NaNo ends, and I lose all writing mojo for a month. In this case, more like two months.
I honestly admire and respect any writer who can charge through December and keep writing. Forget NaNo burn out–the holidays seem all consuming. I blame my own overachiever nature. I decided to hand make gifts which left me no time to write. Or at least, not enough time to spend on writing when I could spend it in a coma instead.
On the heels of that came a January full of sick family members. Everyone got sick but me. I’m still looking over my shoulder, waiting for the flu to sneak up and say “AHAHA FUCK YOU.”
I know writing isn’t a thing you can pick up and put down at will, and yet, I seem every year to take a few months off of the process. I suppose that’s why I’m not a superproducer of stories. I plug along though, stories come to mind and I try to write them down as best I can.
In good news, though, my story New to This finally has a release date! It is part of the anthology titled Fifty Gays of Shade, coming to Torquere Press on February 13th! More news as it comes, but here’s the cover for you:
My story is a sort of response to the whole 50 shades phenomenon. It has nothing to do with the books at all, but I wanted to write a story where BDSM wasn’t thinly veiled rape, and wasn’t about the hurting but the deep respect between top and bottom. About consent, really.
Plus, the main character is super cute. Just sayin’. I’m super excited to be a part of this anthology, and I have been looking forward to the release for months. I’ll post all the details as they come in.
Hope you, my invisible reader, had a good holiday and are feeling ready to get back to whatever it is you’ve been avoiding. Or maybe that’s just me. Sigh.
So… how’d you do? Did you cross the finish line yet?
I made it on the 25th with 50001 words, no kidding. The story is… I don’t know yet. I have half a mind to redraft it with a different concept, and half a mind to finish it as-is. There are bits I *really* like. There are bits I can’t stand. So, pretty much all first drafts, heh.
Today I’m pleased to host my friend Bella Leone for a Can’t Talk, Reading post. She has a new book out herself, one with boys and kissing. No down side. Enjoy!
Why haven’t I been writing?
Well part of it is because I’m making a human, and that shit is some serious energy suck. My baby will be a ten pounder if my exhaustion has anything to do with it.
The other reason I’m not writing?
The Bloggess to most people.
She has an amazingly hysterical blog at www.thebloggess.com. I read her posts and snicker at my desk trying to pretend I’m working hard when in all actuality I’m reading about taxidermied rodents, wine-slushies, and sloth hugs. I also follow her on Twitter to see what her daily shenanigans entail, usually medication and robots.
I’d like to be Jenny Lawson when I grow up. She’s delightfully fucked up in a charming and adorable way. She makes me feel…not as crazy.
And she now has a book of her childhood and young adulthood adventures!
I thought her blog posts about giant roosters named Beyonce and all the other fabulous ways she’s causing her husband grey hair would be just enough funny to kill the average person, but then I bought Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.
Holy crap. I laughed so hard at the first chapter, I thought I was going to scramble my unborn child. I’ve giggle-snorted so hard I’ve had to take pee breaks. I haven’t been this entertained, second-hand embarrassed, and delightfully delirious about a book in a very long time. Maybe ever.
Jenny has a way of stating things so plainly and simply and with just enough sarcasm that you have a hard time believing her “mostly true” memoir, but you also can’t help but imagine it all. No one could make this shit up! It has to be true! There are some poignant moments, especially when she was writing about her infertility. That struck very close to home, but she also dealt with it with humor and grace or ungraceful spazzing, but it worked and it, again, made me feel less crazy. I really recommend you read this book.
In Jenny’s own words, why you should buy her book:
I wrote a book and it only took me 11 years. (Shut up, Stephen King.)
You should probably go buy it right now, because it’s filled with awesomeness. And cocaine. But only if you hollow it out and fill it with your own cocaine. I’m not buying you cocaine. Because I love you.
And that’s why you should buy my book. Because I’m saving you from yourself. And from cocaine.
And you will be glad you read it, I promise! And I won’t buy you cocaine either, but I did just give you a great book rec, so it’s kind of the same thing!
Check out Bella’s new release from Loose Id, Downpour:
The story I wrote for the For the Cure anthology has been reprinted in a BDSM anthology titled Coming Together: With a Twist.
