Sunday, August 25, 2013

Words, words and more words.

As a writer I tend to have quite a bit of experience with words. I know how to make them come together to cause a myriad of emotions. I can titillate the senses. I can make you think. Well at least I hope I can. I'm not actually successful at this whole self-promotion thing so we'll never know.

Anyway. I know better than anyone else that words can and will hurt. This doesn't stem from just being a writer. It also comes from being an oddball and having hateful words thrown in my direction. Whoever came up with "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" was obviously never verbally abused.

There will be argument about people needing to "grow a back bone" or to "stop being a baby" because "they're just words." But words are important. I mean, how else would I be communicating this to you without words? I can't sign it to you. I can't think it to you in a stream of images. Even in silent movies they had breaks for words to get the point across.

Words are important to every day living. They can break or make a person. Sometimes actions are louder but "the pen is mightier than the sword" so to speak. I've always been that type of person. I can get my feelings and emotions across better when I write them down instead of saying them out loud.

Anyway, I'm writing this because I've noticed that people don't take words seriously. There's this person I kind of follow on tumblr who recently went through a bout of people poking fun at him because of a "tranny." It's funny because when I first started following this person, I didn't really like him. Following made me realize he's not as much of an ass as I thought he was.

That's not the point. What the point is that words can hurt. Calling someone a "tranny" is offensive. Look it up, even the dictionary lists it as derogatory slang. It's the same with using the word "cunt" which has become popular in New York for some crazy reason. That's a whole other story.

Now this simple bit of name calling (the tranny thing) led to someone else saying that they don't consider the word "tranny" offensive and that it's stupid to be mad at it. This other person made a comment on how someone who hasn't had a sex-change should not care if they are or aren't called a tranny and now we've got a full blown case of face-palming on our hands.

The person who was being called a "tranny" identified as a transgender, not a transsexual. There IS a difference. A transgender is:
  • "Of, relating to, or designating a person whose identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender roles, but combines or moves between these."
  • "People who were assigned a sex, usually at birth and based on their genitals, but who feel that this is a false or incomplete description of themselves."
  • "Non-identification with, or non-presentation as, the sex (and assumed gender) one was assigned at birth."

  • A transsexual is:
    an individual who identifies with a gender inconsistent or not culturally associated with their assigned sex, i.e. in which a person's assigned sex at birth conflicts with their psychological gender.

    The difference? A transsexual will normally go for gender reassignment surgery because they feel like they are trapped in the wrong physical body. A transgender WILL NOT go for reassignment surgery because they identify as BOTH genders or feel that neither one or the other gender describes them. The similarity? BOTH COULD HAVE (transsexuals do have for sure) a preferred personal pronoun and its rude NOT to call them that personal pronoun if they've made that pronoun known. The transgender in question says "whatever" to personal pronouns but there are those that will be "call me she" or "call me he" despite identifying as both or neither. It's usually just for easiness sake for everyone NOT in their body.

    Regardless, it IS WRONG to call a person who identifies as a transgender a tranny. It's just as wrong to call a transsexual a tranny because tranny is a derogatory term. It's an insult made by closed-minded people to make fun of someone they don't understand or like. Just like the c-word and the n-word.

    Now, all of this COULD HAVE BEEN avoided if the second person (the one saying tranny shouldn't be offensive) took a moment or two to actually look up the meaning of the word tranny, look up the definition of the word transsexual, and look up the definition of the word transgender. It could have saved everyone involved (including me who doesn't have a tumblr account and can't comment directly) a lot of face-palming and head-desking.

    See, that's one of the problems in our world. We don't want to stop and learn the true definition of these new terms and words. Some people are perfectly content to think that transsexual and transgender can be used interchangeably when there are big differences between those groups.

    Why does this bug me? I'm not either but I write about characters who are. I know from personal experience that it doesn't take long to look up ANYTHING online. We live in an age where we can open an internet browser ON THE RUN (Read: on your phone) and so long as we get a signal can find ANY information in a few seconds. It boggles my mind that more people AREN'T taking advantage of this.

