Weird Writerly Things

Every writer has a process. Even if it’s only that they write in a specific room or at a certain time of day, we all have something that helps get us in the mood. I (Renee) forced everyone to tell me one weird thing they do to get in the zone for writing. Some of the Dolls didn’t disappoint. Liam, you need to get weirder. Just saying.

Anyway, here’s what they told me. Now they know the confidentiality thing I made them sign is useless.

Liam: Just daydream and type what happens.

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Hanna: Being in nature. I usually write best outside too.

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Oh yeah, sounds great, Hanna.

Steve: Smoking cigarettes and staring at the sky was a great way to zone out and run a chapter through my head. Unfortunately it’s not a good habit, lung-wise, so I can’t recommend it in good faith.

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(right?)

Michael: Cleaning the toilets usually does it, followed by strong coffee. Either that or a tomato sandwich.

(Did you say tomato sandwich?)

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Renee: Candy Crush. I wish I was joking, but I’m not. Playing a few rounds of that empties my brain of other things. I just play until I’m ready and then I write. If that doesn’t work, I take a nap, because naps are awesome.

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Katrina: Coffee and a swift kicking of everyone the hell away from me.

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(We had such high hopes for yours, Kat.)

Christian: I don’t have a weird thing that helps me get in the zone. Is that weird?

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(Yes, Christian. It’s weird. You’re weird.)

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Writer’s Block

by C.M. Saunders

For better or for worse (usually worse), I’m involved in a lot of groups on Facebook, Linked In and the like, where writers of varying descriptions flock together to discuss various aspects of ‘the craft.’ The one topic that crops up more than any other in these groups is writer’s block.

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            The thing is, and feel free to fight me on this if you want, but I don’t think writer’s block exists. It’s a myth perpetuated by hobbyists with delusions of grandeur. The kind of people who sit in the corners of cafes and coffee shops with expensive tablets and a skinny latte because ‘that’s where they do their best work.’

            You’ll find these pretenders haunting most establishments. The trendier the better. They’ll sit quietly, smoothing their beards thoughtfully, adjusting their beanies, and making a single hot beverage last three-and-a-half hours. A smug half-smirk will be tugging at the corners of their mouths, and if you listen carefully, you might be able to hear their inner thought process.

            I am a gifted individual. People envy me. I write, therefore I am. My words will change the world. But wait, no I don’t want to write any more. Right now I’d rather be checking the Ted Baker website to see if the new knitwear collection is available for pre-order yet. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. Must be writer’s block. I’m a tortured artist! The angst! Oh, dear creative God’s, deliver me from this hell!

            I recently remarked to one of the many ‘WRITER’S BLOCK. AAARGH!” comments that clog up my newsfeed most days that, in my opinion, writer’s block is something that separates the pros from the pretenders. It didn’t go down very well with the supposed victim. I wasn’t being pretentious. The point I was trying to make is when faced with adversity, pros will find a way over, around, or through the obstacle preventing them achieving their goals. Whereas hobbyists, who would just as happily be doing something else anyway, will just give up.

            But here’s the rub. They don’t want to admit giving up so easily. That would show weakness, and a lack of integrity. So they pin the blame on something other than themselves instead. Something intangible and unquantifiable, some mysterious ailment that only the supremely gifted can suffer from.

            Writer’s block is a luxury professionals can’t afford. If they don’t write, they don’t eat and they get evicted. Simple. Have you ever heard of plumber’s block? Dentist’s block? Estate agent’s block? No? That’s because there’s no such thing. Sure, sometimes they have days where they don’t feel like going to work. Just like there are times when you don’t feel like doing the washing up, or changing the bed. That’s when you put your head down, grit your teeth, rise above it and get the job done.

            Just to be clear, I have no problem with people writing as a hobby. Quite the opposite, in fact. Generally speaking, I think the human race in general could benefit from reading and writing more. Then maybe a higher percentage of people would be able to spell and punctuate properly and we wouldn’t be such a nation of fucktards.

