This has been an especially weird week for a book launch. I had to do some unexpected travel due to some family circumstances, so a whole five days have already passed. But at long last, the paperback copy of Rising Ash is available for purchase.
This project started out about three years ago as a NaNoWriMo project, my second time completing it. I took the manuscript over the following year and re-worked it for release in serial format for release on Kindle. The goal had always been to get it out in paperback, and I’m also toying with the idea of doing an Audiobook version.
Even if you have already read the Kindle versions, you will want to check out the paperback. (Hint: There are a few differences and revisions!) I like to think of it as akin to the Director’s cut of Blade Runner. 😉
But if you haven’t already, go ahead and click right on through and grab your copy today!
Edgar Bacon is an essayist who also has several published works on Amazon. He typically writes under a pseudonym. Follow him on Facebook here. I am thrilled to have him as a guest blogger. Thanks Edgar!
So election day has come and gone in America. Some of us are okay with the results. Some of us are terrified. Already there are phrases being bandied about, threats of cessation. People exclaiming, “He’s not my president!” Others are smugly crossing their arms and declaring that we should all fall in line and respect him. Strangely these appear to be the very same people who dug in their heels and cried about every conspiracy under the sun for the last eight years. But about one thing they are right. The Electoral College has spoken.(I find it imperitive to point out that our girl did indeed carry the will fo the people through the popular vote.) Nonetheless, Donald Trump is the President Elect. There is no getting around it.
As chagrined as I am on the outcome, I will not be one of those people who say, he is not my President. I will say I did not vote for him. I will say I think he is wildly unfit for the job, but we live under the democratic system and it is what it is. As long as I choose to live in the good ole U.S. of A. he will be my president, regardless of how I feel about it.
What I will say is this. This is not my America.
Already we are seeing evidence of the kind of atmosphere we can expect for the next four years. Before the polling stations had even closed there was at least one shooting in California. All over social media, stories are starting to pour in about assaults both verbal and physical. Twitter feeds of open mysoginy are no longer afraid to keep quiet. Nor are they shamed to do so out in the streets during open daylight hours either. Racist statements which were once whispered behind closed doors are now proudly posted or spoken for all the world to experience.
This is not my America.
The vitriol which has arisen from this campaign has emboldened the hidden racism broiling not that far under the surface of this nation. The mysoginy and outright creep fest that this man has given us has rivaled that of coked-out movie stars. The priveledged live by their own rules. The problem is, this time he is in the most powerful position in the land. It is open season on… well, everyone. Unless you can hide behind being a cis, white, straight male, you are no longer safe.
This is not my America.
People are frightened. If he does what he promises to do, we will become a facist nation. There is no question. That is, if we haven’t already. If ACA is repealed, people will die. It is that simple. This is why people are terrified. If equal amendment rights are rolled back a huge chunk of our population will lose so many rights that the rest of us take for granted. The level of hostility will rise. If Roe v. Wade is scaled back, millions of women will lose life saving access to care, and people will die. And finally, if some such foreign leader calls him the wrong name, or insults him somehow… well, I’ll let you do the math on that one.
I’ll say it again. This is not my America.
Walking down the street, I feel a modicum of safety in my everyday life. The America I know strives to provide that same level of safety to all her citizens. All of them. The America I know strives to be a world leader, an example of opportunity for people of all walks. Oh, and quick reminder, unless you grew up on the rez, we’re all immigrants. No caveats. No loop holes. Let’s get over that already.
It could be we will get through the next four years without so much as an incident. I hope that is true. Hopefully the system of checks and balances will keep everything running, the grind of working politics. Maybe all this braggadocious was just hot air and come January, he will show up with his game face on.
But whether he does or not, the evidence shows the people taking advantage of the example already set before us. It is these people that terrify me. It is these people who make my blood run cold at the idea that, yes folks, this in fact, is our America.
It seems as if I am writing more and more of these responses than usual. Perhaps it is because there is a general increase of idiocy floating across my awareness than usual. Yay internet. Anyway, this most recent example is this oh-so-valiant article written by journalist David Hon, chronicling his reasons for not wanting to date a Feminist.