    People would rather look silly then spend two seconds to check their facts. It's frustrating to someone like me who loves words so much that people won't spend a moment of their lives to check and see what the true meaning behind certain words are. It doesn't take long, so why not go through the effort? Who knows, you might educate yourself and come out as a better person.

    For me, I'll never stop loving words. Going blind or being blinded is my biggest fear because then the words would be gone. I shudder to think of what I would do if that happens. But for now I will enjoy words and continue to use this technology we have to be able to better my words.

    Until next time: “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” - Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind  

    Friday, August 16, 2013

    We Interrupt your regularly scheduled program...

    This spot SHOULD be filled with another Novel Series, number 8 to be exact. That's the one about the aliens taking over earth with the Hunger Games theme if anyone's been paying attention. Obviously, this isn't Novel Series #8. It's not even a random rant about writing.

    To be honest, brutally honest: I'm not sure what it is either. All I know is that I've had a really rough week and I had some kind of weird mental break yesterday. Not that there are normal mental breaks, but yeah.

    Basically I started crying around 7:30AM yesterday, got calmed down enough so an hour later I could call in "sick." I burst out into tears on the phone with my boss' wife and couldn't form a full sentence. All she got was "I can't come in and I probably won't make it tomorrow either" in a bunch of choppy and incomplete sentences.

    Then I hung up and texted her that I was under a lot of stress and I couldn't make it in because of it. She texted back an 8 page response about understanding, hoping I could make it through this, understanding if I wanted to leave the company and what not that I can't look at without tearing up again.

    So here I am, Friday night, writing this blog post instead of working on one of the last chapters of my WIP. Why? Well, writing is what I do best. It's how I communicate best and the best way to kick this mental break out of my way is to write about it.

    Why did I break? I mean, I can't possibly under stress right? I always seem so happy and my friends/coworkers/people I talk to would have never imagined me cracking like that. I am Sheera and Xena all rolled into one. I AM WOMAN! ROAR! *coughcoughsputtersob*

    Moving on.

    The company I work for is a start-up company. Read: I AM NOT GETTING PAID for being there. Why am I still there? Because we are this close to getting over the stupid hump, I believe in the project, my boss is like my father (since mine, you know, died about a decade ago), his wife is like my mother (who died a bit ago too) and I'm their adopted daughter. Besides all that, I can sit on a computer all day WRITING. No, it's not stuff I have an interest in but I still get to research and write about what I find which I LOVE DOING.

    Soon I'll even be in a management position and if I play my cards right, I might take over the company when my boss finally retires. Not bad for someone under thirty, right?

    Well, the fact that I haven't been paid in a long time is taking its toll. I'm surviving on lines of credit and credit cards and I'm about 40K in debt right now with no foreseeable way back out at the moment. Only one of my friends knows that I'm not getting paid because I'm too damned embarrassed to admit how foolish I am in not telling my family. Plus they would rather see me working a job I hate and getting paid then working for a company I might manage if I could just wait another...three months? six months? Year? Yeah: there are no guarantees.

    Adding to money woes I'm pretty sure I haven't yet mourned properly for the death of my parents. Boo-hoo, I'm an orphan. Hey, I'm millions of dollars away from being Batwoman. HA!

    Anyway, when my dad died I had to be the rock for my mom. I couldn't show my sadness because she wouldn't be able to take it. When my mom died, I had to be there for other family members and again couldn't show my emotion or they'd all fail. I guess I just got emotionally tired of being other people's rock.

    Then there's the whole "not telling anyone I'm having money issues" and you know, paying bills, planning to go on a trip in December, buying presents for kid's (not mine, thank God) birthdays, maintaining the house, etc all.

    And there's the whole issue of me sucking at promoting and get this: not being able to pay for someone to promote for me and not being able to figure out what I'm doing wrong. Oh and there's the whole need money to edit to get books out there but um, yeah, what money? Oh and let's not forget that in order to SELL a book I have to have MONEY so it can be successful and finance me so I don't freak out.