I’m also going to a water park this weekend, but that’s not really as relevant.*
The theme of this blog hop is “What Writing GLBTQ Literature Means to Me.”
Writing fiction with queer characters is very important to me. I believe in visibility. I believe in the power of being seen, not just being seen with a big rainbow sticker on but being seen as doing the dishes, driving a minivan, fucking and falling in love. In other words, being just like everyone else.
I write fiction with queer characters because queer people exist. We’re not hiding in dark alleyways waiting to jump out on to unsuspecting straight folk. We’re here. We’re friends of yours, we’re parents at your kids’ schools. We’re not really any different from anyone else.
Do you guys remember when Joss Whedon answered that now-famous question: “Why do you write these strong, female characters?” (He gave this glorious speech, which you should go watch.) His answer, well one of his answers, is simply “because you’re still asking me that question.” That is what writing queer characters means to me. Why are you even asking me that? I write queer characters, kinky characters, characters who are pirates, characters who have tattoos, characters who are very tall or short. I write about people, people who interest me or entertain me. I write stories that I like to write. Sometimes, the people in them are gay. Sometimes demons live in the back of their neck. Stuff like that.
When I first came out as bisexual to friends and family, the reaction was mixed. What I often sense, even now, is an undertone of “who cares? You’re married to a man.” There is still a lot of invisibility attached to being queer, and inside that invisibility is a “disappearing” that makes queer people seem mysterious. “Othered.” Strange.
I am so happy that there are so many people, of all walks of life, who are enjoying reading fiction with queer characters (whether it be the dirty dirty kind that I write, or any other kind). I love to know that for them, a love story is a love story no matter the genders or whatnot involved.
I guess the answer to the question of what it means to me to write about queer folk is: Nothing. And everything. It means I write what I know and I write what turns me on and I write what I want to read. I’m so glad that others write that same way too.
Now for the giveaway. If you leave a comment here, I’ll pick one at random and offer a story from my backlist. You’ll find gay, straight, completely pansexual, pirate, ghost, deadly virus, treasure hunts and kinky dealings in there. I’d love to see which one appeals to you!
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of the blog hop, via this link: http://rainbowbookreviews.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-rainbow-book-reviews-blog-hop-is-here/. I know I will.
*I don’t do sun. I burn. I’m a writer for heaven’s sake, we don’t go outside! I’m currently trying to figure out how I can carry a giant beach umbrella with me the whole time.
It’s a fascinating look at what happens to us after we die. Not the parts of us that may or may not travel on to other things, but the parts of us that are left behind. Our cadavers.
So far, she’s visited a gross anatomy class, a refresher course in face lifts (heads in roasting pans, people), a body farm and an embalming school. She’s described all of this in great, personal detail. Her reactions, the smells, the fluids. I’ve just entered the “crash test cadaver” section of the book.
I am LOVING THIS BOOK. It’s fascinating, and viscerally disgusting. I know what happens to the brain when we decompose (spoiler alert: it liquefies). The author is forthright and honest about the things that bother her and the things that don’t, and very open about what we all can expect to happen to our bodies.
Life is temporary, and our mortality scares the everloving shit out of us. What, after all, are most of our greatest stories about if not the fear of death or the love of sex? Often both!
There’s something both voyeuristic and also brave about reading Mary Roach’s book. She’s pulling back the curtain on what we all worry about in the dead of night (HAR HAR). I find the experience calming, to be honest. I’d rather be fully informed, because information takes away fear. When we pull out what we’re scared of and examine it, know it intimately, we become less afraid. Well, I do, anyway.
I realized a while ago that I worry about things a lot. I’m a natural worrier. I can tell you the worst-case option of any scenario. I started writing in part to explore that. I like to write about things I’m afraid of. The story Worse Things is in part a story of being completely out of control of one’s self. Of watching yourself hurt people and having no power to change it. That is a fear of mine, deep seeded. Death is another–the extinguishing of my life is a scary prospect. I kind of like me, and I’ll be sad to see me go. The loss of others is also terrifying. I hate to see other people I love disappear. Reading this book is a great way to look at that fear head on. We just die. The rest is unknown. What we do know is that our bodies can go on to save many other lives, and then will simply vanish themselves back into the nothingness they came from. I’m comforted by the cyclical nature of it.
