Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Here I Am

Okay, I just accidentally hit the CapsLock key, and I had to retype that stupid headline three times before I figured it out. Think I'm a little burned out? Yeah, me too.

And I'm not really sure why. Perhaps it's a lack of caffeine. Perhaps it's that I'm trying to write three books at once. Perhaps it's that I've been so distracted and furious the last day or so by the new wave of internet piracy, and the attitude some poeple seem to have towards it. Which ranges from "Nobody reads ebooks" to...well..."Nobody reads ebooks."

Oh, well then. If nobody reads them--aside from the several hundred people downloading them, or the thousands who buy them every week--then I guess theft of intellectual property is okay, right? It's just some freaks who like ebooks doing it, after all. Grrr.

And what else? I am officially so tired of winter I want to rip out my hair at the roots.

The hubs and I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night. I hadn't forgotten how good it is--I don't think you forget how good a movie like that is--but I had forgotten just how good. How clever the visuals are. The use of shadows in the film, for example. Amazing. When Marion is closing up her bar, and the door opens, and we see a shadow on the wall. It's Indiana Jones. We know it, and so does she. before he even speaks we see her shoulders fall and then tense as she recognizes him. It's such a great moment.

Do you think it's possible for books to bring the same sense of the visual to a reader, as it is for a movie to a viewer? Or is it never as clear, because it's open to interpretation, or simply takes too long to describe?

I would never say I prefer movies to books. But I do think they each have their limitations.

And tis is short, and not ranty, because I really am whacked.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Elizabeth George Hates Me

Okay. This is very emotionally disturbing for cut me a little slack as I get hysterical later.

You guys know how I feel about readers, and readers being God as far as I'm concerned, and blah blah blah. You also know that I have said publicly, right here on this blog, that characters belong to writers and they know them better than readers do.

Well, as Ben Franklin said, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Because I've been thinking of this a lot lately. See, in the comics world, reader loyalty is a big deal. reader opinion can actually change stories. While this may not always be good, I think in a series it is a good thing. And perhaps I'm not as inconsistent as I originally thought because really, despite the enormous popularity of Hannibal Lecter, Thomas Harris wasn't strictly writing a series.

But series are different. Readers get very, very emotionally involved in the lives of ongoing characters in books. You introduce someone in one book and they die in the next? Well, yeah, that's sad. You introduce someone in one book, marry her to the MC of the book, and then have her brutally murdered while eight months pregnant, thirteen fucking books later? And then, as a sequel to that soul-destroying carnage, you write a sequel book about the kid who committed the brutal murder, and what he did before committing said murder? 400 pages of this shit?

You, my friend, must hate me.

Elizabeth George? She hates me.

You must understand. It isn't just how awful the senseless death of a pregnant woman makes us instinctively feel (Lacey Peterson, anyone?) It isn't just that the murdered woman was someone we all liked and trusted from the first page of the first book, someone we thought of as a friend, someone whose happiness we were pulling for. Or that in marrying her, her husband seemed to finally be coming into his own again and growing up.

It's that once we discovered she was pregnant, we had to wait FOUR GODDAMN YEARS, breathlessly anticipating the birth of the baby, wondering what it would be, wondering how our intrepid detective would deal with having a vulnerable baby at home. Eagerly we sat through one volume of self-written short stories, one nonfiction book about writing, and one volume of short stories written by other people edited by Elizabeth George. We plodded on through a not-very-satisfying book about irritating minor characters, all the while thinking this was the longest literary pregnancy in the history of the world (which it may or may not be.)

Four fucking years we were strung along, only to have the lady die in what was essentially a drive-by shooting, totally unconnected with the rest of the book. It wasn't even that clean or simple. Our friend, our detective, had to make the decision to turn off his pregnant wife's life support.

The hubs called me from Tesco the other day. "Elizabeth George has a new book out. Do you want it?" he asked, a little warily, because he remembered the fury with which I finished the last one and what a miserable mood I was in for days.

I hemmed and hawed and told him to bring it to me. Curiosity killed the cat.

But in this case satisfaction most definitely does NOT bring it back. I am done. Done, done, done. That I was treated with such contempt is absolutely beyond my ability to forgive.

I know when you write series books things have to change. I know readers aren't always going to be happy. It isn't the death that bothers me so much (I mean it does, it totally does, but). What bothers me is that I wated so long for it, and now, just over a year later, I have another book about the same fucking incident. No aftermath. I still don't know how any of these people are dealing with what happened.

