Katie Roman Books

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Posted on November 22, 2019 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (1)

I had to deactivate my fiverr account and at first it was like a dagger in my heart. I liked fiverr, or more specifically, I liked all the writing I got done. I have felt creatively blocked for so long. I have so many half finished projects it constantly feels like I'm a backed up drain. Too many ideas, not enough time, so nothing gets done. Nothing was getting done before fiverr and hopefully now I'll just pick something and finish it. Then onward to the next and finish that. Now that I'm in the habit of writing hours every night.


But on to why I deactivated fiverr despite liking it. There are some major flaws with fiverr, like, I haven't slept in months flaws.


1) I have to work for peanuts to deliver something that should cost double, at least, for the time I put into it. I was working way, waaaay, under minimum wage. But the fiverr model is built around the $5 gig. And sellers are rated by how much they sell, ranging from No Level to Level Two. As a no level seller, who is going to pay a lot without the reviews to back up the work? No one. That's who. I worked with some really cool people. Don't get me wrong, I had a few repeat customers I looked forward to working with, but like, I'm only human. In order to be visible I needed to be cheap and get reviews. The only way to do that was be constantly booked. And I do mean constantly. Since I joined I've gone maybe one or two days without an order in my queue. Which, great, but also. I have a fulltime job (and now school). In order to complete everything by the deadline I routinely got up at 4 or 3:30am to work. Then go to my normal job by 7am. Get home around 4:30pm to exercise and eat. Work from 6-9pm. Sleep. Repeat. That left no time for hobbies. Weekends were spent catching up on shit. I'm. So. Tired.


2) Fiverr's rating system is kind of BS. Fiverr has a breakdown on how to gain levels as sellers. You need to maintain a 90% on communication, delivery, no cancellations, user rating, and while that's not a terrible system to have in place, you cannot miss a message. I wasn't able to respond to someone for over 24 hours and my rating dropped from 100% to 88%, so below their required average. There is an out of office feature, but it didn't seem to make a difference to my score, beyond I got dinged slightly less when it was active for not answering for a day or two. I get that fiverr is trying to protect buyers from potential scam artist sellers. However, fiverr doesn't seem to do much to protect sellers from potential monster buyers. No, I take that back, they only allow buyers 10 days to leave a review after the close of a sale. So if a buyer ghosts the seller and comes back four weeks later to complain, they can't leave a bad review. This happened to me due to a miscommunication and I'm glad that buyer can't ruin my rating for deciding to ghost me for a month and then say I didn't do what they asked.

But I cancelled two projects due to burnout near the end and lost my level one rating after working so hard and busting my ass to get it in the first place. There is very little leeway on fiverr, it expects you to dedicate your life to it. I say nay. My full-time job doesn't even make that demand of me. 


3) Fiverr takes 20% of all revenue. Ok, I mean, I didn't expect them not to take a cut, they are also running a business. However, 20% on their famous $5 gig is $1. And then, and THEN, they take 20% on tips. I received some very generous tips that fiverr took 20% of, which come on. You couldn't make that like 5%? I still have to pay taxes on this shit at the end of the year. But then, when you withdraw your funds, there's a processing fee on top of that. So that $5 is really more like $3.50 in the end. I busted my ass for $3.50.


So, to stay visible and competitive, I had to take two-three jobs at once. Most were $5 gigs (bless all the wonderful people who overpaid because they understand the broken model and didn't take advantage). It takes me about 40 minutes to write 1,000-1,200 words, depends on if I need to do extra research as I go. I can type faster if I know exactly what is being said, but there are whole minutes in those allotted 40 where I'm just like "words are hard." But 40 minutes per 1,000 words is about 200 minutes per 5,000 word story (3.3 hours). Which at $5 is about $1.67 an hour. I'm just doing this math now and oh boy this is depressing. I worked for $1.67 an hour on my basic gig.


I was aware of the downsides to all this. Math aside, but I knew $5 was way under what I should be making. Way under even the worst writer should be making, but I did it anyway. And I did enjoy the work, but it is not feasible to continue at this pace with school. I have barely worked at all this week. I have been too burnt out. In order to catch up on fiverr and homework I have to work about ten hours on my day off. Nah. It's not worth it.


