Thursday, July 24, 2014

Transgender Models and Writing

For those of you that don't know or have stumbled upon this blog for the first time: I've written over 3 million words which translates to 78 stories of both long and short fiction. In almost every single one there is usually a gay male or a feminine man. The mystery series has a lesbian woman of color and I wrote a novel about a person who transitioned though not in a very nice way. That one's complicated, seriously. There is also an asexual male and a gender neutral character who's not really gender neutral, yeah it's complicated. We'll leave it at that.

The funny thing about this is that I am a straight female. Yeah, I do feel "masculine" at times and I've wondered what it would like to be male but despite my complaining once a month: I am female and happy as a female.

The odd thing is that even though I have written male characters who were feminine (I'm looking at you VanHelgrove clan) I didn't know what it was called. And when some of these male characters started wanting to dress as women I got really confused. All that was solved three (or more) years ago.

Back in 2011 (or so) I discovered the model Andreja Pejic. She was billed as being "The Prettiest Boy in the World." Yes. SHE was billed as being the Prettiest BOY in the world. At the time Andreja was an androgynous model: a male who made a living off dressing feminine which is something I'd never heard of until discovering her.

And of course, I swan-dived (I'm a horrible diver) right in for the sake of the characters who were trying to do the same thing and leaving me completely confused as to how to write them.

I tend to research everything I'm interested in like crazy and Andreja was no different. I found interview after interview and studied picture after picture. I'm pretty sure I've collected everything about her that I possibly could.

It was a whole new thing I'd never heard about (no offense intended as I live in a small city that's a good decade behind the rest of the world) and I began broadening my research to include the "trans" part of LGBT.

What I found was amazing. I had no idea there were people out there who didn't feel comfortable in their skin. I had no idea there were men and women out there who sometimes dressed as the opposite gender all the time because that was how they felt comfortable. Yes, I had heard of drag (that's a whole story it itself) but trans is entirely different.

Anyway, I had no idea there were people out there who were born as one gender but felt the opposite and sought to change their outer body to match their inner self. I had no idea that those characters were a part of the trans community. I had no idea what the word androgynous really meant.

Suddenly I needed to include more people into my stories. I'm not saying that to be arrogant or to get some kind of nice "push" from any kind of community. I say that because I believe that despite what's happening in my worlds: everyone should be included.

Now don't get me wrong. I don't look at my characters and go "Okay, well, you have to be trans because I need a trans character." That would be WRONG OF ME. I also don't look at my characters and go "Oh you have to be a person of color because I need more people of color." Again, THAT WOULD BE WRONG OF ME. Why? Because then I would become that writer that's including people for the sake of being Miss ALL INCLUSIVE AREN'T I NICE? *giggle giggle*

No. Discovering a trans model like Andreja enabled me to give these male characters who wanted to dress feminine a voice. Seeing what trans was and really looking into it helped me make these characters who they were supposed to be. It helped me to discover who they really were: NATURALLY. I knew what they wanted to do but I didn't know why. Knowing why helped me make them into real people, the real people they deserved to be.

Because of Andreja characters like Shawn (Seer/Seeker), Drew (Testing Grounds), Dragon (Lies), Star Van Votte (Model), Andre (Chosen Ones of the Forbidden Object), and Jordan (Changed) FINALLY had their full identities. These stories had always been in my head and sitting in my "why can't I go ahead with this thing? What's MISSING?" pile.

Because of Andreja the above characters were finally allowed to grow and become who they really were when before they just had a huge question mark beside them because I couldn't figure out who they were, not really. I didn't understand that yes they were a male who wanted to dress as a female because before Andreja I didn't understand it. Those characters and those stories just sat there and it wasn't fair for them.

Now when I find myself thinking/writing "he" and "she" about the same character I know it's not weird and I'm not confused about it. Now I can sit that character down and ask them exactly how they feel without wondering what the Hell is wrong with me as or writer or that character as a character.

The best part? Because of Andreja I will be writing an entire fantasy trilogy based around a transgender main character: Blaire. Blaire is physically male and dresses as female but does not prefer either personal pronoun. I'm not sure if Blaire will transition into a female in the story as (s)he's going to be saving the world and all, but we'll see in November.

So a big thank you goes out to people like Andreja Pejic, Lea T, Laverne Cox, Ines Rau, and many others for helping me see that there is more to gender than just what you're born with and that sometimes your physical and mental/emotional gender does not match up. Thank you for helping me see that it's not weird or wrong and that everyone deserves the freedom to live their life as they feel they need to, including the imaginary people I write about daily.