(What makes matters worse is the rumors that have flown around for some time, saying that this death was written because the TV series made from the books--which isn't a good series, btw--has gone in a different direction with the relationship, and so did not marry the detective and his wife, etc., and that they wanted the books more in line with the series. I don't know if I'll go that far.)

But I am literally shaking with rage. If you hate me so much, Ms. George, just stop writing the books and do something different. What you did to me was inexcusable, and expecting me to read the same horrible, depressing story twice is arrogance beyond measure.

(I'm going to post more about how this relates to series books tomorrow or Wed.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Some Friday Odds and Ends

You know, I've noticed I tend to do these little rag-end posts every week or every other week or so. I think I'm going to start just doing them on Fridays. Things that aren't big enough to do a regular blog post on (by my admittedly long-winded standards) but that I want to share anyway.

I invented a delicious soup the other day. Really, really tasty, with chicken and little meatballs and carrots and dumplings. I was going to post the recipe, but it's rather long. That made me think of how I still owe little bird blue the recipe for peanut butter cake.

But I hate to clutter up this blog with recipes, which some people enjoy and some don't, you know?

And then I thought, I have that whole Deadjournal just sitting over there on, uh, Deadjournal. And I did spend so much time making it pretty.

So the Deadjournal is now officially the December Quinn Overflow Blog. Where I will post the occasional recipe or excerpt or whatever (always alerting you, of course). So the soup recipe is there now, and on Sunday or Monday I will post the peanut butter cake recipe.

Item Two is, I will be in London tomorrow. I am going to see Daniel Radcliffe (that's Harry Potter, yes indeedy) perform in Equus. So I won't be here at all, my train leaves here at 9 am and I won't be back until after midnight. fellow Indulge Authors and I are going to have an exciting announcement to make very soon! March ready.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal

...And it does.

Finishing a project is always difficult for me. (At least, finishing a solo project is--the corwitten books, while I love them, don't tend to get as personal for me, if that makes any sense.)

Anyway. It hurts a little to finish a book. I'm one of those people who could tinker with it for ages, or at least until the moment I decide it sucks. Which is generally a few weeks after I've finished it. Part of me still believes in it and loves it, but what I seem to really remember is the bits I edited out. It's like I see the book viewed through a lens of repeated words and thought.

But that's not important at the moment. Plus, you know, it makes me sound like a bit of a loser. Which I am so NOT! Ha ha! Not me! And if anyone out there is reading this with an eye towards representing me, I am GREAT to work with! And not a kook at all.

But today I realized something.

I've had an idea.

Something clicked in my head, and now I have another idea, for another book, for another project. I'm not washed up, the book out there now is NOT my only shot. There's more out there for me, and I know there is.

I can't remember now who said this (probably Stephen King because, let's face it, every wise thing we all quote to each other about writing was always said by Stephen King. He's the Winston Churchill/Oscar Wilde of discussions about writing), but it's true. Ask a writer what his favorite book of his is, and it's always the one he's working on right then. Those old books? No, no. Nowhere near as good as what he's doing now!

And that's the way I look at it. My last finished project--I love it. I think it's great, and smart, and sexy, and I still want to cry at the idea that it might not be The One.

But if it isn't, I keep plugging. Because that's what we do.

I reach for the next idea and I get started.
How do you feel when you've finished a project, whether it's a book or something at your other work or what?

Monday, February 19, 2007


Yay! I am very pleased to announce the sale of my erotic vampire romance novel, Blood Will Tell, to Ellora's Cave!

I am so, so excited, because I love this book--I tend to look at all my projects with more love the further away from them I get, I've noticed. This one is where I really started to get my dialogue on, yo. I'm really, really proud of some of the dialogue in this one, and I'm offering this tiny teaser as an example:

