Posts Tagged ‘observations’

How do you set up a table at a Con?

I discuss and demonstrate how I set up a 8 foot table at GeekGirlCon 2016 then show off a few items which I got at the convention last weekend.

Geekgirlcon’s mission is to celebrate and honor the legacy of women contributing to science and technology; comics, arts, and literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky women worldwide and creating community to foster continued growth of women in geek culture.

I know in the video, I promised a link on the Murder She Tote: I’m sorry, I was a dork and lost the dang card. I’m afraid it fell behind my file cabinet since it was sitting on it. As soon as I find it, I’ll post the link.

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If you have a “Book Boyfriend” just admit you’re reading porn.

This might be an unpopular message, but I hate the words “Book Boyfriend.”  I’ve been seeing it a lot on Faceboook recently. I don’t mind that people revel in the characters they love, what drives me crazy is my Facebook feed lately has just been loaded with crap like this along with half-naked men.

1044082_592853724070180_1985116847_nThe fact that I am seeing a bunch of idealized cheesecake shots of men is proof of porn. (No I am not going to put images on my blog.)

Now I admit, I tend to find romance books disappointing. I have read more than a few. Contemporary romance authors are very good at pacing and keeping the tension in the narrative so I have learned from them. I have lots of author friends on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t want to name names, because I’d never want to hurt another author–especially an independent author– but I’ve been reading a lot of teasers for summer and fall releases and many of the teasers have red flags for me.

I keep seeing “alpha men” intimidate women or make decisions for them. They steal kisses or “play” threaten. They push for commitment early. They tell a woman she is beautiful and they are going to seduce her. They get what they want. Why can they do this? First of all they are all so handsome–and in a spicy books, they are also well-endowed. Secondly, many of them are rich or famous or leaders of industry. Basically, they have a special snowflake status that allows them to go around acting like jerks.

They can do it because the woman is head over heels in love/lust for them. The female protagonist acting spunky doesn’t change the fact, I want to tell the guy to step the f*** off.  I don’t even give them a second glance after they showed me their “alpha” side.  I don’t care if they can give the female money, fame, security or whatever else it is they want.

Basically it annoys me when a character is broken down to what they can give the protagonist. (Money and hot sex are the most common desirable traits for men.) That’s just sad.

The man I love and the ones I find sexy are men who respect women. They are strong in their own right, they have no need to rule over anyone. I married a sweet, caring, sensitive boy who now is a sweet, caring, sensitive, and extremely intelligent man. He appreciates my independent nature. He doesn’t try to change me or expects that I change for him. Nor do I expect him to change for me. Maybe that’s why our life is boring. We simply treat each other well. I realize that doesn’t make for a good story.

However even as an author, I write about men who are people. I want them to be more than flights of female fantasy.

At least from the reviews, I have seen, Harden has been nearly everyone’s favorite character in Other Systems. He was raised to believe there is no difference between men and women so he treats everyone with respect as human beings. Reproductive organs are irrelevant to the work they do. He doesn’t sexualize women. In his romantic relationships, he expects equals.He is neither submissive or dominant.  He is simply a person. Obviously he makes mistakes, he is a bit gruff especially with younger people, but I tried to make it clear in the narrative, Harden treats Abby EXACTLY the same way as he treated his little brother Mark when Mark was in his late teens.

Now I’m finishing up The Light Side of the Moon. I wrote about a sweet, intelligent boy who grows into an idealistic man trying to build a utopia. Now unlike Harden who is used to living in close quarters with women, Ian Whitlatch did not grow up with women (except good old Mum) so he tends to idealize them. However he was raised to respect all people.

He is the only child of a small-town doctor and the manager of a charity soup kitchen. Don’t expect him to have lots of money. Dad works in a factory town and will help everyone whether they can pay or not. Mum doesn’t take a salary for her work instead donates her time to feed the impoverished. For the Other System’s Universe they are wealthy, but for the average family in the United States, they would definitly be lower middle class.

Oh and Ian will have to grow into his looks:

At age nineteen, this is how he describes himself:

Ian looked in the mirror, another pimple formed between his nostril and cheek during his excursion in the city. Mum always said he had Dad’s looks. That was unfortunate for both of them, because even when his skin was clear, Ian’s forehead was too high and his nose too big. 