    To those who think they can live without cash: FREAKING TRY ME. Seriously. Money makes the world go 'round and you don't understand this in full until you're wondering if you should pay your electricity bill or buy food besides instant noodles. Which are really unhealthy and is adding to the stress of me trying to lose weight so I don't have to take pills to keep my insulin level normal.

    Yeah, I have health problems atop of all my money woes, people dying/getting sick around me woes, house woes, book woes, being everyone else's therapist (not that I would take that back, I don't mind really) and yeah. The good news is: I'm only a little choked up writing this. The bad news: read above. *winks*

    Now, there is no quick fix for the money problems and I'm going to have to pull my big-girl panties back on and either quit the job I love to find one I hate, find a part-time REAL online job (someone point me there, please) or just freaking deal and wait.

    I have found one avenue of funds but I'm pretty sure everyone I know would look at me funny for even considering but hey, it looks legit (I've seen tons of scams so I know) and it's good money for simply talking to people. I'm seriously considering it and will probably sign up tomorrow. Go Internet.

    I think I'm done now. So, tell me your problems folks. I'll psycho-analyze them (I do have a few courses under my belt in that field ya know) and I'll be your rock. Then you can be mine and we can have this awesome cry fest then kick the crap out of whatever is keeping us down together.

    Until next time: La-de-dum, by my stuff so I don't go completely nuts again. *winks*

    Sunday, August 11, 2013

    Writing is Hard Work

    Let me repeat that: writing is hard work.

    Okay, maybe: writing should be hard work.

    There are some authors (and non-authors) out there that don't think writing a novel is hard. I laugh and then they give me a look (or type back a response) that lets me know that they're serious. Then I wonder what the heck kind of happy pill they're on that they think writing a novel is easy.

    I understand that on the physical side it's not hard. I mean you just have to plant yourself in a chair for over 100 hours pounding out a first draft, then stay in the chair for another 50 hours doing first round edits, then another 50 hours doing third round edits before sending it off to an editor, oh and about 10-50+ hours making the cover, pre-promoting, and final run through before FINALLY publishing. Sitting for over 200 hours in one place isn't hard, right?

    Let's not forget the actual process of writing. Whether you type or hand-write (or both), you're still constantly doing repetitive motion with your hands and fingers. If you have weak wrists: you'll make them weaker. If you're wrists are fairly average: they'll become weaker over time, faster than non-writers. You WILL eventually get carpal tunnel syndrome especially if you're crazy like me and just keep pumping out novels. I've all ready done permanent damage to tendons in my right hand that flare up if I push too hard.

    Oh then there's the whole myriad of problems that occur when one writes all day, every day for long periods of time that may or may not include: sleep deprivation, caffeine addiction, high salt, high sugars, eye strain, etc. Not to say that all writers are unhealthy it's just that writing is a sitting down thing that does not require getting up and moving as recommended. Most writers try to balance writing with being healthy and that in itself is hard.

    So we've determined that it's not as hard as say, construction on the physical sense but there are certain difficulties that come with writing in the physical sense.

    Now let's move onto mental problems. These are always the best issues, really. And these are what makes writing easy, right?

    Whoever said it's easy to come up with a plot, sub-plots, plot-twists, research things for accuracy, create entire worlds, and make the novel flow has either been writing too long or not enough. I can't being to count the amount of times I've hit a mental wall in a novel and went into sleep deprivation for days trying to figure it out. Actually, the entire reason I'm writing this blog is because I can't think of HOW my current WIP (will be Novel Series #8) ends.

    Making a world from scratch including social beliefs, people, races, technology, entertainment, religion, landscape, language and anything else is taxing. You have to be able to weave it in a way that makes sense and everything has to co-relate. You also have to have a kind of history in mind as to how everything got to that point.

    Okay, screw it, let's use Earth as a base. Even still, you have to make up new people (characters) that have some kind of conflict (hi: PLOT) to go through to fix whatever was wrong (CLIMAX/MAJOR PLOT TWIST) that threw them into the mess.

    Okay, screw it. We'll use a Chosen One plot. Why is your Chosen One so different? What exactly does he have to do to save the world/other person/city/etc?

    Crap. Yeah. Exactly. Let's not forget about foreshadowing, sub-plots, minor characters, scenes, and how everything interacts with each other to form a cohesive, interesting novel.

