Healthy vs Unhealthy Distractions

Alright – I think I hate Twitter.

Well – let me clarify: I think I hate Twitter for any discussion which requires serious thought or consideration.

The issue with discussing serious topics in a format of only 280 characters lies not only in the lack of obvious ability to say much in 280 characters, particularly on social issues which are complex and multifaceted – the easy shit like “Hey, let’s be less racist”, like that works – but also in too much sharing of individual experiences, too much skewing of individual experiences to fit generalized world views, and not. enough. context. ever.

Like so much lack of context. No wonder everybody’s so angry / anxious all the time, you get to hear just the good, the bad, and the ugly – and most of it’s ugly.

I do however enjoy the jokes, the random thoughts (thoughts – not opinions), and the ideas. These things fit well in a 280 character format, and often require little to no real context because they’re just there, you throw them out and see if they fall flat or not. Like pasta on a wall.

Therefore while I told myself this in the beginning – I’m new to social media, honestly, and obviously I’ve mucked it up my first go and hey let’s be real I may muck it up a few more times – moving forward when I feel the need to Tweet I will try to ask myself the three queries above: Is it a joke? Is it a random thought and NOT an opinion (i.e. does it start with the words, “I wonder” or “I believe” or “Sometimes” or “Maybe”, engendering the idea I am not sure/knowing but am pondering only), and lastly is it an idea.

Now, I won’t say whether it needs to be a good idea, bad idea, dangerous idea, or stupid idea – that’s subjective thinking right there. Just any idea, really.

Also – I must watch myself on these points particularly when REPLYING to things because knee-jerk reactions are painful and only add fuel to the fire which is our globally-warmed collective social conscious.

…maybe I’ll only check Twitter on days that start with a T.

I Published A Thing!

“Harper, you’re so silly – why are you excited about self publishing? Any idiot can do it these days!”

“Wait, really? Any idiot thinks their work is sufficiently strong enough to stand amongst others in a crazy world where people will rip you to shreds just for voicing a different opinion? Because in my world that still takes considerable guts.”

“…Harper, honey, I think you may have some issues. How is that therapy coming along?”

HEY FOLKS!! I PUBLISHED A BOOK!!

Not just any book – the hardest type of book to publish because it involves SEX!! – a smutty, heartfelt romance novel!!! Yay!!!

And if you’re the type to scoff at romance novels as pornography for women well…okay, you make a fair point there, BUT shame on you for thinking pornography has no place in our world!

Sex is healthy. Sex is love. Sex is a simple act of bonding and intimacy and many people forget that in a world where sex is splashed here and there like so much eye candy to entice the masses to watch the next big screen hit.

Hence my humble little attempt to re-think sex in a positive light – as so many other romance novelists do every single day – should not only be applauded I think but celebrated. For how difficult must it be to keep such romantic notions in such an utterly dark, depressing world?

If anyone is interested in reading some heartfelt smut here are the obligatory links to my books / if you can’t afford it (or simply don’t trust that it’s not a waste of your time or money) message me! I can send you a free epub file that should hopefully work on your reader device. Then all I would ask in return is an honest review – since these apparently do actually help little books get out there in the world.

Here’s the non evil non Amazon link: https://books2read.com/u/baZ6o8

Here’s the obligatory Amazon link (no KU though, sorry folks): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09263DLQ9

I won’t repost the book description as you can read it there. I also won’t force anybody to read something they don’t find interesting – if you don’t find something interesting enough to read then that likely means it’s not what you’re meant to read right now. Maybe you’ll find it interesting another day.

Thanks all for reading another silly Harper post! We’ll get back to poetry ~and~ free short romantic stories soon!

Harper Tries Twitter

*Grumbling* I have always hated social media. Then I realized that’s not actually anything new – I’m an introvert. I’ve always hated socializing, and this is just the new way of going about it.

Then I reminded myself that I forced myself to learn to socialize long ago by recognizing I do in fact need friends. Not everyone, though – just the people who love or at least respect me in return.

Right now I have a book and the lovely folks at draft2digital (shameless plug! they’re awesome!) reminded me gently that it is OK to self promote your book if you love it. If everyone hates it and it doesn’t sell, that’s fine – but there may be people who DO love it, and you just need to find those people. Rather like making friends all over again.

I guess the scary thing there is putting yourself out there – this book is my heart. My honest-to-god thoughts and feelings. What if people say what I think/feel are wrong? Because that could shatter my entire being.

