Sunday, 29 April 2012

My Remarks on an Insulting Synopsis

Dear Readers; do you find you enjoy it when a book quite rudely tells you what's wrong with you? When it tells you that you must change your horrible ways? If so, you'll love this book!

Why You're Not Married . . . Yet: The Straight Talk You Need to Get the Relationship You DeserveWhy You're Not Married . . . Yet: The Straight Talk You Need to Get the Relationship You Deserve by Tracy McMillan

How fascinating! I have never been insulted five times in a synopsis.

#1. " haven’t yet become the woman you need to be in order to have the partnership you want."

Oh my goodness! Please tell me more about how deficient I am as a woman, and why I must change to be the perfect ideal for every man on earth who is already perfect.

#2. "You’re a Bitch: How defensiveness and anger can hide behind a tough, take-charge exterior, and why being nice is never a sign of weakness."

I didn't realize that having a "tough, take-charge exterior" meant that I was a bitch. I thought it meant that I had a "tough, take-charge interior" which I was very proud of and never wished to compromise. But I see how being a tough woman can be a turn-off, and I will try my best to appear as though I am not.

#3. "You’re a Liar: How to stop lying to men—and get honest with yourself—about the kind of relationship you really want. It’s the only way."

I have never lied to a man in my life, but you just suggested that I should because my tough exterior was a turn-off. I'm confused. If I'm really honest with myself about what I want, it's a man who accepts and loves me for the tough, take-charge woman I am, on the exterior and interior.

But I am excited to read this book and find out more about how I should turn myself into soft, cushy carpeting under someone's worthy feet.

#4. "You’re Shallow: Being a woman who insists on a tall guy is no different from being a man who demands big boobs. Learn why you should let go of trying to get what you think you should have and focus on getting what you need."

Here's the secret! Men who are short, fat, and ugly are automatically better people! You know, I considered this theory once, and I tried dating short, fat, ugly men to see if they were less arrogant. I guess I must have chosen the wrong short, fat, ugly men, because they were just as cruel and abusive as the other kind, and almost as insulting as this synopsis.

#5. "You’re Selfish: The big secret about marriage: It’s about giving something, not getting it. The other big secret: You will have to go first."

You know, I've always wanted to give myself wholly to another person. That's why I am considering adopting a child. As far as I understand, parents must nurture their children and sacrifice everything for them without ever expecting to receive anything in return; not even respect or affection.

But I thought marriage was supposed to be mutually beneficial? I must have my definitions crossed! Sorry. I'm going to go now and tell all the women I know who have been abused in their marriages that they were just being selfish, and they should have given more.

It's all our fault after all.

Needless to say, I am excited to read the rest of this book and be insulted several hundred times more! If I can take all these insults and smile and say thank you, I will surely have learned how to be a good wife.

And that will be the be-all and end-all of my existence, because after the princesses got married, all the Disney movies ended and they lived happily ever after.

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Friday, 27 April 2012

The Warrior-Writer's Diet

If you are a writer, you are aware of the fact that writing is possibly the most time consuming job on the planet. (citation needed) You can't delegate. You can't pay someone else to do it. It's all you-- and sadly, there's only one of you. And sometimes, you need to do things like sleep, empty your bladder, and eat. I haven't yet been able to find a way around the first two (working on it), but I believe I have made progress on eliminating the third annoying hindrance as much as humanly possible

Everything else in your life can be easily parted with; friends, family, pets, entertainment, the outside world, and hygiene. Male writers generally stop showering, while female writers stop shaving. We become smelly, hairy beasts as we immerse ourselves in our respective worlds, happily disregarding most bodily functions. Until they force us to pay attention. Then we become slaves to the exhausting, time-wasting whims of our meat-suits.

Balance? Yeah, right. Does anyone have balance between their life and their writing? No; it's all-consuming. And if you're not being consumed, you're probably not doing it right. Why are you slacking off to pee? You should be working harder. You should be taking the laptop with you, and writing WHILE you pee. Will you allow your kidneys and bladder to sabotage your career and ruin your life? Believe me, your urethra is laughing as it steals away precious minutes.

Regardless of how smelly and hairy you are, you can still do more. I have carefully devised a strategy of eating that requires spending no more than ten minutes in the kitchen per day. It also provides you the basic nutrition necessary to function, and may even result in weight loss.

