VOLUME 1, ISSUE 13
Time for Trefika:
– AI, Pirates, Summer Reads,
Smut and a Psychic BumbleBear
Welcome back to yet another trefika at the Captain’s table here at the Resilience. I’m still Linnea Lucifer and this is my table where we meet on Thursdays and Sundays to read the Ship’s Log, share the tea and enjoy some sweet and spicy nibbles together.
After last week’s Midsummer Celebrations, it’s officially summertime here on the ship, but do pirates get to vaycay? Why are so many of our crew writing smut? Who’s that funny-looking feller who’s looking after our books? Is it okay for writers to use AI? What should we read this summer? These are some of the things we’re talking about today, so go grab yourself a cuppa, load up your plate with nibbles and let’s jump into it.
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The Amateur Liar’s WIP
Did you know that all writers have a WIP list? This is not to be confused with the VIP lists you may need to be on for certain doors to open. No, a writer’s WIP is their list of Work In Progress.
For some, this may be the book they are currently writing. I know, it sounds surreal, but there are writers who start working on a story and keep going until THE END. Then they start writing a new story. Stephen King has often mentioned that he works like this, on average writing a new book every three months. For others, like our Quartermaster and Brandon Sanderson, the WIP may include multiple (like 50+) titles!
Personally, I’m the kind of bigger-picture-writer who works on a few main storylines that every now and then result in a published story. I work under a few different pen names, and right now the only books I have for sale are by Linn Rhinehart. This is the name used by Leto Armitage and myself for the sweet and spicy spoonie (smut) stories we write together.
Pet’s Penance 3: Pièce de Résistance, another short story for the Libertalia Tales: First Love series and a secret series of shorts are on Linn’s current WIP. Meanwhile, Saga will hopefully release the first Ulfrheim book in time for the next blue moon.
The books about Maddox Rhinhart, his editor/personal assistant Linn, and her alter ego pet are at the center of a whole series of stories featuring Linn and her circle of spoonie friends. (More about that in Why We Write Smut below.) So far, we have published two books of four in the novella series Pet’s Penance. Book 3, Pièce de Résistance, is pencilled in for a September release, so that’s currently on my drawing board. We have also published Gianna’s back story, This Saccharine Sensation, in our multi-author series Libertalia Tales: First Love.
We have stories in the pipeline about Anna, Foxy, and Fanny too, and you’ll get to meet their love interests, get a fly-on-the-wall view of their romances and learn more about their other friends and relatives too. Some of them are linked to my second bigger-picture storyline: Ulfrheim.
My second pen name is Saga Linnea Söderberg, and as Saga I write paranormal fantasy rooted in Norse myth and Scandinavian folklore. This summer, I am dedicating all of Camp NaNo in July to the first of the Ulfrheim stories, so I’ll tell you more about that when we meet for my next trefika. There’s one little secret I can let you in on today though: I have yet to decide which one of the six stories that are almost finished I want to publish first. I guess that’s going to be the first decision I need to make when Camp starts on the 1st. Maybe you could help:
What’s Your Preference?
Let’s say you are going to read a series that spans a very long period of time. The books are all part of a bigger story, but can be read as stand-alones. In what order do you prefer to read them?
- In order of publication
- Start with the latest release
- Start with the most popular book
- Wait until the series is complete
- Other – please explain
You can always answer in the comment section below, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you want to be anonymous – leave your answer IN THIS GOOGLE FORM.
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But Why Write Smut?
In my last Ship’s Log, I wrote about SMUT (sexual material) and promised I’d talk more about what it means to me. This is a rather long story, technically speaking, but let’s skip past everything from my teens up to the end of 2019 and start there. With representation.
I’ve always wanted to read a book where the main character is someone like me – a disabled, chronically ill, and/or non-normative woman. We are many, but we rarely figure in fiction. When we do, it’s usually as someone’s embarrassing mother, the fat friend, the awful colleague that no one likes, or the broken human who’s only there to show that the unlikable hero(ine) is a decent soul deep down. The message is clear: I am not worthy of love.
In erotica and erotic romance, people like me sometimes get to be a prop, or someone’s fetish, but never the brilliant and irresistibly sexy woman everybody wants to shag. (Disabled men are treated differently, so that’s why I’m not talking about them right now.) In pornography, there are categories dedicated to sex with people like me, but I’d argue that’s mainly a prop/fetish thing too. The message is clear: I am fuckable, but not desireable.
Now, some readers may see this as a good thing. I could write a book about all the reasons and excuses I’ve heard, ranging from “eww, no one wants to read that” to “only disabled people can write stories about disabled characters.” Utter nonsense. Good writers can write about anything, and the only way to become a good writer is to write. I don’t care if it’s a journal, monster smut, a blog, fae fantasies, horror or children’s books – they all need positive representation. If you are a writer who makes all your villains and shitty characters out to be non-normies, maybe you need to ask yourself what that says about you.
