To be completely transparent with you about who I am, and what I do, and to treat you like a valued guest.
You’re here: https://hollylisle.com
And I’m Holly Lisle.
All well and good, but who am I? A name tells you nothing. So…
I was a kid who grew up in trailer parks and on mission fields, who couldn’t afford college so went to a two-year tech college for nursing that became a community college about fifteen minutes before I graduated, who worked as a nurse for ten years while raising two kids and writing in my spare time, who sold some books and on the strength of my first three-book deal quit nursing (just several months after I FINALLY paid off my $6000 student loan) to write full time.
I’ve lived in a children’s home in Alaska where my folks were dorm parents, and know what a honey bucket is, where you locate a midden to avoid contaminating the drinking water you pump out of the river, and have done laundry in a wash tub using a corrugated washboard, and taken a bath in a tub with water heated on our wood-burning stove.
I’ve lived in Costa Rica — San Jose was pretty nice when I lived there (1974-75), but was in the middle of a big Cuban revolutionary influx.
Also lived in (and loved) Chiquimula, Guatemala in 1975-76, but was insufficiently afraid of the presence of soldiers with machine guns on the street corners. Guatemala was in the middle of its civil war, where at one point I was — with my brother, sister, and parents — held at gunpoint while guerrillas searched our vehicle. We were also twelve miles from the epicenter of the devastating 1976 earthquake there. The floor slammed my little sister’s and my beds from side to side in our room, and I had to wake her up and drag her to the door. Unlike me, she was a heavy sleeper.
I’ve been through some real shit to get to where I am today (and the little bio above ain’t the half of it).
I know what its like to have no money and a dream of a better life, and I know how hard it is to make that dream come true, and how much work and struggle it takes to get from where you are to where you want to be.
I know what hard times are like. A huge chunk of my life has been hard times.
So on this site, you’re going to find a bunch of free-with-no-personal-information-required stories, writing articles, and writing workshops.
Why don’t I make you give your email address to use them?
Because you don’t know me. You have no reason to trust me, and no reason to think that I won’t sell your email to spammers. I won’t, but until you get to know me, you will not understand WHY I won’t do that.
You matter to me as a person, and I care about the fact that you dare to have a dream you might not be able to afford to pursue — and the barrier of having to give up personal information might stop you from using the resources here I’ve created for you.
I’ve been broke with a dream, and back when I was there, the internet wasn’t around, and I had a monthly copy of Writer’s Digest and a big shoebox full of rejection slips (eventually more than a hundred), and white-knuckled determination that I was going to sell my work.
So for the reading and writing stuff here, I don’t create a barrier. Everything is open, available for everyone, no questions asked. If you want to write and if you’re willing to work for it, I’ve created a massive resource that will help you.
I retain copyright, but you can use the resources I offer here without any obligation, make PDFs of them with the PDF maker I have at the bottom of every page, share them with friends, family… whatever.
Folks have made it all the way to pro careers using what I have here. I hear from them from time to time, which makes me happy.
If you get to the place where you want more, I have a friendly, helpful free writing community and a lot of paid classes on my other site, HollysWritingClasses.com.
The community is for working writers (beginner through pro). The classes and workshops are much more in-depth than the ones here, include shortcuts and improvements I’ve figured out over a lot of years of doing this professionally, and are all built from questions asked of my by beginning writers, newly published writers, and working pros, and based on techniques I developed.
I taught myself to be a professional novelist while working as a nurse, remember, so I don’t come at this the way anyone else does. I didn’t go to school to do this.
Your professor who has never had to live on his fiction-writing income and feed his two kids and make his house payment with no other money coming in doesn’t know what I know about writing for a living.
At the point where your bank count isn’t breathing fumes, and where you have a better idea of who I am and what I’m about, you’re invited to join us at HollysWritingClasses.com.
Am I a nice person? No.
I detest niceness, which is being friendly to someone’s face while stabbing them in the back.
I am kind when kindness is earned, I live by a strict personal code of honor, and I treat people with concern for their well-being.
I believe in justice, though, which is the opposite of fairness.
Fairness demands that everyone be treated exactly the same, no matter how they have acted.
Justice demands that people be treated in accordance with their actions.
So if you treat my folks here well, I’ll do everything I can to help you.
If you’re nasty with my folks or make as ass of yourself with me, I’ll remove you.
To allow YOU to be as… well… opaque (that being the opposite of transparent) as YOU choose to be, while I avoid in every possible instance collecting information about you that, if hacked, stolen, or misused, could endanger your privacy or financial wellbeing. My objective where YOU are concerned, in other words, is to treat you as “folks,” and to avoid making YOU a collectible asset.
People are “folks” when we talk to each other, when we ask and answer questions about shared subjects of interest, when you let me know what book you want me to write next, or what writing course you hope to take, when you tell me about your hopes and dreams and how I in some way might be able to help you reach them.
