Giving Out Awards

I broke my best speed for running outside today–five miles, 54 minutes 24 seconds. I’m pretty damn proud of that. Yet one more funny thing about stress, cortisol, and adrenaline–I can feel it burning off while I run, and and I can smell the flat mineral tang of my body metabolizing the stress hormones. At the same time, stress forces me to push and run faster, so I end up going faster or longer or both. Plus, getting back into the swing of five miles four or five days a week does things to my appetite–I start craving lean protein and not wanting so many sweets or junk. (Well, there’s choco–the more I run, the darker I want my chocolate to be.) The ankle is holding up fine; I think it’s pretty much rehabilitated.

I think we’ve found a winner for the Stupidest and Most Blatant Plagiarist of the Year Award, and it’s only June. Bonus points for the woman’s website About page, where she says “I love to write I just started do this January of 2011 and have grown a lot where it comes to my books.” (See for yourself. Caution: Twilight wallpaper ahoy.) It’s been a week for stupidity–you probably heard about the “writer” who decided fake kidnappings were a great way to get an agent’s attention. (Hint: IT’S NOT. And the “publisher” he finally got to take his book? POD or vanity? You make the call.) I think these two are neck and neck for the “Ways To Destroy Any Chance You Ever Had Of A Writing Career” prize this year, too. It’s been a busy week.

If you need an anodyne after that, the JFK turtles are back. Their Twitter is hilariously cute, too.

With that, I’m off to go bouldering. Play safe out there.

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The Bars Are For YOUR Safety

Look out. The writer is cranky today. Yesterday she killed a protagonist. (You’d think they wouldn’t line up to have her tell their stories, the way she mows them down.)

That’s enough third-person, but you get the idea. Today’s like a perfect storm of Things That Piss Lili Off. If it’s not hormones it’s the short workout (Wednesday is my easy day, only three fast miles instead of the endurance-burn of five) or the appointment to talk about Financial Stuff (doesn’t piss me off, just stresses me out) or the fact that I’m on the last third of the current book (yep, the one I just killed the protag in, bastard had it coming like you wouldn’t believe) and everything that pulls me away from writing earns resentment. Or the Creepy Whistling Dude who thinks that a jogging woman in exercise gear with a working dog in saddlebags clearly has time to stop and pay attention to him. (Miss B. does not like him one little bit. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t either.) Or it could be the weather (though actually, I like the cool and rainy summer we’re having), or a couple other things happening behind the curtain of my personal life. (Don’t ask.)

Every once in a while, one just has a day where the sharp edges are out. It’s time to throw away the scabbard and take no prisoners. Of course, I do have to play gentle today–there’s children, and I’ll be in public for a short time. But other than that? Just throw some choco through the bars and thank your gods I’m on this side.

Over and out.

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Were-Llama, WSJ’s Concern-Troll Fail, And See Me Climb

Too much to explain. Let me sum up.

* An interview with me, and a giveaway, over at CJ Redwine’s place. I am interviewed by a were-llama. Also, part 2 of the giveaway next week involves JEWELRY. Trust me, you want to be in on this.

* The Wall Street Journal went concern-trolling for pageviews again. Dame Jackie responds a lot more politely than I would have, Diane Duane hits it out of the park, the Guardian weighs in, and #YASaves hits trending. I thought of posting my own response to WSJ’s pearl-clutching idiocy, but in the end Jackie and Diane did it better than I ever could, and I don’t want to link and feed the troll more pageviews. So there it is.

* Kristen Lamb on training to be a career writer:

Athletes who compete in decathlons use a lot of different skills—speed, endurance, strength. They walk this fine balance of giving an event their all….without really giving it their all. They still must have energy left to effectively compete in the other events and outpace the competition.

We writers must learn to give it our all….without giving it our all. The better we get at balancing our duties, the more successful we will be in the long-run. Writers who fail to appreciate all this job entails won’t be around in a year or three. They are like a runner who sprints at the beginning of a marathon. They will fall by the side of the road, injured and broken.

