Thursday, February 28, 2013

Writerly Things ~ Making Time

Additional Disclaimer:
Plenty of earthy language follows. Just sayin'.

Dear Reader, I'm ready to bet that at least once in your life you've uttered a sentiment similar to this one: "I'd do {insert super-groovy thing you'd love to do here} if only I had the time." Now, God knows I've experienced phases in which my every day responsibilities to my full-time jobby-job, my son, my parents, even my friends, have overwhelmed me. Everybody wants a piece of me and there's precious little to spare. Yeah, life can suck like that, sometimes.

If, like me, you also battle the demon of depression, then doing that super-groovy thing you love can seem impossible. In part, you feel like when you don't have to do a thing, you just bloody well won't do it, and that's that. You're drained, exhausted. You've got nothing left in you to give, even to yourself. You just can't do it. That is even le suckier, because then you find yourself letting your spare hour/evening/weekend piddle away and guilt floods you, because now  you can do that super-groovy thing, and what the fuck are you doing with this precious gift of time, but a whole lotta nothing???

Well, funk that noise.

First, whether you do or don't suffer from depression, those feelings of guilt are an exaggerated response to that evil little rat-bastard worming his way through your soul and mind and, as such, are pretty useless. Except for making you feel worse about yourself, and who the hell needs that? Pas moi. And pas toi, for that matter. Nobody needs that.

You know what you do need?

You need to do that super-groovy thing you love.

Why do you need to? Because it's medicinal; doing something you love can make you feel better, and then you may want to do more, and feel better still. Because you feeling better will make the people who love you feel better, and then you want to perpetuate that cycle 'cause, you know, you love them. And feeling better is as much a need as food, water, shelter, and Lindt chocolates. (OK, maybe that last one's not a need, but damn; work with me, people.) And, you know, you don't worry too much about finding time to eat, drink, and seek shelter. You do that shit tout de suite because you know you need to. So forget about trying to find time for that super-groovy thing you love; you're going to make time for it.

For me, that super-groovy thing is sex, but since that's not on the table (or on any other piece of furniture, alas), I write. I adore writing. I love my main characters. When I make time to hang out with them, as I've been managing to do more and more, of late, I'm all giddy and infatuated and, frankly, I'm so engrossed in their stories that I've no sense of time passing. The pleasure I derive from writing is just as hot as sex. There, I said it. No, I'm not high. Writing is as good as sex, for me, and if you're a writer, it may be true for you as well, and who the hell doesn't want to make time for sex???

Right; my train of thought just got a wee bit derailed, there. Pardonnez-moi.

Writers, whatever your situation, you can make time for that super-groovy writing you love. Look at your weekly planner, determine how much time you can devote to your writing, and write that jazz down in pen. (Everything's more serious when you write it in pen, ever notice that?) It doesn't have to be a lot of time, but it should be as close to every day as possible. (Ladies taking The Pill: you take that thing on some kinda regular schedule or else the system fails, amiright???) And when that precious time rolls around, you make sure your space for it is set up and just get down to it. Don't turn on the TV (unless you really, truly get into the writing flow when there's background conversation), don't log in to any social media. Just write. Write by hand, if online-goofery's too tempting to resist otherwise. I crank up my favorite tuneage and get cracking. (Duran Duran's got a way of priming my pump.) (So to speak.)

And don't worry about doing it perfectly. Like sex, the pleasure of writing doesn't spring from some flawless ideal; it comes from the sweaty physical contact, the stumbling engagement with the moment, and the breathtaking twists that come along the way to shake, rattle, and roll you. (I know you know what I'm talking about.) I read this nifty piece from Writers Digest today, and the bit about "nothing is ever wasted" really resonated with me. 'Cause it ain't. It's all beautiful. And it's all good. And anyway, we don't need perfection; what we need is to strive.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Big Reveal ~ An Announcement About A Hop-Within-A-Hop!

