Tuesday, August 28, 2012

10 reasons to date a geek

I'm on full-speed Dragon*Con mode, and I can't help thinking about how pleasant it is being married to a fellow geek. If I were dating, I think I would just put on a Firefly or Star Wars shirt and go to a book store and sit there, looking hopeful, because geeks are where it's at. Here's why.

1. Whenever someone says the words TWO WEEKS, you meet each other's eyes and giggle.

2. IT'S A FRAP! and IT'S THE GAP! never get old.

3. "And then I had to go all Zoidberg on him" covers so many bases.

4. You always know who you'll be sitting with at the next movie based on superheroes.

5. Someone always has a tissue ready at the next Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movie.

6. When you say, "I just want to stay home and read in bed", they're all OMG, ME, TOO!

7. When the doorbell rings, you both hide in fear that it might be a human being. When you see that it's a box from Amazon, you can run downstairs joyously, shouting ERMAHGERD, BERKS!

8. Neither of you knew what a Snooki was until you saw it on South Park, and you're still not sure what a Kardashian is, except that you heard Abed talk about it on Community.

9. Everyone knows every line to Team Unicorn's G33k and Gamer Girlz but not a single word to Katy Perry's California Girlz.

10. You never have to worry about overly detailed Halloween costumes or being too enthusiastic or being weirdly obsessed with math/Rover/puppets or hanging out in the toy aisle of Target or reading an entire book series in a weekend or watching Firefly straight through while eating order-in Chinese because everyone understands that geekery is about celebrating and embracing the non-mainstream things you love.

*

Anybody else going to geek out at Dragon*Con?

Friday, August 24, 2012

a rant: what makes you beautiful?

I'm going to quote the lyrics of two songs I heard while driving this morning. If you will, indulge me and read them. Singing along and bopping your head are optional.

Just leave with me now. Say the word and we’ll go
I’ll be your teacher. Ill show you the ropes
You’ll see a side of love you’ve never known
I can see it going down, going down

In my head, I see you all over me
In my head, you fulfill my fantasy (my head)
You’ll be screaming no (my head)
In my head, its going down (my head)
its going down (my head)
In my head. Yeah. In my head. Oh yeah
(by Jason Derulo)

*

If only you saw what I can see
You'll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe
You don't know
Oh oh
You don't know you're beautiful
Oh oh
That what makes you beautiful
(by One Direction)

*

Do those two snippets make anyone else FURIOUS?

Let's ignore the singer, the genre, and the music. Let's forget that both songs can easily get stuck in your head all day. The tunes are undeniably catchy--that's why they're on the radio constantly. 

The problem, for me, is the words.

The first song assumes the girl is naive and ignorant, and that the singer is going to teach her everything she needs to know, which apparently includes fulfilling his fantasy, going down, and screaming no.

Think about that for a second.

The singer is saying, right there, that he's going to make a girl scream NO. Like that's a good thing.

He's saying that her function is to fulfill his fantasy. And that "a side of love (she's) never known" mainly involves being the object of his fantasy. That song doesn't say a single thing about what *she* wants, about her needs or dreams. Just his.

And then you get to the next song, which is even newer and more unavoidable. If your kids listen to the radio, it's impossible to miss. They even play it in the mall. And the main thrust of the song is that the girl in question is lovable  because she doesn't know she's beautiful. That what makes her attractive is her insecurity and weakness. That he's totally turned on by her good looks, but what really gets him off is that she doesn't know how beautiful she is.

Sweet baby jebus, what kind of damaged waifs are our girls supposed to be, to appeal to mainstream boys? Beautiful, but can't be aware of it. Naive. Willing to learn. Willing to be the man's fantasy. And this is what we're pumping into the airwaves: the message that knowing your own value is unattractive.

Now, I'm sure that if I spent an entire day listening to the pop station, I could find hundreds of lyrics about what makes a woman attractive. And I bet the only ones that involve women being strong, independent, brave, or "wrong in all the right ways" are written by... WOMEN. And it makes me so, so angry. That our society's music is used as a weapon against the female psyche, reinforcing younger and younger that the woman's self-confidence is negligible and that if she wants to be loved, she needs to be whatever the man wants.

