Past Transphobic Missteps

Many of you know that I’m the parent of a trans-teen, so there’s certain issues and causes I’m passionate about–but I’m hesitant to throw my hat in the ring when readers are critical of authors misrepresenting trans people. Why? –because my first erotic horror novel did just that.


Art by Laura Carboni

I crafted Gadarene as an ill-informed CIS-gendered heterosexual, and the trans character in the book displays many idealized misconceptions CIS people have about transwomen. I got away with it I think because the character was emotionally traumatized, and the angst over identity formula is often given a quiet pass. When I look back at Gadarane, I can see that making Wira Boruta deny her true nature toward the end, wasn’t just my ignorant way of making m/m fans happy—it was my ignorant way of viewing a transwoman.

My teen is a non-binary transperson (back then they were 9 nine years old, unable to engage in a dialog with me about my problematic representation of Wira). Having grown with them and seen the struggles, the ignorance, and the downright wrongness aimed at gay and lesbian transpeople, I’m regretful of my CIS colored heteronormative representation of Wira Boruta.

I’m proud of the story that C.B. Potts helped me tell in Gadarene, but I’m ashamed of the choices I made in depicting my trans-character.

Flash forward many years later, to a short story I wrote for an Eastern European magazine. The transman Jonathan Cole in the short Mine to Keep, doesn’t get the full realization Wira did in Gadarene—but my positive representation of him is sullied when falls victim to the sociopathic ego of the surgeon, that made him the man he was born to be.

My teen doesn’t read my erotic works, but upon explanation of the character, found (my) healthy depiction of a transman got ruined by the violence (I) perpetrated against him. They asked me to stop writing transpeople if you can’t portray them without beating them up with your own baggage. I almost dismissed their words, because I beat up every character I write with my own baggage—no matter what their identity, but my teen is right, maybe I should step away if my only use for a trans character is to eroticize, or victimize, or worse.

New Scam Out There

This is a tricky one, because you’ll risk alienating real readers that do contact you–but if you explain to them beforehand why you’re responding to them this way, it’ll go over easy.

A few years back when I was releasing work and marketing it, I’d get emails asking for autographed copies of my books. The sender would go into detail about what books they read, what they liked about them, and would give me their opinions on the artists I worked with—on any given title. It was more than a stock, hey I like your work can I get an autograph.

Since the start of the summer, I’ve gotten a few emails telling me ‘I’m a fan of your work’, and then asking, ‘Can I get your autograph?’ For writers it’s a no-brainer, just send them an autographed copy of whatever title you have set aside for things like this—I did this twice in three months, and noticed that both books ended up in Amazon Marketplace (poor fools, no cares about an autographed copy of anything I’ve written!).  I still sell whatever stock I have left in my studio, on Amazon Marketplace. I offer to sign it, as incentive to buy from me, as the author, and not the dozens of other sellers, selling my books. :/

This sort of scam, takes money from me.

I don’t fault book dealers that buy copies from readers, or my distributor Ingram, and sell at Amazon Marketplace—because those channels pays me. Preying on a creators sense of accomplishment (taking advantage of their pride or ego), isn’t cool. There’s scores of indie authors out there too that have no doubt fallen for this. It’s stealing pure and simple.

Going forward, I reply:

Thank you so much, I appreciate the compliment. Which works of mine is your favorite, and why? What artist that I’ve worked with do you like best? Do you read BL/yaoi, who is your favorite mangaka?

I’ve done this four times now, and got no reply. I haven’t seen any twitter, tumblr, or LiveJournal posts, complaining about what a narcissistic asshole I am for twenty-questioning someone that just wants an autograph.

I’m going to assume they weren’t truly interested in the first place.

Still Alive…

Suffocation manuscript is about 55% of the way through editorial. Holodomor manuscript, first-draft mode, is a mess on the floor. I’ll be trucking through chapter-arrangement and cutting/adding scenes, while waiting for the next round of edits for Suffocation.

Yep, that’s where I’m at. :)

On the book sales front, things are still chugging along nicely, though I’ve made no upgrades to the eReader editions of the comics I’ve released. I recently sent out some autographed copies of Loud Snow, and paid my distributor fee for Games with Me.  See? Boring stuff.

I’ve been somewhat absent on social media because writing and revising takes all my keyboard time–it’ll be worth it in the end, because I know Femitokon is a great series, and I know readers will dig it.


Kickstarter Shoutout!

Remember the tone work in my graphic novel Games with Me? The young artist responsible for that work, Cetriya, has a project of her own that needs a signal boost.


The book is called Oeclair:

In trying to save her best friend, Shara is caught in the storm barrier of the outer edge of the open sea and is hurled to the unknown side.

She wakes up in an imperfect world, complete contrast of her warm and peaceful home. A world where health is a luxury and most are just trying to survive the day. She becomes a hunted outcast by the zealous and oppressive ruling order, wanting to take her secret of ‘perfection’.

Support any way you can, pledges start at $5, and as with any Kickstarter, goodies abound!  $20 gets you a signed printed copy, a video of the artist making the book, and a clear-file.

PSA: Stop Reading Single-Volume Books in the Store!

When I began allowing returns on my stock of self-produced titles, I noticed an immediate increase in orders from vendors selling online, those that also have brick and mortar stores. Before this, my distributor, Ingram, sold to online outlets only—typical POD orders were five to ten books every quarter (unless an artist I worked with did a convention and promoted the print versions – then the numbers increased.)

By allowing returns, small shops selling online with actual storefronts, order sparsely–and my quarterly returns are few and far between (1 book per quarter, tops!). There are times when a return comes back to me in rough condition, because hobotaki (aisle-readers) have read the entire book, with buying it. >_<  The spine is broke, the front cover is bent – some even dogear the pages. I cannot resell that at Amazon. =_=;


I wish comic shops and small bookstores were more diligent in stopping in-store reading (I’m not talking about a person that opens the book and browses the art—I’m talking about the asshat that sits down and READS the entire book, while in the store). Aisle-reading is tolerated, because manga tend to be produced in multiple volumes—if a hobotaki reads one, they’ll buy the others (because if they show up every day to read the other volumes, then the store owner has something to say!). This hurts those of us that create single-volume graphic novels, sold in the manga section.

I’d also prefer if the store owner just marked the price down and sold it there, but getting full credit back from Ingram is financially sound. All I can say is, thank goodness for Half-Price Books. :)

Spring Update

Still writing.

First round of revisions on Suffocation is being edited by a new set of eyes, while I begin tackling how to approach revisions on the first draft of Holodomor. The first-draft of the third novel, Memory Kill, was so big I had to split it in two, adding another novel to the series.


If you’re just tuning in, I quit writing comics in 2013, and began working on prose sci-fi series I began back in 2004. After some set-backs, I retired from my day job, to dedicate full time to writing my series. I’ve written 9 novels between 59K-78K per book, and all are in serious first-draft mode–except the final novel, that’s about 15% done and stalled. My goal is to polish up the first book, and acquire an agent, to sell the series.

Updates to my personal blog, Polish Athena, are monthly, while my Tumblr (Gynocrat Ink Stuff) is a writing-oriented place updated daily with tons of great reblogs on writing, character building, world building, and my own progress.

See you this summer!