Monday, April 21, 2014

Time For A Change?

There has been increasing attention pointed at the issue of body image and its manifestations in the media. It is an issue that I am fairly passionate about. You see, I was raised with Disney playing in the background of my youth as most kids are. But, none of those girls were realistic. I was never blonde, I tried dying my hair red (not a good choice for me), I was never tall, or perfectly shaped. The only thing I had going for me was that I was a scrawny, tenacious little ankle biter. I was nothing like those pretty princesses and thought that I would never get a prince, because girls like me never did.

Until Beauty and the Beast came out and Belle showed up on scene. She was a brunette! And, she liked books! And she wasn't afraid to fight for what she believed in. She became my childhood hero. I idolized her growing up because she was my match in so many ways. I do have to hand it to Disney for creating such a real character and having her triumph over the triplets (the stereotypical beauties fawning over the handsome guy). Not only does she present a more alluring picture as being the odd one out, but she doesn't hook up with Mr. Handsome. She chose the beast. The nine foot tall, furry, angry, cursed prince in a terrible fate.

Now, to my young brain and foundling heart, that story was a brilliant ray of light. It taught me that it was okay to be different, that princesses can come in any form, and that you can choose your prince based on some other factor than physical beauty. What an awesome set of lessons to teach a generation of girls!

Looking back on this moment of my life I am forced to realize something, a problem I have perpetuated: all my main characters are athletic women. Albeit in order to do what they do they kind of have to be, but that isn't the point. When I think of a strong woman, my brain automatically wraps her in a strong body. I have known many women who can take down a power lifter from a wheelchair with the strength of their minds and the wit of their words. But I don't write about them... yet.

Here's where the change comes in. I don't know if you've taken a good look at all those profile pictures of authors floating around the internet, but next time you click on a Tweet or Facebook status, look closely. You are staring at one of the most creative and dynamic types of humans to walk this earth. That mind, however it expresses itself, is a monumental force to be recond with. But, look at the face, the neck, the body if it is a full shot. Most authors, myself included, are NOT tall, thin, blonde, and top heavy. We are short, geeky, weird, usually a little pudgy (for reference, my picture was 20 pounds ago), and not runway model candidates. And we're okay with that, for the most part. So, why aren't we the heroines and heroes of our own stories?

Because society has painted a different picture of beautiful/tough/sporty/sexy/etc... And, whether we realize it or not, it has influenced the way we write. But, I am going to change that in my next novel. The story is another literary humor and the characters do not have to be yoga stars or warriors. So, they get to be real. They get to have those extra pounds they want to lose but can't, they get to eat pizza and drink beer without regret, they get to be alive.

Of course some of my other books won't be like that. The one I'm finishing now requires my main character to run through the forest and hunt mythological beings. Not an endeavor that supports a more leisurely lifestyle. But when physical fitness is not a requirement to their survival, my characters will have the freedom to be whatever shape bets suits them. From anorexic to morbidly obese, people come in all shapes and sizes. Our characters should as well.

What do you think? Do you think too much emphasis is put on body structure and image? Do you think more realistic bodies in literature will make it more enjoyable to read?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Happy Anniversary To Me!

In the brief span of time we have on this earth to play out our individual lives, passions, and pursuits, 9 years is simultaneously a long time, and a short time. Likewise it can feel like a blink and an eternity all in the same moment of reminiscence.

9 years ago today I married the love of my life. Tall? Check. Dark? Check. Handsome? Check, check. Looks good in a uniform? Check, check, and check!

We've had some interesting adventures over those years. At first we basked in the euphoria of newlywed status. Then reality hit and we had to adjust to a new life. Then reality really hit and we had to decide if we were going to stay together or separate. Then baby and parenthood completely changed our relationship dynamic and life has been a bit of stressful chaos ever since. It has been great and I would never trade being a parent for anything in the world, but every parent has to admit that children have the capacity to drive a person bat shit crazy in record time. LOL

However, he still makes me laugh every day. He has taught me how to be a bit more organized in my type B hippie lifestyle, and I have taught him how to loosen up a little bit in his analytical type A lifestyle. He supports my literary career wholeheartedly and provides for me the most joyfully abundant life. We may not have brand new cars, our house may not be the best or biggest, we may have little money in the accounts, but we are rich beyond belief where it really matters. And, I love him all the more for that.

