First Annual Jess Mahler Bookshelf Report and Reader Poll

Polyamory on Purpose Poll

First off, I’ve been talking about writing a book on raising kids in a polyamorous family for some years now and kept putting it off because of lingering emotional shit from my custody case.

I think I’m finally healed enough to tackle that topic and I know it’s one a lot of people want to see a book about.

BUT I already said I’d make my next book about abuse in polyamory, which is also a topic a lot of people are interested in.

Being the indecisive type, I decided to hand off the decision to y’all.

Here’s the poll for what the next Polyamory on Purpose book should be. Go vote on it!

(I a vague memory that I may have done a poll like this before? But if I did I don’t have any record of it? Anyway, sorry if this is a duplicate, but please help me out!)

Book Progress Updates!

Of late all my writing time has gone to Polyamory & Kink and Planting Life in a Dying City. All my other theoretically-active-projects have been on hold. My original goal was to finish both of them by December, and then be able to shift my focus. Unfortunately, this summer happened, and well… there was that too.

Anyway, as I write this, the re-write for P&K is 8% done. I actually have far more than that written, it’s just I haven’t yet gone through most of it to see what needs to be fixed, cut, added, etc. In total, I have over 21,000 words written, which is a bit more than 50% of the goal.

As long as I am able to keep writing regularly, I think I have a good chance of finishing on time.

Planting Life is another matter. While I’m ‘officially’ further along (32% finished!), I’m trying to get a lot more total words done (2.5x more, actually). Add to that, P&K is my priority (unlike my fiction work, my nonfiction actually has a following). So Planting Life only gets time when I’m at or ahead of my weekly goals for P&K.

Still, I’m making progress and really happy with how the story is coming. Paiokp is finally developing a personality and role beyond ‘random background person’. (I always figured ey would, but in a story with this many ‘main’ characters, it can take time to get to everyone.)

Jess Mahler Bookshelf Progress

So… the goal is to publish enough books to fill a bookshelf. In order to track this goal, it would be useful to actually have physical copies of the books so I can (ya know) put them on a bookshelf.

Which means at some point I need to format, submit, and order a paperback version of The Bargain and Whips & Fangs. As well as order copies of Polyamorous Home and Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous. That might be a good idea. To bad I didn’t think of it sooner. See, I’m starting a new tradition — Each Rosh haShana, lining up all my books on an empty shelf and taking a picture to record my progress.

Unfortunately, as noted, I don’t actually have copies of more than half my books, so…

Here ya go.

Shana tova.

Needed: Polyamory & Kink Rewrite

So…. I mean, the title kind of says it. For the second time, I need to take one of my polyamory on purpose books and do a major re-write just as I thought I was finishing up. So… Polyamory & Kink…

Similar to the major re-write of Safer Sex a couple years ago, what triggered it was recognition of what I wasn’t saying. In this case, somewhat embarrassingly, I found as the book went on, I was saying almost nothing about polyamory. It had become a kink 101 book.

Now, being honest, I actually know very little about what is out there for kink 101. I learned my kink mostly the old fashioned way (from other folks in the Scene) or the Millenial way (from forums and blogs). Not at all from books. For all I know there are no books out there covering kink 101 and such a book would be desperately needed.

But… that isn’t my schtick, you know? Maybe one day I will write the books on kink, and autism, and queerness, and all the other ideas ideas I’ve toyed with from time to time. But for nearly a decade now, my focus has been on polyamory, and I’m not ready to give that up.

So What Went Wrong?

I’m back at the drawing board, as it were, and I think I see where I made my mistake. I took the approach of introducing polyamorous folks to kink. I should have been focusing on how to make kink work in your polyamorous relationships.

With that in mind, I’m starting over from page one, reviewing everything I’ve already got, rewriting as needed, and restructuring, well, quite a lot.