The stew in her white china bowl looked and smelled fabulous, rich with beef and red wine, but Cecelia wasn’t about to dig in. Who knew what was in it? She’d seen enough movies to know that the heroine—in which category she firmly placed herself—never just blindly accepted food or drink given her. Especially by someone whose category—hero or villain—she didn’t know.
She watched Julian from under lowered eyelids, waiting for him to begin eating. He didn’t. He was watching her right back, smiling slightly.
“Is this where I take a bite myself, so you know I haven’t poisoned the food?”
“Would you?” she asked sweetly.
“They’re in separate bowls,” he pointed out. “I could easily have drugged yours and not mine.”
“Then switch—”
“Stop being ridiculous. I’m not going to sit here and play out scenes from The Princess Bride with you. Eat it or don’t. I don’t much care.”
She looked doubtfully at the bowl.
“Just ask yourself,” he said. “If I planned to kill you, would you have woken up at all after you passed out? Fun as our little conversation has been, I assure you I have other things to do than trade barbs with women who make it a habit to wander around alone at night.”
“I wasn’t wandering. I was coming out of the lab. Where I work. I’m a scientist. You make me sound like a hooker.”
“And you make me sound like a clumsy serial killer,” he said. “Poisoning your food, indeed.”
“Look, just what the hell is going on here?”
“We’re discussing which of us thinks the worse of the other. Not a pastime I usually—”
“Oh, shut up!” she said, louder than she’d intended. “What do you know about all of this vampire stuff, anyway? You can pretend you don’t, but you do. How are you involved in all of this? And why are you being so fucking mean to me? I was attacked, and you don’t even care.”
“Should I?”
“Go to hell,” she snapped, standing up. “I’m leaving.”
“Oh, and you’re welcome,” he replied.
“I said you’re welcome. For saving you. You couldn’t be bothered to thank me before.”
She stopped hunting for her shoes and stared at him. “Is that why you’re being so nasty?”
“One of the reasons, yes.”
“And what, pray tell, are the others?”
He sighed. “It irritates me when people waste energy.”
She kept staring.
“You’re spending all of your time worrying about me. Am I a serial killer, am I going to poison you, what do I know about vampires. What do you know about vampires, Cecelia?”
“They have fangs and drink blood and catch fire in the sun. Crosses scare them. Holy water burns them. A group of them attacked me earlier. And…I know you saved me. Thank you,” she added, hoping she didn’t sound as begrudging as she felt.
He nodded an acknowledgement, managing to look in the process like a king bestowing favors. She hated him. And still, damn it, found him incredibly sexy. “A group of vampires,” he repeated. “Doesn’t that strike you as a bit odd?”
“Uh, the whole concept of vampires strikes me as a bit odd. What exactly is supposed to be standing out in the sea of weirdness here?”
“Don’t you usually think of vampires hunting alone? Stalking their prey on a lonely street or some fake-smoke filled nightclub?”
She sat back down. “I guess I do.”
“So, then, isn’t it odd that a whole group of them showed up-barely past sundown-and attacked you? Outside of a blood research facility?”
She was beginning to see his point, and fear flowed through her veins like a frozen cocktail. “But,” she said, a little desperately, “couldn’t they have just wanted to get in? We keep blood there…”
“Cold blood. Blood that’s being tampered with. You’re not a blood bank, you’re a research lab. I don’t think they wanted entrance to the building, Cecelia.”
“How do you know my name, anyway?”
He raised one eyebrow at her again. Bastard. “Do you think I would have brought you into my home without knowing something about you?”
“You searched my purse.”
He shrugged. “Of course.”
She wanted to be angry, but found she really couldn’t. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t that big of a deal. After all, he had saved her.
Although why, she had no idea. The image he seemed to be painting of himself as wandering Samaritan faded quickly when examined through the lens of his snide personality.
“And did you find out anything interesting?”
“I know you like MAC lipstick.”
“Ah. The secrets of my soul lie bare before you.”
“Sarcasm is so charming in a lady.”
“Just as charming as in a gentleman,” she retorted. “So what you’re saying is, I was attacked because of me. Not by chance, or at random. There’s something about me that made a big gang of vampires want to kill me. Which means…” her voice faltered. “Which means they’ll probably try again. And keep trying. Until they get me.”

I am also extremely pleased to announce our beloved Bam has made her first sale, to Samhain Publishing, for their upcoming "A Midsummer Night's Steam" Anthology. Her sure-to-be-amazing tale, called "Skin to Skin" (oooh!), releases August 17th, so make sure you save some cash this summer so you can get it, because Bam is a wonderful writer and I'm sure her story rocks hard.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Calling Card

In more genteel days, there was a custom known as "Paying a call", wherein ladies of a certain social stature would travel around the town in the afternoons, stopping in to "call on" their various acquaintances. Calls had a very strict structure; jackets and gloves were left on, umbrella was not handed over to the butler. This signified the call would not last long, as a caller generally only stayed fifteen minutes or so. A lady would designate one day a week (sometimes two) when she was "At home" to receive her callers. (There are lots more calling customs, and they're pretty interesting, but I'm not going to describe them all, because that's not the point.)

Sometimes a lady would be at home, but not "at home". Sometimes a lady would be getting ready to go out of town. Sometimes a lady would genuinely have been called away.

In all of those cases, a card was left. A calling card. A small, business-card sized piece of card, on which was printed the lady's full name. (Actually, three cards were often left--two of the woman's, and one of her husband's. The lady's were for the lady and gentleman of the house, her husband's only for the gentleman.) Often, one corner of the card was bent down to convey a message--"I am leaving", "I have returned", etc.

