Monday, January 4, 2016

New year, new work!

Oh hello, 2016.  You probably thought you had the jump on me, didn’t you?  Well guess again!  Because of fireworks set off in a packed parking lot directly next to my house a bit prematurely, I was wide awake and adrenaline packed when you reared your head!  And this year?  Oh, it’s on. 

I’m sure many of my fans and readers have noticed, I haven’t published lately.  Since Duncan, actually, which was at the end of May in 2014.  I can provide excuses, but they’re really just that, and as much as I’d like to blame the insane amount of stress on my inability to finish my many drafts, that has literally never stopped me before.  As a matter of fact, it often used to make books come faster because that was how I coped.  For example, the Cat & the Crow was written, from the first idea to published, in a little more than two months.  The book coincided with the worst thing that I’d had to endure, so it seems that if we look at my history, I am a very prolific author if I’m going crazy and need to work some shit out on my own.   

So let’s just be honest here, why haven’t I finished anything?  I think part of my problem is that I worry people may be expecting another 777 page tome like Duncan, or a short but emotional performance like the Cat & the Crow.  And that’s stupid of me, because although there are a few things that I prefer to write about, I will never write the same book twice.  Since I’ve never given that impression I have no idea why I had this belief that everyone would expect that of me, and now I feel like a fool for procrastinating so long lol

I have a lot of books in the works, and I often change my mind regarding which one I want to finish.  Because I write on so many projects simultaneously, I now have enough written on at least four of them that I could push myself to get them done, and I feel like a coward for finding excuses to start on new ones instead of finish any of the ones I have started, so this is what I have so far.

At long last, here’s an update on my writing –

The Swordmaster Dasan series is my most popular.  I’d like to think because it’s good but the fact that the first book is free probably helps since it lets people get a sample of my crazy characters.  Anybody who had downloaded the original Swordmaster Dasan 2 from Smashwords also got a teaser for their (at that time) next book, but that book was also the very first that my beta readers gave me a red light on, because they wanted more to happen before the series ended.  That final book is still here, still completed and will be changed as needed to fit into the insane shitstorm that is my plot.  I now have at least one more book that will go between Swordmaster Dasan two and the last book, here’s a breakdown of the beginning

Swordmaster Dasan 3 –
When Loki hears that Kyo has taken a new student he risks everything for a chance to go and investigate the relationship between his sadistic Swordmaster and the seemingly perfect Prince Nikira.  He’s unsurprised that Kyo disapproves of his sudden and uninvited presence, but as the days pass, something starts to feel a bit off. 

That’s a breakdown of the first few chapters, I don’t want to give much more away.  Anyone who read Playing with Tigers may recall a mention by Kura where Loki wanted time off and, rather impressively, stole her job long enough to grant himself leave and take a vacation.  In the second Playing with Tigers, he claims that he’s the reason that the Arketh hate them, and I decided that this story really did need to make it into a book after all, so there you have it

Playing with Tigers 3-
Keel and Kaji have been trying to recover from the events that they’d suffered when Keel gets a worrisome letter from his sister, and they reluctantly decide to head north to visit his family.  Their journey coincides with the appointment of a new Headmistress and the Sahrketh’s very first Headmaster at the Palace, which leads them to the news that Kaji’s estranged sibling has been incarcerated overseas. 

That’s not an official blurb by any means, just a basic gist of the very start.  Worry not – there’s plenty of everything that was in the first two, from sex to intrigue, Sahrketh violence and Yunan humor.  The first two books are mostly done with heavy re-edits (I still missed some stuff, I’m sure…  Sorry!  -_-) but I currently plan to make the first one free after I implement updated documents, and possibly the second one as well.  No point in writing the third book if nobody’s read the first two, right? 

Duncan 2 –
The surviving cast from the first book returns in its entirety for another round of madness, starting with Duncan’s discovery that his former house isn’t as vacant as he remembered and that he’s being brought up on charges for the events that transpired in Crush. 

I had some trouble finding an appropriate villain for this one because even in a fantasy setting, everyone would have a bone to pick with Duncan, so for once my problem was that there were too many people who would want to ruin his life.  I think I picked properly, and I’m very proud to say that I even found a way for a certain someone to realistically refuse to be involved (as the involvement of a murdering sociopath who can’t die is just taking the cheap way out) that works so well I laugh and raise my cup of tea to my own cleverness.  It’s not ready for human eyes yet, as my opponent for Duncan does not give me the chills and that just won’t do.  But it’s coming along splendidly. 

Then there’s this –

Untitled book for a certain villain.

Need I say more?  ;)  He’s a bitch to write but damn, if he doesn’t end up making me proud at the end of the day. 