And I bet you can guess where I'm going with this topic. I'm not going to get into politics, but I will say that women are currently being sent a very pointed message, and I will respond at the polls. I can't be surprised that the old, rich men who make the laws would benefit by keeping women just as insecure, quiet, and objectified as possible. Let the men make the rules. Let the men decide what you need to be, what's best for you. Don't define or enjoy your own sexuality; just be the man's fantasy. And in this case, the man's fantasy is that we'll be shamed or cowed into letting them take control of our rights.

Just shut your pretty mouth. The men will show us the ropes.

Guess what, guys who want an insecure woman who knows her place?

Screw y'all. 

I'm not that kind of girl. And I'm not going to raise that kind of girl.

My next book is about a powerful woman claiming what's hers. She's willing to do whatever it takes to save her family and her country. Along the way, she falls for an equally strong man who loves her ferocity and supports her endeavors. May we all find a man like that, a man whose fantasy is a woman at the height of her powers who doesn't need anyone's permission to kick ass.

May we all be that woman.

*


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

old dog; new tricks

True fact: my cell is a 2005 Samsung flip phone.

No camera. No internet. Pay-as-you-go, and I go rather slow.

But for the next two weeks, I get to try out an HTC One smartphone. I've never actually used one before, unless you count that panic attack I had once when Dr. Krog asked me to look up movie times using his thingy and I accidentally made it commit suicide. Or maybe it just ran out of batteries. But now, my challenge is to master this machine, 80s-montage-style, in time to mad-thumb tweets with pics during Dragon*Con.

My brain; it hurts.

I haven't tried to learn anything entirely new in a long time. Even writing books was just an extension of the poetry, reviews, and ad copy I've been barfing out for years. I'm sure most people didn't have this 0 to 60 period with technology, too. The rest of the world probably went from a flat phone to a flip phone to a flip with a camera to... um... Australopithecus Africanis... to an iThing. But I feel like a clumsy child, trying to maneuver in an entirely new world for which my sausage-fingers are ill-suited.

For example, fumblefingers mistyped her husband's number today and sent some ridiculous text messages to the wrong person. I had no clue until she explained she was a girl, and one without a goofy wife. Oops.

And I just now learned that I could edit photos! On the camera! And then tweet them!

For example, here's an exciting pic of Delilah's Home for Mistreated Toys:


And here's one of my steampunk pirate costume, but with the flash, because my arms aren't long enough to take a decent picture of myself:


At first, I didn't understand the big deal about a phone that contained your music, games, emails, internet, camera, video camera, and... um... phoney stuff. But then I was sitting in the Target parking lot, and the email I'd been waiting on arrived, and I FINALLY UNDERSTOOD.

This is the most instantly of instant gratification. Everything I need IS RIGHT HERE.

Let's just hope I don't get too attached.

*

up soon: DRAGON*CON!

Next Friday through Sunday, August 31 through September 2, I'll be at DRAGON*CON for the first time.



Those are preview of two of the three costumes I have planned: steampunk pirate (top), steampunk Ravenclaw (bottom), steampunk Little Red Riding Hood (unpictured). It's going to be strange, having one of the more sedate costumes in a large group.

If you're going to be there, here's where you can find me:


Friday, 8/31 11:30am - 12:30pm Steampunk in the Classroom (YA)
Friday, 8/31, 1-2pm The Abundant World of Alternate History (Alt History)
Friday, 8/31, 5:30-6:30 - Laughing in the Graveyard (Horror & Dark Fantasy)
Saturday, 9/1 1-2pm The Steampunk Author Roundtable, Part 1 (Alt History)
Saturday, 9/1 10-11pm Steamy Steampunk, Paranormal Romance, and More
Sunday, 9/2, 7-8pm - Frightening Folklore (Horror & Dark Fantasy)

If you don't see my name listed in your program, fear not! As I don't have official Guest status, I might not be shown. But I'll be there! As I haven't been to D*C before, I'm not sure where I'll be hanging out in the in-betweens. I hear the Alt History crowd chills at the Westin, and I also have grave interest in books, Venture Bros., Firefly, and Star Wars. It's going to be... busy.

