#QueerLit #LGBTQbooks #WritingTip Ten Things to Know Before Adding a Non-Binary Character to Your Story

Note: This post has grown significantly in the past few days, so there are more than ten. If you want the short and sweet version, read the orange and bold-italic sections. That’ll give you the gist. However, if you’ve never written a non-binary character I strongly suggest you read the entire post. 

So I’ve been reading, a dangerous thing these days, I know, especially for an author. But really, I have been reading, and beta-reading too, and I’ve come across several problems that I believe need to be addressed concerning non-binary characters.

Authors, if you add a non-binary character into your story, please take the following into consideration:

  1. Non-binary characters shouldn’t have their assigned at birth gender revealed early in a story, if at all, and only if it’s totally necessary. If the character still goes by their assigned-at-birth pronouns, fine, but if the character goes by they/them or any other non-binary pronoun choice then an author should respect this. Negating the non-binary by revealing the birth gender is unacceptable unless it is a situation like a courtroom (most states in the U.S. don’t recognize the non-binary) or the bedroom (where there should be frank discussion IMO before anything happens) and then the author should tread lightly, more so if the author isn’t non-binary (#ownvoices).

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#AppalachianElementals #FictionFri The Rhodes Family Tree

One of the major themes in the Appalachian Elementals series is family. It was central to  Cleaning House, to Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree, and is central to Keeping House, my current work in progress. Family is also, like in many cultures, central to Appalachia. We’re traditionally close-knit, though that has somewhat changed over the last few generations. That said, I might, at a later date, take a closer look at Tess and Roslyn Rhodes’ generation (meaning write a story where they’re the MCs, but that’s for another day since I’m currently neck deep in #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

When Cleaning House was a rough draft, I scrawled out the Rhodes’ family tree as it relates to Cent and her cousin, Aubrey, adding details like birth/death dates, where the magic derives from in each family member, if there’s any magic at all, and ended up with four-five generations (depending on your take), going back to Cent and Aubrey’s great-great-grandmother Amadahy, a fictional member of the North Carolina Cherokee tribal rolls (one of my own ancestors, six generations back, is listed on those same rolls, I’ve been told).

Anyway, that initial scrawl to set down a lineage has become the graphic below, an actual family tree.

Creating the family tree helped bring the characters to life, to give them roots. It helped me determine how they might have thought, their experiences,  how things developed between generations and, more specifically, where things have gone wrong. Continue reading

1: An Introduction to Jeanne’s YouTube Writing #Playlist – Best Played on Shuffle

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 … This marks the final day of my ten-day countdown to the release of my novella Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree. Tomorrow. Tomorrow? Yikes! Tomorrow! You can read more about #HolidayTreeNovella at the bottom of this post, but today I’m taking you taking you on a brief tour of my writing playlist because, why not? Because music, poetry, and prose are closely related and forever intertwined.


In my younger years, meaning in the days before children, post-grad studies and, eventually, illness and disability, I was a musician. I played several instruments including woodwinds, guitar, bass guitar, and piano. That said, I’m a music junkie. My tastes are diverse to say the least, and I almost always have my earbuds in whenever I’m writing.

Yes, I have a writing playlist on YouTube, a decent-sized one at 432 songs and counting, and it’s one that I frequently listen to via my Chrome browser (Hint: I use an ad blocker so it flows uninterrupted – cheater, cheater, yes, I know). I also use Pandora from time to time, but I keep getting blasted with music I simply don’t care for, so I never stay long. And, yes, before you ask, I sometimes use Spotify, but they often don’t have the songs or artists I’m looking for.

Why do I have a playlist and, more importantly, why do I have it set to public? I know no better way to get to know someone, from a distance, than accessing the music they listen to regularly.

So if you wish to get to know me as a writer, aside from my blog, this is the quickest means.

Here are the newest additions to my playlist (Note: this might change at any point because I add songs almost daily anymore).

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3: #HolidayTreeNovella #AppalachianElementals #FictionFriday Where do you Find Creative Inspiration?

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3…This is the eighth day of my ten-day countdown to the release of my holiday novella, Mama, Me, & the Holiday Tree, #1.5 in the Appalachian Elementals series. Today, I’m talking about inspiration and where best to find it.

 


Inspiration (noun)

  1. An inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
  2. Something inspired, as an idea.
  3. A result of inspired activity.

(courtesy of Dictionary.com)

All artists, writers, and creative sorts, need inspiration. Ideas don’t generally manifest out of thin air. There has to be something to trigger creativity. An idea. An image. An emotion. A hallucination. A bender (not suggested).Insert your own trigger here.

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8: Yet Another Blog Post About the Need for Diversity in Writing

 10, 9, 8… This marks day three of my ten-day countdown to the release of my novella Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree. You can read more about #HolidayTreeNovella at the bottom of this post, but today I’m discussing something I often address in my writing, and even in the subtitle of this website, diversity.

 


 

Yeah, you’ve heard it all before. We need diversity.

And we do, more so now than ever.

 

Spare me if you disagree.

Spare me if you’re tired of hearing it.

Maybe if more authors listened, authors like me wouldn’t need to keep repeating this.

 

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10: #HolidayTreeNovella #WritersLife The Real Struggle to Define my Writing or A Guide to Plot Bunny Fur

10 This marks day first day of my ten-day countdown until the release of my novella Mama, Me, and the Holiday Tree. You can read more about #HolidayTreeNovella at the bottom of this post, but today I’m relating my struggle to define myself as a writer or a creating a plot bunny Swiffer ad one.

I’ll let you decided.


So I’ve been thinking about my writing, about its consistent inconsistencies, and I’ve decided to summarize it so others might understand that the struggle is very real.

