Sunday, August 28, 2016

I don't belong.

I spent many years not understanding why I didn't fit in.

I remember in fifth grade, moving to a new school, and one of my friends was friends with the "in" crowd.  Cute little nicknames and whatnot.  I didn't make the cut because my dad was a truck driver. Stung a bit.
Jr. High was hell.  Puberty was not kind to me in any way, shape, or form.  We didn't have money.  So I wore an incredibly old coat, think 70's, and sported a hair style that absolutely did me no favors. Try feathering hair that's naturally curly.
Dear God.  It was horrific.
High school brought good friends and other misfits.  And I got along with anyone and everyone. From the rich to the poor.  From the strait-laced to the druggies.  Didn't bother me any which way.
But I didn't belong.
Always that feeling of not quite smoothing my edges to fit into the hole that would have guaranteed me some sort of acceptance.
Fast forward.
Several decades later, I've come to the realization that I'm not meant to "belong", so to speak.  I live in my head quite often.  I talk nonsense sometimes.  I'm fanciful and often impetuous.  Other times I could think something to death, revive it, and think it to death again.  I don't need anyone's acceptance but my own.
I remember reading a horoscope years ago that plainly stated, "your way is not the usual way".
Well.  No shit.
It's never been.
Many people have a straight line from Point A to Point B.  I never had.  And that's quite alright.  I used to wonder what was wrong with me that I never had that straight line.  But, perhaps I wasn't meant to.

Part of me often wondered if it was because I skipped a grade and somehow altered some part of my life that was meant to be different.  But, no.  The decision was sound and one I've never regretted.  Maybe I zigged when I should have zagged.  Maybe.  *shrug*
Or maybe I'm simply one of those people that doesn't quite fit the constructs of this world and am renting space in a place I've decided to visit while en route to something greater.
My soul believes that.
So while I'm here, I'll spin my stories and love my people and wax poetic about life and its fancies and foibles.  Live with little regret and lots of love.
Because this place?  That's why it exists.  It's meant for experimenting to find what truly speaks to us.  To find those in our tribe.  To explore the depths of ourselves.
It's incredibly easy to be shallow.  To smile when we don't feel like it.  To answer "fine" when someone asks about our mood.
But it's so much harder to be real and authentic.  To give whispers of yourself to others every day in your truest form.
Because some can't handle the light that radiates from a found soul.  It's too bright or cuts too deep.  They turn their heads and refuse to see.

Truth is, I don't belong.  None of us do.  We form our friendships and weave our families and love those near and dear.
But when you connect to yourself and uncover your truest and deepest self, you'll be home.
No matter where you are.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Ode to Russell Westbrook

I wasn't going to spend my lunch hour blogging.
But how could I not???

Westbrook has signed with the OKC Thunder again.

I believe I can truthfully say that we were ALL sweating it.
KD taking off for the coast.
Russ's roots deep in California.

But I can also truthfully say that I would've watched Russ play ANYWHERE.
He's that type of player.
I own Westbrook shirts.
None of KD's.
I've also got a Perkins.  ;)

I admire the way Russ lives his life both on and off the court.  His passion is evident in everything that he does.
I love that about him.

Years ago, when he was tossing up basketballs at the ends of games, and there were collective groans and pissy comments across Thunderland, I rarely joined in.  Because that's Russ.  He will try until he has nothing left to give.
He ELEVATES those near him.
I respect that.

He's an amazing young man who strikes fear into the other players because they don't know what in the hell he's going to do next.  His vision is keen.  His plays are highlights.  He's grown as a player, and a man, and we're all better for it.

I'm incredibly grateful that he'll be playing with the Thunder.  That shows that he believes in his team and this state.
That's the bottom line, isn't it?
Win, win win???!!!???
Yet, Russ stayed and opted to play with us for the next couple of years, at least.
That shows faith.  That shows commitment.
And it's our turn to show it right back.

Glad you're still here, Russ.
Thunder Up!!!

