A Year Down From Coming Out

Let’s talk about the last year.

Last year was the time when my transition was shifting in high gear.  I’d finally started on hormone replacement, and I’d started coming out slowly in person, to the point where I was sorta living as a women pretty much everywhere save work.  Pretty much everyone on line knew I was out, and most of them were asking questions about what it was like to go through the craziness.

It was then, last year, that I created the post Welcome to My Trans World, which all actually arose from questions about what I need to do every two weeks when I perform my hormone shot.  I filmed them on the Friday afternoon after returning from work, and spent nearly the whole night uploading them to YouTube so I could get them into my blog the next day.

The funny thing is, at that time I didn’t realize that I’d posted them on 10/11/2014, because 11 October is National Coming Out Day, when those who are still hiding their sexual orientation and/or gender identity are encouraged to let those around them know the truth.  On this day in 2012 I altered all my on-line presence to reflect my new identity, so I’m pretty familiar with the concept of getting out of that closet.

I’ve actually planed on doing a follow-up for some time now, because why not?  Some people are still interested in what I’m going through, and the changes that have occurred in the last year have turned out to be pretty extensive.  I was told that last year’s videos were fairly informative, and I thought, “Maybe I can help others get a handle on what they’re going through as well if I do more.”  Just remember, kids:  it’s the thought that counts, but actually doing something helps a lot more.

So here we go:  four more videos talking about the good and the bad of transition and HRT, and some of the things I’ve experienced and are experiencing right now.  Hope you find them informative, and perhaps a little helpful.


First off, though, we get down into an intro, so if you don’t want to continue you can stop right now:


Now we get to the business.  Here I talk about what has been the good part of hormone replacement therapy, after being on it for more than a year:


You can’t have the good without the bad, and there that comes roaring down:


Here are some of the things related to my transition that have nothing to do with hormones, but are nonetheless good, because they are a huge part of my transition:


And finally, a few final feelings about what I’ve went through, more or less, in the last year, and why transitioning was important to me.  This also gets pretty emotional in parts, so be ready:


There you have it.  I hope, if you went through each video, you enjoyed what I had to say, and took something away from this.  And for everyone else who simply shows up to look at the excerpts of my novel, don’t worry:  that’s coming real soon.  I only gotta write a few hundred more words and you’ll get totally hooked up.

Would I lead you astray?

A Year and a Day

Today is the last day of March, 2015.  That’s a pretty easy one:  you can look at any calendar, phone, or computer and see that right away.  It’s a good thing, too, because these days it’s also nearly impossible to know from one day to the next what day it should be.  I’m good with that, but not perfect.

Today is also the International Transgender Day of Visibility, the day that is meant to celebrate those of us who have chosen to live our lives as we needed them to be lived, and not pretend we are someone else–something I did most of my life.  Believe me, getting to the point where I could stop pretending wasn’t the easiest thing in my life . . .

My own public coming out wasn’t something I spent a long time thinking about.  I had already begun attending a few transgender support meetings through the winter of 2013/14, but by March of 2014, I was feeling the need to do more.  By that time I’d been in and out of therapy for almost two years, but I felt that I wasn’t making any real progress toward being me.

That started changing on 29 March, 2014.  On that day I drove home from Indiana to Harrisburg in some of the strangest weather I’d ever encountered.  It started out cloudy, then started drizzling in eastern Indiana.  I began seeing snow flurries in western Ohio, snow in central, and by the time I reach not-rocking Cleveland, it was snowing hard enough that only one lane of the three lane Ohio Turnpike was open.  It stayed that way until I reached the Cuyahoga River valley, at which point everything turned to rain–

And stayed that way all through the gathering night as I drove through the mountains of Pennsylvania on the way to Harrisburg.

It was about eleven PM when I reached home, and I didn’t make it into bed until about half-past midnight.  I was up because I was chatting with someone about writing, but as I went to bed my mind was on something else.  Me.

When I woke up the next morning, Sunday, 30 March, I decided that I was lacking as far as my transition was concerned, and if I was going to go through with it, I’d either need to do so, or crawl back into the closet where I’d been for fifty years.  And so, that morning, I threw on my wig, put on a little makeup (really, just a little:  I had no idea what I was doing), got dressed, and headed for my normal weekend morning hangout, the Panera in Camp Hill.  I was nervous, I was scared, I was worried I was going to get chased out of the joint, and while I did get a few stares–lots of few stares, actually–I was waited on and served.

That was the start.  And I even got a picture to commemorate the moment, because if you don’t see it, it didn’t happen, right?

April of 2014 was really my transition month, and the biggest turning point for me was, believe it or not, the fact that I was getting tired of transferring my ID from my woman’s wallet to my male wallet, and I reached the next milestone where I decided I was either going to be a woman or man, and chose woman because, yeah, I was.

Yesterday was my anniversary of my real coming out, where I’d decided to forgo all possible humiliation and walk out of my apartment and show the world who I was.  Yesterday I met with my tax prepare at H&R Block in Valparaiso, IN–you may have heard a little about Indiana lately, as the government here is trying to squeeze the entire state into a TARDIS and take us back to 1915–so I could file my federal and state taxes, naturally.  Last year I’d done so in male mode, but not so much this year.  This year I went as myself, my true self, and my tax lady didn’t bat an eye.  She remarked that I looked good, and asked a few questions about my transition, but mostly what she wanted to know was if I was getting ready to publish anything else, since I had a 1099 from Amazon for book royalties.  (All of fifteen dollars, if you must know.)  As for the whole, “Oh, you’re a woman now?” thing–she could care less.