My bloggy pal David Macaulay, over at Brits in the USA, recently posted about his reasons for signing up for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2013. David was kind enough to give me a shout-out in the post, for which I thanked him, though I complained about how he hinted at having an A to Z theme at the ready but wouldn't reveal it. That's when the rusty gears in my brain unexpectedly groaned to life and I had AN IDEA:
(My comment on his post) OOOOOH, idea! We (and by "we," I mean you, me, and any mutual blogging pals who'd be interested in doing this) should do a pre-A to Z blog hop in which we all reveal our A to Z themes, just before April, all on the same day! Wotcha think???
Well, David seemed to think it a worthwhile prospect and so The Big Reveal (It's a Hop-Within-A-Hop!) was born. If you're also signed up for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2013, then all you've gotta do for this blog hop is sign up on the linky-list below (Instead of "Your Name," type your blog's name), slap this badge on the sideboard of your blog and link it back to either me or David, then on March 21 you reveal your A to Z theme for 2013. Oh, and it'd be groovy if you checked out other participants' Big Reveals as well.

I should note that David and I are hosting The Big Reveal (Hop-Within a Hop) and that the good people over at Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2013 are not involved in, though they did inspire, it.

Looking forward to your Big Reveal!

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Thursday, February 21, 2013


Click here to learn more & sign up!
The co-hosts of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2013 decided to seek some minions helpers for this year's Challenge. You see, these folks check up on hundreds of links, every day in April, to make sure bloggers who signed up are actively participating. Between that and managing other co-hosting responsibilities, as well as working their own way through the Challenge, it's a whole heckuvalotta work! So they hollered out for volunteers and lo, here I am! (Side note: in my 2012 A to Z reflections post, I suggested they consider seeking volunteers but quickly qualified with a, "Not me!" So much for that. I just can't seem to resist a cry for help...)

So, for 2013's Challenge, I, as well as three other bloggers, will be at the service of A to Z co-host Damyanti Biswas of Amlokiblogs. In Damyanti's first year of A to Z, she posted 26 flash fiction pieces which she compiled into an e-book: A to Z Stories of Life and Death [Kindle Edition]. Though I've only just bought this (for .99 cents!), I have read some of her other flash fiction and really dig her style. Check it out, you might too!
Also lending Damyanti support this year, in alpha order by last name ('cause I'm a bit more OCD than I like to let on), are:
I hope y'all will visit these groovy gals' blogs, and if you've not yet signed up for the A to Z Challenge for this year, DO IT NOW!

Need convincing? Click here.

Hope to see y'all 'round the alphabet...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

She Said What?! Blog Hop

Today's post is for the She Said What?! blog hop hosted by Elise Fallson and Michelle Wallace to celebrate their blogiversaries. Happy, happy, Elise and Michelle! Click here or there to check out the other participants' entries.

What we gots ta do: The gals came up with some comic strips which we participants are supposed to caption. Michelle threw in a list of bonus words we're to incorporate into the captions: twist; cheek; buzz; honor; grey; champagne; tango; vomit. (I'm especially excited about that last one.)

So, like, here I go...

Panel 1

Elise: Wait, Michelle, don't go to the mall without me! I wanna pick up that Lancôme gift with purchase too!

Michelle: Well, twist my tail around your wrist and haul yourself up, woman! Beauty sales wait for no one!

Panel 2

M: I said your wrist, not your ankle. Now your skirt's gonna flap down, showing the world a set of cheeks it never expected to see...

E: How about you put the Fallson in the basket before I'm wearing vomit in my hair? Green is sure to clash with the makeup I plan to buy...

Panel 3

Hero Type Guy: Oooh, did somebody say makeup? Can I come with???

Panel 4


Hero Type Guy: At my funeral, let the people sing many choruses of Bonnie Tyler's "I Need A Hero" in my honor!

Panel 5

M: Buzz off, Hero Type Guy! Now we're gonna be late for the sale!

Panel 6

E: Well, the balloon's trashed. How'm I gonna get that bottle of "Grey Decay" nail polish I luuurve so much?

M: And how will I pick up that "Champagne Tango" face powder?

Panel 7

Dragon Type Thing: Hey, I haven't been to the mall in ages! How about I give you gals a ride?

M: Fine. If you're a good little dragon-type-thing and get us there before the mall closes, I'll even buy you some lipstick. (Looks around.) Hey, what happened to my tail?!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Do Chicks Wear Lipstick? (WAL?)

Visual by
Thus begins my new feature, What About Luuurve? (aka WAL?), which focuses on a subject which has fascinated me since I was but a mere Gothling: the science and biology of love. (And/or sex, I'm not that fussy.)

