Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Not the Cook

So one week on Weight Watchers (the old version—the new was too high-maintenance for me--needed constant computer access and a lot of recipe entry) and things seem pretty good. I am not counting alcohol on Friday and Saturday. I just know myself well enough that I think this will ward off any stupid decisions (limiting food to 2 points so I can have a couple cocktails... yeah... erm...). Other than that, though, I have stuck to my points, stuck to my exercise, and think I have the mind set going.

Last night, though, I ran up against one of my biggest challenges. You see, at my house, I'm not the cook.

Completely gratuitous pic of the moose at my parents' house (except I'm trying to avoid looking like a moose)

HWMNBMOTI and I have had an arrangement for more than twenty years now.

He likes to cook.
I hate it.

I will eat pretty much anything.
He is so picky that he won't eat his favorite FOODS if he's not 'in the mood' for them.

It has been a no-brainer, that he would be our cook.

I have maybe half a dozen days a year that it falls to me because he is busy while I'm not. But MOST of the time, I am also busier, so it works well. It really only works the other way on Football Saturdays when he is parking cars and I'm NOT.

But when a girl goes on a DIET...

It can be challenging to not be in control.

We've done this enough times that he knows when I am doing Weight Watchers that he needs to WARN ME if, for instance, we are having pizza for dinner. Oh, I know. Some of you can eat one piece. Not me. I can be content with two if I have salad, too, but I really am more a three piece gal or I get hungry later.

MOST dinners run between 9 and 12 points (remember... old point rules) and if I plan on that, most days, I am okay. I usually have a 5 point breakfast (oatmeal with fruit and brown sugar) and a 5-7 point lunch. And so that 9-12 points puts me about right. If it is the lower, then I can have a little snack and all is good.

What I do NOT plan for (and apparently have not made clear I need a warning for) is fried chicken... and then mashed potatoes to go with it...

Once upon a time I tried to eat the NEXT day—breakfast and lunch that complemented the night before's dinner. And calorie/point/weight loss wise, that oughta work. Unfortunately, on any given day it can leave me STARVING, which backfires.

Did I mention I get hungry?

I will talk to him... when it isn't so immediate, I will remind him please TELL ME if we are having high calorie/high fat dinner.

So that has been my biggest challenge so far.

As of yesterday, I was down 3 pounds. Not much, but the right direction.

Gratuitous penis cartoon.

You conquer any obstacles this week? Just hide from one and let it pass? Shake its hand and hope for the best?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alex is on Fire!!!

So everyone knows Alex, right? Nicest guy on these blogging boards... and that is saying a lot, as there are a ton of really nice people. More than a ton if we are being literal. But I don't think anybody goes to quite the extent Alex does to pay it forward, promote his fellows, and offer events and forums to engage us all—to make us a community. Alex is really the heart of that. And again—that is high praise, as so many do so much.

Alex has a special event today, something HE never foresaw, or so he says... he thought he only had one book in him. But here he is. Release day for Book #2 CassaFire.

So to celebrate, we will start with a Tarty Twist... a poem.

For Alex

Alex is really the dude
He always can brighten your mood
And today's his big day
So I just want to say
That I hope that it sells really good!

*cough *

What? I never claimed to be a SKILLED poet. And YES, I get that that's technically a limerick.

Anybody know anything that rhymes with Alex? Byron? Cavanaugh? Man, he makes this rough. One more shot at it...

On Fire dance in Alex's honor (source)
For CassaFire

It's the book birthday for CassaFire
On the list of books I desire
I am ready to read
So send it with speed
I know of its joy I won't tire!

Any better? Amusing at least?

Anyway, Alex, I wish you all the best with your book release and promo!!!

NOW, some details about the book....

by Alex J. Cavanaugh

CassaStar was just the beginning…

The Vindicarn War is a distant memory and Byron’s days of piloting Cosbolt fighters are over. He has kept the promise he made to his fallen mentor and friend - to probe space on an exploration vessel. Shuttle work is dull, but it’s a free and solitary existence. The senior officer is content with his life aboard the Rennather.

The detection of alien ruins sends the exploration ship to the distant planet of Tgren. If their scientists can decipher the language, they can unlock the secrets of this device. Is it a key to the Tgren’s civilization or a weapon of unimaginable power? Tensions mount as their new allies are suspicious of the Cassan’s technology and strange mental abilities. 

To complicate matters, the Tgrens are showing signs of mental powers themselves; the strongest of which belongs to a pilot named Athee, a woman whose skills rival Byron’s unique abilities. Forced to train her mind and further develop her flying aptitude, he finds his patience strained. Add a reluctant friendship with a young scientist, and he feels invaded on every level. All Byron wanted was his privacy…

Available today!
Science fiction - space opera/adventure
Print ISBN 978-0-9827139-4-5, $15.95, 6x9 Trade paperback, 240 pages
EBook ISBN 978-0-9827139-6-9, $4.99, available in all formats

CassaFire is the sequel to Cavanaugh’s first book, CassaStar, an Amazon Top Ten Best Seller:
“…calls to mind the youthful focus of Robert Heinlein’s early military sf, as well as the excitement of space opera epitomized by the many Star Wars novels. Fast-paced military action and a youthful protagonist make this a good choice for both young adult and adult fans of space wars.” - Library Journal

You can visit the author’s site at
Book trailer available at

Barnes and Noble
Amazon Kindle

And the tour:

Began yesterday and runs through March 9. Anyone commenting on Alex's blog in that time is in the running for a special package from his publisher: copy of CassaFire and CassaStar, a large tote bag, and a mug.