I'll also be live-tweeting the experience, with pictures and possible video, from the HTC One smartphone I'll be trying out for Cool Mom Tech. Follow me at @DelilahSDawson, and we'll be all twittery together. I'll also have WICKED AS THEY COME bookmarks, Moo cards with all 3 available book covers, and Sharpies, should you wish to have your boobs (or whatever) signed.

LET'S GET OUR STEAMPUNK DRAGON ON, Y'ALL!

*

Monday, August 20, 2012

what are we reading?


On my Currently Reading pile:
* BLOOD AND SILVER by James R. Tuck
* GRAVE DANCE by Kalayna Price
* RED HOOD'S REVENGE by Jim C. Hines

On my To Be Read pile:
* RIVETED by Meljean Brook
* BLACKBIRDS by Chuck Wendig
* THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LAST by Terra McAvoy
* DREADNOUGHT by Cherie Priest

On my Recently Read Pile:
*DEADLOCKED by Charlaine Harris
*GRAVE DANCE by Kalayna Price
*FANTASY LOVER and DANCE WITH THE DEVIL by Sherrilyn Kenyon

And some recommendations for you:

If you like THE HUNGER GAMES, try:
* BATTLE ROYALE by Koushon Takami
* INSURGENT by Veronica Roth
* UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
* WITHER by Lauren DeStefano
* SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi

If you like TWILIGHT, try:
* CITY OF BONES and the entire MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series by Cassandra Clare
* FEVER and the WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS series by Maggie Stiefvater
* DEAD UNTIL DARK and the SOOKIE STACKHOUSE books by Charlaine Harris

Anybody reading something good or looking for a recommendation?

*

Friday, August 17, 2012

on depression

Depression is a nosy neighbor that sneaks in the back door, uninvited.

There is nothing wrong. Nothing. You can't complain. You can't put your finger on it. There's no machine to rage against. And yet everything is annoying, everything slightly chafes. You want to connect with people, but you can't. They say the wrong things, even when they're trying to say the right things. You wait for the phone to ring, and when it does, you don't answer it. When it's sunny, you hide behind dark curtains. When it's raining, you wish you could escape the pervasive hammering of raindrops, the feeling that if it keeps raining like that, the house will begin to leak and fall apart. You keep waiting for things to break, for anything to break, for the moment when something gives you an excuse to cry, because that would feel better than waiting to cry.

You get angry with yourself. This feeling is stupid. It's fleeting, self-indulgent, meaningless. There is, you repeat, nothing wrong. You hurt, but you can't pinpoint where or why. You think you might be starting to get sick, but maybe you just can't breathe properly. Your stomach hurts, but you don't know why. Maybe it was that salad you ate, except you haven't eaten salad, because you keep forgetting to eat. You wait all day to go to bed and sleep, but when the time actually comes, sleep retreats, just out of reach, as far away as the stars that you've forgotten to look at because you don't want to go outside.

You get caught in loops. The same websites. The same songs. The same pajama pants for days on end. You try to remember what you had for dinner last night. You try to remember the last time you felt joy. The laundry piles up in endless cycles that seem meaningless until you're out of something you need. Dust dances in sunbeams, but instead of dusting, you close the curtains.

That's the thing about depression, dark patches, bad days-- they defy reason. They can last five minutes or five years. You are smart enough to know that none of it matters, that it's totally ridiculous. You know that it's chemical, or hormonal, or part of your cycle as a human or an artist, but that doesn't stop it from dragging you down into paralysis. That doesn't stop it from hurting. That doesn't stop the thick knot in your chest that steals your breath and words. And so you keep trudging through, taking care of everyone, doing what you have to do, hitting your deadlines. But inside, you're just a sucking, infected wound that never quite heals.

The bad news: depression happens in a place no one else can see.

The good news: It will get better.

*


Thursday, August 16, 2012

a desperate, half-dressed woman needs you

Er, maybe the title was a little misleading.

