Kickstarter Project, Our Own Mistress: Preparations

Our Own Mistress

So, one thing I have realized in preparing for this Kickstarter project for my novel, Our Own Mistress, is that copyrighting as much as possible is a must to be safe.

Sure, the likelihood that someone would want to steal my writing is not terribly high, but you never know. Most of us in the creative world merely want to share ideas and have no interest in stealing anyone else’s hard work. But, we know that all it takes is one bad apple to ruin the bunch.

I have already submitted the sample segments I intend to make available to the United States Copyright Office. Though official records can take months to update, assuming I filled in the forms correctly, the site reported that my stuff should be safe under copyright almost immediately.

If you have work out there that you want to publish in any way, or if you are starting up a Kickstarter project, I highly recommend you do the same. Be safe, y’all.

More updates coming soon.

Kickstarter Project Info. Part I: The Novel

Our Own Mistress

I have always been a writer. I won’t bore you with the struggle I’ve had with my mind and imagination, but I have always been drawn to creative storytelling.

A few years ago I experienced some intimate interactions that left me with new discoveries about myself. I became fascinated with the ways in which power exchanges and pain affect not only our sexual lives, but our personal ones. I have also studied sexuality for over a decade, particularly “deviant” sexuality, and so I was able to explore these things in detail, thanks to academia.

My Kickstarter project, my novel Our Own Mistress, is a labor of love for me. Though it is a heavily erotic novel, it is not erotica. I poured a lot of myself and my understanding of certain sexuality and gender related taboos in this puritanical, patriarchal world. It is inspired by real people, real relationships, and a very real, misunderstood, and misrepresented culture.

The story revolves around a young woman who has always struggled with her submissiveness. To put it bluntly, she has always been a doormat. Due to choices she made under duress, she finds herself alone, and a foreigner in London. Then, just when things appear to be at their worst, she is subjected to violence. However, this violent encounter leads her to the people who, through some “unusual” means, help her realize her strength.

In this novel, I attempt to explore many things I have witnessed and experienced:

  • LGBTQA Relationships and Exploration
  • BDSM Relationships
  • Gender Roles and Identity
  • Social and Cultural Misrepresentation
  • Feminism
  • Surviving Abuse/Assault

Due to the nature of this story, the novel contains graphic sex and violence.

I know it is not easy to fund a work of fiction; there are many, many people out there with good ideas and the ability to bring them to life. It is also not easy to fund a novel with sexual content without it being considered erotica, or “fluff.” Ultimately, none of that matters. This story has filled my head for too long now; it needs to be told.

For glimpses of this novel’s content, visit the Fiction Samples page of this site. Or, email me via the Contact page. I also have an audio recording of the book’s introduction available.

Coming Soon: Kickstarter Project Info. Part II: London

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Photo property of Erin Dunbar. Copyright 2016.

Kickstarter Project: Our Own Mistress

I have been working on my fiction projects for a long time now, and I am finally making efforts to focus on one, finish it, and publish it with the help of a Kickstarter project.

In the near future, I will be opening a project on Kickstarter to fund the research needed to complete the novel, register and copyright, print, and ship the novel.

Our Own Mistress

Our Own Mistress is a novel about power, sex, and how people find their balance of both.

For more information on the novel, my plans, and participating in the Kickstarter project, just send me a message on my Contact page, or via any of my available social media accounts. I have samples of the novel available; I even have an audio recording of the book’s introduction.

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Photo property of Erin Dunbar. Copyright 2016.

Am I Ill, or Just a Writer?

You probably do not want to be inside my head. It’s incredibly strange and confusing, and sometimes downright disturbing. But, in order to make this post comprehensible, I need to give you give you some idea of what happens.

I could be doing anything; I could be working (which usually involves copy writing or proposal writing), housework, watching television, shopping, or even driving. All the while, there are things happening in my mind. Like all normal people, I may be thinking various thoughts, working out problems, or planning.

Then, something happens. I’m never aware of when it begins, only when it ends, usually abruptly.

I start to hear voices. Yes, voices. No, they aren’t usually talking to me and telling me to do things. These voices are like transmissions from some other place, time, or world. They are going about their own lives and days, and I’m just experiencing it through them.

The voices get louder the more I ignore them. If I am particularly busy, I have to find a way to drown them out. Usually, I turn on the television and let something play in the background, something I know well and can drift to from time to time. I cannot do that forever, though. Because the longer I go without paying attention to these voices, the harder it gets to ignore them.