Disclaimer: This diet is EXTREME and can only be implemented correctly if you are a bachelor/bachelorette without kids or a spouse to feed.  Do not attempt if pregnant or nursing. Nadia and her associates claim no responsibility for bodily harm incurred by the adherence to these instructions. 

This is a three step program.

Step One: Multivitamins.
Step Two: Lunchables.
Step Three: Zap frozen meat and veggies.

This is my proven method. I'm not joking. Let me elaborate.

Step One is self-explanatory. You are a writer; you probably don't drink milk or go outside to get sun, and you can't afford the time it takes to prepare beef. You need those vitamins.

Step Two is more complex. Lunchables are heavenly gifts from God and Zeus. You can rip them out of the fridge, instantly devour them, and go back to work. You can even eat them while working. They pleasantly greet your taste-buds on the way in with a mushed combination of three different food groups. That's right. Lunchables are the key to success, and they have been since the beginning of time! The Pharaohs ate them, and so did Nostradamus. You want to stock up on these until your fridge is brimming. Then you never need to leave the house. Productivity will increase.
Note: Can be substituted with tortilla chips and cheese/salsa. 
Note #2: Notice the complete absence of fresh fruits and vegetables. You are a writer. You do not have time to peel or chop things! Cast those outlandish ideas aside.
Note #3: The alcohol is not a necessary part of the writer's diet, but may be included in times of desperate need for inspiration. 

Step Three is very intricate. Let's talk about frozen stuff, a.k.a. buried treasure. Each box of nearly-cryogenic calories contains a glorious gem of time-saving magnificence. Veggies keep their nutrients when frozen, so it's good for you and fast.
Note: To properly receive the benefits of stockpiling your freezer with frozen meals, YOU CANNOT STAND AND STARE WHILE THEY ARE BEING MICROWAVED. No. You will stick them in the microwave, and then you will go back to writing. Posthaste.

You aren't going to waste three to seven minutes watching a rectangle rotate.  You're better than that. You have writing to do. And you WILL write more, and more amazingly than you have ever written in your life. The power is in you-- you took the multivitamins. You ate the Lunchables. 

You're a superhero.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Woman in the Passenger Seat

Sometimes when I'm driving along and enjoying myself (it's the only time I really feel relaxed anymore) and blasting a song I love on repeat through my speakers at the top volume, the inevitable happens.

I have to stop for a red light. 
I sigh, and press my red high-heel down on the brake pedal reluctantly. I look around me with dramatic boredom and impatience in my expression, because apathy just wouldn't be fashionable.

Then I see her: sitting in the car beside me. She's silent, because that's the safest way to be. You see, she's in the passenger seat, and her boyfriend or husband is driving her where she needs to go. She's dependent on him. There is a forlorn look in her eyes as she stares out the window. Maybe they've been fighting. She looks like a helpless animal, trapped in a cage with a circus performer who has been whipping her so that she'll dance when the music plays and jump through fiery hoops when he commands it.

Okay, I admit-- I'm exaggerating. A teensy bit. Like for example, the hoops might not necessarily be fiery. They might be crackling with high voltage electricity, or perhaps just soaked in poison. You know, surely something which causes irreparable physical and psychological damage.

I can see it at a glance because I used to be there; I used to be the woman in the passenger seat. I used to have that same expression on my face, and feel the same obligation and misery. Take whatever he throws at you, take whatever he says; he's the boss, while your insides are exploding. Then finally, all you can do is remain silent. Until you realize that the effort of remaining silent is destroying you-- it's so difficult that you've actually begun censoring your thoughts. You've begun censoring yourself to mold yourself into a less confrontational shape. Because just being yourself was confrontational.


Why when you could be over here driving wherever the hell you want, at whatever speed you want, taking whatever route you want? Why when you can choose exactly what song you want to listen to, and choose to play it fifty times on repeat if you want? At top volume? While singing along at the top of your lungs? And switch it the moment you get tired of it? Yes, it's possible to be so attuned to your own feelings that you know whether or not you like a song on the radio. Not whether you should or should not like it in order to please someone else.

Is it comforting to have him there behind the wheel? Is it acceptable to be constantly belittled and insulted? Are the benefits worth the cost, or is it just fear? Because I'll tell you this now; the only benefits are being able to do your makeup while moving because you don't have to concentrate on the road. The rest of the benefits are all fairy-tales and hearsay. Seriously.

