Spank Your Inner Moppet and Get Over It

One of the things that bothered me the most about my crappy book review was this statement:

“If you want to write a story of decision then make the protagonist have a real choice. … When three quarters of the book is about the two girls you know how it is going to end.”

Because… the REAL choice had nothing to do with sexuality. And I mean, obviously, the reviewer didn’t understand that (or much else, apparently) but I’m wondering if my real meaning was lost in all the bi-phobia.

The main character’s two options for love interests were:

  1. A teenage fantasy of forever love and dramatic declarations
  2. A comfortable friendship with romantic underpinnings

And while option 1 is what the MC thinks she wants because her entire culture tells her to want that, option 2 seems like the better choice.

I’m not saying it doesn’t matter that option 1 is a boy and option 2 is a girl. That plays into the whole cultural influence factor. But it’s not just “should I choose the boy or the girl? Whoops, now I’m a lesbian forever.”

The other thing that REALLY REALLY bothered me, although more because maybe the reviewer is a little twisted, was this gem:

“Have some of the girls be mean to the guys or even molest some of the other girls.”

Um… there was no molestation in the story. There was a sexual assault by a boy, AGAIN because that plays into the cultural influence of boy/girl dynamics, and it was not graphic or gratuitous at all. So to REQUEST girl on girl molestation is… well, it’s freaking twisted, man. WHO SAYS THAT? Ugh, there’s not enough ick in the world already?

I promise that this is not about getting a bad review and dwelling on it. This is about just… a really nasty, bi-phobic, ignorant, disgusting review and I am so disappointed that no one else of the hundred plus people who downloaded and/or read the book haven’t commented on it or written a less horrid review to combat it.

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Ugh, I hate it when nasty people get away with such yuck.

 

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A Plea to Readers

Dear Readers of ebooks, specifically on Amazon but elsewhere as well,

Please take a moment and rate the books you read, especially by independent authors. It makes a world of difference!

I know from my sales stats that at least 100 people have downloaded my newest book and my KENP score (pages read) is up in the thousands so people are reading it. Two lovely people gave me favorable ratings on GoodReads, which I am grateful for, but my Amazon rating remains at a 1 star with a nasty review by a small-minded troll which makes it look like one jerk read my crap book and hated it rather than the lots of readers, some of whom thought it was at least OKish.

Just throw those indie writers a bone. Give a few stars. Make them feel like they aren’t total crap for trying.

Thanks,

An Indie Writer with an adorable book rated 1 star by some jackass who wants to see the world burn

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Those Who Can’t

Wwwwwow. Just received my first book review on Amazon and it is UNpleasant.

3c4b46406ed9ec02dd2cdc88148cb88eIf you want to write a story of decision then make the protagonist have a real choice.. Have her have intense love for both of them. When three quarters of the book is about the two girls you know how it is going to end. I wish authors would be original and not always have the two of the same sex get together. And stop making the guys be the molesters and mean. Have some of the girls be mean to the guys or even molest some of the other girls. If you’re writing a book about growing up make it about the real world and not some stereotypical one.
I’m trying to be upset about it but I can’t. This review screams “I have problems of my own that your book doesn’t fix” and there’s nothing I can do about that.
I did get a 4 star and a 5 star rating on GoodReads though.
And I know I’m not supposed to respond to critics because blah blah engaging the trolls whatever but… just in general, I’m going to keep writing the stories I want to tell because I want to tell them. That’s why I started writing. My advice to people who leave reviews like this is:

Go write that book you want to read!

My Stats So Low

Whoa! Check out the stats now!

 

Apparently, all you have to do is give it away and those stats go way down. Neat! Thanks to everyone who downloaded it!

Now what do I have to do to get ya’ll to review it?

 

Another Adorable Self-Promotion

ltot-book-coverWhile thoroughly in awe that I sold more copies of this book than I anticipated (one each to my best lady friends+ one to my husband who would never read it = 3), nevertheless, I love this book and want more people to read it.

So I’m doing my free promotion thing and giving this little darling away.

Starting Saturday 2/18 and ending Wednesday 2/22, Like Two Opposite Things is available FOR FREE on Amazon.com.

And friends, if you like it, for the love of algorithms, please give it a rating. Amazon loves that stuff.

What’s it all about, you ask? Well, I’ll tell ya:

Helia Desiderio–nicknamed “Hell-yeah” by her friends–is just a kiss-virgin baby dork embarrassed by her 15-year kiss-free streak and her free-wheeling, light-partying parents who spend their weekends misbehaving in a mid-90s family campground while she lets her best friend Heather take care of her. But Heather’s got a plan that’ll bring the campground kids together: a friendly game of Spin the Bottle where anyone can kiss anyone, boy or girl and anyone who has a problem with that can go jump in the lake. Things get complicated when the new girl arrives and Hell-yeah discovers that her clean-cut handsome jock crush object, Patrick, isn’t all that, the grungy smoker boy with the greasy hair isn’t as bad as he seems, and the new girl, Desiree, has more than friendly feelings that Hell-yeah might just be feeling herself.

