Meet My Irresponsible Muse

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My Muse is definitely a drunk girl in a bathroom.

What incredible inconvenience, my mystery muse, to give me an idea whose time has come just in time for me to have NO TIME for writing! I’m already juggling enough, my muse! How can you just slap a story across my face and expect me to comply?! Don’t you see those IKEA boxes full of children’s furniture sitting on my nursery floor? Can’t you tell my mommy brain is in full effect? Don’t you see my struggling to get up into my cafe table desk chair? Why? Why now?!

 

So good news, I have a great idea for my next book!

Bad news, I’m like… SO pregnant and so busy and so distracted that I don’t think it’ll happen any time soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a preorder on my last new book so… cool! Thanks, Mom. Or ladyfriend. Or… stranger?! Regardless, you won’t be disappointed. Lay Her Ghosts to Rest is the best thing I’ve written so far and I’m super proud of it. Tell your friends! Make them order it too. Momma’s going on maternity leave soon and needs some residual income, if only enough to buy a few more ice creams before the summer ends.

 

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Cheeky preview of my next new thing. 

What’s Your Workplace Inequality Rant?

I’m a short lady who doesn’t necessarily look her age (from afar, at least) and while I have very healthy self-esteem and can command a room with just the power of my saucy attitude, I still deal with a whole lotta dismissive, condescending, underestimating bullcrap. Especially in the workplace. Especially from old men who call me sweetheart or honey and treat me like a precious little princess.

And we’re not talking Elena of Avalor or Merida of the Arrow in your behind if you sass her. I mean more like those people who dress toddlers up like pageant queens. Might as well just pat my head and wax my arm hair, because Momma needs to live out her beauty queen fantasies through you, my little princess.

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Pointed… at… your butt.

It’s infuriating. And even as I get older and start to look older, graying hair and wrinkly eyes and Anne Tayloresque ensembles and, you know, seniority and all, I still get treated this way because it has nothing to do with me or who I am or how I’m qualified or what my title or place in the hierarchy may be.

Little girls get lollipops, not respect.

I have no solution at present, other than possibly to borrow Merida’s bow, but I want to feel that I’m not alone so I like to put my stories out there and provide a forum for thought or discussion, much like the main character in my new book, Lay Her Ghosts to Rest, eventually does in her own workplace*.

I’ve added a discussion question on GoodReads for this purpose. What’s your workplace bullcrap behavior story and would you care to share it in my forum?

You can find it here. 

 

*Excerpt from Lay Her Ghosts to Rest

“Catori, that’s all so wonderful and truly a remarkable breakthrough but I have to tell you–this is what I’ve been waiting to tell you–that there absolutely is a better way and you’ve already found it. You’ve already implemented it. You have already made significant, compassionate, beneficial changes to this Institution and you did it just by being your own, admittedly flawed, self.”

Catori furrowed her brow. She wasn’t in the mood to celebrate whatever had made Dr. Sunkireddy so happy to see her. She wanted to wallow in the gravity of reality for a while. She wanted it to be clear in her own mind what she was saying and thinking and feeling and connect them all in a significant way.

But she didn’t want to be rude either. “How so?” she asked with little enthusiasm.

“You’ve started what could accurately be called a grassroots revolution among the employees here. They’ve been coming to me and the other counselors in droves over the past week, talking about you and the discussion groups you’ve been having in the Lounge after hours. They’re excited and relieved and hopeful and every single one of them credits you.”

“Oh.”

A Little Something on the Side

FREE THIS WEEK

(before the novel it’s based on becomes free NEXT week)

it’s A Flash of Effect!

 

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Four short stories that take you inside the world of the post-apocalyptic chick-lit novel The Homecoming Effect and the character of Bunny, a fast-talking, bull-slinging, fiercely loyal adoptive mother with a powerful Mama Bear instinct and the hots for her young neighbor.

Why should you read it? You mean other than that it’s free, fast, and full of some Strong Female Protagonist love? Because it’s all about those universal themes. Sex, love, children, religion, and government.

Go ‘head now, give it a read!

 

 

 

Excerpt from Safe Sleeping:

“Tell me, though. How did you land yourself some a handsome young thing? You ain’t no spring chicken, girly, but if that man ain’t hardly just a man, then I’m a gov’ment agent myself, come to take your children away.”