And... The Trailer!

So best of luck, Alex!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Strangers Among Us

As fiction writers, it's our job to make life a little more interesting than it is. Not that life isn't plenty interesting sometimes, but it the span a story would be covered in, there is also a lot of mundane. But there are some twists that make everything a little more interesting. So I thought I'd approach one set of circumstances.

What if we weren't all... you know... ordinary people?

There is a long history of literature related to people with powers or abilities, or even just secrets. Who doesn't dream, as a kid, that they are actually... royalty, or descended from somebody great? There are a lot of options... Magic, psychics, aliens, monsters...

And it's interesting to watch literature change. Is our point of view that of the 'normal' experiencing the strange? Or are we ourselves strange.

What got me thinking about this was Roswell. I watched all three seasons on Netflix recently—really liked it. In fact I just started watching it again. And in some ways the set-up is a lot like the Buffy set-up. There are these high school kids... part of them normal... but there is a giant secret... some portion of them are NOT like the others.

In both cases, there is the normal teen angst and new love relationships. And there is a focus on HIDING this big secret... Nobody can know.

Harry Potter, my favorite series, likewise has a whole society hidden within a society that has laws about secrecy.

But what is it that is so appealing about these stories?

Do we want to BE different? Do we just want to brush up against different? Or is it just that the contrast makes for such a nice story?

What's your favorite story like this? Do you ever write them?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

First Round Fiesta

(DOH!  And posted 3 hours early... sorry...)

You may or may not know, but yesterday was the posting of the first round winners in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel award. It's so fun. Every year I read those lists, I know more and more people on them. This year was an impressive list, so I thought I'd share the people I know who made it. [disclaimer: there were 2000 winners this round, so undoubtedly missed a friend or two (or five) PLEASE don't take it personally if you passed and I didn't catch it.]

But first... a GIFT my friend Joris made for me. Legacy, the first of these listed, is my ABNA entry. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this poster for the trilogy. A part of me really wants to self-publish these so I can use these covers (though books 2 and 3 need SERIOUS rewrites—in fact the 3rd probably needs to start from scratch)

Individual covers and poster designed by Joris Ammerlaan

Okay, so now to the winners! (full lists are here)

In the General Fiction Category

Charity Bradford, Sendek: The Magic Wakes

Christine Beth Reish, Façade

Dana Brantley-Sieders, Waking the Dead in Music City

Jessica Bell, Bitter Like Orange Peel

Stephen Swartz, The Dream Land

Sue Maynard, Carving the Light

In the Young Adult Category (I know many more of these... I will ponder WHY later)

Brigid Gorry-Hines, Unraveling

Catherine Stine, Fireseed One (look familiar?--she was here Wednesday!)

Emily McKeon, Mothers of Monsters

Hart Johnson, Legacy ← do you see me? Right on top of Fielder *shifty*

J Allen Fielder, Four Dogs

HK Savage, Whispers

Johanna Garth, Orchard Girl

Lisa Koosis, Resurrecting Sunshine

Michael Di Gesu, The Blinded Gardener

PK Hrezo, The 49th Parallel

Roland Yeomans, The Bear With Two Shadows

Tamara Hart-Heiner, Shadows Fall

Theresa Milstein, Naked Eye (which gets bonus points for having naked in the title)

Tracy Walshaw, Paper Tigers

What is the rest of this process, you ask?

In March, 2000 will become 500 based on our excerpts. These winners will be called Quarter Finalists. In April 500 will become 100. This is based on a Publisher's Weekly editor read of the WHOLE book. Winners will be called Semi-Finalists. In May, 100 will become 6 and ALL of these finalists will get a trip to the finals. So we've only chipped the tip of the ice berg, so to speak... and a lot of GREAT books were knocked off because either the pitch wasn't quite there or there was a mismatch with the reviewer by genre or voice. Still... the step had to be passed to go on. So it is worth a party for all!


The Dark Ages

Okay... so maybe not as brilliant as previously promised... and not appropriately 'dayed' anymore... this was the one lost for Tuesday that you are now getting on Thursday. But YAY! Computer is back up and running! Special thanks to my buddy Kevin who is smarter than me on all things computer (and on a number of other topics, besides)

But since I now CAN... didn't lose (at least much) of it... here goes TMI Tuesday's post.


*cough *

So what the hell is going on with the Republican Party these days?

Sorry to get political, but it IS (read: WAS) TMI Tuesday, after all. And there is a serious meltdown in sanity going on. I mean honestly, I never much understand the Republican party. But this stuff is BIZARRO world stuff. All this repossession on women's rights stuff...