But the cards were left. Because it was a way of building and maintaining a social network.

It was also a courtesy. If someone had a party, you called the next day, often just leaving a card (in fact, towards the end of the custom, many ladies simply hired someone to distribute their cards for them.) If someone did something nice for you, you left a card. If you were new in town, you waited patiently, hoping someone would call on you so you could pay them a return call and thus begin building up a network of friends.

We still have this custom online. Only instead of cards, we trade blog comments.

Which brings me to the point of my post today. When people take the time to comment on your blog, you should respond if possible. There are one or two blogs I've stopped reading because the blogger never acknowledges comments--and we're not talking about somebody like Miss Snark who gets dozens of comments, we're talking about someone just starting out in the blog world. When only one or two people are responding, you can answer them. And you should. Otherwise they start to feel used and ignored.

Also, if you've posted a link to your blog in your signature in a forum, and it specifically asks people to comment on your blog? If somebody does, you should comment back. You've asked them to begin network with you. You owe them something in return. Likewise, if you're asking people how to get people to comment on your blog, and someone explains to you about commenting back, and then comments...the link is right there. Click on it. Say hi to them. To refuse to do so is to rudely ignore your social obligations. It's to announce to everyone involved that you are a taker, not a giver.

I'm not talking about people like EE or Miss S, or any of the blogging agents I've come across and/or linked to. For many of them, to comment everyone back would not only take a huge amount of time, but might encourage relationships which may be rather awkward. Imagine having to reject someone whose blog you regularly visit. Do you keep commenting after? Maybe they hate you. It would be odd, so those people are excused.

But there is no excuse for most people to ask for other people's time, to read and comment on their blogs, and then not repay the visit. It's rude, and it makes me mad.

I may not comment on some people's blogs as often as they do on mine, but I do try. And of course some of you I consider friends to the point where we don't need to keep track of who's commenting where and when, right?

But in general...oooh it bugs me.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Cliche, Smiche

Okay, I'm not officially doing the Thursday Thirteen (yet), and I certainly don't want to detract from the strong "GO BUY IT" message below about The Rest Falls Away, but I had occasion last night to think about heroic cliches--in movies more than books, actually--that, no matter how many times I have seen them, still do it for me.

There are some I just love, that make me fall in love with a hero right away, that make me catch my breath. So, in no particular order, here are a few cliches I adore:

1. When the hero, faced with a gang of people who want to beat him or shoot him or whatever, pauses, gets himself ready, then gives them a "Come on" gesture with his hand. (This was especially awesome in Desperado, one of my favorite movies, which turns all the cliches around and is so much fun, plus Antonio Banderas was never sexier, plus the film features a .50-caliber Desert Eagle, a totally illegal firearm that looks cool as hell [it's listed as a "Destructive Device". Which, totally want one, because weapons are hot.] But the master of this, of course, is BRUCE LEE. Mmmmmm.)

2. When the hero has only one bullet and must hit a target head on, and he just does it. Example: Chow Yun-Fat in Hard Boiled.

3. Any sort of one-handed gun cocking.

4. Anyone cleaning wounds with whiskey. Especially if they drink the whiskey as well.

5. Two-handed shooting. This is cool whether it's cocking with one hand, pulling the trigger with the other (like in Westerns--I believe Val Kilmer did this in Tombstone, in which he was sooo hot) or if they're holding a gun in each hand.

6. Yeah, I still like guys who smoke. And drink.

7. The shot of men walking slowly. It's a classic for a reason.

8. When the guy grabs the girl and gives her a hard, passionate kiss before leaping into the fray.

9. Any sort of breaking glass.

...and I know there's more but I can't think of them right now, so I'll add them later.

And tomorrow or the next day, I'll do cliches that leave me cold.

But first tell me your cliches you love!

New Year's Resolution book

Yay! I love this one!

Here's the blurb:

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy of vampire slaying, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake. But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget. And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.

Okay. First, yes, while the idea is Buffy-like, the book's not like Buffy. After the first couple of chapters I forgot about the resemblance. Colleen Gleason has created a new and original vampire mythology which promises to be develop in a really unique way as the series goes on. I enjoyed Victoria's attempts to keep her activities secret in a world where keeping secrets was so difficult. And the characters are so alive and interesting. So alive and interesting, in fact, that...

the end made me cry a little.

