Thursday, March 26, 2015

Death by a Thousand Cuts

This is Sam Elliot. It was actually the 'mustache rides" t-shirt that made this win over all the other images that came up under my "crazy mustache biker dude" search.

This is what I must have looked like today at Princess Nails when I had my brow waxed and my insanely huge mustache threaded. I'd noticed a few hairs that were darker than blonde and though I should take care of it before I go downhill fast. I can't just wax my lip thanks to the cold sores I get whenever that space is abused. Hence, threading. Holy Mary, Mother of God. I left with tears streaming down my face, trying to smile as I paid for this torture.

Why subject myself to this? Well, I'm going to a writing conference.

What does my mustache have to do with writing? This is the big question. The real answer? Nothing. However, in an effort to look like a well-groomed, confident, competent, not-crazy person, I put a lot of time into getting into my writerly character. This involves shaving my legs regularly, not just the day I need it, so that my skin looks healthy, nourished, and isn't covered in red bumps. It also involves reacquainting myself with my flat-iron and make-up bag. It means a more regular skin regime, not just using a daily moisturizer with spf30. Why? Because most people put more effort into their appearance than I do on a daily basis and, during a conference, I have to fake it in such a way that it seems natural. It's akin to Renee Zellweger putting on weight and taking on a job at a British publishing company to prepare for Bridget Jones's Diary (only much less cool.) I pretend to be socially acceptable and hope it sticks for the duration of the conference.

The amount of which I simply do not care about how I look would astound most people. This is offset by occasional bouts of caring, but not enough to actually do anything on a regular basis. At conferences I plan to promote myself like a high priced whore (without the sex). It's what I always do. Usually I'm sort of hyped about the process, ready to conquer the world, and the Stanislavskian character development/method acting begins a good month in advance.

Not so this time. I leave tomorrow for Los Angeles and I just gave in to the self-inflicted pressure and took one small step towards my packaging (losing the mustache I didn't even know I had). I made the monetary investment and allowances for time away from my family a while ago, but I haven't committed to my pre-conference prep. Why? I don't seem to care. Yeah-- I know, it's dumb. I mean, I care like crazy about getting published but, lately, when I think about pitching, I just get tired. I don't know if can be that go-getter who is serious about her career (I am very serious, btw), smiling at strangers and trying to network. I think the problem is that there is only so much abuse a person's ego can take. How many times do I get told the industry doesn't want my manuscripts before I start to believe it? I might be there already. I'm pitching my finished work this time, but I've stopped seeing them as viable and count only on my works in progress when I think about the possibility of that first deal. I've lost steam.

This could be a good thing. I mean the high-on-life social butterfly I force myself to be at these things hasn't worked. It's possible I come off as on crack (not the first time I've heard that) and am off-putting. Maybe, the new, relaxed conference version of me will be more appealing. Heck, maybe I should just go for hard-to-get and make myself a challenge. If you can spark MY interest, you might get to represent my three historical romance novels, two supernatural romantic suspense novels, and possibly my contemporary romances (if you're lucky). I'll be aloof and mysterious. Come and get me.

Yeah, I don't have high hopes for that either.  So, as it stands, I will probably doll up (professional with personal touches that speak to artistry) and pretend to be gregarious then sleep hard for a week. We shall see.

If you see me at the California Dreamin' Conference, please say hello. I'm friendly even if I'm not naturally outgoing. Or, maybe I will be on crack and say hello to you first. Who know's? It's a mystery.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Not the Usual Entrance

I'm blogging when I should be sleeping off the anesthesia. Good idea? Probably not. But I'm moved to blog and therefore I should.

I had (TMI warning) a colonoscopy today. It was Karma's way of teaching me a lesson. You see my mother gets a colonoscopy about once a month and when she's not being probed, she's thinking about it, scheduling it, prepping for it, or talking about it. As a result I took to writing it down for her randomly on her home calendar and white board whenever I visit. So, here I am at thirty-nine having a colonoscopy while fate points a finger and says, "Ha. Ha."

What does this have to do with writing? Romance?

Well... romance.

The backdoor is slowly becoming a plausible source for penetration in mainstream romance. Not my cup-o-tea, personally. Seriously, never going to happen. Never going to write about it happening between a man and a woman as if it's something sexy. Maybe I'm not open minded enough or whatever, doesn't matter. Exit only. Thank you. My opinion.

The first book I read that included anal sex caught me by surprise. First I thought he was just being messy with the oils, then overly cautious when he donned two condoms. But when the hero entered the heroine from "not the usual place" I had to reread a couple times to make sure I understood. I can't remember the title or author and my Google searches gave me nothing. The story involved a woman pretending to be a gypsy psychic while she scammed the haut ton in order to get vengeance against the family that wronged her. The leading man forcefully seduces her (not rapey enough for me to shut the book then and there -- no means no) and then BAM, in the butt. I'll be she was surprised. I certainly was.

Since then, with the rise of romantica as a sub-genre, I've read it multiple times. Usually the author handles it well and since I'm invested in the story of the characters, the fact that I find the act off-putting is irrelevant to the overall story. Lady Chatterly's Lover, one of my favorite books, includes it (I was just too unwordly to understand what "the Italian way" meant when I first read it), but the story is about so much more than sex that even now that I know it doesn't detract. The entire story is about finding that "connexion," and though the sexual content is prominent it's really just part of that process. I think all successful romances use sex as a way to further the character's emotional growth and, in that, can go to all sorts of lengths as long as it's consistent with the characters. This is why, to me, Sylvia Day's Crossfire series doesn't come across as abusive while Fifty Shades does.

What do you think about the broadening scope of sexuality within the romance genre?
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