I might be a bit Ood. But that’s okay. If you’re a bit Ood too, I think you’ll like this book. Just don’t talk about it at the dinner table. Your family, like mine, may be irritated with you. Now quit bothering me! I’m reading.
So, I’ve been travelling and doing a bit of working on Caroline’s edits (not enough, by far). I’ve also been making a concerted effort to read more. Here’s a quick run down of my Can’t Talk, Reading list for the last couple months, with mini-reviews:
On audio (audible hates me and wants my children to starve, btw. Their sale emails are bad.)
Welcome to the first stop of the Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt! This hunt is a blog hop featuring nineteen authors, a ton of exclusive material and fantastic giveaways, and an amazing grand prize for one lucky scavenger hunter.
RULES: Hidden within each post on the hunt will be a single letter that is red. Jot those letters down because they’re part of the following mystery phrase you’ll need to unscramble:
The hunt will only be open for 72 hours so play fast! Entries sent without the correct phrase or without contact information will not be considered. All entries must be received by May 28 at noon Central Time.
On with the hunt!
I am thrilled to be hosting Fae Sutherland, who, along with Marguerite, is one of my favorite m/m authors out there! What a treat for me, you guys. I enjoyed her excerpt very much, and I know you will too!
Fae Sutherland has always dreamed of being a published author, starting her writing career off at age 11 with a series of stories she charged her classmates a dollar to read. She has since progressed to more serious writing, though always keeping that dash of irreverence and fun (and a hell of a lot more heat!). Also, she charges just slightly more than a dollar now.
Fae is perhaps best known for her books co-written with fellow M/M romance aficionado, Marguerite Labbe. Together they are the award-winning, bestselling authors of over a dozen novels, novellas and short stories. Currently, Fae is focusing on solo work and has a multitude of upcoming books in the pipeline.
When Fae’s not working on new stories to make her readers sweat, she loves website design, spending too much time on Twitter, and watching oodles of Food Network with her beloved life partner. If there’s any time left over, it’s spent snuggling the cat.
“There is no such thing as a guide to being gay. The fact that you don’t know this worries me.”
Skye McCord’s best friend’s voice rang in his head as he sat and stared at the hotel room door, glancing anxiously at his watch every so often. Lindy meant well, but what did a girl know about being gay? About as much as Skye did. But that was about to change.
If his male escort ever showed up, that is.
He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose, annoyed to find that he was sweating a little and they kept slipping down. It was foolish to be nervous. He was paying this man for his time, he was in charge, he didn’t have to impress anyone. He just kept telling himself that… maybe the nerves would listen eventually.
Finally, an entire ten minutes past the agreed-upon 9 o’clock, there was a knock on the door and Skye’s pulse went from zero to sixty. Suddenly he was beginning to wonder if Lindy might have been right after all.
Too late now, the guy was here and Skye couldn’t just ignore him. So he put on his best ‘You do not intimidate me’ face and went to open the door. Halfway there he wondered if he ought to have chosen a different outfit. It wasn’t as if he’d ever met a sex worker before. Was there a dress code, for goodness’ sake? Finally, he shook his head, shoving aside all the mundane nonsense thoughts and took a deep breath before opening the door.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The man standing in front of him wasn’t at all what he’d expected. Instead of some kind of muscle-bound Greek god, he got lean, rugged and whipcord strong. Instead of chiseled features and hard lips, he got warm hazel eyes and a sexy smirk that made his stomach flip. And instead of cookie-cutter, porn-star material, he got real-world good looks and a dangerous level of sex appeal.
Skye was suddenly very, very glad he hadn’t gotten what he’d expected, because this was so much better.
“I’m Liam. I’m here for our date.”
Skye blinked, then shook his head, stepping back and gesturing. “Come in. And please, don’t call it that. I prefer honesty, not code words.”
Liam smiled – and lord that was a pretty smile, flashing white teeth – and stepped inside, one brow lifting as Skye shut the door behind them. “Okay. What should I call it, then?”
Skye shoved his hands into the pockets of his hoodie, shrugging. “Business?”
The other man chuckled. “Business. Cool.” He shrugged out of the leather coat he wore, draping it over one of the stools at the breakfast nook. Amused hazel-green eyes met Skye’s. “Well, if we’re going to talk business, it’d be good to know your name. I’m Liam and you are…?”
