Friday, April 10, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Love Letters ~ Activism

Good morning, darklings, or evening, or whatever time you have wherever you are. Have some coffee. It's kind of coldish and sleeting here and not like spring at all, but coffee makes everything better.

I am a truly terrible blogger, so I thought I'd try something new, in hopes of inspiring myself to talk to you lovelies a little more regularly.

My progress report for DeVante's Children remains "progress is slow" and I hate to keep shouting "buy my other books" - when probably ya'll already have. (But in case you haven't, I DID just drop the price of Jeremiah Quick from 3.99 to 1.99, so now's a really great time to buy it at Amazon or Smashwords) (grin).

MY POINT IS... it's time to change things up, and so I'm giving myself a trite and busy A to Z challenge, starting now. I'm calling it Love Letters, because, well, yanno, the letters of the alphabet are the tools of my trade, and since I love what I do, and since I want to feel passion, I'm going to write about things that inspire passion in myself. So there. And since Alice tends to hang around above my head in my writing nook, I figure I'll change up the blog, too, and call it Alice 'n Me, and and share some fun little dragon picture and maybe even some cricket massacre videos along the way. Because Alice is a weird kid, and I adore her.

A is for Activism

So we (Alice and I) shall start this challenge off with A is for Activism. Because my darlings, I think it is time.

Time? Time for what?



It's time to realize that while I, personally, have been able to do and learn a lot of really great things at my day job, the industry itself is a gigantic mess that hurts the very people I most want to help.

Sometimes the only way it seems like I can be effective is to go beyond the scope of my job, to care too much, and honestly, in what I do, caring too much might actually be a signal that it's time to do something else.

Weird, huh?

I'm not talking about writing books, here, obviously.

So anyway. I need to figure out how to position myself to work with the people I love to work with before they land in the system that I currently work in. And I don't know if that means looking to work in a different place, or volunteering somewhere, or taking a gigantic risk and starting my own kind of place, but... my eyes are wide open.

I can't bear another Leelah Alcorn, Taylor Alesana, or a single one of the SEVEN young trans suicides that have been completed so far this year, as reported by the Advocate.  I can't close my eyes to the fact that kids are dying from bullying and cruelty and being unable to find a safe space in REAL LIFE.

I can't, I can't, I can't.

I don't know what the answers are, but I'm going to look for some.

The weird, the strange, the queer, the antisocial, the trans, the quiet, the lost, the scared, the throwaways, the sensitives, the Dark, the ones who just can't figure out how to fit into mainstream society or can't figure out why they don't - I want them - I want them ALL, and I want to help them learn how to EXIST here. How to be themselves. How to be artists. How to say NO. How to survive. How to stop hurting themselves because the world hurts them enough already.

Eyes wide open and ready for action. That's activism, isn't it?

If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.

And hey - if you or someone you know calls one of the above numbers and gets blown off or treated less than respectfully, I wanna hear about it - in a comment here, or even better, in a quick email to


Monday, March 23, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Story formats, Series versus Serials

Good morning, Darklings, and happy Monday.

I have no idea what I'm doing, as far as any kind of blogging schedule. We're pretty random these days ("We" being me and the dragon on the window sill of my office), because of Alice's Tree.

See, I had this silk tree behind my bed for oh, about the last decade. But I'm making an effort to eliminate dust and dander from my sleeping space for migraine prevention, and the last time I let Alice run around on my bed, her eyes landed on that tree, and holy smokes, she was hell-bent to climb it. There was a decade's worth of dust on that damn tree. I'm looking at this thing, and thinking... how much of that falls on us during headboard-banging sex, seriously? Yep, gotta go. Dragged that sucker to the shower and washed it. Let it dry. Dragged it into my office where it officially became Alice's Tree.

So. For Alice to sit in her tree and stare out the window, I have to sit in my office and pretend to be productive. Which means editing, writing, updating my reading list, and writing blog posts completely off schedule. I'm going to assume nobody minds.

I updated my reading list. There were about three books that were supposed to be "book one" of hot new serIES - only every single one of them was more like part one of a hot new serIAL.

I have feelings about this.

Not particularly positive feelings.

To me, a series is like... Lee Child's Jack Reacher, or Robert B. Parker's Spenser Tracy, Sandford's Lucas Davenport, Rice's Louis and Lestat, Hamilton's Anita Blake  - we've got characters who get into situations, or private investigators and cops with cases, right? There's a main character who does their profession or their thing, gets into situations, or takes cases, does investigations, and each book has a plot arc with a beginning and a middle and an end. In a series, there tends to be character development across books, and often a romantic subplot (or several) and all sorts of loose ends that flow from book to book and not every single one of them gets tied up into a neat and pretty bow.

But a romantic three-book series a la Fifty Shades (maybe Fifty Shades started this annoy?) where book one ends with we can't possibly stay together, and book two ends with we can't possibly stay away from each other, and book three ends with the wedding, isn't a series. 

This is a serial. It might be a trilogy, but even calling it that is a bit of a stretch. A trilogy tends to be bigger, and have multiple plot arcs - think Lord of the Rings.

And the difference is when you're reading a story in serial format, you don't expect a complete beginning, middle, and ending plot arc in each installment. You EXPECT each installment to end with a cliffhanger, because that's how this format works.

So I dunno, call me picky (I don't mind, I AM picky), but when you call a series of books a "series",  I like a comfortable and satisfying ending to each and every book. That's all. K, thx.

Have a happy week, Darklings. Oddly enough, spring seems to have arrived early here in northern Wisconsin, which is a first. And I am definitely not complaining.

Until next time... Live long and prosper. Peace out.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

SM Johnson ~ Progress report

Good morning, Darklings,

I'm popping in to report that DeVante's Children (Revamped) is working out to be A-mazing. I'm so excited to share these guys with you - better (and hotter) than ever. Rewriting a first novel has been an eye-opening process, and all the better with the help of my local writer's group, picking at my characterization flaws, plot black holes, and all the other pitfalls a first-time novelist runs into.

Kill your darlings - gods, how I hate that phrase, and yet, how true it is. Sometimes the words we are in love with have to go, and yes, it's painful as hell - but cutting is part of discovering the real story.

My story meter tells that I'm 150% done with DeVante's Children, which is hysterically funny - and absolutely not true - but it also means that I've written a ton of new words and added new scenes to make up for what I'm having to cut.

DeVante himself is as reserved and cryptic as ever, Daniel as boyish, and Roderick every bit as full of spit and vinegar (and trouble) as before - all of this, but more so, and all within the confines of a nice tight story. With hotter sex. Because I'm better at this now (wink).

When it's ready for release, I promise ya'll will be the first to know.

Have a great week, darklings, and don't try to fix anything today, because mercury is in retrograde or something, and every home improvement project we've touched this weekend (and some we haven't EVEN touched), has gone to shit! Yikes!