Saturday, July 09, 2016


Most times, if someone asks you how you are, you reply:  Fine.
Sometimes, you may reply:  Okay.

I'm neither.

Usually I answer truthfully and tell the person inquiring that I'm tired, cranky, or maintaining. Because why lie?
The question may be perfunctory, but my answer never is.

With all the events of this last week, I'm ANYTHING but fine.

More black men murdered.  White men assassinated.
For the love of GOD.

We've sunk into this abyss of killing those different from ourselves.

I'm a fortysomething white chick.
And I'm scared shitless when a cop pulls me over.
To be honest, it's rarely happened.  My first ticket was last December.  But I've received a couple of warnings previously.
STILL scared the shit out of me.
I'm defenseless.  I'm at the mercy of someone with complete power over me.  I feel that he/she could shoot me, and I could not prevent any of it.
I cannot IMAGINE the fear from the African American community.  Don't breathe wrong.  Don't twitch.  Jesus Christ.
Alton Sterling was murdered.
Philando Castile was murdered.
These events were recorded for the entire world to see.
Their lives were brutally taken by men in blue.

Then Dallas.
And five more good men were shot because of the color of THEIR skin.
Assassinated because they were white men in blue.

My heart hurts.  My soul feels bruised and lacerated.

Killing each other is NOT the answer.  It is NEVER the goddamn answer.
Education.  Caring.  Coming together as one people instead of this divisive bullshit because of the pigmentation of our skin.
No good will come from staying silent.  We must raise our voices as a nation and say ENOUGH.  Our love for each other MUST surpass our ambivalence of another's pain.
Care for your neighbor.  Be their keeper.  Love them as you would love yourself.
Then, and only then, will the brutal killing of our brothers and sisters stop.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sum of the parts

It's always a sad thing when celebrities of any sort pass away.  We, as the spectators, may not have known them or have even met them, but we feel the loss.

Anton Yelchin passed away early this morning.  He was in Fright Night 2 and played Chekov in the newest Star Trek movies.  I enjoyed watching him on the screen.  I thought he did a great turn as Chekov.  And as someone who watched the originals, that's saying something.

It's easy to say that we "love" this celebrity or that.  I love that actor.  I love that writer.  I love that artist.  And some people don't take that in the way its meant.
I don't say that I "love" anyone of this ilk because I have an expectation of time, money, or anything else from said object of love.  I use the word "love" because something that this person has done has touched me.  It's really quite simple.

I bawled like a baby when Jim Henson passed away.  I remember watching the Muppets do a tribute to him and just sitting there with tears rolling down my face.  He's what my childhood is made from.  I love the Muppets.  I love Sesame Street.  It's so woven into my earlier years that I felt that keen sting of loss deeper than I might with someone else.

When Prince passed, I felt melancholy.  All those high school days came back with a flash.  Times in college when I blasted his music.  Buying a 45 at the local Walmart because I HAD to have that song.  The scandal when "Darling Nikki" came out.
But when Alan Rickman died, I went into a minor tailspin.  Everything that I ever watched him in was simply amazing.  Not to mention that the Harry Potter movies were the kids' and my thing to do together.  We always made time to go together and watch them all.
I loved him in "Die Hard", Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" (only he could make me laugh as he's trying to force himself upon Maid Marion), and, of course, his turn as Severus Snape.  It took me nearly a week to snap out of it.  He is woven into several pieces of my life.

So while we may not have broken bread with these famous people, we often feel the loss deeply because they're a part of our life in ways that we can't even fathom sometimes.  We're not missing a son, daughter, brother, or sister.  But we're missing the gift of the person's presence.  We're missing the energy and love they brought to bring things to life for us.  Whether it's a movie, book, or art, we are touched by these gifts.  We mourn their loss.  We mourn the emptiness of the space they left behind.
Because we loved them, too.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Moving on

I'd like to think I'm a linear person most days.
Truthfully, I'm simply not.

