What we hide

On January 2nd, the Bloggess posted this little gem of a blog post about depression, both with a bang and a whimper.

It’s about depression, about how people struggle with it silently, but survive. It’s about how when folks overcome depression, they feel they can’t celebrate because they’re too ashamed they were depressed in the first place.

I celebrate you everyday, Jenny. You’re my goddamned hero, which is so much better than being a regular hero. You put yourself out there , and you’re funny. Among the trolls of the internet who do anything they can to bring someone down, you have the balls to get out there and tell jokes, to lead a war on William Shatner and to net a giant metal chicken a gazillion facebook followers.

The fact that you can admit something you’re ashamed of can only make me love you more. And I know you know, now more than ever, that you’re not alone, but I’ll say it again. You’re not alone. Never will be. I for one will stalk you forever. Comforting, huh?

And to everyone else, no matter what secret battles you’re fighting, you’re not alone either. Even if I don’t share your personal pain, there is someone out there who does. You’re all my heroes, the silent masses who struggle with depression, with self-harming, with eating disorders, or with what I went through when I finally admitted to myself that I find women just as attractive as men. (That may come as a surprise to some of you, or not, but I’ll just throw it out there. If it means you don’t want to be my friend anymore, we probably should never have been friends in the first place.) <–See? That's what I'm talking about when I'm talking about shame.

It all comes down to shame. We don't let our pain out because we're afraid of what people will think. When I finally admitted both the above struggle and my issues with food, I was amazed at how wonderful and supportive my husband is. If you don't have a support team, I support you. I'm with you. And if you do have a support team in place, I'm with you still, one more voice helping out. One more voice telling you that you're not alone. I see you. I hear you. I am you.

We're all gonna get through this together.

Yeah, yeah, rejection, blah blah

Favorite quote of the day:

“Rejection always stings. It stings me, you, everybody. Nobody likes to be rejected. A writer who likes being rejected is a writer who is secretly a robot and must be smelted down into slag before he tries to kill us all because he hates our meat. Pain is instructive. And it’s not permanent. Not if you don’t let it be. Some writers savor misery like a hard candy endlessly sucked in the pocket of one’s cheek, but fuck that.”

Taken blithely from Chuck Wendig’s blog.

I read that earlier today and it brought up so many memories. I’m not currently submitting anything, but I distinctly recall most of the rejections I’ve gotten. Many have been the puzzling form rejections. Some of have been handwritten little gems. Only one suggested I try something different with the work. The rest were veiled ways of saying, “I don’t think I can sell this.”

My favorite rejection was from an assistant who said she tried really hard to convince her boss to take me on. It was handwritten on the first page of my manuscript, wrapped around the form rejection as if she couldn’t leave a paper trail. Utterly heartwarming. I hope she some day gets her own agency. ^_^

I think I’m going to have a thoughtful day. How about you?

What happens in Vegas is pretty much what you’d expect at home

Prepare to show me some geek love, people. I’m in Las Vegas…

I apologize for the quality of some of these pics. 😦

….at a Star Trek convention! That’s right. I came all the way to sin city for the 45th anniversary of Star Trek. Love me.

Of course, sin city doesn’t really have much of the sin anymore. I’ve been here a lot, mostly in my youth before a lot of the super hotels were built, or if they were built, before they were really super, taking up multiple city blocks on their own. Caesar’s palace alone took us about fifteen to twenty minutes to just walk by. Though the fountains in front of the Bellagio were made of awesome.

the view from our hotel of the strip

When I was a teenager, I remember having to dodge sleazy dudes handing out flyers for hookers. I remember everywhere the rhinestones and showgirls and strippers.

Now the showgirls are contained in large reviews at some of the less big hotels, the strippers are sort of a theme (the stripper bar didn’t really seem to have any, but you could take a lesson in pole dancing) and the only time we saw an advertisement for prostitutes, they were still trying to convince everyone they were escorts.

Sure, some horny guys and gals are still flocking here, searching for action, and there are the ever present gamblers (though not nearly so many as before) but we’ve mostly seen families with small children, walking and gawking like the rest of us.

*Side rant* I swear to the fucking universe, I’m going to crusade for a mandatory class called Be A-Fucking-Ware of Your Surroundings! And it’s going to be taught worldwide, in whatever grade it needs to be taught in. If you need to consult your map, get out of the middle of the goddamned sidewalk before you do it, or the people around you will run into your dumbass like a herd of stampeding cattle. No, the top of the escalator is NOT a good place to stop with your brood and try and figure out where you are. Kids are no excuse to act like a gaggle of douche-canoes. Little Timmy throws a fit because he’s scared of the escalator? Pick his ass up and go and find the elevator. Yes, this town is also unfamiliar to the rest of us, but the rest of us aren’t losing our shit at the slightest provocation. Be aware of other people. Get out of the way.

