Sunday, February 28, 2016

Blue in the MEMEs

Ah, February is practically gone and we're all the way up to March! MARCH! Can you believe it? And somewhat more frightening is the fact that parts of the US are snowed under (I'll politely not mention which part of the US I'm in right now, but I can say I don't currently own a snow shovel, though it did snow in July in my state this year). No matter how your weather is, everyone could use a little uptick in the smiles and grins department, and that's why I decided to join the Winter Blues Fighting MEME Blog Hop, co hosted by Christine Rains, C. Lee McKenzie, and Tara Tyler!

If you're looking for a quick chuckle, then I recommend playing the Meme game. You type in your first name followed by the word meme and click on images. But a quick warning: if you have the same first name as a famous person, especially a model, the memes can be pretty crass, so be wary as you navigate the depths of memes (many are NSFW!).

I'll go first:
I studied a lot, but this is entirely untrue.

Oh, Gene, it's a secret!

Yes. Thank you. Now take me to Olivander's.

This is a blog hop, so feel free to jump on in and help chase away the blues!

Sunday, February 21, 2016


So I’m sure everyone’s heard about how we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others. We always seem to be looking over the other the fence and thinking things aren’t going the way we’d hoped or planned. It’s a hard place to be to think we aren’t as smart/pretty/successful/strong/financially stable/whatever the new thing is today. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others, but it’s also toxic.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to the Amazon pages of my fellow writers to see how my book is comparing to them. I’ve wasted a ton of time reading other people’s success stories for how quickly they found their agent and sold their perfect book and how everything was roses and then lamenting how my path had gone up until that point. But even an old bat can learn new tricks, and I’m starting to understand.

With agents and publishing, there are so many reasons things don’t work out. A really big one is that sometimes the book isn’t ready, but even more commonly, it’s just that the book isn’t super special to an agent or editor. I can’t tell you guys how many times I’ve been reading through the entries on a pitch contest and absolutely fallen in love with an entry—to the point of “I would buy this based on this description alone”—and those entries get no requests.

Does it suck?

Oh yeah, it sucks.

Is it fair?

Ah, now that is an interesting and complicated question. Is it fair? In a heartbeat, no. But you know what else isn’t fair? I have friends who have written books and their writing is a million times better than mine. They write lyrical works of art, carefully constructing story arc and pacing. I write explosions and car chases, magic and wizards, and dragons(except for my contemporary stuff). Is it fair that I got a publishing contract for my car chases and dragons when those beautiful books that will make you cry make the rounds in the slush piles to no avail? Is it fair to be rejected because an agent had a bad day and your book reminded her of why she was having a bad day? It isn’t fair. If books sold by some metric that measured “how good a book is” who’s would we use anyway?

I know people who hate Twilight. I know people who didn’t commit suicide because they read Twilight and wanted to know how the next book went. Is it fair?

Life isn’t fair. But, I offer this other bit of terrifying observation on the fairness of life: If life really were fair, then you would have deserved all of the bad things that have ever happened to you.

So smile! Life isn’t fair. Maybe you don’t deserve your success, maybe you do. Who are any of us to judge? Life really isn’t fair, so try to enjoy the path your feet are on.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentines Day, a retrospective

I'm not gonna lie, V Day and I have spent many years not being on good terms. There was the singles awareness, the rough times in relationships, the missed day altogether, the exams from the pits of hell themselves. In short it never quite lived up to the hype.

When I was a teenager, it was sort of like the Ground Hog's day for Single people. The single person comes out of their cave, and if they see discounted chocolates, they'll stay single for the rest of the year.

Then, later on it became more of a "I know you love me, please don't buy the super overpriced flowers that will be 1/4 the price tomorrow."

There have been expensive dinners, "get aways" (hint, even when you get away, you're still you!), and then we stumbled across the one thing that really has been fun for a couple to do: The same things you would normally do. So one year, we went to an arcade.

Yup, most romantic Valentines Day ever.

The next year, we gamed with friends.

This year we gamed with friends, so we are definitely on a roll here.

My point is this: for many people, Valentine's Day will never live up to the hype because not all of us have the resources to rent the 5k a night cabin in the woods where the snow will be perfectly fresh, and have the box of chocolates delivered to the room with fifty red roses. More importantly, how would you really feel in that situation? Would you feel comfortable spending the same amount of money needed to get into a small car on a single weekend? Would you really feel more loved?

I don't, and I know a lot of people are put off by that sort of thing.

