Losing the Groove

Today my son napped for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Guess how many words I got written in that amount of time! Just guess!!

0.

0 words.

I ate lunch. I did the dishes. I napped. And that, friends, is a productive day for me. Being pregnant is seriously harshing my vibe, yo. It’s crushing my spirit. And my bladder. And with a minimum caffeine intake, there’s no more magic elixir to keep me up nights (or days, apparently) writing my heart out.

I’m over here like, thank God I’m not puking my heart out because that’s the best I can expect these days.

Any other pregnant writers out there losing their groove?

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But Let Me Tell You a Little More About Me

Much later than I had hoped–since I had a whole new book sale/old book promotion thing going on a month and a half ago and this was part of my marketing plan–MyBookPlace.net has finally posted my Author Interview!

It’s chock full of such pearls as…

I can appreciate Grover’s growing anxiety at discovering the monster within

and…

back in my early teen days when I would have done anything to kiss a boy–any boy, I wasn’t picky

Good quality stuff. Yeah. Actually, it was the third author interview I did and most of the questions were the same so I was scraping the bottom of the barrel of thought nuggets for this one. Sorry.

Still, you should read it because it’s Sunday and you don’t REALLY want to go check the laundry, do you?

Eda J. Vor’s Author Interview on MyBookPlace.net

tell-me-more-about-my-eyes_o_4914325

 

 

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.

Post-Apocalyptic Chick-lit for $.99

EDIT: The Countdown has begun! The Homecoming Effect is now $.99 (at 11am but whatever).

51aUpM62MIL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Starting today, I am taking advantage of Amazon KDP’s countdown pricing dealio and offering The Homecoming Effect for $.99.

Bunny is just trying to rebuild her life after leaving her husband when she meets an attractive young man just out of college and spending his summer babysitting his two younger brothers. But a sexy summer fling turns found family on the run when an incident at the boys’ school has a far-reaching impact on the world at large. When the only safe place for Bunny and her boys is a strict religious community suspicious of their new residents’ legitimacy, straight-shooter Bunny is force into a complicated web of lies to keep her family whole.

 

 

Excerpt:

Bunny squared her shoulders, tucking Uncle Jerry’s old briefcase under her arm, and pushed her way out the screen door.  Junior had the other two boys busy shoveling in the back corner of the yard, which left him alone with her in the dirt driveway. He shaded his eyes to look at her and pursed his lips to whistle but thought better of it. Instead, he nodded at the house, in the general direction of the boy on the couch. Bunny shrugged. She had no more insight into Charlie’s snit than he did.

He looked away down the dirt road that led to the town square. “You want me to walk you?” he asked, grasping his shovel with both hands and leaning heavy on it. It was a boyish gesture that didn’t quite fit his manly physique but gave him the appearance of roguish indifference, which was exactly what he was going for.   

She shook her head. “Cantor is coming. He says he wants to strategize but I think he’s scoping us out.” She approached him, adjusting her dress self-consciously. He couldn’t remember her ever looking so uncomfortable in a dress. But things change, he reminded himself. People change.

“Jesus, again? What does he think he’s going to find?”

“Thankfully, it’s not about Uncle Jerry. They’ve accepted that by now. I think he’s still looking at you, actually. Running the numbers in his head, I bet, and debating which assumption is the most sinful.” She sighed, letting her posture go slack for just a moment before rolling her shoulders back again. She was steeling herself. It was a routine he’d seen a thousand times before. She was anxious and he wanted to do something about it. He wanted to smooth the lines from her forehead with his thumbs but that was too much. He knew he could lighten her mood in safer ways.

“Ain’t all sins equal?” he asked, mockingly, his gaze drifting momentarily to her hemline again. “You look nice,” he said, meeting her eyes with a wry smile. There was something about being outside the house, separated by a few feet and a large shovel, that made him feel a little more daring. “About eight years younger,” he smirked.

“In my 60-year-old dress?” she laughed. “Uncle Jerry’s mom was not a small woman. This was the best I could do.” She gave a little twirl, sending the hem up above her knees and the twinkle in her eye when she stopped reminded him of when they first met. He leaned his shovel back against the car and took a step toward her, reaching for her in his mind, but failing to translate that thought into action.

The scuffling of stones on the street nearby stopped both their breaths and they jerked their heads in the direction of the ominous sound. “Ready?” she asked, taking a deep, calming breath and planting a fake smile on her face. Junior didn’t move. He wished he’d kept the shovel. His head was frozen on his neck, his eyes fixed on the spot where Cantor would soon appear from behind the tree line, nose-first, chin-second, and balding head third.