This picture is actually FAN ART!  Can you believe that?  That’s art from one of my amazing fans!  You can find her here, and she takes commissions!  I have dibbs on this pic though, ladies and gentlemen!  That’s actually going to be the cover for his book, since I keep staring at it and smiling.  Do not use that picture without my permission or the permission of Cheri, please and thank you. 

Annnnnd then there’s also this untitled book that I’ve been working on that I’m not sure where to start with.  It’s good?  That seems like a decent start, but as with all of my books, if I try to explain it I sound as normal as Willy Wonka.  (This is NOT an official blurb!) Here, I’ll give it a try:

Swordmaster Iyren Caro is Sahrketh, which means that when he’s really pissed off or his adrenaline spikes, he may start to show some tiger attributes.  Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet, since Sahrketh men are known to take much longer after they turn to calm down than their female counterparts.  He’s offered a mating contract by a woman so abrasive towards him that, should she spontaneously explode in his kitchen, he would be more upset that he would need to mop than by her sudden demise.  But she has gold and they both know how badly he needs it if he ever wants to do more than break up bar fights and scold the locals for traipsing over the border to cause trouble for their longest standing enemies. 
Ranger Warren Elborough is Kyathe and has spent a few years defending his community of wolf shifters from the barbaric and savage Sahrketh that they unfortunately share a border with.  While trying to prove something to one of his friends he stumbles into some trouble and ends up being abducted by slavers in the most embarrassingly simple way he’d ever heard of.  His captors thankfully don’t realize that he’s Kyathe, but every chance he has to shift and escape is thwarted until he finally comes to the realization that he’d have more luck getting back home once he’s been sold.  Only, the woman who buys him knows what he is, what that means.  To make matters worse, she’s Sahrketh, and she clearly already has a plan for him.

See what I did there?  I took two characters who can’t speak a language between them that are trained to kill each other on sight and would both be eager to do so, and then I rubbed my hands together, chuckled evilly and said, “Now touch him a little a bit.”  If you want to see how I accomplished that, it’s super fun and it’ll be ready for beta readers in a few months!  :D  I’m actually sort of proud of this one because the way that they interact… NAILED IT!  Not sure when it will be completed but it’s the closest of the bunch that have been mentioned and the draft only needs a few more chapters, some editing and ironing and then it will be ready for betas.

I think that’s about everything for this post!  As always, I adore feedback from ‘loved it!’ to ‘It’s bad and you should feel bad!’ and I can be reached through goodreads or on facebook 

Happy New Year!

S. K. <3

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Times Change

So a little slice of life - 

My mother was raised in a racist and homophobic environment, because her parents were raised in a racist and homophobic environment and so on and so forth.  My husband’s mother was raised in a similar setting, but add in a large dependency on religion. 

Well, I really believe that life won’t always give you what you want, but occasionally it will give you what you need. 

When my brother started dating men, my mother hadn’t been informed of his orientation but some part of her must’ve always known.  She jokingly said that he was at his friend’s house enough that she wondered if he was gay.  And he looked her dead in the eye and nodded, then told her that he was.  She looked at me and asked if I was and I shrugged and told her I was bisexual.  To my mother’s credit, she only freaked out for one night before she was able to shake everything she’d ever been told and come to terms with that.  What I mean by that is that she was told at 9pm, and by breakfast the next morning, she was smiling and hugging again. 

A few years after that, my brother told me about a guy at his work who was very attractive but seemed straight and told me I should go and take a look (because gay brothers are the freaking BEST wingmen ever!).  So I went in and met the man who is now my husband.  I brought him home, my mom looked at him and her face got very pale, and only then did I realize that the fact he was black might be an issue for her.  And my dog, actually, who was so fascinated at discovering a person who was an entirely different color that he shoved his nose in the man’s crotch and tried to wear him as a hat for the first four hours he was there…  She pulled me aside, made sure I knew that some people would have an issue, and despite her own reservations, accepted my answer: that I didn’t want to live my life by ignorant moron’s rules and if he was my somebody then I’d damn well have him. 

His mother actually asked him if he was planning to keep it in the family, which is apparently some creepy phrasing for “Are you going to marry a black woman?” instead of some gross demand he marry a relative, and he flat out told her that wasn’t happening unless something changed because he hadn’t found one yet that clicked with him in literally any way.  She didn’t like me for awhile, haha.  When we had our first child he came out whiter than snow and because he has the shape of my husband’s eyes, he looked sort of Asian.  She immediately jumped on that and suggested we should get a paternity test, not because she doubted of course, but because other people might.  Mhm.  She herself had told me that her own children (who are the color of rich mahogany) all came out whiter than me and got darker over the following weeks, but apparently when mine did it was a freak occurrence in her head, I’m not sure.

