Coming out

The first bisexual character I remember seeing on tv was The Todd on Scrubs. For those of you who never saw the show, imagine if Pepe Le Pew was a surgeon. During one episode some of the female doctors suggest to him that he might be gay, and use his abusive actions towards women as a way to mask this. 

Maybe they should have contacted HR, but that’s another story. 

At any rate, by the end of the episode, he realizes that he’s simply so horny that he’s attracted to everyone. There’s a scene that’s stuck in my brain to this day, of Todd walking down the hall, checking out the ass of everyone he walks past. Someone asked him, in disgust, “What are you?” 

He responds, “I’m The Todd.”

This introduction to the theory of bisexuality probably isn’t why it took me 35 years to figure myself out. But it sure as hell didn’t help.

I’m turning 37 years old next week. And I am just now coming out as bisexual. 

I am not being brave doing this. I am incredibly privileged in many ways. I am surrounded by friends who are wonderful, accepting people. Many of whom are part of the LGBTQ+ community. I’m married to a man, so I pass for straight unless I tell someone I’m bi. While I don’t belong to an organized church, I’m a Unitarian. My day job is wonderfully supportive. And I don’t talk to most of my family anyway, so it’s not like I’m alienating any of them. 

That’s part of why I waited so long to come out. For a very long time, it felt like some people were claiming to be bisexual because it was trendy. And maybe some people did that.

It’s not trendy to be LGBTQ+. You are or you’re not. But for a brief, shining couple of years, it was considered cool. And people got a lot of attention for coming out. That’s great, I loved that. 

I didn’t come out then. Because I didn’t want anyone to accuse me of lying. Of stealing attention from real members of the community. Because that’s what it felt like for me like I wasn’t really a member of this community. Like I wasn’t welcome. Because Cupid spun my wheel and landed on a man, a wonderful man, I did not feel welcome in this community.

It never stopped me from being an ally. It never stopped me from supporting LGBTQ+ rights. It just left me very confused about some relationships I’ve had in the past, that I would have sworn were just friendships. 

Friendships with a beautiful girl with thick brown hair and the brightest smile I have ever seen. Who I still miss every day. Who still has a little part of my heart. 

All that aside, I didn’t come out. It took me until last year to figure out that yes, I was bisexual and yes, maybe I should let people know that. Because as much of a party as Pride should be, it sure doesn’t feel like a party right now.

Because the ’20s are feeling more and more like the 1920s, and our society is going backward. Pride is taking on a whole new meaning for me this year, which is why I’m coming out now.

Pride, like a lion’s pride.

I have more to say on that in a moment. 

First, though, I want to talk about coming out in your late thirties. I guess coming out any time is weird. Coming out when you’re a full-blown adult has its series of issues. For me, it feels like having a project half done and just now realizing there was a second half of my toolbox I’d never even opened.

It also feels like looking back at that first half of the project and seeing a pattern I wasn’t trying to make come out clear as day. 

It’s taken me over a year, and some deep talks with my therapist, to come to terms with this. That I can’t go back and make different decisions, and I don’t know if I would if I could. I am married to a wonderful human being who is my partner in every sense of the word. The fact that he’s got boy parts isn’t a part of the equation. And that’s something beautiful to realize all by itself. To really and truly love the soul of a person, independent of the body, is a treasure.

Which brings me to my next point. Maybe we should just stop holding people to social expectations based on their private parts. Maybe it’s time we stop expecting men to act one way and women to act another way, even cisgender people. Maybe our strengths, weaknesses, and interests don’t have a damn thing to do with gender or sexuality. Maybe makeup is for anyone who wants to wear it, sports are for everyone who enjoys them, and I don’t need a goddamned pink jersey to support the Steelers. Maybe, and stick with me on this one, we should stop judging people before we get to know them as individuals.

Now, I need to talk about transgender people. Because frankly, we all need to be talking about transgender people. Because they need our help. Especially the kids.

Transgender teens and adults are at risk every single day in America, not just during June. They’re at a higher risk for suicide. They’re at risk of being attacked, abandoned by their families, and fired from their jobs. And we can’t let this happen. We have to stand up and support the trans community. We have to rally around them, like a Pride, and defend them. And, here are some ways we can all do that. It doesn’t matter if you’re trans, if you know someone who’s trans or if you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or if you’re an ally. Trans people need our help right now. And here’s what we can do.