I think you guys know me well enough by now to know that I am not the type of girl who cries at books very often. In fact, I can only think of a couple of books in my life that have made me cry: when Melanie dies in Gone With the Wind; the entire last few chapters and Epilogue of Sharon Kay Penman's The Reckoning; and sometimes I get a little emotional when Willie hears "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" on the radio in The Caine Mutiny (but then, who doesn't get emotional when they hear that song? It's like "Over There". Seriously. I dare you to listen to that and feel nothing at all.)

I didn't sob at the end of The Rest Falls Away, but I teared up. And that's a big deal.

The book started a little slowly for me--which very well might have been that I was snatching minutes here and there to read--but quickly absorbed me once I focused and the set-up was complete. I would have liked a little more "period" feel--not that the book didn't have that feel, but I was hoping for a little more velvet, smoke, fog, and blood.

Still, we had three handsome, sexy men to tempt our heroine--and I can't decide, so don't ask. That nipple ring and the slight pain fetish hinted at is awfully tempting (although I have never found men with nipple rings appealing, so don't ask me where that came from, I just know it did), but Mr. Kiss-Me-In-The-Coach-And-I-Might-Be-A-Bad-Guy is pretty hot too. And the other one...just...aaaw.

And I can't believe I have to wait until June to read the next one...but you don't have to, because Colleen Gleason is doing an ARC contest over at her website, so go enter!

Seriously. This is a keeper. Go get it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Yeah, it's that day, the one where everyone is expected to be all romantic and lovey-dovey. Am I the only one for whom this day tends to just suck?

For years I was always sick on Valentine's Day. Like, respiratory infecton or stomach flu sick. That ended when I got to Florida, but the day still basically stank. So much pressure, I think. Everyone wants to know what sorts of gifts your husband bought for you, or what special thing you're doing to celebrate.

Usually, the hubs and I end up fighting. We don't fight much. And the last couple of years have been fine, now that I think about it. But I know we're not alone--a lot of couple fight on Valentine's Day, and I think it's because of the raised expectations.

I don't even really advocate planning all sorts of wild sexy things. Chances are it will backfire. Silly lingerie covered in hearts? Nah, not for me. Why would you want to have sex with someone who looks like a float in a cheezy parade?

So this year do something extra special for your significant other--give them a break, order a pizza, and watch sitcoms. Save the romance for when it's spontaneous. That's what makes it special.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I'm hoping to blog later today, but I don't know that I'll get the chance...a casual email to an important (and incredibly nice!) coontact about a newly formed idea has led to a request for more info, so I am frantically putting my notes in order to get an outline written up ASAP.

So I am a busy, busy beaver today. Think of me fondly!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Those Manly, Manly Mullets

I'm serious, y'all. Samson's manliness all existed in his hair, his long, sexy, shiny manly-man hair. (Which, okay. Probably a filthy rat's nest considering the lack of jojoba conditioners in Biblical times. Play along, okay? And shut your damn doubting piehole.) (Is there seriously a term for mouth more offensive yet humorous than "pie-hole"? Because its use implies that you eat pie on a regular basis. Who eats that much pie?)

Anway, so Samson was all tough and strong because of his hair. The 80's man, much like Samson, also wanted to show his testosterone-laced strength through his hair. But! He was no longer a construction worker or mechanic, who could tuck his long, luxurious 70's hair, probably cared for with a balsam shampoo and a creme rinse, into a ponytail when handling dangerous man-work equipment like axes or hydraulic things, and tuck it into the collar of his shirt. No, he needed to look businesslike. Clean-cut. Long hair was out, baby.

So what's a guy to do? His banker bosses want to see his ears. They want him to have bangs. But inside that suited body beats the heart of a rocker.

And so the mullet was born. Short on the top and sides, long in the back. The perfect mix of business and pleasure.

I had one, once. I was ten. I didn't know what it was called, but everyone I knew was getting one. So I got one. I hated it. It was puffy and I felt, frankly, like some creepy elementary-school butch lesbian. But that same haircut that made me feel too manly did the same for actual men. They exuded manly, like a scent peeking through the heavier smells of Aramis or Drakkar. (By the way, I still love Aramis.)

Yes, some men went too far. There was a trend in my high school for the guys to have the backs of their mullets permed. I ask you. There is nothing manly about getting a perm, not ever. I remember hearing a bunch of them discussing it one day. And one of them was a hockey player.

There were also the unfortunate souls for whom the short mullet front was a different (usually darker) color than the long back. The two tone-effect didn't really work in that instance.

But everybody had a mullet. Teachers had them. Every guy in my school had one. My brother had one. Various celebrities. More Random celebrities and sports stars (MacGyver!).Mel Gibson. (Curiously, Lethal Weapon-era photos of the mulleted Mel are exceedingly difficult to find online. Imdb doesn't have any. Conspiracy? You be the judge!)