As for her opinion of my brother marrying a man, there were some very offensive comments and laughter at the time.  I left their Christmas party one year because a relative said something ridiculously homophobic, but I stopped at the door and turned around with a smile on my face to inform him that the wine he was drinking was bought with the proceeds of gay smut.  The look on his face was so gratifying that I’m smiling right now just remembering it.  Twas a merry Christmas after all.

Well, it’s been years, we had another magical color changing baby that looked one race and then turned into a bunch of others and our patience and tolerance has finally paid off.  His mother has come to terms with the fact that I bred with her son, so even if he isn’t in the picture, our children and myself by association still will be.  Forever.  She told me earlier this week that out of all of her kids, it’s me and Vicky (another woman of a different race who is planning to marry into the family) that are always there for her and that she’s so happy to have us in her life.  To clarify, my husband and his brother (Vicky’s fiancĂ©), don’t give their mother the time of day.  The reasons are vast and I’m not going to get into them, but for years I’ve maintained the relationship with this woman who initially and enthusiastically hated me, I answer the phone every time she calls and I help her as much as I physically can (and often more, putting my own life on hold to help her sort out her shit).  Now the daughters she never wanted are better to her than her own kids and she seems to genuinely appreciate us.  *shrug*

Times change.  My mother was raised in a house full of ignorance and hate, and now she welcomes me, her three sons of many colors and two biracial grandchildren into her home with open arms, actually complains if she doesn’t get to see all of us on a weekly basis.  My mother in law, who like my mother came from a long and miserable background, now carries a picture of us in her wallet and proudly shows everyone her kids and grandkids.  She’s actually gone to Vicky’s defense many times, screaming that she’s Vicky’s mother when asked who she is and why she’s getting involved, which can be entertaining because they always look at her and at Vicky like maybe they don’t  realize that they’re different colors.  She happily and proudly encourages my work (knowing what it is, mind you) and asks about my brother every time we talk. 

The reason I bring this up now is because both of these women have, within the last week, met or seen their very first transgender person.  My mother saw a woman in the grocery store who was still going through her change, and not only smiled at her, but struck up a conversation to ask how she got her hair to do what it was doing.  My mother in law had a long discussion with the young man she met about his transition (To the young man she met, if you’re reading this I’m sorry!  She means well but she’s curious and blunt.  I facepalmed when she told me what she was asking him.  The man was a damn saint for putting up with it.)  She later added him to her phone so that they could go furniture shopping together.  Then she called me to tell me about it, trying to explain to me that it’s very difficult for trans people as if I hadn’t been trying to tell her the same damn thing for the last 11 years, haha. 

I thought that was worth sharing, because I’m really proud of these two women for choosing acceptance and love, even though it was a long and hard trip for both of them.  Trust me, there’s plenty of people in both families that haven’t, but maybe that’ll change with time. 

And if it doesn’t, then we can just have a multi-racial lgbt parade stomp by their house.


Now I’m off to read a few books and work, although what I’ll be working on, I can’t tell you.  I have too many books in progress.  Updates as they become available

S. <3

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I'm gonna be thirty!

It’s that time of the year again.  As of June 3rd, I’ll be a year older.  Why am I mentioning that?  Because, this year I’ll be 30.  That’s right, I successfully survived three whole decades.  In your face, haters! 

Someone asked me how I’ve enjoyed the last decade and I didn’t have a response ready.  That bothered me, and when I went home I couldn’t get that question out of my head- it started to haunt me.  Did I have fun?  Would I do it again?  I set out on a mission to figure that out, and started by gathering some evidence.  So here it is, the list of what I’ve done with myself for the last ten years. 

I’ve written about 30 stories, turned 6 into novels and published them (technically 7 but I unpublished my first shortly after I put it up, like someone would see it and know I dared to share it.)  I did the covers for most of them when I had the time, then hired Miss H. C. Fang when I didn’t.  Through my writing I’ve met 3 of my closest friends. 

I left the country for the first time, taking a plane by my lonesome to join one of those friends in Cancun, and we had enough fun that she even invited me and my husband to join her in Jamaica the following year.  Which we did.  Yes, it was awesome even though he got drunk and walked into a tree and I had an allergic reaction to a room full of steamed shrimp.  Notice she didn’t have an embarrassing story in there, lol

My longest friendship is approaching 22 years, and she and I went on multiple excursions over the last 10.  She brought me to my very first steampunk convention despite my kicking and screaming, and apparently I liked it because we went again this year.  We set another new tradition, where she and I excuse ourselves, hand our children to our sulking husbands and ditch them for a weekend to escape into New Hampshire’s wilderness every summer.  This typically results in bad drunken poetry and sunburns. 

