A Pride Statement

The A in LGBTQAI+ does not stand for “ally” it stands for Asexuality. I am on the spectrum of asexuality as demisexual. This means that sexual desire for me comes from personal connection–it seems to be a complex mix of a complimentary personality, empathy, pheromones, and other factors. I joke about physically attractive people turning me on, but the truth is that I just appreciate their aesthetics or am reminded of the traits someone I already have an attraction to. Physical attraction for me is secondary to the connection I have with someone. I’ve been involved with people I didn’t find aesthetically attractive at first, but as I bonded with them, I came to appreciate those things I didn’t think I would like.

I was abused for years by someone with a high sex drive who made my life miserable when I denied him. I learned to lie there and take it to avoid his spite later. I would bite my tongue even though I wanted to scream, and just waited for him to finish. When that wasn’t enough, I put so much mental energy into forcing myself to match him just so I could avoid the emotional trauma of his mistreatment of me when he went unsatisfied. I thought it was just a compromise I had to make to keep him happy. It wasn’t until I left him that I realized just how horribly unhealthy it was.

But I’m ok now. I am safe and respected. I have someone who I feel safe to say no to, someone who always makes sure that I consent enthusiastically. Now that I understand how my sexuality functions, I don’t feel broken.Asexual people are frequently dismissed and suffer sexual assault in the way that I have, and even “corrective” rape. It is assumed that there is something psychology or physically wrong with them that needs to be fixed. But there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t feel sexual desire or only feel desire with the right person. You don’t need to be fixed, just be who you are.

And I oop…

I accidentally went on a tangent this morning, starting with a thought about sex to past trauma and the toxicity of narcissists. So here, my thoughts.

I was feeling warm and fuzzy feelings this morning after being intimate with my partner last night, and I thought, “Wow, it’s great that I feel so good every time we have sex.” Then I realized that’s what it SHOULD be like.

It was an obligation, a chore, a necessity for peace regardless of what I wanted with my ex. And then there were the psychological gymnastics I had to perform to keep him happy. Even if I wanted sex, even if I physically got pleasure from it, there was this rift between us–he didn’t really care if I enjoyed it, he enjoyed the power he had over my body, the way it felt for him. That was all that mattered to him. I’m still haunted by the way he looked at me when he feigned affection while performing foreplay or anything that would bring only me pleasure. It hid the absolute boredom he was feeling.

The toxicity of narcissists leaves deep wounds. They’re black holes that will suck you in and twist you into service to their egos before you even knew what happened. All they need is a foot in the door–playing the part of what you want, saying the things you want to hear. Sometimes they’re indistinguishable to the untrained eye, and they rarely seek out victims with an intention of malignancy. They’re looking for you to validate the person they want to be because they are terrified of the person they might actually be.

The hallmark of a narcissist is the unwillingness to be introspective. They build a wall of projections against the subconscious knowledge of who they are, they exist in an internal reality of cognitive dissonance. They don’t begin as monsters though. Underneath that facade is someone broken or damaged, but instead of addressing that injury, they cover it up. Some convert that damage to a victim complex, luring in caring individuals to pity them and try to fix them. Others hide it behind vibrant plumage of wealth or beauty or perceived intellect, weaseling their way to positions of influence to lure in others with the promise of being just as rich or smart or beautiful as them (but you’ll never reach their splendor, they must remain on top).

Which brings me to what’s most surreal about narcissists. Their reactions to those who break their spell or reject their power. If you see through their facade, you can clearly see how broken they are underneath. This is how you know that on some level, they are self aware. When you reject them, they will project all the things they refuse to consciously acknowledge about themselves onto you. Because deep down, they know what they hate about themselves, but they can’t admit it. Instead, they hurl all those things at you, as though they are exorcising their own self-loathing, and for a time, they’ll feel vindicated because the problem was you, not them. They get to deny their damage for a little while longer, safe in knowing that it’s yours now. But it will always come back because it never left. It was only ever their own.

RIP Popcorn

Photo of Popcorn
Popcorn James Jr., August 2nd, 2012-April 14th, 2020.

Today, I had to put one of my rabbits down. When I moved, I left the warren together with my mom as they had all finally bonded. Popcorn and Blaze were my boys that I had always wanted to take with me when I moved, but that never happened. I can’t focus on anything else today, so I just want to pay tribute to him and revisit my old memories.

