Posted in Blog

Rant Ahead

Rant Ahead: Blindness Does Not Stop Me
Yep. I can’t drive a car. Yet. I can’t pilot an airplane. But I can do many, many other things. Including glare at someone who’s pissing me off.
And I’m blind. Just to make that clear.
Here’s the scenario: Someone comments on a random page that my blind character can’t be making noticeable eye contact with the man in his arms. If what this person meant is that Aidan Kelly can’t “see” Mike Delaney from my White Oak/Black Mahogany duet, they’re right. But what they said implied that Aidan couldn’t appear to be making meaningful contact with Mike because Aidan’s blind.
OK. Let’s break this down. Body language is not visually mandated. Blind people can learn to put their hands on their hips, tilt their heads, raise an eyebrow, and smile just like sighted people. It’s a matter of teaching rather than mimicry, but it can totally be done.
Blind people have expressive faces just like sighted people. Maybe, like me they go blank when they’re pissed off, but that was a matter of training for me. I was taught not to show my anger because no one in my family shows anger. But once you know the person you’re talking to, that blank look is just as telling as a shout.
This all boils down to the fact that instead of getting to know blind people many sighted people (not all, but many) assume what we can and can’t do. Let me tell you a story.
My eyes twitch. All the time. It’s almost impossible for students to tell where I’m looking. But with the set of my body, the tilt of my head, and a well-placed, “[student name], sit down” it’s quite apparent where my attention is centered. I’ve had students claim they couldn’t tell exactly whom I was looking at, but they stopped whatever bad behavior they were doing because they “thought” I was looking at them. They were usually right.
I’m not only fired up by the assumptions but by the shameless way people voice those assumptions. If I was African American and someone “assumed” I was good at rhythm because of the color of my skin, or “assumed” I’m a good cook because I’m a woman, they’d never dare to express those feelings out loud. When the hell did it become OK to assume that a disabled person is incapable? And why is it OK for these assumptions to be acted upon?
Breathe, Emily.
All right, why am I so hot under the collar? Because this assumption culture has made it difficult for me to get a job in the past. “You can’t climb stairs.” “How do you dress yourself?” “Why do your eyes twitch like that? That makes me uncomfortable. Can you stop doing it?” yes, these are all questions I’ve been asked in interviews, along with dealing with parents who say, “you can’t prove XYZ because you can’t see my child.” If a non-disabled person was asked these things, they’d start a lawsuit. But I’m often told to just sit and take it, to change people’s minds one at a time, and be patient.
This all reminds me of the time I was teaching a middle school class about the KKK and an African American student said he’d never trust white people again. My response was, “Should I be angry with all sighted people, including you, because of what one or two have said?” “yes!” he cried. And the whole class, three different races, responded, “NO!!” he thought about it. After a few more classes, he became one of my best helpers.
I wish I didn’t have to constantly educate the public, but I do because if I don’t, who will? I’m one of those “polite” blind people, as opposed to the pissed off version, because I know that being angry with ignorance is pointless. But sometimes even I get tired.
Thank you for listening to my rant. I’d appreciate any suggestions you have as to how I should respond to ignorance in the future. Thank you for reading this!
Be good to each other. You never know what’s going on in someone else’s life.

–Emily Carrington

Oh, and if you want to read about a kick-ass blind guy, please read my first Heartwood duet, White Oak/Black Mahogany. The second book in the series, Heartwood 2: Yew and Thorn, will be coming out next month.