I've come to a place in my writing where I've decided to simply publish most of my works.  I work faster than most publishing companies publish, and I like having the control, quite frankly.  So instead of wringing my hands and bemoaning the lack of response by others, I'm going to do what I always do:
Get shit done.

I have my five-book series that is halfway finished.  First two books written with a great deal of the third also jotted down.
Erotic Paranormal.
Contemporary Romance.
Fantasy series.
Philosophical Fiction.
Numerous short stories.
Paranormal Romance.

They don't write themselves.  And I'm not one to wait on others' timeframes.  These works need to be written, and they need to be written by me.

I caught a radio interview with Brad Meltzer yesterday.  And he spoke of an idea he had for a decade before it came to fruition.  But then, and I'm paraphrasing here, he mentioned ideas in general.  He said something along the lines of ideas inhabiting us, but if we don't utilize them, then they will inhabit someone else.
I've always thought this.  It's why I write so close to the chest and don't put out character names and titles unless near completion.  I'm a firm believer in writing what you love and what comes to you.

So I will.
Stay tuned.

Monday, June 13, 2016


After Orlando's attack, I have an incredibly hard time even checking the news or perusing my Facebook feed.  Little pieces of my soul have been chipped off, and I'm a mass of ragged edges.
I've taken to unfollowing a few friends because of thoughtless remarks or rejoinders.  Memes posted against the president.  And some utter fucking nonsense about taking guns.
An assault rifle killed and will continue to kill.


I have several friends who are responsible gun owners.  That's great.  I respect that.  I don't want to take their goddamn guns like they don't want to take my switchblade I carry in my purse.  I do, however, want assault rifles banned.  Period.

And let's talk about the victims.
Forty-nine people lost their lives.  Forty-nine brothers and sisters and sons and daughters.  Forty-nine young people who will never live another day with their families.  I don't give a ripe fuck if they're gay or not.  They are PEOPLE.

What if another lunatic decides to target white woman with blonde hair over fifty with small dogs.  He/she opens fire on them during a meeting.  They're killed because of who they are.
Do you understand now?

What if another lunatic decides to target middle-aged men at the gun range who drive trucks and wear glasses?  They're killed because of who they are.
Do you understand now?

What if another lunatic decides to target young Hispanic women with green eyes who are new mothers?  They're killed because of who they are.
Do you understand now?

What if another lunatic decides to target young black men recently admitted to college taller than six feet?  They're killed because of who they are.
Do you understand now?

I've seen many public faces recognize the lifestyle of these victims.  I've also seen Conservative Republicans whitewash the hell out of it.  I'm done with it.

This was a hate crime.  Pure and simple.  These victims were targeted for who they were, and it's UNGODDAMNACCEPTABLE.


Friday, June 03, 2016

Look, but don't touch.

I like my eyes.  Even though I've had to wear corrective lenses since I was twelve.  They're kind of like my throat.  I know they're there.  But I really don't worry about them.  They do their thing.  I do my thing.  We do things together.  Like my throat.  I eat food.  Drink drinks.  We all go merrily on our way.
Until we don't.

I went to the eye doc in early May for a new pair of glasses.  I absolutely love these frames, by the way.  Thank you, Ben, assistant eye frame picker outer extraordinaire.  But I found out that I have pressure behind my eyes.
So, when I tell you people you make my eye twitch, SEE WHAT HAPPENS???

Anyway, doc set up my appointment for yesterday.  They were going to take four pressure readings.  9:45.  11:45.  1:45.  3:45.
Alrighty then.
I show up at 9:45 a bit stressed.  There's been talk of dilation and tests and poking.  I'm not a fan.  But lo and behold, I'm ushered right in, and she takes the pressure in both my eyes.  It was maybe a minute and a half in the office.  Out I go.
Ran around and finished some errands.  Back at 11:45.  In and out.
I'm liking this.
Started becoming a bit more tired around 1:45 visit.  Haven't been sleeping so great.  But, in and out.
Then I go in at 3:45.
I already knew I couldn't sashay in and out.  They were going to dilate my eyes and whatnot.  So I wait a minute while they pull my chart.  Go back.  Madison takes my pressure reading.  I return to the waiting room.  Then the blonde assistant comes and ushers me back into that room for "tests".
I like tests.  I do well on tests.
I had no idea what any of this was going to entail.

