The Bargain by Jess Mahler is now available!

We are happy to announce that The Bargain by Jess Mahler is now available!

The Bargain

the bargain cover

It was supposed to be a straightforward sacrifice. After their mother was killed by Lord Oeloff, Mattin swore to do anything to protect his sister. When the fae lord came for her, Mattin traded his life and freedom to Oeloff’s enemy for the promise of his sister’s safety. He thought he was prepared for anything. Anything except what he actually found…

It was supposed to be a political gambit. Struggling against Oeloff’s latest ploy, Jahlene found an unforeseen opening in the arrival of the bitter Mattin. Bringing the stranger into her household was a risk. Trusting him was a bigger one. To protect her family, Jahlene bargained with him. She never guessed how it would end…

Sometimes, what starts as a bargain, becomes something more.

The Bargain is a #fantasy thriller exploring themes of family, betrayal, trauma, and sacrifice. It is an “own voices” book for polyamory, kink, and PTSD.

 

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The Bargain by Jess Mahler – Cover Reveal

It is now 2018 and we’re only 10 days away from the release of The Bargain by Jess Mahler. Read below to learn more about Jess Mahler, The Bargain and receive the first look at the cover.

First off, here’s the cover!

The Bargain Cover

 

the bargain cover
                                                                   The Bargain – Summary

The Bargain, by Jess Mahler, is a fantasy thriller set in a world where fae, powered by pain-fed magic, rule over the humans they once conquered.

For Mattin, it was a straightforward sacrifice to save his sister. For Countess Jahlene, another political gambit to protect her family. For both of them, it became something they never expected.

The Bargain was previously released as Glamourhai, this is an updated and enhanced edition. There is a sample of The Bargain available now. Click here for more information.

Jess Mahler – Author Bio

As a child, Jess was taken from her family and turned into a marionette. Bluff, stubbornness, and Valdemar enabled her to survive long enough to eventually cut her strings and, like Pinocchio, set out into the world to discover what it meant to be human.

She discovered her family, polyamory, and eventually herself. Part of discovering herself was discovering that she had within her the wellsprings of fantasy that had once helped her survive. So she started writing. And soon her life filled with fae, werewolves, and TVtropes.

In the middle of inventing parallel worlds and fantastical beasts, she lost her family again, joined a polyam quad, watched it disintegrate around her ears, spent some time networking, fell in love with and subdued a disabled demon, partly raised four children, and wrote a surprisingly popular essay on the value of gold toe-socks in polyam relationships.

Surprise!

We have another treat for you; Jess’ short story titled His Innocent Victim is free for the next two weeks. His Innocent Victim is set 500 years before The Bargain and starts the story of Falthro and Dannel. Falthro is also a character in The Bargain. However, like some characters, he didn’t like his relatively small role and insisted on having his own story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Call for Tumblr-Twist Submissions

fantasy short story call for submissions
Only the Chosen of the gods can stop the invaders

The deadline for our Tumblr-Twist anthology is Dec 15th, aka one week from today!

If you have a story that puts a “twist” on a common fantasy trope, we’d love to see it.

A note for spoonie authors: if you are a couple days behind completing your submission, you can send us your unfinished submission on the 15th with a note about why you couldn’t meet deadline.  If we like what we see we’ll let you know and help you get your manuscript cleaned up and ready for publication.

More info here.

An Autistic Parent’s Reaction to To Siri: Impact > Intent

If you aren’t part of the autistic community online, you probably missed the many discussions over the past week about the autistic mommy memoir “To Siri with Love.” Discussions which spawned the hashtag #BoycottToSiri

Other people have done a great job breaking down the many, many problems with this book. Kaelan Rhywiol’s Storify of her live tweeting while reading the book is the most detailed break down I’ve found, but prepare to be highly disturbed and possibly triggered. Here’s a review of how this book came to explode on autistic twitter. You can check out #BoycottToSiri for more discussion and info.

But that’s not what I want to talk about. Not really. I want to talk not about why the book itself is bad, but about why it’s not “just” a book.