Popcorn James Jr. passed at seven years of age today. After we took him to the vet for what we thought was an injured leg, we learned that his problem was neurological, likely caused by a flare of EC. Though given a treatment of Panacur and pain killers, his condition quickly worsened from a limp and poor balance to a complete loss motor control and seizures. There was no more we could do for him, and we made the heartbreaking choice to have him put to rest.

Popcorn Jr. was born to Jackie, accidentally fathered by Popcorn Sr., son of Eva. His seven surviving litter mates found their forever homes thanks to Rabbit Advocates of Portland, OR. He was the bonded partner of Sweetsnuffle, the peacemaker between Sweetsnuffle and Frederika, and best friend/nephew to Blaze. He is survived by the last of his warren, Blaze and Frederika.

Popcorn was a beautiful rex with a brown and white coat. He was friendly, sweet, and sometimes a little dumb. A real himbo. He insisted on eating laurel leaves, even though they weren’t good for him. He didn’t have sense enough to come in out of the rain, even though he had a soft, thin rex coat. His full name became Popcorn James Jr. after he got into mischief that made me feel the need to give him a full name to yell at him when he caused trouble.

But he was also a social rabbit who bonded deeply to others. When we matched him with Sweetsnuffle, she finally found someone who could tolerate her moodiness. When Frederika joined the family, Popcorn was the olive branch that invited her in. I remember when Sweetsnuffle was beginning to become tolerant of her in the same room, but still not fully accepting of her, Frederika went to join her and Popcorn while they were resting. Sweetsnuffle rose to lunge at Freddy, but Popcorn got in between them and convinced them both to settle in together with a few gestures. After Sweetsnuffle passed, I finally managed to bond our entire warren: Popcorn, Blaze, Jet, Frederika, Banana, and Leilo.

Stressbonding in the tub (without Leilo). Banana at the left, Jet upper center, Blaze lower center, Popcorn, and Frederika on the right.

Popcorn became everyone’s friend after bonding, but none as closely as with Blaze. Though technically his uncle (as Blaze is the son of Eva, Popcorn’s grandmother, and half-brother to his father), I can confidently say these two were the bestest bros. They were practically inseparable.

Popcorn showing his bff some love.

Likely all of our rabbits carry Encephalitozoon cuniculi (usually shorted to E. cuniculi or EC) a protozoan parasite endemic to rabbits. This is a common infection, but most healthy rabbits’ immune system keeps this parasite in check. I think the original infection came from the rabbits that originated with our former neighbors’ rabbits, one of which being Popcorn’s mother Jackie. EC is transmitted through spores that pass through urine from an infected host. It can also be passed from the mother during pregnancy. Infected kits usually do not show symptoms as long as they’re receiving antibodies from their mother’s milk. Popcorn was nearly eight years old, and we do not know for sure what triggered his EC to flare up. It could have been a little stress, a minor injury we didn’t see, or it could have simply been the fact that he was getting older.

Popcorn was beautiful, soft, loving, and kind. He will be missed by human and rabbit alike.

Binky free, beautiful boy.


            He’s looking for a new car. Not really new per say, but the one he wanted to buy after graduating college and landing his first tech job. Honda S2000, a rare, sporty little convertible that he had test driven once and desired ever since.

Instead of his dream car, with his first weighty check in Kansas City he bought an Acura RSX Type-S in blue. A few years later, he drove back home to the west coast with all his meager bachelor belongings packed into it. It was the car he took me out to the movies in on our first date. I grew to recognize the deep thrum of that engine coming down the road, the downshift as he approached the driveway.

            We had our first kiss standing behind that car. Our third date, after dinner in the parking lot, before he went to his door, I grabbed his hand.

            “Sung, wait,” I said.

            He turned, unsure of what I was asking. I pulled myself closer to him and laid my hand on his cheek, staring into his eyes as he caught his breath, realizing the moment I had suddenly arranged.

            I leaned in for the kiss, my hand sliding from his warm, broad cheek to the back of his head, the thick black hair between my fingers. His arms wrapped around me, pulling me closer. He gave into the kiss, and for a moment, seemed to forget we were standing in a parking lot.