I put my eye on this little lens and looked inside.  Three black dots.  Two big dots on the outside.  Little dot in the middle.  The middle dot was about to put on a magic show.  It would change colors, and I was supposed to click on my clicker anytime I saw it "shimmer".  Oh.  Kay.
Wasn't too bad.  Right eye first.  Then I sat there and hummed a little tune when Ben saw I finished and moved me over to the other eye.  Done with that one in record time.
Then I scooched over this other machine with a tiny black square in the middle.  And I had to focus on it, and whenever I saw the black lines anywhere on the screen (checking my peripherals), I would click my button.  It was five minutes PER EYE.
That's an eternity in eye time.
After awhile, I'm like...did I see those lines?  I think I did. that them over there?  Maybe.  Light, but I think I see them.  So I'm straining my eyes trying to see every one of those damn lines, all the while stressed out that I'm missing like half of them, and my blindness is imminent.
Done with one eye.
Thank God.
On to the other.
My left eye had been shut the entire time, and I said, "Wait!"  Good God.  Let me adjust my eye before I put it on this lens, and you test me.  Criminey, people.  I'm still seeing shadows where there aren't any.
*deep breath*
Left eye.  Started having the same problem toward the end.  Did I actually see those lines?  Am I seeing really light ones?  For the love of God...
Finished.  Finally.
Felt pretty good about that.

Then we walk over to a room where I sit myself down in the chair.  You know the one.  It's all professional eye-checking room.  I tried to sit in one of the regular chairs, but the doctor was having none of that.

Then she said that my numbers looks good.  Pressure was high, but no other damage.  Woot!
She leaves, and Ben comes in to dilate my eyes.
I've NEVER had my eyes dilated before.  At the grand ol' age of forty-four, I'm like...what the what?  He hands me a tissue, and I'm holding it and looking at him like I haven't the faintest, and I ask, "You're going to do something to me, and I'm going to cry?"  He turns and looks at me.  I explain that I've never had my eyes dilated, and he can't believe it.  The blonde is assisting him.  He tells me that he's going to drop some drops in my eyes.  That's it.  I may feel it a little bit.
He holds my eye open, and drops the drops.  Seriously???  That shit burns.  Not like acid, but pretty close.  Then he boogies around to the other side and does that one.  He further explains that the drops will help when they stab me in the eye.
I adore him.
I pointed to the door and told him he had to go.  He laughed all the way down the hall.  I'm sitting there waiting for dilation.  Doctor comes back in and says she wants to check the thickness of my cornea.  Well, shit.  Sure.  Why didn't you say so???
Madison comes back in holding a small green plastic pencil case.  Something that comes out of that case can't be that bad, right???
So.  So damn wrong.
Madison tells me I probably won't like her.  I arch my eyebrow.  I ask why that is.
She's putting MORE EFFING DROPS in my eye.  Not just one...two.  Then she's laughing and says she would pay to see me have lasik done.  (the whole office is sadistic...I love them)
I reply, have you SEEN what they use?  It's like the jaws of life on your EYE!  They hold it open, and it looks absolutely terrifying.
But I digress.
She drops the two drops, and asks me if I'm ready for the other two.  I say, sure.  I had so much fun with the first eye.  Two drops in my left.
Then...THEN...she opens up her little green plastic case and removes something from optometric nightmares.
She explains that she is going to put this contraption ON MY EYE.  And she will keep it there until it gets a reading.  And I should be as still as possible and not move my eye and if I do then they will have to keep doing it.
I'm in hell.
It's this little damn sucker a bit bigger than a contact, and I can see it coming toward my eye, and it makes this HORRIFIC sucking sound when it touches MY EYE.
It took forever in eye time.  So maybe ten seconds.
That is finally done.  The blonde is now going to measure my cornea.  The lights go off to set the mood.  Then she takes this Polaroid camera on steroids (you young people can Google Polaroid...I'll wait) and puts one end on her eye and the other on my right eye.  I'm supposed to stare straight ahead.  And then like these deadlights (yes, a Stephen King reference--this is my eye horror story) are brighter than hell in my eye.  Checking on cornea size.
She gets what she came for.  I feel so used.  Then the lights come back on.  Dr. comes back and says that everything looks good.  Cornea is a little thicker than normal which could be good news since it may be able to handle my eye pressure better, BUT...let's schedule me for some type of optic nerve hoedown since all these tests were horizontal, and now we need a vertical.
Um, excuse me?
I go have my optic nerve jacked with on the 17th.  I'm sure there will be a story there, too.