Skye cringed, sticking out his hand. “Sorry. Skye.” Liam took his hand and maybe it was a cliché, but there really was a sizzle, like he’d shocked himself in his stocking feet or something. Odd. He pulled his hand away and rubbed it against his thigh. “Did you want something to drink?”
Liam shook his head, glancing around as he moved further into the suite. “No thanks. Hazard of the job, you know.” He met Skye’s gaze and smiled. “So, Skye. What can I do for you?”
The way he said it was shockingly suggestive. How did he manage that when he hadn’t even changed his tone much? Just a slight lowering of his voice, a faint narrowing of his eyes. The scientific part of Skye’s brain was fascinated by the subtle ability. Oh, he was very good. Skye felt much more confident now.
“You can teach me how to do that.” That second-nature sexy thing. It couldn’t be purely natural talent. It had to be at least partially learned. And if it was something that could be learned, then Skye could master it. He’d mastered everything else he’d ever set his mind to and being gay was no different.
Liam’s brows knit and the seductive façade dimmed. “Do what?”
Skye waved one hand in his general direction. “Well, not that, specifically – the smolder thing, I mean – but that in general.”
Liam looked thoroughly confused. “You want me to…teach you how to smolder?”
Skye smiled nervously, running a hand through his hair and then immediately regretting it because now he was sure it was sticking up all over like it tended to do, when he’d spent a good ten minutes trying to get it to lay flat earlier. “Sorry, I’m not being clear. Here, come sit down. I’m going to have a drink, are you sure you don’t want anything? There’s bottles of all kinds in the mini-fridge, unopened if that’s the concern.” How unpleasant that Liam had to concern himself with such things.
The other man sat down on the couch, glancing up. “Maybe a beer, if there’s any in there. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.”
Skye nodded and went to grab a beer and an energy drink for himself. Handing the beer to Liam, Skye sat beside him, though not too close. His appeal was incredibly potent and would distract Skye from the plan he’d worked out well in advance. “I have a personal question, if you don’t mind.”
Liam took a drink of his beer, still frowning. “Depends. What?”
“Are you gay?” He rushed on, before Liam could answer. “It’s very important that you are and not just – what’s it called? Gay for pay? I fully respect the need to make a living and doing what one has to do, but for my purposes, I require a gay man, unequivocally gay.”
Liam snorted, giving him an incredulous but amused look. The amused part gave Skye hope that Liam wasn’t going to just leave because clearly his new client was insane. “Yes, I’m gay. Unequivocally.”
Skye let out a sigh of relief. “Oh good.”
“Okay, now you’re going to tell me what’s going on, because frankly I’m getting the feeling I’m not here for the usual fuck and suck and while I don’t have a problem with kink scenes, you really should have notified the agency in advance if you wanted something special or…unusual.”
Skye shifted, nerves rising. The only other person he’d told his plan to – Lindy – had thought he was out of his mind, so he was a little anxious repeating it to a virtual stranger. He reminded himself, though, that Liam was being paid very handsomely just to sit there and listen to him, so there was no reason to be nervous. He wasn’t looking to impress the man, just hire him.
“I recently graduated with my master’s in engineering with a minor in applied mathematics. That’s irrelevant, actually, I’m sorry. The point is I’ve recently come out.”
Liam’s brows lifted. “Of college?”
Skye blinked, then shook his head. “No, no. Out of the closet. Are you paying attention?”
Liam pressed his lips together and Skye got the impression he was trying not to laugh. “Sorry. I am. Paying attention completely.”
Skye narrowed his eyes briefly, then decided he was telling the truth. “Good. Alright, so you can see my dilemma, then.”
Liam did laugh then, lips twitching irrepressibly. “I can’t say that I do, no. What dilemma is that, exactly?”
Skye sighed. Was there something wrong with the man? He didn’t appear stupid. “I just spent 7 years acquiring the skills and knowledge to be a…well, a rocket scientist, basically. I’ve hardly had time to date or focus on my sexuality. Now that I’ve graduated and have time before my new position begins next month, I’d like to put the time to use and that’s where you come in.”
Finally, it seemed a lightbulb went off in Liam’s head and he straightened a bit. Well, good, it was about time. Skye was beginning to wonder.
“You want to lose your virginity.”