The very second the shiny forehead appeared, Bunny sprang into action, playing the part she had invented the day the family of five had arrived on Uncle Jerry’s doorstep. “Oh what timing, Cantor, I was just checking on the boys before heading out to meet you! Charlie’s a little under the weather, I’m afraid. Sleeping off a fever as we speak. We just can’t seem to get used to this heat.”

“Mrs. Brandt,” Cantor nodded, “Mr. Brandt. How’s the day treatin’ ya?”

“Fine,” grunted Junior, reaching back to pick up his shovel. He swung it over his right shoulder in what he imagined was a manly and intimidating gesture. He was sure it wouldn’t affect the old man, given the full foot he stood over him or the roughly 40 year age difference, but it made Junior feel better to assert himself regardless.

“And your boys?” Cantor asked, making no attempt to hide the suspicion in his voice. What good was a shovel and 6 feet of muscle against an old man’s mouth?

“Workin’.”

“As it should be,” he said, turning back to Bunny, nonplussed. “Shall we?” he asked and Junior cringed at the false courtesy.

Bunny ran a hand over Junior’s slick shoulder, smearing dirt and sweat, something she wouldn’t do for any but the most discerning audience.  Cupping his chin in her hand, she pulled him down for a quick peck on the lips. Junior tightened his grip on the shovel, his eyes trained on the old man, whose brow furrowed as he judged the interaction.

As she pulled away, Bunny patted Junior’s cheek tenderly, pretending an intimacy that wasn’t entirely unpleasant to him. Nor did he fail to notice that as she dropped her hand from his cheek, she let it slide down his neck, tickle his collarbone, and rest ever so briefly on his chest. It was the only time she’d get away with it and he knew she knew it just as she knew he wouldn’t comment on it later.

“Lunch is on the counter, don’t leave it sittin’.” She patted his pec twice before dropping her hand. “Charlie can come outside after he eats but don’t give him nothin’ too strenuous. Boy wants to impress his daddy,” she said to Cantor, “don’t they always?”

She led Cantor down the driveway, calling back to Junior, “I’ll be back ‘fore dinner, Darlin’. Wait for me!”

It was the “wait for me” that struck him. She hadn’t said that since the last time they almost got caught.

The Homecoming Effect available on Amazon Feb 1 – Feb 3 for $.99.

Using Narrative Anachronism to Heal the Past

I’ve been wondering lately how much of an anachronism some of the events in my new book Like Two Opposite Things actually are.

The story, about a teen girl figuring out how love and sex and relationships work, takes place in the mid-90s just a few years after the Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas which, as a teen in the 90s my own self, had an profound effect on my psyche. Among other things (*cough* unapologetically sexist children’s media *cough*), it made some pretty solid implications about the value of my body and my voice in the world at large, how I could expect to be treated by men in general and those in power specifically, and what my word was worth when speaking out against mistreatment. Moreover, it made me question whether perceived mistreatment actually was mistreatment or if it was just the result of some negative or inappropriate behavior on my part or the part of the women I might try to identify with.

Hill being publicly dragged through the mud for suggesting that her boss was less than respectable towards her, in my young mind, meant that either homegirl was lying to get attention (which she was accused of) or she was telling the truth and no one was ever going to believe her.

And there’s a little of that in my book. There’s a boy who makes some unwelcome advances toward my protagonist. It’s not his first time doing so but no one believed it the first time around because the behavior was directed toward a younger girl, of color, and reported by her cousin who had a reputation for being something of a trouble-maker. But my protag–who is a white girl–makes the accusation while recruiting a respectable family to legitimize her and that’s when things start to change for the better.

But is that just wishful thinking on my part?

I hate that trope of the white man stepping in to defeat the forces of evil and save a population of people he doesn’t resemble because they can’t do it for themselves. But I do want to believe that whatever privilege I have can be used to redirect attention to anyone whose voice has been silenced, either by racism, sexism, ageism or homophobia (however naive that may be). It’s why I’m so interested in the She Should Run Incubator and the movement to get more women into politics. Because I want us all to have a voice. Because I want those of us who won’t let our voices be silenced speak for those who have no choice. I desperately want to believe that there is hope for us all!

While my novel is not a true story, I have seen accusations of sexual assault and rape go unexamined because of whatever prejudice existed about the accuser. And most of my experiences happened as a teen in the 90s, long before there was a rape culture hashtag or a public conversation to uncover the previously justified treatment of women as sex objects and pleasure bots for men.