Contact your local representatives on every level and ask them what they’re doing to support trans rights. Especially if you’re in a state that is actively making it illegal to be transgender. (Looking at you, Florida.) 

If it’s safe for you to do so, attend protests and rallies in support of transgender people. Attend a drag show if you can and are comfortable doing so. 

Support trans creators, especially if they’re from one of the states cracking down on them. If you, like me, are super broke, support them by sharing their content and kind words. 

Support LGBTQ+ charities, like The Trevor Project.

And remember this. Lots of companies are going to put out rainbow-colored content this month. And that’s fun. But they don’t get credit for that if they’re supporting Republican politicians and lawmakers. They don’t get credit for that if they’re not supporting their workers. And they sure as hell don’t get credit for that if they take all their rainbows down on July first and don’t say another goddamned word about LGBT+ support until next June. 

Here comes another book!

If you’re following me on Instagram or Mastodon, you might have seen some fun and dark videos from me in the last few days. And you might have been wondering what that was all about.

Actually, if you read my post last week you probably know what this is about already. But just in case, here you go.

That’s right. I’m relaunching The Man in The Woods as a standalone short story on Amazon. And if you’ve never read this eerie little tale of mine, you are in for a treat.

Plus, check out that new cover. I love that cover!

The Man in The Woods was inspired by the consistent residential development of my sleepy little hometown. I have a deep hatred of insta-neighborhoods where each house looks exactly the same. They often go up in or near quiet neighborhoods where families have lived for generations.

Families that know the land. They know the things that exist in those lands and what to do to protect themselves. They know to watch for the signs of danger. And there’s often danger to watch for. Such is the case in The Man in The Woods.

The short story is available now for pre-order on Amazon. It’ll launch on May 5th, and I’m super excited. It’s a fun read, and I hope you love it.

Go preorder your copy, and share it around if you want to give me a little bump. I’ll appreciate you forever.

It’s Read an E-book Week

Hey, everyone. I’m just jumping in here to tell you that it’s Read an E-book Week on Smashwords. 

E-books are a super convenient way to read for people like me who don’t have a ton of places to keep books in their tiny homes. And while I love my physical books a lot (like, maybe too much) there are a ton of reasons e-books are cheaper, more convenient, and overall a pretty good time. 

And now is a great time to grab a bunch of e-books at a great price. Because of course, Read An E-book Week means a bunch of them are on sale. Like, for instance, my books. 

Like You Can’t Trust The AI, Virus, Station Central, Twelve Little Christmas Stories, and Quiet Apocalypse. 

If you’re a fan of space adventures with a dash of political intrigue, you can check out the Station Central series. 

If you’re looking for a haunted house story with a witchy witty main character, you should check out Quiet Apocalypse.

And if you want to grab some Christmas stories that range from heartwarming to horrifying, you can grab Twelve Little Christmas Stories. 

Of course, it’s not just my books. There are thousands of e-books available on Smashwords. 

Let me know in the comments what books you scooped up during the sale. 

My review of Shut Up And Write The Book

I received an arc of this book in return for a fair and honest review. And that’s exactly what you’re getting today. 

Jenna Moreci’s Youtube channel is one of my favorites for smart, sweary writing advice. So, when she announced that she was publishing a book about writing, I had to get my hands on it. When I found out she was offering arcs to select reviewers, I jumped on that like a rat on a pizza slice. 

Shut Up And Write The Book is essentially a step-by-step manual to, obviously, writing a book. It is specifically tailored for fiction authors, so if you’re writing nonfiction, this one might not be for you. But as I don’t write nonfiction, it was delightful for me.

I will say that, as an experienced author, some of the information was redundant. I did find myself skimming some of the early chapters especially, because of course I’ve read a ton of writing advice books. I’ve also written writing advice for writers since 2014. And watched the vast majority of Jenna’s Youtube videos. 

But if you feel like you know everything in this book, you are wrong. It’s an egotistical fool who dismisses advice because they think they know everything already. So I always do my best to come to every bit of writing education as a novice. I never regret this.

The first thing I loved about Shut Up And Write The Book was that Jenna writes how she talks. I can hear her voice as I’m reading, which is delightful. She has a quick, supportive way of talking about writing that makes it feel more like a small business project instead of an ethereal endeavor that we mere mortals have no sort of control over. 