The ‘good’ news is, I actually have some measure of self awareness by this point. So I built an two and a half months into my writing schedule. Like, literally. I use an online app called Pacemaker (highly recommend) to plan out my writing schedule. And I said, “I want the book finished by Dec 31, but let’s plan for me to finish by Nov 30.” Then I plugged all my data into Pacemaker and it said that at my planned rate of progress, I’d be done by mid-October!

Fingers crossed, there’s a good chance I’ll still be done by the end of December.

Want to Watch the Polyamory & Kink Rewrite as it happens?

I re-started by old Patreon page. If you want to see the draft of P&K as it’s (re)written, hop on over there and become a patron!

Whips & Fangs Cover Reveal and Release Date

(If you’re just hear for the cover and don’t care about the talk-talk, just scroll to the bottom.)

Okay, I should probably back up. This is probably the first many of you have heard of Whips & Fangs, and it certainly wasn’t on my project list a month or so back!

Several years ago, I had an old iteration of this website which had a subdomain, Whips & Fangs, where I shared kinky fantasy stories once a month or so. At the end of the first year, I took at the stories I had written, combined them into an ebooks and put the book out on Amazon and Smashwords.

At the time, we were homeless and I was dealing with several untreated mental illnesses. So I was never entirely happy with some of the stories, it was just the best I could do at the time, ya know? So I pulled the book, planning to edit and re-release when I had fixed some things up.

Except life hit me in the face again and I never finished my edits.

Goodreads calling

A couple weeks ago I got two messages on Goodreads, both asking about where folks could purchase W&F.

It’s fair to say my jaw dropped. Of all the books I’ve released, this one sold the worst and had almost not interest from anyone except a few close friends. I couldn’t imagine how one person had even heard of it, never mind two, never mind on the same day.

It turns out that Goodreads groups actually are good for authors? Someone (God knows who) recommended W&F in a Goodreads group, and now (according to the moderators who contacted me) at least a dozen people wanted to read it.

So… I went back and took at look at my edits. Turns out I didn’t have as much to do as I remembered. So I’ve been finishing up those edits, tweaking the cover, and getting it set up for pre-order on Amazon and D2D.

Whips & Fangs Cover

Whips & Fangs Cover

Whips & Fangs will be out July 31st. (It may be available for pre-order in some places now, I’ve never figured how that worked.)

A knight captured and used by the lady he loves, but cannot serve…
A vampire and vampire hunter in a most unlikely relationship…
A man who asks to join a leather family–but the family in question is more than leather…
The crippled dragon who thinks he can no longer serve and the lady-knight who refuses to give up on him…
A maiden who gives herself to a fairy lord, but has no idea what she’s in for…

These and other kinky fantasy stories fill this book. Using the lens of fantasy this collection explores the many sides of D/s, from the unabashedly erotic to the most extreme of mental conditioning, and more. Enter the fantastical world of kink, and the kinky world of fantasy.

This collection includes non-con stories.

W&F 2?

I mentioned way back at the beginning of this post that I had kept that subdomain going for several years. I’ve got a bunch more stories that didn’t make it into this collection and currently aren’t available anywhere. I originally meant to release a second collection. If W&F develops enough interest, I might go ahead and do that….

Jess Mahler’s Upcoming Books 5/13/19: #AmWriting

I realized that since re-starting this blog, I never shared what-all my active writing projects are. It’s probably time and past-time I do that.

At the moment I have 2 projects I am working on regularly and 3 more that I consider ‘active/backburner’. That is — I am keeping them in mind and will work on them when and as the mood strikes. They’re simmering, basically.

I have many many many projects that are ‘in holding’. They are projects that I reached of point of saying ‘no, this isn’t working;’ but think there is enough potential there that I might pick them up again in the future — or might not. (Probably not, if I’m being honest. But maybe.)

Polyamory on Purpose Books

Polyam and Kink

As I’ve talked about elsewhere, my next PoP book will be Polyam and Kink. It’s currently one of the two projects I work on regularly. I don’t actually know what the current word count is — I’m using this manuscript to experiment with eMacs and orgmode. I have to say, I really like eMacs for straight writing, but org mode is giving me headaches on the regular.