Monday, May 30, 2016

My name is Crystal, and I'm a Sprouts addict.

I love Sprouts.
For those not in the know, it's rather like a Whole Foods but better.
I used to have to haul my butt several miles out of the way to shop at one.  Now, they've opened one about a mile away.
I've been the last two days.  I'm pretty sure I'll be visiting tomorrow after work.

Their fruit and vegetables are fantastic while being reasonably priced.  I decided to actually MAKE some of my pins on Pinterest, this is a rarity, and I picked up the ingredients from Sprouts.  Made Calabacitas con Elote.  Mmmmmmmmmmm
Also made a veggie loaf.  So good.
There is something so spectacular about the taste of fresh food.  It explodes with flavor in your mouth.  And you can tell yourself that you're doing something good for yourself.
Best of both worlds.

If you've the mind, you can find me on Pinterest.  I'm always looking for inspiration and unusualness and humor.

Sprouts vegetables are so damn pretty.  I've seen workers there trimming up the cabbages and cauliflower so they looks presentable.  Stacking things just right.  Removing undesirables.  And most of them are friendly.  So much love.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm still a meat eater.  Yes.  Carnivore for life.  *grins*
So I'll be noshing on rib eye this evening with my corn on the cob and oven fries.  But I'm at least attempting to incorporate other things into my diet.

I'm the type of person who needs plans.  I cannot go into something half-assed because all intelligence goes away in the face of necessity.  As in, if I don't know what I'm eating for lunch at work, I'll probably find my ass at a drive-thru somewhere.
Not good.
So now I know what I'll be eating on at work and home this week.  I'm calling it a win.

Hope it's not going to be a long short week.  But at least I have some plans in motion.

Hello, Sprouts.

Friday, May 27, 2016

It's not fair

Popular lament for children, and, God knows, teenagers.  But lately?  Most everyone.

All my children were born in October.  Oldest at the end.  Middle in the middle.  Baby at the beginning.
And let me just tell you that the Oldest did NOT like that at all.  Being the oldest and having the LAST birthday?  Are you kidding???
So sorry my reproductive system didn't take that into consideration.

Then there's Christmas when everyone HAD TO HAVE the same number of presents.  Never mind that perhaps one present was fifty dollars while another one was twenty.
Oh, hell no.
Never mind all that.

Younger people do not have the werewithal to translate these instances into a mature episode.  They have been disappointed beyond all measure because things are not equal.

Guess what, buttercup?
They're NOT equal.  They will never BE equal.

If life were fair, we'd all live happily to be a ripe old age with the mate and/or children of our dreams.  We'd have the perfect job.  Be the perfect size.  Be paid commiserate to our position.

But it's NOT fair.

I've seen people at jobs who can't count change back to a customer.  I've worked with people who don't care to take on any responsibility because they "get paid by the hour".  Making blanket rules and statements, punishing many while not dealing with the few, is horseshit.  Yet, it continues.
I've been shot down while others have been praised for exactly the same thing.  I've seen people lose relatives and close friends at too young an age.  I've tasted tragedy too many times to count.  I've gone without.

We all have.

Life isn't fair.  You don't get to bitch and whine and moan about the complete unfairness of life in general.
But you can work on changing what you're able to change.