Now, though, the mightly mullet has become passe. A mulleted man is the kind of man who drinks Busch beer out of a and wears super-tight stonewashed denim cut-off shorts beneath his faded Molly Hatchett t-shirt.

Sow hile we're mourning the passing of macho, and hoping for a resurgence, let's think of this. The mullet allowed men who be a little creative with their hair. Isn't it a shame they can't anymore? No moustaches, no muttonchops (yeah, I didn't get to them), no flowing hair in interesting shapes?

It's a sad time to be a man, my friends.

Happy Burt Reynolds Day!

Yes indeedy, folks. Burt Reynolds is 71 years old today.

And you know, he still looks pretty good, although I'm focusing on macho 70's Burt as a fitting end to Macho Week.

So I'm going to blog about mullets and muttonchops, then I'm going to watch Smokey and the Bandit and enjoy this special day.

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Friday, February 09, 2007


I'm supposed to be blogging about the mullet and muttonchops today. But you know what? I just plain don't feel like it. I feel to chatty to focus, so here are some random thoughts:

Blah blah blah Anna Nicole Smith blah blah.

No, seriously. I think it is a tragedy. A baby just lost her big brother and her moth and she's only a few months old, and that is horrible. What I find most interesting is the internet "coverage". I haven't yet seen a man comment that this is tragic or sad, or that he hopes Anna Nicole has found peace. Most men seem to be either on the "shrug, I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner" or "Hahaha!" sides. I haven't yet seen a woman who isn't saddened. A lot of women seemed to feel almost like AN was sort of a patron saint, beautiful and confused and doing her best in the world. I don't know if I would go that far--there was always something hard about her face that bothered me--but certainly I think she was vilified unecessarily. I think she honestly loved J. Howard Marshall and I think she deserved the money he promised her.
But the sex split over this really fascinates me, although I don't feel like analyzing it just now. You guys tell me what you think about it instead.

Speaking of fascination, I can no longer keep from telling you all to go read Lola London's 'L'Undone'. Start back at Chapter One. I am riveted.

The hubs is going out of town tomorrow so I will be all alone for the weekend. I expect you all to keep me company.

In my internet wanderings I stumbled on a story about a guy whose girlfriend was visiting him. She decided to go get a manicure. he warned her about dirty tools but she had her own for them to use anyway. I thought, wow. What a great "show don't tell" example of character. The kind of woman who not only owns her own set of manicure tools, but who takes them everywhere with her in case she needs a manicure. Masterful.

A Quick Note Re: Macho

Hey, I've said this in comments a few times now but it seems important enough that I want to mention it here too do nobody misses it:

I'm certainly not saying, in any way, that "macho" is the only type of man I like. I'm not implying only alphas will do for me, or that brawn is some important than brains, or anything of the sort.

I like clever, witty men. I like geeks with glasses who read comics. I like rich businessmen in crisp business shirts and shiny shoes. Just as much as I like men in scuffed boots with grease under their nails from handling engine parts. I like tall, skinny punk guys. I like shorter, slightly husky guys.

I just plain like men, and these posts are just me examining an archetype that seems to have disappeared. I think it's sad there's one less type of man out there, is all, or that a man once so popular has lost his place.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

What Is Macho?

So what exactly is macho? What was it, and what did it mean? Most importantly, what does it mean now?

It started as a way to identify a "manly" man. A macho guy was above all, testosterone filled. He could grow luxurious chest and facial hair. (I will be doing a post tomorrow specifically on mullets and mutton chops, so be ready!) He was strong and tough. He maybe got in fights. He pretty much had a constant, woman-pleasing erection.

The macho man lived hard. He drank. Maybe he smoked. He probably had, as we've mentioned, a manual labor-type job. He did something where he was outside all day, getting tan. He probably had squint lines around his eyes and tan lines, in fact. Since he was usually shirtless outside, though, he didn't have a farmer tan...his chest was bronzed. Only below the waist were the tan lines visible.

He hung in out real bars, not discos. He listened to rock or real country music, the kind about drinkin' and cryin' and going to jail and hopping trains with their lonesome whistles in the clear, starry night. He felt those lyrics deeply, but he would never discuss such feelings.

He played football on the weekends if he was the active type. If not maybe he worked on his car or watched sports on TV. He did not play soccer or golf. Maybe he fished, but only if the fishing involved copious amounts of beer. Maybe he and his fishing buddies camped out and cooked their catches for dinner, too. Manly cooking, which involved rocks, cast iron, and fire, and did not involve aprons or reducing anything.

