart of Excellence are candidates for a RONE award.

But as a debut author with a brand new pen name, I really don’t have the audience to garner the votes needed to move into the next round, so I need your help! 

In order to vote, you need to have an account with InD’Tale Magazine. If you don’t already have one, you should get one! It’s the PREMIERE magazine for indie authors. New accounts must be verified before you can vote, and voting for the category closes May 8, so don’t wait until the last second!

To log in or create an account with InD’Tale Magazine, click here.

Or if you know you already have an account, you can go to the home page and go to the upper right corner to log in. Once you are logged in, the voting page is here. Look for week 4! Or you can search for the RONE awards from the dropdown menu along the upper right tab where it says InDescribe/Rones and search for the 2022 Awards.

I’m hopeful that with your support, I can at least make a decent showing. I’ve decided if Itches advances to the next round, I’ll have a giveaway of some sort. If Itches wins, we’ll have a party!

And if you could share this information, I would be deeply grateful–thank you so much!

 

How to Vote in the RONE Awards: An Embarrassment of Itches

Goodness, I’m late getting this post up! SO much has been going on. The Dog Days of Murder (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 2) was released April 2, and your response has been delightful! If I didn’t tell you before, An Embarrassment of Itches (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 1) won the Mystery Category in the PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards, and has also won for Best Animal Story and Best Cozy Mystery in the Firebird Awards.

Kirkus Reviews enjoyed An Embarrassment of Itches as well, calling it “a well-paced and entertaining series opener with an appealing protagonist.”

And now I’ve been notified that An Embarrassment of Itches has been nominated for a RONE award! If you’re not familiar, this is a prestigious indie book award run by InD’Tale Magazine, and only those stories given a Crowned Heart of Excellence are candidates for a RONE award.

Here’s the thing. In order to move into the next round of judging, nominated books must pass a reader voting round. The truth is, as a debut cozy mystery author under a brand new pen name, I simply don’t have the following to make Itches a contender. That’s why I need your vote (and for you to spread the word too)!

Voting in the Mystery Category for the RONE Awards runs from May 2nd to May 8th. You may only vote ONE TIME and you must be logged in to the site to do so (to protect the voting process). If you don’t already have an account with InD’Tale Magazine, you must set up an account and have it verified before you can vote. I should have posted this ages ago because voting as already opened (and closed!) in other categories, but I got swamped and forgot all about it. So I’m posting about the registration process today and will send out a reminder when it comes closer to the Mystery week.

To log in or create an account with InD’Tale Magazine, click here.

Or if you know you already have an account, you can go to the home page and go to the upper right corner to log in. Once you are logged in (and verified if the account is new), the voting page is here. Or you can search for the RONE awards from the dropdown menu along the upper right tab where it says InDescribe/Rones and search for the 2022 Awards.

The competition is going to be fierce! I doubt seriously I will move into the next round of judging, but I would love to make a decent showing! So I would love it if you’d register to vote and/or spread the word! An Embarrassment of Itches could use your vote come May 2nd!

 

An Embarrassment of Itches Spotlight and #Giveaway

What a whirlwind of events this month! The Dog Days of Murder had a smashing release day, and I’m thrilled at the reception it has received! I also found out that An Embarrassment of Itches has been nominated for a RONE award, and I’ll be doing a post later this week about how the voting process works to make it to the next round. As a debut author under a new pen name, I’m not holding my breath for moving forward, but it is a great honor to have been nominated! Voting for my category opens the first week in May, so stay tuned for more instructions!

 

In the meantime, Itches is being featured at The Mystery Section! You can enter the Rafflecopter to win a copy of An Embarrassment of Itches! Check it out here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Dog Days of Murder is available for Pre-order Now!

You’d think I’d be better at this book launch/new release thing by now but nope, not really. 🙂

It dawned on me that I hadn’t made a formal announcement regarding the upcoming release of the next Ginny Reese mystery! *dopeslap*

That’s right–The Dog Days of Murder is coming out April 2 (because I didn’t want to release it on April Fool’s Day) and you can pre-order it now from Amazon and these various retailers

Life for house-call vet Ginny Reese should be smooth sailing, right? After inheriting a significant estate from a client, she’s in the process of buying a practice from her longtime mentor (and rekindling her relationship with Joe, her ex) when an outsider–a hot young vet with ties to Joe–sweeps in and scoops the sale out from under her. Well, you know Ginny’s outrageous mother won’t take that lying down! When the newcomer winds up dead after everyone heard Ginny’s mother threaten her, it’s up to Ginny and Remy to find the real killer before her mother goes down for murder!