https://www.changelingpress.com/white-oak-black-mahogany-duet-heartwood-1-b-3007

Posted in Blog

World Building With Disabled Characters

World Building With Disabled Characters
A circle containing images of symbols depicting various disabilities. At 2 o'clock is a wheelchair, at 3 o'clock is a full Braille cell, at 6 o'clock is the ASL sign for interpreter, at 9 o'clock is an eye and at 11 o'clock is an ear.
This is a great topic to start off the new year. Partially because it’s something that’s been on my mind for months and partially because I’ve actually been asked by some readers about how I write disabled characters.
Number one is research. I’ve done a lot, even for my own disability, because there isn’t one right way to be visually impaired or even blind. Does light perception count as blind or partly sighted? Does seeing shapes moving through blurry space count? Does every blind or visually impaired person use braille, a white cane, or a guide dog?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, when I created a visually impaired half werewolf, I had to decide where his disability affected him and where he could ignore it completely. He can see better in the dark than most visually impaired people but that’s because of his half wolf nature. He can sense the shape of a traffic jam but still needs his white cane to help him get up and down the stairs in an unfamiliar place. And of course, like some of us legally blind people, he carries the cane to identify his disability.
So, research it. Discuss it with forums on FB or do research other places online or in the library.
Number two is balance. No one is only one aspect of themselves. I’m not my disability. But it is certainly part of who I am.
For example, I’m not single because I’m blind; do not ever make that assumption. I’m single for many reasons, and, yes, some people have rejected me out of hand because of my impairment. However, these are the exception to the rule. Assuming my blindness is the cause of my singlehood assumes all other people are assholes who can’t see past the surface. That doesn’t do justice to the great diversity out there.
Number three is please, oh please, don’t cure your disabled character at the end of the story unless you have a damn good reason. And their wanting to be “normal” or whatever you want to call it is not a good enough reason. I’ll never forget the author who healed the blind hero’s eyesight miraculously at the end of a Regency novel. I have never picked up another book of theirs, nor will I do so.
And, number four is, quite simply, don’t treat your disabled characters as either “inspirations” for the ease of that trope or as “victims” for a similar reason. Not all blind people are nice, kind, responsible, brilliant, or beautiful. And certainly not all of us are brave beyond measure. We CAN be those things, and I’ll never deny that side of the coin either. I’m moved by the bravery of Helen Keller, but I remember also that she had unpopular political views and that she was, supposedly, a brat as a child.
If you want to learn more about disabled characters, seek out books where they are the hero or heroine. Here are some of mine:
Wanderer’s Rest/Wanderer’s Haven: A duet about a hawk shifter who has prosthetic legs and has to use a wheelchair when one of his legs is crushed by a car. Wanderer’s Rest
Hunter’s Claim, A Very (Psychic) Christmas, My Two Front Fangs: These three novels star my first-ever disabled werewolf, Charlie McLaughlin. He’s visually impaired and is a great role model for anyone going through hard times. Not because he’s disabled…but not ignoring his impairment either.
Hunter’s Claim
A Very (Psychic) Vampire Christmas
My Two Front Fangs

Heartwood 1-3: Coming out in 2020, the gay contemporary romance about a sheltered nineteen year old and the world-wise, and slightly jaded, nineteen-year-old blind guy who loves him. Aidan grew up away from home, at a school for the blind. When he’s forced to come home and finish his schooling there, he learns all sorts of secrets about the hometown in which he was born and never lived.

Posted in Blog

Blog Request: Wire (Dixie Reapers MC)

WIRE (Dixie Reapers MC) by Harley Wylde
Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Genres/Themes: MC Romance, Erotic Romance, New Adult, Interracial/Multicultural, Suspense

Lavender: My parents weren’t the type to win any awards, but I did learn a few things. Like how to read lines of code and get through the backdoor of pretty much any site or program. I also learned about the man my mother had dated when she’d met my dad, someone who has intrigued me for years. I never thought I’d get the chance to meet him, until my parents end up dead and I can’t think of anyone else who might be able to help. I know too much, know my parents’ deaths weren’t an accident, and now I’ve been targeted. If the infamous Voodoo Tracer can’t help me, then I’m screwed.
Reality is so much better than fantasy, and with one look, I know the reason I haven’t dated is because I was waiting. For him.
Wire: I never really expected my past to come knocking at the front gates, nor did I expect it to be in such a sexy package. Lavender isn’t what I’d call a siren, but with her glasses perched on her nose, her messy hair, curvy figure, and adorable tees, she’s exactly what I want and don’t need. A nerdy, geeky, super-intelligent woman who craves me as much as I crave her. So I did what any man would do… I claimed her. Now she’s mine, and if an enemy from my past thinks he can hurt her, I’d like to see him try. He might have killed her parents, but I will destroy anyone who tries to take her from me.