As I tell people, I still suffer from depression, I still cry, I still believe at times that the end is near, but right now the least of my worries is transition.  The news was good enough yesterday that I was able to determine that I’ll be able to undergo electrolysis this summer, and later today or tomorrow I’ll start the process on getting my name and gender markers changed.

It’s been a strange and wonderful journey.  And as I say, I have pictures.


Camp Hill, 30 March, 2014.

Camp Hill, PA, 30 March, 2014.

And Now:

Valparaiso, IN, 30 March, 2015.

Valparaiso, IN, 30 March, 2015.

What a different a year makes.

Return of the Last Week

Does that seem cryptic?  Like, oh, god, what sort of “Last Week” are you describing?  Hummm, maybe a little cryptic, but that because I come from a different time and place, not unlike a certain traveler who was on over the weekend.

A week from today is Labor Day, or as some people think of it, the traditional marking of the end of summer.  After that day women aren’t supposed to wear white shoes, men are suppose to stop wearing shorts, and everyone’s suppose to adapt to the idea that fall is here and winter’s around the corner.  It was also, in some places the start of the school year, and depending on the calendar, school either started today, or it started next Tuesday.

That simply isn’t the case any longer.  Today we start school like the first week of August, people don’t much give a damn about what they wear well into fall (something I’ve noticed as I’ve adapted my change in clothing and watched how other women to the same), and winter is now a meme to tell people to brace themselves for some life-changing shit.

And my head was chopped off a few years or over a decade ago, so totally not a spoiler.

And his head was chopped off a few years or over a decade ago, depending on the medium of your choice, so totally not a spoiler.

So we are in the last week of summer.  It’s here, and soon it’ll be Friday, and summer is going . . . well, it’s not going anywhere.  Fall doesn’t officially come for almost another month, and looking ahead for the weeks to come, I doubt that we’re going to see fall-like weather soon.  Which is good, because I don’t have all my winter clothes together yet.  I can get through fall okay, but winter–it’s gonna be a tough one in The Burg.

The only true season I ever used to pay attention to was summer, and that was because I grew up in a house with no air conditioning until about 1970, and so summer was as time of dread.  It was hot and sweaty and miserable, and I couldn’t wait for cooler weather so I could sleep and enjoy going outside without enduring the sensation that I was melting.

The summer’s been mild this year, and where it was super sweltering I’ve manage to stay out of the direct rays and stay comfortable.  Winter is suppose to be a total pain in the ass this year, and that only bothers me in the sense that it’s necessary to go out and share the road with hundreds of drivers who lose their minds whenever there’s the smallest amount of snow on the ground.

However, it’s not the weather going away that I’ll think about this year.  The summer was one of dramatic change for me, and in this last week I meet with my therapist and talk about all the stuff that’s happened in the month since I last saw her.  I’m sure they’ll be a lot of discussion about what’s going to happen at work this winter, and not a few mentions of my emotional state over the month of August.

And then we can talk about what’s coming in the fall.

All-in-all, it’s not been a bad summer,

Maybe I need to get out and enjoy what their is of my new life in the fall.


Changing seasons, changing gender appearance–pretty much the same, don’t you think?  It can still make for a good hike on a nice day.


Cleaning Out the Fridge

If you follow this blog then you know a few things about me.  I’m a writer; I’m a little bit nuts; and I’m a geek.  These days I don’t know how large of a geek that would be, due to all the brolash that has come up in the last few years about who is “fake” (usually women) and who isn’t (usually the bros makin’ up the rules).  Needless to say my creed is good, and while I might not be able to tell someone exact issue and page for whatever comic one might use as a litmus test for pureness, I know I could come back with my own set of questions that would put them right down on their ass.

As such, many of my friends are geeks in various areas, and many of them were watching closely when the cast pictures for the new Star Wars film was released.  And the thing that a majority of them noticed right away:  one new female actor, one male actor who is black, and a whole lotta white light sabers flashin’ around.  Oh, and Andy Serkis to likely motion capture an alien meant to represent whatever racial stereotype the movie is inadvertently mocking, cause yeah, gotta go there.

At this point it’s difficult to say that if you’re doing any sort of story within a “universe”–which, admittedly, is a pretty big place–it’s not going to be easy to explain away why one doesn’t have more women in their stories, or don’t have more people of color wandering about.  Particularly in geek entertainment, where even in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century, a large number of stories have women for one of various reasons:  to act as the romantic interests for the male characters, to come off as a bit of fan service for the bros, or to get Fridged and lead one of the male characters into their huge moment of angst.  Naturally, the first two reasons are not mutually exclusive from the last, which allows one to hit the trifecta if you’re really wanting to go in that direction.

I was telling a friend the other day that I had someone looking over my current work in progress, and they had a couple of comments.  The first was, “You have a lot of women.”  And the second was, “And a lot of the characters aren’t Caucasian.”  I asked them if that was a good or bad thing, and the response was, “Well, there are a lot of women in the story . . .”  And that’s true:  it’s pointed out that, in The Foundation, it’s a Lady’s World, with the women outnumbering the men about three-to-one.  At the school the ratios are even higher:  in the student body the girls outnumber the boys about four-to-one (something that Kerry points out to another student), and as far as staff and instructors go . . . never mind:  The Queens Conquer–and have.

As they say, lets look at the cards–literally:

You can't tell who's going to lay into you in class without a score card.

You can’t tell who’s going to lay into you in class without a cheat sheet.

These are just my instructors–the situation is different with the staff.  Three out of four positions are held by women, and the director of security is half-Egyptian.  And all of the support staff are female–you don’t see them, but I do.

