May, 2016 Update

Greetings all,

**Excuse typos, this post was written hastily.

I’m deep in writing books and look the part of shabby author today, so no V-log!

To those who keep asking. Book #5 in the Healers Series has an expected release date of December, 2016. It follows on into the next series called The Princesses of Arcania. Which is a kind of spoiler for the end of Book #4, but it doesn’t tell too much now, does it? *smile*

I’m currently three chapters into Savage, book #3 in the Klawdia series (6,000 words). This is where Margan and Klawdia come into contact with the hidden tribe in the mountains and meet the Vuglugs for the first time. This book will contain Nallael’s birth! This book may be a longer book than Refuge given the intensity of what needs to be written. I’m guessing about 75,000 words: a novel.

Lastly I’m writing another Klawdia book called Frozen Huntress, I’m about 25,000 words through the first draft for that one as well. Although this book is written in first person, and Klawdia narrates it, we get to see a lot of Capacia in this story. There’ll also be a doubling up of information you already know from the healers series since it will be a prequel to the healers and to Klawdia’s story. It will likely be 55,000 words give or take: a novel.

Savage and Frozen Huntress should be out before October. I’m hoping for an end of June release for one of them (whoever makes it to the finish line first). I’m also looking at Death Plague again, since now we know a little more about the Takers,  so that might pop up among my published works in the future as well. I can’t give you a word count on Death Plague, but so far I’ve written about 25,000 words on it.

Unrelated releases:

There are two other short stories – about 15,000 words that are about to be released. These are for the Chronicles put out by Samuel Peralta. I’ve contributed four pieces to these bundles by now, the next ones coming up are Not Quite Her which is a story about a shapeshifter. Then Anthea Sharpe who created the Feyland series organised for some authors to write in her world, and since I have a bent for the whimsical world of fairy stories, I wrote a story called Glitchy Goblin for her.

I’ve also been working on a new urban fantasy series on the far side, developing a plot line for what I want to be another sprawling fantasy series (set in the current world) just like the healers one. I’m not sure if I’ll launch it under a pen name, if so, the pen name will be Kylie Colt which is very similar to my K. J. Colt one so you won’t have trouble finding it. (I promise to let you know on this website if it eventuates anytime soon).

So never fear, I’m writing my toosh off and you’ll have plenty to read very soon. In the meantime check out the Chronicle series by Samuel, I promise you’ll find some excellent reads in some of those volumes. In the recent Doomsday release I wrote a piece called Rmemebering Hannah. Which is about a pandemic virus which mimics the long term progression of Alzheimers but in about 10 days. It’s written first person and it’s a combination of one mans journey into his psyche as he suffers from white matter degradation.

Have a great week! I’ll V-log as soon as I feel less messy.

 

January Update

Ideas About Identity

I want to avoid some work today, on purpose, which is super rare for me, and talk about outward appearance. This isn’t a post about the objectification of women, or being shallow, which is something I think about a lot, but a post about how visual cues inform us.

One of the ways to think about any issue is to remove the parameters that restricts the issue being discussed. As an example, and the point of this post, imagine that instead of one body, you could change your body at any moment, into anything you wanted. Adult, child, man, woman—your boss—whatever. Now, think about what that would mean in how you related to other people.

There’s been a lot of studies on dishonesty, and how much people lie, and apparently it happens a hell of a lot. I’m actually the kind of person who imagines the best of people, and thinks most people have good intentions towards me, and others. But I do know that people lie, mostly white lies, to protect other people’s feelings.

If you can’t rely on your sight to recognise the people around you, then what do you do?

The best way would probably be to come up with a catchphrase. A word. Since there are no permanent signs/markings on the flesh, it has to be something meta. Unless you wear a certain piece of clothing everyday. Language is the only thing that could honestly represent identity in that case (provided you don’t share that information with others). It must come as an example of shared understanding.

Do you judge a book by its cover?

Well, you’d be suddenly disempowered, but at the same time you’d be just as disempowered as everybody else. And also empowered as everybody else. You could deceive everyone around you, but you could also be deceived. I don’t think things are so different now. We can all lie, deceive, certainly it’s harder to hide evidence as a morphing body, but I think the issues of trust would be no different.

You either trust people, or you don’t.

Let’s move onto identity.

When you look in the mirror to get ready for work, you see yourself daily. There are slight changes year to year as you age, maybe you change your hair colour or your makeup, but mostly, you stay the same. What if you see someone else in the mirror? It’s you, because the sense of ‘I’ hasn’t changed, just a different looking you.

Psychological studies have shown that we actually have an innate concept of body identity. As an undergraduate, topics of body identity interested me a lot especially when discussing things like Phantom Limb syndrome. For a person to change their biological structure at will (I’m not going to get too bogged down in logistics here), we would also need the mind to accept those changes in the body.

Amputees who’ve had two or three limbs removed would still see themselves in the mirror and say ‘it’s still me’. Well, perhaps most would say that, I’m not an amputee so I’m probably being extremely ignorant (and hopefully not insensitive—please let me know if I am).