The macho man was tender but gruff with his woman. He saw women as something to have fun with, but he respected women as well. And woe betide the man who did not, because the macho man was happy to let his fists do the talking if need be. He wanted a wife. He wanted children. He expected to support them and he did not shirk from the thought or the reality of his reponsibilities.

Somehwere along the line, this concept became bastardized. The macho man, instead of being desirable, became first an overblown caricature (big blow-dried hairdos, tons of gold chains, you know what I'm talking about). It became an excuse for men to behave abominably.

As a result, it became a derisive insult. The macho man, instead of being someone who did his best, became a neanderthal. A man who wouldn't let his woman live her life, who expected foot massages every night and sex every other night and didn't care what she wanted. As with so many other good concepts, people took the base but not the subtleties, and "macho" became synonymous for "sexist jerk".

I think this is a terrible shame. I think men have been turned into wimps. I think the modern man tends to be a little sad, a little needy, more than a little insecure.

And the men who are attemtping machismo are going to the very worst extremes, referring to women as bitches and hos and impregnating them willy-nilly.

All because this man, the macho man, who used to set an example for young men and who used to give young women something real to expect from the men in their lives, has disappeared.

Maybe if we bring him back in fiction...and women start looking for him again...we can bring him back in life?


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

For a quickie, but I'll be posting more on macho later. (I didn't have time yesterday, the day flew away from me.)

Plus, honestly, I've noticed that when I post every day I seem to get less comments. What's up with that, guys?

I've been playing with the blog more, you'll notice on the sidebar now I have all sorts of nifty new tracking features. There's a site called My BlogLog that has some cool widgets and tracking charts and stuff. I guess it's for networking/blog community building. I just think it's got some neat info. It's worth a look if you blog a lot, anyway. Although it may be embarrassing for you all to see just how many times a day I'm actually popping onto your blogs.

And that's it. More macho later, and after Macho Week is over I have lots of writing-related questions for you and a New Year's Resolution book to discuss.

Also, do you guys think I should do Thursday Thirteen? It seems like a lot of people are doing it, and it might be a good way to attract readers, but at the same time, I don't know if anyone would actually read it. It is a meme, after all, and I think most people tend to just skim those. What do you guys think?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Macho, Part One

My ex-boyfriend Emil and I were talking one day about why the seventies was the last era of the real man. "Truck drivers could still be heroes in the seveties," he said.

And he was right.

Once that decade ended, we lost interest in men who make a living with their hands--except as villains or dolts, characters of fun or racist obstacles for the real heroes to get through. Occasionally we'll see some blue-collar guys in a sports movie, dealing with father issues.

But in the 70s...we lusted after those men. Tall, lean men with hairy chests and faces, with cowboy hats and cans of beer in their hands.

That man still has a huge pull for me, growing up a child of the 70s as I did. None of them more than the man above, Burt Reynolds.

When I was eight, Smokey and the Bandit was my abolsute favorite movie (I added Conan the Barbarian not long after.) Bandit was the handsomest, the most exciting, the smartest and coolest man who ever lived. He drove an awesome car, and he drove it well. He didn't play by anybody's rules--but he was still a traditional kind of man.

He was the kind of man we saw all over in films in the seventies.

When and why did that change? When did men just being men stop being good enough?

I'm guilty of this, in large part. My heroes--when they aren't medieval ass-kickers--tend to be businessmen. They're wealthy, they're powerful. They wear crisp white shirts and smell expensive.

They're complex men...but they aren't as complex as the seveties macho man. Yes, I do think they were complex. They were men facing a changing world, and their changing place in that world, the best way they could.

I wonder if a man like this might be too hard to write in a romance these days. If the compromises a 00's woman (hate that!) would need to make to be with the 70's man--or vice versa--might be too much for even the longest and most complex romances.

I wonder if readers would even buy a hero who worked in a factory or drove a truck anymore. The CB warrior is gone. The blue-collar guys living quiet lives don't attract anyone's attention anymore.

Even the concept of macho itself is ridiculed now, turned into a neanderthal stereotype only good for laughs.

But for one shining decade, Bandit and his resolute uncoolness, his Merle Haggard albums and his Coors and his cowboy hat and thick moustache, reigned supreme as the epitome of a man. When men didn't have to wear the right brand of jeans or listen to the right satellite radio station or live in a large, leather-decorated loft to be a hero, to be sexy and interesting.

I miss him.

