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Robyn Nyx

Words for Women who Love Women

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Tempus fugit…

Time. It’s a cruel mistress. There’s simply never enough of it. And how do you “make time?” There’s no actual recipe to bake days and weeks. There always seems to be more to do than the time you have to do it in.

Inevitably, things fall by the wayside. Jobs are put off. Deadlines are missed. Stress ensues. And people have advice, so much advice, on time management. “This is what I’d do,” “Have you tried..?” and “It’s easy to find excuses.” 

We have to decide on the important things. The “must do’s” and the “can’t nots.” And they’re different for everyone, and as individual as fingerprints. As I’ve gotten older, my priorities have changed. In a relatively new relationship, my focus is different. Things that were important in my thirties are no longer so. Things I neglected in my twenties now take priority. 

Balance. Priorities. Perspective. They all change over…time. The facts remain: it’s your life, and your time. There are no replays and no second chances. They’ll be your regrets and your satisfactions too. No one else’s.

Enjoy. Revel. Cherish. Relax. 

Work well. Work fast. Play hard. Play hardest. 

Kickback. Push forward. Stay centered.

Watch life. Live life. Taste life. Be life.

But don’t squander it on the inconsequential nonsense. Or do. Because it’s yours, and it’s up to you.

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Rejection is the greatest aphrodisiac…

So sang Madonna. Is she right? As a writer, rejection comes with the territory. Look at J K Rowling: it took over ten years before she was finally accepted for publication (and even then, only when she dropped the gender specific name and went with initials…). Her crime fiction was floundering until it was revealed she was writing it.

It’s easy to think that once you get a publishing contract, you’ve made it. You’re a published author and no longer “just” a writer. But there are still rejections. Plenty of them. The trick is how you react to them. I’ve made my latest rejection into something positive: free fiction! I submitted the story “Heart Halfway Gone” to a romance call anthology. I think maybe I don’t actually write romance. It doesn’t seem to come as naturally on the page as it does in real life. Anyhoo, rather than just dropping it as a PDF, I had some creative fun with it…designed a proper cover, created MOBI and ePub files, and a proper PDF with the cover design. I had a great time, and the pain that comes with rejection dissipated. My website stats boomed, and people got some free fiction that hopefully, they enjoyed.

My point? Never lose hope. You write because you have to; because you want to; because you love to. Not because you want to be published (although that is one hell of a ride). Write what you love, and some people will love what you write. Rejection might not be the greatest aphrodisiac, but it steels the soul and strengthens the heart.

Stick with it. Writing is for love, not for money or accolades.

heart-halfway-gone_final

Heart Halfway Gone (mobi for Kindle)

Heart Halfway Gone (ePub for other eReaders)

Wedding vows: Finding the Words

Back in June, on my lady’s fortieth birthday, I proposed as the sun rose on a Miami beach. We’re now busy saving for our honeymoon in Hawaii, so our wedding is a few years away yet. But yesterday I read a blog by the wife of Neil Gaiman, and she mentioned she’d long ago forgotten their wedding vows.

It got me thinking about what I want to say on the day. We’re both authors and play with words daily. They’re important to us; they’re what brought us together; and we both have symbols of those words in tattoo and jewellery form. The vows I want to write have to be something unique and special. They have to describe the pure light and joy I feel when I’m with her. They have to tell her how I’ll never let go; that I cherish each waking second I spend with her; and how I’m finally at peace with my own sense of self because of her. These are words are I say daily. And on days of gentle surrender, when the tar of her depression deigns to recede just enough, she hears me.

I’m lucky enough not to suffer from depression, and I cannot begin to fathom the depth of the pits of despair into which it drags its victims. But I do know that words help. They may be the same words, the same phrasing, repeated over and over, but their value is infinite. Because eventually, and occasionally, they’re heard.

I haven’t written my vows yet, but when I do, I’ll write ones I hope she hears, feels, and remembers forever.

The Power of Woman

We were up late last night putting the finishing touches to our most recent book. Last minute changes to the cover had to be made due to the PDF not quite producing the tonal nuance of part of the back cover design. Important stuff, because after all, we often judge a book by its cover…

We’ve got over twenty stories in this anthology, and in the aftermath of the Trump election, it seems like no better time than to publish something with a focus purely on women. Their voice. Their experience. Their strength. We’ve included women from India, Australia, and America, as well as many home grown talents. There’s even a couple of Bold Strokes authors in there. Some of the stories are frivolous, others are quite literally, deadly serious. But there’s a story that isn’t in there. It’s one I wanted. I wanted it so bad that I didn’t take an initial “Thanks, but no,” for an answer. It was a long, long Facebook post, and it was powerful. It said something. Something extra. It spoke of the fear a lot of women carry daily. Innocently going into a roadside cafe to pick up food for the family, lost in a smart phone, and thinking ten steps ahead. Not taking into account the surroundings until it might be too late. There are just men in this place. Aggressive, feral, and predatory men.