Thank you for helping my characters become who they really are and allowing them to express themselves as they needed and wanted to for their stories to be told. Thank you for helping me understand. Thank you for being the powerful individuals you are and for representing people who may be struggling with what they see in the mirror. Thank you for being true to yourselves. You're all beautiful, no matter what anyone says.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Best Friend - Short Story Snippet

This month's WIP was Pieces, book 11 in the Mystery Series. Pieces focuses on an unknown subject who has cut up his victim and is delivering parts to people, more specifically the survivors of the cases Detective James Reeves has worked on. In talking to a friend of mine on Twitter (@Dammit_Woman) I made a meme:

Then we kept talking about it and I called myself "The Body Part Fairy." We started talking about what the Body Part Fairy would be like and being the morbid person that I am the following spewed out of my head:

Best Friend: The Body Part Fairy

“Mommy, mommy, my tooth is loose!”

Mother smiled at the little girl hopping up and down in front of her.

“How long till it falls out?” the little girl asked.

“Oh I don’t know. But you’ll get a special gift when it happens.” Mother said.

“Yay!” the little girl answered.

The days passed as they are wont to do and the little girl’s tooth finally fell out. It was the first baby tooth she was losing and she was especially excited to stick the front tooth under her pink pillow. In the morning the tooth would be gone and she would have something special in its place. The little girl went to sleep with a smile on her face, the gap of the missing front tooth like a void between the other teeth in her mouth.

She sunk into the world of dreams and soon was entirely oblivious to the world. A few minutes to midnight the visitor came. The little girl was not awake to see her, nor did she feel the gentle hand going under her pillow and removing the tooth. A box wrapped in golden foil was placed under her pillow but the little girl didn’t notice. The visitor walked through the wall with the little girl’s tooth in hand and a smile on a face too pale to be human.

Morning brought sunshine, birds singing, and the excited squeal of a little girl. Mother grinned and walked into her daughter’s room as the little girl pulled the box out from under her pillow. The golden foil crinkled as it came away from the cardboard underneath. The little girl opened the top of the box and smile broke out on her face.

“I got a foot!” the little girl said.

“Oh how wonderful! The foot is the best part to start with, Annie.” Mother said.

Annie nodded in agreement, her messy blond hair bouncing. She came out of bed then put the foot into a box that was standing upright in one corner of her room. Annie carefully placed a needle attached to a blue tube into the top of the foot. The box beeped and Annie smiled. Annie wasn’t exactly sure how the box worked but it would keep the foot fresh until she got the last part. Annie knew that would be a special night.

The days became weeks which became months which became years. Slowly Annie’s box filled up with body parts: the other foot, a hand, three fingers, then three more, the other hand, part of a leg, part of an arm. Every body part was carefully placed into the box, stuck with a needle and sat in the corner of her room day and night.

Finally, Annie lost her last tooth. She grinned and placed it under her pillow. This was it. She would finally get the head to the body that had been forming in her room since she was six years old. She had waited eight years for this, listening as all her friends got parts and started to form bodies too. She would be the first in her group of friends to have a full body though. Annie would be the special one.

Annie went to sleep that night with a smile on her face, not even caring that there was a gap where her last molar had been. Tonight she would receive the head. She would have the full body. She had to sleep so it could happen and she giggled before falling into a light slumber. The night wore on and six minutes after midnight there came a noise...


There's another four pages of it and it gets really creepy after that. But you know, a little girl being excited about receiving a human foot as a present from the Tooth Fairy isn't creepy enough.

Anyway, I'll get someone to read the full thing, maybe find a cheap editor, finish a cover of sorts and might put it up on Smashwords or something. We'll see how that goes.

Until next time: comments, questions, rants, rage and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Update: Milwordy

For those of you who don't know: I'm doing Milwordy. For those of you who don't know what that is: it's a writing challenge in which the person doing the challenge writes a million words in a year. Fun fact: I've done this twice before and won well before my goal date.

At the beginning of this year my goal was to write two novels a month. If I was still following that goal I would be at book 12 (or so) for the year. I decided to stop that goal in February because it was just too damned hard. More details here.

For about two weeks in the beginning of March I was really depressed because I didn't think I would hit my million. Well, it's June and I'm at 638K and change in month six of my goal. Seven books have been written and I'm four books away from completing my 13 book thriller/mystery series.