(Tomorrow: What is macho? I'm doing macho all week.)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Couple of Notes Before Bed

I have done it, my friends. I have officially started querying Personal Demons, after numerous stringent edits. If anyone else wants to give it a quick beta read, just in case I missed something or whatever, let me know.

This is the most nerve-wracking thing ever...but I think it's a good book, a solid and fun and sexy book, and damn it, I can't possibly be the only one, especially since every edit gets a better reaction from early readers.

So that's that. I have stepped on the merry-go-round.

Also, if anyone is ever interested, for whatever reason, in buying me a gift, here's the place to go: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Seriously. (Well, not seriously, because none of you would ever be expected to buy me a gift of any kind and if you tried to I would refuse. But it sounded good, huh.) I think any one of these would make me happy. It is now my goal to try them all. At least, all the ones that sound good, which is basically all of them.

It actually ties in a bit with a whole long post I have planned on perfumes, but that will have to wait for later in the week. Why? Because I'm tired, that's why. I spent most of the day doing some beta reading for my cp and a new friend, doing more edits on PD, working on my synopsis and query for PD, and doing more edits. Also, I woke up dizzy this morning and stayed that way. I thik it's an inner-ear thing related to last week's horrible bronchitis and cold.

I also managed to eat a quarter of a peanut butter cake I made yesterday. Delicious. Always better the second day. I don't know why I even try to eat them the first day (well, okay, yes I do, and it's not flattering). This was the first one I made without chocolate chips, because the hubs is insane and so is not a fan of chocolate and peanut butter together, while I think it's the most yummy combo ever. Anyway, left the chocolate out, and the cake is still pretty good.

Only nine days left until Burt Reynolds Day! (The site is still showing last year's info, but the date doesn't change. This will tie in with my post(s) on...macho. Be ready.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Insert Clever Title

So this evening, while frying tortillas for dinner (bastardized Mexican. See, I'm allergic to peppers, and I don't really like spicy food, so fried tortillas are pretty much the only thing that makes my tacos Mexican at all. Otherwise they're just ground beef cooked with garlic, onion, Worcestershire, and soy [it really is tasty] and served with some cheese. Anyway.) I was frying the tortillas and somehow managed to dip the middle finger of my left hand into the boiling oil.

Now that was fun.

After I finally managed to get my finger out from under the cold tap, and after eating and it still hurt, and after I had some ice cream and it still hurt, I headed for the medicine cabinet. I could have taken some ibuprofin or paracetemol (because we don't have Advil or Tylenol here), but then I remembered. I still have some Percocet left over from when the Faery was born and I forced my doc to give me plenty. (See, when Princess was born he didn't give me enough, and I never let him forget it.)

Long story short? I am high as a kite right now, my friends. Not only does my finger not hurt, I seriously don't think I could feel pain if I tried. I'm awfully thirsty, though.

So I was going to do some real writing work tonight but in the mood I'm in, I don't think it's a good idea.

And, they finally announced the release date for the last Harry Potter book! Yay! July 21st! I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, July 21st can not come fast enough. On the other, my husband turns 35 on the 16th of July and I am not looking forward to the weeks of "I'm so old" conversations. Even less am I loking forward to turning 34 on August 11th. No, not looking forward to that one at all. So I want July 21st to happen, then just stay the 21st for several more months. Like Groundhog Day, July, and without Bill Murray. (Although I freaking adore Bill Murray, so he's certainly welcome to come along.) I can't wait for the book, though. I'm thinking of trying to convince hubs to take me to Edinburgh. Maybe JK Rowling will show up.

And I had a cigarette two days ago, because he was having one, but it was eh. And I haven't had any since. So look at me, being all tough and shit.

Oh, and also Molly Ivins died, and apparently she was much admired despite being a plagiarizer. Since she stole not only Florence King's words, but her whole "loveable curmudgeon" persona, I think she had a lot more to apologize for than she did, but it seems that, much like when Hunter S. Thompson died and I didn't care, I'm in the minority here as well. (BTW Florence King is one of my all-time favorite authors, so I've always had about as much use for Ivins as I have for pens with pink ink.)

The hubs and I were discussing art earlier (which actually has very little to do with Molly the Copycat but bear with me, because I think it's interesting.) We were discussing art, and what makes art cross the line between interesting and pretentious. There was more to it than that, but that was the gist. And we figured it out:

Pure art exists so the artist can make the viewer or audience or whatever see the world the way the artist does, or look at themselves in a different way, or make them think. Good or bad. It doesn't intrude, it opens a dialogue.

Pretentious art makes the audience look at the artist. It doesn't try to do anything but attract attention.

And those are my drug-addled thoughts for the evening.