Blackthorne is done. I'll tell you a secret: I've been working on that novel for fifteen years, and while I'd prefer it if I had one last pass over the thing to make it perfect...well, that isn't going to happen. Sometimes it's time for the thing to be done. So, off it goes. Damn, it's been a long time coming. There's a lot of good stuff in there, and I hope you like it, dear reader. I sincerely do.
I've also started a couple of short stories and have the opening for the next novel too. I used to twitch in place until the latest novel came out. It was like some part of me felt I had to be told that I was good enough to continue writing. That's just stupid. If you want to be a professional writer, don't get in your own way like that. Please. There are plenty of people out there who are more than willing to perform the service of halting your progress for you. Don't do the haters' job. Just don't.
Five novels into my career--going on six, and there's one thing I've learned. Every. Novel. Is. Different. Eventually, I'm hoping to get faster, but getting better is more important to me than speed. So, that. There are many things I've learned this time. There are so many more that I need to learn. That's a good thing. This time, I learned a great deal about sticking a landing. I'm pretty good at beginnings. I know what makes them grippy. Endings? Good endings are tricky. Now, I feel they're less difficult to pull off. (Thank goodness.) I'm just about ready to tackle the concept of a great middle. Almost. Middles are where I end up muddling around. They're what slow me down. So, this is something I've been kind of dreading. At the same time, I think once I get a good handle on it, I'll have enormously improved my skills as a storyteller. Yeah, yeah. This wouldn't be a problem if I only outlined. I do tend to go at writing like it's a block of marble and I spend my time taking away the stone that isn't the novel until I have the novel. It's how my story-brain works, but it's good to have other tools in your toolbox, you know? You have to be flexible. And the only way to do that is stock up on your writing skills. You never know what you might need to know.
Anyway, I'm off to write some more and watch TV. I'm behind on The Expanse and Madam Secretary.
 And I've done that to a certain extent, but it doesn't cure the problem because my subconscious prefers to wander off the map. Writers have to be okay with that. Sometimes the story is what the story wants to be. All the outlines in the world won't change that.
I wasn't going to write about Netflix's Iron Fist and what I feel is wrong with it. I was going to watch the thing out of a sense of completion and grumble privately. I've been told and told how it gets better. But we're at episode 10...and everything about the show demonstrates that those who need to be adapting to the very real and diverse world, aren't bothering.
Dear writers, if you're going to tell a story about a spoiled, rich, white boy being the hero, make damned sure he doesn't get away with shit without consequences. Stop having shit magically be okay for them while they run over the rights, privacy, and well-being of others--all in the guise of being the Good Guy™. Just stop. Good intensions do not make it okay, even the bible tells you that. The fantasy that being a powerful, rich, white dude resolves the worlds' problems is harmful and dangerous. If it's a phase, phase him into maturity the moment he hits the real world because realistically he's going to hit a wall. To do otherwise sets a bad expectation. (see toxic masculinity)
Next, let's move to how Danny shows up in a magical place filled with magical people and decides of his own accord that he wants the big prize. Why? He deserves it. Why? He wants it. It's power. Does he understand what that power is for? Nope. Clearly not. The fact that it's the Prize is all that matters. Does he actually do the work to get the prize? Now, here's where I absolutely stop believing what Danny says due to two little known literary devices called "Show Don't Tell" and "Unreliable Narrator". Danny says he did the work. Danny says he has control of his mind, body, and emotions. Danny says he has self-discipline. He demonstrates exactly zero of these things. He never even practices, outside of waving his limbs around for five minutes every few weeks. (As opposed to Colleen and Claire.) In fact, he discusses his training in terms of abuse. Thus, he appears to have been awarded the prize because Little Rich-Orphan-White-Boy™. Does he accept the responsibility that goes with the prize he wants? Nope. In fact, he steals the prize away and takes it home to America, leaving the temple and everyone in it in danger. He wanted it because it was pretty and shiny. He had no understanding of the thing nor the function of that thing within the culture in question. He took it out of its context regardless of whether he had a right to do so. That's classic imperialism. Straight up.
Good morning, y'all! Ready to get that righteous rage on? Let's do this thing!
I love the expression "the man box." It's a good one. For the record, it's not easy to find Feminist videos on Youtube as that community is apparently wall to wall misogyny most of the time. (I need to work on my filters over there. There are filters for that site, right?) Anyway, let's move on to those links.
Even if you don't speak Irish, you probably have a good idea what that means. ;) In the U.S., it's the day of awful green beer and several thousand drunken frat boys crowding the streets. So...not really my holiday. If it's yours, then good on you. Be safe. Take a cab or public transportation. If it's not yours and you're out on the road, please be safe too. Nonetheless, I do tend to drag out the Irish films and maybe a tiny bit of Irish whiskey at home because...well...I happen to like it.
Anyway, let's talk Irish and Irish-themed media. Shall we? First up, The Quiet Man.