    Well, let's forget about the mental difficulties that come along with being a writer and move onto emotional. There's no emotion in writing, right?

    If you don't connect with your characters then your READER will not connect with your characters. Simple as that. If you don't feel bad when your main character, your hero, the Chosen One dies or is dismembered, neither will your reader. You need emotional investment in your novel to make it seem real.

    So, what exactly is easy about writing again? I say again: writing should be hard work. This is something you're going to spend over 100 hours on so you should be giving it your all. It should include your blood, sweat and tears. If you think it's easy, please explain HOW it's easy.

    I've been doing this for over a decade and it's not easy. There are challenges I face from time to time that make me want to scream. The tendon damage is one of them because it forces me to a stop. The not being able to figure out the plot is another because again, it forces me to a stop. Does it get easier? Yes. If writing is your passion, your dream, and your career despite all the hardships it will seem easy. That's the trick. Making it seem and feel easy to you.

    So, is writing hard work? That's up to you as an individual to decide.

    Friday, August 2, 2013

    Novel Series #7: Glory Hole Return

    This is one of those series that I don't intend to ever publish. Why? Well it's solely for me. It's a series that simply allows me to take a break from plotting and just do whatever my characters want to do and write whatever I want to write no matter how ludicrous it seems. It keeps me sane between the novels that I intend to eventually publish.

    Glory Hole Return is the third book in a series of, well, I'm not sure. I've got a fourth planned and didn't write the second yet so, yeah. This one veered into the paths of fan-fiction by including a real life person who inspired Samuel's character to begin with. It made me chuckle.

    On a side note, this is the series that Dragon (Lies, Novel Series #5) mentions in that book. Yeah, I did a whole inception thing. Anyway, here we go:

    Genre: Erotic Romance between two Males. Yes, I went there. :)

    Word Count: 140,064

    Prompt: The original came from, well, I can't remember now that I think about it. The "sequel" of sorts came from events in the first book. Again, there is a second book but I decided to write the third before the second because the second is heavy into certain things I didn't feel like getting into right now. I might not even bother with a second book as it flows nicely from the first to this one.

    Main Characters: Samuel Lewis (inspired in part by Andrej Pejic) and Greg Alduino.

    Minor Characters of note: Andre Messine, The Alduino Family (Greg has six siblings. Yeah), Sydney Lewis (Samuel's younger sister), Mr. and Mrs. Lewis (Samuel's parents), Jerry Lewis (Samuel's adopted older brother), Andrej Pejic (hence the fan-fiction thing), Rene Samson, Claire, and Mikel and his family.

    Summation: Samuel used to work as a stripper. Greg, a Marketing Director at a huge made-up company, fell in love with him. Andre Messine (a member of the mafia) decided he wanted Samuel and basically forced Samuel out of Greg's life. Greg managed to steal him back, cuz hey, his family are the rivals of the Messine's and life is peachy. Samuel quit his former job and now works as a pianist (it was a secret talent that I didn't even know about until this book) at a high end restaurant.

    Greg quits his job to become a mechanic (it was his dream) and through quitting became friends with Rene Samson who is a high-profile lawyer. Samuel ends up meeting Rene at the club who through Claire (famous model), introduces them to Andrej Pejic. Andrej and Samuel become fast friends, Samuel finally tells Greg what his family (minus Sydney) did to him and they buy a house together and Sydney joins them, finally leaving her family's clutches. I never said it was simple.

    High Points: Samuel walking into the kitchen of the new house in the nude while Sydney's in there. She's completely embarrassed and Samuel's all like "What, I'm a former stripper who's used to living with just my man." They determine him being nude is uncomfortable for both of them and Samuel's decides shorts are a good thing.

    Also the whole relationship between Andrej and Samuel simply because Samuel's creation was based off Andrej and hey, now they're talking in the book. It struck me as funny and originally I had no intention of including Andrej. He just kind of appeared like Rene and Claire. Rene was supposed to be this throw-away character but she saved Samuel from a homophobe at his new place of work one night and kind of ran away with the plot. Well, what little plot there was. Ha.