I have been a writer for decades, so when I complained about poor representation in the past, people who knew me would often tell me to do it myself if it was such a big problem. And for years, I did think about it. I fantasised about writing the kind of books I wanted to read. I saw them having a range of different MCs who had one thing in common: They were all spoonies, and they all got to be the hot chicks of their own happily-ever-after or happy-for-now stories. And I could have written them, but I would never have moved on to publish those books. See, that’s what lack of positive representation does. It makes you question yourself. It makes you think that you’re alone, and that no one else would ever dream of doing whatever you’re dreaming of. Or want to read the kind of stories you’d like to write.
It makes you believe that there really is something wrong with you. That you may be fuckable at a stretch, but never attractive. Not worthy of love, romance or even a little flirting. And most certainly not the kind of person people would write a book about. And if, for some reason they did, no one would read it. Period.
Today, there are three books out there with my (pen) name on them where the MC is the kind of character I’ve been talking about. In fact, the main character in the whole web of Linn Rheinhart stories is me. Not exactly, but book-Linn is based on me and she has my feelings and experiences. Her friends are not based on any particular person, but they are modelled on, and given the experiences of, the hundreds of spoonie women who have shared their dreams, fears and
None of these stories, or the ones still in the pipeline, would exist without the support of the man who caught a homeless pet, and gave her a name and a home. The story about how these books came to be is the story we tell in Pet’s Penance. It began just like it does in the book. No, we were not in New York, and Sir Bear is not a renowned spicy romance author (yet) but I did break a rule, and the story I had to write was raw and real, even though it was fictional.
After some negotiations, we decided it was time for my spoonie stories to be told, and that we would do it together. Starting with the inciting incident – our own story. Pet’s Penance is a four-book novella series that can be read as four stand-alones, but if you read all four you get some extra treats. It begins in New York three weeks before Christmas and ends in London with an anniversary, a book release and a Yuletide celebration.
We do have an origin story for Maddox and Linn coming, but we decided it all had to start with Pet’s because… Well, if you read the whole series (it’s free on Kindle Unlimited) you will find out why.
But, why write smut?
Because at its heart, the story about pet is an Up-Lit slice-of-life about a loving D/s couple. Linn is a wheelchair user who carries a lot of trauma and a secret she’s never been able to share with anyone. In falling in love with Maddox and embracing the possibility of a life with him, she learns to face her fears, share her soul and embrace every part of herself. Including her sexuality.
I have no problem talking, or writing, about sex. Putting my own disability on display, now that’s different. It makes me feel vulnerable in a way I’m deeply uncomfortable with. Yet, to write this, to be able to share it with you, I had to bare the most private part of myself. I had to be raw. Naked. That was not an easy decision to make, but it was important. Because once you start scraping the surface, it’s easy enough to see that we’re all weird and wonderful beings and that representation truly matters. In all aspects of the human experience.
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Have You Met Barry?
Barry D. Libearian is not an AI fabrication, but a very real and opinionated BumbleBear.
Last week, the meddlesome pet demon went ashore to help his Mistress, our Sea Witch M.W. McLeod, with some solstice related work. I can’t tell you how nice it was to finally be able to go to sleep without having to worry about what the little devil might have done to my quarters. Stuffing our bed with fishguts was not even the worst of his tricks. Anyway, I was looking forward to this reprieve and a few weeks’ worth of sweet summer nights reading and cuddling in the moonlight. Silly me.
The morning after, I woke up to a strange buzzing and growling noise coming from my quarters. Sir Bear is rarely up at the crack of dawn, so I armed myself with his fancy walking stick and rolled into the office to confront what I believed to be one of Zane’s weird sheep. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be Barry, our adorkable Libearian splayed out on my desk. Yes, you did read that right.
So, Barry first showed up last spring when we were working on the final edits of Trapped In The Stacks, Leto Armitage’s hot librarian story. He was constantly hovering over the script wanting to know how it would end, and he had clearly made Sir Bear his role model. So much so that he claimed to be not a Bumblebee, but a BumbleBear.
He moved in on the ship with us and took an immediate liking to our readers’ room. He wasn’t too keen on me though. We had a few heated arguments where I insisted he had to wear gloves to bee in there (I didn’t want to risk getting pollen between the sheets) and Barry flatly refused to obey my orders.
“For your information, male bumblebeez do not handle ze pollen,” he said. “We just zit around reading, eating honey and waiting to get laid.”
“So, that still leaves you with sticky fingers,” I countered. “You’re wearing gloves, mate, or you’re not touching my books! End of discussion.”
Long story short, Barry’s love for literature was stronger than his hate for the white gloves I got him. He’s been our Deputy Head Libearian since the day he flew into my office, dressed in that bizarre bear skin gilet he insists on wearing, and tried to growl seductively in my ear. I don’t know if we had reached an understanding at that point, or if Sir Bear had bribed him with extra rations of honey, but we have had a good working relationship ever since. Barry’s been helping us get our library together and he keeps a tight ship down there. The Sea Witch made him a fairy landscape in a terracotta planter, and he loves it so much he rarely comes to my quarters unless there’s a problem.
I could tell by the look of him, and the noise he was making, that he was not in a good place. He was reading The Old Man and the Sea, muttering something unintelligible about Hemingway’s ghost talking to him so he had to come up to Quarterdeck for some peace and quiet.