You can place your order now!

Romancing the Vote: The Most AMAZING Auction ever!!

Whew! Have you checked out Romancing the Vote’s auction to raise money for Fair Fight yet? If not, why not?

You won’t BELIEVE the amazing items up for grabs! No, seriously, if you haven’t gone to look yet, run and do so now! Facetime with your favorite authors! Manuscript critiques by industry leaders. Copy editing, cover art, consults with scriptwriters and show runners! Autographed books, gift baskets, HOMEMADE COOKIES, jewelry, embroidery, and more. You can donate directly to Fair Fight, or you can roll your sleeves up and dive into a bidding war for your coveted item! There’s something for every desire and budget, so check it out!

I’m offering a Redclaw Origins package, which includes signed copies of the award-winning Bishop Takes Knight and Bishop’s Gambit, as well as some swag and a mystery surprise gift (hint: jewelry).

But the auction ends soon! You only have until 8 pm CST on Feb 18 to fight for your prizes! So run, don’t walk, to the auction and get your bids in! Good luck, and happy bidding!

It Wouldn’t Be Valentine’s Day without a Party!

Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an author of romances will overbook herself for Valentine’s Day.

But my ambitious scheduling is your boon! (How’s that for a nice, old-fashioned word?)

I’ve got so much going on right now! The Dog Days of Murder (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 2) is in edits. I’m busy working on Bishop’s Endgame, the final installment of the Redclaw Origins series. An Embarrassment of Itches (Ginny Reese Mysteries Book 1) is up for a year-end award in the PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards! The category is CONSPIRACY/THRILLER/MYSTERY/ACTION ADVENTURE/DARK COMEDY/HISTORICAL/FANTASY/EPIC FANTASY and the competition is FIERCE. I would be thrilled if you could help me make a decent showing by voting for Itches. You can only vote once, so read through all the categories and make sure you vote for all your favorite authors! (Or just look for Itches and vote for it! 😉 ) Voting ends 2.12.22 so be sure to get your vote in while it counts!

The link for voting is here. I really appreciate your support!

The next thing is starting Feb 14, I’m participating in my third Winter Games on Facebook. Over 60 authors are banding together to offer books for the biggest, best, reader review party on Facebook. Love to read? Join the reader’s group and get in on the fun and games! There are regular giveaways, as well as free books for you to read and review. The person who reviews the most books in the two week time period is in the running for the Grand Prize, which gets bigger every year! So check out the Winter Game Reader Challenge Group and join in the fun! The party hasn’t officially begun but there are already lots of run-off events leading to the big day.

I’m also participating in the Romancing the Vote auction raising money to support voting rights. Last time the auction was held, we raised an incredible amount of money to donate to the run-off races in Georgia. Writers from all walks (but especially romance authors) donated their time, expertise, books, and more to the auction. There truly is something for every level of participation. Some of the big ticket items are one-on-one time with your favorite authors, critiques of your manuscripts, annotated copies of your favorite novels, consults with TV/movie producers and more. But there are also autographed books, gift baskets, embroidery, sticker, you name it! You have to check out the list of items up for auction–they are AMAZING. Auction opens 2.14.22.

I’m offering a gift package of signed copies of Bishop Takes Knight and Bishop’s Gambit (Redclaw Origins 1&2), as well as some swag and a mystery gift! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! From the auction website:

We are romance authors, readers, and fans who care about the future of this country and are inspired by fellow romance author Stacey Abrams to do what we can to preserve the right to vote. Democracy only thrives when every vote can be cast and counted, and we are fighting to help dismantle the legacy of voter suppression both in Georgia and across the country.

All funds raised through our project will go to Fair Fight.

Romancing the Vote is the sequel to Romancing the Runoff, which was coordinated by Alyssa Cole, Courtney Milan, and Kit Rocha in 2020 and raised almost $500,000 for voting organizations in Georgia. They are joined in 2022 by the same amazing group of volunteers, and their official “Take Care of Yourself” wrangler, Tessa Dare.

Direct link to my gift basket is here.

Yep. Valentine’s Day is going to be stellar! I hope you’ll join me!

Am I TikTok Famous Yet?

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I first heard about TikTok in 2020. It seemed to be a place where people made short videos (not in my skill set) where they danced (so not me!) or make-up tutorials (interesting but how many can you watch?). I had ZERO interest to start an account or even watch more than one or two cute animal videos that friends sent to me.