So, like, did y'all know that lipstick, or lip coloring, has been around for, like, forever? Well, at least since ancient Mesopotamian babes, chillin' in the Fertile Crescent (heh heh), painted their lips with henna, clay, and rust. (Ick.) Don't even ask how Cleopatra did it, 'cause that's grosser still, and my WAL? posts are s'posed to be all about the sexaaay...

Right, so: painted lips waxed and waned in popularity throughout history. Hot, then not, then a tool of Satan, then super groovy all over again. Over thousands of years, gals have been drawn to using lip color, but why?

Today's woman might say she feels confident/powerful/beautiful when she wears it and naked/vulnerable/ugly when she doesn't. OK, I'll buy that for a dollar. But what got chicks to start feeling confident/powerful/beautiful by painting their lips all them years ago?


DISCLAIMER: This next bit's where my adult content warning really comes into play.

Guess what else is happy to see ya?
Wouldja believe it's 'cause ruddy facial lips resemble a woman's labia when she's aroused, and women re-create this effect on their faces, so as to signal that they're ready for some nookie? This theory, proposed by science, is the foundation from which the other theories stem. To wit: facial lips also become engorged and redder due to the blood rushing to them when a gal's hot to trot, which is a major turn-on. As well, full, flushed lips are indicative of youth and fertility, another siren's call to sex.

You may cry foul, citing that lotsa chicks wear colors other than those in the red family, such as more neutral browns and pinks, and whatnot, or that women of color won't be flushing red. Fair enough. But you do realize that other things on a gal, which may be of a pinkish/brownish hue, also engorge with blood when she's raring to rock, right? Like, her nipples, for instance? Fact. And women of color may not go pinky-red, but the blood rushing to their naughty bits will further color those bits. Also fact. The bottom line is that the blood be rushin', indicating a chick's ready for action, which can sometimes be all the foreplay needed by a potential sex-partner.

So, you know, the next time you go shopping for lipstick, just remember what you're advertizing when you stroke that lush new shade across your lips, ladies. (Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more...)


Edited to add additional disclaimer, above. I'd meant to do it before this post published, but forgot. My bad.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vampire Bite Blog Hop!

'Cause what better way is there to celebrate Valentine's Day but by talkin' 'bout vamps? (What? Blood's red!)

Author Jolie Du Pré of Precious Monsters hosts the Vampire Bite Blog Hop today, for which all participants have to do is in some way blog about vampires. Click here and scroll down to read others' Vampire Bite posts.

For my entry, I'm exhuming a brief examination of the dark romance of Bram Stoker's Dracula, as portrayed by the eternally smexy Frank Langella. (Woof!)

*     *     *
(Originally posted as Dark Romance #1 ~ Dracula on November 30, 2011.)

Given the premise of this bloggy-blog (that I'm a goth mom who digs the dark and creepy, even in romance), I thought I'd do a series based on some dark romances I have luuuuurved. (Be warned - thar be SPOILERS below, so if you've not yet read the book/seen the film under discussion, but intend to, you may wish to give this post a pass. Just sayin'.)

Still here? Kewl.

I decided to start with Dracula, but not the book, oh no. I recently re-read the Bram Stoker tome and must assert that there just ain't nothin' sexy or romantic about it. Yeah, sure, Jonathan Harker experiences a bit of lusty-lust for Dracula's wives and whatnot, but all that amounts to is his intense desire that they kiss him. Lame. There's no back-story connecting Mina Harker with Drac's supposedly long-dead bride, as the Coppola film tells it (though I must give props to the flick, as it's one of the more faithful adaptations of the novel; moreover, it doesn't drop the one American character Stoker featured, Texan Quincey Morris, who, along with J. Harker, dealt the killing blow to the dastardly Count).

The Dracula I want to focus on today is Frank Langella in the 1979 film of the same name, which was adapted from a play, which was adapted from the book (whew!) and merrily screws around with not only the characters but also their names. Here, it's Mina who first succumbs to Dracula's unholy allure and Lucy upon whom Dracula sets his fangs at for his...uh...Unlife Mate. Another departure from the book is that the end may not really be the end for the Count, 'cause this Dracula's a BAMF.