The irony of my refusal to take “no” for an answer was pointed out to me, and it got me thinking about women’s behaviour to other women in general. I have a foul mouth. I love cursing for the emphasis it can give to words, sentences, feelings. One of my absolute road rage favourites is “cock sucker.” I don’t have to see the offending person or perceive their gender before the words spit from my mouth faster than…well, a very fast thing. But I started to think about the etymology of this. I’m using something that people have done to those equipped with dicks since time began, as an insult. But more than that, it’s an action generally associated with women (or gay men). By using the term “cock sucker,” I’m belittling women and making something perfectly pleasant (I imagine 😈) into something bad. Where else am I doing this? How else am I holding back the progress of my own “kind?” Where else am I behaving just as badly, whisper it, as a man? 

As a lover of women, of all shapes, sizes, and leanings, it seems I’ve been just as guilty as man for judging a woman from her looks; for lustfully appreciating her external attributes before I even learned her name; for thinking that my advances would be welcome. 

Before you lambast me and proclaim your innocence, I’m not saying lesbians are as bad as man (or indeed that all men are predators). I’m just saying that have been. I’ve been guilty of judging a book by its cover. And if we’re battling the same things as women together, surely I shouldn’t be committing those same “crimes?” And how can we hope to change man and their behaviour if we’re doing similar things, albeit on a smaller but perhaps more insidious scale? 

So I’ve made some early New Year’s Resolutions:

No more gender specific swearing. 

Be more sensitive because I can’t begin to know what someone else’s life is like (especially true of Facebook “friends”).

Help, support, and mentor other women wherever possible. 

Because women do have power. Like the featured image, we can break from the barb wire and fly. And together, we can be even stronger.

Christmas presents and poop!

I had a request for a signed copy of my book today, and the lady said that her wife would “poop herself when she opened it on Christmas Day.” Once I’d got that image out of my head (I tend to think in Technicolor), it made me laugh. 

And then, it was very, very cool.

I thought about all the presents I’ve received over various stages in my life. From my first bike from mum and dad to the first piece of jewellery from a lover. From the first mini arcade game to the first food processor (yes, that happened). I remembered all the excitement of tearing or carefully removing the paper, depending on my level of self-restraint and how desperate I was to make the moment last. And then, the big reveal. Whatever it was under all that decorative Santa Claus themed wrapping paper, it was now all mine. And whether I enjoyed it for moments or for years, it was special. 

So how damn cool is it to know that this year, I’ll be under someone’s beautifully prepared Christmas Tree? Icy North Pole cool, that’s how cool! Coors Damme cold cool. 

That’s all for now. Back to Change in Time 🤗

Author piñata 

So, I’m wondering if I’ll feel like this colourful donkey in about six weeks. My debut novel, Never Enough, will be released in November, and that’s when everyone outside Bold Strokes Books gets to read it. Exciting but scary.

Publishing a book seems to be like giving birth and hoping everyone thinks your baby is as beautiful as you think it is. 

Ah well, I’ll still love my baby even everyone else thinks it’s an ugly abomination 😂

Taking pride in Pride

Just over two weeks ago, I attended my first Brighton Pride as an author. A proper published author. With two of my books, full of my words, coming out in the next eight months (Never Enough is out in November this year, and Escape in Time is released in April 2017).

I met lots of lovely readers and spent some time with three other great Bold Strokes Books authors, I Beacham, Michelle Grubb, and Brey Willows. I signed several copies of the anthology I’m in, Girls on Campus, and I’m proud to say, we even sold out.

Aside from the wonderful people we met (including the lovely couple with the sex toy shop adjacent to our stall), I had to come to terms with being a little long in the tooth to really partake of the alcohol and dancing frenzy that is the modern Pride. However, I was struck (as I always am at these events) how people of all different shapes, sizes, colours, tendencies, and non-binary genders showed up in their most daring outfits. They didn’t give a flying…toss what people thought. And some of those outfits would’ve really turned heads on the bus journey home, with ass cracks and nipples galore on show for all to enjoy. I say “You go, girl” – just as old local Midlands DJ, Pete Martine, used to scream at us on the dance floor.