Because the writing is scattered across several dozen text docs all linked together through orgmode, figuring out the word count before I’m ready to pull it all together is going to be an absolute pain.

Abuse in Polyamory

Had a blog post about this last month, but tentatively planning for the next PoP book to be Abuse in Polyamory. At the moment, this is more the seed of an idea than an active project. I’ll probably start writing it when I get to the painful part of editing Polyam and Kink.

Jess Mahler’s Fiction

Planting Life in a Dying City

I need to work on this title. I want the final title to be something like this, but not sure if this is too long or not. *shrug*.

Anyway. I’m just past 29,000 words on this one.

I’ve thought of putting one of those progress tracking widgets on the sidebar, but I never remember to update them. So you’ll need to make do with blog posts like this every month or two.

Planting Life in a Dying City is a story of a group of individuals who come together to build a family in a bronze age society where if you don’t have a family, you are nothing. My blogs about generational families and nalbinding were referring to this manuscript. I’ve also got a Quora answer about the magic system that this world will have.

Space Werewolf

I don’t have a title for this one yet. It’s (as the working title suggests) a sci-fi novel with werewolves. (No, not science-fantasy. I’ve got a science-based explanation for having werewolves. It’s no less realistic than FTL drives. 😛 )

I’m pretty sure I haven’t blogged about this at all or discussed the details with anyone other than close friends and family. The two main characters are a werewolf who was is an undercover operative for the (Underground) Railroad and a human/ship entity who botches the werewolf’s op by ‘rescuing’ her.

This one is at around 19,000 words and has been backburnered since last fall. I expect it’ll move to fully active project soon.

Arranged Polyamory

What if, instead of dating and trying to find people to build relationships with, three lonely and lost strangers decided to make a commitment to each other and see what they can build?

At about 6,000 words, I’ve barely started on this one. I’m using it as an experiment in kishōtenketsu style narrative. One thing I’ve struggled with in my romance (and aromance) stories is lack of conflict. Conflict being central to Western-style story telling, but if you have two characters who are constantly in conflict and in a relationship, usually what you have is rather toxic… and I’m realizing that this could be a whole blog post on it’s own, so maybe next week.

Anyway, kishōtenketsu is a narrative style that doesn’t require conflict. So it seemed like a good idea to give it a try.

Thinking and plotting in a completely different manner from what you learned growing up is hard. Hence the very slow burn on this novel.

Historical Space Romance

I admit it, I got lazy.

This was going to be a historical romance set shortly after the Norman Conquest of England. But I didn’t have the spoons to do the research necessary to make it reasonably accurate, and wasn’t willing to not make an attempt to be accurate if I was doing historical.

So I cheated, and it’s now one of those ‘sci-fi’ romances that are set on a colonized world where people lost a lot of tech knowledge and are scraping by and I’m handwaving the ridiculousness of having cultures so similar to Norse, Anglo-Saxon, and Norman because fiction.

The basic idea here was ‘You know all those historical romances where the woman is forced into marriage with a man she doesn’t know/doesn’t like and over the course of the novel becomes a dutiful, submissive medieval wife to her warrior-husband? Yeah, I’m gender-bending that shit.’

It turns out that in Anglo-Saxon England women could do a LOT of things that Norman women weren’t allowed to do. And when the Normans took over they put an end to little things like women holding land in their own right or being their father’s heirs (assuming there was no male heir, of course.)

This one is sitting at right around 10,000 words, written in short bursts as inspiration hits. I’m struggling a bit with this one because i don’t have a general plot arc laid out, beyond what I mentioned above. I’m pretty much purely pantsing is, which is NOT my usual and a challenge. (But obviously not as much of a challenge as kishōtenketsu since I only started it a few months ago and already have this much!)

I’ve shared a few snippets from this one in Jess’ Pack if you want to check them out.