            One acquaintance of mine who complained of suffering from writer’s block said the only thing that alleviates the condition is playing video games, so he did that for three months. Three fucking months. Wait a minute, are you sure you wouldn’t just prefer playing video games? Because it sure seems that way. Incidentally, this writer was unpublished, and it’s easy to see why. I’m not knocking his ability. Who am I to judge? The guy might be a very good writer. Hell, he might even be the best writer who ever lived. The thing is we’ll probably never know, because when the chips are down, he boots up Halo. How many dentists out there do you think take three-month sabbaticals where they don’t work, they just play video games?

            I understand that maintaining writer’s block doesn’t exist might be a controversial view.  Message boards and chat forums, even the odd serious article or academic paper, argue otherwise. But what’s really happening here is people misdiagnosing the condition. Writer’s block is an excuse to give up when things get tough. Or, in most cases, an excuse to not do something you don’t even have to do in the first place. Some writers like to blame their inadequacies on things that are beyond their control. It makes them feel better about being fucking lazy.

            I want to leave you with this thought. Real writers write. They don’t sit around pissing and moaning about how hard it is. Those that do it on a regular basis know it’s hard. It’s not the exciting, romantic existence some people seem to think it is. If you’re not enjoying it, or you’re struggling with your latest case of writer’s block, the one that stops you from ever actually writing anything, go find something else to do. Don’t take to social media to bare your soul every ten minutes. It’s boring.

            If you want to be a professional, or at least acknowledged as such, act like one. Grow a backbone. Learn about sacrifice, resilience and endeavour. I’m sure Stephen King, Dan Brown and Robert Ludlum would love to kick back and spend three months at a time playing computer games, or watching Friends, or whatever the hell else floats their respective boats. But they don’t. If they did, they wouldn’t have written all those books.

            You see? Pros and pretenders.

Filling Your Niches

 

by Renee Miller

Many of us here at Deviant Dolls write in what are called “niche” genres. A niche genre is one that appeals to a small, specialized reader base. So, unlike something like romance, which has thousands and thousands of loyal readers, our genres attract a fraction of that number. And traditional publishers don’t go gaga over such books. Yeah, they want you to write something original and new, but not too original or new. They need to have somewhere to put it. If they can’t find the shelf your book belongs on, it’s a marketing problem. Plus, a fraction of thousands is not as good as thousands. It’s risky. Publishers are businesses, so this is understandable. Frustrating, but sensible if you’re looking at things from their point of view.

Just wish they’d stop asking for all this newness if they don’t want it. *grumbles*

I’m joking. Mostly. So, why would we choose to write in genres with such limited sales potential? Well a number of reasons.

First, a niche genre doesn’t mean you won’t sell just as much as someone writing in a popular or “commercial” genre. I mean, consider how many authors are out there writing the popular stuff in the first place. Spread those many readers out across those many authors, and the numbers aren’t so staggering for individual authors.

Second, I’ve found that these niche genres have the most loyal readers ever. This means, if they like what you’ve got, they’ll keep coming back, because it’s hard to find what they like. And they don’t mind paying. There are a lot of readers out there who’ve grown accustomed to the freebie. They expect it. Nothing wrong with that. We writers have created that expectation, so it’s our own fault. However, fans of niche genres like bizarro, erotic horror, absurdist comedy, slipstream and the like, know that it’s tough to find well written books that appeal to them, so they see value in it. When a reader sees what you’re offering as valuable, the freebie thing becomes less important.

Third, it’s fun. The most exciting part of publishing today is that we can bend and break genre lines. There are a bazillion sub-genres out there, and authors are creating new ones every day. Are they going to be bestsellers? Probably not. I mean, selling is the really tough part of publishing. However, it doesn’t mean they won’t sell. You can experiment. Have fun with your settings, themes, characters, etc. This experimenting helps us learn and evolve, and eventually, find the genre (niche or otherwise) where we excel.

I love writing weird stuff. If it’s strange or uncomfortable, I’m your girl. I also love writing sex scenes. Is that weird? Probably. I love writing about themes that are uncomfortable and using bizarre characters or situations. The more “WTF” or “OMG, no!” a story is, the more fun I have writing it. I’m not much for the butterflies and rainbows or the happy ending. What I’ve written previously that includes such things was a chore to write. I struggled to make it be what I was told it should be to “fit.” Sometimes I love writing tried and true stuff, but my “muse” is only truly satisfied when I’m going to an extreme of some kind. I like being a little uncomfortable with what I’m writing. Makes me more productive.