It’s fluffy and adorable with just enough social conscience to make it worth your precious time. Give it a read, friends!

This One’ll Haunt Me

It must be that time of the year where all of my energy goes into being awake and anything beyond that is just too much. I haven’t been writing more than a couple of sentences here and there and it’s making this WIP REAL hard to finish.

Here’s an excerpt just to prove that I’ve done something:

The primary reason counselors didn’t “get to know” their cases personally was because spirits generally couldn’t focus enough to chat. Instead, there was a team of researchers cataloging cases, researching histories, conducting interviews with surviving family members and writing concise yet thoroughly informative case studies for operators and counselors to review beforehand so they’d be prepared for the emotions attached to issues assumed. When counselor met spirit, it was usually in a haze of disorientation and volatility. The spirit often lashed out, confusing the counselor for the person or people most closely associated with their barrier. The very first step in spirit counseling was just calming the spirit down, sometimes just enough to listen, sometimes enough to respond to questions.

 

Mrs. Atkins was different. She took longer than usual to take form, drifting together piecemeal without the customary chaos of swirling particles and light. The atmosphere shift was different as well and not nearly as uncomfortable while still being significantly electrified. Once a cohesive form had taken shape, it hardly moved. Subtle shifts in color and brightening and fading of light were the only indications that there wasn’t, in fact, a solid form present. That, and she floated.

 

“Mrs. Atkins,” Catori had said. “Barbara Atkins?”

 

“Yes,” the form had said, clear as a bell. The form appeared to be sitting, hands folded on its lap, eyes cast downward.

 

“My name is Catori and I’m here to help you.”

 

“Are you?” it had said. The flatness of her tone had seemed to Catori a mix of dejection and disinterest.

 

“Yes. And I know I’m not the first. I may not be the last. But we’re not giving up on you, ma’am. We’re going to help you move on.”

 

“Oh,” was all it said.

 

Three quarters of an hour passed and neither had spoken. They were already beyond the point where previous counselors had given up, either after talking themselves blue or waiting impatiently for a response. But Catori had taken a different approach. She watched. She waited patiently for an opening, and after 45 minutes, Barbara Atkins sighed.

 

Spirits don’t sigh. They don’t breath. It was an affectation left over from a lifetime of habit.

 

“Hmm,” Catori hummed softly in response, not questioningly, but almost like an agreement. It was just enough to coax Mrs. Atkins to look up.

 

Catori made and held eye contact, tilting her head and speaking with genuine concern. “How ARE you?” she asked.

 

“Fine,” it answered automatically, politely, and with a little nod of the head.

 

“No, you’re not. Barbara,” Catori paused, letting it sink in that this wasn’t small talk, that she was really asking. “How ARE you?”

 

“Fine?” it responded but with less conviction.

 

“No,” she repeated. “You’re not.”

 

“How am I?” it asked, ducking its head, breaking the eye contact. And here’s where Catori needed to decide who this woman was, what she really needed, and to give it to her in a way that would be helpful.

 

“You’re dead.”

 

“Oh,” Mrs. Atkins said sadly but thoroughly unsurprised.

 

“Your spirit is stuck here.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Do you know why?”

 

“None but ourselves can free our minds,” it said, quoting Bob Marley.

 

“That’s true. But we can help each other.”

 

“Can I help you?”

 

“Maybe. Can I help you?”

 

“No.” The spirit sighed again.

 

“Can I try?” Catori asked.

 

They looked at each other for a long time, each appraising each other. And then finally, the spirit nodded.

 

Look for it on Amazon… someday when I’ve gotten around to finishing it.

This Goes Out to All Two Fans

ltot-book-coverAs of today, my new novel, Like Two Opposite Things, is available in ebook format on Amazon and I am pretty psyched to have a decent best selling rank for once.

Not overall, of course. Not in all time paid books because I don’t get that much love.

THIS, however, is pretty awesome for an amateur:

#184 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks > Romance > Lesbian Romance

That’s right. #184. For … today because once my preorders aren’t being counted anymore, that number will slip down, down, down into the thousandth and the ten-thousandth and the millionth place where it probably belongs.

But I’ll tell you what: it’s nice to see a number other than $0 in my royalties chart. It’s nice to see that red line in KDP sales reports go up above 1. I’ve never expected that I would make a lot of money or gain a lot of popularity by writing books and self-publishing on Amazon but when I get just a little bit of either, it feels pretty nice.

