Your Narrative Voice

I’m not talking about writing, but about the narrator inside your head, directing your life.

What’s it saying?

It’s saying something. Listen…

Chat boxes

Is it telling you you’re a strong person who can accomplish your goals?

Is it telling you everyone’s out to get you?

Is it telling you you’re smart, funny, fat, stupid, helpful, bad-ass, invincible, a failure… ???

Here’s the thing. If you don’t like what that voice is saying, you can “change the conversation.” Gag, I know. But seriously, this is important. I didn’t realize until lately this was even a thing, and that I’ve changed my own narrative voice over the years. It was a hard, slow slog though, because I didn’t understand what was going on. Now that I do, it’s much easier to “hear” the voice and if it’s being unhelpful or negative, to switch the channel to something better. Eventually, the nasty, drag-you-down channel will be nothing but white noise, and you’ll listen to the good voice.

I could link to a bunch of articles, but you can find them yourself, if interested. I can’t pinpoint the exact time when this clicked for me, but I think it was within the year. One of the worst things my narrator used to tell me was that I couldn’t possibly be happy alone, and that if I felt happy without a partner, I was only deluding myself. I don’t know where this voice originated from ~ society, my mother, romance novels? But whatever, it was extremely bad for me. Now, I have obliterated it.

Another thing the voice used to say was that I wouldn’t appear successful and smart to other people if I didn’t have an advanced degree and a “professional” career. I’ve shut down that one, too.

This  has been your PSA for the week. :)

Review: Angel’s Tip

Overall, I enjoyed this book by Alafair Burke ~ finished it in 24 hours, I think. That’s the way it is for me with mysteries/detective stories. Either they grab me right away and I need to see what happens, or they’re just meh. Angel’s Tip had a gripping plot and good characters, plus the misdirection was epic. Also, NYC was also a “character” in that the city played a large part in the unfolding events, including streets, hotels, clubs, etc. I learned a new district: NoLIta! North of Little Italy. The police work and interactions felt real to me as well, not that I would know.

Now for my problems with the book. The title, ugh. Not even sure why I bought a book with such a horrible title ~ it must have been one of those 99 cent Kindle specials. I tend to snap those up cuz I like to read new authors and expand my genres from the same old romances.

There were many typos. I’m seeing this more and more with Kindle books, unfortunately. I hope I proof mine properly, but you tend to skim over your own errors.

While the main plot and side plots were fabulous, there was this goofy-assed backstory about the protag’s father that irritated me. This wasn’t part of the misdirection or anything fun; it just sat there like a lump of old moldy bread. Also, I really dislike clichéd reasons that someone becomes a cop. Why can’t they just wanna be a cop? We don’t see this with other professions in novels. “I became a shoe salesman because a kind shoe salesman had given my grandfather a pair of shoes when he was down and out.” Who cares? Ellie’s a cop; let’s move on.

Thing is, Kindle books are a little shorter than the old paperbacks we’re used to, so when you try to cram too much stuff in there, it dilutes the story. There isn’t so much time to drag out every freaking skeleton from the closet.

HOWEVER. There was something important that the author completely glossed over ~ why our protag was dating this annoying reporter she met on a {GAG ME} dating site. It’s OK that the story begins mid-romance because it isn’t a romance, but if we’re to like and relate to Ellie, we should understand this choice she made to be with Peter.

Now I’m gonna do a little spoiling, so skip this if you want to read the book and be surprised.

*************************SPOILER ALERT*************************

Ellie is a great cop, but her BROTHER has to discover that Peter never deleted his dating site profile? Um hello. You would think a cop should be the first person to have this stuff sorted out. And though suspicion falls on Peter, we don’t find out anything about him. If Ellie is sleeping with him, shouldn’t she (and we) know more than simply his profession? Forget her father; spend more words on the boyfriend.

Ellie’s partner Rogan is “set up” for something because he apparently has money to buy fancy things, and this is mentioned repeatedly. But we never discover what his deal really is. He said he inherited some bucks, but that doesn’t explain enough. Maybe this is supposed to get us to buy another novel, but I found it annoying

Now here comes a super-spoiler, so this is your last warning to click away.