That half million isn't just the 13 book series. It's actually books 3-9 and a few short stories that include the mains from that series as well as shorts that don't include the mains. I also included the query letters and synopsises I wrote (but haven't submitted) but didn't include any blog postings, tweets, or NaNo posts.

So, I'm a bit over half-way on one of my four goals. The other three goals for this year: finish the thriller series, submit a query letter, and lose weight.

Well, I'm 9/13 on the thriller series and unless I stop writing right now I'll finish that by hopefully September with a book a month. I might get a little ahead and finish by August because camp is in July and I tend to do at least two novels during NaNo events. I'm hoping to be done with the series in August so I can take a break, write a stand-alone then plan another trilogy.

Submitting a query letter: I have two different letters written for two different series. One is for the fantasy Cara Series while the other is for the Thriller series. I've got a list of agents that represent fantasy or thriller and I've learned the rules for submitting. Why haven't I submitted? I'm (again) on the fence about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing. I'd like to remain a self-published author and even made a plan to stay self-published but haven't followed through yet. I want to wait until the end of June to see how my 9AM-5PM job is going to turn out.

Losing weight: IT HAPPENED! I went from 195/200 pounds to 188 (as of May 23rd). I still have about 30 pounds to go in order to at my "ideal" weight but we'll see what happens when I get there. The frustrating thing is that it doesn't seem like I've lost any stomach fat. That's where I carry the most weight and yeah, I can get into old clothes I couldn't before but it doesn't look like I've lost any. I still look pregnant even though I'm not.

But I'm still going to the gym (after a month) and I'm enjoying it. It's become a kind of game in where I compete against myself to get better. This is a good thing. I'm hoping that by this time next year I'll be at my goal size and have stayed there for a few months. What is my goal size? About 155-160 pounds. If I go any smaller I'll look too thin and muscle weights more than fat so I figure even if I'm at a higher number I'll still look all right since I'll have muscle. Frankly I'd be happy to get rid of the belly fat.

I haven't pushed as hard as I wanted at the beginning of the year but I am proud of how far I've come. It's the little steps that build up to the big steps, right?

Until next time: comments, questions, rants, rage and everything in between can be directed to the comments.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 Novel Series #4: Hunter

I'm trying to catch up on these and be more active, really. Life gets distracting and tiring plus I like to just sit and write when I go home. Writing is a different kind of thinking than what goes into these blog posts and I'd rather think like a writer.

Anyway, this was book 4 of the year which was started and finished in March. It's also book 6 of the Mystery Series.

Hunter carries on the story of the same main characters found in the prior books of the series: Face Snatcher, Hanger, Dryer, Witches, and Car Jacking. The details:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller fiction

Word Count: 71,825

Prompt: I think it had something to do with an alternate method for the killer in Face Snatcher keeping the faces. Someone mentioned beheading them and mounting them like animals and well, yeah.

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, and our killer.

Minor Characters of Note: Patterson, Chief of Police, who still doesn't have a first name. Sable Abella, Knight, and Steel. Knight and Steel also don't have first names for some reason. I've no idea why.

Summation: Homosexual couples found in mattresses in local dumps with no heads and shot through the heart. Yep.

High Points: Abella

Low Points: Lucy and her girlfriend Anne

The World: Ours.

Memorable Lines:

The smell of rotting refuse was strong in the mid-morning sun. James squinted against the sun and took a light breath as he, Mia, Lucy, and Abella were led deeper into the dump. The call had come half an hour ago and Patterson assigned them to what would be the new case.
One of the workers at the Bin There, Dump That dump had become suspicious of a mattress. It looked lumpy, weird things were leaking out of it, and it smelled worse than other things. James had no idea how the man could tell how horrible the mattress in question smelled being surrounded by garbage but he didn't question it, not yet.
James winced as he had to step over something brown and unidentifiable. They took a turn around a mound of garbage and there it was. The mattress in question had been dragged down from a pile and cut open. Inside the man had found a human arm. That was when the man called his boss and the boss had come down then called the station.
The operator at the station passed the call to Patterson who immediately called James. Now here they were on a cool September 10th, walking through a dump to see what was left of the human body in a mattress.