At Deviant Dolls, we chose to embrace genre straddling (and genre breaking) authors, because we believe in fiction that challenges the reader to think in new ways. We believe entertainment is valuable and so is allowing the reader to escape into a world that asks only that they buckle in and enjoy the ride. We love readers who beg to be scandalized, horrified, and/or tickled until they wet themselves. Niche genres make it easy to do this. Maybe, one day, these niche genres will become part of the norm. (Exciting) It’s more likely they won’t. That’s cool too.

Because we’re always looking for new ways to keep our readers happy, we’re curious: What’s your favorite niche and is it being filled? (Pun intended, because puns area great.)

Mind Fucked: Meet the Nutters

Editor’s Note:

As many of you know, we’re planning a virtual party on Facebook on September 17th, to celebrate our new books and to thank you, the reader, for supporting us. Event details can be found here. To “gear up” for said party, each of the dolls have written a little bit about our favorite titles. And, just by reading and then sharing and/or commenting, you’ll be entered to win a free book. Don’t forget to TAG US via Facebook or Twitter when you share!

Today, it’s Renee’s turn. Up for grabs is a Kindle copy of MIND FUCKED.  And now, Renee’s going to introduce you to a few of the nutters:

When I started writing Mind Fuck, the goal was one thing: hilarity. I had a very loose outline but the character of Milo Smalls was fully formed in my brain. He was perfect. Nothing could change him. No ONE could change him. He was the star. No one else.

My problem was he was too awesome. I needed characters that challenged Milo and created the right kind of “foil” to make him shine. That meant they had to be way “out there.” All of the characters in this book are outside the realm of normal, which means the average reader is unlikely to have much in common with them. To solve this problem, I gave them quirks, habits and thoughts similar to the ones we hide every day. And then I exaggerated these traits, so they “seem” more insane than the rest of us.

The characters are what makes this book so awesome. (Not just in my opinion. Readers agree, so stop with the doubty face.) So let’s meet a few of them, shall we?

Rochelle Middleton

Also known as Doctor Death, Rochelle runs a therapy group Milo’s police captain sends him to. Problem is, Rochelle might be crazier than the people she’s treating. Her list of quirks:

  • Obsessed with cats. And I mean she LOVES cats. Collects them.
  • Control freak
  • Fears heights
  • Bumpy surfaces make her uneasy
  • Fears light bulbs
  • Believes if everything is perfect, then nothing will happen that she can’t control. The problem is, the more she tries to perfect her patients, the more out of control they become, and the stronger and more violent her desire to fix them becomes.

Andy Zunser

Andy is my daughter Kennedy’s creation. He has an uncontrollable urge to lick children. Now this isn’t based in sexual attraction. Andy simply has to lick children. The rest of his shit? Does he really need more? Fine.

Andy is also whispers all the time, and he’s extremely insecure. He desperately wants to fit in, but the licking makes that impossible. How many of us just want to fit in, but have something inappropriate or awkward about us that prevents running with the pack?

Ozzie Lemon

Ozzie is my favorite character next to Milo. I wanted him to be offensive, but funny. Someone that challenged Milo where the others only perplexed him. Ozzie is a little bit me, a little bit my father and (don’t tell her) a tiny bit Katrina Monroe. He blurts profanity as naturally as he breathes. He’s also intuitive, smart, blunt, and empathetic. The person people “see” on the outside, a rude, insulting dick-smack, is nothing like the real Oz. Few people would bother to find that out, because they let his “first impression” make up their minds.

  • Afraid of farts, because of a childhood prank gone horribly wrong
  • Dislikes the number 8
  • Compulsive gambler
  • Sorts everything by color and size

Estella Butler

Estella is infatuated with Milo. Her fear of fingers and being touched, is an exaggeration of one of my quirks. I hate feet. My feet, your feet, all the feet. When someone touched me with their foot, I feel irritated. Almost angry. A bare foot touching me? Ugh. Violent thoughts begin. Bare feet touching MY bare feet? I can’t even.