Mmkay. Let’s go with that.
Even though there is just so, so much to unpack with this one, I am going to address one element which seems to continue to raise its ugly head, the one continuing misunderstanding about Feminism, which is mentioned in the very first sentence of the article.
“If you look for a reason to hate men, chances are you’re going to find it.”
Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that one can literally replace the word ‘man’ in this sentence with any noun and it would still work. Go ahead. Try it.
“If you look for a reason to hate hats, children, television, squids, bananas, motorcycles, Facebook, religion, eggs, Ghostbusters, round earth theory….. chances are you’re going to find it.”
See? It works with anything. He did not stumble across some great secret tenant of feminism. Sorry.
But the truth is, and it is really, really sad that this even has to be explained, feminists don’t ‘hate men’. That is a diversionary tactic and quite an old one at that. There is so much information out there about what feminism stands for that not getting it reeks of ignorance.
In all actuality, we love men.
You know why? Because the men that we surround ourselves with are awesome! These are the men who get it, who hear what we have to say, who recognize the inequalities surrounding us (all of us) on a daily basis. These men will change a diaper with the same skill and mental prowess as they would use to change a tire. These men know that taking care of their own children is called ‘parenting’, not ‘babysitting for mom’.
These men will hold a door open, but not because of patriarchal expectations of chivarly, but because they happened to be in front. They will not only watch the movie, but maybe even shed a tear when the dog dies. They will read the thing and talk about it after. They will acknowledge the culture of objectification surrounding women and little girls, the patriarchal gender norms which damages all children, girls and boys. They notice how difficult it is to find a Black Widow action figure to go with their son’s collection of Avengers toys. They realize how difficult it is that their partner can’t walk to the library without getting harrassed.
It is because of the existence of these men that we know bad behavior is not somehow inherient to male-dom. It is because of these men, that we know it is possible to function in the complex state of existing-while-human, to encompase traits of empathy without compromising one’s masculinity. (or compromising it, if that’s your thing).
When we draw attention to the inequalities surrounding us, we are not saying ‘We hate men’. We are saying, do better, and we are holding you accountable because we know it can be done. We know you can do better, because we are surrounded by those who do. Not only is it possible, but it’s also not all that difficult. I mean, look around.
Daniel Radcliffe gets it.
John Legend gets it.
George R.R. Martin gets it.
Joss Whedon gets it.
Even Sir Patrick Stewart gets it.
And perhaps most importantly (to me anyway), this guy right here gets it.
In conclusion, it has been my experience that we as a culture are more prone to demonizing those who point out inequality, than we are to take a moment of self-reflection, examining in what ways we might be contributing to the problem. Furthermore, if you have a vocal outloud feminist in your life, congratulations. You made the cut. If not… well. I’m sure that’s purely by choice, right?
Yes, I’m talking to you now, but don’t think it’s because you are special in any way. I’m singling you out, even though you conducted yourself like nothing more than a common internet troll, because once upn a time we were friends, real-life, face-to-face friends. Something I assumed to still be true, right up until the moment you unfriended me. Over Ghostbusters. I want to be clear, I was perhaps a bit stunned at first, but I have long since moved past that, since you have so clearly shown your true colors.
Prior to that moment, I made the obviously erroneous assumption that we operated on an equal playing field. That if you commented with brash boldness, that I could reply with brash boldness. If you began name calling, I could reply in kind. After all, it’s all in good fun, right? You posted to my wall, and I posted to yours.
I’ve posted about a lot of things on my Facebook timeline. Some of it had to do with feminist stuff. Some of it has to do with fandom. I’ve posted about Star Wars. I’ve posted about Firefly. I’ve posted about the Dark Tower movie coming up staring Idris Elba. I’ve posted about how people are outraged that Rowland is cast by black actor, Idris Elba, when it is assumed he is white in the book. I’ve posted about the outrage aimed back at the original outrage. I’ve posted about how the media skews headlines to meet an agenda regardless of what the truth may be. I’ve posted about #blacklivesmatter. I’ve posted about Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, and I have even stated that I think we might face another holocaust if Donald Trump is elected. I have posted about lots of things. Yet, out of all these things, it is Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters! Which pushed you over the edge.