People are “assets” when someone collects information about them that other business folks want to share, sell, or buy — things like: What sites they visit, what products they buy, what ads they look at, or scary personal details like who they know, where they live, where they work… And when when that person gathers the information with intent to sell, share, or trade it for information from other people who collect
I will ALWAYS treat you as “folks.” I’m not in the business of collecting assets, and I will never treat you as an “asset.”
I’ve been around for a long time (in Internet terms). This blog (which was not my first website) started in November of 2001.
From the beginning, I’ve never traded, shared, or sold ANY personal information given to me by site visitors, readers, or colleagues, and have never bought any such information from those who sell it — including Google, Facebook, and the like. I do not allow outside advertising, do not allow services that “follow” members across the web to show them recurring ads on multiple site, and do not buy any advertising on such services.
Currently I don’t buy any advertising at all, but I’m on a budget.
The ads I have on my site are just mine, and I operate them from here. They’re for my books and my classes and the Patreon where readers fund my ongoing fiction writing — and they’re just images with simple links from this site to my writing site, or to my Patreon. They register anonymous clicks, so that I can see whether folks use them or not. They don’t add cookies to your browser or gather any information on you when you use them.
But along with not sharing information I receive, I have also intentionally severely limited the amount of information I collect…
BECAUSE what I don’t collect to begin with cannot be hacked, stolen, or demanded.
If I do not absolutely have to have a piece of information to deliver what you want from this site, I do NOT collect it in the first place.
On this site, you exchange personally identifiable information with you create a Help Desk ticket, join one of my mailing lists, add yourself to the “get replies to posts” form on my blog, or post a response on my blog:
ANALYTICS: ANONYMOUS INFORMATION
The site has built-in anonymous stats tracking. It tells me in general terms:
Page errors generated when visitors land on a page
Most common search terms that brought visitors to the site
Most common links that brought people to the site
How many people visit the site hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly
Average visit length
Average number of pages visited
In VERY general terms, which part of the world visitors are coming from (countries ONLY)
Most common browsers (I’m amazed at the number of folks still using old versions of Internet Explorer)
Which days of the week are busiest and slowest (we’re pretty slow on weekends)
- My analytics provide no personally identifiable information, add no cookies, add no tracking, add no sharable data, and are not used by anyone but me.
EMAIL SIGN-UP & INTERACTION INFORMATION
My mailing list is GDPR compliant — it requires you to confirm that you actually requested the emails, keeps track of the date and place where you signed up, and notes when you quit.
When you sign up for emails, you provide the email address of your choice (does not have to be your “best” address) in exchange for various information I offer, depending on what you sign up for.
You are in complete control of your account. You can quit at any time from any email, your account will be closed instantly, and your mailing address will be removed permanently.
I do not provide a space for or collect your name or any other personal information from my mailing lists.
Don’t need it, don’t want it.
My email provider is Drip, and I have only one mailing list that you can join, which operates in Choose Your Own Adventure mode.
If you join me, you’ll be presented with a list of topics I cover.
You select only the topics that interest you. Each topic you want to hear more about adds a Segmenting Tag to your account.
Segmenting tags can give you:
- Updates on the novels or short stories I’m writing
- Genre-specific updates on my new fiction releases
- Blog replies (sent automatically from the blog only when you sign up to request them)
- Free emailed short writing classes
- New posts from this blog
- New posts from the HWC Writers Blog
- Information on new writing classes
- And other things as I add them
If you’re a reader and only want to get reader emails, you can do that.
If you only want to get emails about my SF, and not the other fiction I write, you can do THAT.
If you’re a writer and only want to get emails about writing classes and upcoming workshops, you can do that.
If you want to be an affiliate (for writing classes, only on my other site, and only for students), you can get just affiliate emails.
Or you can get everything.
Whenever I put together an email, I figure out who might be interested in receiving that email, based on segmenting links you’ve added to your account, like “Fiction Writer,” or “SF Reader.”
I gather all the tags that the email addresses, and send each email to just those folks who have tagged their accounts with a relevant tag.
However, it’s entirely possible that you’ll change your mind about some tags. You can’t remove them yourself (yet… I’m pestering my guys at Drip to make this possible), but if you copy the email from me that wasn’t what you wanted to receive into a help desk ticket, and tell me what about the email was outside your range of interests, I’ll go through your account and remove the tags that led to you getting that email.
Drip allows me to see how many folks click on a tracking link in an email. Drip shows me not only how many people clicked the link, but, if I go into the “clicked” group, allows us to see which members clicked the link.
The purpose for tracking links is to let me know you’re interested enough in the topic that you come to the site to:
Read a blog post
Vote in a poll
Comment on something I’m considering offering
Tell me if you like my silly-ass cat pictures or most recent sweater project or whatever
This is my personal blog, so the links are all over the place. My current (as I write this) stuff on the fasting I’m doing and the results I’m getting are my biggest draws…
But I’m not posting for draws. I’ve been keeping this blog since September of 2001, and this is a combination of writing and life diary, with little snapshots of things that interest me or piss me off or make me happy.