"This was a shot gun blast, single shot, precise so the unsub is a hunter of some description. As for the removal of the head, that was done after he drained the body of blood via this cut through the throat. Again: another hunter's tactic. The head was removed cleanly, no sawing or hesitation. I'm going to guess that he's mounting the heads after doing some kind of modified taxidermy on them." Lucy explained.

"Why do people always take heads as trophies?" James asked.
"To establish dominance over the victim, you know, prove their power and prowess in battle." McGregor said.

She smirked when he looked up at her and nodded. The half-amused, half-exasperated look on his face told her that he knew it all ready. It had been a rhetorical question. McGregor had a thing for answering those.

"So we've got a homophobic hunter killing homosexuals because someone he loves came out and he thinks homosexuality is for lesser beings?" (Yes, yes you do.)

"I said "no," what part of that don't you understand? The 'n' or the 'o'?"

"It doesn't matter how much martial arts you know when you're faced with a 12 gauge shotgun bullet."

"We talked about how many hard-asses who swear in Japanese are allowed to be on this team." Mia said.
"I'll take my punishment later. We've got to meet the Sato's soon." James told her.

"That's a heart-attack waiting to happen." James commented.
"Yeah but it's so good. And hey, I'd rather die happy than resort to eating non-greasy health food." Brown said.

"That is one big mother fucking mug."
James looked up to see Mia with still damp hair and a look of jealousy on her face. She was staring at his mug.
"Thanks. It holds a pot of coffee." James told her.
"You're going to be so wired later." Mia said.

"Kuso." Mia muttered.
"Faku." Lucy murmured.
"Mierda." Abella added after a beat.
James wanted to laugh when Mia and Lucy looked at Abella so quickly that he was sure they might have whiplash.
"Did you just swear in Spanish?" Mia asked.
"Yes? Everyone else was swearing in their mother-tongue, so, yes." Abella said.
James leaned back and watched with a grin on his face. He was almost glad it was close to 6PM. Suddenly Lucy started chuckling and Mia joined in. Abella looked relieved then stared at James.
"You didn't." Abella said.
"I'm not allowed to be the other hard-ass that curses in Japanese. That's apparently reserved for Lucy. And I'm too muddle-blooded to have a "mother-tongue" besides English." James said.
"I never actually asked your ethnic background. Is it bad that I feel bad?" Mia asked.
"Nope. My mother's side is from Sweden, Denmark, and Germany. As far as I know my father's side was Polish, Russian, and Norwegian." James told her.
"All blond and blue-eyed. That's really kind of creepy." Lucy said.

"It's all CSI's fault. That damned show raised a generation to think this job is glamorous when you're normally ankle deep in some kind of shit and start thinking that if you don't smell death in a week it's been a bad week, job wise. Most of them drop out in first year when they see pictures of actual wounds. If they make it to graduation, they drop out of mentoring because god-forbid they deal with a real dead person. Urg. I hope Anderson gets them (new students) both."

"That would be me. Hacker-God, Dragon-God, knower of all things tech." Brown said.

"Homosexuals, why did he have to go after people like me? Why couldn't it be someone normal like you? Why is it always the weird, fucked up ones that society hates? Why can't people like me be happy for once. Just fucking once. I've had enough of life beating the shit out of me. It's fucking bullshit."

"Abella, hey. Oh great, you broke my assistant. You're going to have to buy me a new one." Lucy said.

"Um, there's a whip in here." Abella said.
"Neither owned a horse." McGregor mentioned.
McGregor turned to see that Abella had dropped the whip and was blushing furiously. Abella took a breath and McGregor shook her head.
"How can you stare at a maggot and not get grossed out but freak out at the mention of kinky sex?" McGregor asked.
"I'm so glad you didn't say kinky fuckery. And maggots, well, they're not gross. I don't know. It's not the thought of sex it's just, weird? No, that's not the right word. I'm not, well, that experienced and stuff, so yeah." Abella explained.
"Kinky fuckery?" McGregor asked. (I love how that's all she gets out of the explanation.)

"God never reveals his secrets. It'd blow up the universe."

James waited until Mia stood beside him. They shared a glance and knew this would be the most dangerous chase of their entire careers.
"I only have six bullets." James said.
"You fucking idiot." Mia told him.

"You can dress him up and clean him up all you want but I don't think we can ever integrate him into normal society." Lucy said (about Brown).

Saturday, May 3, 2014

2014 Novel Series #3: Car Jacking

I'm way behind on these and I'm sorry. I've been going through a lot of crap (which has become normal) and most of the time the only thing I can do after work is write or work on my "painting in Photoshop" skills.