I need costuming help.

I have the bare bones for a steampunk costume and can't figure out what to do with it. I've got two weeks until Dragon*Con, so online shopping and thrifting are going to be very limited, as are my pathetic sewing skills. Right now, I'm considering making some sort of bustle out of a stuffed octopus. I have a pirate tricorn, oodles of vests and jackets and boots, ruffle bustles, all that sort of thing. But I've having trouble coming up with an overall theme. The other costumes are Steampunk Ravenclaw and Steampunk Little Red Riding Hood, if that gives you any hints.

So what do I do with this?



Colors are gold and brown, in case your monitor is off. I'm up for mash-ups, personas, whatever, so long as the components are things I can make easily or buy cheaply and quickly.

HALP!

*

let's hear it for the boys... of Sang

If you check out my Pinterest boards, you'll find occasional dudes. Not the sort of my-gosh-why-does-he-shave-there-and-where-are-his-shirt/pants dudes that appear on my book covers, but the famous actor dudes who partially inspire and inform my characters.

Why are they all famous people? Because when I start writing, I need a solid picture in my head, and it helps to have a reference. Eye color, hair color, muscledyness (What? It's a word!) might change, but I watch a lot of movies, and I need a visual cue. These are physical only-- not character driven at all. So forgive me for... what shall we call it? OBJECTIFYING A BIT.

Here's a *LOOSE* run-down of the heroes of Sang:

CRIMINY STAIN of WICKED AS THEY COME


Old-school Johnny Depp with a slight dash of


Jonathan Rhys-Meyers for cheekbones and sulkiness.

*

CASPER STERLING of WICKED AS THEY COME and WICKED AS SHE WANTS


Brad Pitt as Louis de Pointe du Lac in Interview with a Vampire, but with the dimples of

 Old-school Matthew McConnaughey, circa A Time to Kill. I was eighteen when it came out, and it made me feel a little funny when they scrubbed those floors.

*

MR. MURDOCH from THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO

This one's a little tougher, mainly because he wasn't a one-to-one comparison. If I had to pin it down, I would say a dose of long-haired, jovial 


Ewan McGregor with a dash of


Alexander Skarsgaard. I mean, I guess. 

*

THOM MACCALLAN of THE PECULIAR PETS OF MISS PLEASANCE


Straight up Chris Hemsworth in a kilt. I HAVE NO REGRETS.

*
VALE HILDEBRAND of BLUD BOOK 3

I have my eye on this fellow:


With a dash of Henry Cavill as Melot in Tristan + Isolde.


*

CHARLIE DREGS of WICKED AS THEY COME and THE THREE LIVES OF LYDIA


And for the people on my Facebook page who keep saying he's hobbity (HOBBITY??), here's a less hobbity picture:



What, you didn't know Charlie was Benedict Cumberbatch? Silly goose!

*

Considering WICKED AS THEY COME is the only one actually available, did anyone else have another dude in mind? I'm curious.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

how to strangle yourself with awesomeness

So tonight, I decided I had been abducted by aliens. Again.

It started with corsets. (Doesn't it always?) See, I'm on at least six panels at Dragon*Con. That means I need costumes. LOTS OF COSTUMES.

So I decided to mash-up two of my favorite geekdoms and do a steampunk Ravenclaw costume, because is there anything better than MAGIC + MORE MAGIC, BUT WITH COGS? Thanks to my talented friend Stephanie, my favorite corseteer, and Goodwill, the outfit is coming together. And then today, on a strange whim, I bought a Ravenclaw-ish tie at Kohl's and wrapped it around my neck.

And that's when I learned... that I know how to tie a tie.

I slightly freaked out.

I mean... I'm a woman in my thirties. I don't wear ties. My husband wears ties about once a year, and then he ties them himself--probably so I won't try to strangle him for funsies. And even if I tied his tie every day, how did I know how to tie a tie on myself in reverse while looking in a mirror?