            As we parted, his cheeks glowed with a barely contained smile. “Thank you,” he breathed, as if I had taken a burden of responsibility off his shoulders and given him an affirmation that he desperately needed.

            The Acura is in his favorite shade of blue, and no other blues will do. After a dinner, both of us mildly drunk on cocktails and collapsed into a hotel lobby’s couch, we held hands and he examined my painted nails.

            “You should paint them blue, to match my car,” he suggested with an amused smile, his cheeks flushed with color. I laughed, but I later found a shade in my collection close to that deep cobalt blue with a light shimmer and painted my nails as he suggested.

            That beautiful blue Acura with all the labor and time and money he poured into making it what he wanted it to be was a portal to a better life for me. To building a relationship. To recovering from abuse. To escaping poverty. It took us to the places and experiences we shared, that loud, high-strung beast contained in a sleek blue shell. I loved the way the vibrations traveled through my core as he revved the engine.

I get sentimental about these things. The ritual of doing my make-up, my hair, dressing up, and slipping on high heels to see him, even if all we had planned was some takeout and watching Netflix on his couch. When I moved in and we settled into domesticity, I missed these things. I even miss his one-bedroom apartment where we first made love.

It isn’t that we lack love or peace, but the raging fires of passion have settled into the smoldering embers that warm a hearth. He bought me a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, a practical car for commuting, for getting groceries, and for dirt roads to adventures he wouldn’t risk his beautiful blue Acura on. A practical car to load a car seat into and protect our future family.

And now, he thinks it’s time to get himself that dream car too. Maybe he’ll sell the Acura, it would be the practical choice. I want him to be happy, to get this car he’s dreamed of since college that he can now afford to buy. But selfishly, I don’t want him to sell the Acura. It hurts my heart to think of letting this thing go where we made so many memories. It’s only an object and the memories are in my head. We can make new memories in a new car, as we have in our home and our practical family car and everything else we’ve done. But perhaps, I fear letting go of the things that encapsulate these memories, because without something tangible to hold on to, something to anchor them too, they will fade into the aether of memory and I will never feel them again as I felt them when they were new.

The original version was written as an exercise for a non-fiction writing class. A little something between the concrete details of objects and the abstract of memories. I get sentimental over objects and the memories attached to them.

When I wrote this, Sung was debating purchasing the S2000 he wanted and found a seller in Alabama, of all places. We took a weekend trip down to Birmingham, checked out the car, and he decided to buy it. It was shipped home, and a few weeks later, we drove it home from the place it had been delivered. We still have the Acura! Sung still dithers on his choice to get the S2000, and if we sell one, it may actually be that one, once he fixes it up a bit more. Maybe dream cars aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.


When I fell in love
I looked at your stars
The year 1982
9 Fire in Feng Shui
I realized that you are like fire
You came into my heart
A slow burn, an ember
And throughout the four chambers
You grew to an inferno
You burned away all traces of those who came before
Those who haunted those rooms
Like cobwebs that hung in the rafters
I was renewed
I was free
And in the ashes of former loves
Only you remained

This poem was written for my partner. It was an idea I had held onto for awhile. Before him, I was carrying torches for a number of people but when I fell in love with him, I felt such a warmth in my heart and it was like a purifying process. None of the others mattered anymore, I was free from all those old ties to start fresh.

Life’s Jester

At seventeen, you called yourself "Life's Jester,"
Saying that you were "playing the part of the fool for the gods."
As though some archaic deities
would deign the mundanity of your life
worthy of their interest.
At fifteen, I was the fool.
Your delusions of grandeur
convinced me, in my naïve adoration,
that you spoke deep, irrevocable truths;
that you alone were a font of wisdom
I could never aspire to compare to.
I spent thirteen years under your spell,
my own wisdom suppressed,
denigrating myself to you,
never daring to eclipse you,
but if I ever did slip,
you were quick to subjugate me again
beneath your ego.
I never played the part of the fool for any gods.
I was only my own life’s jester.

Another poem for class, this one written as a response to one my ex wrote a long time ago.