Is There Gold in Them There Leftovers?

Oh a house-hunting we go, my fam and I and today’s selection was a definite NO.

As far as crap shacks go, the house was on the decent end of the spectrum… unless you count what the current tenants have done to it.

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I have ish with buying tenant-occupied houses partially because my bestie was in a rent-to-buy situation many years back that didn’t work out. She and her husband spent a month cleaning out the possum-trap of a pool. They painted, they repaired, they loved… and then they lost. It was a total bullcrap bait-and-switch and who’s to say, when you try to buy an occupied house, that the tenants will actually leave when the deed switches hands.

Ish number two is exactly what I saw today: tenants who do not give a flying fudgesicle about your hardwood floors and granite counter tops. They’re here to drink some (by which I mean AH LOT of) beer, leave their laundry all over the floor, let you know what they had for lunch… yesterday and possibly last week, and totally light a candle before leaving the house. Oh yeah, unattended candle burning in the living room on a shelf with a few too many screws built in the dark with a butter-knife screwdriver. And that was just the first floor.

The basement was the stuff of nightmares. If you’re me. I have nightmares about bathrooms and finding bathrooms and fitting into bathrooms (oftentimes, the doors to the bathrooms in my dreams are mouse holes or Dagobah caves) or feeling like I’m trapped in the bathroom only it’s not a real bathroom and I have to pee on a dirty lounge chair. The basement bathroom in this house was about a foot above floor level without the accompanying rise in ceiling.

Now, I am a small woman. When I can touch the ceiling without much effort, well that there is a tiny ass little room. And there was a shower. And I think the top of my head would have reached just above the shower head. Soooo….. no. That’s a no. Nightmare bathroom? Definitely not.

We thanked the realtor, who had to work WAY TOO HARD to get us in to see the place, as we stepped over the decorative shards of broken beer bottles in the driveway, noting that Oh, Wow, the garage IS big if it can fit that many empty boxes of beer! Then we drove away shuttering and frankly, a bit offended that they would ask THAT MUCH for a place that honestly, could have burned down by now. It’s been about four hours so… yeah, a little place like that with so much kindling (the dirty laundry and empty beer cases on the floor) could probably go up pretty quickly, right?

In no way does this compete with the Game of Thrones basement gate house but it was up there on the “this showing was a mistake” list.

Meanwhile, we saw a house last week in the final stages of construction that might just be a dream house. We put in a call to the contractor today to see if we can’t get things moving because… seriously, the market in our area right now is crap shacks and junior crap shacks (those being smaller by a ridiculous degree) and our house might just sell supa-quick despite its smaller size if only because it seems pretty obvious that no one’s been murdered in our bathrooms.

I Can Build My Own Dystopia!

What IS the fascination with dystopias, anyway? I mean… I’m totally into it to, so no judgement here but why are we so interested in everything falling apart?

I read a great post this morning (that I now can’t find or I would absolutely link to it) reviewing and recommending a handful of dystopian novels and for each one, I was all, “Ooooh!” and “Let’s put that in my GoodReads TO READ list along with the 50 other dystopian novels I’ll never get around to.”

I have a whole Pinterest board of post-apocalyptic pictures. Because I like to look at them. They make me feeeeeel something and it’s something like nostalgia mixed with existential dread with a dash of optimistic Let’s Remake The World The Way I Want It!

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And as a writer, I can. So take that.

As far as dystopias go, I’m not sure The Homecoming Effect exemplifies the existential dread part of my Pinterest collection but there is an element of nostalgia–of living more simply, providing for oneself and family, worrying less about “success” and more about survival–and definitely some optimism, especially in the main character, Bunny, who becomes so obsessed with providing a better future for her children that she risks their safety in the here and now to get a school built in her tiny religious town.

From The Homecoming Effect (on sale 2/5-2/7 for $1.99 on Amazon):

“Let us not beat around the proverbial bush, Mr. Cantor,” Bunny began before they even crossed the threshold of driveway to country lane. “Because Lord knows that I am not the kind of woman who likes to mince words. What are my chances here? This school means the world to me and I think you know that.”

It was really Bunny’s children that were her world, more so now that the world had changed so drastically that there wasn’t nearly as much to distract her from that very fact. Career ambition and job security were relics of the past, from a time when there were more options for women, for everyone, and perhaps that was behind the hold up with the school. Perhaps the town folk knew better about education and where it leads. There’s fear of the unknown, she thought, and then there’s fear of the known too well to be repeated.

But this idea, this school, this position of leadership in the community had become an obsession. It was the only solution to the problem of how to provide best for her children, how to solidify her standing in the community, and how to keep her family safe and whole. She was too eager for it, she knew it, and it was affecting her ability to control the situation.  