Get it at Changeling Press

SNEAK PEEK
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Harley Wylde

Lavender
The infamous hacker, or more accurately cracker, Voodoo Tracer, hadn’t been all that hard to find. My mother had always said if anything happened to her I should track down the guy she’d dated before marrying my dad. I’d heard the story a million times, about how they’d all been friends but she’d fallen for Dad and hurt the guy she’d been dating. He’d left and never returned. Mom had lost track of him, but it hadn’t take much digging for me to find his current location, which told me he wasn’t really hiding. A guy like him didn’t leave a door open unless he wanted someone to use it.
While my mom and dad were hackers and worked for a lot of companies, trying to find the weak spots in their security so the companies could improve them, men like Voodoo Tracer took advantage of those weak spots to get whatever information they wanted. Mom had never approved of Voodoo’s need to crack government and banking sites. From what she’d said, back then, he never took anything vital. He’d mostly done it because he could. I couldn’t say for certain what he’d been up to lately.
I didn’t really walk either path, but tended to dabble a bit in both. Like the infamous Voodoo, I mostly liked to see how far I could get somewhere I shouldn’t be. If I were as nice as my mom and dad, I’d then turn that information over to the companies so they could keep other people out. Then again, they weren’t exactly paying me for my help, so why give it? I wasn’t an angel by any means, but I wasn’t precisely a devil either. I operated in those murky shades of gray.
I’d known how easy it would be for some to trace my phone, or the built-in GPS on my car, so I’d left both behind. The bus hadn’t been the most comfortable option to ride to Alabama, and I’d paid cash so there wouldn’t be a credit card trail, but now that I was here, I had to wonder if I’d made a huge mistake. The walk to the Dixie Reapers compound wasn’t that far, but the place seemed a bit imposing as I approached the gates. I’d walked what felt like miles of fenceline, although that was surely not the case. Razor wire topped it, and I had to wonder just what they were trying to keep out. Or was it more what they wanted to keep in?
The guy standing guard didn’t seem much older than me, and I noticed the way he scanned me from head to toe. I probably wasn’t the type of woman who typically came to this sort of place. My Converse were well-worn, my jeans ripped along my thighs and knees, and I had on my favorite Dark Crystal T-shirt, which had faded over time. I hadn’t thought much about my appearance and had tossed my hair up in a messy bun. With my thick-lensed glasses perched on my nose, I probably looked like I should be in school right now. If it weren’t for my curves, I’d never pass for my real age.
“You must be lost,” the man said, then pointed back behind me. “Town is back that way.”
“I’m not lost.” I hitched my bag higher on my shoulder. “I’m here to see Voodoo Tracer.”
The man stared and rubbed at the stubble on his chin. “No one here by that name. So I think you really are lost.”
My brow furrowed. I’d assumed his club would know him by that name. From what little research I’d managed before taking this trip, I’d learned that some clubs preferred to use a road name and kept their real names private. If Voodoo followed that belief, this guy may not know his birth name. It was foolish to think whatever the club called him would be the same name he went by when he was cracking codes.
“Hang on. I have a picture, but it’s really old.” I slid the strap off my shoulder and dug in my backpack. I withdrew the picture of Voodoo with my mom, Seraph, and my dad, Doc Paradox. I’d stared at this picture a lot over the years. I’d found it shoved into a box in the top of Mom’s closet a while back. The ginger-haired young man had drawn my attention. He couldn’t have been older than sixteen or seventeen at the time it was taken, but even back then he’d been more than just cute. I knew he’d be my parents’ age now, but I’d often wished I could meet a guy like him.
Showing the picture to the guy, his eyes went wide.
“Holy shit, is that Wire?” he asked.
“Um. Maybe. I don’t know his club name. I only know his hacker name.”
The man nodded. “That would be Wire, then. I’ll have to call him down here. I’m not letting you in uninvited. You don’t exactly look like the type to party at the clubhouse.”
If that was code for sleep with random men, then no, I wasn’t. Not even a little. I took a step back as he made his call and took the time to check out the place behind the fence. There was a building with Dixie Reapers across the top in neon letters, and a lot of houses down either side of the road. As I strained to get a better look, I thought I saw a playground, but that was ridiculous. What type of biker compound had a playground? The fatigue must be getting to me. It seemed I was now hallucinating.
“He asked who else is in the picture,” the guy said.
“Tell him Seraph and Doc Paradox.” I swallowed hard. “They were my parents.”
He relayed the information, and I hoped that Wire would come and hear me out. If things had really ended as badly as my mom had said, then he might refuse to see me. She’d not gone into a lot of detail, just said she’d picked my dad over Voodoo. Knowing my mother, there was a good chance she’d omitted part of the story. Coming here was a gamble I’d been willing to take. Whatever Mom and Dad had been into, it had gotten them killed. Thanks to me nosing around, I now worried that I might meet the same fate. I didn’t know anything about the man Wire was now, but the kid who had grown up with my parents had been the type to help those in need, even if he hadn’t done it the legal way. I was counting on that still being true.
The rumble of a motorcycle started out faint and then got louder. I saw a rider with copper-colored hair approaching from down the road and as he came to a stop on the other side of the gate, my heart flipped, flopped, then took off at a gallop. Holy hell! Mom had thrown over this guy for my dad? What the hell had she been thinking? He didn’t even remotely look like a hacker. Nor was he the gangly teen from the photo I’d brought. Yeah, he’d been handsome back then, but now? Shit. I was almost certain my panties were getting wet just looking at him. His heather gray tee stretched tight across his broad chest, and the leather cut just added to the sex appeal. The denim hugging his thighs was as worn as mine, with a few well-placed holes, and did nothing to hide how muscular he was, especially for a geeky computer nerd.
Definitely nothing like my dad. I’d loved my father, but time hadn’t been kind to him. He’d had lines around his eyes, and what my mother fondly called his spare tired around the middle, from long days and nights at the computer. This guy didn’t have that problem. Hell, he didn’t even look my parents’ age.
Wire swung a leg over his bike and came closer, removing the sunglasses that had shielded his eyes from me. Green, and so damn pretty. It was a sin for a man to have eyelashes that long and thick. Dammit. My nipples were getting stiff. I swallowed hard, wondering why my body was betraying me. I’d never had a physical response to a guy, even when I thought they were hot. Until now. The beard covering his jaw made my fingers itch to reach out and touch it. Would it be coarse or soft? I’d always had a weak spot for gingers, and he had to be the sexiest one I’d ever seen.