Still here?

OK.

A hallmark of a good detective story is misdirection. Layered and complex misdirection is a beautiful thing to experience. But! We need to see all the suspects as themselves and have the protag interact with them, or at least talk about them, for more than a sentence. It’s sort of a cheat to misdirect at several possibilities and then at the end say oopsy it’s this other person we hardly saw at all and know nothing about. That’s not cool. It’s almost like saying goddidit, gotcha.

Also, don’t have two characters dying of cancer and use that for their motivation to commit crimes. One’s plenty. Think of something else.

Other than this stuff, which was relatively minor except the surprise villain (and the typos!), I liked the book very much and gave it four stars. Will I buy more novels from Burke? Idk. I have a lot of other books on my carousel at the mo.

PS: I adore badge as a verb. Example: “We badged the bouncer and he pulled the velvet rope aside immediately.” Many many hearts.

Tuff Enuff

You’ve all seen those labels on clothing, right? Handle with care. Dry clean only. Delicate cycle. Don’t put in dryer. Hand wash in mountain stream water with goat’s milk and lavender soap procured from a wood nymph. On and on.

Fuck that.

The other day I realized I’d accumulated a pile of stuff that wasn’t supposed to go in a commercial washer and threw it all in there anyway. Lacy bras. Silky undies. Dry-clean only pants. A delicate sweater set full of sequins. The flimsy costume I wore to RenFaire. All tossed in the washer AND the dryer. I hate hanging stuff on my shower curtain rod waiting for it to dry. Makes me feel like I’m in my nauseatingly rose-perfumed grandmother’s apt back in Queens.

Yeech.

And the clothes all survived just fine.

I praised the items for being tough. If you live with me, you gotta be tough. You gotta have claws and teeth and be willing to use them. I’ve been through a lot of shit the past 10 years and I don’t have any patience for gentle flowers who need to be handled carefully.

If you can’t deal with the rough spin cycle followed by blasting heat, then get the hell out.

And don’t expect me to be nice to you afterward. If you’re all shredded up and wrecked by my methods, then into the trash basket you go. :)

Splainin’ Things

Usually I leave the splainin’* to my good fiend Gekko, who is a mastersplainer, but today I decided to jabber on a bit about how I use language. For texting and casual blogging, emailing, etc., I like to mix it up and have fun with words. Forex, I often use fiend instead of friend, snadwich for sandwich, etc. Some of these began as typos that appealed to me; others were created expressly. When I write at work or submit something for publication, I use language properly.

[I'm mostly not going to put words in quotes when discussing them, since that's annoying to see on the page.]

Someone took issue with how I use poast. Again, Gekko gets credit for being the first among our little froup** to use this word. I believe she referenced “a piece of poast” when discussing something or other ages ago, and it stuck with me as a Cute Thing. I have assumed all this time that poast is not a real word, but apparently it is!

Same as post or posting as a message or a commentary posted on an internet forum. Poast instead of post follows the same pattern of transcribing “ou” diphthong as “oa” as in moar instead of more. [Source: Urban Dictionary]

So, lo and behold, I’ve been using it correctly, though inadvertently so. I also am pleased to see that I use moar correctly as well. I figured moar was simply one of those lolcatisms*** I’ve picked up over the years.

Let’s deal with my starred words now.

*Splain/splainin/splainer (sometimes with apostrophes) ~ I believe this derived from I Love Lucy where Ricky was constantly demanding Lucy “splain” some dopey thing she’d done. “Lucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do!” He was Cuban and had a cute accent. This has been around for a long time.

**Froup. I believe this came from a typo on Usenet (not mine) ~ newsfroup. UD has that definition way down on the defintion list though… shurgs [a typo for shrugs way back when in alt.writing].

***Lolcatism ~ I made this up just now from I Can Has Cheezburger, one of my very favorite language-play sites. Apparently I’m not the first /sobs/.