*Ahem* Anyway.

Langella plays the Count tall, dark, and spookily swoony (woof) and, with his debonair Old World mastery, steals every scene he's in. But what really interests me about this film is the feminist edge of Lucy, who deplores the very idea of woman's subjugation to man. By the time Drac's worked his monstrous mojo on her, however, she can't wait to be under his...thumb. (Frankly, neither could I. Did I mention woof?)

The dark romance of it all: Dracula determinedly preys on Lucy, it's true, but she isn't his victim; she's a ready, willing, and eager participant in his deadly dance. He seduces her but never has to bend her to his will. He charms her with his conversation, his savoir faire, his sex appeal (woof!), and he exerts himself to win her because of her strength, her intelligence, and her beauty - she is his equal, excepting one teeeny, tiny detail. Lucy doesn't so much fall as she leaps into the fire, and not due to deception or coercion, but from her own desire to burn. She never embodies her own ideals as much as when she willingly chooses to join the ranks of the moldy undead. It's the joining of his dark power to her independent spirit which rocks the Casbah for me. And they might have enjoyed a happier end but for the interference of her father, her fiancé, and Van Helsing who, essentially, restored their masculine authority over Lucy when they "saved her" from the Count, her own wishes notwithstanding (and girlfriend wanted to hook up with the bloodsucker, for realz!). To which I say Booo, patriarchal bossiness! and Yay, Girl Pow-ah!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Oh My Goth! ~ Then & Now

Image by ME!
Back in January, I blogged about some ideas I'd had for Some Dark Romantic. I'd built it as a platform for my author persona, as a way to connect with folks who might get a kick out of the kooky romances I like to write. In my first year of blogging I made loads of great connections with other bloggers, which is le awesome, but I felt perhaps I was drifting from my bloggy purpose, just a wee bit. So I considered who I am, as a writer and as a person. I strongly identify with being a Goth Mom (Lite!) and decided I should expand on the Goth part of this self-conferred title.

I got into the alt rock back in the early 80s, when more traditional rock was being tsunamied by the "new wave/post-punk" movement in music. Beginning with the New Romantics, Duran Duran, with whom I fell in love, I grew to dig Depeche Mode, Blondie, Ministry, New Order, Yaz, Love and Rockets, B-52s, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees, The Smiths, and The Cure, to name just a very few. I eschewed the bright, bubblegum pop of the day for the synthy, bassy, often dark and spooky vibes I caught from the above, as well as other bands I heard on my favorite New York radio station, WLIR (the station that DARED to be different).

Oh, to go back in time and even out those bangs!
My closest friends, who were all about the Doc Martens and black eyeliner, could take the train into Manhattan to hang out in Greenwich village. Those chicks got the cool stuff from thrift shops and whatnot, and really got properly into the Goth lifestyle. Not I. I was very, very, very sheltered. I couldn't go anywhere that wasn't school or family related, so I never got to hang in the village and kick it Goth style, as I'd have liked. I did the best with what little I had. I wore dark colors and vivid red lipstick. I strove to spike my hair but wound up less Siouxsie Sioux and more Generic Big 80s Hair (as evidenced by this pic from my senior year of high school). I wrote songs and short stories about sex. (This hasn't changed.)

Anyway, my Goth sensibilities were more about the music and fantasies than about a particular look, though I was so well known in my family for wearing mostly black that a cousin once remarked of me, "There she goes...always appropriately dressed for a funeral." Like I said, I didn't have the opportunities (or freedom) to experiment, so I did what I could and shrugged off the rest. I stuck with the black, mixed it up with blood red accents, and pressed on with long, sweeping skirts and dark, smutty thoughts.

Goth Mom Lite, what an unfortunate nose...
Then I had my kid and life changed. A lot. I went from marriage to separation to single-motherhood to having to settle-the-fuck-down, put-aside-my-dreams, and provide-for-my-child, in what now seems a heartbeat. I suppressed a lot; in fact, I still do. But the wanna-be Goth Chick within yearns to break free. I continue to don the dark garb and paint my lips red, but in a manner which might now be termed "Corp Goth," or Corporate Goth. I'm not as nattily attired as some Corp Goths, though (money's tight with The Kid at college and I've got loads of single-mom debt). But, again, I do what I can with what I've got. I look forward to the day when I can let my inner Morticia cut loose. (I look forward to this like you just wouldn't believe...) I console myself with the thought that she's in there, just biding her time, and that she's always been with me, even if only in the deepest, darkest recess of my heart.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Love Me or Liebe Me!