Then I realized that no, it wouldn’t. I am publishing this book now – after thirty years of living – because this is the truth that I have forged throughout my life. It is the culmination of my experiences, my observations, and my lens – all of which may be impacted but are not wrong. We are all products of our world, and the important thing sometimes is making sure that each viewpoint, each experience, is valid and recognized. Because we each navigate the world differently, and sometimes maybe we can learn from each other that way.

I’m not out pushing some radical new form of feminism, or trying to tip gender roles/relations on their heads, or arguing that romance is evil (it’s not! I don’t think that way at all!) – I just wrote my own romance novel because I recognized that for me the lessons I learned about love I couldn’t find in the books I was reading. And people may argue those lessons WERE out there I was just too blind/dumb to see them in the ever growing sea of smut on Amazon.

But if that’s the case – what if other fools like me are also too blind/dumb to see? Maybe my book is necessary, because maybe it could reach those other lovesick fools and help them better navigate their worlds too.

(and maybe it’s also necessary to stop publishing crap on Amazon – hence the beauty of draft2digital shameless plug #2)

So I am trying Twitter but to use this medium of only 280 characters I’ve realized rather than shamelessly plug or poetically wax on as I do here, I need to distill my words down to the bare truth. There is actually something quite beautiful about that, really – but it is a skill I’ve not often worked on, and perhaps I honestly need to.

Here then is my fledging Twitter account – and I would encourage my fellow bloggers here if they’ve also felt apprehensive about social media to maybe think of it in terms of actual artistic media. When do you need a paintbrush? When do you need a pencil? When do you need clay? Each of us express ourselves in different ways, and each media type provides a different strength/outlet for those ways of expression. Maybe if you can’t draw, you write – and if you write, then maybe you should practice not only thoughtful, beautiful prose and poetry, but also short, clipped, 280 word truths too?

Misfitting

<sigh> Ok, so in addition to the sorting problem I mentioned in my previous post (I gave up and just went F/M/M) now I have ANOTHER issue of fit: my book is not a romantic comedy.

It has humor, yes. It is a parody, yes. It encourages self-deprecation and even includes thought-provoking discussion questions at the end of the book to talk about common romance tropes and how they might reflect our views on gender and the world.

Yet now that I read that last sentence, I guess I didn’t write romantic comedy after all? I wrote…um…humorously philosophical/self-reflective smut?

But there’s still sex in it, which apparently baffles folks because you can’t have sweet romance, pornographic scenes, humorous dialogue, AND self-deprecating self reflection of a silly genre all in one book. That’s not romance.

Right. So what did I write? I’d set myself up thinking “Yeah! I can finally admit I love romance novels and pursue my passions! Chart my course! Express myself!” I finished my book, thought I liked its message, and figured out how to self publish it. Then I started my romantic-minded blog, where I could also stow my ever-growing collection of lovesick poetry. I thought I had embraced romance, but now I see apparently I was only making fun of it and not embracing it at all.

Well, I suppose I’ll just have to self-reflect some more then. Gosh, if I had known romance were this hard I might have stuck to philosophy or something (is there sex in philosophy? I do kind of still want the sex).

Anyway – if you are reading this blog purely for the poetry fret not, you may always have it as I enjoy writing it and will continue to post it until I run out of inspiration to do so. I will not foist my silly, self-deprecating, philosophical smut upon your poor romantic souls, I promise.

Just don’t click the “Harper’s Works” button – I may have hit the nose on my book cover too much.

Sorting Dilemmas

Alright, I used to think labels were too restrictive and it was best to be simplistic, but now I’m trying to figure out whether or not I’ve sorted my own book right and honestly? No clue.

My heart wanted to sort it as F/M/M because I saw the book as one where the “fem” takes the lead. Period. Because I believe we don’t allow fem’s to take the lead as often so I felt that’s where I wanted it to go.

The problem I’m noticing with the sorting of romance in general though is we’re still associating these “F” & “M” letters with anatomy, I think. Because when I check out F/M/M book listings I always seem to end up in Lesbian Land – and while I love my Sapphic sisters and desperately wish to support them, that’s just not my thing. I like girls that peg boys, and I like boys that lean fem. That’s kinda just my jam? But everyone seems to think this is wrong in some way or that if a woman pegs a man it must file under “femdom” because obviously it’s a kink for her and not just making love (I would disagree but I respect femdoms as providing a needed service to the world, I just don’t feel my pegging scenes qualify).

I also read some discourse stating that a woman who “tops” (or “doms”, as apparently this is the only option for a cisgender woman pegging a cisgender male) threatens to cross the line of being too “mothering” if the man isn’t crazy for her in return? I feel like if you’re “topping” anyone who isn’t interested in you, you’re more in danger of crossing the line of “rape”? That is not the purpose of the BDSM community I know, either. These people are professionals – they get consent right.

