Ghost Writers

I think I need to get back to writing, I’ve blogged more this past week than in a while. It’s usually a sign that I need to be working on a book.

IN any case, what I want to talk about is ghostwriting.

So, if you go to Upwork, you can see all sorts of advertisements for ghostwriting. I’ve even made a small amount of money, once or twice, ghostwriting short pieces.

Screenshot 2017-09-27 14.26.47

I stopped because it felt so unethical.

I mean, people who are buying words/books… if it’s for a big name… they’re buying THAT PERSON’S words and stories. They want that author’s voice! Or at least I do.

I’m a mimic, I can mimic most writer’s voices in any genre I write in pretty closely, especially if I’ve read them before.

And I’m an editor, author and autistic.


Please, for the love of the very little money I have to spend on books, don’t do this to me.

I get it, maybe most people aren’t going to be able to tell the difference, but *I* can and I’m not the only one by far.

The big5 pubbed book I preordered because it’s one of my favorite authors hit my kindle yesterday and I was excited to read it. I love this character and I love the world the author has created.

I do not love this book, and I have not yet found a book by this author I hated, nor even disliked.

I love this authors work (or whichever ghostwriter she’s had working for her for a while now). I love the worlds, characters, and stories.

I do NOT love what this new ghostwriter is doing with them.

There is something missing from this authors words that I’ve never seen in the name before.

I’m not a big name in publishing, I’m an outsider, probably always will be, so I don’t actually know how often a big name author hires a ghost writer.

Often enough I’d think. In the past year, two big names that I usually read have felt extremely off when I was reading the books.

I may keep a running list of things I’ve never seen this particular author do in her work, just to keep it straight in my head and to use as supporting examples for this post.

Things I’ve NEVER seen this author do in any of her 30 some books I’ve read that I’ve seen MORE THAN ONCE in this one.

Racial slurs

Description of her black character as ‘sun-bronzed’

Geek slurs

Extreme heavy handedness on reconciliation of ‘happy families’ (one of the reasons I’ve loved this author is that she DOESN’T do that.)

She’s also a WoC so I’ve trusted her to get the descriptions of her mixed race characters done in a sensitive way. This book? It’s so white I can’t even.

Graphic words (I don’t mind graphic words, but this author doesn’t have a history of using them).

… and there is just something missing from this book that the previous ones had.

It’s very unhappy making.

I suppose I could be wrong, that it could just be the author trying something new, but I sincerely doubt it.

So much so that I’m not buying the next book.

And I loved this author.

Look, I get it. We writers/authors are in a dog-eat-dog world, but this particular ghost writer just lost my custom for this author.

It’s close, but it’s nowhere near close enough.

As far as those of us who do the ghostwriting? I get that too, we’re most of us hand to mouth, but no.

Just say no. Please.

“Spirit Animals”

It’s my blog, I’ll tell it like I see it.

I’ll preface this by making it very clear that you’re going to easily find some First Nations people who this doesn’t bother. It doesn’t even bother my husband. It does bother me.

With any marginalized group, you’re going to find some people who are hurt by microaggressions and some who are not. That comes under the equivalent of ‘but my black friend isn’t bothered by the N word.’ (Spoiler, you still shouldn’t use the N word unless you’re black!!)

For me… all it takes is the potential to hurt or harm ONE person with my actions/words before I stop doing/using it.

To the meat of it.

People don’t like to find out they’ve been appropriating something.

They REALLY don’t. Especially, I’ve noticed, white and/or white-cultured people.

Today, I’m pointing a finger at white pagans.

I saw something that hurt (the hashtag game of gif your spirit animal) on twitter so I tweeted this:

It happens, every now and again where I’ll point out something that many people actually don’t know. Things like use of the G word in reference to the Romani people is a racial and ethnic slur and people really shouldn’t use it, at all. Or like the above tweet pointing out that the concept behind the words of ‘spirit animal’ is UNIQUE to some First Nations tribes/indigenous peoples.

Yes. It really is. No matter what you WANT to believe.

I… got a rather lot of pushback on something that to me, is very simple.

It’s a microaggression against living, breathing, bleeding peoples still suffering from systemic genocide to keep using the term ‘spirit animal’ in the casual way it’s ALWAYS used.

That is appropriation.

I’m very willing to say that using the term ‘spirit animal’ as a part of a pagan belief system is ALSO appropriation if you have no ties to the tribes who practice such.

*I* don’t even use the term, and my guide showed itself to me in a very clear fashion when I was twelve years old.

Many pagans love to believe that they are part of an ages-old system of belief. I even got the argument that “MANY cultures had spirit animals.”

It’s common enough coming from pagans.

For what it’s worth, I’m a belted priestess and I learned my faith when I was 17. I’m now 41 and I’ve been pagan for more years than I haven’t been.

I’m also a historian (Masters in World History).

While some ancient cultures had things similar to spirit guides, familiars and the like, the concept behind the English words ‘spirit animal’ is uniquely indigenous.

This article breaks it down in a decent way, so I won’t really go into the details.

It honestly hurts too much. I’m not rez raised, but two of my grandparents were. My hubs mom was, it’s still part of me.

Because of my looks, (light skin ranging from dark caramel to ivory depending on the season, blue eyes, dark brown hair) I rarely run across the microaggressions and outright racism so many mixed-race people like me do. That’s called white passing privilege or being white-coded.