*deep breath*

I’m going to go hide at the Star Trek convention. Where everything makes sense…because it’s written in Klingon. As a parting shot, I have a present for Sherlock Holmes. Your arch nemesis is in Arizona. His town is so big it’s divided in half, and the highway commission has thoughtfully told you where he exits.

Come see me at Fansci today for more Star Trek fun, or on my Facebook fan page for more Vegas pics.

Going Commando — Guest post by Maria Zannini

Please join me in welcoming Maria Zannini on her Indie Roadshow!

Going Commando

According to the Urban Dictionary, going commando refers to not wearing any underwear. When Barbara asked me if indie publishing was liberating, ‘going commando’ was the first thing that crossed my mind.

Indie publishing defies convention. Often times it’s ingenuous and a little rowdy. Authors tend to speak their minds, perhaps because they don’t have the restraints of traditional publishing. Or maybe it’s the passion required to go it on your own.

Indie authors sometimes have rough edges. Their books range from the primitive to the ultra sophisticated. They’re mavericks at heart and that’s a good start.

Despite the entrepreneurial aspect of self-publishing, it also requires an immense amount of dedication and focus to see this all the way through. Nowadays, even agents are getting in on the act and ‘assisting’ authors to self-publish, but in the early days, it was all up to the author.

Is it liberating? Absolutely. It’s also one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. (Not that that’s ever stopped me before.)

What I love best about indie publishing:

• I got to create my own cover art. My only limitation was how much I wanted to spend on the photographs.

• I was able to set my own timetable.

• The copyright belongs to me. It’s all mine, both for story and art.

What I hate about indie publishing:

• Distribution still sucks. There is so much competition that you have to find a way to distinguish yourself. Even writing a good book isn’t enough.

• You have to pay for everything.

Can You Go Commando? Answer these five questions.

• Are you self-motivated?
• Do you have the means to hire editors and designers if you need them?
• Are you willing to stay the course? (Success generally doesn’t occur overnight.)
• Do you like to network?
• Do you have thick skin?

If you answered yes to all these questions, you have the cahonas to go commando. It’s not for everyone. You’re basically publishing without a net. If the book goes sour, you earn all the blame. But if the book is a winner, you also get all the glory.

I think a lot of it will depend on your level of self-confidence. This industry can crush you like a grape. Depression is common and while friends and alcohol might help, for the most part, you’re on your own. Publishing has never been for the weak. Indie publishing raises that bar even higher.

How did you do on the quiz? Can you do it? Do you think you might try it sometime in the future?

I hope you’ll follow along with the rest of the Indie Roadshow as I share the things I learned on my road to self-publishing.

The Devil To Pay is available at Amazon and Smashwords for only $2.99. It is the first book of the series, Second Chances.

Synopsis: The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and bad tequila. Shannon McKee finds herself at the end of her rope, and she bargains her soul in a fit of despair.

Shannon’s plea is answered immediately by two men who couldn’t be more different from one another. Yet they share a bond and an affection for the stubborn Miss McKee that even they don’t understand.

When Heaven and Hell demand their payment, Shannon has no choice but to submit. No matter who gets her soul, she’s not getting out of this alive.

Bio: Maria Zannini used to save the world from bad advertising, but now she spends her time wrangling chickens, and fighting for a piece of the bed against dogs of epic proportions. Occasionally, she writes novels.

Follow me on Facebook or my blog.

Like me everwhere, and don’t be afraid of the pizza buffet

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you look out the right side of the blog, you’ll see the buttons to my facebook fan page and my twitter account. Hint, hint. No rush, only, when I take over the world, you’ll want to already be in on the ground floor. ^_^

As you know by my copious rants, I live in a college town. Many of the young people I encounter on a day-to-day basis are morbidly conscious of being observed. (Could this be because I’m staring at them? Meh, probably not.) This became no clearer than when, the other day, I visited a pizza buffet and saw a very pregnant twenty-something filling her plate with salad while staring longingly at the huge pizza spread.

O__O Honey.