Never had the word facepalm been so appropriate.
“That is the least of what I want to hire you for, Liam, believe me. Sex I can get, I’m sure. What I can’t get is a guarantee of someone who knows what they’re doing in the bed and out. That is where you come in.” It appeared he would have to spell this out in very small words. “I don’t believe in going into any situation unprepared. That includes being a gay man, dating, and yes, sex.”
Liam smiled, then, and leaned back against the couch. “Got it. I think. You want a tutor. Right?”
Skye nodded, then lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Of sorts, yes. That’s the most accurate way of putting it, I suppose.” He finished off his energy drink and set the can aside. “I realize it’s an unusual request, but I’ve heard enough horror stories of dating and first times and all the times after that and I’d really rather skip that part.”
“And just get right to the brass tacks, huh?” Liam’s lips kept twitching and Skye was beginning to think he was being mocked.
“If you find this ridiculous or joke-worthy, then we’re done here.”
Liam frowned, leaning forward a bit. “Not at all. Unusual, sure, but I’ve been asked to do stranger things. Being a ‘tour guide to being a gay man’ sounds kind of interesting, actually.” He tilted his head. “So what are you thinking, exactly? Dates? Sex? More than that?”
Skye swallowed. So they were negotiating now. This is where his plan would make or break. “I’m here for a month. Considering the amount of time I anticipate this requiring, I’d want to negotiate some sort of…bulk rate?”
Liam snorted. “A discount? Now, do I look like a discount sort of man, professor?”
Skye’s gaze wandered over the other man and his temperature rose a dozen degrees, it seemed. “No.” He swallowed. “But I’m sure you’ll agree that, say, three sessions with me every week for an entire month is steady money and, more importantly I think, safe work. You wouldn’t even take a drink from me a few minutes ago because it’s a hazard in your line of work. I’m not made of money, I’m afraid. I received a very nice signing bonus with my new employer, but there is a bottom to that well.”
Liam gave him a long, considering look. Several moments passed during which Skye metaphorically held his breath. “Be specific. My rate starts at five hundred an hour. What are you offering?”
It was very surreal, sitting there discussing how much he was willing to pay a man to sleep with him. And…other things.
“Three times a week, three hours each, one thousand each session.”
Liam gave him a sultry grin. “Three hours each session? Optimistic, I see.” He chuckled, then pursed his lips and finally nodded. “Alright. That’s not unreasonable. And I admit, I’m curious.” He smiled again – and god he had an amazing smile – and held out his hand. “Deal.”
Skye reached out and took the offered hand. That odd little spark shot through him again and he shivered inwardly. Outwardly, he did his best to seem unaffected. “Deal.”
Silence reigned for a handful of minutes, before finally, Skye gave him an impatient, exasperated look. “Well?”
Liam snorted. “Well? Oh, is it up to me to come up with a lesson plan?” He grinned and leaned forward, reaching out to snag Skye’s hand again. “Lesson number one, then. You’re too far away for any of this kind of learning to happen.”
He tugged and Skye tensed. Oh dear. Theory was one thing, now it was time to put that theory into action. It was always the scariest moment, honestly. But he took a deep breath and shifted closer. When he would have pulled his hand away, Liam held onto it. The power in that move made Sky’s stomach flip.
“Lesson number two.” Liam smiled slowly, looking amused again as he leaned forward. Skye leaned back almost instinctively. “Have you ever been kissed?”
Skye made a scoffing sound. “That’s ridiculous, of course I have.” He’d kissed his mother plenty of times and Lindy was forever giving him smacking kisses on the cheek and there’d been one girl in high sch –
“I mean a kiss not from a relative or a friend. Preferably not from a girl, either. A real kiss, Skye.”
Oh. Skye’s eyes narrowed and he finally shrugged once. “Not exactly. I was busy with…”
“School, yeah. I know. Well, you’re not busy right now, and I’m not busy, so how about that’s next on the lesson plan? A proper kiss for Skye.”
A proper kiss. Skye had to admit he was very much looking forward to this part. Kissing had always looked like a lot of fun.
Their lips brushed, and Liam slid his other hand around to rest on Skye’s back, holding him in place. Skye trembled, but didn’t jerk away like his instincts said to. It was very intimate, the way Liam’s mouth rubbed against his own, the way his hand splayed on Skye’s back to keep him from pulling away.