But running across my instructors, we have five men in that group.  Fitzsimon Spratt is a black man from Jamaica and Shuthelah Kady is from Turkey.  Holoč Semplen is the lone white male coven leader from the Czech Republic.  And Mathias and Adric are white guys from Canada and England, there for comic relief–just kidding.

Going across Deanna is Iraqi; Harpreet Bashagwani is Indian; Ramona Chai is Chinese.  I haven’t yet worked out Wednesdays full history, but it’s pretty much a given she’s a white girl from New Mexico.  Jessica is black; Helena is half-white, half-Māori.  Maddy, Vicky, and Erywin are white; Polly Grünbach is half-white, half-Moroccan, Inyx Armanjani is from Azerbaijan, and Tristyn Julin is a black woman from South Africa.

Of the five coven leaders four are women; two are white, one is Iraqi, one is black.  One is an Atheist, one is Muslim, two are Wiccans.  One is divorced, one is widowed.  One has never been married, and one is a lesbian in a relationship with another instructor that’s lasted thirty years.  Out of my instructors and staff five are gay/lesbian (sorry:  no bi or trans–yet), and all of them are in relationships–two of the couples are right there in the school, though you haven’t seen the second one yet.

I decided when I started this that if I’m going to represent the world, I had to represent.  I had to bring in people from everywhere, and try and make things as representative as possible.  In time these names will change, new people will arrive–maybe the school will even get more guys.  But I will try and keep a world view; I’ll try and keep things representative.

‘Cause, this being the 21st Century an all, you gotta know there’s a whole universe out there in which to play.  And it’s a very diverse place.


No talking of writing today, other than to say it’s coming along.  I awoke today realizing that yesterday I worked on writing things all day.  First I edited, then I blogged, then I worked on buildings, then I worked on my Camp Story.  As the song says, same as it ever was.

But I have something else to chat about today.

I want to talk Time Ladies.

If you are a bit of a geek like me, you know about the upcoming Changing of the Time Guard on Doctor Who.  Matt Smith, aka He’s One More, He’s Eleven, is leaving to find gold at the end of the movie rainbow.  As has happens many times before, there is not only the search for the next actor who would be The Doctor, but a lot of betting and speculating, including who the fans would love to see take over the TARDIS.

Sure, people would like to see someone high profiled take over, but there’s this thing called “money” that prevents that from happening.  That means having to go with actors who are not going to break the budget, and you’re seeing names on the short list like Julian Rhind-Tutt, Emun Elliott, Richard Coyle, Burn Gorman, and the person who has been tipped as the favorite for the while, Rory Kinnear.

Yesterday another name popped up on the short list, and if you listen to some of the report, the name is close to, if not at the top of the short list.  And that name is Sheridan Smith.  If this were true, then for the first time the producers of the show are considering an actress for the role, and for the first time in fifty years (okay, not fifty in a row, but you know what I mean), we might have a Time Lady running her fingers over the TARDIS console whispering, “Hello, Sexy.”

Me and a few of my fangirl friends were like, “Yes, bring it!”, when the news came out.  Since the show was revived there’s been a lot of changes that couldn’t have happened during the first three decades.  And now that we know regenerating means not only getting a new body, but perhaps a new gender (blame Neil Gaiman for that one, folks), some of us are like, “Hey, isn’t it time we had a lady at the controls?”

However . . .

I’ve seen a couple of people indicate they wouldn’t like this drastic a change, that they might have a problem with gender switching, that the show doesn’t do well when it’s experimenting, that such a move would turn fans off and hurt ratings.  Now, I don’t want to stereotype, but of the people who’ve said these things to me, how many of those comments came from guys?  Strangely enough, the answer is all.  I know:  I’m shocked.

As a long-time viewer–and by that I mean I’ve seen every episode two or three times–I have to look at the show and think:  when hasn’t the show had change that could turn fans off?  I mean, lets forget for a moment the the First Doctor considered killing one of his companions with a rock, but lets look at change:

Every time there’s a regeneration, there’s change and experimentation.  After the First became the Second, and then the Third, the producers could have said, “Hey, play it like the first guy,” but they didn’t.  They went from being an old pain in the ass (which the First Doctor was), to “a Dandy and a Clown,” to quote the old pain in the ass.  Then he went all, what was the phrase?  “Teeth and Hair”, as the Third Doctor said.  Then he was some punk kid in a cricket outfit, and who thought some guy under thirty could do the role justice?

Then we go to the U-boat Captain and Doctor Emo and The Bow tie Hispster, and you get the idea:  there’s change, and with change you get something different than what came before.  The show runners are experimenting, and either the fans adapt, or they leave.  Most people who still pine for the Tenth Doctor Fjords have no idea what it was like when Tom Baker left and that new kid, Peter, took over.  I mean, what did he ever do for the show?  (Note:  that last was sarcasm.  I know what he has done.)

Companions.  Lets talk change and experimenting.  First couple of doctors had some good companions, some bad, and some who got chucked out an airlock because no one knew what to do with them.  Then the Third comes along and what do you get?  First you get the Lady Scientist, which totally raised the bar for companions.  Then you get the Doctor Who version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, aka Jo Grant–and why the hell she isn’t getting pulled into the Fiftieth shows I don’t know, but that’s another post.  Jo was a smart, cute, mini skirt go-go boots wearing lady, and had no problem using Beatles lyrics to describe the Doctor.  (She also posed naked with a Dalek, but that’s also another post.)

And who replaced Jo?  Why, one of those . . . Feminists!  Which was exactly what Sarah Jane was.  Don’t believe me?  Go back and check.  As popular as she became, producers found that she was scaring off the 25-45 male demographic, so when Sarah Jane said bye-bye, they replaced her with a Savage in a Loincloth and Leather Boots.  Hellloooo, Leela.