Bunny bristled despite herself.

“Oh no, no, don’t go gettin’ upset. I’m so far from bein’ gov’ment, I can’t even spell it proper. But I am a curious bystander here. How is it you’re not hopping on that joy ride in a shelter right now?”

Kat continued to ignore Thea as long as she wasn’t talking about her. For a woman who prayed on the rosary every few minutes, it was odd that she wouldn’t protest such a conversation. But as the belief that Bunny and Junior were legitimately married and biological parents of all three of their children was paramount to their survival, in city or township, she played along with whatever Thea threw at her.

“Oh darlin’, ain’t nothing I wouldn’t like better than to be a good wife to my husband,” she winked. “But three little mouths are enough to feed and rationing don’t cover family planning, if you know what I mean.”

“Rationing don’t cover much of anything a woman needs, does it?” she agreed. “Shame.” She shook her head. “My husband wasn’t hardly the stud that one is but I would take any opportunity I got to get under him again. Crazy or no, he was my man.”

Bunny’s eyes glossed over for just a moment as the sentiment hit her hard in the chest. She wished she could say the same. She wished things had been different after the war. But if they had been, her life wouldn’t necessarily have been better and three of the four boys she spent all her energy protecting would be out on their own and probably separated by now. No, she thought, there was no use dwelling on what could have been when what was here now was what she needed to focus on. She had gotten all the information she needed from the women and felt secure enough in their sleeping arrangements for the night that she could relax and maybe rest a bit with her family.

A Flash of Effect is free on Amazon 7/20 – 7/24. Look for The Homecoming Effect on Amazon, free next week!

All the Adventures Belong to Men

I’m looking through free stock images on this helpful resource (https://unsplash.com/) for purposes that have to do with my NEW BOOK and finding that most of the women are relaxing and throwing their hair back or taking pictures on their cell phones or wearing hip, youthful clothing whereas the men are doing… like, all sorts of things:

White river rafting, mountain climbing, checking their watches, being beautiful, being old, soldering, making music, making movies, bathing in mountain streams, jogging, biking, getting some ice cream, driving old cars, jumping in puddles, playing with kids, working in an office, and exploring the abyss.

Oh and there’s another woman relaxing and throwing her hair back while wearing a hip and youthful hat and taking pictures on her cell phone.

Totally representative of real life. Totally.

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Good hair must be an amazing adventure.

Heal the Ghosts and Let Them Go

KDP says 72 hours so I assumed I’d be making this announcement in a couple of days, but here we are, Monday morning, and guess what?

This lady is ready to (pre) party:

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Available to preorder right now on Amazon

The official description is available both on the Amazon page and my Work page so why don’t I just lay it out for you here.

What this story is really about is recognizing negative patterns and realizing how difficult it is to break them. It is told from the perspective of a woman who cares deeply for others but can’t seem to give herself the same kind of care. The context is a pseudo post-apocalyptic institutionalized solution to restless spirits. The real world connection is radical self-care being one of the steps in creating a better community; creating a better community is one of the steps of having a healthy society. 

Plus, ghosts!

I’m excited about this one, friends. I put a lot of thought and feeling and personal musing and life lessons into this one so I’m eager to see what others think. As always, the protagonist is extremely not me, but she has suffered some of the same quandaries, some similar setbacks to personal enlightenment, and she also thinks wakes are the most disgustingly unnatural perversions of grief performance.

Preorder now. Read August 11. Review without being a turd, please.

And if it really wasn’t what you were looking for (*cough bigot who reviewed my last book*), then you go start writing what you want to read, sir or ma’am, because that’s the only real way to get the story you’re looking for.

Everything’s Coming Up Self-Promotion

Hold on to your hats, my honeys, because this month and next are all about self-promotion.

I’ve got some freebies comin’ atcha! I’ve got some discounts! And then… well, I got a brandy new book available for preorder (soonish) launching on August 11.

Oh yes, that story I’ve been working on since November’s NaNoWriMo? It’s just about done and I’m ready to release that little monkey into the world and see if she climbs.