So today when you have to squeeze in that 100 words on your break from work, think I’m training. When your kids hang off you as you write, picture that weighted sled. Play the soundtrack to Rocky if you must. (Kristen Lamb)

* Want to see me climb? We’re recording ourselves on routes so we can nitpick our performance. (By “we” I mean “me and ZenEllen, my bouldering partner.”) Here’s some from today: an inglorious failure at a bouldering route, then a second attempt where I stick the damn thing. I’ve been working this route for a few weeks now. You can also see some of my tats, and the Official Belt Of Urban Fantasy. (Long story. I had to buy one, after that.)

And now I’ve got to spend the first half of my writing day in alternate-Renaissance fantasy France, and the second half in contemporary paranormal YA. The braincramps are fun to watch–my face squinches up when I shift gears and go from one to the other. Good times, man. Good times.

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From Here to There

I was out earlier today with my writing partner; we pillaged a local Powell’s. (We looked for Genevieve Valentine’s new book, didn’t find it, will have to order it.) I scored a book on the Beast of Gevaudan, which I actually happy-danced in the aisle over. So I’m late getting to the table today, so to speak, which is a shame because I have a veritable garden of Friday links for you.

* First, the shameless self-promotion: I’m over at SmartPop with an interview. There’s an excerpt from Defiance there too, and on Monday there will be a giveaway.

* Look, it’s not just me who has trouble with squirrels. I’m just sayin’. (Hat tip to Elaine Corvidae for the link.)

* A peek inside famous authors’ homes. Honestly, I expected the Hemingway one to have more booze. But I suppose Papa wouldn’t have left any behind, now would he. Also? Norman Mailer was freaky. But I guess we all knew that.

* The Rude Pundit (hint: don’t click if you can’t take adult language) is looking for stories. No, not that sort of stories. If you or your kids have been damaged by the public education system, he wants to hear about it. Go tell him.

* Speaking of damage by the public education system, gee. How about getting a whole town to beat up on a rape victim? That’s got to be some sort of record.

Just how lacking in compassion does somebody have to be to humiliate a teenage cheerleader in front of the community instead of speaking with her in private with an advocate present? A team of psychiatrists has done work with brain scans trying to determine whether psychopaths are physiologically different from normal people. One thing they note about psychopaths is that they understand right from wrong but have no empathy for their victims. Forget about Silsbee or the Hardin County criminal justice system ever holding any of the people who retaliated against the victim accountable.

I had an exchange with a reporter for The Silsbee Bee in which he was vigorously defensive about how the outside world had, in his view, so unfairly criticized Silsbee. He claimed to have seen the case file in its entirety, and also claimed that anybody who saw that file would stop criticizing Silsbee. I told him to publish the whole file on The Silsbee Bee site. He stopped responding. Do not hold your breath expecting residents of Silsbee to examine their consciences and then to clean out the stinking cesspools that make up their collective moral sense. (politicsusa.com)

…Yeah. If this makes you sick, it should. If this makes you angry, it should. It’s still not safe to be female pretty much anywhere on the globe. Half of humanity, the mothers and sisters and daughters all around you, have to deal with shit like this, even in fricking America. Just think about that for a little while, I dare you.

* And in case the above story makes you want to go postal, here’s some cute puppies. Get that blood pressure down before you decide what to do.

See you on Monday…

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You’re Asking What?

He has been scrutinized for months now, his accuracy questioned and his decision to return to school second-guessed. He has never bristled, showing the kind of composure that any coach would love to see in the pocket.

There have been fun moments like the ESPN feature with former NFL coach Jon Gruden and his famously intense film study. There have been awkward times, too. Like the interview question from a team that threw Locker for a loop: Would you give your 16-year-old daughter birth control.

“It caught me off guard,” he said. “Maybe it was to see how I would respond.” (Boston Herald)

Well, yes. That would catch one off-guard, wouldn’t it.

This is a guy being drafted into a football team. He will be playing a made-up game that glorifies violence and aggression, and probably be paid very well for it. That’s his choice, I have no problem with that. I like rock climbing, he likes throwing a pigskin for imaginary points. One man’s meat, and all.