“Az I zaid,” Barry buzzed.
“Ernest Hemingway? A ghost? In our reading room?”
He didn’t even look at me, but his buzzing got louder. It was too early in the morning, especially a Midsummer morning, for this to make any sense. Silently, I propelled myself back out of my quarters and returned to our bed in Sir Bear’s cabin. I curled up close, wondering if he’d believe me or think I’d been on the rum when I told him.
That’s what I get for thinking life would be slow and uneventful after the kiddoes moved out…
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AROUND THE CAMP
– Do Pirates Get a Vaycay?
Summer Pirates enjoying a few weeks of relative peace and quiet, sipping tea and rum and reading our way through the TBRs. (Photo: Manu1174, Getty Images)
If you could take a stroll around the ship or dip into camp right now, you’d probably ask yourself – or me – Where have all the pirates gone? Ah, the simple but truthful answer is who knows. It’s summer.
July and August are slower months for us, and we spend our time doing the things we’re too busy to deal with while we’re on the high seas. This summer half the crew is either moving or getting ready to move. Yeah, I know it’s hard to believe but all of us have some kind of landlubber life with all sorts of responsibilities to handle when we’re not writing or doing writers’ stuff. We also have a fair share of us either trying to bounce back from illness or currently battling various conditions. It’s one of the drawbacks of pirate life – we tend to catch a lot of bugs and we get injured a lot. Still…
Starting next week, we have a lot of goodies lined up to see you through the summer season. Our crew has listed their recommended summer reads, and they have entered a lot of their titles into the summer sales. We also have a number of free books to share with you, some nice recipes, author interviews and a few new faces to introduce you to.
Last but not least, we have a discussion coming up about how we can be rebel author pirates in a climate where book pirates are known to be stealing from authors by downloading their work from shady websites.
So much to look forward to! 😎💃🏼
TO AI OR NOT TO AI
– Is That Even a Question?
Is this AI or the artist’s own work? How can you tell the difference? (Photo: Leandro de Carvalho, Pixabay)
We’re not only going to shine the light on pirating this summer, we want to initiate a discussion about Artificial Intelligence as well.
It won’t come as a great surprise to you, I think, that we’ve already had a few lengthy discussions about this on the ship. We are all writers, but more than half of our crew and passengers are artists too. A few of them even make their living as illustrators and graphic designers. We all have very strong opinions about this “new” technology and the risk it potentially poses to us all.
I’m not going to dive into the depths of this today, but I am going to ask you to watch – or listen to – The AI Apocalypse on Hello Future Me’s channel on YouTube. It is a long video, but you can treat it like a podcast and listen in chunks or play it in the background while you do housework or something. This is not a doom and gloom video, but it raises some interesting questions that I think we should discuss.
One thing I can tell you (our Ship’s Belle won’t believe her eyes – this is the second secret I let out of the bag today!) is that I have changed my mind. I had taken a very strong stance a while back, but now I have flipped the coin over. How? Well, I’ll sit on that one until you watch the video so we can talk this through between us.
Watch this space and our twitter – we have some polls etc coming your way.
Three Summer Read-Alongs
If you read last week’s Midsummer Ship’s Log, you may remember I said I was going to go pester the Quartermaster until he agreed to read with me under the stars. He picked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon and you can join in the fun. Our Ship’s Belle picked her own The Warehouse, and I picked Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.
The rule for the summer reads was that each crew member picks three books, one of which must be their own. We’ll keep sharing the choices and talk about the books week by week. Three titles, three genres, three completely different styles.
Are You Ready for SMUT Sunday?
We are running low on the smelling salts, so we’ve had to move all nsfw material to As We Write’s naughtier little sister site Holihell. Just click the button below if you want to see more of the spicier stuff some of our Resilience-authors have to offer.
Well, would you look at that – we did it again! We’ve reached the end of this week’s trefika, and it’s time to say goodbye for this time.
Next week you’re in for a treat as our Ship’s Belle returns with more horror, drinks and – no doubt – some amusing thoughts. We will kick off the summer sales, check in on the read-along(s) and see what you had to say about pirates and AI. I think we can expect a prize draw and a few other surprises as well. Only one way to know for sure – make sure you’re signed up so your seat is reserved.
Right, I’m outta here! Thank you very much for your time and your company. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now get thyself out there and, whatever you do, be good to yourself. You are worthy and you are enough.
Puss & Kram,
ABOUT LINNEA LUCIFER
Linnea Lucifer is the Captain of the imaginary, yet very real, pirate ship Resilience and her merry crew of indie authors. But that is not all – amateur liar, weaver of stories, peddler of merch, lifelong spoonie, ancient dragon lady and Maddox Rhinehart’s irreverent pet are a few more words often used to describe the bearer of many names.
Linnea writes fantasy rooted in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore under the pen name Saga Linnea Söderberg. As Linn Rhinehart she writes Sweet’n’Spicy spoonie smut together with Leto Armitage, and as Evalena Styf, she’s been a knowsy roll model and prolific content creator for many years. She’s also a retired educator, writing coach, editor and graphic designer.
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