Now I don't want to get into the abortion issue. I get both sides of that argument, and so while I have a political side (which ironically is NOT the side I would choose personally, though the operative word is probably CHOOSE) that isn't where I want to go.

Where I DO want to go is the very strange things that have happened of late.

What the heck is all this about birth control?

The religious organizations arguing about paying for something they don't agree with, I get. But then Obama said, “Okay, I see your point. Instead we will turn it to the Insurance companies to pay for.” And you see... paying for birth control is CHEAPER than paying for pregnancy, labor and delivery and all the pediatric care of a child, so insurance companies LIKE this... and several religious institutions cheered to have this burden taken off of them... to be able to 'provide' what they know employees want without being culpable of providing it themselves... It allows them to compete for the full spectrum of employees without crossing fuzzy lines.

But there is the ultra-conservative strand of congress and the religious leaders who are significantly MORE conservative than the population they mean to lead making this about something else.

Religious freedom is the right to practice ones own religion, but it is NOT the right to impose that religion on anybody else. Now if you work for a church directly, you may expect some imposition. But say you live in... South Bend, Indiana and just want to work for your largest employer in the county... (I believe Notre Dame was actually one of the institutions that cheered the compromise, by the way).

Now in the US, some 99% of women use some for of contraception at some point. Heck, 98% of Catholic women will or have at some point. The fact of the matter is, it takes resources of time and money to raise children well. Should sex be a privilege of the wealthy (who can afford to raise as many children they might create)? Should sex DOOM a woman to a shorter life? (because after child #1, every child lowers life expectancy). Jon Stewart had a very good point when he stated that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum both used the rhythm method and had five and eight kids respectively. (which... and I really hope I don't offend too many, though i know I will and a few are people I really love, but in the spirit of TMI, I FIND IRRESPONSIBLE--from a space on the planet perspective, I mean). But Santorum has said 'birth control is not right'.

Is anybody else seeing Margaret Atwood as a prophet? This sounds very Handmaid's Tale to me. That is a book where chemical disaster creates infertility and collides with ultra conservative social values for a scary scary scenario. Do you SEE how this is possible?  Tell me I'm nuts. I dare you.

I have seen a number of posts on facebook of women outrages here, but this is hardly the only incident.

Several states have passed 'personhood' laws, siting personhood begins at conception. And as anti-abortion legislation, I see the brilliance of this tactic, but some of these have opened doors for women who suffer miscarriage to be prosecuted for negligent homicide.

Did you know HALF of conceived babies miscarry?
Did you know a significant portion of babies that miscarry do so because of defects to the baby—the baby would not have been viable and our bodies KNOW and so self-terminate.

Do we really want to blame women for that?

Have you ever known anyone who has miscarried? It is a DEVASTATING ordeal. The women I know who have experienced this are so sad for a very long time—many still quietly acknowledging what would have been birthdays years later. Do we REALLY want to add a layer of legal threat to this already abhorrent experience? Is our society's misguided need for sanctimonious moralizing so great we would do this?

I will tell you an unintended effect of this. Women who suspect they are pregnant will delay care. After all, if nobody knows they are pregnant, nobody can fault them if it doesn't work out. It will INCREASE the proportion of pregnancies that don't make it because SOME early caught things are preventable.

So there I go, ranting...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guest Catherine Stine

Today I’m welcoming Catherine Stine. As part of her Fireseed One book tour, she is answering some questions about her new YA thriller and her writing and drawing process. But first, a quick novel summary:

What if only your very worst enemy could help you save the world?

Fireseed One, a YA thriller, is set in a near-future earth with soaring heat, toxic waters, tricked-out amphibious vehicles, ice-themed dance clubs and fish that grow up on vines. Eighteen year-old Varik Teitur, inherits a vast sea farm after the mysterious drowning of his marine biologist father. When Marisa Baron, a beautiful and shrewd terrorist, who knows way too much about Varik's father's work, tries to steal seed disks from the world's food bank, Varik is forced to put his dreams of becoming a doctor on hold and venture with her, into a hot zone teeming with treacherous nomads and a Fireseed cult who worships his dead father, in order to search for a magical hybrid plant that may not even exist. Illustrated by the author. Fans of Divergent and Feed will likely enjoy this tale, as well as those readers who like a generous dash of romance with their page-turners.

Catherine: Thanks for hosting me, Hart!

How did you come up with the idea of floating farms, a USA transformed to having Vegas on the coast, and hybrid plants with magical breeding ability?

I’m also an illustrator, and I first imagined this world through a series of drawings I did of floating ocean farms, an army of dolphins and a psychic scientist! I was fascinated with what it might be like to live on an island that you could power up and move. BTW, that idea came to me way before JJ Abrams thought up floating islands for LOST. Just goes to show that if you have a cool idea for a novel, you’d best get started on it before your coffee gets cold, because ideas do seem to float in the wind. If you don’t whip up that novel fast, someone else will.