“Relax,” Liam whispered against his mouth, then pulled Skye a little closer.
His whole world tilted a bit when Liam deepened the kiss, kissing him more firmly, with purpose. It was delicious and intriguing and Skye found himself, as usual, taking notes and measures and memorizing everything about the kiss, Liam’s lips, and anything else he found relevant. He hoped the other man didn’t mind being scrutinized, because putting things under a microscope was kind of the way Skye worked and how he learned best.
He hadn’t been prepared for the riot of feelings and sensations and, yes, emotions, though. He was having trouble quantifying the whole process in the moment.
Then Liam’s mouth opened and his tongue – rough and damp and sort of slick – stroked over Skye’s lips and, well…he forgot what the word quantifying even meant. It felt incredibly decadent, the slide and rasp of the other man’s tongue against his mouth, the way Liam sort of sucked Skye’s lip against his tongue and nipped. Oh wow.
A few seconds later, the kiss half-broke and Liam smiled against his mouth. “Open, Skye. Let me in.”
Ohh. Oh jeez. He felt stupid, having been sitting there just enjoying the rub and stroke of the other man’s tongue. He nodded, lips parting. It wasn’t his fault, Liam was making it very difficult to concentrate. His free hand was fisted in his lap, the string of his hoodie wrapped around it, but then Liam took that hand too and brought both up around his neck, letting go. Skye took the hint and leaned a little closer, hands now clutching the other man’s broad shoulders.
Goodness, he was very muscular under his shirt, more so than Skye had imagined. Immediately his mind was flooded with images of Liam shirtless and the knowledge that it would happen was intoxicating. Yet another result he hadn’t been fully prepared for, which was the speed at which the roller coaster he’d set in motion was now barreling down the tracks.
Thank goodness he’d hired a professional conductor or this might well be the most terrifying experience of his life.
Ready to move on? The next stop on the Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt is… Z.A. Maxfield!
I am so excited about a thing, but I need to be sure all the bits and bobs are dealt with before I share so… yeah.
I wish, still, that the success feeling wasn’t so tied to getting published. Because I’ve had a lot of writing successes lately.
I submitted yet ANOTHER story to an anthology, news on that to be delayed until after summer. Rocking the new material.
I started a new one, this one not an erotic piece but a work of spec fic about the afterlife. My first spec fic since I finished the first draft of Worse Things.
On Worse Things, I’ve got at least one big problem with the manuscript solved, and can jump into a new draft far more confident.
Today I spent the morning redesigning the site. I finally added pages for the books, go figure. You can see their covers now, which in the case of The Bell Curve is a great thing. I love that cover, all boobs and penile space ships and stuff. Pulpy sci fi perfection.
Lastly, I’ve been reading a LOT. I know this is the advice and the wisdom from all writers–if you want to write, you must write and you must read. I’ve been reading faster than I can review lately, and I’ve got a backlog of great stuff to talk about. As I read I find story ideas percolating, so it must be working. I’ve been focusing on scifi, spec fic and urban fantasy and paranormal romance lighter on the romance heavier on the paranormal (er… some of these can interchange). If anyone has any recommendations for me, I’ll take them!*
I’ve also been knitting the biggest lace shawl in the universe for a wedding. Because of that, I caved on my never ending quest for good audio books at the library and joined Audible instead. That way, I can read and knit at the same time. The shawl is coming along beautifully, and the book is hella entertaining (The Magicians, Lev Grossman).
All of this feels like being a Real Writer ™. Every day is a step forward, if only a baby one.
*Are we friends on Goodreads? If not, hit me up! I love to see everyone’s reviews and recommendations.
And interview myself! Actually, I thought it might be fun to talk about books in a different way, and this set of interview questions from Shelf Awareness peaked my curiosity:
On your nightstand now:
Currently reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It is super intense.
Favorite book when you were a child:
I read so many books as a kid, it is hard to pick out a favorite. Elfquest, for one. The Martian Chronicles, also. Oh, The House with the Clock in its Walls. Gods I loved that book. Bunnicula. A million others, generally creepy or weird. Anyone remember Christopher Pike?