I’ve embarked on a few family vacations, going away with the people I need to get away from, and have actually started to enjoy them on occasion.  My husband now understands that when I say I want to be in nature, I really mean that I want to be close to nature without actually being surrounded by it. 

After six years of figuring out if we liked each other, my husband and I officially got married under the cover of darkness.  We picked the Friday following our decision to do it, which oddly coincided with my brother and his husband’s anniversary.  Which is great because I constantly forget which year we’re on and can just call my brother and ask him, since he was married exactly one year before I was.  To the hour. 

I discovered in my early twenties that our oldest son, who just barely missed being born in the last ten years (he turns eleven in july) had ADHD that could contend with mine.  I tried my hardest to help him and nothing seemed to work, possibly because he learned that he could distract me quite easily.  Many a homework date has been derailed because he starts me on a topic that I’m interested in.  Then when he was seven we decided to have our second child, which turned out to be another boy, who is so sarcastic and curmudgeony that I regret writing part of Duncan while I was pregnant with him.  He’s been like this from birth, mind you, greeting me with a smile and immediately scowling at his father. 

I’ve lost a lot of people in my life.  Some died, some just stopped coming around.  In the last ten years I’ve lost 2 to the boneyard.  Because one happened to be my grandmother, who was incredibly close to my son, I had to explain to my child that she was never coming back, but at least she had kicked this life’s ass.  That she was gone, but she left as a blackbelt at being alive and that we should be proud to have known her.  Other family members immediately fucked this up and made him a hysterical mess, because some of them are just… terrible lol. 

My oldest son had a bad reaction to medication that made him suicidal when he was eight, and in order to wean him off of it as quickly as possible he was institutionalized, so that they could supervise him and prevent withdrawals.  A lot of writers say that they write to stay sane and I’m no different.  He was in a children’s ward for eight weeks.  I wrote an entire book in those eight weeks because I couldn’t handle not seeing him around the house.  Believe it or not, this was a blessing in disguise because if not for his two month stay in a mental health facility, we never would’ve learned that he had Aspergers syndrome.  He only has a hint of it, enough that it went unnoticed for eight years, during which he was seeing people for his ADHD that were trained to look for it.  Our relationship has been so much better once we realized that, because it explained why my older boy will follow me around like a miniature business analyst, explaining to me how I can be more efficient while notifying me that I have laugh lines on my face. 

My mother had two aneurisms in her brain and underwent brain surgery to have them dealt with.  I was told by her family that the best thing I could do for her was go away, but it’s a great thing that I didn’t because I ended up running her house while I cared for her.  The family that was telling me I wouldn’t be able to take care of her only visited once, in a group, when she still wasn’t ready to receive guests.  She didn’t need too much help because I’m under the impression that my mother might be a terminator, but with a much better complexion and a love for children that doesn’t involve roasting them over a spit.  I waited until exactly one month after her surgery to make sure that she was going to be okay, then moved into our very first house.

And this house is also just terrible.  It suits our needs for now, but the person who flipped it didn’t do a great job.  The paint peeled off almost immediately after we purchased it, right before the pipes all fell apart or started to spew rusty water.  Also, fun discovery: there’s no insulation in the walls.  We live in New England.  It snows a lot.  That hasn’t stopped me from transforming it into what I wanted, but it still sucks that we paid for a POS.  A side note – I have had to evict three separate and remarkably aggressive homeless men from my garage, which looks impressive and cruel on anyone’s resume.

In the last ten years I have quit smoking twice only to go right back to it, became addicted to coffee and permanently damaged my stomach by drinking too much of it for too long, and have failed to stop biting my nails.  In short – I really suck at having bad habits.  Or maybe I’m really great at it, because I have successfully demonstrated why they’re considered bad habits, at the very least. 

I have been caught on two separate occasions smoking outside while dressed like batman, bat ears and everything, with goggles on over the eyeholes.  In my defense, I don’t smoke in my house and it was below freezing, so my batman hoodie covered the parts of my face not necessary for the intake of carcinogens. 

Also, my husband was caught by the police for trying to sneak to dunkin donuts in a  (travel ban) snowstorm, claimed that he was only out to get milk, and on his second attempt to sneak over there was greeted by the same police officer, who had purchased him some milk.  I got to spend that day making fun of him, reminding him that sneaking through a snowstorm while being the darkest man on our street, wearing all black was unwise.  It was like a very bad game of I spy, where you find the OMFG black spot against the entirely white background.  Furthermore, even if he’d made it there, the dunkin donuts was only open for plows and police, who would immediately ask him how the hell he got there anyway.  Leave it to my husband to be trying to thwart the nicest, most caring cop in our state so that he could get coffee.  <- I decided to include this entertaining story because I had offered this son of a bitch some coffee, and he laughed, then replied, “I hate your coffee.”  I then proceeded to cackle as I watched his quest crumble and fail. 