For whatever reason, the presence of a post about Ghostbusters seemed to offend you to the point of mouth-foaming frenzy. You claimed that “we” made this about “us” (Us being feminists, I guess?) Even though it is wildly documented repeatedly across the internet that this movie, much like other movies with female leads, was targeted by anti-feminist groups.
You stated that if something is to be equal, then men must be included too. Okay, sure let’s examine that for a minute. Women make up 50% of the population of the planet. That’s half. That means there are an equal amount of women existing as there are men. You with me so far? Good. Yet, they only take up 30% of speaking roles in movies. That is out of a survey of 7000 characters out of 300 movies, and only 15% in lead roles. So we’re still seeking that elusive equality of which you speak. This is of course, ignoring the fact that men were “included” way back in 1984 when Ghostbusters was released starring an all male cast.
If by chance, you were referring to being included in the discussion itself, you were plenty included in that as well. You began with the name calling and the accusations. When I responded to them, (see above) you then claimed that I was incapable of responding to a critical discussion. I am fully capable of that.
You, however, did not invite critical discussion. You name called. You posted pictures of phallus-shaped objects. You insisted that me and my friends show you our vagina because all feminists are all about showing off the vag, you said. (Why do people think we have some kind of hive mind? We are not bees.) You called us fat and ugly (an outdated and, quite frankly, lazy attempt at insult). And yet, you said I was the one incapable of critical discussion.
And then, when things got too hot to handle, you shared my post to one of your other accounts, which I guess you forgot I was following. This prompted the beginning of the threatening language from your friends, followed closely by the unfriending. After all, I assumed a level playing field. Guess not.
All this becuase I posted stuff akin to what I usually post. A little bit of fandom. And a little bit of critical discourse. Why did that bother you so much, I wonder.
What is even more laughable is you actually used the sad argument that this remake ruined your childhood. Ruined. Your Childhood. That’s some serious gravy right there. You marked yourself when you said that. You claimed solidarity with all the legitimate trolls who flooded Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, and other sites to bash and downvote the movie before it was even released. It is one thing if someone watched it and legitimately did not care for it, but to go out of your way to sabotage a film which may not pander directly to your market is nothing less than that of a little boy throwing a fit and nailing the “no girls allowed” sign on his tree house
This may be tough for you to understand, what with having the majority of media represent you in a positive light and all, but the new Ghostbusters was made just as much for you as the old one was made for me.
Take that in for a moment. If that makes you feel left out somehow, then welcome to the club, brah. Think about it.
No one excluded you… except you.
For the record, I enjoyed the old Ghostbusters. Why? Because I possess the capacity to idenfify with characters who exist in a different demographic than myself. Women, minorities, gay people, trans people are constantly exptected to look to the white teethed CWM manly hero types as the driving force. In fact, if we want to take part in a fandom we kind of don’t have a choice in the matter. So when we do get a snippet of representation, we get a little bit happy. The playing field is not level. Not yet. So stop pretending it is.
Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy my fandom. Just as outloud as I do any other fandom. Not participating in any way is an okay option for you. I genuinely wish you well. Sadly, I don’t expect the same from you.
The book Girl’s Weekend, by Cara Sue Achterberg was recently recommended to me through an online book marketing group. It is an honest review in exchange for a free copy. This review also appears on GoodReads and Amazon.
This book is a delight!
Three lifelong friends, Meg, Dani, and Charlotte, go away for beach weekend to clear their minds and take a break from the hustle and bustle of being moms and wives. Each of them seeks to find that missing piece of themselves. This book is a wonderful example of female-driven story telling. I could practically hear the sounds of the waves as I read the words.