Get on in there! Not as many people are staring and judging as you think, and even if they were, pregnant women are one of the few classes entitled to put some serious hurt on a pizza buffet! No one is going to fuck with you, no one is going to sneer. Hell, most of us would probably nod. And if some douche did give you static, you need only look divinely sad and stroke your unborn child while tears dribble soundlessly down your face. We would attack said douche like a pack of rabid wolverines if s/he made you cry!

Speaking of crying, you’ll be weeping into your corn flakes if you miss Maria Zannini next week. She’s stopping by with her Indie Roadshow, and it just won’t be the same if you don’t show. ;__; *sniff*

I swear, I’ll get back to talking about writing one of these days. Probably after someone buys my freaking house! What are you working on/reading right now?

Ode to vacation

I wish I was on one right now. I’m obsessed with dirt, people. I’ve become a fascist about dishes. If I had a nickel for every time in the past few days that I’ve shouted, “Why can’t you keep your FUR on your BODY!?!” I’d have a shit-ton of nickles. (Which is what they measure nickles in.)

Ah, the delights of showing a house. I’ve never experienced them in this capacity before. Today is my first showing, and I’ve been obsessively picking at fluff. This doesn’t make sense, you say? Of course it doesn’t. Being incredibly weird, I don’t know what makes “normal” people turn down a house. (I also don’t know why I picture everyone who will come to look at my house as incredibly average, yuppie types, but there ya go.)

Something inside me says they will judge this house based on how clean I’ve gotten the shower. (A bit of the mold is still there. Cat missing for seven days. Send help.)

This obsessing over average, normal, yuppie judgement could just be me trying to justify all the hard hours I’ve spent trying to make it look like no on lives here, or if someone does live here, she is an obsessive neat-freak with no pets or life, and certainly no delightfully cheerful knick knacks or pictures of dragons. Nope, nosiree, no dragons here…except maybe the mold.

I’m off to search now for fun things to do in Austin. Ah, Austin, it’s become the land of Turkish Delight in my mind. Let me cling to my hopes and dreams…

Did the cleanliness of a house ever influence your decision to buy it?

Cleaning, a bizarre dead actor story, and getting all your backseats deleted

So, I’m cleaning my house to prepare to show it to perfect strangers, many of whom will probably go through my stuff. Who snoops when you go to look at a new house? Get your hands up.

Anyway, I scrubbed and polished and did all that I could. My realtor sent maids out today to “get what I had missed.” HA! I thought. I’ve missed nothing. Every surface is now a dinner plate. Spider-Man could eat from my ceiling.

Not so.

These ladies are like Dust Whisperers. They’re coaxing filth from all corners of my house, getting in cracks I didn’t know existed. I think they’re recalling grime from years past, teasing it from the very walls. There’s a pile of pet hair and crap sitting outside my office door right now, a huge pile, and I have no idea where the fuck it came from.

It’s kind of creeping me out. I only hope they can clean my shower this well, as we have a form of black mold that seems to bond directly to caulk. It’s taken over my shower, and I think it’s eaten one of the cats.

Looking around my office right now, it’s cleaner than it was, and I’ve been in here the entire time the maids have been in the house. When did they clean it? I didn’t see them. They either called the dirt out from around me, or they’re actually ninjas.

While I’ve been cleaning like a maniac (not as good as a ninja, apparently) I’ve had the television on for company. What Netflix guilty pleasure did I pick? Xena: Warrior Princess. I know, I know, but for fantasy/cheese, it’s a good bet. I ended up look up some of the actors on Wikipedia (because I have no life), and discovered that the man who plays Ares, Kevin Smith (no, not that one), died in 2002. To quote Wikipedia:

“On 6 February 2002 Smith completed his work on the set in…Beijing. …while waiting for a ride back to the hotel, he decided to walk around the Central China Television film studio grounds, and climbed a prop tower on the set of another film. He lost his footing and fell several stories, suffering severe head injuries… He died on 15 February without regaining consciousness.”

O_o ?!?!

Just randomly decided to climb a prop tower, eh? This was something he was known for, randomly climbing things? I know when I’m in a strange city, waiting for my ride at night, the first thing I do is find something to climb. Sounds like he pissed off someone he shouldn’t have in Beijing. The article says he was also on the cusp of launching his Hollywood career. Muy suspicious, no?

As for all your backseats being deleted, that’s a story I heard about editors at publishing houses. Seems they can change stuff in your story without your knowledge or say-so. One random author had all instances of the word backseat deleted from her novel and replaced with something that made no sense. A friend of mine had most of her commas removed (though they were grammatically correct) because an editor claimed it made the manuscript “too comma-y.” That’s a thing? I heard another story about a cat that made a whuffling noise in the manuscript, but the editor decided that was a typo and changed it to waffling. I had it when my cat waffles. Get off the fucking fence already and make a decision. I guess it doesn’t matter anyway since the shower ate him.