Know this going in: the film has some issues around women's rights, domestic abuse, and well...the stereotypical violence and alcoholism pinned on the Irish since forever, but other than that...it's a pretty good film. My favorite part of it has always been the struggle between the choice of non-violence and violence. Mind you, I'm not happy that violence is seen as the answer, but I am happy that at least the argument against violence is presented. Yes, this film is John Ford's love letter to the "old country." (Personally, my experience of Ireland was that it wasn't anything like that green, but I was there in the early spring and the island still had its winter on.) It just goes to show you how much one can internalize oppression even when you're the oppressed. My favorite character is Mary Kate, of course. Well, obviously.
The Secret of Roan Inish has become my favorite Irish-themed film.
Hey, look! It's spring. Sort of. I know. There are vast chunks of the US that are still buried under snow, and it's a little bit cooler than usual around here. (Yesterday, it was 63F. And right now it's 67F.) But technically...spring. I like spring. I hate summer. (And if you lived in Texas you'd understand why.) Sunny days with temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 70s are my favorite. And here we are. Yay! I used the pretty pink flowers today for a reason: irony. It's going to off-set the dark.
Because last night I took a break from the massive page proofs and went to see Logan with Dane.
There are so many things I loved about this film, and a couple that I didn't. I selected this trailer because it actually better fits the mood of the film. The second trailer is...too hopeful. The Johnny Cash cover of NIN is the perfect soundtrack. It's exactly right. So, if you haven't seen it yet, hold that thought in your head when you go in. And now, I'm going to place the rest of this review behind a link because...spoilers.
I overslept a bit today. Went to the Stevie Nicks/Pretenders concert last night, and it went late. (It was AMAZING for the record. Seriously. Magical. So glad I got to go. Stevie told stories and laughed and sang and told more stories. More on that later.) Anyway, you're here for Feminist stuff and your Monday morning righteous rage. So, here goes. :)
And now, those links.
It's no secret that music and writers go together. For me, certain songs are hard-wired into specific experiences. It's also no secret that I associate certain songs and bands with particular characters and even scenes in my stories. For example: I can't hear Rolling Stones without going directly into Liam Kelly's (OB&H) head space. To be honest, I never even liked the Stones that much until I started climbing into Liam's head. Can't You Hear Me Knocking is that scene where Mary Kate does the strip tease for Liam. Street Fighting Man is, of course, the opening scene to OB&H, and Led Zeppelin's Kashmir is...well...a certain scene in chapter 3. Heart's Magic Man is totally Liam's mother's song, by the way. Oh, and Johnny Appleseed by Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros is totally a Liam song. The fun bit is that it isn't one I came up with. That was my agent. "Lord, there goes the Buick '49. Black Sheep of the angels riding, riding down the line. Think there is a soul. We don't know. That soul is hard to find." Yeah. That. Ha! I could go on and on for that group of novels, but I'll move on to Cold Iron. Nels's first song is The Highwayman. That association is unique in that it was the first time I've ever hit upon a song that got a strong reaction out of my subconscious. Nels hates that song, and that hatred was the reason for the first story I wrote about him. Suvi's songs are Avalon by Roxy Music (the first ballroom scene) and Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics because I can't think of a better soundtrack for a backstabbing, sexually predatory, power-mad, royal court than that one. That's Cold Iron.
Now for some you haven't heard/seen me list before--the ones for Blackthorne. Blackthorne the character is Nels's opposite. He's super grim. So, his soundtrack was made up of a lot of NIN, NIN, Gary Numan, Gary Human, and Alice in Chains, and Alice in Chains, and Alice in Chains. I hope this doesn't give anything away, but I spent far more time with Dylan Kask and his lover, Darius, in the new novel. They grew on me. A lot. And so, Depeche Mode is their band. Starting with Never Let Me Down Again. In addition, Elton John--particularly I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues. (A love letter from Dylan to Dar, of course. ;)) I also ended up listening to Austin's LGBT radio station Pride a lot which is a lot of fun. They play quite a bit of electronic, dance, and house which I like.
Anyway, today I saw this video. And I'm so happy about it. Also, YAY! New ALBUM.
 Sometimes this isn't always a positive thing. And if it's a song I adore, I force myself to listen to it over and over until the associated memory fades and has less punch.
 Another band I wasn't much into until Liam.
 In case you weren't aware, Liam is a huge Clash fan because of Charles de Lint who went to all of the trouble of tracking down music that would've been playing on the radio in Northern Ireland at the time. Bless him. And you know, Joe Strummer is just amazing anyway. If you're out to get the honey, then you don't go killing all the bees. Yeah. That one really speaks these days, doesn't it? In more ways than one.
 And this cover too because it is possibly the best cover of that song I've ever heard. So sinister and perfect.
 It's Dar giving Dylan what for after having abandoned him.