I eventually worked up about twenty drawings and then wrote a very early draft of Fireseed One. Over the years, it’s morphed to what it is now, just like those strange hybrid plants in Fireseed One. This novel celebrates art as well as writing, with an amazing wraparound cover by Jay Montgomery, a world map by Taili Wu, and nine of my own illustrations.

Speaking of hybrids, what’s the deal with Fireseed?

It was a concept plant, designed by Varik’s dad to withstand killing heat and no real water. It had magical hybrid powers, so that it would easily breed with almost any plant. It supposedly grew to five feet tall, and was blood red, and had branches with fingerlike appendages. The problem is, now that Varik’s dad has mysteriously drowned, no one can say if it ever existed off the drawing board. What in the world is Fireseed a mixture of? Ah, you have to read the book to find out!

Will Marisa and Varik ever play nice?
Not telling, but I’ll give you two sneak peeks from these Fireseed One snippets:

The first:
She laughs. Kicks the mask I dropped.

“Who are you?” I shout. “What were you doing in that vault?” I’m thinking she looks oddly familiar, like someone whose image is printed on a cereal box or advert. But I can’t place her. Certainly she’s no starving refugee or common thief. Her demeanor’s way too haughty. She looks well taken care of, as if she’s never missed a night of sleep, as if she’s recently rubbed lotion on her face and given her hair a comb.

The second:
“Look, jerk, I’m not your prize whale,” she hisses. “You want to see that video of your dad? The only way this is going to work is if you take the stupid fish line off me.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?” She glares at me. “That bartender could have you arrested.”

“I could have you arrested!”

It’s a standoff while we glare at each other, me wondering why I don’t just jab her with my fish knife for all the damage she’s inflicted, her probably wondering how she can off me and get the rest of those disks. But there’s Fireseed; and the mystery video. I need Marisa to find out what those are.

Her face breaks out into a sudden, shocking grin as she holds out a handful of peanuts. “I got us a snack while I was waiting.”

I grab some as a watery tension in my chest eddies into my legs, morphing them into heavy, wet plaster. On the way back to Shin, I surreptitiously throw my share of the nuts on the floor. For all I know, she laced them with poison.

How many Fireseed books are planned? Have you already mapped out the next one?
Yes! The next is called Children of Fireseed, where I invent even more scary and spectacular hybrid creatures and scenarios. Hint: what advantages would you have if you could get your nutrition from the sun? The Fireseed cult will reappear, as will Armonk, Nevada and the little cult girl with three missing fingers. (You’ll understand when you read). Oh, and another super-hot romance.

Fireseed One is available as an ebook for $2.99 from Amazon, B&N, iTunes and Sony Reader. The collectible illustrated paperback is $7.99 at Amazon and B&N.

 About the Author

Catherine Stine’s Fireseed One launched in December to 5-star reviews. Her first YA, Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book and a featured review and interview in Booklist. Middle grade novels include The End of the Race in the Wild at Heart series and A Girl’s Best Friend in the Innerstar University series. More and more, she’s enjoying writing page-turning suspense. She is also a professional illustrator and teacher of creative writing.

Where you can find Catherine and Fireseed One on the web:

Fireseed One on Kindle:
Facebook’s Fireseed One book page
Goodreads author page
Catherine’s Idea City Blog
Catherine’s website

Please consider LIKING the Fireseed One Facebook page on your way out, and take a look at the other fun Fireseed One tour stops here, from February 20 through March 19th!

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us today, Catherine! And you have an impressive list of books there! I wish you the best of luck with this one!

For Catherine’s other tour stops:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


So I had the most brilliant post EVER written up last night and I went to download a picture and my computer freaked out. I don't know how serious it is, but I may not have home access for a few days. I WILL be here tomorrow--I have a fantastic guest, Catherine Stine, and her post is already set.  Other than that, though, it is possible this week I won't have home access, so no blogging and limited commenting.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Upside down

HWMNBMOTI and I were both experiencing some back pain this weekend and got to talking about inversion beds and my visceral response was this big fear of a headache. You see... I can't really be upside down anymore.

But this is a huge change from an earlier time in my life. I spent my entire childhood upside down. I was a cartwheel, monkey bars girl. I spent hours every day cartwheeling or walking on my hands. I loved rides, especially ones that flipped me over.

Then... and I identify the timing as my first pregnancy, suddenly several of the things that USED to really thrill me... speed, heights, spinning... no longer worked for me. There was this strange fear and really negative physical response to all these things I used to LOVE.

I think what happens is a function of biology, actually. I think when we become responsible for another human being, our physical response to risk-taking gets more negative.

It got me thinking about perspective in writing. It made me think about the challenges to writing a point of view from a different age and what the markers are that would change how we see things. I think we always need to be cognizant of events that might change responses to keep them realistic.

So that is it today... my very brief thought on how how we feel about things changes as we get older. At seventeen I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. Would I do that now? NO WAY. Part of it is the reality of aged bones and poorer physical condition, but much more of it is that fading sense of immortality.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pity Party

I know it's supposed to be Fiesta Friday, but I'm just not in the mood. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. I suppose to be consistent, I would need to call this a Fiesta Triste---though that is 'sad party' not 'pity party' and I'm not sad so much as whiny.