Apologies to the people on Twitter who liked my tweet:

It’s still true. I don’t follow people and then DM them to buy my book when they follow back. I don’t tweet so much self-promotion that it’s hard to tell if I’m a person or not. And while I don’t always follow back, I do like and RT hashtag tweets I think are swell.

Despite the appearance of hypocrisy, however, I do tweet about my free and discounted and new books when the time comes because… that’s what Twitter is for. That’s what all those free book hashtags are for. I’m not harassing the #amwriting crowd, kids. I’m trying to reach a larger audience.

Still… sorry for saying I don’t appreciate spammers immediately before going into full-on BUY MY BOOKS mode. Sentiment is the same. I guarantee you’ll never ever get a direct message from me.

Coming up:

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A Flash of Effect free on Amazon.com 7/20 – 7/24

Short stories that happen between scenes of The Homecoming Effect and expand on the character of Bunny and the world she inhabits. If it was possible to write fanfic about your own work, that’s what this would be.

 

 

 

 

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The Homecoming Effect free on Amazon.com 7/27 – 7/31

What does one do when the world changes dramatically right in the middle of a steamy summer fling? Travel across state lines with your younger paramour and his school-aged brothers, lie about your marital status and claim the children as your own, and settle down in a religious community where only your deception keeps your found family safe?

Sure, why not?

 

 

ltot-book-coverLike Two Opposite Things $.99 on Amazon.com 8/1 – 8/8

Eda’s got a thing for summer flings, my friends, but this one goes waaaaay back to a campground in the mid-90s where our 15-year-old protagonist gets it all wrong in her head before facing the choice between a fantasy relationship full of big gestures and dramatic declarations or the safer alternative of friendship with feelings.

It’s teen 4-EVA love without the sparkly vampires or terminal cancer.

 

And my new book launches on 8/11. More on that to come …

I Like to Tell Stories

One of my toddler’s frequent declarations lately is, “So much fun take tings apart an put them togethah.”

“I’m glad you like your toys, bud,” I say as he yanks all the face parts off a potato head for the 15th time in a row.

But he’s got a point. When you find something you love to do, something that makes sense to you and provides you with a certain amount of satisfaction even in repetition, it is so! much! fun!

Mommy says, “So much fun, writing stories, ripping them apart, and then putting them back together.” Even when I complain about editing, it’s still part of an overall process I really enjoy.

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Although… I can say that now because I’m pretty much done.

Details to follow! A new book! About ghosts and self-care and workplace issues and feminism! Oooooohhhhh!

Camp’s Closed for the Season

Camp doesn’t work for me when I’m not writing. I deleted my July Camp project today because actually, it’s just about done. And trying to find a way to record the progress I’ve made in their tracker wasn’t working. Being, as I am, a firm believer in throwing out that which doesn’t work in favor of that which does, I’m going to stick with my To Do list, finish that bad boy up, and move on with life.

Sorry, Camp, but I’m an indoor kitty.

Tardy to the Wonder Woman Party

I saw it. I liked it. I was not blown away.

SPOILERS BELOW

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell’s explanation of the template of all archetypal hero stories? If not and you’re a writer, you should (handy link provided!)

In short, there’s a dude livin’ his life, and doin’ his thang when something changes and he can choose to do something or not (What’s that you say, Chris Pine/Steve Trevor?). At first, he might be like NAH! but then he gets some sage advice from some other dude and is like, “Yeah, maybe!” The dude steps out of his comfort zone, meets some people, fights some people, and somehow discovers something about himself. Then he fights the big boss which is always such a big deal and involves much talking and stating of intentions instead of efficient killing and dying. Afterward, once the dude hems and haws over injuries that he–MOMENTS LATER–shakes off completely, the dude can go home where the changes he’s made to himself make the world a better place… somehow.

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Pretty much all of the big-budget action adventure super hero movies follow this template and Wonder Woman is no different. It was not surprising, it was not momentous, and it was basically just a woman instead of a dude.

The MOMENTOUS part of it, as described by our misogynistic culture, was that it starred a woman! And was directed by a woman! And it wasn’t a chick flick! And not just women went to see it! WHA–?! GASP!! SHOCK! AWE!

The fact that they could just substitute women in the same old story and consider it so remarkable makes me so… so very sad.