 Jar of Flies is about as upbeat as Blackthorne gets. What do you expect from an assassin/ronin type? Also, I started this novel in 2003. So, there's a lot of '90s in the soundtrack.
Sorry for being late today. I had a neurology appointment for another round of shots in my neck. The happy news is that the migraines are definitely caused by my neck-issues. The bad news is, my neck is jacked up bad and hates me. A lot. Arthritis in the neck isn't a whole lot of fun, y'all. I don't recommend it--particularly if you write for a living. Back to the important stuff. Friday rambling. :)
I know, I know. Dirty Dancing is so...wonderbread, but it's my sister's favorite movie, and I felt like indulging her today. (I love you, Cathie!) Me, I have a lot of favorite movies and quite a few are of questionable quality. (Nothing as bad as WolfCop, thank you Dane-my-husband-I-adore-but-sometimes-wonder-about.)
I can't make too much fun of him. He did do something glorious and buy me Stevie Nicks/Pretenders tickets for my birthday. (Pssst. It's not until the end of the month, y'all.) They're two of my favorites from the '70s/'80s. I haven't seen Stevie since the Wild Heart tour, and I never did get a chance to see Chrissie Hynde live. So, yeah. I'm happy. Add to that, my friend Katie splurged on a "Stevie Nicks for President" and a "Witch" pin from this shop. Because Katie is amazing. So, I'm very much looking forward to this weekend. Dane has promised me a shirt and everything. Ha!
I hope your weekend is a good one. I shall be spending it with Blackthorne, coffee, Stevie, and Chrissie.
 Like whitebread but far more artificial and bland. Of course, I enjoy far worse movies. Seriously. Let's take Big Trouble in Little China for example. Oh, boy. The racism. But I love that movie to death. I do. I can't help myself even though it's the corniest movie on top of the racism. And just like she had a crush on Patrick Swayze, I've had a thing for Kurt Russell. (Maybe not the Jack Burton, Kurt Russell, but definitely Kurt Russell.) So, I can't exactly point fingers, you know?
 Actually, WolfCop isn't his fave. I just love to tease him for having watched it at all. Because...Are you fucking kidding me? LOL
 I know, I know. I am officially OLD. Us Gen-Xers are becoming geezers. Still, CHRISSIE HYNDE and STEVIE NICKS. Yeah!
 Page proofs, bay-bee! Yeah!
Good morning, y'all! Are you ready for some righteous rage to start your morning? Let's do this thing!
When my first novel came out, I was asked an interview question that implied that I had somehow invented Magical Realism. (I wish I was making that up.) This is the reason why I made a point to answer the question giving credit to the Latin American authors who had created the movement in 1933. Fortunately, I was only asked that question a handful of times, but yes, cultural appropriation is an issue in literature, not just fashion.
Just like sexism affects men negatively (in that any feminine trait in a male is ruthlessly repressed) racism affects all women regardless of race through racist standards of beauty. White women aren't always the most appropriate people to address all issues about racism. (Just as white men aren't always the most appropriate people to address sexism.) But not doing so at all contributes to the support of systemic racism. So, there you are. It's complicated like so many of humanity's problems.
After spending some time in the future, I'm now time-traveling to the late 1700s again for a couple of weeks. I got page proofs for Blackthorne yesterday. OMG, the layout and typography are gorgeous. The folks at Saga did a magnificent job. Seriously, I wish you could see this. At the same time, I'm getting the heebie-jeebies. It's part of the publishing process: this fear. I know I've taken risks when this is how I feel upon watching it inch toward publication. Risk-taking is my job, I know, but it doesn't make it any less scary. Gods, I hope y'all like it. It contains murder mystery/crime, politics, adventure, tall ships, guerilla warfare, and some horror. All mixed together. This one is dark--much darker than Cold Iron. Suvi, Nels (and Viktor,) and Ilta are present, but there are new characters too. Dylan and Dar get more screen-time. (I very much enjoyed writing about those two.) And...and...there's so much that turned out right with this one. I'm excited...and terrified all at once.
That's how it goes. We'll see. Anyway, I've so much work to do. The page-proofs for Blackthorne, finishing a novel, and writing/rewriting two short-stories. It's a lot for me. So, I'll probably be scarce on Twitter and FB for a while. It's for the best, really. I don't need to get embroiled in debates. (Although, holy crap, Republicans. Really? You honestly don't give a crap about hypocrisy? Really? You really have no sense of irony at all? I mean, what the hell do you say to someone who is that intent on being the one who is right at all times? Who is that tied to believing they can do no wrong? [sigh] I mean, we get it. It was never about HRC's emails. Not ever. It was about HRC. It was personal. Period. We get that. But either perjury is a crime with a prison sentence or it isn't. I'm sick to fucking death of your exceptionalism.)
Anyway, I'm off to check my manuscript. I hope your weekend is a good one!
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.