              The farmer’s eldest son paused from his work to wipe the sweat from his brow and appreciate the rising hum of crickets in the mid-spring dusk. Another song was brought to his ears, however, carried on the wind from the woods across his family’s fields. It drew him to a golden-haired maiden, clad in white, who, against all better judgement, was entering that dangerous wilderness. And so, the young man pursued with the purest of intentions.

              As the maiden glided across the forest floor, her gown and hair fluttered behind her on a nonexistent breeze. The young man struggled to keep pace with her and pleaded with her to return to the safety of the hamlet, but the maiden only smiled and beckoned wordlessly to follow.

              A glowing bonfire invited them to a space filled with laughter and music. The young man only had eyes for the entrancing maiden and was oblivious to the strange beings celebrating around them. The maiden offered him a silvered chalice and without hesitation, he imbibed of the ambrosic wine she offered. Suddenly, the maiden was in his arms. They laughed and danced together and the night faded into a delirium of pleasure.

* * *

              “It is a boy, I am certain,” the wife confided in her husband.

              “A son,” her young husband breathed softly.

              She wore a gentle smile on her lips. “What shall we name him?”

              He laid his hand on the rounded rise of her belly. The child within stirred, pressing against his palm. “Ewen. For my brother.”

              “The one who disappeared?” the wife asked. Her husband nodded solemnly. “Very well, he shall be Ewen.”

* * *

              As the child was brought forth into the arms of the midwife, the exchange of baby boy to otherworldly girl was unseen to human eyes.

              The midwife laid the baby in the farm wife’s arms. “A healthy girl,” she declared.

              The mother put the baby to her breast and it quickly found the teat with practiced skill. “A… girl? I was certain it would be a boy,” she breathed. As she looked down at the child, the suckling baby’s eyes opened and looked into hers. The golden down on the baby’s head darkened to match the mother’s brown hair, her facial features changed ever so slightly, pointed ears became round, but the shimmer on her skin remained. The mother, though she watched, was oblivious to the shift. “A girl,” she cooed, now in love with her new child.

* * *

              “The child is strange,” the elder woman argued in a harsh whisper.

              “Mother!” gasped the younger woman. “She is my daughter and I will not hear this.”

              “This is the work of the fair-folk. Her skin—”

              “Enough!” the younger woman hissed.

              The child overheard this exchange and looked at her arm, shifting it so that her skin shimmered in the sunlight that came in through the window.

* * *

              “Cambria, use the poker to break up the logs, like I showed you,” the farm wife told her daughter as they hovered over the hearth. The mother’s belly was round with child again.

              The girl reached for the cast iron rod beside the fire. As she wrapped her hand around the metal, she shrieked in pain. The rod clattered to the floor. “Mama, it burns!” she cried, clutching her hand to her chest with tears rolling down her shimmery cheeks. Her flesh was as red and blistered as if the rod had been red-hot where she grasped it.

              The mother squatted on the floor to test the rod with her finger tips. It was cold.

* * *

              The other children would not play with the eldest daughter of the farmer. Whispers of the meddling of fairies passed between neighbors and filtered down to their children. Eventually, not even the girl’s siblings would play with her. At the edge of the family’s fields she found new playmates. When the girl’s family heard her speaking to her new friends, which they could not see, she was punished severely. She stopped speaking to her friends in the forest afterward.

* * *

              At the age of fifteen, the girl ceased to grow. The family did not notice, at first, but as the years passed her younger sisters grew taller and their comely figures took shape. When suitors came to call, the eldest daughter was passed over.

* * *

              At the age of twenty-five, the eldest daughter finally grew a single inch in height. Her hips rounded, her bosom began to blossom. Then, her growth ceased again. The girl’s once-adoring parents instead grew suspicious.

* * *

              The girl abandoned her home in the dead of night. Knowing she would find no peace with other people, she wandered. A disused hunter’s cabin in the foothills outside of the hamlet became her home. Her old friends returned and taught her many of their secrets. The girl learned to cultivate plants with special properties and brew potions from her friends. They taught her tricks and charms and illusions. With this knowledge, the girl survived. Time did not touch her, though decades passed.