Every time there’s a new companion, there’s change, there’s experimentation.  Some good, some bad, some you kill with fire so hard their take out dinosaurs.  And some you love because they blow shit up with home made explosives.

Those were the old ways, however.  Today, we have–

Interracial couples.  Interspecies couples.  Gay couples.  Interspecies lesbian couples.  Bisexual con men (RTD’s description of Captain Jack, not mine.)  Werewolf royalty.  Human Daleks.  An episode considered the best of the revival that hardly has the Doctor in it.  Chav companions.  People of Color companions.  Annoying companions that saw death threats sent to the producers.  Horny companions.  A somewhat horny TARDIS.  Married companions.  Worst of all, you have The Doctor snogging!  Sometimes in the TARDIS!  And not only that . . . you have companions making TARDIS babies!  Does no one remember the First Rule of Doctor Who:  “No hanky panky inside the TARDIS.”  We won’t mention that the TARDIS baby ends up marrying the Doctor after making friends with her much younger parents, who she originally got to start dating, but only after we first saw her die . . .

It could be said that since 2005 the show has been . . . experimenting.  How’s it doing, you say?  Pretty good, if the fans are any indication.

If after all of that one might say that having The Doctor turn into a woman for their eleventh regeneration (or is it their eleventh?  Dun, du, duuuuuu!) could be a mistake, that it might turn fans off, that it might hurt the show because it’s a little to experimental . . . the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but may lie somewhere inside.

The great thing about science fiction, the thing that sets it apart for most other fiction, is that it you can take chances, you can push things, you can experiment.  Look at every great science fiction story, and you’ll see where the writer took things and turned them beyond eleven, and not only said, “What if?” they considered “if” a bit too mundane, and went further.

Maybe it’s just me, though.  Maybe the idea of swapping genders isn’t that big of a deal to me–and trust me, it isn’t.  I’ve seen that in games, I’ve seen that in stories–I’ve written stories where it happens.  I could see how it could open up a whole new side to The Doctor, and not because she’d get to wear a frilly dress now and then.

I mean, there are so many ways one could take that . . .

If only I had Stephen’s number, I’d be musing him out right now.

The Hooks of Our Lives

Real life managed to get in the way of the fictional one last night, so very little writing was done.  I did begin Chapter Six, which begins with sex, and a little more sex, and just a touch of, “Yeah, there’s the goods, show me what you’re gonna do with them!” bravado that you see in few couples.  It was a great start . . .

But there’s something lurking in the back of my brain.  No, it has nothing to do with plastic wrap and strawberries; get your mind out of the gutter.  It has to do with a story–better yet, the story within my story that I’m writing.

One of the things I’ve considered for my main male character is what novel is he going to write?  I mean, that’s the whole point of having a muse show up and start bugging his butt about getting a story together.  Okay, sure:  so what is that novel going to be about?  It’s a pretty important plot point, don’t you think?

The drive home is always a good time to take what I’ve accumulated throughout the day and put it into practical use.  So it’s time for thought, time for ideas to get put out there and used and/or discarded.  Last night was no different, because I was thinking about this new chapter, and what was going to happen, and how two of my main characters might interact with each other.

In the course of this internal dialog, I decided that Keith, my main male character, would talk about his writing with Elektra, one of my main female characters.  Elektra would throw some ideas out there, and Keith would come up with versions already done of said idea.  However, a point would be reached where Elektra would say something, and Keith would examine what was said . . .

And go, “Hummmm”.

Thus an idea is born.  Not just for him, but for me as well.

The funny thing is, this morning I’m chatting with someone, and they bring up an idea which is pretty much along the lines of the idea I’d come up with last night, and there was this frisson that hits you when you realize that there are other people out there wondering if similar ideas can be done, but they might not have the ability to do them with acquit skill.

Right now it’s just an idea for a story within a story, not a story that will stand alone on its own.  But it is an idea that, perhaps, could become a story were I to do my research and flesh it out.  Not that don’t already have enough to do, but why not have some ideas ready just in case?

Creativity comes at you when you least expect it.  I had this idea last night, and then the same comes at me this morning–what are the odds?  Is it because my circuits are good, and karma is with me?  Or I just know what is going to work?

Or is my Muse somewhere near, while sex scenes play out on the page before me?

I know she’s road with me before, so I’m never alone . . .

The Walk Between Bonfires

Here we are:  sixteen hours and thirty-eight minutes, and we get the NaNo Party started.  I went to my kick off party last night, said hello, got my goody bag, spoke with some of the people who are going to try this.  Everyone there was new:  I was the only hold over, save for our area leader, from last year.  Is this good or bad?  Yes.  Go with it.

The time to write is approaching, as are The Witching Hours.  Time to run the kidlettes around for trick-or-treat, then find something to play at 12:01 AM, when NaNo kicks in and makes life crazy for the next thirty days.

This post isn’t so much about NaNoWriMo as it is about the person writing the NaNo Novel for 2012.  Or what they’ve learned from their writing.  Because we do learn from writing, and from the experiences it brings us.

I’ve got to go back about a year, however–back to the days when I was role playing, back when I was writing about Kerry and his lovely Annie.

Back when I was sick from work–as opposed of being sick of work, but that’s another story–I told people about the issues Kerry had with being himself.  Or should that be, herself?  ‘Cause Kerry exists in one world with two genders, and has the ability to switch from one to the other when he feels like it–

Only, come October, 2015, his better half ends up having to deal with menstruation, and that means having to spend time really being a girl, not just flipping over into girldom when the mood strikes, or he’s getting a full physical.  So it’s during this first time of dealing with the Dim Red Tides that Kerry stays his girly self for almost a week, and–at the suggestion of one of the instructors he respects a great deal–she gets renamed Cassidy, which is Gaelic for “Clever Girl”.