There was only one answer: I'm a sleeper agent who had just been activated and was going to go shoot things with my compound bow and Jeremy Renner dressed as Hawkeye. Or maybe there was a second possibility-- hence the alien involvement. And then my mom had to show up on Facebook and tell the world that *she* taught me how to tie a tie when I was young.

And now, I kind of remember. Not how or why I was taught to tie a tie. I simply remember staring in a mirror, being shown again and again how to do it. My mind doesn't grasp such things immediately, and I hate getting things wrong, so I suspect it was a long and annoying process--one which I totally forgot. But then it came to me, probably fifteen years later, surfacing in my subconscious, concluding in a perfect Ravenclaw knot that nearly choked me in surprise.

The brain is an amazing thing, the subconscious even more so. Since I began writing, I've been flabbergasted by the things that rise up from the murky ooze of my dreams or while typing away furiously. The perfect plot point, some small detail I've forgotten, a line so spot-on that I'm pretty certain I'm just a typing Teddy Ruxpin, blurting out someone else's much more clever words. My best ideas come when I'm letting my thoughts meander, or when I'm half asleep, or when I'm thinking about something else. In the in-betweens.

That's when the magic happens.

Sometimes, if you let your subconscious take over, things will come to you. Things will rise to the surface, working themselves out of the dirt. Sometimes, things are waiting, buried, for when you need them. Sometimes, it's not yet the perfect time. Sometimes you need water or waves or starlight or crickets or wine or spinning on a tire swing or singing with the night air on your face while driving. Sometimes, you just need to know that you're waiting for something, to feel like the fallow field is about to bear creative fruit. Sometimes, you need to stand in front of a mirror and let your hands do something surprising that you think you don't know how to do.

I believe there's a Windsor knot inside us all, just waiting to strangle us with awesomeness, if we'll let it.

Pfft. You know what I mean.

*

Saturday, August 11, 2012

a very fine night, with bonus fangirling


What a fantastic night!

I got to meet Sherrilyn Kenyon, who writes amazing books, has an inspiring story, and comes highly recommended by my friend Derek. I read her books Fantasy Lover and Dance with the Devil this week in preparation, and I can't wait to read her newest one, Time Untime.

I got to meet the lovely Amy of Lady Reader's Bookstuff!

I got to hang out with my dear friend Carol of Bitten By Books!

I got to meet Kris and Kari and sign books for them, which made my night!

And then I came home to learn I've been accepted as a guest at AnachroCon!

And now I get to go to sleep!

Seriously, y'all. I'm the luckiest girl on earth.

*

Friday, August 10, 2012

dear creepers: Let's talk about our rights.

Part 2 in the Creeper, No Creeping discussion.

First, some women were harassed at ReaderCon, and things got ugly on the internet. The uproar from women who have been creeped at cons, combined with the verbal smackdown of men who will no longer stand by and watch women be creeped, made a difference: the ReaderCon creeper received a lifelong ban.

And this is great. Yay!

There have been several amazing blog posts about how women feel victimized, how creepers can stop making people feel this way, and how society and con society in general should stop letting these things happen.

This is also great. Further Yay!

And then came... THE COMMENTS.

Then came the Creeper Apologists.

Guys starting with "I'm not a creep, BUT..." or "my friend is a really nice guy, it's just..." or guys who want to jump in about gender, sexuality, spectrum disorders, awkwardness, depression, or how they have a right to ogle things clearly put there to be ogled because they paid just as much to get into the con as the girl in the Slave Leia chains.

And here's where it's no longer great.

Here's the thing, Sassy Commenter Guy *and* Creeper Guy: 

IT'S NOT ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL.

It's not about science, evolution, society, jiggly bits, costuming choices, spectrum disorders, fandom, or how well you write an argument in a blog post comment. It's about the fact that if I am uncomfortable, I have a right to respond to that discomfort in a way that may, in fact, make the other person equally or more uncomfortable.

It's about the fact that I have a right to unapologetically say NO that negates all your other rights.

It's about the fact that I don't owe you anything.

It's about the fact that cons, fandom, and geekness aside, no one owes you any respect that you don't earn.

It's about the fact that if you can break the social contract, so can I.