What's the difference between a homeless person with a job and one without?  Drive.  I've seen teenagers live out of their cars.  I've known of some who walk miles to work every damn day.  So having a meltdown because you don't have a car and life isn't fair because how can you do so much with so little???
Shut it.
Help yourself.
Make an effort.

I wanted to pop on here and bitch about the Warriors' referees last night.  Funny thing about their winning home record when those exact three referees are working the floor.
But guess what?
It doesn't matter.  That's past.  We're moving on.  Nothing can be changed there, but I guarantee we're going to hand them their own ass Saturday night.

Be good.
Do good.
And let the whiners worry about what's fair and what's not.
It's simply not worth it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

First World Problems

I need a sign in my vehicle that states:  USE. YOUR. FUCKING. BLINKER. YOU. BITCH.

My tortilla around my green chile burrito was hard this morning.  And why is Blogger underlining "chile" like I've spelled something wrong?

Draymond Green should have been suspended for kicking our Steven Adams in his kiwis. Favoritism is bullshit no matter the flavor.

I don't want to be at the day job today.

People who do NOT look back at the toilet after they flush.  SERIOUSLY???

It started sprinkling on the way to work, and I had to close my moonroof.  *insert sad face*

Thinking up a great title only to find out it's been used.

Noticing that it's incredibly hard to teach some people what a work ethic is.

People who don't pay attention.

People who try to talk to me when I really don't want to hear any voices but the ones in my head.

NO ink pens near the work stations even though I put FIVE of those bitches out yesterday.

Adults need a summer vacation, too.

Watching my lone ivy plant thrive at my desk when I DON'T water it.  This flies in the face of my miniscule horticulture conventional knowledge.  ???  And why is Blogger underlining "miniscule"?


Not being able to go to my local Sprouts Grand Store Opening because I have to be an hour away at work that day.

Trying to find another good book to read. I sit at my desk.  Out of the elements.  Babies and grandbaby doing well.  Working with some good people.  Getting paid for it.

I still need that damn sign for my car, though.


Sunday, May 22, 2016


Storytellers are simply the best.  

Whether it's Eminem:

I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me, stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy, yeah, you think I'm crazy

Garth Brooks:

That summer wind was all around me
Nothing between us but the night
When I told her that I'd never
She softly whispered that's alright
And then I watched her hands of leather
Turn to velvet in a touch
There's never been another summer
When I have ever learned so much


And it's been awhile
Since I could look at myself straight
And it's been awhile
Since I said I'm sorry
And it's been awhile
Since I've seen the way the candles light your face
And it's been awhile
But I can still remember just the way you taste

Storytellers walk the fine line between genius and insanity with bus routes to both.  They take those 26 letters of the alphabet and do amazing things with them.  They make us laugh and weep and feel so deeply in our souls that we ache.
Whether the storytellers medium is song, book, or television, these words and feelings become part of our make-up.  
How many of us cried during M*A*S*H*'s last episode?  How many of us laughed at the end of Newhart?  How many of us remember seeing those legs walk up the stairs by Cheers after Sam Malone said that they were closed and felt a sense of loss?

THESE are the moments that creative people crave.  They've touched you with something they've plucked from their mind and introduced to you.  They've pushed a thought outside of themselves and offered it up in this oftentimes harsh world.

Books and songs and television changes lives.  It's really that simple.

Why would I want to do anything else?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Give me a break

We are an amalgamation.

I'm completely tired of white/black/red appropriation.  Done with it.  White people can have dreads.  Really.  They can.  As far as SACRED costumes or clothing, then that's a different story.  There is honor in those threads.  Not everyone deserves to wear them.

But let me tell you a little story about my lunch time today.