Anyway, this was book 3 of the year started in February and finished in February. This was also the second (and last) month I decided to try and keep my two book a month goal. More on that here. Finally, this is book five of a 13 book series.

Like it's counter-parts (Face Snatcher, Hanger, Dryer, and Witches) Car Jacking looks into the lives of the same main characters solving another weird-ass crime. Here we go:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller fiction

Word Count: 76,295

Prompt: You know what? I can't even remember for this one. I think it was a Criminal Minds episode.

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, and our killer.

Minor Characters of Note: Patterson, Chief of Police, who still doesn't have a first name. Sable Abella, Knight, and Steel.

Summation: Two guys who have nearly identical lives go missing with their cars over a period of six months.

High Points: Mia, James, Lucy, and Michael all get promotions in this one: new offices, new stuff, and yeah.

Low Points: Knight and Steel decide to take off. Heck if I know why.

The World: Ours.

Memorable Lines:

“They almost match completely. My facial recognition software will tell us just how close in a few minutes.” Michael said.
“Okay, so what does it mean?” Mia asked.
“The unsub hates someone who looks like these two. He might be practicing on people who look similar to the person he hates before killing the person he hates.” James said.
“So why the hate?” Michael returned.
“Well, it could be jealously.” Lucy replied.
“Jealousy and rage are most common when a person practices. They don’t want to screw up the actual kill.” James added.
“And he’s practicing because he’s afraid of screwing up? So the person is important to him somehow, right?” Mia enquired.
James grinned and nodded. He caught Lucy smiling but Michael simply shook his head as he began gathering information on the two men.

“On it like Sonic.” Michael said.
James was glad that both Mia and Lucy looked as confused as him. When Michael didn’t get a chuckle like he had been expecting he looked at them.
“Sonic, you know, the Hedgehog?” Michael asked.
By the look on Michael’s face they were missing something important. James could not remember any hedgehogs named Sonic or why they would be important.
“Oh my fucking god, no way you guys have never heard of Sonic.” Michael said.
Instantly one of the screens opened to a web browser and James watched as Michael typed in Sonic the Hedgehog. Images of a bipedal blue, non hedgehog looking thing came up on the screen.
“Yeah, no, that doesn’t help.” Mia said.
“Are you kidding? He was made in ’91 to rival Mario and back then you had to run him through levels collecting coins and curling up to attack. He’s known for running at supersonic speeds, cuz you know sonic. He’s like the most well known game character besides Mario.” Michael said.
James looked to Mia and Lucy who still looked confused. Michael was staring at them in awe. James knew the former hacker wasn’t about to like his next question.
“Who’s Mario?”
Michael stopped typing and gave him a look. He looked to Mia and Lucy but they offered nothing.
“Holy fuck. I gotta give you three a crash course on gaming. Seriously. Anyway, I’m on the cars like a hedgehog that can run at supersonic speeds.” Michael said.

The knock on his door didn’t sound like one Boss, Bossette or Chief B would use. Boss knocked a bit lighter, Bossette pounded the door, and Chief B always sounded unsure. This one was two hard, quick raps near the doorknob. It wasn’t even Pats-man’s knock.
“Who dares disturb the Dragon?” Brown called out.
“Uh, delivery for Michael Brown?”
The voice was deep, a guy obviously, and sounded really unsure if he was supposed to knocking. Brown half turned in his chair and frowned. He had been in a good groove.
“Fine, enter the lair and leave your soul at the door.” Brown answered.

“So we’re all doomed to be alone the rest of our lives?” Lucy asked.
“I’ve got my cats. I’m good.” Mia said.
“If you die in your apartment and they get hungry they’ll eat you.” Lucy told her.
“Awesome. At least I’ll be feeding them on time for once.” Mia said.

“I’m fine, really. Besides I’ve got computer parts everywhere and I wouldn’t want you guys moving something or whatever.” Brown said.
Computer parts everywhere were an understatement. It looked like eighty PCS exploded in his office. Brown frowned at the mess and wondered where all the parts had come from. Then he remembered his own personal stash of parts and rubbed his forehead. He really needed to clean up and ditch things to a scrap yard. Or start building shit for fun. Maybe Boss and Bossette would want new computers with their new office.