I personally believe that people are one step removed from the animal kingdom, and as such, we have millions of years of instinct and biology working against our ability to hold a fragile tea cup and discuss gender politics using three-syllable words. I know hetero males are hard wired to look at boobs. I know long hair on a woman is nature's billboard telling you LOOK, A HANDLE FOR IMPREGNATING! And I know that the only rules that keep you from violating me in a back alley are the goodness of your heart, your mama's teachings, and a social contract that neither of us ever actually signed.

I mean, I get that.

But you know what? There's a side of that social contract you forget.

The side where I never signed anything saying how I would respond to you.

If you touch me, lean in, say something skanky, I have a right to do the following:

1. Speak or shout at any volume to tell you that I am uncomfortable.
2. Call you a creep, a perv, or a jerk.
3. Tell everyone I know that you are trouble with a capital T.
4. Call a more chivalrous dude to come stand near me and stare at you and tell you to back off and/or physically threaten you, if I feel that your physicality has put me in danger.
5. Tell someone in authority that I think you might be dangerous.
6. Step back. Hold a hand up. Smack whatever part of you touches me.

That's the thing about the social contract: just as I cannot control what you do, you can't control what I do.

So, yes, you may be within your rights as a biological being to do whatever it is that you're doing that makes me uncomfortable. Your brain may work differently. You may know all sorts of laws and arguments. As a bag of meat/upright ape walking around, I acknowledge that. I might even understand it, from a scientific and psychological viewpoint.

But don't forget my rights. Don't forget that I have power, too. Don't forget that I have a right to make you uncomfortable, whether through shaming or intimidation or using whatever laws or muscle I have to keep you away from me.

Ladies, when a man tries to make you feel bad because you called him a creeper or told him he was making you uncomfortable, please remember that his feelings belong to him. Creepers deserve to feel bad. Creepers deserve to be called out. Creepers need to know when what they're doing makes you feel like a victim. And if creepers disagree?

WHO GIVES A CRAP?

So here's the deal. You hold up your end of the bargain, and I'll hold up mine. 

*

Links:
dear creepers, part 1 : don't tell me how to lace my corset

a fantastic post by author Jim C. Hines, which includes links to 3 more amazing blog discussions

Thursday, August 9, 2012

3 happy things

The day I see a book cover for the first time... it's like seeing your kid for the first time.

You don't really want to see anything else for a while, except maybe food. Coming up with a blog post is hard when I don't want to bump that image of WICKED AS SHE WANTS. But I must.

So here are 3 happy things that aren't nearly as awesome as Casper.

1. I painted this.


I keep my stevia packets in it. His name is Steve A. Bludbunny, Esq.

*

2. I apparently birthed a giant ant.



*

3. I found my name in the Acknowledgments of a book today.


I've seen my name on the front cover, but never in the Acknowledgments before. An author doesn't have a lot of space to thank all the people who support and encourage them, and it's kind of heartbreaking to have to cut names or sum it up as "my writing group" or "my awesome friends". So, as a writer, when I see my name there, I know what an honor it is. James R. Tuck will be in the Acks for Wicked as She Wants; that's a given. There's not a nicer, more generous guy around. 

If you like kickass urban fantasy, go buy BLOOD AND SILVER!
After reading BLOOD AND BULLETS, of course.


*

BRB; gonna go stare at the book cover some more.

*drool*

*

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MORE cover reveal!


For book 2, out next spring.

Did you like Casper in Wicked as They Come? YOU'LL LIKE HIM MORE.

Hate Casper in Wicked as They Come? YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE HIM NOW.

You're a straight dude? Sorry. You'll just wish you had his dimples.

*

Huge thanks to Pocket and cover artist Tony Mauro!! 

*


Sunday, August 5, 2012

how much do you want it?


That's Vic, a thoroughbred show horse who has the best horse breath I've ever encountered, thanks to his addiction to peppermints. I got to spend two hours grooming, riding, grooming, and poop-scooping with that big boy, and I'm pretty sure that's the happiest/gummiest I've been since the Wicked as They Come book launch party.