The school that Kerry and Annie attend have a Samhain celebration every year, which includes a dance where one can, if they are in the mood, come dressed in costume.  It’s always held on the Friday or Saturday closest to Samhain Eve–or Halloween, as most people know it–but this October, in 2015, Halloween falls on a Saturday.  This means that the dance–which is just a bit of secular fun for the kids to enjoy–coincides with the true festivals that begin at sundown, on Samhain Eve, and continue through the next day, 1 November, the actual day of Samhain.

This also means that Kerry is dealing with another period, and he’s flipped over to Cassidy.  This means she’s attending the dance with Annie, and they’ve both decided to show up in costume.  Since Cassidy is a bit of a geek, and because she wants to have fun and not give a shit about the fact that a lot of people will be looking at her anyway, decided to show up as an Amy Pond Kiss-o-Gram, and Annie shows up in her River Song finest.

They talk, they dance, they enjoy themselves.  Cassidy has a couple of people give her shit, but she blows them off well and good.  In the end, they sneak out of the dance for a bit, talk some more, and steal a kiss in the same spot where Annie and Kerry first kissed the same night they came to the school and were placed in their coven.

Then Annie tells Cassidy they need to walk between the bonfires . . .

Bonfires are a tradition during Samhain.  People would toss things in, old clothes, food, the bones of slaughtered animals, and watch them burn.  It was all about cleansing, getting rid of the old and greeting the new.  Some places have bonfires side by side, with enough space to walk between, so that one is purified and cleansed, leaving behind the ashes of their old life, and ready to face the new.

This is what Annie and Cassidy have at their school.  In a large field, there are two bonfires, and students are encouraged to dance about them and walk between, a symbol that they are leaving behind one more year, and facing the new, clean and untarnished.

I hear you going, “Yeah, but where is this leading, oh Scribbler of Words?”

Here you go:  characters teach you things, not only about your stories, but sometimes about you.  Cassidy was a character that came to me very easy, because she’s a cute, smart, geeky girl who accepts that there’s really nothing different about her, and that those who see her as a “freak” or “strange” are people who just can’t deal with this thing known as reality.

But then a lot of my female characters came to me easily.  Audrey Dahl was the first, she of psychic ability and fireball throwing.  The same with Jennette Hagart, the Nerd Girl Who Became an Ass-kicking Sorceress.  But Cassidy spoke loudly to me, because she touches me like few others.

Because I am Cassidy.

A few people have asked about the name change that came to my blog, which was the same name change that happened on my Facebook Page.  Some even noticed that the changes came about on or about 10/11/12, which was Coming Out Day.  There is a reason behind this:  it was time to come out.

I’m transgendered.  I’ve been this way my entire life.  But this year, in a year of much change and, in some cases, great hardship and insanity, I needed to get real with myself.  I started seeing a therapist, and I began the journey toward becoming the person I actually am.

I’ve begun taking steps towards being Cassidy, the woman I actually am.  It’s happening slowly, and it’s going gradually, but it’s happening.  In a few years time, the old me will be a memory, and Cassidy Grace Frazee will be a fact of daily life.

Oh, and she writes, too.  She’s very good as well–as good as me, I might point out.

What a surprise.

This is my life.  A few  people close to me have known this for a few months, and they’ve supported me, which is a great thing.  I don’t expect things to become easy, but then, I’ve not known a lot of easy stuff for the last fifty years.  Why should the remaining ones be any different?

Annie and Cassidy walked between the bonfires that Samhain Eve night.  They felt the fire wash over them, felt the heat upon their skin, and when they emerge out the other side, they were clean and new.  They were different people, and they’d never look back from that moment.  One day I’m going to write this story–

But there is another I have to concentrate upon at the moment.

NaNo is a crazy time.  Halloween is a crazy time.

But a certain ginger girl reminds me that life is crazy, and you gotta deal with what comes your way.  Follow your instincts  and you’ll find your way through the fire.  I know, however, I’m never going to get burned.  I’m always going to come out the other side shiny and new.

Because I’m nothing if not a clever girl.

Standing at the Crossroads

Early morning, and there’s snow all over the place.  Was out at 5:30 clearing the drive, and man, I didn’t miss that at all.  Now with a 3 Above wind chill out there.  The only thing that was good is that it’s all light, lake effect snow, and not the heart attack-inducing wet snow that Chicago usually gets.

Today I was suppose to be on the road . . . not going to happen.  Not with snow all over the place, and down to the south of me is where I have to go–or was suppose to.  Calls to be made to let people know I’ll be in their town tomorrow morning, because with the weather the way it is now, I’m not going to travel 300 miles for something I’m not very excited about.

The writing was good yesterday.  Couples Dance moved onward, hitting 2,350 words yesterday.  Ended a sex scene and then proceeded into a discussion of old houses in Massachusetts and eating disorders.  Did I mention that even though this is erotica, there’s a story here?  See, that’s the one thing a lot of people don’t get: just because it’s got a lot of good sex in it–well, only one scene of good sex so far–that doesn’t make it smut or porn.

As pointed out in a discussion I had yesterday–and this is something I like to bring up a lot–if there’s sex in the course of the story, and it plays a part in the story, it’s erotica.  If it’s just sex for the sake of sex, just to watch people get off, then it’s porn.  Frankly, porn is boring: I stopped watching it in the 1970’s when I realized I should be out having sex rather than watching a lot of obviously stoned people having it.  And I saw a lot of porn, because I grew up in a town where the local drive in showed porn flicks every weekend, and getting in was about as difficult as pumping gas, so I knew what I’m talking about.