“Right. Well, I’m going to do the luminol test then rip apart the seats.” Lucy said.
“You sound really excited about doing that.” Mia told her.
“Yep. After I take pictures of bloodstains, I get to rip apart seats with a knife. Do you know how fun it is to do that?” Lucy questioned.
James looked at both women and didn’t know what to think.
“Sarcasm?” James asked.
Lucy smirked. Despite the horrible week she was having she was surviving somehow. James knew that something in her life had made her into a survivor. She bounced back from a fall instead of shattering.
“Nope. Seriously, you should try it sometime. It’s relaxing.” Lucy said.
“As relaxing as breaking into a glove box with a hammer?” Mia asked.
“Hell yes.” Lucy said.

They all turned to her when they heard something crack.
“Sorry. I think I broke a rib.” Lucy called out.
“His or yours?” Mia asked.
“His. Jeez, wouldn’t it suck if it was mine?” Lucy questioned.
“She’s got a morbid sense of humor.” Samson muttered.
“Eh, you get used to it.” Mia told him.

“You mean like foot prints or tire tracks? No, nothing suspicious except the smell. That should have made me turn back but I thought it was normal. Ah, not to sound rude but, is it normal for your third detective to be poking the body with a stick?” Dave returned.
James turned to see that Lucy was crouched on the edge of the bank and was in fact poking at the body with a stick. He realized the stick was actually a ruler. She was measure how deep in the water the body was to check water levels. That made him feel better.
“Actually, that’s our Forensic Specialist Lucy McGregor and I believe she’s measuring water depth. At least I hope she is.” James said.
“She’s not weird enough to poke dead guys with sticks.” Mia added.

“Daffodils symbolize rebirth and new beginnings.” McGregor offered.
“I’m going to start calling you Chief G.” Michael said.
“What? Why?” McGregor asked.
That didn’t make any sense.
“G for Google.” Michael said.

“May I ask why you went into Forensics instead of surgery?” Henry questioned.
“Your main function is to save lives. Mine is to find out why a life ended and how. If I screw up in surgery, some make-up, stuffing, and a few extra sutures can fix the mistake. If you screw up, well,” Lucy answered.

"What a month." Mia said.
"Tell me about it. I'm just glad the station is paying for my glasses and your car." James said.
"I wish I could've seen that hit. It's not every day you see someone's eye pop out off screen." Lucy remarked.

“You can thank me with food, plushies, virgins, your souls or tech.” Brown said.
“I rather like my soul and don’t know any virgins so, yeah.” Lucy returned.
“I don’t know any, okay, that would sound weird coming from me.” James started.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014 Novel Series #2: Witches

I probably should have written this last month (since I finished it last month) but I got distracted or something. This is book 2 of the year: started in February and finished in March, book four of a 13 part series.

Witches is like it's counter-parts: Face Snatcher, Hangings, and Dryer and deals with the same team of officers who are assigned to solve the weird-arse crimes. Anyway, onwards:

Genre: Mystery/Thriller fiction (I found out last month that Crime Fiction comes from the POV of the criminal. These don't but for the prologue so it's mystery. I've always sucked at genre-ing my fiction...)

Word Count: 70,056

Prompt: Salem Witch Trials. Yeah, that is as bad as it sounds.

Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, and our killer.

Minor Characters of Note: Patterson, Chief of Police, who still doesn't have a first name. Samantha Sumner.

Summation: James talks to two people who came in reporting their friends missing. Turns out the people are Wiccans and their friends are later found burned at the stake. Then things get all sorts of funky.

High Points: The Wiccans perform a ceremony (or two) in front of James and Mia. The ending because the epilogue for this sets in motion the changes that happen in the next book.

Low Points: If I said it then I'd completely spoil the ending. So there.

The World: Ours.

Memorable Lines:

"You know this could be nothing, right?" Carol asked.
"I know. But something doesn't seem right." James answered.
"What do you mean?" Carol questioned.
James let out a breath and shook his head. It was the came kind of feeling he had when he first saw the pictures of the first two victims in the College Hanger case. it was the same feeling he had when he saw Emily Henderson's faceless body and walked into the Clean Brite Laundromat to see Melissa Pope's limbs.
"It's a feeling I've got. This is not going to be a normal case." James said. (Cuz he's physic you know...ha)

"It helped, yes. Claire and Abigail are dead. Someone burned them at the stake."

"I always wanted to camp in an SUV in the middle of nowhere during autumn." Lucy said.
She was still digging as she spoke but hadn't turned to look at him yet.