If you've been reading this blog for a long time, or if you search it for "horse", you'll quickly learn that horses are one of my favorite things on earth. When I was a kid, I was horse-crazy, but I never really got to live my dream until we were in South Carolina, when I bought my own rangy little mare, made horse friends, and pretty much blissed out on horseback whenever possible. Then we moved back to Georgia, where boarding a horse = a monthly car payment, and I sold my mare. Ever since then, it's like a little piece of my heart has been missing, like just thinking about horses makes me feel depressed.

This past week, horses came up in discussion with my husband, and I made my usual sad sigh and said something pathetic, like, "I'm so happy, and I have everything I've ever wanted in life... except horses."

And his eyebrows drew down. "So have them," he said with his usual bluntness.

"I can't. It's not the right time."

And he stared at me and said, "If not now, when?"


At first, I was defensive. I don't know when! Later! When there's more money! When I sell a million books! It costs too much! I have to take care of the kids! I need to spend my extra time writing!

His eyebrows drew down further.


"If you really want it, you'll make it happen."

I just stared at him for a moment. And then it really sunk in.

He was right. I was making excuses.

And I needed to stop whining about why I couldn't ride horses and figure out how to make it happen.

I bet there are plenty of people out there who say they want to write a book but never do because they don't have time, or they're too tired, or they have to work, or whatever reason. Or maybe they want to go to the gym, or take a pottery class, or go back to school, or learn a new language. Our brains are wily and self-defensive, and, yes, lazy. We can convince ourselves of anything, give ourselves reasons not to pursue the things we say we want.

Yes, horseback riding in my area is extremely expensive, and I don't have aspirations of showing or going to the Olympics. But I took a look at my budget and decided that there were things I could sacrifice, if I wanted it badly enough. That maybe looking forward to riding every couple of weeks would be more important to me than costuming or My Little Ponies or pretty shoes or another cupcake.

And it's kind of ridiculous, but as I pulled up to the barn gate, I had to wonder-- was I making a mistake? Was it a waste of money? Was I too old to do something that so clearly had no ultimate goal? Was I wasting my family's resources and time?

The second I was on Vic's back, I knew. Anything that makes me feel that fulfilled and happy, inside and out, is worth it. The way I feel after riding-- it's better than yoga, better than massage, better than the gym, better than a day at the spa. It's pure bliss, and the effects reach into the rest of my life, making me into a more positive person and making me feel more connected to myself and my family.

So, still on my horsey high and already starting to ache a little, I want to urge everybody to look hard at that thing you're always denying yourself, the thing that makes you sigh. That thing you've always wanted to do, whether it's travel or education or an indulgence. And ask yourself these two questions.

How much do you want it? 
and
If not now, when?

I wish everyone in the world could feel as happy as I feel right now.

*



Saturday, August 4, 2012

dear dudes: don't tell me how to lace my corset


See that pic of me at FandomFest? I look pretty happy, right?

That's because I was. Then.

I'd just stood in a circle with John Scalzi, Gail Martin, and Kalayna Price, talking to authors I admire about things that make my brain spark. It was the end of an amazing day at an amazing con, and everything had gone well, and I was 100% happy.

And then I walked out the door.

And there was this guy.

He seemed mostly drunk. He was dressed like Jimmy Buffet. And he wanted to teach me how to lace my corset. I was doing it all wrong, he said. Women lined up outside of the Renfaire, asking him to lace them in, he said. He was an expert, he said. His fingers hovered about two inches away from my laces, and I froze inside like a deer somehow sensing the rifle aimed and waiting.

Would he touch me? Why wasn't he reading my social signals-- and those of my female friend-- that his attention was unwanted?

I stepped back. Made a joke. Explained that I was perfectly happy with my corset. That I didn't really need help, thanks. That I had somewhere I needed to be.

But he kept talking. Kept explaining. Acted fatherly and kind. Stepped closer into my space but never touched me.

In short, whether he meant to or not, he preyed on me perfectly, never taking that one extra step that would make it seem more than reasonable to rap his knuckles and holler for one of my bouncer-type buddies to come haul his ass away. Made it seem like he was performing a public service, was a friendly guy who only meant well. Even told me he wasn't actually a creep.