If you are one of those people who feel like writing a book is overwhelming, this is a book you need. It walks you through every step of the novel writing process. And I mean every single step. If you have nothing but a desire to write a book, but not a single damn idea for that book, that is perfect. The first chapters start with brainstorming in a realistic and accessible way. Then, it continues to walk you through each step of the process.

Now, I did think that the outline and brainstorming section of the book was a bit heavy. I don’t generally go into as much detail as Jenna does with her character creation and world-building. But, to be honest, maybe I should consider trying this out for my next book. It can only help.

Each chapter ends with a summary of the information that the chapter included. At first, I thought this was a little irritating. I mean, I just finished reading all this content. I don’t need a summing up. And yes, while doing a read through there’s not any value in that summary.

However, as I go through the book again and use it as it’s intended, as a workbook, I find that summary to be really helpful. Because I can check in with the summary and see if I need to re-read this chapter, or if I have the basics down.

I found that as I got closer to the end of the book, I found it more and more useful. I certainly have my writing weaknesses, and one of them is finding beta readers. I learned just a ton about that process, which I’m looking forward to utilizing as my current novels come closer and closer to completion.

If you’re a writer, this is a book to grab. It’s full of smart advice that’s easy to use. Here’s a link to pre-order it now. This is not an affiliate link.

My Writing Heroes, Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou is one of my personal heroes. She was such an incredibly strong person and absolutely fearless. She was beautiful, body and soul. She is still one of the most influential poets in America, despite leaving us in May 2014.

Ms. Angelou’s life was astounding. Which might be why she wrote so many books about it. She worked with Dr. King, with Malcolm X. She was in LA for the LA riots. She has seen so much history, much of it unpleasant. But through all of it, she spread beauty with her work, her singing, and her life.

I love reading her books. In each of them, I find bits of my own story within hers. I was also a young mother. I was also a child pawned off on relatives during my early life. 

I’ve learned so many lessons from Ms. Angelou. Today, I want to share just three of them that may help you be a better writer. They will almost certainly help you be a better person. 

Fake it, then make it.

I’m astounded by how often in Ms. Angelou’s life she applied for opportunities or was offered projects that she had no qualifications for. As a teenager she applied for a job as a cajun cook, having never cooked cajun food in her life. As a grown woman she calmly said she’d produce a tv series, having never done so before. 

In both cases, Ms. Angelou was calm and assured of herself. Then, she went home and taught herself how to do that thing. 

I wonder how often we assume we can’t do something, so we don’t. I wonder how our lives might change if we started saying yes to things, then putting in the effort to learn. I know that this attitude got me a job at Haunted MTL. And it got me to self-publish my books. Hell, it was that kind of attitude that inspired me to start this blog.

There is so much power in simple language.

When you read Maya Angelou’s work, you’re not going to find yourself tripped up much. Her poetry is in simple terms, and so is her prose. I think a lot of writers are afraid of simple words because it feels like we should be writing with bigger words. We should be using strange words like pejorative, just so people know we know what it means.

Don’t do that. Use simple words. Trust simple words. Because simple words can break someone’s heart. They can speak to a specific moment. They can make someone see exactly what you were seeing in a moment, and feel exactly what you were feeling. 

There is so much power in loving yourself.

One of my favorite Maya Angelou poems is Phenomenal Woman. It’s a glorious hymn of loving yourself. Not accepting yourself as you are. Not telling yourself that God loves us all as He made us. It’s saying that you are fucking beautiful. You are powerful. You are phenomenal. 

So what do you think? Who inspires you to be a better writer or a better person? Let us know in the comments. 

Check out 12 Christmas Tales on Amazon or Smashwords.

Even Pantsers need Preptober

You likely already know that it’s the first week of Preptober for those of us getting ready for Nanowrimo next month. How it got to be this far into October already without me noticing I have no idea. But that’s another conversation for another time. 

Maybe you’re a pantser, though. Meaning, a writer who doesn’t work with outlines and instead writes by the seat of their pants. 

While I’m not a fan of this kind of writing, I get that it’s what works for some people. I’m not going to get anywhere in this life convincing people they’re making art the wrong way. 

But don’t think for a second that just because you’re not writing an outline that you should skip Preptober. Oh no, you still have some planning to do. 

Especially if you’ve never written a novel before. 

You still need to know when you’ll be writing.

This is the biggest mistake I see new Nanowrimo participants make. You go into the month with the desire to put 50,000 words on the page, but not a plan of when that’s going to actually happen. 