I gave Estella the same issue with fingers, but to a degree so intense, it affects how she functions in daily life. She bit off her own fingertips, for example. The rest of the group has to wear mittens just so she can focus. However, while Estella can’t stand fingers, she also has an overwhelming need to be loved. The aversion to fingers makes that extremely difficult. She lives in a constant state of anxiety. In addition to that, Estella also has a compulsive urge to rub whiskers and she believes dreams are really ghosts speaking to you. She doesn’t like ghosts.

Nina Fleet

Nina was supposed to be a love interest for Milo, but as both characters developed, I realized her promiscuity would spark Milo’s phobia of germs, which meant they wouldn’t work well together. So, she became a character who added color to the setting and other characters. Sometimes you need one of those. (Although she ended up serving a greater purpose later on) She seems extremely confident, but is more frightened little girl than highly sexualized woman (although this is the persona she presents to the world). Nina is a nymphomaniac and a hoarder with a really bad memory. She can also be a massive bitch, when she feels threatened. She symbolizes everything we’re told (as women) not to be, as well as the things we’re told we should be.

Buggy Flint

I guess you could say that Buggy’s phobias and compulsions mimic our struggle with what we know is good for us, versus what we desire despite that knowledge. Buggy’s fear of green is so intense; he wears special glasses that filter color, because he completely loses his shit if he sees it. Like, full on nervous breakdown. He also has an irresistible compulsion to gorge on broccoli, while fearing it because he knows it’s green. We all know how it feels to want something we know is bad for us, right?

Charlie Howard

Charlie was a last minute addition to the cast. I wanted a character that symbolized the annoying stereotype of the alpha male, but exaggerated to show how silly it is. And we got Charlie, who loves to put his dick in holes and lies because he just can’t help himself. He’s basic. Selfish. Thinks with his penis. Has to put it into whatever hole he can find, regardless of the danger it presents to his physical well being. He’s absurd, but charming.

He’s also afraid of toes and doesn’t like the sound a zipper makes.

Shamus O’Connell

We don’t see a lot of Shamus, but what we do see is definitely memorable. Shamus is a sensitive and trusting man. Like an overgrown child really. He tries desperately to overcome his compulsions, but in the end, the poor soul can’t resist the overwhelming urge to bite the heads off birds. At the same time, he loves them. So, while he wants to hold them, pet them, admire them, he also destroys them in the most horrific, unsettling way possible.

Milo Smalls

Finally, Milo. He’s a little bit of everyone I know and love. He’s exceptionally smart and intuitive, and he’s observant, mistrustful, honest to a fault, curious, and stubborn.

At work, his previous captain prepared a list to help future coworkers deal with Milo without any… awkward situations.

  • Writes ONLY with pens, because he doesn’t like the impermanence of pencils
  • Doesn’t trust technology: The Internet is an absolute “nope” and he loathes the cell phone he’s forced to use for work.
  • Loathes change. Routine is his best friend
  • Likes things in groups of three. Sees this is a good omen. Hates groups of two. Believes two means bad things are going to happen, and more than one group of two means that bad thing will be worse. Having one left over isn’t as bad as two, but it’s cause for concern, “because there’s one left over.”
  • Suspicious of gingers. His suspicion increases to uneasiness and even fear depending on the level of ginger. For example: Strawberry blonds are the least harmful ginger, giving him only a mild sense of unease, while bright orange gingers are the most dangerous.
  • Fearful of cats (most furry animals make him at least a little nervous, which stems from how dirty he believes they are)
  • Believes rap music is the cause of society’s slow but steady destruction and is like poison for our brains.
  • Feels uncontrollable rage in the presence of jelly donuts
  • Avoids long-term relationships. Is a little too impulsive when it comes to anonymous sex
  • Photographic memory, yet he still keeps meticulous notes on every case. Writes everything in notebooks (which are the same color, size, type, etc. If one is damaged, he rewrites it. If he can no longer buy the same type, brand, etc., he replaces all of the books)
  • Obsessive need for cleanliness. This is so severe, he won’t or drink from anything that is not disposable and packaged. (In other words: Only used once. By him.)
  • Dislikes nail biters and ankle socks.
  • Tweezers give him the heebs.
  • Despises bow ties.