My beloved grandbaby boy had an extremely swollen left side of his face yesterday.  His Mom shuffled him off to the ER.  The local ER.  The local ER sucks.  So she took him to Children's in the city.  So much better.
I went to see him at his apartment yesterday, and both his parents were there.  His dad was picking his hair with a pick.  Little Man wanted to play with the pick.  His Mom told everyone that I had a pick, too.  I use it on my bangs.  So I dug out my little blue pick.  Little Man and I took turns putting it in each other's hair.  I'd put it in his, and he'd grin and laugh.  Then he'd walk a few steps, pull it out, and try to put it in my hair.

I actually forgot to grab it before I left yesterday.

Went back over today to check on Little Man.  My blue pick was there.  So we played with it again.  Then he wanted to grab my sunglasses that slip over my eyewear.  I found his Spiderman shades, and we played with those for awhile.  Oldest child was watching Little Man.  Middle child came over a bit before I left.
I checked the time, stood up to gather my things, when Middle Chicken looks at me and says, "Do you know that's still in your hair?"
Oldest Chicken, hereby known as Oldest Asshat, falls out laughing and said, "I wasn't going to tell her."
The little shit.

Here my 44 year-old self would be, bipping back into work, with a pick hanging out the right side of my hair/head.
Absolutely no disrespect to anyone who does wear a pick in his/her hair.  I was simply playing with my grandbaby and having a good time.

There are ways to handle situations that don't alienate others.  And I'm not saying that we should disregard what some may view as theirs, and only theirs, ancestry/lineage/traditions.

But this world is made up of people holding tight to where they came from while also embracing the good pieces of others out there.  Other people.  Other regions.  Other traditions.
None of us is pure anything.
Sorry, not sorry, if that offends you.

We are an amalgamation.  I'm incredibly thankful for that.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Social Media Saturation

I know who Kim Kardashian is.  I've never seen any of her shows, but I could pick her out of a crowd.  Same with Snooki.  Same with Nicole Richie.

I'm sure you have a few of the same.  Whenever you pop on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram these social media "celebrities" are all over the damn place.  Kim takes her clothes off.  Done to the nth extent.  Paris Hilton does something incredibly stupid.  Exponential numbers here.
And I don't care.  I honest to God do NOT care.

Celebrities don't float my boat.  I find some of them interesting.  It's true.  I'm more drawn to the good works that they've done or continue to do.  Some idiot taped another idiot saying he cheated on his fiance.  Move on.  This isn't news.  It's a damn clusterfuck, but it's NOT news.
In this day and age, when a celebrity passes gas it trends.
Spare me.
Overexposed much?

But isn't that social media sensationalism?  Who can have the most tweets or likes or whatever the blue fuck passes for approval these days?
It's enabling the needy.  That's it.  And those who have a need that isn't met up the ante.  You can only take off so many clothes, people.
And before I get whacked for stating the obvious, I have no problem with my own or anyone else's sexuality.  I write Erotic Romance.  Nudity is fine.  Art is beautiful.  I find the human body fascinating.

However, being a type of role model should probably include doing something worthwhile other than creating an app that sucks young people in so you can buy those new shoes.  There is power in celebrity.
Why would you piss away an opportunity to do some good in the world?
Give back.  Find a place that needs something only you can give.  Work with abused children or animals.  Give to the Red Cross.  Volunteer.  Read to children.  Make a damn difference.  Find a cause that speaks to you and give of yourself.

Don't buy into your own flimsy celebrity.
Believe me, that shit is marked down.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Heroes vs Villains

The only difference between a hero and a villain is perspective.

I remember discussing happily-ever-afters and heroines and heroes during a talk at the Red Dirt Festival.  I stated that I thought every one deserved a HEA and proper romance.  I brought up the fact that Medusa was not evil.  She'd been punished for something beyond her control and TURNED into a monster.  Cinderella's step-sisters deserve their own HEA.  Good God, they'd lived with their mother for far too long.  She'd twist a nun into a psychopath.  They never stood a chance.

Readers love villains.  I'm not talking about the pure evil character who tortures, rapes, and kills.  I'm referring to characters who have their own agenda and don't understand why others are so against said agenda.