In this way I think the face probably contributes most to how we identify with ourselves and how others identify with us: we’re all interconnected. I actually think the impact on our connections would be the greatest concern. A person who burns their face in a fire (can still see and talk) can still be recognised by their eyes and voice, but what if that person can’t talk, their eyes are burned out, and can only hear.

They’re still recognisable despite the changes and their loved ones will still love them because they still know it’s the person they love, and yet surely it would impact their relationships in some way. Or maybe it would mostly impact new relationships. I don’t know. The blind can usually still talk, but even if they can’t, they still have braille. Even if someone I loved was completely changed beyond all recognition and could no longer communicate with me, I would rely on my memories to bring those feelings back, to imprint my stored concept of who that person truly is onto the faceless, voiceless, person in front of me.

I think if we could change our outward appearance to be anything we wanted then, as a species, we’d still opt for the long term familiarity… whether it be eyes, hair, voice, body, whatever… we’d keep an obvious trademark so others could, for the most part, identify us through sight.

Depending on how we change into others… whether we copy DNA, or we just visually imprint the person’s appearance onto ourselves (though that seems less likely), there’s considerations like ‘Would we still have fingerprints?’ since fingerprints are not genetic but made in the womb.

I’m not really interested in discussing the security, or greater societal implications, but theme nights would be fun at the local club.

Tall Dark and Handsome Fridays.

Happy hour before 10:00pm. Everyone must come dressed as a man with black/brown hair and must be over six feet tall. It raises the question about sex and love. I imagine that would be easily overcome by simply selecting a willing mate who’ll change for you, since if we’re born changing into other people, biological sex no longer really matters…unless you’re disgusted (I actually think disgust is a strong reaction to thinking about being intimate with someone of the same sex. Indifferent, yes. Not aroused. Sure. Disgusted… hrmm, maybe not).

You might end up with a preference for a certain sex or gender, but would it really matter? Maybe it would. That raises another question. If someone asked me to turn into a 5ft man with a hairy back and a beard, would I care if the person asking me was the person was exactly who I wanted to sleep with?

Do I need to embody certain physical traits to feel aroused and sexy?

Maybe I would if I only just acquired the gifts of changing into whoever I wanted at twenty five, or twenty eight, when identity tends to become crystallised (so ends the prefrontal cortex development). But if I could change into anyone from birth, and let’s assume society stops emphasising the physical idealisms of Ken and Barbie dolls, would I need to look a certain way to want to be intimate with someone?

Many people believe that men are simply visually stimulated and that women are emotionally stimulated (a dichotomy I personally abhor), but if we take it on rocky faith that it’s true, then maybe it wouldn’t matter to me, as a woman, who only gets aroused by someone emotionally connecting with me.

Would we even call ourselves men and women at that point? I suppose if our minds identify as woman or man, then we might be likely to concern ourselves with gender and sex during an intimate connection, but if it doesn’t (because we assume the body identification part of the brain is more fluid than it is now) then I assume we’ll be left with charm/cleverness, emotionality, and intelligence.

I identify as about 65% sapiosexual, which means I tend to be more attracted to intelligence than anything. Especially logical and rational intelligence. For me, the idea of a society that can change itself into anyone they want to be, outwardly, is definitely an interesting concept, but wouldn’t really change what I’d want from a person on the inside.

I’m being too short sighted aren’t I?

If we see a person’s creativity and intelligence as being expressed outwardly through identity, then maybe I would have a specific preference. I’m just as capable of drawing conclusions about a person’s intelligence and smartness just by look at them, as the next person. Tall, glasses wearing guys with a conservative dress sense tend to attract me as I find people who are okay with wearing glasses rather than contacts, or opting for laser eye-surgery, are probably interested in intelligence as well, and if they’re interested in intelligence, they’re probably also intelligent.
I’m yet to investigate whether there’s even a hint of truth to this.

So maybe in this world where I’m neither male or female outwardly, but likely to be a above medium to high percentage on the ‘I like dudes’ Kinsley Scale, I’m probably going to feel attracted to the guy with the glasses who is tall, and yet, maybe someone else is making the assumption that women who go for these kinds of guys also have traits that they find attractive… so they’re playing up the intelligence appearance to also get their needs met and therefore deceiving me.

I must come up with a good riddle to test their intelligence 😛

Things become complex at that point, which makes me happy – I love a good mystery – but for the person who just wants a fling for the night, they probably need a ‘meeting place’ that specialises in taking out the guesswork.

There’s always online dating. Since an accurately worded profile is better than a flash of teeth from across the room.

Anyway, I love thinking and exploring ideas like this. I hope you’ve enjoyed exploring some very limited aspects of identity with me.

November Update 2015

In this update I talk about the third Klawdia books, the fifth healers book and my other projects.

Competitions in The Guild

If you’d like to join the Guild for an opportunity to win giveaways like signed paperbacks, just join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheFantasyGuild/

 

This was the best for pure hilarity and creativity. Well done, Bronwyn!

Lee deserves a present for being a great dad!

Tosha’s late night entry, and one of my most supportive readers.

Thanks all for being so awesome!