ALL MONEY over the Kickstarter goal will go to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America!

That’s right folks. All of it over the $2,000 funding goal. So spread the word 🙂 (Edit, if you want to look up my contribution history to IAVA and other orgs, it’s all under my real name, Orland Outland, which is the name that *sounds* like the preposterous pseudonym…)

I’ve told this story before, but now’s a good place and time to tell it again.

When I wrote A Little Too Broken, there were all kinds of “military romances” out and about, mostly hetero, and mostly quite awful. They exploited the “new adult” “I’m broken” trope and created Navy SEALs, Special Forces dudes, all Heros with Dark Secrets, all written without the authors giving two fucks enough to even Google PTSD.

It reeked of exploitation to me – profiting off the suffering these authors were dropping into their crappy soup for flavor. The fact that veterans were coming back with Dark Secrets, and it wasn’t the kind of shit that True Love Can Fix, was easy to ignore, I suppose. Military dudes are hawt, and that hawtness was about all most romance readers wanted to think about.

When the New Adult romance subgenre was born, I hated it so much. “Oh, he’s beautiful but he’s Broken Inside, but if you just FIX HIM, you’ll get to have it all, and he’ll be so grateful to you.”

And man, did they scrape the bottom of the barrel for new ways to make their characters “broken” after a while. There was one heteromance where the Marine came back, “broken” according to the blurb, and then it turns out what he had was … a shoulder injury, mentioned once in the book and then never again. W. T. F.

Some part of me screamed, “You people don’t know what broken is. I’ll give you fucking broken. I’ll give you something you can’t fucking ‘fix.’ I’ll give you… I don’t know… a soldier who lost his legs in Afghanistan and… a guy who’s HIV poz. There! Fix that, assholes!”

My first thought wasn’t a thought – it was that gong that rings in your head that announces the Advent of a Plot.

My second thought was, “O fuck I can’t do that. If it comes out wrong, it’ll be like the Worst Lifetime Movie Ever Made.”

My third thought, a few weeks later was, “Fuck it. Life is risk. You have a job, you’re making money on smut. Write the book, and if it is the WLMEM, throw it out. Nobody will have to know.”

When I finished it, I realized that it wasn’t Lifetimey. And, that I didn’t want to be one of “them,” the ones who exploited the suffering of others for personal gain.

At first I thought, I’ll donate 10% of the proceeds to military-related support organizations. Then, when that gnawed at me long enough, I realized, you know what? Half of this story isn’t mine. It’s theirs. Tom’s story is their story. And thus the 50% thing, that I’ve stuck with since November 2013, to the tune so far of $5,700 in donations to WWP (cut off some time before their public scandal, based on my own research), IAVA, and Puppies Behind Bars.

I wish I could donate 50% of any screenwriting money, too, instead of just 10%. But, I have $1.50 in savings, no retirement fund, I rent my house… you get the picture. Movie money at this point in my life is what I need if I ever want to stop laughing at those commercials that talk about “your retirement.”

So that’s the deal! The KS is at $880 now, halfway to the goal in one week. But that’s no guarantee. Kickstarters have a classic “U” formation, where all your friends and fans and family kick in at the beginning, and then there’s that long lull where…nothing happens. I really want to break that cycle.

I set the KS at $2,000 because that’ll pay for my trip to Scriptfest/Pitchfest, $500 for the event and $400 for the hotel, I’m flying Southwest on miles. Then there are a bunch of screenplay contests that, for some perverse reason, all close around May 1-15, so it’s a now or never thing as far as that exposure goes, with fees between $50-100 if you file late. Then there are the paid evaluations, which, when they’re good, are worth it – see the previous post where I put up my first one, on which I got a “consider” for the first draft of my first screenplay, with very good notes on how to improve it.

So, should the KS exceed the goal, honestly, there’s no reason for me not to share the wealth with IAVA, which in my mind is the best veterans’ organization in the world. They provide direct services, they lobby aggressively, they keep their eye on legislation that tries to fuck the troops (anything to save a billionaire another nickel in taxes…).

I know many of you reading this are the “converted,” those who’ve already kicked in. But please convert your friends if you can 🙂

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