All in all, I’ve learned some things about myself.  Evidently, I rely on my twisted sense of humor to function, I am attracted to a grumpy and simultaneously ridiculous dork, and my kids could probably be rented out as weapons of mass destruction because I really have no idea how to do this mom thing.  I found out that I do need people, but that there are some relationships that can only be labeled toxic, and sometimes the right thing doesn’t feel right at all.  I’ve met so many interesting and amazing people, just about adopted a few of them as family, and have removed the venomous half of my blood family from my life. 

So going back to the question at the beginning of this, would I do it again?  Yes, I would.  But I’d tell myself this:

There are many times where it feels like the world has climbed up on your shoulders and the sheer weight of it makes every day hurt more than the last.  This is a fact of life.  But, it doesn’t last forever, it just tries to outlast you.  And that is the only thing I can really say about my first thirty years of being alive: it’s worth it, so be a stubborn ass and when you start to break to pieces, don’t be ashamed to let somebody else help you shoulder the weight.  And if that doesn’t work, write like a mother fucker. 

Happy birthday to me, and I guess to my dumb husband too.  He turns 30 a mere three days before I do, the old bastard.  Here’s to some more decades.  Cheers everyone  ;)

S. K. Hart

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Cat & the Crow Update!

I’m happy to finally say that The Cat & the Crow is available in PRINT at Amazon as of today!   

Buy it in print here!

*disco dancing*  I feel so accomplished  ;)

The rest of my work updates –

Currently working on Duncan #2.  No spoilers, so that’s really all that I can say at this point.  It exists with the original cast as it was at the end of part 2. 

Depending on the sales of my print edition of The Cat & the Crow, I might be doing a print edition of Duncan as well.  Would love to know if anybody would even be interested in that, as the book is much longer than the one I just formatted.  I find myself wondering if the amount of time it would take me would be worthwhile.

I have put some more work down on Playing with Tigers 3 and Swordmaster Dasan 3, however these aren’t my top priority projects right now.  I’m in the process of a heavy re-edit on the original books for Playing with Tigers, and on the first Swordmaster Dasan. 

Someone recently asked about a sequel to The Cat & the Crow.  I do have a large portion of a sequel written but I’m trying to take it one project at a time, so it’s on a back burner for now.  Tarro’s not done, though.  I left too many strings hanging at the end of the first one to leave him alone, the poor guy.

Well, we survived the blizzard but there's another one on the way, so I will head off now to get work done just in case we lose power.

Happy Hunting 

S. 'K.' Hart

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Back to work

Well it’s been a fun month since my last blog post (or a little over that, it seems?) 

Everyone will hopefully be pleased to hear that I survived October not only intact, but feeling better than I have in about a year.  The main reason for this was the visit from the extremely talented Nicole Castle, who flew out to stay with us, whooped my ass at making blueberry pancakes, and got me out of my house often enough that it didn’t seem so daunting to keep up with the habit.

We had a lot of fun.  Filled a bathtub with blood, saw some witches up in Salem, visited Battleship Cove and I introduced her to the best chowder in the U.S., she rekindled my love for socks and showed me a song that I’m now constantly using for Calvin.  Oh, and she showed me a much better way to make dirty Shirleys  :D

On a side note, her visit coincided with a once in a lifetime embarrassing situation for my husband, who made a bet with a friend, lost, and had to wear a costume of his friend’s choice.  This is him here, hating everybody with a smile on his face.  :) 

More than a few of my friends have notified him that he’s been ‘added to the bank.’  But, he did score us some extra candy, and you’d better believe that Nicole and I made him work it too – we had as much candy as the kids because housewives started to throw it at him.  Personally, I think the choice of costume was kind because I would’ve chosen Harley Quinn for him and Nicole had mentioned a sexy Bo Peep costume.  Keep in mind it was under 50 degrees here on Halloween, and he couldn’t wear anything but underwear under that bobsledding costume.  See kids?  Gambling is wrong hahaha

I apologize for the delay in my blog update but I had a bet of my own that I needed to win.  Which I did.  In a video game.  Every one of my friends had been informed that I would be elsewhere (Azeroth) until I’d sped through all available content for the one game I can’t seem to permanently kick, and every single one of my friends called me, concerned that I’d died while playing because they didn’t see or hear from me after the night it came out lol.  But I was fantastic: my husband rearranged the living room and had me playing on the TV, supplied me with takeout and drinks and even took care of the kids so that I could kick some ass without interruption.  I was so immersed in smashing orcs and hunting rares that when I was as finished as I could get with the game for the time being, I felt incredibly refreshed.  Not everyone can enjoy a vacation at home, but I did and I even reconnected with my old team, not that I don’t have all of their contact info anyway, just felt nice to do something with them online again since most of them live across the country or in a different country altogether. 