When are you planning to write? How much time is it going to take you to write 50,000 words? If you’re used to writing short-form work, you might know how much writing you can get done in an hour already. If you haven’t written anything for a while, try doing some writing prompts this month. See how long it takes you to get a thousand words on the page. Then you’ll know how much time you need to carve out.

You’ll still need to know how you’ll be writing.

Are you writing your novel long hand or are you typing it? If you’re typing it, what format are you using? Do you have enough writing supplied?

Don’t leave these decisions until the last minute. Figure it out now so you’re ready to hit the ground running on November first. 

You still need to know your team.

Who is your support team? Who will be helping you out at home so you can write? Who will be your writing buddies? Are you getting together in real life, or virtually? How are you going to support each other? 

You still need to plan for your life.

Listen life’s going to keep coming at you while you’re writing in November. You know your life better than me, you know what can go wrong.

Are you going to be traveling for the holidays? 

Are you a student? What is your class schedule going to look like that month?

Are you a parent? What are you going to need to do for your family? What’s going to happen in November that will take you away from writing?

For me, that’s a whole lotta cooking on Thanksgiving, and a whole lotta cleaning before and after. 

Remember, that it’s okay for life to get in the way of your writing. It’s to be expected. Not even during Nanowrimo do we want to ignore our lives. 

Remember, what doesn’t get planned doesn’t get done. So if you want to write a novel in November, even if you don’t want to outline the book itself, you still have to outline a plan. 

Don’t forget, I have a Preptober Planner to help you get ready for Nanowrimo. You can grab it right now on my ko-fi shop.


Defending True Crime

I’ve loved true crime since I was a little girl. I can’t imagine I’m the only one who got hooked watching Unsolved Mysteries with Robert Stack. My great-grandma and I used to watch it together. I still think of her any time I hear that theme song.

Now True Crime is everywhere. Documentaries, tv shows, podcasts. I even co-host a true-crime podcast.

Recently I’ve found a reason for guilt over my enjoyment, though. The latest Scream movie pointed out that there’s a darker side to these stories. These are real stories. People died. Families were left shattered. The very last thing I’d ever want to do is belittle someone’s loss. The second to last thing I’d want to do is make a killer into a celebrity.

It’s not like mentally ill people need another excuse to kill innocent people. 

Are we just encouraging killers to think of themselves as rock stars? Are we dehumanizing victims for the sake of entertainment?

I’ve spent some time thinking about this. This world’s in a bad enough place right now, I don’t need to make things worse with some insensitive little tale.

And after some consideration, I don’t think True Crime does much harm. Dare I even say it might do some good? If, of course, it’s done right.

The good true crime podcasters don’t glorify the killers

On my podcast, Off The Bone, we don’t glorify killers. We tend to mock them. Most serial killers, by the way, wet the bed way longer than anyone else.

The killer is never the good guy, and the victim is never the punchline. To talk about True Crime in any other way is disrespectful and dangerous. 

We say their names

So many True Crime stories are unsolved. That’s part of the fascination, at least for me. We don’t know who the Somerton Man was, so we can’t let his family know what happened to him. Same for the Lady of The Dunes (Though Stephen King’s son might have helped solve that one.)

We’re all going to die someday. And most of us hope to be remembered by our loved ones. We want friends and family to share stories about us. And we don’t want a bunch of question marks hanging over our coffins. 

When we talk about unsolved murders, there’s a chance that someone might recognize the victim. That maybe, by saying their names, someone who loves them might hear. 

And even if they don’t, we remember them. 

I remember Bella in the witch elm.

I remember the Lady of The Dunes.

I remember the Somerton Man.

And I’ll be you do too.

If you have any information regarding this case.

Remember how each episode of Unsolved Mysteries ended? 

“If you have any information regarding this case, please call us.”

Well, people did call them. And because of that show, at least 260 cold cases were solved. 

Crowdsourcing mysteries gets results. And in the age of the internet, we’re even better at it. 

Because of consistent attention, the Keddie Cabin murder case was reopened. And as I mentioned earlier, Owen King might have helped solve the Lady of The Dunes mystery. He recognized an extra from Jaws who just might be her. 

True Crime done badly isn’t moral. But True Crime done well might actually solve crimes. And even if you’re not one of those who helps solve a cold case, you still enjoyed a damn good story.

And that’s worth something. I hope that when I go, I leave a good story behind.

Want to support Paper Beats World? You can do so on Ko-fi.

