Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I like dogs but I don't get this one

This is my first small dog. The others in my life have ranged from medium to hefty.

If I met this dog on the street, I'd think yuick, ew, no way. Sure she's kind of cute, but that chihuahua personality is just obnoxious. SO very yappy. She barks at much larger dogs, barks at people, barks at nothing in particular. She has a special "intruder alert!" bark she saves for when I'm the only human at home and I'm in the shower. Asshole dog. Probably knows I'm still freaked by Psycho.

At the vet's office she has to wear a muzzle and last time they decided that wasn't enough to protect them from her wrath and wrapped her in a freaking towel, covering her face so she wouldn't see who was touching her.

She's not very bright either. When she gets outside, she takes off, operating on a few neurons that allow her to run and to bark (although I admit it's easier to follow that way--follow the sound trail of yapping) but not think. She's a terrible judge of danger and ignores cars and attacks huge dogs. It's a wonder that she managed to survive on the streets--which she did for a few weeks at least.

Clearly, she's a bad-tempered and stupid little animal. And here's the thing: I adore her.

She follows me around and frequently hops along on her back feet and paws at me with her front. It's sometimes painful and usually annoying to get pawed at for no reason. BUT when I go into a room and she's not at my heels, I go looking for her, because hey, she's supposed to be there. When she pulls that hop/hop/paw treatment on other people, like our neighbor she loves, I feel a tad betrayed.

She's gotten out a couple of times--raced off down the block, with me huffing and calling after her. I have an emergency stash of special treats just in case that happens again.  Every time she gets out, I panic and feel terror. What if I can't catch her this time? I get a flash of a bleak future without yapping and it's all I can do not to burst into tears.

I've had this strange repulsion/love relationship with this dog for over a year and I still don't get it. Why do we put up with each other? It reminds me a little of that very basic attachment with a baby. Strong and completely insane. The goddamn thing isn't even always reliably house-trained.

Could there be a biological imperative for women of a certain age to bond with small yappy dogs? Even if we don't like that sort of dog, we end up with one? The day I got her, I'd planned to pick up a mid-sized model at the pound, but our old big dog liked this pup.  Yeah, it's my other dog's fault.

The one saving grace: I only use the cutesy wootsy aww snookums high-pitched voice with her when we're alone. For now. Maybe that voice--like the baffling presence of this dog in my life, and the even more baffling power she has over me--is inevitable.

How did I end up like this? Argh. Couldn't tell you at the moment. The UPS truck is here and I can't hear myself think over the yapping.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Tina Donahue's new book out in two days

Tina's one of those generous people who helps other authors -- she's had me as a guest on her blog. Now she has a book coming out March 11 -- so hey! I'm sponsoring her today. 



Her freedom depends on one man. A criminal in his realm…

Outlawed Realm, Book 4

One minute, Paige Ross is outside a Seattle bar, grieving a failed engagement. The next, she jerks awake in a weird, candlelit room with velvet walls, black silk sheets, and a man who motions for silence.

Paige has little choice but to trust the powerful stranger who promises a way out of what looks like Satan’s brothel. And pray his promise to keep her safe is as real as the heat burning in his eyes.
Banished from E2’s ruling elite for supposed crimes against the realm, Zekin risks everything to rescue those brought to E5 for the guards’ carnal pleasure. Paige will be leaving this inhospitable realm of fire and ice—if he can somehow forget the way her trembling body melts in his arms.

Safe—temporarily—in an underwater world populated by strange creatures, Paige’s sexual awakening explodes into an unquenchable need that consumes them both. But the guards will be looking for her. And Zekin’s plan to send her home is a dangerous journey she cannot—will not—take without him.

Warning: Scorching-hot sex and loads of aching tenderness between a drool-worthy hunk who’s determined to do the right thing and a woman who’s not about to give him up.

Monday, March 03, 2014

wishful thinking

Why the new look?

1. Nicholas said the old blog design was hard to read.
2. I'm stuck on this story. Only 2k words in and I am stuck. This is a fine method of procrastination
but mostly because.
3. Spring! Spring! Spring! The foot high piles of snow and arctic air be damned. Spring is a thing that will exist. Soon-ish. I hope.


The older I get, the less often I look in the mirror, and the more often I shrink away from cameras.

Just now I was trying to get a picture of the dogs and hit a button that flipped the view around. From cute little pup to--bam--doughy-faced, double chinned me.

The loathing I felt when I saw that image took me by surprise. I've clearly done a good job hiding from myself because that sight really was a shock. God, she's hideous. I looked at myself and saw all the fat blobby ladies I felt scorn for through all those early, more attractive years of my life. God. I'm not talking about a mild hmm that feature can change or maybe less of a chin. It was the entire thing, details and big picture, that I loathed.