Defenders of the Indefensible

It’s not the book itself that really disturbed me. It’s the number of people defending it. The number of people who read it and gave it 5 stars as a loving account of being an autistic mommy and how they “don’t feel alone anymore.” It’s the realization that this isn’t just one woman being a horrible person, but thousands, perhaps millions, of allistic (ie, not autistic) people who think of autistic people this way.

Now I’m lucky. I can, most of the time, pass as neurotypical. Lately, I have been increasingly unwilling to pass, because it comes at a high cost to me. I am no longer willing to pay that cost for the comfort and convenience of other people. Still, most of the time, if I need to, I can.

But not everyone can. In fact, I have reason to believe that not all my kids will be able to. And this is the world I am sending them out into. A world full of people who question their ability to think. Their ability to have empathy. Their ability to have relationships and jobs. That people will treat them not as people but as inconveniences and robots. At best as pets who maybe likable and sweet but you can’t trust them to take care of themselves and not pee on the carpet.

There are several funny stories of being autistic in public that my family tells. But those stories… they aren’t very funny right now. See, the funny thing about them has always been neurotypical’s reactions to us. And now I’m wondering… who do I know, who do I interact with regularly, thinks this way? Who thinks being autistic makes me and people in my family unfit parents? Who questions if we can think. Who might see me one day, non-verbal and pounding a table in frustration, and instead of giving me space and offering help, calls 911 because I’m obviously “low functioning” and shouldn’t be allowed out on my own? (90% of the time “low functioning” means “can’t pass as neurotypical. The other 10% it means “we don’t want to bother giving the accommodation you’d need to function in society”.)

That’s one of the “funniest” things about the defenders of this book. They insist that those of us critiquing it and criticizing it have no idea what it is like to be “low functioning” based on the words we share online. It never occurs to them that if they met us in person, they’d think we are “low functioning” too.

But it occurs to me. And it scares me.

Impact > Intent

This book isn’t just a memoir sharing one (abusive, narcissistic, disgusting) person’s experience and views. It is actively harmful to autistic people. It tells that we are are not safe among allistics, that we have no place in your world unless we can pretend to be like you. it increases anxiety contributes to depression, and triggers PTSD from past run-ins with autism mommies. And makes the world we live in–not really your world, but OUR world less accessible to us, with every person who reads it and thinks it tells the truth of our existence.

This book, and others like it, are why we say #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs.

#BoycottToSiri

(And if you parent to an autistic kid, here’s something much better for you to read.)

This is a personal piece by Jess Mahler. The rest of Cuil Press firmly supports and endorses the opinions and position shared here.

Jess Mahler is Supporting Autistic Women’s Network

As part of the Paying Forward Program, Jess Mahler has chosen to donate 10% of her royalties from The Bargain to the Autism Women’s Network.

Cuil Press will match her donation with 10% of our net profits from book sales also going to AWN.

Autism Women’s Network

Autism Women’s Network is a non-profit organization offering support and resources to autistic women, autistic people who at anytime identified as women, and non-binary autists.

Learn more about them here.

The Bargain

The Bargain is a fantasy thriller set in an original world. It explores themes of family, sacrifice, identity, and trauma recovery.

What would you sacrifice to save someone you love?

 

Introducing #PitMasto: for Authors, Agents, and Publishers

Inspired by #pitmad, the awesome creation of Brenda Drake, we asked folks on Mastodon last week if they’d be interested in a Mastodon version of PitMad. We called it #PitMasto and were pleasantly surprised by the response.

So we’re gonna run with it. And as the people who created it, we get to lay out the ground rules. 😉

What is #PitMasto

#PitMasto is a one-day event for authors to share pitches for their finished manuscripts. You know how it’s bad form to go on social media and say “I’ve this awesome manuscript, here’s the pitch, please represent/publish me!” Well, #PitMasto is the day authors are supposed to do exactly that.  Agents and publishers who are looking to pick up a new author will follow the #PitMasto hashtag and reply or favourite pitches they like.