Will I go back to fiverr? Maybe? Probably not. I can't make a living there. Not without some super high rating in place, even then, I don't know. It's not really worth the ball busting need to be competitive. I am keeping my writing services page open with revised payment information because there are some repeat customers I am going to continue to work with, but it will be a million times less stressful. Moral of the story? Follow your dreams, but don't turn them into a living nightmare.

Bojack Horseman - There's a Reckoning Coming

Posted on October 28, 2019 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I meant to put up these blog posts on different days, before I watched season six and after, but due to a truly bizarre emailing mishap I couldn’t access the BEFORE blog post until today. So they will be appearing together. Why? Because they’re both ready and I’m already on my laptop, that’s why.

Before Watching

Bojack's last season dropped. I haven't watched it yet. I have stupid homework to do. But I did want to reflect on the previous five seasons.

When I first started watching, my general response was "what the fuck am I even watching? This isn't even funny." But oh, I was wrong. I made it through the first episode with lukewarm feelings, but Netflix has that insidious autoplay feature. And then I met Neal McBeal, the Navy Seal, and the deadpan delivery of the whale newscaster that followed had me hooked. It was utterly absurd, but amongst the absurdity was a reflection on society. It was weird.

The series was already finished with season two when I started and you can bet I binged the hell out of them. I honestly didn't know when season one ended and season two started as I plowed through. I've watched through the series a few time, the most recent season being the exception and that's simply been due to lack of time. I recommend the series to everyone, even though I know it's a hard sell and it's not for the easily offended.

Bojack is an asshole. He is constantly making selfish choices that hurt everyone connected to him. I want to hate him, but I can't. The writers do such a good job of making Bojack a truly flawed individual. He is selfish and he can be cruel to his friends and I won't give him a pass for his treatment because he is mentally ill. Bojack is profoundly depressed and doesn't seek treatment, he doesn't get a pass when he has all the access and privilege to get help. And yet, I still feel for Bojack. He's easily discouraged. He wants to be good and he wants to be happy, but he's held back by his own failures and he is constantly getting in his own way. The episode "Stupid Piece of Sh*t" gives us a look into Bojack's head. And his inner thoughts mirror so many of my own. I simply cannot hate Bojack because I understand his struggle.

And the punches just keep coming. Bojack loses a lot of people. Some who he burned his bridges with, others who enabled him and who he also enabled, and each one is felt. Even the dementia and death of his mother is felt despite the abusive relationship Bojack has with her. Sarah Lynn's death is especially painful as we spend an episode hearing about her broken dreams only to have her die from an overdose at a place she loved talking about fulfilling her dream of being an architect. I'm not crying, you're crying.

Despite all this, there's so much to laugh at. Todd alone is hilarious, even if nothing else funny ever happened. Todd. But also, Vincent Adultman, three children in a trench coat passing as one adult man. He did a business, goddamnit! There's countless sight gags. Almost the whole "Underground" episode is hilarious. Jessica Biel (the real Jessica Biel) creating a new society of underground celebrities in a postapocalyptic scenario is pretty great. And the continuity is fantastic. Bojack stole the D from the Hollywood sign in season one. It's still not restored and everyone is still just saying "Hollywoo."

I am sad this is the last season. I love this show. It has consistently been good and rewatchable. I can't say that for a lot of shows Netflix has.

After Watching

I've seen the term on a few reviews about this season and I've got to agree a reckoning is coming.

I didn't realize Bojack's final season was being broken up into two parts, but there's a lot of threads to explore, so I'm glad it wasn't crammed into 8 episodes. Bojack has hurt a lot of people over his five seasons and in the eighth episode we don't even see the main characters, but rather the people who he's hurt. Kelsey, of course, Gina, obviously, but it's Hollyhock's scenes that comes as the most shocking.

Hollyhock meets Pete, who talks her down from an anxiety attack at a party. We cut back and forth between the lives of those Bojack ruined with his addiction, his selfishness, and all his untreated issues. Slowly we come to realize we know Pete as he recounts his prom where his girlfriend had to get her stomach pumped because an older man gave them bourbon. Pete is Penny's friend from New Mexico and this is Bojack's biggest, most shameful secret. All signs point to a reckoning for Bojack. Reporters are closing in on what really happened to Sarah Lynn and Hollyhock is about to learn what happened in New Mexico. Sweet, little Hollyhock who Bojack loves and holds in esteem and cares how she views him, will learn about what happened with Penny on prom night.