You might think that these issues would make Milo a total shut-in, or it would at least inhibit his ability to solve crimes. Think again. Milo actually uses each of these quirks to help him solve cases. Those that he can’t, he bravely tries to overcome in the name of justice, proving if you feel passionately enough about something, nothing will hold you back.

Oh, look at me motivating the masses. I’m a good person.

I’ve left out Joy, James, and of course, Captain Cunt. You’ll have to meet them on your own.

 

Our Obsession with Darkness: Serial Killers

by Renee Miller

 

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It’s no secret humans have a sick fascination with death. As an extension of that, we are enthralled by serial killers. A twisted mind is intriguing. Inspiring even. I devour shows like The Following (LOVED Joe Carroll’s character), How to Make a Murderer, and Dexter—Oh. My. Fucking. God. Be still my little writer heart. What is it about these horrible, sick people that takes hold of a person’s mind and won’t let go? Well, I’ve pondered that a lot.

I write a lot of murder scenes. In my Milo Smalls series (Mind Fuck), the MC is a homicide detective with a nose for serial killers. So it follows that my Google searches are interesting to someone. How to get away with murder, mistakes killers make, weirdest way to kill a person… It’s all just research. Honest.

Maybe you’re like me, and your interest lies in what makes such a mind tick or why we’re drawn to them. Perhaps it’s the danger that attracts us. I don’t know. Fiction plays into this in a big way. Readers love that evil genius, who is borderline insane, strangely attractive, and desperately wants to get caught. But not all serial killers are geniuses, nor are they men, as many people believe. We imagine them as white males of higher than average intelligence, because it’s what we see in the media. Many of the killers who’ve become infamous are white men; Gacy, Rader, Bundy, Dahmer, etc. Finding a female serial killer is rare. You probably knew that, though. Is it because there are fewer women out there murdering than men? Perhaps. Statistics say that only one in six serial killers are female.  When I see that I think “Well, only one in six who are caught.”

And most of the time, I believe they do whatever they can to avoid getting caught. They don’t want to be locked up. They don’t want to stop. So they become experts at manipulation. They become adept at being invisible. They’re often pretty damn charming too. Sure, they might be a little weird. Creepy, even, if you get close enough to catch them with their guards down. But who would want to get that close? Not this girl. However, most of them know how to read people. They’re able to manipulate victims into situations they might usually avoid, after all. I mean who would expect this guy,

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Would turn out to be this guy?

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Who else is a little turned on right now? Just me? Moving along then.

Many serial killers are on the fringes of society. They may appear to be part of everything, but inside they’re not wired the same as us “normals.” And they know it. So they watch. Make notes. They use this information to blend in, to behave in a manner that keeps suspicion off them.So next time you’re all aflutter over that stranger’s winning personality and bedroom eyes, remember there’s no way to know who among us is harmless and who just got back from a skinning session. It’s not like they have a particular trait or physical characteristic that warns us. Many psychopaths are very much in touch with reality, and understand right from wrong so they do whatever they have to do to keep their activities a secret. They move around below our radar. Most are not reclusive, social weirdos. They don’t act strange and aren’t easily identified. They have families, jobs, and can be upstanding members of their communities, and do whatever is necessary to ensure they’re overlooked by law enforcement and victims.

And this leads me to another disturbing fact: It takes a lot for a serial killer to grab our attention these days. Sure, law enforcement is VERY interested, but the general public is all “Oh, you shot fifty people? Did you eat any of them? Make a skull headboard? Skin lamp? No?”

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“Ugh. Move along, Mr. Lunatic. We’re done with you.”

If a serial killer these days wants to be famous, or has a desire to be remembered, he’ll have to up the ante. Terrifying thought, but there it is. We reward the vilest deeds by almost fangirling them. It’s fascinating, thrilling even, to know every detail of their crimes. To stare at their images from the safety of our homes, look into their eyes for evidence of something, anything, that makes them different from you or me, and hypothesize what went so wrong this person would enjoy taking lives.

A sort of consolation prize for getting caught, I suppose, is that everyone learns who you are and what you did. Thanks to the constant bombardment of horrific images we see in movies, games, television shows and news reports, we’ve all become kind of blind to the stuff that used to keep us up at night. It’s almost like now they’re at our mercy if they’re seeking infamy. We need them to be truly horrific monsters. That way, we can rest easy believing Average Joe next door would never break in and wear our skin as a cape or fry up our liver.