Now I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving, making myself and my family look decent, getting a dish together to bring to my mother’s house, and baking a pie for my mother in law the racist bigot – a woman who has admitted multiple times with enthusiasm that she wouldn’t want to see me if I don’t bring her an apple pie.  Does she ask about her grandchildren?  No.  Does she ask about her SON?  Nope.  But, she asks about the pie, so I’m making a pie with the closest thing to love that I can, which happens to be apathy. 

I put a little work down on Playing with Tigers 3 and Swordmaster Dasan 3, but need to sort out a few things that would mess up either of the timelines before I can finish them.  Sadly, these books are not a top priority for me – The total earnings of all four of the published books don’t even cover a week of very light groceries and I truly want to rewrite them in the near future anyway. 

Cat & the Crow will have a print edition hopefully available by Christmas, we will see how that goes.

The Disassembled Life of Duncan Cole –
Despite the many statements and suggestions that I should split the book into two books, I will not be splitting Duncan at all.  Ever.  It’s two books that need to be read together in order to get the full story, two books packaged together because I wanted to cut the cost to the reader and ensure a better overall reading experience.  There should be no mistake about the fact that this was intentional on my part, because I was considering the readers who have a tighter budget and the readers who would’ve reached the end of part one and been unsatisfied.  I should mention that if I had split the books, that the first chapter of part 2 would’ve been tacked on the end of part 1.  You would meet Calvin, see what’s happened to Dan, realize that everything is falling apart for Duncan, and been told to wait a few months for the next one.  Some people would be okay with that, but I’m not one of them.  I’ve refused to purchase sequels before on the grounds that the first book did not tell a complete storyline and I will not be charged twice for one product – I won’t charge twice for one either.  ;)

As for future works regarding Duncan, I play around with ideas for promotional short stories every now and then, but I’ve been too busy working on the second Duncan book and a Calvin book to follow that, and they’ve been too fun to move away from for very long. 

I am off to go and murder my kitchen, cook some breakfast and jump back in Spannerdire – I left a house on fire in there and really should get around to dealing with that.

Anybody looking to contact me can find me at and as always I thank each and every reader who took the time out of their day to review any of my books – Love the book or hate it, that’s the best feedback in the world and I appreciate it. 

Happy Hunting  ;)

S. K. Hart

Friday, October 3, 2014

October keeps trying to kill me, but not this year! *mad cackle*

Once upon a time I would spend the entire year planning for Halloween, spend months on my costume, write a short story for the season and spend the 31st running through smalltown New England with a literal herd of younger cousins, toilet papering a certain tree in my hometown as tradition states and ending the night with a candy binge that threatened to give me premature diabetes. 

Sadly as time went by, stress intruded on my favorite night of the year.

When my oldest son was six we couldn’t go out because he took with the flu, so we also missed our family’s Halloween party.  Unperturbed, I put on a marathon of goosebumps and purchased about $30 of candy, and we spent the night cuddled in a blanket fort in our former apartment, wearing our costumes even if nobody could see it. 

The next year, my grandmother passed away in mid October.  My family is extremely large – the woman had twelve children, they all had children and every single surviving one of them lived in the same town.  Halloween was a big deal to her, but it wasn’t the same going to her house and not seeing her in the corner of her living room.  There was no homemade candy, there was no mountain of toilet paper set aside or directions on how to avoid the police while toilet papering the tree at the top of her street.  My son had never dealt with death before she died, but I don’t think it had hit him just how different it would be without her until then.  On our rounds from my grandmother’s house through all of my aunts and uncles homes that littered the town, I quite eagerly accepted what looked like a coffee, but that hot cup was in fact warm vodka.  Trying to preserve my love for the season, I clicked my Styrofoam cup with my older cousin, took a deep breath and carried on until we made it to the last aunt’s house.  This was probably the best year out of the last 4. 

At the beginning of October 2012, my son’s school insisted that they couldn’t manage him.  We thought at the time that he only had ADHD, but he clearly had some anxiety and depression.  Not wanting my son to be depressed at eight years old, I caved under the pressure of doctors and teachers and allowed him to be put on an antidepressant.  He attempted to kill himself at school a few weeks later.  In order to safely wean him off of the drug that he was reacting poorly to, he was committed to a mental health facility that didn’t allow parental visits aside from one hour of the day and wouldn’t allow children under 5 on the ward at all.  They discovered his Aspergers while he was there, so I suppose they helped, but I hardly saw him because I had a 2 month old boy at the time and nobody could watch him for me.  That October was spent with my 2 month old at home, worried for my son and unable to do anything about it except have his father stop there on his way home and share some dinner with him.  I wrote to him on Halloween, sat down with my infant, turned on a horror movie and started to hate October a lot more.