I doubt it hurts less to get it more often, in fact, I’m certain it would hurt more. I’m lucky my weird genetics give me white-privilege. I do my best to use that privilege in a way that benefits rather than harms.


The pushback I got on that tweet actually hurt, which surprised the hell out of me. I’m sitting with my feelings until I can find peace in my heart again.

There’s also, you know, no connection between modern paganism and ancient belief structures.

Modern paganism came about as the result of many factors, but it didn’t even start until the late 19th century. It didn’t gain traction until the 1930s and didn’t really become popular until the 1960s and 1970s.

Christianity wiped out so much of pre-christian faith that what modern pagans follow is (as most faiths are) completely made up out of whole cloth.

That doesn’t negate the belief system, it is a powerful, beautiful thing and I’m happy to claim it as my own. One of the guiding precepts of MOST modern pagan faiths is ‘An it harm none, do as ye will.”

This is one of those things that causes harm. No matter what you WANT to believe, tribal councils and first nations peoples have said, over and over again, this is ours, it hurts when it’s taken from us, please stop using it.

Why is that not enough?

When someone asks you to stop, or hollers ouch, didn’t we all learn at some point that we’re SUPPOSED to say… “I’m sorry, I didn’t know, I’ll do better.”

So many people don’t do that.

But, you know… even the WORD pagan is an appropriation. A deliberate reclaiming that so far, (to my knowledge) no one has complained about. It comes from the Latin, then it migrated to Middle English.

No one has complained, and that I think is the crux of this problem.

When someone complains about something that hurts them, getting defensive is a very wrong thing to do.

Especially if they’re asking you to stop using a term that has meaning to their people.

I’ve been pagan for a long time and a VERY large percentage of pagans are deeply guilty of cultural appropriation. They aren’t going to like hearing that.

Egyptian gods, Celtic deities, Norse pantheon, First Nations spiritual practices (insert mixed groupings of those and others).

I don’t honestly care that much if you FEEL you have a guiding force in your life or what you call it in private. They are, as my husband pointed out, just words. Calling your guide a ‘spirit animal’ doesn’t make it so.

I DO care that y’all stop using in public though. Please and thank you.

Because I just don’t have it in me right now to get into the differences between APPRECIATION and APPROPRIATION.


Suffice it to say I can recognize it when I see it.

Using the term ‘spirit animal’ is flat out appropriation and it HURTS PEOPLE.

It’s wrong.

The end.




I’m the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liason for 2017!



Hi! I’m the Municipal Liason for London Ontario for NaNoWriMo this year, and hopefully, it’ll be a fun time. It’s not my first go-round on event planning.

I’ve written 5 books, published several and have more coming. I also have a novella and several vignettes in publication. (My books are here, if you’re curious.)

Biggest help other than event planning? I’ve won NaNo before, AND gone on to publish those books. I know what it takes and I can (maybe?) help you do it too.

I’m going to put everything to do with it (links etc.) here as well as on the forums.

You can find our Regional group and forums here.


I’m a Twitter lover. (I blogged about how I do twitter here)

My Twitter if you want to follow me: @KaelanRhy

First things first is the hashtag for our area. London Ontario Canada, so we’ll tag all posts for the region with #SOLondonWrimo

If you’ve found this site via Twitter, ALL of this info is also available via the Regional Forums.

The first thing I’ll ask from y’all is to take a survey telling me how often, and where, you want to meet. There are 9 questions.

Survey for where and how many times we’d like to meet.

I can carry you

A close friend said something like that to me, last week I think.

Actually, what they said was the iconic line from LoTR. ‘Cause we’re both geeks.

“Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.” (Samwise Gamgee to Frodo)
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Return of the King


I’d gone down yet another slide into depression and been a little quiet. A lot of people are very confused about what to do when one of their friends is dealing with a mental health issue.

I mean, especially if you’ve never experienced depression or anxiety before, it can be nigh impossible to figure out how to act or react.

We humans like to fix things, in general. Depression isn’t a ‘fixable’ thing though. Not really. It’s treatable, not really fixable, not in my experience.

Someone saying to me… I see that this is happening for you, I understand, and I can’t carry that feeling for you, but I can be here for you…

That was one of the kindest, most understanding things someone has ever said to me when I’m fighting my own mind to convince myself to keep breathing.

Knowing that, EVEN WITH my depression, that a person (or more than one person) gets that they can’t really help, says they get that, but that THEY’LL STILL BE THERE. (then to prove it)

You have no idea how powerful that can be.

My mental illnesses have been with me most of my life, they’re chronic, and likely will be a complication for me for my entire life.

It’s what trauma does to a person, and honestly, I’ve been doing well for the past ten years or so in coping with it.

It’s only the past couple of years or less that have been so hard that I’ve lost any semblance of resiliency.

It’s costing me a lot. I’m behind on work, on writing, on things I said I wanted to do as per blogs I want to write for. On housework… I’m behind on pretty much every aspect of my life right now. The anxiety that causes is feeding the beast of my depression too.

I’m trying to take it all just one day at and one task at a time.

It’s a challenge to get out of bed most days right now, and keeping myself focused on my work is an even bigger challenge.

I’ll fight my way back, again. But it’s invaluable to know that I have people in my life who not only feel ‘I’ll be there’ but are brave enough to say something that’s going to get through my thick skull to get the message through.

Trust it to be a geek reference that did it.