"Really?" James asked in wonder.
"No. Sarcasm James, learn it." Lucy said with a snort.

"I kind of hate that I was right and this thing is bigger than two missing people. We're going to have another serial killer on our hands."

"We can help if you want." James offered.
"And let you get your suit dirty? That'd be mean." McGregor said. (A/N: James and Mia are Lucy's friends so they refer to her by first name. When it's her POV scene, Lucy refers to herself as McGregor because she keeps her personal life (Lucy) and work life (McGregor) separate in her mind to better handle cutting up the dead and such.)

"Enter the lair, leave your souls at the door, and you'd better have cool offerings because the dragon-god is bored."

"I hope to Hell you're not allergic to anything." Mia said.
"Nope, well except outside. I don't like outside." Brown (hacker) told her.

"If you know that, why are you here?"
"Formality. And a chocolate chip muffin."
(a bit later)
"All that from a simple conversation about a chocolate chip muffin."
"It was a good muffin."

The only thing worse than telling parents their child was dead was telling parents their child was the reason other people's children were dead.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thick Skin

First off I'd like to apologize for randomly wandering off for a month. I tend to get involved in things like writing, self-loathing, work, depression, and life in general. I can't even say I've been working on the rest of the 2014 "Novel Series" posts because I haven't. I've got one almost ready which is book two for the year and I'm up to five books for this year.

Second I'd like to say that I've probably been suffering with some form of depression for the past ten years (or more) and sometimes it's really hard to cope with it. I can come off as okay and happy on small things like Twitter or NaNo Forum posts but most days I feel like crap. I don't want to get out of bed or when I go to sleep I wish that I won't wake up. The only way I deal with it is by writing a novel and immersing myself in a character's life because most of the time it's about as crappy (or more so) than mine.

This depression was brought on by a lot of things that I don't feel like getting into right now but one is important to this post. So, away we go.

For those of you that don't know: if you want to be a writer you have to have a thick skin. I don't have a thick skin. It's probably part of the reason I don't promote so much because I'm afraid of what people are going to think. I know that if someone thinks badly of my work that I'll start hating it myself and then I'll stop writing.

That's exactly what happened tonight. A friend asked how I was doing in the writing front so I did what I probably shouldn't do: I Googled my name. To be honest, there were a lot of good things coming up. But I found a review for one of my books that simply said "Don't bother." Never mind the same book had a "not bad" review on it. It's the "don't bother" that stings.

Now, I understand that I can't please everyone. I also understand that the book in question is four years old. I'd like to think that my writing style has improved since then. I also understand the concept behind having a thick skin.

That doesn't mean a comment like that, two (or three) simple words, doesn't sting. It hurts. It made me stop writing in the middle of chapter tonight because I thought: "Well why bother?" Then I started thinking about how even after four years and a month that I haven't made the money I spent on my books back. I started re-evaluating my whole thought process on being a writer in general: "why bother with it?" "you know no one's going to read this," "there are people out there better than you," "you don't deserve to be a writer," "you have no future," and etc.

It's a whole downward spiral that I think I'm coming out of. It would be the quickest I ever came out of one, that's for sure but it's a good thing. It means I'm developing that thick skin and not taking a bad comment to heart. I'm not bursting into tears over it and I'm not feeling like I should delete everything and never speak of this again.

No, instead I'm thinking "well, he didn't like it. Hm, why? Let's go read it. It's not that bad. Yeah, it can be improved here, and here. Okay, so he doesn't like my writing. Big deal." Other people have liked it, well, thought it was okay. I'm good with okay because if it was okay four years ago, my writing is better than okay now. Rule of averages and all that.

What I'm trying to say is that for every bad comment there are probably at least four or five that aren't so bad. If you're lucky there's only one bad comment in a hundred. But that one bad comment will be the death of you if you let it. So don't let it. I know it's hard but hey, so long as your writing pleases you and you're happy with it, who cares?

Oh, and so you know: I didn't make it to Round Two in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I also haven't submitted a damned thing because (if you hadn't noticed) I take rejection pretty horribly. That and I'm still on the fence about the debate of self-publishing (as unsuccessful as it's been for me) and traditional publishing. It's part of that whole self-loathing thing that only goes away when I'm putting my characters through some trial or another.

Until next time: comments, questions, rage, rants and everything in between can be directed to the comments.