Last year upped the ante.  My uncle fell on the ice while playing hockey and while being checked for a concussion, they discovered an AVM.  He was born with a large knot of arteries in his brain, so many that it looked like a baseball on the images they showed us.  They were surprised that he’d survived to 50 because typically AVM’s rupture at a young age and once they do, you die.  Fifteen hours of surgery left him safe from that, with only mild seizures.  But, it’s hereditary.  A few of my mother’s siblings were checked and had minor issues, but you already know what’s coming, don’t you?  My mother did not have an AVM (thank you powers that be) but she did have 2 aneurisms that were ready to burst and very likely kill her, and one was in a place where they wouldn’t be able to go in through a vein.  They needed to operate on her.  I was living with my mother at the time while saving for the house I’m sitting in, but one of my aunts decided to come to the house to specifically tell me that the best thing for my mother would be if I wasn’t part of her life.   

On October 15th of last year, four things happened.  After twelve hours of surgery, my mother made it okay and unscathed aside from 51 staples across her face and enough swelling that she insisted she looked like chunk from the goonies.  My family decided that I didn’t look upset enough for them and started to make more statements about how I was the world’s worst daughter, which led to them physically circling me, in a hospital, blocking my husband, father and brother from coming to my side, and screaming at me like the pack of wolves that they are.  Security was called to get them off of me, and I was upset enough that I didn’t even get to see my mother because they stood in front of her door and stared me down.  Remember, there are TEN of them that are still alive, plus spouses.  My best friend of the last 21 years had her gorgeous baby boy, but  had some complications and I couldn’t be there for her because I was dealing with the brain stuff.  And my brother in law (one of them), who is 12 and severely autistic was physically assaulted at his school by his own teacher’s aid.  Can I get a, “WTF?!”

I was wondering why my anxiety was getting so bad as soon as the calendar said October, but after about 2 seconds of reflection, I remember now.  So far this month I only have poison oak over most of my body, and we’ve been shocked to see a man walk out of my garage after evidently sleeping there, although he was very polite when I explained that he couldn’t stay.  It’s day 3, and all things considered, that’s really not that bad compared to the last few years lol. 

So, October has become a very hard month for me, but this year is going to be different.  Because I fucking said so.  I am going to get my trick-or-treat on, although I’m undecided if I will TP that goddamn tree or not.  My family infests that area and about a year ago I realized that they’re all toxic for me and my own little family to be around. 

This year, my friend is celebrating her son’s first birthday with a Halloween themed party, I have both of my healthy and happy kids with me (they’re being ninjas and have been practice assassinating my husband all week), for ONCE my husband has Halloween off and is willing to let me dress him how I want so he’s going to be Marvelous Chester, and I will be seeing Miss Nicole Castle for the second time.  And thankfully she’ll be staying for Halloween because we can use my kids to get free candy.  We’re going to watch Thankskilling because she is the turkey overlord, eat far too much sugar and irritate my husband to the best of our ability, and when it’s all said and done and she has to go home, it will be November, which is a fine month in my opinion. 

Still trying to figure out what we should go as, though – costume suggestions welcome

If I can get my feet under myself again, then I might write a short story for the season, so wish me luck!

S. <3

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ignore that eye twitch

So, a few years back, I was poking around in the self pub business.  I had just published Playing with Tigers 2 and Swordmaster Dasan, and during one of smashwords promotions figured I should try and help out others in the same boat as me, picked up a few books and got to reading.  There were a few that were pretty awesome, which should’ve been satisfying.  Then I went to one author’s blog before I reviewed and saw a comment that they’d made, calling the self pubs of the erotica genre, “Pornmongers.”

Look at that word.  Now, when you look at Pornmongers, does that make you feel that it is a term of respect, or mockery and possibly disgust?  I went with the latter, and reading down this emotional vomit session that this person had where they ranted that at least they weren’t one of us, I thought that they might be in that lovely part of the publishing process where they get frustrated.  There are a ton of them, I had been through quite a few of those already, and taking a deep breath, left the politest comment that I was physically capable of. 

I said that I enjoyed their short story.  I said that I would still be buying the other ones (at the time two other shorts were for sale from this author which I did purchase.  With money.) and that they had done an amazing job.  Then I recommended that they might want to refrain from talking ill about the pornmongerers, since they don’t always read the same as they write.  Somebody might take offense, that I was shocked to see it up on the blog that linked to their author profile.  I told her that people might not want to purchase her books based on that.