You see, the last of my submitted manuscripts was rejected yesterday. (that makes 8)

Amy was really nice about it. She asked if I wanted to keep going or revise. I was hesitant on revising since I have two books to revise before I can get to it... which means even if everything goes smoothly, I won't get to START that revision until April. But she pointed out that if we go straight in, if it NEEDS revising, we have knocked that many more off our list.  So we are revising. Which is to say I am revising.

I hate waiting.

I hate revising.

I hate the fact I can't get it closer to right the first seven times. Or thirteen. Whatever the draft.

So what was wrong with it?

All a little vague. 'Didn't fall in love with it.' Will nobody love me?

I think, though, my problem is Helen. Helen is TIMID. And she is timid for good reason. She hasn't spoken to anyone in 60 years, what, with being dead and living in an abandoned building and all. And she was kept in medically unethical circumstances BEFORE she died. Abandoned by her father to 'the experts' such as they were. Sympathetic, yes. Helen is sympathetic in spades. But... I think she may be missing her spark.

In most of my books my MCs are feisty or snarky or sarcastic. There is humor to them which never felt appropriate for Helen. Her circumstances would not go with wit. She is scared.

But I think I normally rely on that humor—my voice has humor and if I can't fall on humor, I think I am a little short in my repertoire. I need to find Helen's spark. Which may or may not have any humor, but it certainly needs more than it has.

So there is a puzzle to solve. What IS Helen's spark. I think it rests in her back story... a little more history, trickled slowly so the reader gets a more horrible image of what her life was like. But also a... PRE story... something she HAD that she LOST (and so committed suicide) and through the story finds again. A sense of self she was robbed of through being institutionalized. In fact... maybe if I work it right, I can reveal the back story backward and the front story forward so Helen's sense of self is equal throughout, and building.

Now THAT sounds like a compelling read, yes? But I have my work cut out for me. So I am having a pity party.

I am ALSO setting page goals so I really can GET to this by April Fools. I have 500 pages to edit in 45 days. Though maybe that isn't right. I have 200 pages to rearrange then another pass reading to perfect THIS month. GADS! And then in March I will revise Chrysanthemum Campaign for betas.

Oh. And I got pass pages for Azalea Assault. *dies *

I have been assured though, that professionals are on that, too—independent editors. So I intend to do it more as a content read—make sure nothing changes meaning or something. This SHOULD afterall, be a typesetting read—we did the final edit in the fall.

Is publishing really this many steps? What have I got myself into? Remember me? Meh, close enough. THAT is me. But I don't want lower quality—one of my primary reasons for publishing traditionally—I just don't quite HAVE that attention to detail...

Okay, so I've rambled. You may feel sorry for me now.

Or not. Anybody else wanna throw in a whine?  Or some wine. I'm not picky.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Set a Date!

Book release?   Erm. No.
Marriage?   Well, no, obviously... since I'm already married.

Then WHAT, pray tell, did you need to set a date for? You ask...

The eating plan. That's right. It's Weighty Wednesday and that's what I've got. A date.

You see, at Meijer on Sunday, they had Paczkis. And I came to the (albeit wrong) conclusion that Fat Tuesday fell on Valentine's Day. I had visions of chocolate paczki sugar comas prancing in my head and thought, “Well that's how I want to go!”

But then I learned Meijer had just jumped the gun (and I would have to buy paczkis two weeks in a row) but it was already decided.

I may not 'do Lent'--not being Catholic and all. But what better time is there for a severe diet than when EVERYBODY is in the midst of denial?

So it's decided.

And then... My REAL blog today is over at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash where I am talking about the beauty of the FOOL as a story character...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Slut Love

I figured TMI Tuesday falling on Valentine’s Day was a sign I ought to talk a little bit about my philosophy on love, sex, relationships, and values. So you’ve gotten a reprieve from Jungle Rot… You may want to hold off on rejoicing just yet though.

All That Purity Nonsense

I know there are a lot of people clinging to those Puritan values and all, and if you’re one of them, more power to you… which is to say, more to go around for the rest of us, eh?

I am not quite sure where my feminist leanings got their first big fuel burst, but it was well before I was political, and before my religious leanings got an overhaul from their Presbyterian roots. Basically I figured if BOYS are allowed to admit they like this stuff, what is wrong with GIRLS admitting it?

Now I ‘get’ the ‘save it so I have something to give my spouse’ thing on some level. But there is a conflict here… I don’t think anybody should wait until age 30 to become sexually active, or you end up stunted on that front (IMHO), but I ALSO don’t think people should be making such an important decision as who to spend FOREVER with until about that time. And I think the consequences of becoming sexually active pre-marriage are a lot less severe than marrying in the late teens or early 20s. People that age have no business making that kind of decision.