It is going to be brutal whatever happens. Bojack is finally getting things together. He's out of rehab. He's making positive choices in his life. He's ready to move forward, but the past isn't ready to let him go. Bojack, while being embroiled in his guilt hasn't truly made amends for his actions. He lied about Sarah Lynn's OD and that he wasn't with her, egging her on. He has buried New Mexico, hoping it never sees the light of day. He hasn't come clean about what really happened when he assaulted Gina. He's moving on, but as we see from the eighth episode, the victims of his abuse have not. And having Pete there, recounting prom in New Mexico, is a reminder there are people beyond the oft seen/mentioned cast that suffered for his actions.

So what happens now? Bojack is terrible, the show doesn't sugarcoat it. His flaws are pointed out and in rehab Bojack even says he is responsible for his own actions. No one ever forced his hand. Bojack is sympathetic and hateful, weighed down by guilt, with a desire to do better, but held back by his own anger and pettiness. He's complex and while I want Bojack to answer for his multiple crimes, I also want him to keep moving forward and not fall back into old patterns when he is forced to face the reckoning of his own making. Whatever happens, Bojack is going to be rocked to his core and the remainder of the season is going to be dark and heartbreaking. Not just for Bojack, but for his friends and family.

About Penny

Quick recap for those who haven’t watched season 2 in a minute.

Bojack takes his friend, Charlotte’s, daughter, Penny, to prom when the boy she likes doesn’t ask her. He dances with her on top of a water tower. Afterwards she approaches him to have sex. She says it’s all on the up and up because seventeen is the age of consent in New Mexico and she didn’t drink like her friends so she’s not being coerced due to alcohol. Bojack tells her no, she doesn’t want it even if she thinks she does. Bojack then goes to Charlotte, asking her to run away with him. She turns him down and tells him to leave in the morning.

Bojack climbs onto his yacht where Penny is waiting. He tells her to go to bed, dismissing her a second time. Charlotte heads to bed and goes to see Bojack when she hears a sound only to find Penny in his room, in his bed. Nothing happened, but Bojack is left wondering if he would have done something if Charlotte hadn’t walked in.

We don’t know if Penny persisted and went into Bojack’s room or if he changed his mind and asked her to, but the one thing we know is Bojack never, EVER, puts the blame on Penny. Not once does he utter “she came onto me first!” in a weak defense of himself and his actions. Bojack knows what he did was wrong and he knew Penny was too young to make a truly informed decision about sex. He’s the adult and he knows better and he knows he messed up. What happens is upsetting, to say the least, but I do like that the show makes sure Bojack and the audience know, this is in no way the fault of the seventeen-year-old girl. It doesn’t matter that Penny went to him, what matters is Bojack let it get to the point it did.

I’m interested to see if the end of season six fills in that blank of how Penny ended up in his bedroom, or if they leave it unknown. I like the idea it’ll be left unknown because it really doesn’t matter if Penny persisted or Bojack asked her to his room. In the end what matters is she ended up there.

It wasn’t all sad

It was filled with its usual brand of absurd and serious.

Todd is a nanny! To Untitled Princess Carolyn Project. We also meet his stepdad, who doesn’t understand the majesty of Todd and his hijinks, but maybe he will.

Diane gets fat! This is a good thing because it means she's taking her antidepressants and making positive changes in her life. Also her new boyfriend is adorable.

Judah and Princess Carolyn are reunited. When she fired Judah I was gutted. She is so often surrounded by needy idiots. Judah was calm and efficient, acting as her right hand. His return as her right hand makes me extremely happy.

All the Portillo's sight gags. I can't. Also, Diane getting on the Cottage Grove line is hilarious. However, unlike what Guy says, she's not screwed. They were at State/Lake when she got on. She's in the Loop, she just needs to get off at the next stop and transfer to the Blue or Orange line, depending on her airport. Come on, Guy.

Margo Martindale is back! This, this is the most important thing to happen.

October Goals

Posted on October 1, 2019 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

September Goals:

-Survive? My MFA program starts September 23rd. Well, I'm still upright. So that's good.