Smashwords/ Amazon

We need to talk about abortion

I’m coming to you with an extra post this morning, and I’m sure you can imagine what the topic’s going to be. 

That’s right, I’m discussing the death of Roe V. Wade. 

I didn’t post anything about it over the weekend because honestly, I was just in a down place. I was angry. I’m still angry. I was scared. I’m still scared.

I’m not scared because I think I might have an unwanted pregnancy. I’m scared because a part of my body, that God gave to me, doesn’t belong to me anymore. 

Politicians get to vote on whether or not I get to make a medical decision for myself. And don’t get it twisted, an abortion is a medical decision. 

It’s also a financial decision, a family decision. A personal decision. It’s not, under any circumstances, a community decision. 

I have two messages today. The first is for anyone who wanted Roe V. Wade to be overturned. 

Most of you know that I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Most of you also know that I’m now a Unitarian Universalist. But many lessons from my LDS upbringing have stuck with me. For instance, young LDS members are taught that when you chose the first step of a road, you also chose the last.

If you chose to force a person to have a baby when they don’t want to, you’re choosing to let people die unnecessarily in childbirth. You’re choosing to force people to bring children into this world that they are unable or unwilling to care for. You’re choosing to put unwanted babies into an already bloated adoption and foster care system. You’re choosing to increase child poverty. You’re choosing to lower women’s ability to attend college. You’re choosing to lower women’s ability to join the workforce. 

But, you might say, they chose to have sex.

So what? So because they made one decision about their bodies, they don’t get to make any more? It is absolutely none of your business. Your life will not be affected by anyone else having an abortion. 

Your life might be affected by someone’s lack of ability to get an abortion.

If you, like me, support abortion rights, here’s what I have to say to you. The fight is not over yet. We can still vote, we can still protest. 

We can still donate to protect local clinics. 

We can, and absolutely should, start getting involved in our local politics right now. Because at least for now, your right to make medical decisions about your body rests in the hands of your local representatives. Get to know who they are, and get involved. 

I’m in Pennsylvania. For now, my rights are safe. But it’s really scary to think that my ability to make medical decisions for myself can be voted on. 

On a personal note, I’m 36 years old. If I were to get pregnant, I’m at a higher risk of complications just because of my age. 36 isn’t old, but it’s old enough to start thinking about things like this. If I were to get pregnant, I would be having some serious discussions with my doctor about any risks involved. I’d be talking with the darling husband, about how a baby would affect us. Whether I could safely carry. 

Those would be hard, heavy talks. And they would be between me, my husband, and my doctor. 

And absolutely not one other person. This time last week, every person in America could say that. Today, maybe half of us can. 



Speak up.


It’s Quiet Apocalypse Launch Day!

Happy Friday the 13th, everybody.

And happy launch day. Quiet Apocalypse has now made its way into the world. If you haven’t yet, you can get your very own virtual copy on Amazon or Smashwords.

I’ll be documenting my whole day on Instagram if you want to follow along on my launch day adventures.

The end of the world began with a winter storm.

Sadie’s quiet life is interrupted when a tree crushes the roof of her attic apartment. She’s forced to move to a smaller apartment in the building. Then, her aunt guilts her into clearing an ouija board of a particularly irritating spirit.

But it wasn’t just the roof that was broken by the tree. There was something trapped within the building, waiting. Waiting to wake and bring about the end of the world.

Not with screams, but with silence.

Some early reviews for Quiet Apocalypse

Here’s some early reviews from some amazing people for Quiet Apocalypse.

Nicole C. Luttrell’s *A Quiet Apocalypse *is a haunting tale about the horrors that lurk within what we think are our safest spaces. Her visceral imagery, witty dialogue and eloquent prose bring the story to life. We are sucked into a world we won’t, can’t look away from. It is a terrifying, exciting story that will haunt you and leave you yearning for more.

-Court Court

Nicole Luttrell’s story of a witch, a house, and a storm carries the primal nature, fury, and bone chilling fear of circumstances beyond the control of humanity and the horrific depths we may all very well succumb to when confronted by them.

-David Davis

From the very first page, “Quiet Apocalypse” weaves a subtly sinister spell, drawing the reader into its many-layered mystery. Fans of atmospheric horror will enjoy the way the tension builds until all hell breaks loose, and the real terror begins.

Kristen Cleaves

You can preorder Quiet Apocalypse now on Amazon and Smashwords!

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