I had a lot of concerns about the format:

  1. Did I REALLY need to be on yet another social media platform?? Especially one that seemed to rely heavily on putting your face out there? Sure there are accounts where people managed to make entertaining content while not showing their face, but did they get the same following? Probably not.
  2. Did you see the part about “entertaining content”? I’m a writer, not an actress, producer, or sound editor. There’s a reason I live mostly behind a keyboard.
  3. The format seemed to be similar to tumblr, which I hated. A constant flow of bite sized posts with little way of tracking the ones you liked (or so I thought). 
  4. I have a LOT of reasons for not wanting my face on social media. I’ve had a stalker. I’m concerned my place of employment would take exception to the fact I’ve written a few racy romances (even though most of mine are fairly tame).
  5. I kept hearing concerns about the security of your information, given that TT is a subsidiary of a Chinese-based company.
  6. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to come up with more than 1-2 videos before running out of ideas.
  7. Almost everyone I saw on TikTok was gorgeous, and I’m not. I’m old, frumpy, and at least 40 pounds overweight. I grew up hearing how homely I was, and that the worst thing a woman could do was show her age and gain weight, so naturally, I did both. I absolutely loathe looking in the mirror. I’m not kidding. 

So I resisted the urge to join. I kept hearing what a great place BookTok was, however, and the FOMO was strong. Then too, I kept seeing these hysterically funny videos by Alisha Rai showing up on my Twitter and Instagram feeds, where she depicts little conversations between Satan and one of his minions. They are utterly brilliant. Still, I held out. TikTok wasn’t for me.

But then authors kept saying what an AMAZING place TikTok was for discoverability, especially for smaller authors or your backlist. And I was mightily tempted. Maybe I could make some vids without showing my face? Mark Dawson did a five day challenge in his Self-Publishing Formula group, and I decided to create an account and make a few videos. Shabby efforts at first. I had no idea what I was doing.

But then I got snowed in for a 3-day weekend, and I watched a LOT of TikTok. I tried out recipes, started Tai Chi, laughed over cute animal vids, considered side hustles that would let me quit the day job, began watching makeup tutorials aimed at my age group (so frustrating that makeup tends to look TERRIBLE on me now), and got really, really frustrated with the poor quality of my videos. It reminded me of when I first joined livejournal and I didn’t know how to code or embed images and I wanted to play SO BADLY that I taught myself.

So I began watching a crap-ton of TT tutorials. And then I discovered that Canva had a mobile app that allowed you to upload your creations directly to TT! I learned out to change the font, color, and size of my text, and how to make it appear at exactly the right time in the video.

And then, God help me. I discovered the filters. I began playing with filters, wigs, makeup, and transitions  I saved sound clips to use, got ideas from watching others, and became the queen of lip-syncing. I learned how to do the clever transitions, and have had a blast making short vids. Me, who rarely took videos and hadn’t the foggiest idea how to edit ANYTHING before TT. I was doing something I haven’t done in a very long time–probably not since the beginning of the pandemic–I was having fun. Okay, so not TikTok famous, and haven’t make a single sale as far as I can tell. And my friends were quick to point out that the filters and wigs weren’t disguising me–anyone who knew me would recognize me. I discovered then that I’d truly run out of f*cks to give. I didn’t care. Might my coworkers run across my videos? Yeah. Could I get fired? Maybe. But the thought of that doesn’t terrify me as much as it used to. I used to believe I was trapped, that I didn’t have the skill set to do much of anything else if I lost my job and jobs in this area are few and far between. A few weeks on TikTok, and suddenly I’m not afraid of that anymore.

BUT….

 

I haven’t written more than 100 words in the last two weeks. I’ve drafted over 30 TikTok videos, however. Sounds good, right? Only that’s about 10 days worth of content, according to the algorithms for getting notice on TT. I had the day off yesterday, and instead of writing, I made TT videos all morning long. I wasn’t sleeping well before I joined TT, but I was at least attempting to go to bed at a reasonable time. Now I’m often up past 1 am when I have work the next day. I’m hearing 15 second sound clips in my head all the time. My ability to focus, a little shaky already, has gone in the GUTTER. I also find myself picking up my phone and checking TT every couple of minutes. It feels like an addiction, peeps.

I suspect it’s like anything else when I first discover it–I dive in headfirst and become completely absorbed until I master the skills I want to use, and then my obsession will settle down. Moving forward, I’ll have to practice a little self-control. I’m doing a lot of things wrong, too. My posts don’t have any call to action, and I’m not staying in my niche/lane. I probably have more writers following me than readers. I’ve gained over 700 followers in 2 weeks, but at least half (if not more) of those are bots or men looking for a good time (seriously, you think TT is a dating app??). And sadly, I am not TikTok famous. Yet.

But that’s okay because, for now, I’m having fun.