So, eventually, I let them take over.

I wish I could adequately describe what it’s like, but nothing I could say would do so. The best analogy I can give you is like being in the midst of your favorite film, not merely watching it, but living it, sans cameras, a part of the action, or at least an internal observer. The real world disappears and is replaced by something else. I stand where they stand, the sources of those voices. I listen, I follow them, I feel their emotions. Sometimes, they communicate with me, and I speak with them, and together we experience their lives so that I may use them as a writer.

Anyone watching me do this would think I’m a completely insane person walking around and talking to myself.

You may be thinking, “Cool, it sounds like you have an extremely vivid imagination.” In the mildest moments, yes, that is true.

But, there are some problems.

When I said these voices get louder and harder to ignore, I meant that I have little real control over them. And, sometimes, I am transported whether I want to be or not.

When I was little, I had a hard time socializing. I don’t recall much, but what I do recall is vivid, and much of it I now know could not be real. I have been told that others were confused by me and couldn’t relate because I would mentally disappear, and then I would speak to them in ways and with words that made no sense to them. I, quite literally, was not living in the real world, and, apparently, more than what was normal for a child.

I have been told that some school administrators or teachers thought I had high functioning autism (that was the phrase at the time). They wanted to put me in special education, but my parents refused. As a result, I learned to adapt on my own, and it was not an easy thing to do.

I have never really stopped being the “weird girl.”

It would be many years before I would accept who I was and find a place for myself. I did, however. I am very introverted, but more than capable of handling social situations, though they make me extremely uncomfortable. I say I have a knack for acting, and that it’s unfortunate I haven’t had the chance to test that on the stage.

I put my mental oddities to use in higher education. I have degrees in the humanities, and I have been told that I am a good teacher (there’s that acting, again). I have put my skills as a writer to use in the workforce, and I have even managed a full-time job as a writer working from home.

Some things have not changed, however. While on the surface I appear to function as a normal member of society, the truth comes out when I have to interact intimately with anyone.

After a little while, it becomes clear to people who try to know me that I’m not quite “normal” (I hate that term for many reasons, but it is relevant at the moment). To a lot of people, I’m not quite “all there.” I “zone out” when people are speaking, making me seem rude and inattentive. I go on about things they find odd, or don’t understand, or about which they just don’t care. I sometimes reveal more in conversation than is socially acceptable. I don’t communicate with people regularly, basically disappearing for periods of time. My moods are unstable, and I sometimes overreact to circumstances because my mind associates them with something else, something that no one else can know. I’m obsessive about things that, again, people do not really understand, or necessarily appreciate.

All in all, I’m not an easy person to get along with. That’s not to say I am rude, abrasive, or uncaring. I endeavor to always be open-minded, and if someone bothers to be friendly to me, I am certainly going to try and be there for them (sometimes even for those who are not friendly to me). How can I not be, when I have spent so much of my life struggling to be liked and accepted?

What am I? Do I have a genuine mental illness or disorder? Or, am I just eccentric, overly imaginative, or crazy? Are all creative minds like this?

I don’t know, and, frankly, I don’t care.

I don’t have many friends or attend parties, I’m alone a lot, and I’m fine with that. What friends I do have are very good ones, and alone I can be who I am with complete freedom.

I don’t have children, and it is highly unlikely that I ever will. Again, that is not a problem. I don’t have a maternal instinct or desire, and I don’t have a mind that could cope well with having a child to care for.

I’m 30 and unmarried, and am not necessarily close to being married. However, I’m not without a romantic history, both painful and happy, and though I would like to marry someday, I do not consider it a necessity.

I believe that I was made this way because I have something to do. I don’t yet know what that is. I hope it involves writing something relevant.

Because, whatever anyone else may say, I am a writer. That’s all that matters.

Swimmers by Amy Bright (Review)

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17-year-old Hunter Ryan is making a long-dreaded return trip home. He takes a Greyhound bus bound for Victoria, British Columbia with his ex-girlfriend Lee and a 12-year-old named Poppy. There’s a reason that Hunter left his parents, his friends, and his sister Bridget behind when he left for Alberta to live with his Aunt Lynne. Now Lee has come to bring him back because it’s time for him to face the real reason that he ran away. Swimmers traces their journey home, revealing Hunter’s past and the precarious, uncertain present in which he now finds himself. -Goodreads

Above all, I found Swimmers to be an honest story. You will not find silly, stereotypical, shallow, after-school-special moments or characters in this tale. The characters in Bright’s novel are realistic and raw, with all their real-world struggles and baggage in tow. I was impressed to read a well-written, YA novel that did not shy away from the harsh truths of young adulthood–parents are not perfect, children are not always “innocent,” and sometimes we lose the ones for whom we care, even the young.