So, it has been an amazing adventure and I have loved almost every minute of it. In honor of my anniversary, I will leave you all with a song. I own NONE of the rights to this video or the music contained in it. This was the song we danced to at our wedding and it is still one of my favorite songs to waltz to. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lost The Map, Compass, & Directions

There is a certain sense of freedom associated with setting sail solo with no idea where you are going or how to get there... At least at first. However, after the third year it starts to feel like you are drifting on an endless ocean, running out of supplies, lonely, and have only had the briefest glimpses of anything remotely resembling land. That's a bit how I feel at the moment.

If you've been with me for a while, you'll know that I made a decision back in November that would change my entire outlook. Well, it did, but it had a few unforeseen consequences and now I am contemplating the wisdom of that decision. Was it worth it in the end? Did I think about it fully? Where the Hell did I put that damn life jacket before I jumped in with both feet? You know, the normal self-doubt crap we all wrestle with.

I cannot say that I regret that decision, because I don't. However, I certainly feel the sting of the difference every now and then. It is at times like these I know I am about to make a breakthrough. I've talked about it before. The whole world seems to get heavier and balance on my back and the only things I can see or feel are what is wrong and not working. As a generally happy and optimistic person, this is a giant slap in the face, because I almost never feel this way consistently. Yet, here I am in a funk with no discernible way to get myself out of it.

I'm sure part of it has to do with exhaustion. In the past 4 days I have written 14,000 words. That is a lot of writing and it does leave the brain certifiably fried at the end of the day. Add to it the fact that my son is officially on Spring Break now and my poor little super woman cape is getting worn thin in a huge hurry.

It does feel like I set sail with all this ambition and energy and drive to accomplish my goals. I've worked my ass off, have done everything that everyone tells me is the magic formula, followed that magic heading. I've even tried going in a completely different direction and trekking my own way through the wilderness. And nothing has paid off. Nothing. I feel all that energy and drive still fizzing inside me like a shaken soda bottle, pushing tightly against the sides and wanting to explode out into the world. But, at every single chance, the lid gets put back on and I've only been able to release a minuscule amount of that intense pressure. And now I'm choking on disappointment. And it is horribly bitter.

So, friends, I've hit a bit of a bottom. I know I will rise again. I know it will all be better soon. I know I probably shouldn't have wasted my, and your, time whining about live because we all have our own sob stories. But thank you for listening/reading along anyway. It feels good to get it out. And, perhaps that is what I need to move on to the next step. To release a bit more of this pressure.

When was the last time you felt like this? What did you do to pull yourself out?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Giveaway WINNERS!

We have winners!

Well, that was a fun blog tour! I got a few great reviews and you guys seem as psyched about the release as I am. If you didn't get a chance to enter the giveaways, there will be other chances to win signed paperback copies and ecopies of my books in the future. For those of you who did, THANK YOU! You guys rock! I love how supportive my fans are and feel very lucky to have such awesome people in my life.

Now I know a lot of you have already scrolled down looking for the winners of the giveaways. If you have, thank you for coming back to read the rest of this post. LOL (It's okay, I do the same thing). Without any further ado:

Small Prize #1: Candy M

Small Prize #2: Courtney Whisenant (you also won a signed copy of Road Of Thorns and the 10 question author interview, :D)

Grand Prize: Thomas

Congratulations! I'll be emailing all of you to get a mailing address and send out the goods.

I hope everyone is having an awesome day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Giveaway For Followers!

Now, I know there are a lot of prizes up for grabs over the next two weeks, but I wanted to do something special for you followers who have trudged through my insanity on the path to publication. SO, here is a special chance for three (3) you:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Three (3) lucky winners will get a signed paperback copy of Road Of Thorns, a signed paperback copy of Even Hippies Get The Blues, AND a chance to ask me any 10 questions you want, within reason. If you win, I will email you and ask for your mailing address. You can either reply with the questions, or think on it a while and send me a message when you are ready.

Suddenly reading through my random drivel just got a lot more beneficial! LOL

What I want to know is:

How long have you been following my blog? And, which topics do you most enjoy me typing about?