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Issue #5: Spotlight on Bryn_the_valk & New books

Shane Blackheart - news & blog updates
Creator spotlight: Bryn_the_valk
Twitch
Bryn_the_valk's Twitch channel
Bryn_the_valk's Twitch channel
Bryn is a gamer and streamer who touches upon some deep and interesting real-world topics in her streams. Not only does she play awesome games like Skyrim and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, she’s created a community on Discord, TRAN, where she supports the trans community. On the server, there are regular checkups to make sure everyone is eating, drinking water, and generally doing okay (which Bryn has also done for me when I make my low-mood Twitter rants), and there are others in the community willing to help younger trans people with homework, as well as be a bit of light for those who live in unaccepting homes. It’s sadly common for trans people of all ages to be rejected by their families, so this kind of community will save lives.
Bryn_the_valk also has a YouTube channel you can find here:
Brynhildre Underwood
Bryn is doing great things for the community, so follow the links and show her some support. She’s truly selfless and kind, and I hope she reaches her dreams when it comes to streaming and future goals ♥
New Wattpad books
I’ve been going back and forth on what to write, how to write it, and what to do with it for years. Not much luck has come in the way of grabbing an agent, but neither have I had much luck understanding the querying process — regardless of the research I’ve done and the help I’ve gotten. It’s just not friendly to an autistic mind like mine, so I’ve decided to go the route so many of my writing friends have.
I’m considering self-publishing later this year, which gives me much more freedom on what I can do with my books, and where I put them in the meantime to get early feedback.
I’ve been on and off Wattpad for years, but as of last year, I’ve posted one or two things. Then I took them down. And now, I’m posting again, but only because I feel I’m finally tapping into what I truly want to do and not what the industry wants.
Free to read
I write books with transgender and queer characters, and often, they are dark, gritty, and cover mental health topics with brutal honesty.
There’s a pattern with agents and the industry only taking on what feels safe or what’s easily sold. It’s a business, so it’s about what will bring in the money, and books by disabled, transgender, and other marginalized people who tell their own stories honestly won’t sell well, according to the things I’ve seen on social media. At least, where adult literature is concerned. There was a young adult boom for a while that I just couldn’t relate to, and many marginalized writers who wrote stories for adults were struggling to get seen.
There’s been a huge problem, especially, with disabled people getting their stories published that contain disabled characters who aren’t inspiration porn, and that needs to change. Marginalized people should not have to be an inspirational story just to be read.
I don’t sugarcoat subjects like mental illness and trauma, nor do I write that popular inspirational narrative. I show, unashamedly, the darkest parts of the human psyche even in the most well-meaning and good characters. I also redeem my villains and show their human side, even if they aren’t human to begin with.
Instead of the hero being quirky and fumbling through a miraculous defeat of the evil villain, I don’t write heroes. I write people just being people, and sometimes, bad shit happens. Some people become better from it, and some go in the other direction, but they can be steered back. Anyone can change.
So, it’s time to go my own way and hope for the best.
One way I’m doing that, at least for beta readers, is posting my books to Wattpad. There are a few I’m still hanging onto as my special little secrets, but those may end up there too for early feedback. There is a significant difference in what’s on there now, though, compared to when I was heavily censoring myself before.
My books are darker and no longer shy away from sex scenes, sometimes involving kink without sex being a goal. I don’t shy away from certain words, and I don’t censor myself when talking about real-world mental health issues. That includes some pretty tough subjects like self-harm and suicide, which I have covered before, but it was always mentioned in passing. There are too many stories that mention it as a passing subject, or skirt around it as, in a few of my trigger warnings, ‘mentions of past [insert thing].’ (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Not everyone can read things that delve too far into these subjects, and that’s completely valid.)
My goal in writing my books has always been to reach out to people to create a better understanding of the reality of these difficult issues. That involves talking as honestly about them as possible. My books going forward will do just that.
For now, there are two books in particular I’m highlighting on Wattpad. One is Vexis, my alter Vexis’ backstory that is pretty short and a quick read:
Vexis - Shane Blackheart
I’d say it’s necessary to read Vexis’ backstory before getting into the next book, Open Wound, which is a work in progress, and chapters are being posted as I write them:
Open Wound - Shane Blackheart
Content warnings are in the description for both books, so please read them.
The first book is horror and the second is erotic horror. They both cover themes of severe mental illness, as well as the other side of the story of the topic. A lot of mental health stories cover how the MC gets over it or finds the light, so to speak, or they come out on top at the end after an inspiring journey. On the other extreme end, a lot of mental health stories, such as damaging movies like Split, use mental illness as a shock factor or horror element for their villains. This is extremely harmful and needs to stop, as it further marginalizes and hurts an entire community of people.
As far as my stories go, sometimes you can’t cope, like in Vexis, and you become overwhelmed by everything. You eventually become something dark because you don’t care to find the light anymore. Sometimes there is no light to find.
In Open Wound, that darkness can also be a tool for healing. We can slap a bandaid on trauma until the wound reopens again, and we can meditate and sing happy songs of self-affirmation and force ourselves to put on a fake smile. We can forgive our abusers for ourselves and become a being filled with learned happiness.
Or we can address the issue, face fears head-on, rip that bandaid off for it to fester, and get to the core of the issue to embrace who we really are. If a wound is infected, you don’t just put a bandaid over it once the old one gets too grimy. It will eventually spread until you can’t ignore it anymore, and then you’ll be in real trouble, so to speak.
As always, the subjects in my books cover my experience with mental illness. The ways of healing I write about are not for everyone, nor am I trying to write any sort of manifesto on how to properly heal from trauma. I’m only an expert where my own story is concerned, so please seek help from a medical professional, a counselor, or a psychiatrist if you are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness.
A great resource that offers free peer support, as well as affordable online counseling, is 7 Cups.
Need Someone to Talk to? Our Counselors and Listeners Are Standing By.
This ended up being a bit longer than I intended, but I hope my plan for the future of my books is a good one. I’m going with my gut this time instead of my heart, so we’ll see where it leads.
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If you’re a marginalized creator and you’d like your work featured at the top of my newsletter, please feel free to reach out! No subscription to the newsletter is necessary ♥ Rather it be music, blogs, books, artwork, crafts, film (including YouTube), or any other kind of creative endeavor, I’d like to help you out.
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If you enjoyed or found value in this content, please consider subscribing to the newsletter to see more like it! Likewise, you can support me by visiting my website, https://shaneblackheart.carrd.co There you will find links to both of my blogs where you can leave comments on entries, artwork and videos I’ve made, and a link to my Wattpad books that will always be free to read.
Thank you for any and all support. Stay safe and take care ♥
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Shane Blackheart
Shane Blackheart @ShaneBlkheart

Mental health awareness through LGBTQ+ dark fantasy and horror.

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