When I finally explained that I had to go and escaped, my friend Carol expressed her shared shock. Turns out she felt the same way I had, that the guy never really crossed that line between "annoying drunk guy" and "dangerous, pushy, predator". That she wanted to smack his hand, too. And yet neither of us did.

And now, when I read about the Readercon fiasco (read about it from Scalzi himself, who has all the relevant linkies), I'll admit it: I'm kind of pissed. At him, and at myself. I wish I would have been more assertive, more brave. Wish I would have stopped thinking "I want to be perceived as a polite author" and started thinking "I am uncomfortable, and whether or not he's actually touched me, it's not okay." Wish I had been more clear in my expression of distaste instead of trying to be nice. But society has always told me to be a polite Southern girl, and knowing that everything I do in public is now part of my "brand" as an author tells me not to offend anyone, if I can help it.

So here's your warning, creepers: You don't get to push into my space anymore. You don't get to let your finger hover an inch from my chest as you try to explain something pertinent to costuming. You don't get to brush off my social signals like I'm being silly or fussy. From here on out, I'm carrying a fan or a wand or a parasol, and I won't hesitate to rap your knuckles and treat you like a dog sniffing around my skirts. Because that's what you're doing, and I know that you know it. You know just how far you can go before getting in trouble, because you do it a lot, I bet. You're not going to get away with it if I'm there, not with me or my friends.

And if we are friends? I'm not going to smack you for hugging me. But I am going to smack you if you don't keep an eye on women being preyed on by seemingly polite creepers. If you like girls in corsets and short skirts and fishnets and costumes, and if you want to look at them at cons, then it's your responsibility to make sure they feel comfortable when dressing that way.

Otherwise, it's muumuus and creeper-whacking sticks for everyone.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

warning: I may have mucked up here

After a few weeks of writing about writing, I read two blog posts today that made me feel rather chastened. An author and an agent, both of whom I respect very much, believe that writers giving advice on writing and publishing can in effect make other writers feel worse if their journey takes a different route. For example, when I talk about how I write, or how I queried, or how long it took my books to sell, it can make people having a different experience feel crummy.

PLEASE DON'T FEEL CRUMMY.

I had a lot of lows during both rounds of querying. I had three rounds of submissions that didn't end in sales. I wrote complete books my agent wouldn't consider. I auditioned for gigs and wasn't chosen. It has not been all roses and cupcakes and baby wombats in Delilahland.

BUT.

I ended up where I wanted to be, and I can't really complain. The way I write works for me, and I hope that something I say might make someone out there feel better, not worse. If any of my writing advice has caused you pain, I want to apologize. Every journey is different. Every writer works hard and deserves respect.

When I'm writing a post or answering a question on a panel or on my Facebook page, I always try to add a qualifier. In my opinion. In my experience. I personally feel. I do not know everything, y'all--not by a long shot. And when I don't know enough about a particular topic, I try to communicate that clearly instead of tossing out opinions or negativity. For example, when I'm asked about self-publishing, I try to express that I'm glad that option is out there, but for me, right now, it's not my journey. I don't have the cojones for it. That might change one day, but right now, I'm basically an ignoramus on the topic.

SO.

If I hurt your feelings, I'm sorry. If I made it sound like my writing advice was the only way, was guaranteed, or would completely remove pain from the process, I apologize. The truth is that writing can be the most wonderful thing in your life, and it can also put the smackdown on your heart and shrivel up your soul and give you big purple bags under your eyes and make you gain weight and be snappy with the people you love.

But I believe that if you want to write, you'll write. And I hope you find what you're looking for. <3 p="p">

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO cover reveal!


THE MYSTERIOUS MADAM MORPHO 
out October 2 with Pocket Star, already on Amazon
known around these parts as BLUD 1.5

Taking place after Wicked as They Come, this original eBook features a mysterious lady and a reclusive mechanical genius who find love and danger in a traveling circus. 

Hint: It opens with Criminy and Letitia before jumping to the new romance. 

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