While Swimmers‘ story moves a little more slow than some young readers would prefer, and the transitions between points in time might cause momentary confusion, what lies within is an in-depth look at the life and feelings of a growing boy experiencing a painful, and very real, chapter in his life.

Justice for Cecil the Lion

Cecil the lion – the most famous creature in one of Zimbabwe’s national parks – was killed by an American hunter who has boasted about shooting a menagerie of animals with his bow and arrow, The Telegraph can reveal.

I will never understand the desire to “hunt” this way.

I do not consider luring and trapping an animal, and then shooting it, hunting. That is not hunting. That is just cruelty.

I am a Southwestern, Texan, rancher’s daughter. I understand hunting. I understand protecting livestock by reducing (but not eliminating) predatory threats. I understand preserving the landscape by keeping the wild grazer population under control. I understand consuming what you kill as food.

I do not understand killing for pleasure.

This is pleasure in killing. It’s greed for the money that the animal’s pelt and such will make.

It’s wrong. It’s disturbing. I will never understand it.

Freedom and the Confederate Flag

My opinion on this confederate flag issue isn’t going to be popular, but since I still have the freedom express it, I’m going forward.

I hate the flag, and not just because it is used to represent a historically racist culture.

That flag represents a terrible time in American history. “Brother fought against brother” to maintain a way of life based on the enslavement of an entire race for its economic value. It was a war that quite literally tore this country in half.

More than that, the south, the confederate south (and, no, I will not be capitalizing that), fought to be separate from the Union. They fought to no longer be part of the United States.

Waving that flag proudly, to me, is one of the most un-American things you can possibly do. It is, at its core, anti-United States.

Having said that, however, I do not believe that it should be eliminated entirely.

This is still a free country (how long that will last, who knows). I say that the individual should still have the right to purchase and wave the flag, because it is is his right. As long as he does not force that flag on anyone else, he is within his rights to value it and what it stands for (as much as I loathe it).

Blaming that flag for a white supremacist murderer’s actions is no different than blaming heavy metal for a kid shooting up his school, or rap music for a kid becoming a gangster; it’s finding ways not to address the real, more complicated, causes and issues.

As for state governments flying the confederate flag: absolutely not. Governments, in general, represent the collective, and must do so neutrally. It is not beneficial in any way, shape, or form to fly that flag in a public space. The war is over. The southern states are not independent of the U.S. Get over it!

Take it down, and put it in a museum.

Banning the flag feels like the best thing, instinctively. However, think of the repercussions. Where does it stop? Suddenly, we’re crying for bans on all sorts of things. I’ve already heard arguments for a ban on Gone with the Wind; it began with the flag, and it wasn’t but a few days before someone wanted to ban a book.

I am an American, despite what some more conservative people in my life may think. I believe in the freedom to do what you please so long as you do not infringe on others. No man may tell me what to do with my body, and I may not tell another man what to put on his walls, or in his yard. I will speak on feminism, and he may speak against other races.

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest.’ Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the ‘land of the free’.”

That quote may be from a Hollywood rom-com, but it stands true. You cannot call this a free country unless you accept that people are free to be something you hate, and you have to let them be that when you cannot change their minds.

I do believe in removing the flag from all government-related public locations. I do not, however, believe in forcing private individuals to give them up, or corporations to stop selling them. Keep the freedom free, please.

 

I’m Angry, too, Jon Stewart

I honestly have nothing other than just sadness, once again, that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other, and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal, yet we pretend doesn’t exist… What blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us, and when we’re killing ourselves.

You’re not alone, Jon Stewart.

I am so sick of murder in this country, like that in Charleston, being blamed on everything except what it is. Does mental illness ever play a part? I have no doubt that it does on occasion. Does a particular culture play a part? Absolutely.

But, stop making excuses for these white male killers by blaming mental illness. It is offensive to those with mental illness, the greater amount of whom try to get help, and live their lives without harming others. It is offensive to the victims who suffered the violence, at the true heart of which is racism, misogyny, homophobia, and a hatred of any culture other than that of the white, male, Christian patriarchy.

Copyright © 2016 by Erin Dunbar