    Low Points: Samuel's day with Mikel's kids. He's not good with taking care of kids on his own and thus Mikel's entire house has to be cleaned after. Plus Samuel kind of had a mental breakdown which was funny. He can deal with being a slave (of sorts) but can't handle a 3 year old and her 1 year old sister. Poor guy.

    The World: Nothing special, it's society as it is right now in 2013.

    Major Plot Twist: There are actually a few of these but the biggest one would be the argument between Samuel and Greg deciding whether or not they should have kids. Greg wants them. Samuel doesn't think he'd make a good parent and thus never wants kids. Kids have been a part of Greg's plan forever and he just can't let that dream go.

    Memorable lines:

    "I hope you have fun in Hell."

    "I won't make you do anything you don't want to do."

    ...There was something about a half-naked blonde answering the door that would always stun a delivery man.

    "I hate that you'd be supporting me. I know that sounds, well, not sexist since you're a guy too but damn it, I'm the alpha." "Be a beta for once. They have pretty fins at least." (Samuel, bad joke is bad. Ha.)

    "This is Samuel. He's my boyfriend." (Big line for Greg as he's telling this to the President of his company who's homophobic. Also Greg was struggling with his homosexuality in book one so this is a huge step for him.)

    Greg: "Is it straight? (in reference to a Christmas Tree)" Samuel: "Now, now, you shouldn't be making the poor thing question it's sexuality."

    "Okay. So you're the one who took my fiancée's virginity. Good to know." (This whole scene was hilarious.)

    "Samuel is not a thing. I love him and that won't change even when one or both of us dies."

    "I'm sorry if I've offended you but your God made me this way and I can't help that."

    "Is he always like that?" "Like what?" "So, well, gentlemanly. Opening doors for you, guiding you around, brushing (snow) off lesbian's cars for them."

    "I'm sure there's some law out there that when a guy has a chance to have two pretty blondes in his bed he should take it."

    "Papa's in the hospital. He had a heart attack."

    "Um, complicated. You were a stripper?"

    "I know it hasn't been long that we've been together but I love him so much. I couldn't imagine not being with him."

    "I don't know what Mom, dad and Jerry did to you but I had nothing to do with it. You're the only one I've ever liked. Please don't disappear on me again. I missed you."

    "Everything is complicated about this relationship. One more thing won't kill us."

    "Where do you put all those clothes anyway?" "In my closet, duh."

    "You have had a crazy couple of months." "Someone should write a book about it." HA!

    "I'm Sydney, Samuel's little sister."

    "I'm moving in with Samuel and his boyfriend."

    "I'm not as useless as you thought I was but it doesn't matter. Enjoy the rest of your life." (Samuel to his parents after helping Sydney move out.)

    "Oh, well it is kind of weird to see my older brother naked. Wouldn't you find it weird if I was walking around naked?" "Yep, point. Okay, clothes next time. Or at least shorts."

    "The way you handled the housewarming, the way you made sure Sydney was tucked in, the cleaning: you'll make a great parent one day."

    "Greg said I'd make a great parent one day and I had a nightmare about babies."

    "How do you like your eggs?" "Unfertilized and sunny side up. A bit on the gooey side if you don't mind." (It's funnier cuz it's said by a man.)

    "A video game character? You're naming your kitten after a video game character?"

    "Um, do you have air conditioning in this thing?" "Yep. It's called cranking down the windows." (Funny note: I had a car with crank windows so I totally know what it's like to be in the middle of the summer with no air conditioning in a car. It SUCKS.)

    "Samuel. Alone. Kids."

    "No I can't. This isn't like learning to drive or taking care of Ezio and Kratos (kitten and puppy respectively). This is, I don't even know. But I can't do it. I don't ever want kids."

    "Kids aren't the be all and end all of a relationship. Kids don't mean you have a successful relationship or a perfect family. Families aren't just kids. You know that." (Mikel)

    "Talk to him stupid. Figure out for sure what's going on because this whole tension thing between you two sucks."

    "I don't care if you don't want kids. I want you."