* * *

              The young man awoke on the forest floor. There was no sign of the bonfire or the maiden or her strange companions. He began his shameful walk home but he found his surroundings both familiar and unfamiliar. Trees seemed larger than he recalled. As he came to the edge of the forest, the sloping farmland was familiar as the land he had worked his whole life. Yet, the fields had expanded and a stone wall now divided the farmland from the wilderness. He saw the barn his father built, but the house beside it was larger, as though rooms had been added overnight. The backdoor was the same as he remembered. It was home. It had to be.

              He startled the family within as he entered. Several unfamiliar women were working in his family’s kitchen. One was old, the others were adults and maidens. Some of the women looked as though they could have been his sisters or cousins, but he knew none of them. Children played about their feet. When the women spotted the interloper, they shouted at him to leave, which led to an elderly man charging into the kitchen, wielding a broom like a club, intent on defending his family.

“Father?” the young man spoke.

The broom clattered to the floor. Silence fell over those gathered in the kitchen.

              “Ewen?” the elder man finally spoke.

              “Yes, father, it’s me! Who are these women? Where is mother?” the young man answered.

“Ewen, you look the same as I remember. It’s been… what, forty years?” the old man responded.  “How is this possible?”

              The young man fell to his knees as the truth became clear. This old man was his brother, who had been a mere sixteen years old the night before. The women were his wife, his daughters, and daughters-in-law, and their children. The young man’s father and mother were long dead and three generations had come up overnight.

* * *

              The young man found no peace in the only home he had ever known. He left his family home and his wanderings brought him to a cabin in the foothills where a brown-haired maiden with shimmering skin tended a garden. She welcomed him graciously, as she rarely had visitors.

              “My name is Cambria. You are welcome to share my roof for I live alone.”

              “I am Ewen. I am grateful for your hospitality, as the world has become strange and unknown to me.”

              “The world has always been strange and unknown to me.”

              What was to be a place of momentary respite for the young man became a place of peace. Who was to be a simple visitor to her life became a companion to the maiden. The spring passed, then summer, and as autumn came the maiden of nearly forty who appeared no younger than twenty and the man of twenty who lost forty years had fallen in love, unaware of the sins their shared misfortune had led them to commit.

This short story was an idea based around the changeling mythology. I thought of basing it in Aserra, but I never specified. Just a little experiment, and getting an idea down.


I am intoxicated by the taste of his desire         
Legs pulled up in a chair, clutched to his chest
I feel my wings like never before and he feels them too
Truths laid bare and secrets shared
He bares his vulnerability to me and trusts me not to strike
Teasing kisses, my lip in his teeth
A cluttered car that smells of incense
His tongue out like Kali
My rose oil on his wrists
A casual touch on my thigh sets off a cascade of pleasure through my nervous system.
How do you consume me so?
Empty promises
Never enough time, too much time, the wrong time
My power is waning, his is waxing.
A stolen moment in the summertime
Mosquitos and cicadas
Golden light illuminates the pollen in the air, streaming through tree trunks
I lay in the grass on my sweater while he worships my breasts
Moments are not enough
Never satisfied, always wanting more.
An ocean apart
Sporadic messages, empty promises
Truth becomes clear
I will never be satisfied.

I wrote this for a poetry course I took as a requirement for my degree. I have rarely written poetry and it’s a written medium I struggle with. Most of what I have written is free-form. I had a handful of poem ideas that were floating around in my head for a long time that I was finally able to string together. This piece specifically was based on a short relationship I had that left me frustrated. I had written a piece of flash fiction in another class very similar to this poem, and I retooled it into this poem that I prefer.

Updates from Quarantine

Like many others, I’ve been shut away from the world (except for some supply runs) during the Covid-19 pandemic. School has been cancelled until the end of April (though I expect that to extend) so the kid is home. My partner is working from home, and my search for gainful employment post-graduation has been halted. In a way, it has taken a lot of weight off my shoulders, but added a burden in others. It was almost blissful at first, not having to stress over my son’s grades or putting myself out there. I got a lot done at home. I’ve started gardening more. I had only planned to plant a few things, like tomatoes and herbs to round out our collection, and some flowers, but with so much changing, almost overnight, it became apparent that it would be prudent to grow more of our own food. So, I’ve been starting more seeds for produce we can use. At least, what I know I can grow–there are a few things that require a little extra care in our climate and I don’t want to overwhelm myself.