Al Diaz over at Father Dragon Writes tagged me with the Liebster Award (for blogs with fewer than 200 followers), which was kind of him, in principle, only he's making me do an awful lot of work for it. Just kidding, Al. In my book, any amount of work is too much, so you can just ignore me. :-) I thank you for thinking of me and, folks, I encourage you to check out Al's blog and lose yourselves in the delightful fantasy world he weaves. I dig the man's way with words, and I think you will, too.

Totally relevant tangent: Liebster is the German word for "dearest." So what this award's meant to do, folks, is bring a little love (or liebe) to a lonely blogger's spot in the blogosphere. Aw.

Anyway—here are the Liebster Award Rules:
  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)
  4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.
Numbers 1 and 4 = Done

As for #2, I'm going to cop out and just answer and create 11 questions, 'cause I've done the 11 random things before and I'm all randomed out.

Mr. Diaz asks:

1. What genre do you write?

I write dark, whimsical romance. (That's totally a genre.)

2. What are you working on right now?

Answering your questions, Mr. Diaz. Oh, and I'm editing my Greek-Myth romance novel, That Fatal Kiss.

3. Panster or plotter?

That seems a personal question. Oh, what the hell; a bit of both.

4. What do you do when you get writer's block?

Break out the chocolate/curl into the fetal position/go for a smoke. Not necessarily in that order.

5. The best lesson you learned about writing?

To do it without expectation of anything but my own pleasure in the act of creating.

6. Which POV do you prefer to write?

Third person omniscient, which, I've been told, is old-fashioned and ought not be attempted in the modern era. (Pffffft.) I only recently experimented writing from the first person P.O.V. and quite enjoyed it.

7. How do you respond to critiques?

I'm grateful for constructive criticism which helps me deal with problematic issues in my writing, delivered with respect, as I endeavor to do.

8. Do you argue with your characters?

The main characters I'm working with at the moment are the Lord and Lady of the ancient Greek Underworld, so I don't think it wise.

9. Do you have a bad timing muse (i.e. the one who gives you the best ideas when you can't do nothing about them)?

He sometimes transmits inspiration through my dreams. I've woken up with plot points, even fully formed songs which I had only to jot down upon arising. If I don't do this, I lose the gift in my misty memory, which is my fault, not his.

10. The book you cherish the most?

Cherish, huh? Hmmm... Must there be only one? What is this, Highlander?

11. Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?

I must. Usually, it's new wave, goth rock, or alt rock. Maybe a bit of dubstep now and again, for when I'm feeling frisky.

My "questions" for my nominees will come in the form of "fill in the blanks":

1. Some movies I love are:
2. As for music, I groove to:
3. I rarely miss these TV shows:
4. I hated these foods when I was a kid, but now I heart them:
5. I like to celebrate my loved ones by:
6. Some authors whose every work I will read without fail are:
7. These colors make me feel great when I wear them:
8. I'm always up for a game of:
9. My fave treats from that special someone are:
10. I think it'd be fun to try out this job for a day:
11. I really liebe:

(Yeah, I'm a bitter old hag, but sometimes, only sometimes, mind you, I like to accentuate the positive.)

Nominees I'm about to...well, nominate: you made it to this list 'cause I dig your style, so don't hate on me for passing along this work award—you brought it upon yourselves.

Adventurous Tiger
Ari Michaels Writes (I've no idea how many followers Ari has, but she should definitely have more.)
Hypnotik Eye
No Natural Mama
Precious Monsters
Pull Up a Toadstool
Random Stream of Consciousness
Surviving Boys
Tahoma Beadworks & Photography
The Ranting Monkey
The Six-Fingered Monkey
Warped Nerdiversity

OK, so if y'all were counting carefully, you'll notice I've exceeded my target number of nominees by one. You see, my Dudes, in most things, I think it's best to err on the side of generosity. Because, if I'm being honest, *I* need all the liebe I can get...