So not quite sure where this mothering bit comes into play. Also it feels like the whole dom/sub relationship already has elements of caretaking that could easily seem odd. I mean, if there are “Daddies” in sex roleplay, but no one runs around screaming “pedophile” at them, are Sugar Mama’s really not a thing? Has no one met cougars?

Furthermore I honestly don’t think you have to peg/penetrate to top (*gasp* I know, I’m truly, truly twisted and sick) – I think by definition a “top” is the person focused on “giving” during the act of sex. They are the one ensuring their partner is taken care of, since honestly speaking achieving mutual orgasm at the same time is no easy feat. The “bottom” is then the one being taken care of, so that they can find release and let go of their tension/stress. If we’re presuming that in Straight Land the position of “top” is always the man…then why do so many straight women fail to achieve orgasm? Are we truly teaching men to “top” or are we telling them they’re “top” and allowing them to just take all the pleasure for themselves? That feels wrong to me, especially when I know many men are gentle lovers who honestly wish to give their lady pleasure they just need more direction as to how to do so (and many women simply need to learn how to give said directions a bit better, perhaps).

So I will continue to sort my book in F/M/M for now. Others may challenge me, or maybe it will not find the best audience, but until we can figure out this whole lettering system maybe we should all pause and figure out whether we really require souls/energy or anatomy for our romantic endeavors?

Who is Harper Daily?

Excellent question – I’m still asking that myself!

A long time ago on a little website called OkCupid I met a boy. Not just any boy, however – a beautiful, thoughtful, considerate, giggling boy who when asked admitted he had no interest in my lovely d├ęcolletage but instead felt attracted by my personality – like really? Who says that?

After a few months we moved in together and spent a blissful year in absolute hell.

We shared a small apartment too tiny for our tempers (and my cats) in a rough neighborhood where the sounds of mugging could be heard as we opened the window for natural A/C at night. Both of us struggled to work/find work and make ends meet. We felt awful, we fought, and for one dreadful moment I thought, “This might be the end.”

Then this brilliant, sensitive, kind soul marched back into the room and asked, “I love you. How do we make this work?”

(again – where do these words come from?)

We sat, worked it out, and decided the problems in our lives had nothing to do with each other and everything to do with the shitty city we lived in. After venting our frustrations we hatched a plot to move far, far away to someplace less crowded that allowed dogs (cats are overrated, I have been told – especially for apartment living).

The rest, as they say, is history. We found jobs, worked those for awhile, adopted our first dog together, eventually managed to settle into our own home, and after five years of realizing this quiet soul had no intention of pushing my own stupid fear of commitment too far I made a decision.

I proposed. At our favorite bar. Over a board game. Like a boss.

We wed in a fabulous, low budget affair that barely anyone attended and have lived mostly happily ever after.

Except now I struggle with my deep, exponentially growing love for this man who continues to surprise and delight me every day of our lives. I can’t possibly show him how desperately I adore him, because that might scare him away – and I now realize he is my soulmate I cannot possibly live without.

Hence I started writing – poems, love notes, whimsical conversations, and eventually three full romance novels which I decided to publish in the hopes maybe some other lovesick fool might find them and feel inspired.

For I find romance very inspiring. It reminds me each day what I have to be grateful for – and it soothes me when the rest of the world may drive me mad.

Books & Bottomless Pits

As a new author I was directed towards this website: https://www.goodreads.com/

I honestly hadn’t heard of it before (again, not the most tech savvy girl) however it intrigued me – hordes of books on shelves? Displayed like badges of honor amongst fellow bookworms? Ooooh, that sounds delightful.

However it has honestly been so long for me since I sat down and really thought about what books I’ve read that I wasn’t sure what to do about it. As an author I realized that book reviews give one a sense of accomplishment like little love notes from fans. Yet it had been ages since I had read most of my favorite titles, and I had SO MANY – what to do?

So I sticky-noted my way through it.

Bit lazy of me, I’ll admit. But I tried. You’ll notice if you review my shelves (which I am still playing with the sorting of, sorting is very fun) I’ve jotted down a few thoughts/feelings here and there as best I can while still trying to manage the large horde of books which likely represent only a tiny fraction of things I have actually read.

Anyway – shameless plug time, if you go check out the site please do remember to leave your favorite author’s little love notes. Writing can be a lonely business with no water cooler or break room to chat with folks and hence sometimes this may be the only interaction a poor scribe ever gets.