And don’t you know… I had a boy or two in my past where things got… you know… intense… the first time I met them… and later they would act as if somehow I’D done something wrong. HELLO. I was not the only one there. Why do these goons think THEY get a pass, but I don’t? That definitely fueled that inner feminist and my belief that what is good for the gander is great for the goose. (even goosing)

Manipulation versus Honesty

See, the OTHER thing that has always really bothered me is the simultaneous attempt to woo and hold at bay of a potential lover. A person who WANTS intimacy but pretends not to because they are holding out for a long-term offer is just dishonest in my opinion. And I hold the value of HONESTY far above some silly notion of ‘virtue’. In fact the virtues I care about ARE honesty and integrity. NOT chastity.

Now I don’t mean to disrespect anybody who has made different choices or whose values line up differently. I’m just saying it isn’t in me to pretend I agree. I think that is what we all need to do—be honest with ourselves about what is important and why, and try to live that way.

Sluts are NICE

You know... people who really LIKE everyone, even if they are also willing to sleep with everyone, are really more fun to hang out with than uptight people. I mean I GET that some people are nice withOUT the slutty thing going, but I haven't met many self-righteous people who are all that nice. They are too busy judging everyone else for not living by their standard. Live and let live, I say. So long as people aren't intentionally hurting each other.

Yeah, I’d rather live with aspersions of ‘slut’, ‘tramp’, or ‘tart’, than 'proper', 'classy', or ‘tease’. (though my value of not hurting people DOES mean monogamy… so anymore, this is all just in theory).

So there you have it. More than you ever wanted to know about me...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lessons from the End of the World

So I've been watching a lot of dystopian TV of late... And I think they offer some GREAT lessons for writing fiction. Let me first describe the most recent two, then I will get into what really works for me about them.


This is a BBC series that was two seasons (and MAN, I wish it had continued, as the cliff hanger at the end of season 2 was sublime, but alas... it is done).

Premise: A flu epidemic has killed all but about 10% of everybody. That remaining 10% appear to be immune to it—they don't get sick at all... with one exception—the main woman in the series is so sick that she MISSES everyone dying around her. Her husband nurses her and she is WAY out of it... when she wakes up, everyone around her is dead. The first episode is this person by person finding another, then pairs finding each other... Until they are the small cluster of people we will watch through the two seasons as they try to make due.


This is a nuclear war set-up—I believe it turns out 23 US cities have been bombed and the show follows the life in a small Kansas town and how they try to renegotiate life in a time that returns to bartering. The town has a small medical clinic, a single store, a bar, a church... and a lot of baggage, as small towns do.

Why are these stories so appealing to me?

Probably the biggest factor is the desperation of the circumstances. Goods are instantly in short supply. Law and order are a thing of the past. In both stories, the criminal element organizes very quickly, looting and hoarding. People trying to do the right thing are just at such a serious disadvantage. The bad guys arm themselves and don't have qualms about killing over 'stuff'.

The situation brings out the best and the worst in people—some people become savage survivalists—every man for himself (or clan for himself, as the case may be). But there are also people who really rise to the occasion. I think the disparate directions personalities can take when subjected to desperate circumstances makes for such great fiction.

CONSPIRACY!!! Oh, I LOVE a good conspiracy, and both of these seem to have one under the core... in fact Survivors has more than one—a bit like when the Ministry and the Death Eaters were not yet the same thing—and organized force of evil and an organized force of “good” that is playing by the 'any means necessary' rule. Makes for a rich canvas of enemies.

New and Old: I am talking relationships here. Survivors is people who did not know each other previously, and I love the intentional fresh start, but where their past always comes back to bite them. I like the unlikely alliances formed. (in this case, my favorite is actually between a young Muslim boy—very devout, who is the only one to stand up from prayers as all the others have died in the midst of it, and a young oil prince of sorts—his mother is English and father a Kuwaiter oil guy—the young man in his 20s has clearly always been pampered—the two find each other first and have brought such opposite sides of their culture that they really hate each other initially, but end up very close.)

Jericho is the opposite case—small town folks are way too involved in each other's lives—so much so that some people try to flee—the main character in fact is one who has only come to collect an inheritance (unsuccessfully) and leave again, but the bombs hit as he leaves causing a series of car accidents and a need to find it in himself to do the right thing and save a bus full of kids. There are expectations everywhere for him to screw up and people around every corner he's had run-ins with...

I think the fiction take-home messages are these:

Make the stakes VERY high. Life or death is good.
Limit who can be trusted. A lot.

Make sure the bad guys could COMPLETELY devastate the MCs.
Keep the focus on relationships. Throw some really unexpected alliances in there.
Keep jerking the solution just out of reach.

So there you have it. My excuse for watching TV. Teehee.

Any of you have any shows currently feeding your fiction brain in large doses?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fiesta Friday: Naked Vampires anallat...

La cucaracha, la cucaracha,
ya no puede caminar,
porque no tiene,
porque le falta,
marijuana que fumar.

Should we examine those fiesta lyrics?

Shouldn't Google Earth let me get this from a slightly different angle?
The Cockroach, the cockroach.
Already he can't walk
because he doesn't have it
because it's missing
Marijuana to smoke.

The cockroach can't walk without it's marijuana!
Just like the Vampire without blood, I'd imagine...

*cough *

Man, I loved Spanish.