On a more serious note, there’s a simmering refrain at the moment that Prides are no longer needed. That we have come so far in terms of equality and that such an open celebration is not necessary.

I wholeheartedly disagree.

When atrocities like the Orlando Pulse shooting don’t happen. When a trans person can walk into the bathroom of their choice without questioning looks or abuse. When a male couple can walk unimpeded along a street in Memphis, Tennessee. When tragedies like the Matthew Shepherd murder no longer occur.

Maybe then there’ll be no need for Pride Festivals. But in the meantime, keep attending, loud, proud, and colourful to Pride celebrations the world over.

Hope to see you at Manchester this weekend.

What if and why? Pt II

What if… I came back to the hotel and she’s not there?

Why are there stupid motivational quotes on this wall?

What if…I end up traveling home alone?

Why can’t she see how truly wonderful she is?

What if…everyone she knows told her how important she is?

Why can’t she see my love for her is stronger than her tar could ever be?

What if the lady was thinking about how hard life is, but how it’s worth it? What if she didn’t push the button and lived until she’s no longer meant to?

Why do we often concentrate on the ugly rather than celebrating the good within ourselves, the good that others can see even when we can’t?

What if…she does run and…and never came back…

Why is the world so concerned with happiness?

What if …’the happy’ is always there, even in the darkest moments, and it’s just hiding temporarily?

Why can’t she see that she is my perfect, not the stuff and nonsense we surround ourselves in?

What if…no one is actually ‘normal’?

Why does she believe our relationship is based on promises of prescribed behaviour? There is no “letting down”.

What if…she understood that I believe she’s everything I’ll ever want, need, and desire?

Why do a thousand words of love drown so easily in that damned tar?

What if…just once, she saw herself through my eyes? Would the breath come easier?

Why?

What if?

Pens and Privilege

Preparations for the seventh annual Bold Strokes Book UK festival take around six months. It’s a gentle start, gradually gaining speed like a car going downhill without working brakes. The first weekend in June seems like an age away when we begin, but in apparently no time at all, it’s the Friday night before the event and it’s time for the author dinner.

This was my first event as a Bold Strokes author, and it was in my interest to make sure the event went as well as it possibly could. But more than that, I wanted it to be a success for the readers, my authory colleagues, and for the tireless Victoria, who whips up a storm leading up to the event.

Saturday morning came, and we were buying giveaways and prizes at 9am in the local mall before heading to Waterstones to set up the event. There was a palpable sense of dread—what if hardly anyone shows up? It’s an annual issue, but we needn’t have worried. Over the two days, we had a combined attendance of 115, and we sold more books than ever before—over twice as many as the previous year, and that was a record!

Our hashtag #BSBUK competed with the BackStreet Boys UK tour and the British Baking Society for superiority, and we won out by a country mile. I thoroughly enjoyed documenting the wild and wonderful things my authory colleagues were saying, and I hear from my Australian BSB follower, that following the Twitter feed was almost as good as being there. On the Sunday, I was involved in every panel so we handed the Twitter baton over to the audience with the tasty bait of a covers poster signed by each of the attending authors. Well done, Sarah B, for the most Tweets—I hope the poster finds a place where you can be inspired to get from 20,000 words to a complete manuscript!

From a personal point of view, I had an amazing time. Now that I get to call myself a multi-published author (well, I will be by April 2017), I get to talk about words and how you put them together for an avid audience. It’s truly a privilege. I met some wonderful people and even signed some books (my first to Laura—thank you for asking!), and it was thrilling that people were disappointed they weren’t able to buy my debut novel ‘Never Enough’ right there and then (I’ll be sure to sign your copy, Sharron and Sarah, knowing it will never be opened again!).

We’re already planning next years’ event and hope to see everyone who attended this year and a whole lot more. There’ll be a survey shortly appearing (on the BSB UK website, Facebook, and at your inbox if you filled in our BSB UK alerts sheet) so you can give us your feedback—we can’t wait to hear it. This is your event, and we want to make it the best it can be, so please take a few moments to let us know your thoughts.

I’m leaving it there, because I’m constantly being reminded that blogs are supposed to be short and sweet, but I have to say that one of my favourite moments came following the question from fellow author, Matt Bright, who asked “If you could have one of the characters from any of your books walk in to the room right now, who would it be?” When I smiled and laughed ominously, the audience were right there with me—I can’t wait for you all to meet Therese…

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