Any good horror stories?

I work from home, neener neener

That’s something I never say, but since I do work at home, I encounter a lot of jealousy from folks who don’t.

Now, I think I work hard. I only have to look at the amount I write to see how productive I am, but people aren’t with me day in and day out. They can’t see how much I do. And even if they do, all they hear sometimes is “work at home,” which makes them project onto me what they’d be doing if they were at home all day.

Mostly, this seems to be watching television and jerking off. I can’t speak about spending day after day jerking off, but I did take a month off from doing anything right after I graduated college, and t.v. watching got really old, really quickly. I credit that month with the discovery that I could be a full time writer if I had the luxury to do so. I have quite a lot of self-discipline.

Do any of the rest of you that work from home have to deal with jealousy? Do you ever feel the need to justify your life like I do sometimes? Like if you aren’t earning a wage, you aren’t earning your oxygen? Wait, are any of you working from home AND not earning a wage, or is that just me? (I get occasionally freelance writing jobs, but nothing steady.)

If you work from home and get paid regularly, do you still have to deal with “work from home” jealousy? Is it less if you also have children?

To clarify, I do get people asking me what I DO all day since I’m not working out of the home, and they are asking from a curious place. Sometimes, I get angry questions like, “And what would YOU know about hard work? You stay home all day!” I used to sink into depression because I equated how much I earned with how much I was worth, like as a person. It took a lot of growing up to move past that.

Even now, I’m just to the angry, “I’ll TELL you how hard I work” stage. Soon, though, I hope to move into the stage where I don’t care what the angry people think of me and have the courage to say, “Think of your favorite thing, that you never get to do because you work out of the house. I do that. All. Day. Long.” Hmm, the non-caring stage is right next door to the sarcastic, antagonistic stage…. I think I’ll like it here.

Some work done, Halle-freakin-lujah!

So, I seemed to have gotten over my writing slump, at least partly. I haven’t been writing much, but I’ve been doing it just about everyday. The cure happened to be very different from what I expected. Instead of taking my computer to a change of venue, I took myself.

Leaving my computer behind, I went for walks, or cleaned my extremely nasty house. I took the dogs out and played with the cats. I bought new pens *drool*. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I have a problem.) But it worked. Shopping and exercising put me in the mood to write as much as watching tv or relaxing never did. (As an aside, my reading had slowed down along with my writing in my slump, but since I’ve been getting out of this chair more often, I’ve devoured two whole books!)

I feel like days have been longer and more productive. During my slump, the idea of a prolonged writing spree was frightening. An entire weekend of watching the cursor blink on a sea of white background? No thanks. Now I feel like I could do it. I didn’t need rest. I needed rejuvenation.

Might this work for you? Is it still too cold around the rest of the planet to get outside?

The writer slump, but hey, new pen!

New pen? Holy cow! I’ll just get that out of the way first. Ta da:

Pretty freakin’ cool, huh? It was part of my present from Sarah for our writing group’s “Christmas in February.” Patent pending.

Now, how many of you are suffering from the winter writer slump? Just about every writer I’ve spoken to is currently wrestling with this, so you’re not alone. I’m trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps, too. I’ve got ideas. It’s just that I really don’t want to write. I feel a bit maudlin, a bit depressed (and for no good reason that I can suss out). I blame winter. It always makes me just want to sleep, but when I do nap, I feel guilty that I haven’t been working and then, well, we’re on a sneaky hate spiral.

If you’re feeling this, too, the best advice I’m gonna give you is to just put one foot in front of the other, just as if you were having to march across the desert. (Then I’d also add to rest during the day and walk at night.) Write a bit, do something else, write a bit, do something else, etc. If it helps, tell yourself you have to “earn” leisure activities with writing. You have to write a certain number of pages before you can watch tv or read a book. If you don’t have deadlines already, you might want to set some for yourself. Maybe set a reward for meeting the big deadlines. Like a new pen! Want another peek?

You’re welcome. ^_^

So how you doin’ in the winter slump? Getting it done? Not doing hardly anything, really? Too busy with other tasks?

p.s. I’m going to the Backspace Writers’ Conference in May. Anyone else going to this? First round’s on me! ^_^ And I don’t drink alcohol, but I’ll match you soda for…whatever!