What have we become? Relax. It’s normal to feel or think all of these things. Getting a thrill out of these stories doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you pretty average. I mean, what makes a gripping story? Action, danger, dread, mystery, a hero and a villain… All of these things are present in serial killer stories, real or imagined. No wonder we’re captivated. We get to see the disturbing details of their lives, pick them apart, figure out what went wrong. We can determine how they kill, what they look for in a victim, and maybe, just maybe, protect ourselves from becoming another name on a list in some documentary about a serial killer.

And don’t feel bad for getting hooked by the “what if” factor either. You’re human. It’s normal to wonder (if only once) what it would be like to do whatever we wanted, society’s rules be damned.

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After saying all of this, I admit, I sometimes wonder if writers are guiltier of romanticising serial killers than the rest of the public. Maybe. We do like to dig inside the heads of people who live life on the fringes. But then, if readers didn’t love it so much, we’d be forced to find another way to grab their attention. Lucky for us, there’s always sex.

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For the foreseeable future, serial killers will hold a place in the dark recesses of our minds and hearts. We will continue to watch and wonder when one is caught. We’ll continue to obsess over those who got away. And some of us will still be here to write about all of it.

 

Do you love a party?

 

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Happy Friday, Dolls! Here at Deviant Dolls we have two priorities: writing and readers. Keeping that in mind, we try to make sure we thank you, readers, for your support. For example, every Monday on our Facebook page, we give away freebies to a lucky reader. Of course, you have to like the page to be eligible for said freebies, but that’s easily done, right? Right.

And we’ve committed ourselves to connecting with you in whatever ways we can manage. This includes hosting regular virtual “release” parties. That sounds kind of kinky, eh? It’s not that kind of release. Some of us publish new books on a somewhat frequent basis, and others are simply too shy to make a lot of fuss when new titles are available. We also know you guys are too busy to get excited about every new release we offer.

So, we’re going to celebrate both our new books and you, lovely reader, every few months by drowning you in shits, giggles, and goodies. Sounds exciting, yes?

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Over the next few months (and during the past few months) your Deviant Dolls have been working hard to give you something new and exciting. For example, this summer, Christian Saunders released No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches, while Renee Miller released Mind Fuck, Steve Wetherell released the audio version of Shoot the Dead, and Katrina Monroe popped her self-publishing cherry with A Tale du Mort. In September, we look forward to the third installment of Renee’s Fangs and Fur Series, titled Dragons, Dicks, Sins and Scribes (she’s nuts), and Katrina will be releasing All Darling Children with Red Adept Publishing. And we’ve got more to come.

For now, look at this delicious cover…

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Keep an eye on the Deviant Blog, because we’ll also be doing a Christmas Blog Hop and virtual party to celebrate new fall/winter releases by dolls such as Tony Bertauski, and yeah, probably Renee too.

The first of these parties will be September 18th. You can get all the details on our event page on the Facebook. Goodies will include Deviant Doll titles, as well as a few new books from our Deviant friends. We’ll also be showering you with cool “fan” stuff from our store. You can check out some of that right here.

Can’t make it to the party? Don’t worry. We’ll still be giving away cool stuff every Monday, and we’ll offer a few goodies in the weeks leading up to The Big Day. Stay tuned.

 

 

Choose Your Own Adventure Part 1 (Or When Renee Makes the Dolls Do Stupid Shit)

 

 

by Renee Miller

Good morning, dolls. How is the shit with you? Good? Wonderful. For me, today is pretty exciting? Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. Today marks the first day of what I’m betting will be a hilarious, frustrating and interesting adventure.

Because YOU all are going to help a few of us write a book.

Here’s how we see this thing going. Each week, we’ll let you guys know what we need from you. We’ll take all of your suggestions and use as many as we can. As the story develops, we’ll share excerpts, and keep you in the loop in terms of our progress.

Where do we start?

Well, we’re going to need a first line. We’ll go with the first one to comment here. Please make it awesome.