Your top five authors:
Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Preston and Child, Thich Nhat Hanh, Douglas Adams (one of these things is not like the others). Actually after the fourth one it is a many-way tie for several of my favorite authors.
Book you’ve faked reading:
I don’t fake reading. I don’t pretend to like books I don’t, even if everyone else does. Whatever, I’m not an intellectual reader I’m someone who likes to be engaged by a book. I don’t have to pretend to be smart.
Book you’re an evangelist for:
Fuck It, John C. Parkin. Seriously, read it.
Book you’ve bought for the cover:
Kusheil’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey. Well I read it for the cover, then bought it because I really loved it.
Book that changed your life:
No Death, No Fear, Thich Nhat Hanh. First thing I picked up on mindfulness and Buddhism. It made me go “woah.”
Favorite line from a book:
“The man in black raced across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” Stephen King, The Gunslinger
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Definitely see above. The first time I read The Gunslinger I felt like everything changed in my head.
Book on your coffee table:
I have a giant sparkly-covered version of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but usually what you’ll find laying around my house are knitting books, the current book I’m reading and the current book my oldest is reading.
One last note: DEAR HEAVENS there are so many books on my to-read list. I wish I had infinite time and money. That’s what I think the afterlife is. All the time to read all the books. And also pie.*
*I TOLD you Dean Winchester is my spirit animal
I want to talk about Supernatural though. Supernatural, as defined by my friend Bella Leone, is basically boy Buffy. Brothers hunt supernatural things. Snark and silliness interspersed with serious and tender moments ensue. There are monsters of the week and big bads. Not screwing around, they go with the biggest of big bads–demons, angels, even Lucifer. Stakes are high, like end of the world high. Each season outdoes the last until I can’t imagine how season six and seven go (I’m only halfway through season five right now).
I watched the first episode of Supernatural when it originally aired, years ago. I wasn’t impressed. It seemed derivative of Buffy without adding anything new. It was sort of hack and, if I’m honest, boring. I felt the same way about the show the second time I watched it. Now though, I had the perspective of about a million screaming fans to keep me watching past episode one. I’m glad I did. I think the show hits its stride somewhere halfway through the first season, and then just keeps on going until you can’t quit those Winchester boys.
The best part of the show isn’t the story lines although they’re good enough to keep you guessing (the last episode of season 4 totally blew my mind, for example). The best part is the brothers themselves, the actors that bring them alive and the amazing writing that gives them character. Dean and Sam are consistently written, believable and changing as the series progresses. We’re not talking one note characters who will make the same decisions each time. I hate that. Sam’s the smart one and Dean’s the bad boy so each time Sam is cautious and Dean is reckless, right? SO NOT TRUE. They are well developed, powerful and evolving characters with intricate relationships and personality quirks.
In short, they are characters I love to love. I’m a character-driven writer, and reader too. I like to see how people change, I like to get to know them and when bad things happen to them I want to feel as terrible as they do. I rarely project myself into a story because I want to see how the character in the story will do things. I know how I would do them! The writers of Supernatural focus as much on character as on story, even spending whole scenes on character building rather than plot advancement. I love this.
One other thing I absolutely love about this show. The men cry. This seems ridiculous to even have to talk about, but I do because in so much media things are stereotyped, even to this day (although it isn’t as bad. Someday I’m going to talk about Stargate’s antiquated feminist character.) We’ve seen advancements in the way women are portrayed, but I don’t think men have come as far. They’re still either super strong alphas or super laughable fat dudes in sitcoms. The Winchesters are neither. They are strong, both of them in different ways. They are also loving–they love each other and their family. When something bad happens, when they hurt, they cry. Like normal people. I’m talking the pain of broken hearts, of self-betrayal, of shame, of loss. They feel things as people should feel them. They also get angry and punch each other. They tease each other mercilessly. Their relationship is powerfully bonded and when it comes apart, it comes apart hard. The emotional depth of the show is very believable, and very real. This is NOT something you see in male leads, and it pleases me very much.
The heart of Supernatural beats strong, the humor and the sadness and the excitement and even the scare factor. I highly recommend a watch of the show, now available on Netflix instant streaming. Until you can get to it, here’s one of my favorite Dean moments to entice you (I’ve started asking myself What Would Dean Winchester Do?):
Now quit bothering me, I’m slaying demons with the Winchesters!