It’s becoming clear to me that my novel is a fantasy. It’s what I wanted to be able to do for all the girls I knew who were mistreated not only by men but by the institutions that claimed to protect them. It’s a fairy tale.

It’s also a lot fluffier and sweeter than this post makes it out to be. A teen in love for the first time, trying to figure out what exactly love is and how it measures up to her expectations? Adorable. The sexual assault scene and aftermath? A nasty little reality check. But I can’t deny that the attitudes of the teens and some of the adults in my book are hardly what I experienced as reality in the 90s.

But maybe that’s why I needed to write it.

I’m telling you, this whole place could fall apart like that,” she says, snapping her fingers.

“Jeez, and it’s all my fault.”

Heather sits up straight and stares down at me. “Um, no. Not at all. That perv attacked you. How is any of this your fault?”

“Because I wasn’t… like, polite about it. I could have made the situation less like, antagonistic if I had just been more understanding and compassionate.”

“Chica, no. No, no, no. This has nothing at all to do with you not being nice about some jerk trying to touch you after you said no. You’re allowed to say no however you want, whenever you want and nothing that person does afterward is your responsibility. Not at all. Think about it for a second. Do you honestly think Todd would have acted much differently if you had been nice to him? Do you know how often I am super nice to him and he continues to be super rude and awful to me? Would it have changed anything if you did things differently?”

“I don’t know. Maybe?” I’m starting to think back to the timeline of events. What would have happened if I had just said something like I’m sorry, but I’m not interested. Or told him I understand how disappointing it is to like someone who doesn’t like you back. I imagine him laughing at me, telling me I was wrong, insisting that if I just kissed him I’d see how much I really did like him. Maybe I wouldn’t have fallen down. Maybe I wouldn’t have scraped up my hands and face, but there was no way he was just gonna say OK and let me walk away. He already proved that. Twice.

“Maybe not,” I say.

“Definitely not. Now get your butt up and let’s go have some breakfast. Or brunch, actually, because that’s about what time it is, lazy bum.”

Excerpt from Like Two Opposite Things, available for pre-order on Amazon.com

A Self-Published Gal Self-Promotin’

How about some quick, fun, and free entertainment this week?

 A Flash of Effect is free this week on Amazon!

From January 23 to January 27, I’m using my KDP promotion option to give my little nugget of a story away for free. Grab yours, give it a read and then, be a dear and leave a little review? I’ll take however many stars you’re willing to give, good folk. Because THAT is how Amazon works, ain’t it?

 

51aubuobgylA Flash of Effect: Inside the world of The Homecoming Effect in four short-short stories

From the author’s notes and character studies, these four flash fiction stories take you inside the world of the novel The Homecoming Effect and the character of Bunny whose motivations and backstory aren’t always as they appear. Each short story expands on the character’s inner workings, from her fierce–albeit sometimes misguided–Mama Bear instinct to her complicated relationship with “the truth”.

 

 

 

P.S. The Homecoming Effect is on sale starting next week. You could have both books for less than a cup o’ joe.

 

She’s Still My “kiss-virgin dork baby”

I am pleased as pineapple punch (and watching too much Doc McStuffins) to announce the imminent arrival of my new novel!

Like Two Opposite Things is a LGBTQ (heavy on the B) coming of age romance novel set in the 1990s, that addresses issues of sexuality and consent with an emphasis on positive, realistic teen relationships. A fun nostalgic read for 90s kids and a reinforcement of healthy social dynamics for modern teens, the fluffy romance is still smart and socially conscious. 

As I have already sworn to my mother, it is entirely fictitious (no, Mom, I don’t think you’re a neglectful, overly critical, irresponsible parent. Geez!) but based on some shenanigans that my camp friends back in the day may have gotten up to (like that time they played spin the bottle without me!!!).

It’s a pre-cell phone, not sure where anyone is unless you ask around, old-fashioned fun (I mean, if the 90s are really considered “old” already) figuring out how to have fun in the woods without getting in too much trouble kind of tale.

And it will be available on Amazon.com starting February 10, 2017.

 

ltot-book-coverLike Two Opposite Things
(available 2/10/17 on Amazon)

It all happens here, in the armpit of the jetty on the far end of North Beach. This is where Helia Desiderio–nick-named Hell-yeah by her friends–ends her reign as a kiss-virgin dork baby and finally gets up close to the campground jock, her crush, Patrick. But nothing goes the way she plans: not the kissing, not the crushing, and definitely not the no-big-dealness of kissing both girls and boys. When she has to chose between the surprisingly sweet boy who loves her and the best friend she didn’t know she had, Hell-yeah’s forced to figure out some things about life and love and who she really wants to be.