Here is what mystifies me: why the hell are “they” (I presume this is a team he might be drafted into) asking him a question like this? The underlying assumption is that he would “give” or “allow” his daughter birth control. Well, if the alternative is a teen pregnancy or an STD, such a move might be considered responsible parenting. Parents are here to teach their children to be adults, and to help kids in the years before their ability to understand consequences is fully developed. (If you even try to trot out the old canard about abstinence education being effective, just stop right there.) I’ve written before about the pervading and pervasive cultural assumption that women are property, passed from their fathers to their husbands in no unequivocal terms. Is this question an outgrowth of that assumption? That troubles me on a meta level, but what troubles me even more is that this is a throwaway line in the middle of a piece of reporting*, obviously considered of little consequence except for its “entertainment” value. (I actually got the link from a Mental Floss tweet.) It’s considered no big deal. The indifference is breathtaking.

My answer to a question like that would be, “What? Why the fuck do you think that is your business? It’s my family’s business, and beyond that, it’s my daughter’s business, and what is a collection of men doing asking about this?” I’m fairly sure I would give whoever asked such a ridiculous, repugnant, invasive question a stinging verbal dressing-down before leaving the room determined never to do business with them again, in any way, since they are capable of (and have no qualms about, apparently) such inappropriate asshattery. This is what I immediately thought, “What the hell is this guy doing, sitting there calmly while a bunch of jerks asks him this?”

He’s a college player, so it’s vanishingly unlikely that he has a 16-year old daughter, or that he will for quite some time. You could argue, I suppose, that they wanted to “provoke” him to see how he would respond on the field. My reply is: bullshit. This man is going to make a living playing a violent game that encourages, facilitates, and rewards violent behavior. A question this stupid, phrased this casually, especially when it’s totally irrelevant because the guy is what, 20?, is not going to give you any goddamn idea of how he’s going to behave after you finish another few years of rewarding the type of behavior football requires and endorses from its players. It’s like asking a llama how it feels about tap dancing–it just doesn’t even fricking apply.

And, I reiterate: the whole thing is just thrown into the middle of a “news” article, like it’s no big deal. Wink wink, nudge nudge, isn’t this funny, the important thing is this guy can play this made-up game and might be invited to play this made-up game somewhere else for a lot of money.

It just boggles the mind.

* However much sports “reporting” can qualify for that name, that is.

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Snap, Bite, Growl, Anyway

I’m over at Bitten By Books today, along with the rest of the crew from the Those Who Fight Monsters anthology. There’s a contest, too, tempty-tempty.

Now for the not-so-pleasant. Oh, tax time. You know, as a single mother, maybe I shouldn’t be penalized so heavily. And really, if I have to pay this amount in taxes, why can’t I have better schools? Better roads? And universal health care? Oh, that’s right–because I exist only at the pleasure of the corporations who are people now. And because the super-rich have managed to ram through a budget that cuts social safety nets to ribbons so they can feed the war machine. We can afford wars, but we can’t afford to relieve some poverty. The commie poor might get ideas above their station, after all.

I wouldn’t mind paying goddamn taxes if the cash was spent on infrastructure, education, and a social safety net instead of corporate welfare and the goddamn war machine. Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just bitter. Jesus. ANYWAY.

It’s a nice day, sunny and beautiful. I’m shifting between Bannon & Clare and a separate project I can’t announce yet. (So exciting.) Miss B., after a morning walk in which she was absolutely full of all sorts of vinegar and baking soda, is now sacked out at my feet and evinces absolutely no desire to go outside. This will change once the Little Prince comes home from school, I fancy.

One of the things I’m struggling with while writing now is just how much verite to put into a sort of alternate-historical fantasy. I am playing fast and loose with Londinium and with history. No doubt there will be a great deal of screaming. No actual cities are ever harmed in the making of these books, but plenty of electrons are terribly inconvenienced, to mashup a phrase.

Anyway, it’s time to turn to the Sekrit Projekt and do some pen and paper work. I can barely sit still, it’s so exciting. This is another Year Of Doing Things I’ve Never Done Before, and I’m terrified enough to think it’s grand fun. Off I go to get into more trouble…

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