Tom Hiddleston is Loki.  Loki is, perhaps, one of the most misunderstood characters of our day.  When I read Norse Mythology in my younger days, I thought he was quite the fucking asshat.  Trickster, indeed.  But the Thor movies cast him in a sympathetic light.  And you really can't go wrong with Mr. Hiddleston.  Even when he is shoving some multi-pronged eye-fucker-upper into some man's ocular orifice and grinning maniacally while doing so.  He is burdened with glorious purpose, and we love him for it.
Readers/viewers simply want to sit down with him over a cup of tea, pat his hand, and tell him that they will try to fix whatever the problem may be.

The Green Goblin in the Spiderman movies.  (Toby not Andrew.)  Dafoe's character becomes deeply twisted when exposed to the green badness.  He completely loses his shit and tries repeatedly to kill Spiderman.  But even in his death throes, his love for his son shines through.

And for some brilliant anti-heroes, how about some Boondock Saints???
Connor and Murphy just living their lives.  Working and drinking.  Then they becomes mixed up in a clusterfuck of gang wars and bodies start hitting the floors.

What do you do when you're a killer and have all these horrible predilections???  You become a serial killer of serial killers.  Thanks, Dexter.

Being a hero isn't simple.  But being a villain is beyond complex.

Have you seen Megamind?  Yes.  The Dreamworks picture with Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, and Will Ferrell as Megamind.
It's amazing.  In the beginning of the film, it shows baby Megamind in his little ejection pod heading for a wonderful affluent home with acres of land and money to spare while his planet blows up behind him.  But Brad Pitt's little ejection pod pings our Megamind away from the house and to the penitentiary.  Brad Pitt's hero character has every possible need met while our little blue-headed friend doesn't have the best role models.
Their lives are shaped accordingly.

Not every hero is a pure hero while every villain is not a pure villain.  There are too many nuances in their stories that need to be peeled away in layers to reveal why they are who they are.  Therein lies magic.

We, as authors, need to be able to craft characters in such a way that readers empathize/sympathize/understand why our characters are the way they are.  We need to let their deepest emotions and secrets bleed through the work so that readers can understand and not simply dismiss.

Not only are we the voice of the hero and heroine, but we are the voice of madness and fear.
Nothing better.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I just...can't.

I work around the beloved books.  Sometimes one will catch my eye, and I'll discover a new author. LOVE when that happens.
Other times, I'll see something so outrageous or funny that it haunts me.
A couple of examples would be:  Dick and Jane and Vampires.  Her Dearly Unintended.

Now.  I thought this whole Dick, Jane, and "creatures of the night" shit was a joke.  I grew up on Dick and Jane and Spot.  They are SACRED to me.  SACRED.  So when I stumbled across this book where this bloodsucker was a misunderstood miscreant who simply wanted a friend or two, I lost my shit.  It's a children's book.  I would have found it a bit entertaining if there was an adult riff on it.  There would have been some humor in there.  This?  Not so damn much.

Came across "Her Dearly Unintended" and simply gaped at the cover.  I think it may be a Buggy/Bonnet Romance (Amish), but I'm not sure.  I'm quite sure, however, that it would be rated G or PG if such things were applicable.  Or, at least, that's what I would think before I got a good look at the cover. This girl is about to fuck some shit up.  She has a hammer and some rocks in a bucket. Say hello to your maker because your time here is through, sucker.  I think the trees behind her are where she'll hide the body.
Anyone else feeling "The Lottery"?

Book covers go through stages/phases.  I remember when all romance showed a man's pectorals. Then we moved to only legs.  The "clean" romances usually show a young woman with a pastoral backdrop looking off into the ether.  Do they all live on farms or around livestock?  Curious about this.
I watched a TED talk one time where a gentleman who spent his professional career putting together book covers for clients spoke of tying story to art.  THAT, I understand.  But if we're going to cookie cutter it, at least choose something BETTER than that instead of worse.  Put as much effort into the cover as the book.  Don't simply slap that shit together and think it will ride.
It most certainly won't.