It was rather amazing how much I disliked that image. This isn't going to work, I thought. I can't walk around feeling that much disdain for me.

Anyone else, sure--as in, someone else can feel that way about me. Or I can feel that way about someone else, although, of course I wouldn't, not anymore. Thank god I outgrew that kind of insta-judgement. I had to, amirite?  Or I'd kill myself, no lie, or never leave the house again. 

Okay, this has to stop, and I spent ten minutes staring at that image. trying different angles. Holding the phone up, holding it down. Staring, staring, looking for something worth admiring. I guess the smile's nice. After a while, all that staring allowed me to shift from both admiring or loathing. The image just.....was. That's what I want to aim for, some kind of acceptance

It's me. That's the package of meat that I'm stuck with. I'm not going to manage to the self affirmations but at the same time there is no point in indulging in loathing. I'm going to memorize the features again. I'm going to remember that it could be worse. The trick of remembering how unfortunate other people are (He has no nose!) always works on me.**

And then I'm going to go back to avoiding mirrors and cameras

And no, this isn't  me begging for someone to tell me I'm beautiful, because I wouldn't believe anyone who did. I have eyes. Judgey, critical eyes that won't be lied to.

Besides, after all these years, my brain can and will provide the feminist talk about internal beauty, and I can give myself the Stop Buying The Dumb Standards talk, I can remind myself that appearances are not important. That I'll be dead in ___ years anyway.... I can do all sorts of conversations to put this selfie moment into some kind of perspective. But really.

Even after the ten minutes of truth time, my eyes just roll. Even after I deliver the Get Over Yourself stern talk to myself, there's still a corner, somewhere in my vain brain saying whoa, that's not me.

** and I'm sure someone with no jaw would sleep better knowing they've helped insecure middle aged ladies adjust to their changing appearance.  

This isn't really a poor me thing. Really it is not. I'm healthy, I'm fine and I know I'm blessed. It's odd to change and sort of melt into someone else, but I was expecting aging (duh). 

My own knee-jerk and strong disgust was the surprise. I'm from a family that did not emphasize appearances so I always supposed I'd bypass this kind of response. Turns out, no, not entirely possible--for me anyway.  It's hardly the source of horror it would be for someone who'd been truly beautiful and counted on it for work or self-definition. (Kim Novak or Lea de Lonval) I suspect other people--female, male--have felt this way. I figured it's nice to share the WTF.

Another stage of life, rather like when we women suddenly become invisible. It's a strange experience at first but we adjust.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

ten years of publishing

Pick a year, any year of the last ten and I'll have had a similar conversation a few times that year, most often talking to another writer at a party.

Here's one from last week.

This one writes poetry. I write romance.
She says in a friendly, pleasant way, "I suppose it's kind of easy because it's formulaic."

I've heard those words often enough before: easy and formulaic.

She seems interested, so I have an answer. I'd say yes, there are expectations--but I'd call it a structure rather than formula and there's structure in most stories. Yes, the genre is about romance-- but hey relationships and growth and change--isn't that interesting and the focus of many, many novels? Yes, it usually includes an HEA but then again most genres have some kind of framework. Mysteries=crime committed at start, exposure of perpetrator at the end yada yada yada. Even with poetry...You expect a particular pattern. Right? 

About that claim of easy? I don't bother with that one. I think we've got that one covered when we both talk about finding particular words that strike chords.

Okay, she's cool. We talk some more. She says she doesn't "do" romance. Does she do Austen? Does she do these popular titles. Yes, yes, she does. Yay! We have talked. We are good.

I go looking for wine, she goes to find a friend. We meet again. She introduces me to her friend as Kate who writes sexy bodice rippers. 

Hey, it's cool. I sure didn't lie awake grinding my teeth. I rarely do about this topic. I'm not on a rant for once. It's not even one of those comments followed by *SMH* or *sigh*. It's life. I don't mind this stuff because it's not personal. Unless you act sneering or dismissive with your attitude--and not just use those easy, formulaic words about romance--I'm not going get pissed off. She didn't really sneer. People usually don't, not to my face.

But it does get a teeny tiny bit old.

I publish this as a public service, a warning:

 If you ever DO meet a romance writer who's having a bad day, or had too much wine, or gotten a bad review....and you mention formulaic or bodices or what-have-you AND she decks you, it's probably because she's heard practically nothing else when she mentions what she writes.

You've been warned. 

Generally speaking, I think the "my books are my beloved children" thing is creepy. But in a sense, I get that kind of possessiveness about my genre, just like I do about my kids. I can whine about my kids, but if you complain about them? Oh no. No. Way.

This is how I feel about romance to a less vicious degree.  I'm allowed to sneer and mock my genre. People who don't write it or read it? Not really interested.