Here goes.

Me in 2000 – first trying to get my material out there: (In a tentative voice) I’ve written a couple of short stories and a few poems. Want to see them?

Enter novel-length Sci-Fi plot bunny: Hi! Waves at poetry bunny and short-story plot bunny as they hop away: Later!

 

 

Me in 2005 – my first novel finds print: (In a semi-confident voice) I write novel-length Science Fiction.

Enter novel-length epic Sci-Fi plot bunny. Yeah, but…

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Author How-To: The Art of the Press Release

(looks up at this post’s title) The press release might not be an actual art, but there are definite reasons and rules.

Pardon my virtual mess. I’m sweeping up from my latest press release. Yeah, press releases aren’t fun. In fact, they’re drier than dust to create, but they’re a necessary evil, albeit one that might or might not bear any fruit.

So why bother with a press release for your newest novel?

  • Getting the information out there
  • You’re proud of all your hard work
  • Someone out there might be listening
  • You might actually get some coverage

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#WritersLife Writing What You Know… or Not: One Author’s Experience

If you look up the phrase “write what you know” through your favored search engine, you’ll get a plethora of answers. Yes. No. Don’t ever. Always. Take your pick. It’s sage advice if it works for you. That said, I offer no answer one way or the other, but I can offer you my own experiences so you can, perhaps, decide for yourself.

I’ve been writing since my childhood and publishing for thirteen years, a long time for the former and a while for the latter. I’m going to use numbers and bullets to make my experiences understandable and, hopefully, relatable.

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Author How-To: Book Promotion and the Disabled Author

First off, let’s change a word in that title. Let’s strike out disabled and replace it with differently abled because it’s not that you and I can’t, it’s more like we often need to go about things differently. Regardless, disabled is the more common term, so I left it in the title.

How do I, as a differently-abled author, handle book promotion? Here’s my go-to list along with some explanations and tips that I hope will help other authors long their way.

Social Media
  •  Website – If you’re an author, you should have an active website devoted to your work and writing in general, including cross-promoting other authors. If at all possible, create your own website, whether it’s a paid or free one is up to you, but if you can’t then get someone to help you
  • Twitter – The twitterverse is often a nightmare of conflict but, if you can stay clear of that, it’s a fairly good place to do a bit of promo. (Note: that does not mean I suggest doing paid ads there.) Here’s a link to a post that tells you how to create clickable images in tweets without creating or paying for an ad. And there are some excellent Twitter chats out there too. Investigate and see which one(s) might work for you. My regular chat is #writestuff at 9 p.m. Eastern. It’s a small chat that’s easy for me to follow via Tweetdeck, a social account platform that goes with Twitter. I don’t have multiple Twitter accounts, but it lets me isolate the chat from my general feed so I can keep up.
  • Facebook – FB, in my experience, is best for socializing with other authors more than it is for connecting with readers. I have a private page as well as an author page. The former is much more active than the latter. Like with Twitter, I am not advising you to use FB’s paid ads. In fact, I discouraged it. I’ve used FB ads and nothing came of it. Zip. It was a waste of money.
  • Instagram – If you take a lot of photos, this is great. I’m not big into Instagram because my hands tremor too much to take a decent photo. Some authors are, however, excellent at using Instagram, and if it’s your thing, then use it to your advantage. Yes, I have an Instagram account. No, I don’t use it like I should. (NOTE: My Instagram had an old password, meaning it was hacked and all my access was removed because foolish me hadn’t put two-layered authentification in place). Sigh. I have a new account, but I haven’t posted to it yet. If you come across the Instagram account jlgfellers – it’s the hacked one. My new Instagram is jeannegfellers.) I know nothing about Instagram ads, if there is such a thing.
  • TumblrI use my Tumblr repost my blogs. I don’t have a significant following there, but I haven’t really tried either. (Because of the Instagram scare, I deleted my Tumblr account.  It wasn’t worth the risk.)
  • Goodreads – Goodreads reposts my blogs too, and I get some feedback from readers via the site.
  • Youtube – if you like to vlog, this is a goldmine for you. If you make your own book trailers (most authors have little success doing them), then post yours there. I’m now using Youtube to share playlists for my Appalachian Elemental series, and I’ve had a nice response from readers. In short, they think it’s ingenious, and they really like it. (grin) I just think it’s fun. I’ve research Goodreads ads and they’re out of my budget, as is their book contests/giveaways.
  • Amazon Author Central – A must if you’re selling books on Amazon, even through a traditional publisher. Link your blog, post appearances, link your profile to your books. You can advertise with Amazon on a budget and it’s something I’m looking into.
  • There are lots of other social media outlets such as wattpad and Pinterest (the latter of which I plan on investigating for my writing). Search for what works best for you. I know nothing about advertising where these platforms are concerned.

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#Research #ownvoices Author How-To: Researching your Novel – My Experience and a Few Words of Advice

Have a seat. We need to talk.

First things first, I’m a retired English teacher (for medical reasons… I’m not really that old). Moreover, I’m a retired college English instructor, hence the pennant, who taught research writing.  (clears her throat) Now that I’ve established myself as a reasonable authority on the subject of research, let’s talk about doing research for your novel.

NOTE: If you’re a student looking for help honing your research skills, please go elsewhere. Run. This information is geared for authors of fiction, not student researchers.

Wait, what? Oh, what do I know about novel writing? I’m the author of seven novels, six Sci-Fi and one Contemporary Fantasy, so I have a little experience in that regard as well.

I didn’t say the above out of some sense of one-upmanship. I’m merely stating fact. I know what I’m talking about when I tell you about researching for your novel, meaning I employ many of the same tactics research writers use.

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