The story is interesting, because I’m really not viewing it as erotica, per se.  I’m looking at it as a horror story with a lot of sex in it, which is probably why I’m thinking of it as “Paranormal Erotica”.  This might make it difficult to market, but I’m hoping that the story is going to carry the day, and people will enjoy the story, not because it’s paranormal, not because it’s got great sex, but because it’s a good story.

I spent part of the day thinking up another story as well.  It revolves around the role playing character I created, Kerry, and how, after he begins teaching back at the same school he graduated from, he deals with a student who is transgender.  Kerry feels strongly for the boy–mostly because there are many issues in his life that allow him to identify with the student–and he’s also very good when it comes to transfiguration magic.  I’d actually looked at his story here before, months ago, and yesterday was pretty much a retelling of it in my mind, my way of getting all the lines finished the way I’d like them.

Like I’ve said before, Kerry is a character I’ve developed and grown with over the last 9 months–yeah, it’s been almost that long.  And I know as an adult, he’ll go through some crazy things.  But for him, helping this student is an important thing for him, because as time goes on he’ll find himself in a position where he feels the need to want to help.  Help those who are upset, who feel as if they have nothing going on in their lives . . . who feel like they are different.

Hey, you could almost say the same about me.

Wolf Moon and Lesbian Teachings

It was another night under the full moon for me.  Last night’s full moon is also known as the Wolf Moon, because it was during this time when the hungry wolves could be heard howling in the distance.  The wolf was out with me, though it wasn’t howling.  Hell, there isn’t even any snow on the ground, but this is the Midwest–give it a week.

So there I was, driving along just after midnight–it was that time exactly when I left my friend’s apartment last night–and thinking and, as always, talking to myself.  I do that, but I’m not really talking to myself, I’m usually speaking in the voices of characters that I’ve made.  I know, that sounds strange, but it’s one way I work out scenes in stories.  I’ll wait until no one is around and I’ll talk in their “voices” and see how a story should sound.

Last night I was with Kerry, my role playing character, and one of his instructors, Erywin.  She’s actually one of my favorite characters, which, if you knew about the times I’ve spoken of her, then you’d know how I feel about her.  I sort of see her as the friend I would love to have, but don’t.

She’s had a very troubled, tortured past.  Erywin is a lesbian, and came out as such at school, as a young girl, in 1979.  Not a good time to stand up and say, “I’m gay and proud,” and she ended up getting her ass beat not long after her pronouncement.  Of course, said ass beating led to her meeting the Love of her Life, which eventually became a very good thing.

The conversation was a simply one: it was just Kerry and Erywin sitting and talking about Kerry’s and, by this time, his wife Annie’s, graduation from school.  He was asking about when Erywin graduated, and it brought back a painful memory of how, in 1985, her girlfriend, the Love of her Life–who is a year younger–stayed around to watch Erywin graduate.  When Erywin went to introduce her Love, Helena, to her parents, her father walked away, still refusing to accept that his only daughter loved another woman.

In the course of the conversation it was reveled that Erywin’s father died of a heart attack in 2003.  He told her a few year before that he could almost accept that she was a lesbian, but he never apologized for the way he snubbed Helena.  It lead Erywin to say:


“Friends say I have unfinished business with my father, and the only way I’ll put this behind me is to forgive him.  But how do you forgive a dead man?  How do you forgive someone who grew uneasy the moment you entered his presence?  How do forgive someone who hated your friend, your lover, the woman I wanted to spend my life with?  How do you forgive someone who never apologized for his hateful behavior, and now can’t?

“No, the business with my father is finished, well and good.  I won’t forgive, but I don’t ever dwell.  I’ve moved on.  And so should everyone else.”


It is true: sometimes you have to put the past behind you, accept that things were never good, and keep going.  Believe me, I understand where she’s coming from.  And one should, at times, forget the past and keep looking to the future.

But I came up with something even more interesting from her.  Something that applies to writers in particular.  Because there was a question that Kerry asked a few minutes later.  It was an innocent question, and one that he could ask as he is a good friend of Erywin’s.  And at the same time, it’s one of those questions that, the moment it leaves your mouth, you wish you could recall the damn thing:


“Do you ever wish you were straight?”


Yes, 17 year old boys know how to bring the awkwardness.  But Erywin likes Kerry; she likes him a lot.  And her reply–as I remember it–was simple:


“Oh, now that’s a conundrum, isn’t it?  Hum . . .

“I’ve never been interested in men.  Never.  When I was younger it was always the girls, and as I grew older it became women.  But men?  I can have them as friends–as I am friends with you–but as an object of desire?  (shudders)  It would be all wrong for me.  The sight, the touch, the smell . . . the taste . . . (thinks for a moment)  It’s so . . . alien.

“But most importantly, I couldn’t ever know how to love that person, not the way they should be loved.  And without love, everything else is so empty.  I can certainly love a man as a friend–as I love you, Kerry–but I can’t see how I would ever love beyond that.

“I could never wish to be straight, because how does one wish for something they can’t ever imagine?”


And there is a conundrum as well, because, as writers, you’re always having to imagine those things that, frankly, you may never know.  How does one, who isn’t a lesbian, get into a 51 year old lesbian’s head, and imagine them thinking about something that is really kinda foreign to a man?  As someone who’s written erotica and fetish fantasy fiction, how do you take something that’s truly alien, something that’s way, way, ’round the bend, and make it “real”?

