Taking the big leap. And BADASS UNICORNS.

There are times in your life when you have plenty to say but none of it is really appropriate for public consumption. Let’s just say the last few months have been rather stressful and leave it at that.

I am now self-employed (not quite officially yet – I still need to register for taxes) and find myself more at peace and yet more productive than I have been for a while. For one thing, I’m blogging again. I won’t promise it’ll last but it’s not like I have a job to go to except for the work I do for myself so I think it stands a better chance this time around.

The part-time job I took on back in April wasn’t the solution I thought it would be. It was very full on and tiring, leaving little mental or emotional space for creative endeavours. I am no longer there, hence more space for blogging and so on.

The ‘and so on part’ is probably the most important. Mhairi gotta eat, after all, but the problem with the kinds of services I can offer (formatting, proofreading, editing, etc) is that I’m fairly sure everyone I know already has people who do that for them. So I don’t really know where to go on that one. There will be writing, of course, and arting and the super dooper massive project involving lots of images and cards that I keep referring to online, Be A Bard. I have plenty to do – getting paid for it is something else entirely. It actually requires publication, for a start. I hope to have THE WATER GUARDIAN out this month – it’s another short story but in yet another world. Once I’ve finished edits, I’ll send it back to the awesome editor lady, S.J. Higbee herself, for another look. And then I’ll start showing people the cover art. Eeep.

And because, presumably, I felt like I needed a bigger challenge, I’m putting together an anthology. About badass unicorns.

Because, you know, I think unicorns are underappreciated. The general mainstream view of unicorns seems to be what I’ve come to think of as the Harry Potter view – “you have slain a creature so pure, so innocent” – and I thought, well, there might be some unicorns out there who aren’t that pure or innocent. Maybe they like to go picking fights in bars on a Friday night, or they regularly defy their dad and leave the forest to update their gang tags on the walls of the underpass.

Alternatively, they may be looked down on by their fellow unicorns as not as graceful and pretty as the rest and formed a support group for less-than-perfect unicorns and now they hold parades every full moon, complete with bat dancers and werewolf singers, so that the other unicorns can’t ignore them.

There are, after all, many different kinds of badassery.

On a more serious note, this is what it comes down to (I was trying to explain to Alec McQuay why I thought it would make a good charity anthology and this is what came out):

Cos, well, maybe this is just how my convoluted mind works, but unicorns are seen as these delicate adorable magical creatures, and people often think kids are like that, or should be, and they’re not always. But they’re always strong, even if they’re not quite understood, even if people think they shouldn’t exist at all, like people with disabilities or who come from poorer backgrounds… I guess it just seems to me that a badass unicorn is a way of showing that just because something is expected to be meek and adorable and sweetness and light, doesn’t mean it has to be, nor that it can’t be just as or even more awesome if it embraces its strengths.

Just because people think you should be a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to be, and that goes for everyone, regardless of age, sexuality, race, ability or any of the other things people like to judge other people for.

Badass Unicorns isn’t just aimed at children, by the way. With the help of Twitter I decided that horse therapy centres would be the perfect recipients of proceeds from sales, and we’ve selected three – all proceeds will be equally shared between them. At least two of these centres cater for adults as well as children – everyone needs a badass unicorn in their life.

There is the question of a home. In short, Badass Unicorns doesn’t have one. Or rather, it does but with me. I actually cannot think of a publisher who might be interested in publishing it (Fox Spirit is jam-packed so they can’t take it on at this time) so currently I plan to self-publish it. All sixteen authors who have expressed solid interest are fine with that, and I have two proofreaders and a couple of bloggers standing by for help on the back end, which is lovely.

So, if you would be interested in contributing, please do let me know. The practical guidelines are as follows:

No minimum word count, maximum 10,000 words.

No excessive gore or sexiness – I want this to be appropriate for early teens and up.

No genre limitations – stories need to feature a badass unicorn but beyond that it’s entirely up to the author.

Currently I haven’t got a deadline but as this would be unpaid it wouldn’t be fair to make it a short one, so I’m thinking about some time in (or at the end of) February 2015.

And if you’re interested in helping out with cover art, please also drop me a line. I currently put the “budding” in “budding artist” – I wouldn’t know where to start with cover art for this!!

On the one hand, I feel like I’m taking on an awful lot of challenges at once by taking the leap into self-employment and immediately setting up a charity anthology which won’t bring me a single penny. The thing is, the badass unicorns have been on my mind for a while. So why not? If it makes me happy and makes others happy, why not?

This is the question I’m currently living by and I hope to continue living by it for the rest of my life: If it makes me happy and makes others happy, why not?

Besides, making me happy will also frequently encompass ‘allowing me to eat and pay my bills’ so it’s not entirely dreamweaving ?