Getting all that going has taken a lot of my time that I hoped to turn to writing, and the rest of the time, it’s the endless ADHD struggle of switching focus or feeling adrift in internal chaos. I probably need to reevaluate my daily schedule to return structure to my life with everyone stuck at home.

I did make some progress on my plans, however! In addition to working on The Dollmaster for publishing, I’ve also decided to turn some of our other stories into episodic adventure series on Wattpad. I’m starting with the “Voyage to Ertia” storyline and we’ll see where that goes. I made some solid planning last month, but it will take me building structure and discipline to see it through. As long as my partner is working from home, he’s laid claim to our office, so I’m working in the living room at the couch and coffee table, either sitting on the floor or curling up on the couch. May my back forgive me.

Last month (February, that is), I made progress building the wiki, planning out stories, and giving myself some direction with the wealth of characters and storylines I have at my hands. I intend to lay some of that out in another blog. I also want to post some of my other writings from school here. I have some short fiction and non-fiction and poems I can share to round out my “portfolio.” So, look out for those!


It’s not so much of a resolution, but reality kind of kicking me into gear. With the start of the new year and a new decade, I realized that all the dreams I started working on for Aserra in the last decade have not really gone anywhere. While I did give myself the opportunity to pursue my education, and with my writing courses I gained a lot and made a little progress, I’m still not even close to completing my first manuscript.

Mental Health

In my personal life, and even a bit in public, I’ve talked quite freely about my ADHD. This is something that has affected my entire life, but only in the last decade did I start to recognize it, and it took until last year to get a proper diagnosis and start medication to manage it. It is frustrating to look back on my struggles through high school and my twenties and know that there was this huge piece missing that could have made it easier for me to get through it. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar in high school and prescribed inappropriate medication that only killed my creativity, enhanced physical tics, and didn’t produce results. In my twenties, I floundered. I managed to get my high school diploma through an alternative school. I was crippled by anxiety and depression, not helped by a toxic relationship that made me question my self worth. Finally, in my thirties, divorce shot me forward like an arrow. I started attending community college and I dove in 100%, going straight through to get my Associate’s and a transfer degree. After a one term break, I started University to complete a Bachelor’s. Now that that’s done, I got a little lost. I spent a lot of that post-graduation time seeking help for my mental health, and I had to fight tooth and nail to finally get diagnosed as an adult. It is a massive relief to come out the other side vindicated and medicated properly.

It’s helped, but I’m still working on myself every day. Most people think of people with ADHD as unable to sit still and focus, but it’s so much more than that. The worst part is executive dysfunction. Executive function is a process in your brain that allows you to regulate and control other processes. It’s basically the cognitive equivalence of a manager who directs their assistant managers who direct their employees who interface with customers. Well, with ADHD, your manager doesn’t know what the fuck their doing and the whole business is in shambles. Executive dysfunction can paralyze by leaving a person unable to comprehend how to even start simple daily activities. Added onto that, we have a poor grasp of the passage of time and constant chatter in our minds. Undiagnosed adults often find coping mechanisms to get by and function in society, but historically ADHD has been poorly understood and severely underdiagnosed in girls and women. I’m one of those who fell through the cracks because I didn’t present like they expected me to (like a boy) but the signs were there all along.

I’m getting the help I need, but these hurdles will always been something I have to deal with. It’s getting easier to get over them at least. Depression and anxiety are often co-morbid or a direct result of ADHD symptoms. I have been on anti-depressants for several years, which have been helpful, and I now take in combination with ADHD meds. Anxiety is one of my coping mechanisms. I’m usually early to appointments because I’m so anxious that I would be late (re: unable to register the passage of time on my own) that I wake up early, prep early, and leave early to stave off my nerves.

And then there is deadlines. I usually make deadlines, but at the same time, I cannot seem to do the work without the looming pressure of a deadline weighing down on me. If I got an essay assignment that was due in a month, I would tell myself that I would work on it a little at a time over that month, but as soon as I got home, I would forget. Or I would look at it, feel uncertain of how to even start it and put it off for later, then eventually forget. Then, when the deadline was approaching, I would realize that “oh shit! I need to do this!” and hastily through together a half-assed essay.