So I'm not sure if we have people here who CAN walk because there is marijuana or people who CAN'T because there ISN'T... Or maybe we should just break out the tequila and call it a draw? But we are having a little party with some newses* and celebraciones! (* I made up this word *shifty*)

I'm going to start off with our friend Roland Yeomans... this is a news and invitation sort of thing, but also largely an excuse to start off with the above picture. Roland is giving away his book Blood Will Tell  for FREE! He is seeking reviews on Amazon and if he gets at least 10, he will give away an autographed picture of THAT hottie! (thank you Roland for the excuse to post naked Eric).

So to GET Roland's book, just go and click to buy. It's free. Then, when you get a chance to read it, post a review on Amazon—there are readers who will only purchase books with at least ten reviews. Though just downloading may get him a nice rating this weekend which helps... download even if you can't read right away... but the REVIEWS determine the PICTURE (not that one) giveaway).


"Life is never fair. And perhaps it is a good thing for us that it is not."
-Oscar Wilde

When we think evolution, we think of the life forms we can see. But what if evolution would occur on the microscopic level?
What if red blood cells achieved intelligence? Would they be happy at the world in which they find themselves? And if they didn't, what might they do?
In this story intelligent blood is starting an offensive against Man.
One lone telepath finds himself a helpless spectator as the race of Man is subjugated into mindless drones.
When the war is over, and he finds himself totally alone ...
How can he go on and why?

Again: Free five days starting yesterday, so get it this weekend!

Then, a couple tidbits alluded to by my buddy Vic at Hairnets and Hopes:

Justine Dell has gotten a book contract from Omnific Publishing in late 2012 for her debut novel Recaptured Dreams! Congratulations, Justine! (and thanks Vic, for the heads up!)

Sarah Fine's SANCTUM, the first book in the GUARDS OF THE SHADOWLANDS series, featuring a seventeen-year-old girl who has one chance to save her best friend's soul from hell where, in the process, she falls for the indentured Guard who is sent to make sure she doesn't succeed, to Courtney Miller at Amazon Publishing, in a pre-empt, in a three-book deal, for publication in Fall 2012, by Kathleen Ortiz at Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation.

(wow, eh? Thanks also to Vic for that.--who needs to pay attention when you have minions, eh?)

And Lynn Rush got to share her next book cover this week and it's GORGEOUS!  (like to say I found this on my own, but it is thanks to Ciara Knight.

Gorgeous, eh?

And last but not least, progress for yet another blogger friend: February Grace has had five poems and two short prose pieces accepted for publication. Congratulations, Bru!!! (and congratulations ME for finding a newsworthy piece of info all by myself...)

I'm sure there was lots more great news, but as I've confessed, my attention span is short. I'd also like to leave you with this. My stress of late, caused by health and money trouble, unexpectedly collided and formed a brilliant glitter bomb of goodness... as in one problem solves the other. I know that makes no sense, but only because I can't tell you more out of respect for HWMNBMOTI's privacy. My world improved immensely in the long run yesterday (even if the next few months may remain rough).  Nakedness should soon return.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Some Weighty Limmericks

Wouldn't the chair defense be nice?
*as if *

I fear I have fallen in a rut
Due to the ever growing size of my butt
I know I must run
It even is fun
But I can't control what I put in my gut.


I really don't want to be thick
But why can't a diet be quick
It would sure be a winner
If a spell made me thinner
Now if I could just find that dumb stick

Running can sure make me sore
but thank goodness it isn't a bore
I have my good friends
as we tighten our ends
But I wish it would tighten them MORE.

You see my friends... the couch to keg program is BACK ON!

My daughter is taking a Personal Fitness class at school and their primary goal is to build to running a 5K (sound familiar) though they are jumping in much faster (as teens can do), but my daughter said they are allowed, for their final, to run a road race instead of a written final and she invited me to join. That jump started me, so here we go...

I am still having trouble with the eating end. Life is too stressful for active dieting... in fact it is really too stressful to THINK about eating. I do try to get my nutrients... I have a business meeting in Hawaii in May, so I suppose setting that as a goal date might motivate... won't want to wear many clothes there... for the moment, though, I am going to be happy with the Couch to Keg...

Maybe I will set the 23rd for the diet start date—that is 4 months before my next birthday, which seems ANOTHER good goal...

And As a final note: today would have been my grandma's 89th birthday. Happy birthday, grandma!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beautiful Bitch

For my first foray into TMI Tuesday, I thought I'd confess something to you, and then give you a little background...

This is my definition of a fabulous figure
Had I been drop-dead gorgeous—slimmer of form, better boobage, maybe a little less 'cute' and more elegant (or better yet, exotic)—I think I might have been a raging bitch.

Where do I come by this thought? Well it is a little philosophy and a little self awareness. Let me e'plain... I will start with the self-awareness bit...

My Own Personal Hedonism

I really LIKE things I like. I like good food, to be wined and dined, to have someone play music for me or write me poems. I like presents. And I particularly like to be the center of attention to as many people as possible. [um... that's not something I am supposed to admit, is it?] But, there. I said it. (I mean what OTHER sort of person would be leading a quest for World Domination? It's not like I've been leading you on as some shrinking violet—though I do LIKE violet... or any shade of purple, but never mind.)