Other random wordplay I do (not an exhaustive list, though you may get tired of reading it, har):

1. Use ~ instead of – or –. Why? Because cuteness.

2. The because X construction. It’s a thing.

3. Saying it’s a thing. See UD again. (Is brunch really still a thing?)

4. Obvs for obviously. I’m pretty sure I got this from Alan Hope. Although now that I’m analyzing this stuff in excruciating detail, it’s possible he just uses obv. Maybe he will weigh in. Yo, Mr. Hope!

5. Internets/interwebs/intertubes/tubes. I sometimes do this because other people do (baaaa I’m a sheeple!), though it can get me in trouble when someone assumes I haz a stoopid. Apparently George W. Bush said internets (see def. 4) a decade ago, and therefore… nothing.

I hope this clears things up.

I do not, and never will, have a goldfish named Fred.

Dum Da Dum Dum… CRUMBS!

I suppose I have to address this… again.

Over a year ago I poasted that the incipient demise of ONE cupcake chain did not mean cupcakes are dead.

Crumbs cupcakeries are all closing now. And there are eleventy billion articles like this one out there declaring that cupcakes are over, they’re dead, they were just a fad, etc. Because one chain has gone belly-up. Restaurants flop all the time; it’s very difficult to make a go of them. I would imagine the same for bakeries.

And here’s the unfortunate truth: Crumbs cupcakes weren’t that good. That’s right. I have proof. Some of you may remember my old blog where I made a cupcake table… well, guess what? I still have it.

Cupcake table

Ta-dah! Note that only one Crumbs item is over an 8 ~ and the worst of the bunch is from Crumbs. To be fair, this table hasn’t been updated in years, and you may recall my dislike of Casey’s Strawberry Bomb, but regardless. Point is, Sprinkles and Yummy Yummy are way better than Crumbs, and Sprinkles, for one, intends to avoid Crumbs’ fate.

Sprinkles has added food trucks, ice cream and cookies to entice customers. It’s also never opened more than five locations in a year, said Charles Nelson, co-founder of the Beverly Hills, California-based chain, which started in 2005.

“We’ve always tried to be very cautious,” he said in an interview. “We’re still very positive on the industry.” [via Bloomberg]

According to that article, Magnolia Bakery, on the Upper East Side of NY, is still doing fine. Here in Orange County, CA, there are plenty of cupcakeries. Not only that, but regular bakeries and restaurants and coffee shops often have cupcakes. Why? People love ‘em, dur.

You know, frozen yogurt shops are a relatively new “fad” and those stores go out of business all the time. But you don’t see all these headlines screaming about it. So, maybe the gourmet cupcake stores will be shuttering one by one. Part of the problem is that grocery stores now all have cupcakes, and some of those are damn tasty. Obviously way cheaper, too. And you can, y’know, bake your own cupcakes. But the cupcake itself? The adorable nummy pretty treat you can eat sans plate and fork? Ain’t gonna die.

I have a weird feeling that the cupcake is hated by some people/journalists as a symbol of something. What, I’m not sure. The horrible, materialistic Sex and the City, which popularized Magnolia? Or maybe it’s the pink sprinkled cuteness, reminding people of adorable things like kittens and rainbows, when they want to posture as dark cynics. Health-conscious peeps will rightly say that cupcakes are Very Bad, but so are a million other things Americans nom on nightly. It’s weird to me that the prettiful little cupcake is so despised in certain circles. But their flailing is futile. Why? Because a new batch of babies comes along every year and kids will Always Love Cupcakes.

BECAUSE CUPCAKES ARE AWESOME.

Any questions?

Image

Wordless Wednesday

NF carrot

I Hate Dating

Spaghetti couple

 

And I’m not the only one ~ check out this great poast on HuffPo by Susan Winter.

(Yes, I actually like an article on HuffPo. #endtimes)

There’s a great myth that’s been hoisted upon all women that “dating” is fun, and as women we should like it. I’m convinced it’s a conspiracy crafted to guarantee an ongoing form of economic revenue, women are forced to buy new clothes and makeup while men are lured into exorbitant restaurants to prove their merit. {SW}

Exorbitant restaurants, ha ha. Oh, she’s in Manhattan. OK.