Two years later: Ellie (age 13) describes him thus:

…She hit the decking. Her legs burned as she skidded down the last four meters of the ramp, but the luggage stopped moving. She  pressed her lips together tightly and tried to blink back her tears. 

“Êtes-vous bien, mademoiselle?

She looked up. The light created a halo from his straight sandy-brown hair, but when her eyes cleared, she saw his prominent nose. Then she looked past his nose and into his deep green eyes that were filled with concern.

Not thinking she answered back in English. “Yes thank you, sir.”

He wore an officer’s uniform, but she almost cringed away from his soft delicate hand that reached down for her.  “You’re an Englishwoman?” he asked helping her to her feet. 

So I doubt Ian (or any character I write) will be anyone’s “book boyfriend”, but I’m okay with that.

I know there are plenty of authors and readers who follow my blog, what kinds of characters drive you crazy?

No, I am not unemployed, I was touched by the novel fairy!

The other day, I finished walking the dogs at the arboretum and went to one of my favorite coffee places to grab some breakfast. I go in all the time between 10 and 11. I dress in jeans and a t-shirt. My hair is in a ponytail which I admit is undoubtedly loosened by the wind, but this is Seattle after all. Everyone wears causal dress.

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They look cute and cuddly, but really they’re scheming ways to get a bit of my breakfast.

Rosie and Tycho are outside waiting in the car, mournfully staring though the window. They hope I’ll come out soon and that when I do I will give them a taste of whatever I bought.  (Not the espresso–no one wants to see them on espreso–but my breakfast) So I order my croissant and latte. As the barista is pressing my shot, she asks any plans for today. I say something about just walking my dogs at the arboretum and now I am on my way home to work. She says, “Job search?” My first thought is if I didn’t have a job, I wouldn’t have just spent money on breakfast out. “No, I am an author.” I went from impoverished to impressive in a blink of an eye. Did she think I said I was a mystical unicorn? “Wow, you mean you’ve been published?” she asked. “Yes.” I mentioned Other Systems. Then spoke about the other  some science fiction short stories published and self published some comics. Then we talk about her roommate who is an aspiring author. She wanted some advice for him. We write completely different genres. She didn’t really care what I wrote about only that I was an author. As an author, I am automatically: gifted, talented, lucky, articulate, MegaRICH, connected! Most importantly, I was a person who has been blessed by the novel fairy. I handed her a bookmark and told her if her roommate had questions he could always contact me though my book’s website. Wait…you havn’t heard of the novel fairy?
The novel fairy is kind of like the tooth fairy, but  more capacious. She leaves inspiration under the pillow. Sometimes if you were a really good boy or girl, the novel fairy actually leaves a manuscript with a favorable publishing contract attached. I tried to tell the barista my first novel wasn’t published and Other Systems was published by a small press. She did not want to hear it. She certainly didn’t want to hear that I worked fifty hour work weeks. Sadly, hardwork and struggle are not impressive. She would have been disappointed to know I live a comfortable middle class lifestyle is primarily due to my husband’s job. She would have been really disappointed to see my closet/office. She only saw that I was blessed by the novel fairy. I think some people write or want to be an author because they believe it is an easy way to wealth and fame. I wonder how quickly that idea shatters as soon as they realize it is actual work. A while back, Kristen Lamb talked about self discipline on her blog and honestly that’s what got me thinking about this. It is a pet peeve of mine when I hear successful authors say in interviews, “I never set out to be an author…” Ummm. I’m calling BS. “One day, I thought it might be fun…and before I knew it I pooped out a novel. Tee hee…” I’m calling Double BS on that one. Maybe when someone begins writing–it was just a lark, a way to express emotions, or [fill in the blank], however, one day that changed. One day, it became work and the author had to decide to keep going. We sacrifice hobbies, time with friends, a clean house, and sleep to writing a novel. More than that, writing the first draft is not the only piece. Then we rewrite. Then editing. Then another rewrite. More editing. Whether a book is self published, published by a small or traditional press, the author most definitely wanted to be an author at that point. Books don’t magically get published. Books don’t magically get promoted either. It’s a lot of work to bring a book to market. It is a beautiful thing to see a project come to fruition, however it is a lot of hard work. All I can assume is this is an unpopular message, because the myth of the novel fairy is perpetuated. What are some of your favorite or least favorite myths of being an author?

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