Now, we’ll also need characters. Only one per comment. Give us as much detail as you can. For example: Felix Giantnuts, Doctor, male, age, pulls the wings of flies in his spare time and is allergic to cotton. We’ll decide who gets to be a main character, but we’ll use as many of your ideas as possible for the entire cast. (Remember, I have a thing for writing shit with WAY too many characters, so it’ll be easy)

Next is genre. We’re going with bizarre in general, because obviously that’s what we’ll end up with, but we’re open to suggestions for subgenres. (For example, horror, sci-fi, erotica, etc.)

We also need setting. Anything goes. Again, we’ll use as much reader input as we can for this. So if one of you suggests a particular time period, while another suggests a city (real or imagined), we’ll use both.

And finally, for the first week we’re taking random suggestions for anything else pertaining to the plot. Yes, ANYTHING. Only this first week though, as we’ll be in plotting mode and all ideas can be incorporated at this point.

Every one of you that participates in this little nightmare is eligible to win freebies and other swag as well throughout the project. EVERYONE who participates will receive a free e-book when this bad boy is done. This means if you comment as “anonymous” with no way for us to find out how to reach you, well you won’t get fuck all. So, keep that in mind shy folks.

 

Let’s begin…

 

 

Do You Deviate?

by Renee Miller

According to Meriam Webster, deviant is defined as, “Different from what is considered to be normal or morally correct.” So, the opposite of deviance, in my opinion, is conformity. In art, I think conformity is the enemy. Don’t you?

You there. Yes, the one who disagreed. You’re outta here. Go on. Take your shit with you.

Norms, as most of you probably know (I hope), are rules and expectations, which members of society use to determine right and wrong. Deviance is the failure to conform to these norms. Social norms are different from culture to culture, so what’s deviant for you might not be deviant for someone else. It’s all so subjective. Sigh. In most societies, fighting is considered deviant, because we shouldn’t physically harm one another just because we can, and yet, boxing and ultimate fighting exist, and we LOVE them. So in that context, physical violence isn’t deviant. It’s a sport. Killing each other is also deviant in most cultures, except of course when the law dictates it’s okay (during war or as a punishment, for example, not that I’m taking sides on either, so just calm the fuck down). See what I mean? It’s all so confusing.

Deviant behavior is generally given a negative light, but we still embrace it. Why? I think it’s because many of us realize there are many positive things that can occur as a direct result of deviant thoughts or behavior.

Yes, extreme deviance, such as murder, are not good at all. Bad deviance. Don’t do it. Deviant behavior or ideas that lead chaos and/or violence is not a great thing either. Don’t be deviant in a way that creates a cluster-fuck of awful. Do it in a way that helps us evolve and become better humans.

Be the type of deviant that forces social change, for example. How does being weird or “not normal” change anything? If an act deemed as “deviant” occurs often enough, it can eventually become accepted. Once upon a time, women weren’t allowed to read. If we could read, we might think, and if we thought—gasp—we might question or neglect our womanly duties. The horror! Our bold lady ancestors were having none of that, though, and women secretly learned to read and write anyway. Soon, there were so many women reading, the menfolk were all “Fuck it, boys. They’re doing it anyway.” Sure, it wasn’t as simple as that, but you get my point.

Deviance also helps us adjust to change. It’s terrifying when something new comes along. Alternate lifestyles, new technology, and the like are scary for many people. But those brave few who embrace these initially deviant and unpopular things help the rest of us find the balls to check them out for ourselves.

Using the oppression of the female gender as an example again, remember when women weren’t allowed to vote or how it was frowned upon for a gal to wear pants? Remember when it wasn’t okay for a girl to love another girl (or a guy to notice his team mate’s sweet ass)? (I realize we’re still struggling with same-sex relationships, but stay with me. We’ve come a long way.) A few so-called deviants did things differently anyway and over time, the deviant kids made these new things less scary, and now we all have pants and (in some cultures) we can love whoever we want to love and women can vote.

The downside, I suppose, is that deviant behavior can also be used for evil. Religion, for example. Back in the day, many folks used religion as a reason for murdering countless women (and some men). They were burned, drowned, and whatever else the judge in question deemed appropriate. These behaviors are definitely deviant. I mean, in polite society, we do not kill people for doing naughty things like magic. However, with enough time and enough preaching, the church’s murderous ways were accepted as the norm.