But it’s a stepping stone. And as a woman living in Trump’s America, I can guarantee we will need many… manymanymany more such steps before anything even remotely revolutionary can happen.

ALL THAT BEING SAID…

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Themyscira, where Antiope and Hippolyta live.

I liked it. I would have enjoyed it more if the entire movie took place in the land of tough pronunciation with the battle bitches unapologetically owning their power. Diana as a child? I can only hope my daughter has that kind of confidence. A society governed by women who are well aware of the follies of men and have no patience for their bullcrap? We should all be so lucky.

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I’ll tell you what was freaking satisfying: when Diana crosses her arm bands and all her power explodes out of her like she rule the planet and no one can stop her. Yeah, sure, fine, she hurt her auntie and everyone was all mad. That’s a little bit of emotional abuse right there, if you ask me (honey, no one can handle your strong feelings. Just bury those away somewhere, ok?) and if I could rage out with that kind of force, you better believe I’d be crossing “No MAN’s Land” and letting all everyone know that “I’m no man” and that, my boys, is why I’m better than you. All women are. Recognize.

Stepping stones. All the other kickass ladies in the land of obvious awesomeness (Themyscira, I over-pronounce for the fifth time) HAVE to be shocked and dismayed because the audience is supposed to be shocked and dismayed because A WOMAN?! WITH POWER?!? What IS this movie?!?!?

That’s why it had to take place in the past, you know “when women weren’t expected to amount to much” unlike now when we’re… shocked and dismayed when girl power threatens the status quo.

I was not even remotely surprised that Professor Lupin was Aries. As soon as Etta found Veld on the map and Moody stood up all suspiciously, I knew it was him. Bad guys are 1) British, 2) Not always easy to spot, 3) Tricksters, 4) Smarter than the average bear. Another set of assumptions that don’t fit into the current landscape of evil (like those loud, obviously evil leaders who openly lie, steal, cheat, scheme, and sexually harass but for some reason people keep waiting to see “who he really is”).

And of course, there’s the one good guy. He’s white and American and he’s had a tough time lately, you guys, and just wants to get married and have breakfast while his secretary does all the work. It’s not his FAULT that he has to lie and kill to make the world a better place. That’s the only thing that ever will, right? Idealism and optimism have no place in this bitter, hate-filled world and we just have to live with it, get over our daddy issues, and try not to feel emasculated when a woman kicks more ass than we do. Right? Am I right, guys?

Because strength in a woman is just man strength with boobs.

Stepping stones.

Stepping stones from having woman directors make man movies successfully to women breaking the mold and still being successful.

Stepping stones from having all male heroes to having a few women here and there.

Stepping stones from having man strength recognized in a woman to having woman strength valued in any gender.

Stepping stones from the perception that only women (who are a smaller part of the population of movie goers?!?) want to see female protagonists and that men enjoying the same movie being unprecedented and total amazeballs to the entire industry gettin’ woke and finding out that NOT ONLY are women capable, professional movie makers and profitable movie goers but that…. actually there are more than two genders and straight white American men aren’t the most superior of them all.

Those are some pretty big stones.

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P.S. I am SO HERE for mohawk braids. Somebody do this to my head so my hair doesn’t get in my eyes while I’m backflipping off my horse.

Gone Camping

It’s the graphs, you know it is. The question: why am I participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again if I’m editing and have trouble setting “goals” for non-writing activities.

GRAPHS.

I set my goal this July for one hundred and whatever pages, which is what my WIP comes out to be in non-formatted Google Doc text. But that would be just the one pass through and I’m not going to do just ONE pass at it! No sir. I already did one: the read-through to see if it makes any kind of sense. Next up: spelling and grammar check. Next after that: mapping the story to make DAMN SURE it makes sense (pass one was just a preliminary sense-making screening) and maybe during or maybe after, I also want to map the character arcs to see if they are good and satisfying.

That’s like, 2 1/2 more passes. So how do I mark that “goal” in Camp terms? Double the page count? Or double and a half? Or do I leave the goal as is and record only half the page numbers I’ve read through?

Oh, if it wasn’t for my love of graphs…

I’ll figure it out, I’m sure, but for now I’ve got an open document full of grammar errors and no more than 2 hours to see how much of it I can get through.

So far, I’m crap at Camping.

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