See... aren't I grand? *shifty*
My Imbalanced Sense of Worth

You know how some people can't take a compliment? That's not me. Whenever I've had times people told me wonderful things about myself, I inevitably believe I'm deserving. Oh, sure. I might blush a little. But I don't doubt it. I think this is the only child in me. Only children have more socialization from adults than other children, and adults are often generous in telling children how clever they are. Is it my fault I believed them? And if that will to believe has followed me forward?

Now I was always a sensitive child. I don't think I would have ever been outwardly mean. When I saw people experience that, I felt bad for them. I don't like mean people and I just don't think I'd be MEAN. But as a kid I did, a couple times, stand by while my friends picked on someone else—usually we'd all participated in deciding the person deserved it—it was usually the 'take down a peg' of someone we thought was behaving stuck-up. (None of us picked on anyone 'socially downward'--which sounds bitchy in itself, but every middle school kid understands the hierarchy to some degree. We weren't the MOST popular, but a few among us (who were not me) were actually pretty close up there)

Nobody every talks about the GOOD side of peer pressure.
But the Biggie is my philosophy on NURTURE... Or more specifically, Peer Socialization

Or what I sometimes call the strange case of Sirius Black. See, for most of us, we want to be WITH people, and if we act like asses, people DON'T want to be near US. This trains us to be a little less ass-like. But BEAUTIFUL people draw us ANYWAY. We believe ourselves to be more beautiful just by rubbing up. We tolerate from them things we would not tolerate in others. And so unless they have EXTRAORDINARY parents or the very very rare case of very sweet temperament... and I shouldn't say it is so rare. I've known a few beauties who were wonderfully kind. They tended to be shy or very gregarious.

But the point is, I don't happen to believe I had one of those natures. And while my mom nurtured that 'be kind' thing, I don't think I got the 'care about others' quite as strongly just because we were such a small little cluster at home. So my peers were necessary... they never ostracized me, but the FEAR that if I behaved badly... you see what I mean...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Resorting to Memes

I think you all know my mind has been scattered of late... there are reasonable reasons, but that doesn't make the chaos any less. I've decided in the short term, I think playing with a couple memes might be the way to go.

How is it possible I didn't think of this...
I'm not normally a meme girl. What. What's that? Are there people who don't know what memes ARE? (Is that even possible?) Well, for anyone unsure, a meme is a day of the week theme... We do them at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash, though there I think it's easier as we have eight of us, so we each only hit a given meme about once every other month.

But I've been thinking maybe that memes might help me make some sense of the madness in my life and head. I only plan to do this through February and March, as I know my attention span is limited and so that is probably as much as I can do on one topic without running out of steam, so to speak...

And I only plan to do the memes a couple days a week as I am not very good with rules and know I will have OTHER things I want to write about. So without further ado... here are the themes you can expect for the next little while:

TMI Tuesday

You know me. TMI is really a lifestyle choice. So I will rant, share, spew, spill and whine... but only on Tuesday. Mostly.

Weighty Wednesday (except on the first Wednesday)

The couch to keg program is back on. And I really need to seriously get to the eating thing...

Arriba! Arriba! Andale!
And finally, Friday Fiesta

I am going to TRY (and this isn't my strength, so bear with me) to keep track of my friends' successes and throw a little party for them—a raw raw if you will for the successes I see over the week. (I'd LOVE if you'd all help me out here—email me or leave a post here if you spot a success among our blogging community. My attention span is too short and I will surely miss a lot without the help.

So that's the plan. BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

*cough *

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Social Networking Viagra

Halo, fine peoples!

It is Insecure Writer's First Wednesday, eh? (are you impressed I remembered?) And I'm definitely going through it... (can't jump over it... can't swim under it... can't go around it... gotta go through it!) *cough*

My current worry is whether I have the freaking stamina for this thing.

Apparently THIS is the Long Haul...
Keep in mind I look at perseverance as my strongest trait, but WHAT A LONG FREAKING HAUL.

I've been blogging for nearly three years now... and I've seen blogger friends burn out... and I always thought, “I love this WAY too much for that to happen.”

And I'm not burnt out, exactly, so much as for the first time in that time, life has really bitten me in the butt (and not in a good way). And to ME, blogging has always been fun, zany insanity... but not INSANE insanity...

But of course life, over a couple years, will hit ALL of us who are... you know... living... like that.

So what is the standard? Does it bore the crap out of my readers if I post ANYWAY as a big giant whiny pants? Never mind that you all KNOW my policy about PANTS (say it with me: Pants are evil. Down with pants!) I've already taken a break for a while. How long will the good will last before I have to really buck it up and be ME again?

And when I've been flacid and ineffectual of late, where the heck is the VIAGRA to stand erect again? Anybody know of any networking viagra?

So I encourage all of you to get to as many insecure peeps as possible today... And if you FIND that Viagra (other than the LOLZ Cats, which work, but are addictive) spread it around...