That’s bad deviance. Don’t do it.

We chose to embrace deviants here at Deviant Dolls, because the dolls believe in pushing boundaries. We believe in change and individual expression. We love the outcasts, because the outcasts are the ones who typically break new ground and burn the old, useless institutions that do nothing but stop or slow down progress. Besides, we’re all deviants in some way. There is no single person in today’s world who follows every single law/norm/moral society dictates we should follow. Whether you smoke, drink, gamble, masturbate, hate your asshole neighbor, drive above the speed limit, make an illegal u-turn, cheat on your taxes, pick a scab, or whatever, we’ve all deviated from what we’re told is right. Sometimes we even have good reasons for it.

The only way to change what is normal is to do what is not normal. You must question the preconceived notions of what is morally right. You must challenge people to look outside their box and view the world from another perspective. This can’t be done if you don’t deviate a little bit. In writing, the willingness to do what isn’t “accepted” is extremely important. It frees us creatively in a way that is terrifying and awesome.

That is why we are deviant and it’s why we encourage you to be the same.

NOT the bad deviance. No murders, rapes, burglaries or whatever’s going to hurt someone else or get your ass thrown in jail. Do the deviance that has a purpose in the grand scheme of things.

There. Now you’ve been disclaimed and informed. Go be an innovator and a shit disturber. We’ve got your back.

 

Typewriting Monkeys

by Katrina Monroe

 

 

This past Tuesday, my older daughter had her first softball game of the season (and second, because this league likes double-headers and pissing parents off). Unlike last year, this year the girls are allowed to do fun stuff like slide and steal bases. My daughter stole her first base and, as she stomped on it, she clutched her heart like a Victorian ingénue who’d stumbled into the Red Light District. She’s the smallest girl on her team, so this drew a collection of “D’awws” from the other moms.

Then, one turned to me and said, “I can’t believe you’re not videoing this right now.”

My first thought was, “Fuck off.”

My second thought was, “Oh, shit. I should.”

But I didn’t whip out my phone like some twenty-first century gunslinger. I continued to watch my daughter play.

Later, I felt a little guilty. My parents live in Florida, which is a far fucking cry from Minnesota, and rarely get to see my kids. A video would have been nice to show them. Or I could have had it to transferred to DVD to embarrass my daughter with later. Or I could have just had it to watch over and over again when she’s irritating the crap out of me and I need to be reminded of her good qualities.

But then I stopped feeling guilty because I’ve been feeling guilty a lot lately.

As writers, we feel two things predominantly: overwhelming excitement over a project and guilt.

Guilt over writing too much.

Guilt over not writing enough.

Guilt over sacrificing time with family, friends, and “real jobs” to get the fucking words on paper because we need to sleep at some point, too.

It comes from every angle. And sure, sometimes people have good intentions—You’re looking pale, maybe you ought to go outside; Have you eaten?; Tequila is not a fruit—but in the end, the most torment comes from within and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Except stop feeling guilty.

You didn’t write today. Instead, you planted your ass on the couch with a cup of coffee and a plate of cookies and read the shit out of a book that’s been on your to-read list for months.             Good! Where do you think inspiration comes from, anyway? The toaster?

You didn’t read, either. You took a walk. Or went grocery shopping in peace (praisethelord). Or bought the fancy coffee and watched people quietly argue over that bitch, Jennifer.

Good! How do you expect to be worth a damn to yourself (or anyone else for that matter) if you don’t take the time to do nothing once in a while?

You spent eight hours in front of the computer, typing like a trained monkey, because the words just wouldn’t leave you alone. The house is a wreck, there’s no dinner on the table, and your significant other is seriously concerned over the state of your lightning-fast fingers.

Good! Protect that writing time fiercely! If you don’t take it, no one is going to give it to you, and you’re not going to write that book. Or play. Or script. Or whatever it is that makes your little heart go pitter-fucking-pat.

You’re not a typewriting monkey, and you’re not a useless human being for spending the bulk of your mornings making shit up, either. You’re a person. Or a humanoid cephalopod; we don’t judge.

Do what you think is right for you in this moment and the next, because no one else knows better than you. And for fuckssakes, stop feeling guilty about.

I don’t. Not anymore.