But the problem is the perception of this holiday continues to exist. We feel pressured to put on the big romantic show, and people are going to ask us what we did. Many will think we're crazy for gathering to roll dice and pretend to thwart an army because it's not romantic (to which I say, have you ever seen an elf shoot an arrow?), but in my old age, I've decided that fighting the crowds on V Day for an overpriced meal is no fun at all. So no going out for us. No flowers (who wants dead flowers anyways?), and if we weren't hanging with our friends, we'd be pouring money into an air hockey table. 

So, if you're feeling extra lonely this V Day, you are not alone in avoiding this terrible holiday! Even the people madly in love with this holiday think it's a bit whacked.

And you know what, if you are single, I have a helluva a date for you, last minute and everything: my book is free right now. And since I can't discriminate between singles and people with SOs, here's another link. (the second link also goes to my book, see what I did there?).

In all seriousness, if you're feeling even more alone than usual, please remember that this is one day out of the whole year, and one great big perk to not having an SO is that you get to pick exactly how you will spend your day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New computer, or Reset all your passwords

Yeah, so, my computer decided that it was going to take a nose dive. It was dropping data, randomly turning off, constantly eating the days work, and doing it in such a way that I thought I was going insane. Afterall, I haven't been sleeping well, I'm under a wild amount of stress, and let's just say, things have been hard on me.

And then work started disappearing from my WIP.

A few pages here. A few paragraphs there. Nothing really obvious, but always the "I thought I wrote something more here."

Well, it was my hard drive, and before it went one hundred percent to the dark side of the force, I bought a new computer. All of this to say, if I haven't responded in the last few days, it's not cause I hate you or I forgot you, but that I'm in the slow process of resetting all the passwords to everything because I can never remember them anymore. The joys of having fifteen different passwords for home and 12 (12!!!) for work.

Right, well, back to installations for me!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

When you check and your name isn't on the list

Right, so there you are. You entered a contest, and now, the world has moved on and you didn’t get to the coveted agent round.

I feel for you.

I feel for you because I’ve been in your shoes. And what makes it harder is that sometimes those people go on to getting agents, and you feel like that could have been you.

It’s hard to be objective at this moment in life because you just received a blow. When you get cut from something, it feels like you were attacked. It feels like someone took your dream out of your heart and used it to park a tractor on. When I was rejected, I’d always feel like the world had just spit me out and keep on going.

I felt worthless.

I felt like a crappy writer regardless of what anyone else said.

I hated feeling so disregarded, because I felt like I was ready. I was ready for the big leagues. This is what I’d tell myself. I’d watch those contests trying to feel supportive of my friends and CPs, but in truth, I often had a sick green monster on my shoulder.

I know there is nothing I can tell you that will make it better, but I’m a writer and by default, I believe the impossible is merely difficult.

Publishing, the business side of writing, makes no logical sense. It just doesn’t. So when you get a rejection and you can’t figure out why a manuscript you feel is inferior gets the big agent and a contract in three days, it’s not what you think. Sometimes people win the lottery, but you don’t see them doubting their self worth when they don’t win the jackpot.

But with writing we do. It’s bizarre, but it’s part of writing. And maybe, just maybe, there is something that could be made more perfect about your manuscript. Or maybe your writing is Ah-May-Zing, but your story is a portal with a pretty typical other world. No matter how much I love those, no one is buying them in publishing, and that trickles down the castle walls.

Chin up. Write more. One thing about publishing: when you do get your break, the first thing they are going to ask you is “What else do you have?” Be sure you have something else, so get back to writing, even if your heart is feeling a bit broken.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Insecure, but keeping our heads up

It's another installment of Insecure Writer's Support Group! Jump on over and say Hi to the Ninja Captain, Alex, and be sure to swing by the co-hosts, Allison Gammons, Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend, and say Hi! 

This month, I think it might be good to acknowledge that the writing journey is hard. I know, duh, Rena, we get that it's hard. There's a whole support group for it!

But it's true it can be hard.

And it can be amazing. This might be one of the hardest professions to try to be part of--the internship is a bit rough--but it's amazing. We writers create amazing things. We take people and we transport them to other worlds, other lives--we create within the people who read our works a sense of connectedness with the world around them.

I mean, wow. Step back for a minute and take that in. If you're writing, if you've written, you've already accomplished so much.

Yeah, the business is hard. Didn't get a request. Didn't hear back. Beta readers weren't kind to you. Reviews were terrible (like for real, yo, what is the deal with some reviewers?). But they aren't writing. Those things are a side effect of writing. They are the Con trail after your plane of awesome flies by. The bad parts of writing are the blisters and bruises you get when you play soccer (or football if you're from any country besides the US). 

But even with the bad bits, the bits that make us wring our hands and worry and fret, Writing is amazing.  We've all seen this meme, but it's true for everything, not just ballet. Writing is hard, but it is amazing.

Get back out there and write people.