Needless to say (but I will say it anyway), I loved this entire piece and agree with it 100%. The spirit of it, I mean. I haven’t met men who name-drop celebs.

The point is that dating sucks and it’s much better to meet someone normally and get to know him as a friend… and then go have sex and plan your entire future together after that first fabulous time. Of course, you can’t do that now because no one chats with strangers; everyone’s face is in their phone wherever you go ~ waiting in line, jury duty, gym, etc. Bah. We should have a National Turn Off Your Fucking Phone Day.

(And yes, I’m the worst phone-facer of all. So?)

Off to read moar things by Susan Winter…

Love Is Not Enough

I’ve been enjoying the interesting ideas of writer Mark Manson. In this essay, he discusses how the idealistic “all you need is love” concept sounds good but is in reality totally screwed up.

When we believe that “all we need is love,” then like Lennon, we’re more likely to ignore fundamental values such as respect, humility and commitment towards the people we care about. After all, if love solves everything, then why bother with all the other stuff — all of the hard stuff? {MM}

Love is easy. I’ve fallen in love a hundred times. It’s the rest of it that’s hard.

Love doesn’t equal compatibility; love doesn’t solve your relationship problems.

Love isn’t worth every sacrifice. Life is not a rom-com.

But when it comes to sacrificing one’s self-respect, one’s dignity, one’s physical body, one’s ambitions and life purpose, just to be with someone, then that same love becomes problematic. A loving relationship is supposed to supplement our individual identity, not damage it or replace it. {MM}

Would you tolerate the same behavior from a friend that you’re putting up with from a lover? There’s a good test.

“Love is not enough.”

Sometimes you read something that really jolts you out of the same old ways of thinking. That’s what we strive for as writers.

Happy Monday!

At The Duke’s Wedding

At The Duke’s Wedding is a collection of four novellas, all set at a grand old English estate during the week of festivities surrounding the wedding of the Duke of Wessex. Each novella has a different author.

 

WARNING ~ SPOILERS ABOUND ~ CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!

 

1. That Rogue Jack by Maya Rodale. This story is incredibly, tediously stupid. Jack is a gorgeous moron who misplaces the heirloom wedding ring he picked up for the groom from a jeweler. Inexplicably, the bride-to-be requests great grand Aunt Whozis’ companion, Henrietta, to get moronic Jack to hand over the ring. They spend days sneaking around trying to find it because Jack, who is a moron, can’t remember where he put it. As they do this, they fall in love. That’s the plot.

2. I was going to stop reading after that first awful story, but decided that wasn’t fair to the other authors. Glad I continued. In P.S. I Love You (by Miranda Neville), the witty and poetic scarred-face Christian reluctantly agrees to write love letters to Rosanne for his boring but good-looking cousin Frank. Of course Chris falls in love with Rosanne because her letters are so charming, and she with him, though of course she thinks he’s Frank. When they all meet at the Duke’s place, complications ensue. Predictable, but actually good.

3. When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden.  This story is about the Duke himself, who is not some old gross gouty fellow but young and beefcakey, and how he falls for his betrothed’s hot and unconventional sister the moment she steps down from her carriage in front of his house. Oopsy. I liked it. :)

4. How Angela Got Her Rogue Back by Katharine Ashe. The title is misleading and also clunky ~ unforgiveable! But let us proceed. This story involves time-travel, which I don’t mind at all, if it makes some kind of sense. Even a little bit of sense will do. Modern-day Angela materializes at the Duke’s party 200 years earlier after reading a weird book and falling into a Michigan river. That was OK, but less so was the convoluted blackmail scheme she thwarts to save Viscount Studmuffin’s family. What really bugs the crap out of me though is when Angela ~poof~ vanishes again for no reason. I totally lost interest in the story right there. But I finished it of course, and read the teaser for an upcoming story, which has the Duke’s little sister finding Angela’s cell phone…

Onward!

Happy 4th!

Sharon in 2006, at the Huntington Beach parade.

Sharon 2006 HB