Also available at online retailers:

Amazon / iBooks / B&N / Kobo

About Harley…
Short. Erotic. Sweet.
Harley’s other half would probably say those words describe her, but they also describe her books. When Harley is writing, her motto is the hotter the better. Off the charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can follow Harley on Amazon, Twitter, or Facebook. Get New Release notifications (for US readers) by following Harley on BookBub!

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Jewish Water Dragon

😘😘Giveaway📚📚

Dragon in Training 2: The story of a gay Jewish water dragon and how he copes with going home for Yom Kippur.

Running until Yom Kippur, which, this year, falls on October 9th:

Leave a comment about what kind of dragon you would be: water, land, or ice or…

Or all three. Winner will be drawn on Yom Kippur.

Join my newsletter by PMing me.

Posted in Blog

Do Your Research

Through our novels, we are fighting inequality every day at searchlight:

Prisoners set free: Dragon in Training series

LGBTQ rights: A Pack of His Own series

Escape and follow destiny: Three Brothers Fair series

Racial equality is fought against in every single SearchLight book; especially Chinese Morning, Midnight Sons, and Lady Troubles 1-3

Posted in Blog

Trans…?

What makes someone transgender?

According to several of my transgender friends, what makes you transgender is feeling like you are in the wrong skin. Surgery is not required. Hormones are not required. Body dysphoria is not required although often suffered by transgender people. What is required is to feel like you were in the wrong body gender wise.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Posted in Blog

Fun Times with Microsoft Help

ID ten T error
Pebcac Trouble
Picnic Problem

Don’t these all sound like serious computer issues? They aren’t. The first one means the letters I, D, I, O, T.

The second one means problem exists between chair and computer.

The third one? Problem in chair, not in computer.

Today I had all three of these problems. Here’s the basic situation: I called Microsoft answer desk for help with my Outlook account. We, the agent on the phone and I, discussed the fact that my messages were not showing up. My most recent message was from, apparently, July. After an hour of trying this, that, and the other thing, including trying different passwords, we both discovered, simultaneously, that my inbox was set up to list the sender by alphabetical order rather than by date. It took us an entire hour to figure this out. Talk about an idiot error!

This problem aside, the next two books in my Lady Troubles series will be arriving in October and November. Please check them out at changeling press! The computer shall not defeat me!

Posted in Blog

What kind of Music do you listen to?

What kind of music do you listen to?
When I’m writing, I listen to a narrow number of artists, ones that I know will get my creative juices flowing. My current favorites are Disney (movie soundtracks), Carrie Underwood (specific songs like “Before He Cheats”), and the Carpenters.

Before He Cheats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAFvlknsT4U