For some reason I think this conversation will stay with me a while.

This is what I get for being out with the Wolves, howling at the moon when I should be sleeping.

Altered Beings

Late night last night–but a good one.  It was one of those Saturdays when I get together with friends and sit around BSing about things.  Most of what we BSed about were games (always a good subject) and books (another).  Most of the gaming discussion revolved around MechWarrior, and the various books written within that universe.  (And how the brother of one of the guys who was there last night is a dipshit did something screwy in his Battletech game, but he likes doing things like that because it generally ends up screwing over his players, so nothing new there . . ..)

Generally it was a good time.  I like discussing games and books–oh, and I had to mention that I’d sold a story.  Yeah, tooting my own horn, but why not?  That’s what I have to do, otherwise who’s going to get exciting about you if you don’t spread your own hype?  Just don’t believe your own hype–that gets you in trouble.  Oh, and don’t guinea pig your own shit: a lesson from Miami Vice and Cyberpunk that is still ignored to this day.

It was a lovely, clear night, with a very bright full moon.  I didn’t think much on the drive home: usually I do, but last night I kept my mind on a few things and didn’t work out scenes in my head or come up with other ideas or anything like that.  It wasn’t that the ideas wouldn’t spring out of my imagination, but more like I kept them holed up in some dark recess of my brain while I kept one thing in the forefront of my mind.

Besides, I only had to wait until I feel asleep for the weird stuff to happen.

I’m working on the edit for my NaNo Novel (yay!) and set up my own work in progress novel in Scrivener (yay!) and, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m working on a new short story (Yay!!!).  Strangely enough, most of the characters in those stories are women, and as I mentioned the other day, when I’m writing I tend to come across as a women (I’m going to say “Yay!!!” because, why the hell not?).  So of late I’ve got a lot of females on my mind as well–and one of them is a vampire who can walk around in the daytime and loves bacon, so watch out!

So it’s not out of the question I’m going to have “girl dreams”.  Though these probably aren’t the sort of “girl dreams” you might imagine.  Yours probably involve you being with a hot actress of your choice, rubbing her back while she’s  playing Skyrim wearing nothing but tiger-print underwear and sitting in a tub of lime Jell-O.  Mine involve being the hot actress.

Last night mine were very crazy.  First, I was late for work, so I parked my car near the loading dock of the restaurant where I was a hostess.  I did my job, taking orders, smiling a lot, and generally being really good with people.  I was pretty cute, too: I remember having sort of dark, reddish hair, a lot of freckles, and purple nail polish.  And glasses, I always seem to have glasses.  I zipped around the restaurant in a blue dress and high heels, never once complaining about my feet, and my last order of the night was Bart Simpson (no, really: I told you it was crazy).

Then I go out and find a parking ticket on my car, which pissed me off.  I stop at the mall to do a little shopping, and I have to go to the bathroom–only I’m not allow.  Why?  My head wasn’t covered.  Seriously.  So I throw on a head scarf after which I’m allowed to access.  I do my business, freshen up (which is where I got the best look at my cute self, yay!!!), then head back out to my car where I find another parking ticket.  Bummer.

Then I’m suddenly I’m at home and in front of the computer.  No, I wasn’t playing Skyrim in my boy shorts.  I was writing–actually, I was editing my Nano Novel.  I could tell because I saw the chapter layout on the screen in my dream. With my head still covered up, I began editing–

And then I woke up.

There were a few more things in there as well–for some reason I remember talking to another woman who was riding in my car on the way to the mall, and I was alternating between complaining about the parking ticket and the need to get some leggings, but for the most part it was working, trying to go to the bathroom (which took forever in the dream–“Why can’t I go in?”  “You have to cover.”  “But I need to go!”  “You have to cover, first.”  Oi), and writing.

The funny part was the writing seemed very natural and easy.  And much like I really am when I’m writing–though I’m never in a blue dress and wearing a head scarf and purple nail polish when I write.  Okay, almost never.

I thought the strangest part of the dream was coming home to work on my novel, because I have never dreamed about writing before last night.  However, my new work in progress, Echoes, deals with someone reminiscing about writing, so maybe that’s rubbing off on me and working it’s way into my dreams.

Maybe the next time I’ll see how my edits are working out.

Maybe I’ll have different nail polish, too.

You Write, Girl!

After a night of strange dreams, I love waking up to finding first snow on the ground.  Yeah, it’s not much–a lot of the ground is poking through–but hearing, “Oh, it’s snowing!” and “There’s snow!” for part of the morning always leaving me remembering to stay the hell of the roads, ’cause I’ve lived through 53 winters–with 54 coming up–and every one of those winters see folks completely losing their shit upon first snow fall, no matter how light, and driving like a bunch of schizophrenics suddenly off their meds.

I should have realized the morning would be whacked since, right before slipping off to dreamland, someone started a “discussion” on the NaNoWriMo Facebook group.  Said “discussion” involved the name of Stephenie Meyer, which means 50 comments later it’s turned into a “She’s a hack!/She shouldn’t be allowed to write!/Edward is a stalker!” hate rant.  Oh, and I forgot my favorite:  “She didn’t do her research on vampires!”  Yeah . . . well, I won’t say much more here other than I’ve done my research on vampires, and if you think Edward is like the most totally stalkerific character evar, you need to do your research.

Of course, I think budding writers should concentrate on other things–like improving their own work, and figuring out how to get published.  But that’s just me, and I’m freakin’ strange.  Besides, when I want to know about certain vampire flicks, I know where to go.

There was something else I was doing as well: playing with the gender slant of my NaNo Novel, and seeing who else I write like.