“Fair chance, Mrs. Brandt. Fair enough, I suppose, for any such endeavor. But there are some… concerns.” The old man’s already leisurely pace slowed as he turned to look her right in the eye. All chivalry aside, Cantor could be just as brash as she was, just as eager for information, and none too shy in asking for it. “Remind me how old you are now?”

She chided herself inwardly for pushing too hard too fast but outwardly, Bunny giggled and gently patted his sleeve, “Mr. Cantor, don’t you know a lady never tells? Besides, we’ve been over and over this, between me, you and half the darn congregation. I am well aware of how much younger my husband looks than me and God’s own truth be told, he might just be a couple of turns of the sun shy of my ripe old age, but my body’s been through hell and back carryin’ those three boys. What mother of three doesn’t look a little ragged ’round the edges?”

It was a game they played whenever they spoke and why she suspected he had agreed to be her ally. Cantor wasn’t nearly as pious as his reputation in the town suggested nor was he so simple as to give credence to her contrivances. She knew he was hiding as well as he knew she was. The difference was that he played a tighter strategy, alone and elderly, where she always had several pieces in motion and not all of them so easily directed. She intentionally quickened her pace, as much to distract as to hasten him toward the town center. His mind may be quick, she thought, but his body was ungainly and preoccupying it with movement was her best defense.

“But my boys bein’ half grown now,” she continued, propelling him forward with the melody of her speech. “I’m gonna let you determine the round about of my age from your own decent calculations. I have assured you and swore by the Almighty that all three of my boys were born into a lovin’ sanctified marriage and anyone who don’t believe it can ask God his ownself. But I don’t need to be telling you this, Mr. Cantor. You know my soul is clean as yours. You swore to it when you vouched for my family and advocated for their entrance into the congregation if I remember correctly. And if it’s a bit of gossip standing between me and building a school for the betterment of every youngin’ in this township, well that there’s the flimsiest excuse I ever heard.”

51aUpM62MIL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Cantor smirked, the way he did whenever Bunny compared them to each other. “O’ course, Mrs. Brandt,” he said, nodding his approval. “I’m sure you understand I’ve been backing you because God knows I don’t want no more gov’ment hounds trying to take over. We don’t need that poison in our fine fellowship here. But if the Church is gonna govern the people, the Church has got to be… clean. Untouchable, even. And a representative of our schoolin’ system… well, I can’t tell you how embarrassing it would be to find… secrets of the none-too-Christian kind amongst our leadership.”


There was a defining truth to his statement that Bunny was very well aware of, knowing that the safety of her loved ones lay in her ability to talk her way into or out of whatever situation arose. Here, in this township, they could be together. They could be a whole and healthy family, just as long as they could play by the rules. She knew better than anyone that the Godfolk had all the power. Their townships were the only refuge. Pretending piety was the best solution to their situation, and the only hope for happiness.

Maybe it’s just that our own personal worlds can fall apart so easily. We want to know that we can rebuild in a way that isn’t awful, maybe even in a way that’s better than what we used to have.

Grandma Likes ‘Em Randy?

I was asked recently if my book is a “randy book” and I responded that it’s about 20% randy. I mean, there’s a story that has nothing to do with sex but it also has a little something to do with sex so… about 20%, I guess. Yeah.

I estimate a 20% Randiness Factor in The Homecoming Effect, on sale today and tomorrow for 99 cents.

 

Excerpt from Chapter 23 of The Homecoming Effect:

51aUpM62MIL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_“There’s a condom in my back pocket,” he whispered, his lips grazing her ear as he spoke. His hands occupied themselves on the top buttons of her blouse. Her hands had been busy stroking the hair at the nape of his neck.

“Wait, what?” Bunny said, pulling back to look at him. Daniel pushed his lips against hers and the temptation to taste his tongue was too strong. She wasn’t going to lie to herself and pretend she wasn’t wanting the same thing, but this being their first kiss, pushed against the kitchen counter in her mother’s house during an unexpected mid-morning visit, she wasn’t sure she was quite ready to throw down that quickly.

His hands slid down her back and over her back side, squeezing then lifting to sit her on the counter. He leaned between her open legs, and she pulled him against her.

I should stop this, she thought, her mouth working against his. He’s… young and I’m…  and… there are so many things wrong with this, she thought, wrapping her legs around his waist. His hands traveled up her skirt by way of her knees, her thighs, resting at the crevice below her hips, his thumbs tracing the elastic line of her panties. But… isn’t he starting a job soon, she wondered, and I’ll… be busy with my son, she justified, and we’ll… probably never see each other after that so maybe…

She slipped a hand into his back pocket and there it was, the condom. Two, actually. Ambitious, she thought.

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And now I’m feeling a little embarrassed that I let my grandmother read it.

She liked it, though.