What I did not say was that it was fucking stupid to do that.  But it is, lol.  This is a mistake that too many authors make, and lately there’s been a lot of authors making mistakes.  We’re people, I was trying to help her not make that mistake.

And I thought I had helped. 

I am currently laying on my couch pretending to be dead when people talk to me, laid up with kidney issues, a stomach bug and the worst time of the month that I’ve had in about ten years.  While clicking randomly on things, I remembered this and went to check to see if she ever replied, because I never got a notification that she had. 

OH SHE DID.  Here is part of it.  I removed the stuff that pertains to her work, because lol done with her and not sharing my fanbase with her. 

“It took me a while to figure out what the hell you were on about”  <- not a good way to address a reader, just FYI.

“I love porn and whores and pornmongering and whoremongering.” <- sounds like it.  Why not describe your love for kids by describing them as uterus regurgitations or possibly parasitic disease sacks.  There are a hundred ways to describe an erotica writer.  This was nooot a wise one. 

“Also, look, I tried not to say this.  I really did.  But you can’t really threaten someone with “People might not buy your stuff” when I’ve opted in for my work to be free all month.”  <- should’ve tried waaaay harder not to say it because guess what?  You just did.  It wasn’t a threat.

There was more that can’t be put up here because it pertains to her work, which I’m not promoting.  Know what?  I will not respond to her on her blog, or link to it because I don’t want to give her the attention, but I will rant my rotten little mouth off here. 

I have a ten year old with ADHD and Aspergers syndrome.  Raising him, I’ve had to adapt to understand every side of everything, to take the numerous and amazingly insulting things that he says and go, “Now, what does he mean by that.  Probably this, he’s just (insert emotion here) and it’s coming out all wonky again.”  I had a friend ask if a pair of jeans made her look fat when he was 6.  His uninvited response was that they looked fine before she put them on, that he though she was making THEM look fat.  <- explain that one to a friend lol.  I am an unbelievably understanding person.  That blog post?  I must’ve read it a hundred times to make sure that I was right to be insulted because I go through about 10 anger checks to make sure that my feelings are the appropriate response.  If I didn’t, then my kid’s life would be miserable.  Which means that if I was insulted, then that shit was meant to be fucking insulting. 

She removed the post she was referring to, there’s no way to be sure.  But I remember being upset after reading it, and not just a little. 

It did cost money at the time that I wrote that comment, and that was intended to be a friendly suggestion from one self pub to another.  I bought the other ones.  They were great.

Here’s the thing, an author is a person just like their readers.  It’s something that everyone says “Obviously!” when they hear that, but really think about it for a second.  Spend a year taking an idea and laboring over it, find a cover artist and struggle to get a cover that suits your book, find proofreaders for content and editing, pay an editor if you can afford it knowing that you won’t make that money back, read it, read it, read it, read it until you don’t even know what you’re reading anymore, write the blurb, send the cover back because it’s disastrously wrong, pay for it again, read it again, more proofreaders, read it again, the blurb isn’t good enough so rewrite it, read it, take out six chapters because they weren’t good enough and write them again, now reread the whole thing again to make sure it still works, back to proofreaders, read it….  <- repeat that for awhile. 

It can get overwhelming.  Being an author isn’t for everyone.  But, under no circumstances does that make it okay to refer to any other writer with anything but respect.  Because all of that shit you’ve gone through that’s making you think the world has climbed up on your shoulders to stomp you down?  They’ve gone through it too. 

She didn’t know that I was an author when I posted that comment.  Which brings me to my next little twitching idea – she thought I was a reader.  That’s even worse, lol.  When addressing a reader, treat it like every pair of eyes in the world is on you, judging you on your behavior.  Because they are.  Is that hard?  Yeah.  I’ve had comments made that have hurt.  Often.  Go and see how many people I’ve offended.  I’ll wait.  One.  That’s all.  I had a friend who wanted to read Swordmaster Dasan even though I knew that she wasn’t into that sort of story.  I gave it to her anyway and she told me that it made her sick and that I was disgusting.  Which hurt.  So, in a moment of bitter pouting, I wrote in a blog post that anybody who could stomach the first one would probably like the second, and that offended a reader.  I will never make that mistake again, because that was poorly worded of me and every time that I look at the review where they mention that, I feel awful.  I made the mistake of thinking that nobody was looking because I was hurt, but as an author, mom and wife, I should’ve known better, and this author should’ve too.

So I wish her luck.  Her work is fantastic.  Hopefully, nobody who likes it will go to her blog lol

Bitchrant done, Kaeli OUT!  *flips table and exits the building whilst chain smoking, looking for something to kick*