Why would you choose to be the woman in the passenger seat when you could be free?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Choice: Mind or Body

The truth is, deep in a secret, shameful part of me, I want to hit the gym for three hours a day and work out until exhausted. Then I want to hit the dojo, and train until I collapse. I want to spar with guys who are literally twice my size and kick their asses, because it's been a far too long-- and is there any better thrill? Then I want to participate in fitness competitions with an oiled-up six pack and thighs that feel like steel. I also want to get a motorcycle license and take the classes, and have an excuse to wear leather pants and be the baddest chick you know.

But I don't have the time to do that AND write. All I can afford are my 200 sit-ups a day and *mumblemumble* push-ups. =( I can't compromise my writing goals in order to increase my fitness levels; especially when I am naturally pretty fit and healthy, and don't have any major concerns.

I am probably more fit right now than I have been in my entire life-- I ate rather poorly as a kid because my mom's cooking was horrible. =) I was pretty skinny, and I would get the flu 2-3 times a year, and it would last a month or more. At the moment, I weigh 120 lbs, while I weighed 100-110 in high school, and I haven't had the flu in over a year. This probably has a great deal to do with no longer having stress from rigid hours at school and work, and being able to make my own schedule. 

I still have fitness goals, but they will have to be pushed aside for the moment. I hope I'll get a chance to pursue them next year, when I will have some time to do something other than pound away at the keyboard.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Fanfiction Readers Are Glorious

Why my fanfiction readers rock: 

I wrote a chapter amounting to 10,755 words, and published it yesterday. I received 138 hits, and 16 reviews in roughly a day. All of them lovely, uplifting, interesting and enthusiastic responses! I've even received more personal feedback on top of that from readers on Facebook. In total, I have now received over 600 reviews on Thirty Minutes to Heartbreak, and I am so, so deliriously happy about each and every one of them. I did the happy dances.

Why the real world does not yet rock for me:

I put my heart and soul into writing Fathoms of Forgiveness, and I am so, so proud of it. I cried while writing it in several parts. I laughed until I cried in even more parts! It is 93K words, and it is a full, complete story. I published it on March 15th. I received five reviews, mostly from my loyal fanfic readers. 

On March 27th-28th, I gave away 3,011 copies of the novel. For free. That's a tiny bit more than the hits I've received on my teeny weenie chapter, isn't it? Only a few thousand more. Yup, you guessed it. NO REVIEWS. ZERO reviews from over 3,000 free copies given away! Ahhhhhhhh! Perhaps I am spoiled, but I am not used to such neglect and apathy. 

Note: If you're wondering what the big deal is about reviews, allow me to explain that I am actually a robot, and reviews are what I eat and drink to keep my mechanical parts moving.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A Million Words

My goal for 2012 is to write a million words.

I need to make that goal a little more specific and focused so that I can't find a loophole around it and write the wrong thing: I intend to write and publish a million words, specifically in the Sacred Breath series. I have written about 250K words so far since January, so I could consider myself 1/4th of the way there, but only 170K of those words have been for the series.

This goal was created when a dear reader of mine told me as she was reading Book #2 that it was the time she spent with the characters which drew her closer to them. To quote her:

"I finally got something I've needed from this story for such a lonnnngggg time. Something finally clicked and it was finally like I went from acquaintances to friends with these characters and started to genuinely care a lot more about how this all panned out for them. I don't think you could've written me to care for them more, I just think it's like how much time you need to get to know a stranger before you are friends with them."

It reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Le Petit Prince:

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” 
― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ryThe Little Prince

He actually wrote "le temps que tu as perdu," which might translate more precisely to the time which you have "lost"-- I love the idea of losing something (indeed, time is perhaps the most valuable thing one can lose) in order to gain, or create love. I have lost and wasted plenty of time in my life, but none of it has been as rewarding or important to me as the time spent reading and writing. Mainly because literature is far more constant than people.

I am willing to "waste" or "lose" all of 2012 on achieving this goal of one million words. Of course, I realize that quantity is not the only important factor, and I will never sacrifice quality for volume. I will not rush, but I will push past every obstacle and be as dedicated and focused as possible.

So, here's to spending lots of quality time with the characters and growing to love them. Knowing that my reader was beginning to connect with the characters, and hearing similar things from several different readers caused me to somehow grow more intimate with the characters as well, and that is why I believe that the writing flowed so easily from that point on. It was just this huge, indescribable, intangible dynamic that I really needed the feedback of another person to verify! It doesn't become real, it doesn't truly exist unless it can be shared.