So when you come to this site from an email link, you’re getting… THAT.
At any point, you can edit your email account with me to change your email address by using the Subcription Options link, or to remove your own account by using the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email I sends out.
At any point, you may request a complete profile of email data I’ve connected with your email address. Create a help desk ticket, and within 30 days, Drip will provide me with your profile, which I’ll pass on to you.
At any point, you may request your complete removal, with all associated data, from my mailing lists. Create a help desk ticket including the email address to be removed, and within 30 days of Drip’s receipt of the request, they will fully remove your account and all associated data.
I don’t provide assistance for the workshops here. (The drawback of free is that they don’t pay me for the time it would take me to support them.)
All requests for assistance with paid classes are considered business-related, and commercial in nature, and are handled through the help desk so we can deal with them promptly and accurately.
If you REPLY to me from the mailing list, that reply goes directly to me and will be read only by me. PERSONAL REPLIES TO ME ARE NOT COMMERCIAL in nature, and are treated differently.
I SAVE the really good emails I receive from my readers, because they make me happy — and because they frequently include cool things like requests for new books or new classes, or awesome stories about how someone used a class to write and sell a novel or a short story, or how a story I wrote or a blog post I did made a difference in that reader’s life.
I KEEP these emails. They matter to me, and I love to read them. When I can, I reply. If you send me a personal email, assume that it will live on my hard drive forever.
(I delete emails from jerks the instant the nature of the email becomes apparent. Those have the shelf life of a mayfly.)
HOWEVER, I currently receive a couple thousand emails a day, and an awful lot of them are real emails from real people, and email is a tiny portion of my daily work load… so I can rarely answer personally, and when I can, it takes a while.
If you’re having a problem getting into your account, are missing a class you just purchased, or some other problem my HollysWritingClasses.com site, DO NOT email me personally.
Create a Help Desk ticket here, so my helpers or I can deal with it promptly.
I DO NOT make lists of the personal emails I receive, do not file them in any particular place or fashion, and I have NEVER shared email addresses with anyone else from any source, either for money or for trade or for whatever other reason people give for betraying trust that way.
PERSONAL EMAILS REQUESTING WRITING ASSISTANCE
From time to time, folks will decide that it would be a great idea to send me what they’ve written to get my help on it, or my opinion of it, or so I can send it to my agent for them (yes, I still have a big New York agent).
This is not a good idea. This is a bad idea.
I face liability issues regarding copyright, so if you send me something that contains anything you’ve written with intent to publish, I will delete the entire email the second I know what it is. I will not read it, and having deleted the email, you will not even receive a reply from me.
If you want beta readers and feedback, some of my wonderful folks over at the HollysWritingClasses.com community are willing to TRADE beta reading with folks who will pay in kind.
There are strict rules about how this is done, and you need to read them before asking. But it is a volunteer service some of my members do offer if you follow the rules and if you’re willing to pull your own weight and read their work in return.
QUITTING MY MAILING LIST
If you remove yourself from my mailing list (which you can do at any time just by using the link at the bottom of any email), you will disappear from my universe without comment or repercussion. When you’re gone, you’re deleted permanently and will not hear from me again.
I don’t back up or store user-deleted emails into some sort of “throw them to the wolves” pile. I’m familiar with this practice only because it gets done to me pretty regularly when I unsubscribe from lists by people with whom I will no longer do business. I quit a crummy marketer’s list, he throws my email to the wolves, and suddenly everyone and his uncle is trying to put a million dollars in my bank account, or is telling my that my bank account has been hacked, or is some poor soul trapped in a foreign country who needs my help to get home.
I detest the folks who do this to me. Deeply. I don’t play this way.
My objective in every dealing I have with you is to treat you like a person, NOT like a sellable asset.
REPLYING TO BLOG POSTS
I don’t publish all replies, and reserve the right to NOT publish any reply for any reason.
HOWEVER, the vast majority of blog posts I don’t publish are either frank spam, or run afoul of my Blog Rules.
Before posting, please read and follow the Blog Rules.
I hold all posts by first-time posters and check them manually before allowing them to appear on my site, and regularly remove all spam and posts that violate my rules. Folks who are regulars on the blog have posts approved automatically, but I still read them, and make sure the rules are being followed.
All blog posters are required to give an email address, (does not have to be your “best” email address) which is NOT visible or accessible to anyone but me.
All blog posters are required to give a name or pseudonym. I don’t mind your use of a pseudonym, and using one does not decrease my willingness to publish your post.
Please realize that if you submit a reply to a post, you are voluntarily giving me explicit consent to publish that reply, and if I choose to do so, that reply will be on my blog for an indeterminate amount of time. The email address and user name you give with your submission, while hidden from public view, will remain connected to that post for as long as the blog remains.
If you do not agree to my storage of your email address, the name or pseudonym you give, or to my publication of your reply, DO NOT REPLY TO THE POST!
All portions of this site are stored and operated within the United States of America.
GDPR-Compliant Update: 5/21/2018