Now, most of the response we’ve gotten so far has been from authors who are interested in doing a #PitMasto. Mastodon is still a small-ish social media and we don’t know how many agents or publishers will be taking part. It might be just us or it might be a couple dozen folks.

When and Where

The innaugural #PitMasto will run January 15th starting at 12:01 am -500 Greenwhich (aka, US eastern time) and run for 24 hours.

It’ll take place on the Fediverse. We’re based in wandering.shop but we hope to be able to reach enough folks in other instances to have people from a large chuck of the Fediverse taking part.

Recommended Pitch Style

Part of the point of #PitMad is for authors to have a chance to practice their “elevator pitch.” The elevator pitch, for anyone unfamiliar, is the pitch you make for when you end up in an elevate with the agent or publisher of your dreams and only have until the doors open to convince them to look at your book.

While you are unlikely to ever ACTUALLY be in an elevator with the agent or publisher of your dreams, you may meet them at a convention, get into a discussion on social media, etc. And if you do, you’ll have a few seconds to grab their attention before they are off doing other things. (You’re one of a hundred authors whose tried to grab their attention today, they’ve got a short attention space. Don’t waste it!)

So in the spirit of the elevator pitch, we recommend keeping your pitch under 250 characters.

Make sure you tag your boost with #pitmasto and the age range  and genre(s).

Age Range:

#PB = Picture Book
#C = Children’s
#CB = Chapter Book
#CL = Children’s Lit
#MG = Middle Grade
#YA = Young Adult
#NA = New Adult
#A = Adult

Genres:

#action
#contemporary
#erotica
#fantasy
#horror
#mystery
#romance
#sf

Other tags worth using:

#ChristianFiction
#diversity
#LGBT
#ownvoices (remember to specify what it is #ownvoices for)
#POC

On Running a Business While Spoony

Folks who’ve been following us for a while will have noticed that we have periods where we go silent for a while. Our Twitter account is unattended, Facebook is silent, and the blog just stalls out. We haven’t gone quiet on Mastodon yet, but sooner or later it’ll happen.

This is part of the hazard of running a business while spoony. Sometimes we don’t have the spoons for everything that needs doing. And that doesn’t just apply to social media.

We plan for this. We add a buffer zone when we are setting schedules and deadlines. We plan for tasks to take longer than we really expect them to. We prioritize tasks so that stuff we absolutely need to get done, gets done first.

To anyone who is used to “regular” businesses, our way of doing things is confusing and “unprofessional.” But–and it’s a big “but”–at least so far, it’s worked.

We’ve met our deadlines or found ways to work around them as needed. We ran a reasonably successful crowdfunding campaign, we made our deadline on the thunderclap for the crowdfunding campaign, we made deadline on editing and designing The Bargain in time to get it out to reviewers.

And we did it without sacrificing anything in quality of the work we were doing.

Running a business while spoony is hard. But by working with our spooniness, instead of against it, we’ve managed.

So sometimes you won’t see us around for a while. Sometimes we’ve had to prioritize something behind the scenes so the blog and social media will dry up for a while.

But we’re always here. Always doing what we can. Always making sure the books get made and sent out to reviewers and the authors are in the loop and everything that needs to happen so that you get more awesome books.

If you are a spoony author whose worried about working under deadline–we understand, and we’re happy to work with you.

If you are spoony and thinking of starting a business–you can do it! It’s hard, but it’s worth it. Start with learning everything you can about running a business, hit up the SBA, talk to your local chamber of commerce. And find partners you can trust.

Welcome Destiny to Cuil Press!

The Cuil Press team is pleased to welcome Destiny as our newest partner.

Destiny is new to publishing but has experience with social media, video editing, and is also a writer. She’ll be handling much of our social media and online interactions going forward, leaving the rest of us more spoons to dealing with actual book stuff.

We also hope to put her video editing experience to work on video trailers for new releases.

In addition to the work she’ll be doing with Cuil Press, Destiny does her own video production work, including a series of awesome song covers on youtube.

Check out her later cover: