Monthly Archives: May 2014

Bursting My Little Girl’s Bubble

This post came across my Twitter feed yesterday. (Warning: this piece is triggery in the extreme) It took me three tries to get through it, I was that mad. I wanted to hit someone, to start a campaign against the people who would perpetrate something so degrading without the explicit and informed consent of everyone involved. If I knew who they were, I’d never buy another book that they’d written, worked on, or recommended again.

But it made me think. I have a daughter, thirteen years old. Lucky girl, she got a lot of her father’s genes. She’s taller than me, prettier than me, more outgoing than me. She’s the kind of girl I would have liked to have been when I was her age. She has lots of friends, both girls and boys. It’s been a loads of fun, watching her explore her new relationships with boys and girls. Her excitement about starting Sex Ed made my week.

We’ve had the talks about cyberbullying. We’ve had the talk about older men masquerading online as teenagers. She’s appropriately paranoid, I hope, without being paralyzed by fear. It’s a fine line we have to walk when educating our daughters.

But seeing this post yesterday, watching the news reports of the killings in the US–it’s reminded me that I have one more serious talk to have with her.

I have to educate her about rape culture.

I have to explain to her that all these boys she chats and jokes with, the ones she texts constantly, the ones she giggles about with her friends–they live in a very different world from hers. It’s made more complex because her father was a man to whom the idea of perpetrating force against a woman was so foreign that she’s never experienced that sense of inequality and fear. The idea that a man might look nice but mean her harm is so alien that convincing her of it’s possibility is like convincing a four-year-old that there really is no room in the back yard for a pony. But it’s what I need to do.

I need to teach her that if she goes out with a boy, he may mistake ‘no’ for ‘maybe’ and uncertainty or politeness for ‘yes’. And he may subsequently become deaf to anything after.

I need to teach her that she is absolutely allowed to say no and make it stick. And that no one has the right to tell her she has to do something if she feels uncomfortable or unsafe.

I need to teach her that she has to choose her clothes carefully, because the first question that will be asked if she is assaulted is not “Who did this to you?” but “What were you wearing?” or “Did you lead him on?”

I need to teach her that she can never leave her drink unattended, or accept an already opened one, especially if there are a large number of people around.

I need to teach her that if she does make a mistake and gets roofied, or experiments with alcohol and gets drunk, that she can’t count on friends being there to save her from any more serious consequences.

I need to teach her that at least some of her female friends will turn on her, because something like sexual assault is frightening and they need to convince themselves that they have the power to prevent it. Regardless of the sad truth that these assaults have everything to do with the man and nothing to do with the woman.

I need to teach her that even if everything goes well and her assailant is convicted, it will likely be her that has to change schools, leaving behind all her supports and everything she knows, because his friends and some of those who once were her friends will make her life miserable. And the stigma and the questions and the innuendos will follow her.

I need to teach her that none of this is her fault if it happens. That there are steps she can take to reduce her risk, but that she can never entirely eliminate it.

I need to teach her that she should not stop living her life because of all this, nor should she mistrust all men, though that would be the easiest and safest route to take.

I hope she already knows that I will love her with all my heart, no matter any of this.

I hate this. I hate this with a passion that curdles my stomach and brings my Irish/French temper boiling to the top. I hate looking at my boys and knowing they are automatically suspect. I hate that all men have to be painted with this brush because there is no sign or signal or test for this, short of being assaulted. It’s not like we can pin a special licence plate to their forehead to warm potential dates. Or dip them in

What do we have to do to teach our boys to be trustworthy, so we don’t have to teach our girls not to trust?

The Great Interactive Wall of Penises

Peni? Is my Latin showing? Here’s a link to the article, which contains several videos. I, personally, think this is the best of them.

The best part of the article is where they mention it can be programmed to show fluctuations in the stock market. I’ll leave the jokes to your fertile minds.

Tuesday Tickle: Five-Alarm Blaze

My firefighter, paramedic, genie short. Lol. The Erotica writers of Absolute Write are at it again–another anthology to support the forum. This time, we’re working on the colours red, blue, green, and black. I’m thinking about throwing another one in for black, but it’s a side-story from something else I’m working on and I’m not sure what I want to do with it yet.

So, Cody doesn’t know he’s purchased a genie in a dusty old bottle. He washes it and…

“Damn soap.” He rinsed the bottle off, dried the stopper, and braced it between his knees. This time, the stopper slid out easily. Too easily, because he nearly punched himself in the face. Standing straight again, he turned the stopper over and frowned at the foggy crystal.

“Well, you didn’t think I was going to let you open it while it was in the sink, do you? That would be all I’d need—a century of being stuck in my bottle, ended by the equivalent of a biblical flood. With soap. Yuck.”

Cody dropped the bottle and spun around. The bottle hit the floor, but instead of breaking, it bounced twice and settled sturdily on its base. He looked up from that amazing circumstance to see something even more amazing.

Standing in the middle of his kitchen was a man. A short, slender man wearing a bright orange shirt that stopped inches above the waist of his ragged skinny jeans and, incongruously, a pair of two hundred dollar sneakers. His scorching red hair was clipped on one side and long enough on the other to fall over his eyes. The guy grinned and waved cheerily at him. “Well, maybe not entirely a century. Sure felt like it, though. Boring in there.”

Hot Summer Flash Blog Hop

This is a fun little test of your writing prowess and a chance to tell one of those stories that didn’t fit into the novel or novella when you wrote it. Open to everyone!

Velvetpanic

The House of Manlove, our critique group, is hosting a Hot Summer Flash blog hop.

We are looking for Flash M/M Romance of 1200 words or under with one or both of these themes:

Fourth of July: The Freedom to Marry (established couples)
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photo credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopincc

Midsummer Madness: (summer flings)
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photo credit: henke via photopincc

You do not have to be previously published. Your story can be about established couples in a universe or setting from your own previously published work or WIP.

We do not want scenes or excerpts. We’re looking for story with all the story elements, and that elusive Flash ending that makes you laugh or nod your head or go “awww.”

Click the link below if you would like to accept this invitation. I’ll send you the badge and answer any questions you might have. I’ll also get a…

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Conversations With My Editor

Me:
I think I’m doing a Neil Gaiman here, but promise me you’ll help me fix this pile of sh!t into something that resembles a coherent story?

Editor:
1) I promise.
2) It’s not a pile of sh!t.
3) That applies regardless of which story you’re talking about.

The amount of hand-holding and encouragement editors do is awesome. Which means that editors are also awesome. I know mine is.

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Tuesday Tickle: Bite Me Later

I need to be wary of this turning into a darling, but it was so unexpected and funny I wanted to share it.

Glyn smiled back at him and plotted a distraction. One more movie filled with explosions and random violence, and he was going to hotwire a car himself and go on a rampage—to the theatre. “Depends. Maybe I can interest you in something different?”

Levi slouched to bring his head on a level with Glyn’s and sipped at his beer. “What are you thinking of?”

Glyn raised his glass to his lips and contemplated the man sitting next to him. “Anything without car chases.”

“I like chasing cars.”

Delighted, Glyn sat up and put his wine safely out of harm’s way. “Fido, did you just make a joke?”

Feeding the Reader to Nurture the Writer

Presidio Public Library signThis post popped up in my blog feed this morning: The Editor’s Blog It’s by Beth Hill, who’s a freelance editor and a writer. This is something that’s been running around in my brain for a little while. When I was first dreaming about publishing, I never imagined all the new jobs that I would be taking on, along with the writing. Arranging promo, researching background material for stories, doing the social media thing. On top of the normal daily life stuff, it means my days are full in ways I never anticipated. The thing that most often gets pushed to one side is reading.

And by reading, I don’t mean the kind of reading you do for research, or to learn a tactic or trick to up your writing game. I mean reading for pleasure. Filling the well with someone else’s words.

What I’ve noticed over the past two years is that, the longer I go without reading something that simply piques my interest, the more it affects my own writing. The same wordcount takes twice as long, and isn’t nearly as well constructed. It takes more work to fix and more effort to put in that work.

My word choice becomes–blander. It’s an easy fix, but more time intensive than simply having a wide range of words at my fingertips the first time you write the sentence. When I start reading, the first thing that happens is that I notice words they author has used that would fit in with the story I’m writing. And when I come back to my own story, these words are sitting there, anxiously waiting for me to find the right spot to pop them into the text.

Plotting becomes more difficult. I get lost in my own story, because I haven’t stepped back from it. Dropping into someone else’s world gives me an easy way to pry myself out of my own story. It helps create the distance I need in order to see my story for what it is on the page, not in my head.

It’s also down-time. Before I started writing, I was a reader. A voracious reader. If there’s one regret I have about starting on this new career, it’s the loss of reading time. However, it’s the only fly in the ointment and, from reading my Twitter feed, I know I’m not the only one suffering these withdrawal symptoms. Dayjobs have vacation time; as writers, we have books. But it’s important, as a kind of professional development and mental health care, to make sure I immerse myself in other worlds, other thoughts than mine. That I explore different mindsets, and different approaches to subjects. Just as you need to eat a variety of foods to support the health of your body, a writer needs to read a variety of books to support the health of their muse.

But go read Beth Hill’s post. She says it pretty well.