None of them are fully unhappy in their lives necessarily, perhaps just a little bit unsettled, with the exception of Meg. She had gone through the worst experience of any parent when losing her toddler son two years prior. She has become consumed by her grief but is afraid to acknowledge it. In her attempt to block out the pain she has perhaps grown numb, to her life, to her marriage and most of all to herself. Dani is an artist who has lost her muse. Desperate to reconnect with her creative side she pals up with a local art dealer along the beach hoping to rekindle the passion she once felt. Charlotte feels as if her marriage has gone cold and seeks to find a way to invigorate her restless soul in the worst way possible.
Each of the characters are complex and nuanced. There were times when I disagreed heartily with their actions, just as I would with real life friends. Walking along the journey with each of these women as I read this book was like standing alongside them. Wine, laughter, headaches, heartaches. Things we all can relate to.
Not everything in this book is packaged with a perfect bow and a neat resolution, but that’s how life works sometimes. Achterberg captures with finesse the pressures placed upon women in the modern world. The way the characters express themselves reminds me of the fragility of relationships and the strength of the bonds of friendship. I recommend this book to anyone as a great summer read, but be ready for the twists and turns which only come when traversing the trails of the human heart.
The following post originally published here on May 19 on the blog of fantasy and horror author A.M. Rycroft. Rycroft’s book The Taming is available for pre-order on Kindle and Amazon.
An Insider Look at the Ash Rising Saga with R.G. Westerman
CONTRIBUTED BY R.G. WESTERMAN
First I want to say that I am super excited to be able to guest post once more with A.M. It is an honor. I want to share a little bit about my current project, the Ash Rising Saga (find it on Amazon). This is a serial so it is ongoing for five episodes. Readers should be aware of that going in. I like to think of it as something along the lines of those old radio serials which always ended with some drastic cliffhanger, ensuring that everyone would tune in the following week, like theShadow or the Batman TV series.
Personally, I think of self-publishing as sort of the garage band of the publishing world. There are so many examples of writers who developed and honed their online presence to such an extent that the publishing houses have taken notice. People don’t realize that this is how E.L. James was able to publish the Fifty Shades series. She already had thousands of readers before she was ever offered a publishing contract. Amanda Hawking is another author who has done this. Publishing online opens that door and completely changes the market and expectations. It removes the gatekeeper system and allows the readers to decide. I think that is pretty exciting!
I had the idea for Ash after watching a whole lot of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. I have always had this thing about the zombie apocalypse as a genre device. I was thinking about it one day and realized a couple of things. One, that most of the stories involve characters who experience the onset of the zombie apocalypse at the beginning. I wanted to see a world from the eyes of someone who had grown up in this reality. I guess my elevator pitch would be “Teenage girl that grew up in the zombie apocalypse”.
But it is also more than that. This is a very character driven series, and I really hope readers can get to know Ash in a way that keeps bringing them back. I think if she lived in this world she would be very active, maybe star of her sports team or head cheerleader. But she has this dark side too. She has to be very adaptable living in the world that she does. She has no memory of anything before the onset of the apocalypse, but she also has some traits that she does not understand. Not only is she trying to survive but she is trying to figure out her past as well.
I started writing for fun when I was in the fourth grade, I think. The first thing I ever wrote was the beginning of a retelling of Cinderella. I fancied it the Next Great American Novel, as one does with anything in the fourth grade. My creative past is in Theatre which is what explains my character driven method, I suppose. There are a ton of back-burner projects that I would love to just magically produce into reality, but that might be every other writer too, right?
I am also starting a Patreon project. When I first started being more serious about writing I attended a bi-weekly group. Eventually I got to where I was producing one completely finished short story each month. I would love to get back to that rate of production. Ironically I can’t devote too much to the Patreon project because I’m still freelancing. I have big dreams though.
Pre-sales for Ash are available now, and the book goes live on June 7th. Pre-sales for the following episode will be available at that time, along with a cover reveal for the second book. I can’t wait!
I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The absolute best way to follow along is to sign up for my newsletter. I send this out bi-weekly and it includes easy links, upcoming release dates, and more fun things. Come find me!