When I was writing my story Kuntilanak I became curious about the gender identity of the work.  I’d read a few things about how men and women “write differently” and, by examining the words used, you can tell the gender of the author.

Whenever I come across stuff like that, I become intrigued.  I use a lot of female characters, and I’ve always been curious if I’m actually coming across as a woman, or am I just a guy writing about women.  Call me nutty, but I do worry about things like that when it comes to improving my craft, rather than worrying about if vampires can walk around in the daytime.  Again, just me.

This is where The Gender Genie comes in.

The site uses the algorithm that is suppose to show the gender of the person writing and applies it to whatever work is pasted into the text area on the main page.  Put in words, hit the genre radio button, press Submit . . . and there you go.  You’ll find out if you’re really a girl or a boy writer.

I don’t actually look at it that way.  I look at it as, “In this section the majority of the characters are women, so when they speak, are they coming across as women?”  Oh, sure: I could find myself getting into trouble by trying to tailor my writing to be too “womanly”, or something like that, but I don’t do that.  I just write.  I get into the heads of my characters and have things come out.

There is a strange thing about my writing, however: most of the time my writing does indicate I’m female.

Last night I put Part One of my NaNa Novel through The Gender Genie and watched the analysis.  I wasn’t the least bit surprised by what I saw: six of seven chapters came out saying they were written by a woman, and in only two of those chapters where there any male characters.

And the one chapter that came back and told me, “The author is male” consists of a long of passages where the main female character is involved in a long argument with her male second-in-command, and her dialog–which I collected to cut and paste into the GG–is what’s coming back to me as predominately male.  Makes me wonder if what I’m doing is writing her character as adopting a male facade in order to put her male subordinate in his place . . . it ‘s an interesting point-of-view when it comes to building characterization.

And now that I know my gender, I wanna see what my voice is like–or, better yet, what existing voice I’m like.

That’s where I Write Like comes into play.  It’s really simple: you paste your passages, hit the “Analyze” button, and you’ll get the “I Write Like . . .” comment.  How realistic is this?  I have no idea, but it’s fun to see what literary giants (or not) you’re unconsciously channeling or flat-out ripping off.

Once again, I did all of Part One of my NaNa Novel, and the results are pretty constant.  Five of my chapters come back with the same author attached; the other two . . . Chapter 4 says I write like William Gibson, and Chapter 6–my only “male” chapter–says I write like Dan Brown, which therefore means I need to rewrite that sucker extensively.

As far as the other chapters are concerned?  I write like J. D. Salinger.  In fact a lot of my work comes across as being Salinger-like, which makes me feel sorta good.  Then again, does this mean at some point in the future some nutty kid is gonna get fixated on one of my characters, think they are that character, and go off to shoot a famous musician?  If so, it’s not my fault!  I’m not responsible for the insanity of people who aren’t yet born!

Just for the hell of it I took all the text above this line and ran it through the Gender Genie and I Write Like just to see what I’d get.

The Gender Genie says “The author of this passage is Male!”  Okay, no surprise there.

I Write Like says, “I write like Stephenie Meyer”.

Wait a minute–this post started out with Stephenie Meyer.

And now I’m writing like her.

Whoa . . ..

Suddenly I feel all sparkly.

All the Women That Are My Life

This is what comes of being busy for a few days: you wake up, you stare at a blank screen–and nothing comes out.  There were all these thoughts rolling about in my head this morning when I awoke, but they suddenly decided to scurry to the shadows the moment the lights come on and the computer comes up, like some kind of mental cockroaches spooked by an electronic dweller.

I suppose there nothing to talk about–

Oh, there’s always sex.

Actually it goes beyond sex.  It has everything to do with my characters.

It has been pointed out to me, on more than a few occasions, that my female characters are generally pretty nicely done.  I take a lot of pride in that, mostly because I feel that creating wonderful female characters is, for some writers, a difficult chore.  You read some stories, and the female characters adhere to Melvin Udall adage that when they create female characters they first create a male then take away reason and accountability.  Ha, ha, I get it: men are the only ones who totally have their shit together, which is why the world is in such great freakin’ shape.

Part of the reason I love a great female character (who, I should point out, isn’t a guy with breasts, as some characters tend to come off) it the time I grew up in, and the sort of things I read.  I geeked out early on science fiction, and most of the stuff I started with was from the “Golden Age” of sci fi.  And if you know anything about the Golden Age, it’s that it was sorta light on believable female characters, or any at all.  There was a lot of what I like to call “Golden Brage” for the Sci Fi Ladies, where most illustrations fell heavily into Fanservice, and the women themselves were usually little more than Ms. Fanservice incarnate.

That started to change in the 1970’s, in particular with the movie Alien and the introduction of Ellen Ripley.  It’s hilarious to know now that originally Alien (oh, I’m sorry, I mean, Starbeast) was going to be something of a homoerotic sausage fest before someone got their shit together and turned into the classic movie we all now know and love. I fell in love with Ripley, and that really drove me to begin looking at women in a far different light as characters.  Not to say I hadn’t before then, but yeah–the movie did something to me.  And I wanted to do that in my own work. When I got around to doing it, that is.

I much prefer working with women, trying to understand them, try to get into their heads to learn their secrets and motivations and desires.  Not only in my writing, but in real life as well.  I’ve never been much for “guy stuff”; it’s always bored me.  Doesn’t make me bad, just makes me a touch different.

When I look at my next novel, the novel after that I wanted to re-edit, and another novel after that which is in need of writing, I realize the majority of characters are dealing with are female–and that the guys who are in those stories are either very smart and competent, or physiological messes, or both.

Am I projecting?

Probably a lot more than you can ever imagine.