-The final book in Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns series is out today! I preordered it and will be finishing it before classes start. Sweet mother of mammaries. This book. This is the first series in a very long time I looked forward to and this book was awful. If you follow me on Goodreads you can see my muted rage about it. I have not unleashed the full force of my rage on the internet, but some days I scream into a paper bag, so you know, healthy outlets for anger.

October Goals:

- I want to try to write 1,500 words of my own works a week. And by that I mean words not related to school, work, or freelance stuff. I got ideas, just no time, or if I do have time I want to binge watch Bob's Burgers...again

- I found the book Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold randomly (apparently it's the second book in a series...?) It's long, but so far in Chapter 3 I'm interested and I'd like to finish this behemoth before the library reclaims it.

Book Recommendation Monday: Captive Queen

Posted on September 30, 2019 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Speaking of one of my favorite medieval ladies. A novel of Eleanor of Aquitane and her tumultuous marriage to Henry II. How she was eventually locked away by her husband and how she supported her sons in open rebellion against Henry. You know, typical family drama.

Book Recommendation Monday: She-Wolves

Posted on September 23, 2019 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

History is fun! Empress Matilda, Isabella Of France, and my personal favorite, Eleanor of Aquitaine, among others, and their role as women of power before Elizabeth I.

TV Recommendation Monday: Harlots

Posted on September 16, 2019 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I took a two year break from this show because I just fell off watching new episodes weekly., but I've recently had the delight of binging all three seasons. It's the 1700s London and it is a turf war! A prostitute turf war. It's campy, depressing, and delightful all at once. Follow those Wells women as they square off against rival "bawds", devilish lords, and some truly giant skirts. I'm pretty sure it isn't being renewed for a fourth season, sadly.

Movie Recommendation Monday: Princess Mononoke

Posted on September 9, 2019 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (1)

This is by far my favorite Studio Ghibli film. And it's not just because of the wolves. All the wolves. Like all of them. It's a tale as old as time. Progress destroys the forest. War threatens the old ways and the new. But Lady Eboshi is the most badass ever, so it evens out? Or something.

September Goals

Posted on September 3, 2019 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

August Goals:

-My only writing goal is to keep The Golden Girls blog going. I missed one and then the first one for September. I was just too busy or burnt out some weekends. I wrote over 80,000 words for freelance novellas/novels and short stories this month. This word count doesn’t include the blogs, which are usually about 2,000 words, so yea. Busy. All. The. Time.

-Try to actually read something out of the pile. The to-read pile can go frolic in a field and wait for me along with all my missing free time. I've been rereading LOTR for the 9th (10th?) time. I apparently just pretend I'll read other stuff.

September Goals:

-Survive? My MFA program starts September 23rd. I'm booked until February for freelance work, so I envision more skipped Golden Girls blogs in the future and a complete lack of sanity on my part. I complain, but I actually like the freelance work, it's just I have a shitty dayjob too.

-The final book in Kendare Blake's Three Dark Crowns series is out today! I preordered it and will be finishing it before classes start. I am really hoping plot armor doesn't keep Jules alive...

Also who named this series

Book 1: Three Dark Crowns

Book 2: One Dark Throne

Book 3: Two Dark Reigns

Book 4: Five Dark Fates

WHHHHHHHHY?! It looks like my books are out of order and I think this was done on purpose to annoy me. Personally. HarperTeen just wants to upset me.

Book Recommendation Monday: The Hobbit

Posted on August 12, 2019 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

It's an adventure of epic proportions! Bilbo Baggins leaves his comfortable Hobbit hole as the 14th member of a Dwarven mission to evict a squatter from their mountain. And he never lets the reader forget he'd rather be in his cozy hole. Also, Bombur, who is quite fat. Tolkien makes a point of mentioning how fat Bombur is 12 times and he's only mentioned about 15 times by name the whole book. 

Book Recommendation Monday: The Rise of Kyoshi

Posted on August 5, 2019 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This book is arguably for fans of the shows, The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. The worldbuilding relies pretty heavily on people who watched the shows. But that said, this book is a fantastic addition to the canon. There's teases of what Kyoshi is capable on the shows, including the fact she earth bent an entire island into existent. This follows the story of how she discovered she was the Avatar and how she fell in with a group of criminals. I am very excited for the next book.