Thankfully, my half-assed is generally A material, so it never reflected in my grades. I even worked as a writing tutor–though, I advised my students to do as I said, not as I did.

Lots of students use this method of course, I’m not unique in that. However, the thing is, I really would try to work on it earlier and be completely unable to focus without the pressure. There’s this thing about executive dysfunction–if your motivation to do something is fueled by the need to be accountable to someone else, it acts as a work-around. I suddenly had the pressure of the approval of my teachers and my grade that affected my student loans (because if I failed, I would suffer the consequences of losing funding and dealing with bureaucratic red tape to fix it). If I have an appointment, I have an obligation to show up for the sake of another person (my doctor, adviser, social worker, etc.).

In the same way, that’s why I think our collaborative fiction-style RPs worked so well for me. Not only was it a hyperfixation to immerse myself in a creative endeavor (hyperfixation is another ADHD thing), I was accountable to my RP partners to progress the story, because if I didn’t show up, they would leave.

Progress on Aserra

This is where it comes back to writing. If I just sit on my own and try to hammer out a whole book, it falls apart pretty quick. The potential accountability in the long term doesn’t register with my brain, I need more instant validation. I got this in my writing classes where I would workshop a chapter, get feedback, and then feel motivated to continue–but our classes were only ten weeks long, which was really only enough for one chapter or short story. By the next writing class I took, I might see a handful of familiar faces, but the majority wouldn’t see a continuation from the chapter of the previous term.

I need the accountability I once had with role-playing, but at the same time, I don’t want to just put my work that I plan to try to publish traditionally out there for anyone to read. Sometimes I would send a chapter to a single friend (usually Rory) but one person’s feedback isn’t enough, especially if it’s overwhelmingly positive (still, thank you for humoring me, Rory!). A counselor suggested to me that I release what I have done to a group of people, which I put off because I got myself stuck in an over-editing loophole, but with the start of the year, I realized I really had to do it!

I put the prologue and first two chapters of The Dollmaster up on Google Docs and invited a handful of people familiar with the story to come and read. I’ve only gotten a little feedback so far, but I’m trying to work on the next chapter. If you have been invited, please read what I have up and give me a little feedback, whether that’s a private message, a comment on the file, or what have you. Intend to add more content every month, but I am working on building better work habits writing daily. I think I’m doing good so far! I only was able to finish one scene of chapter three for January, rather than the whole chapter, but I just need more practice to build up momentum.

As a note, I am only inviting people that I actually know to this beta-read. I don’t expect anyone outside the Aserra family to read this blog, if anyone at all, but it is public, so I just want to say that.


Now, I had intended to do more work on TDM chapter three this week, but instead I wanted to set down some plotting for the whole series, and I hyperfixated over that for the last few days. I have decided to pursue five of our other stories following Dollmaster. There are yet more to be told beyond that, but I’m trying to weave this together so that there is interconnection and characters can crossover between stories. This will include Atissran’s Tower, Cursebreakers, rehashing the Vampire Hunt story from EKD, a story following Thalia, Avion, and Talen to find Avion’s mother, and a story set in the Forsaken Land around Sevrina and Gale.

Also, I have wanted to make use of Wattpad to get some exposure, and I was considering how to go about it. I don’t want to put TDM up there, but what I’ve settled on is working on some of our more episodic stories, such as the Voyage to Ertia adventure, the magic school, and Alera’s inter-dimensional vessel.

I really, really hope that I can manage all this at the same time. I want to put these stories out there, I believe in them. I love my characters and I want them to exist outside our little role-plays.

Addressing Concerns of Ownership

I don’t want to use any one’s characters or concepts without their permission. For everyone who has a role in Dollmaster, I have contacted them for permission to use their characters, and I also intend to credit you as a contributor (and potentially offer you a small piece of the pie if I make it). If you do not want your character in my hands for any other stories, please let me know and I will honor that.

Also, in plotting the other stories in this first phase, I have tried to trim down the number of major characters. I didn’t trim many, but I did opt to replace Kiras in Cursebreakers with Nat/Varien (who I am settling on the name of Taniel for). I want to reuse characters from previous stories as much as possible and intertwine backgrounds to fulfill their personal stories. If you don’t want a character used in a story, I can re-cast their role with another in a relevant way (if not drop them all together).