Mish to the Mash Update: Rants and Raves

Been a while, I know. I’ve been working on a few large things, both in authorland and pianoland. Which means a lot of head-down working and a long stretch of nothing to show for it for the foreseeable future. I’m a-okay with that. Hopefully it’ll pay off in the end, and the happy part is that I’m actually excited about both writing and pianos again, despite the overwhelming parts.

Apparently, this is the year of Steinway for me. It’ll be interesting. Fingers crossed.

It helps my focus that the internet is so full of shit lately, I’ll say that much. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe stepping away from the internet and all its commentary and bitchery has made me less tolerant of it. I don’t know. What I do know is that, for me anyway, there are bigger things to advocate for and against than author bullies and problematic fiction.

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a great thing that so many people (myself included) have been educated and changed for the better with regards to racism, bigotry, sexism, and just general human kindness and understanding. But lately, the few times poke my head in on the blogs and tumblrs I usually follow, I get this feeling of stale disgust.

The two main issues I personally have are:

a) We’re really still whinging about GoodReads meanies? I swear to christ, some of these authors and their boohooing need to spend three active years immersed in a large and critical fandom, be put through the wringer multiple times on fanficrants and fandomfail, and have to submit their work to sites like Petulant Poetess. When you put your shit out there, whether as an author, blogger, musician, artist, whatever – you are putting a product out that is no longer in your hands. And when it’s in the proverbial hands of a consumer (reader, listener, whatever), they have any and every right to respond however the fuck they want. Also? That fact is NOT “victim blaming.” Your publicly sold/posted material isn’t akin to “wearing too short of a skirt,” and blog trolls are NOT “rapists.” Jesus fucking christ. That was easily one of the grossest things I’ve seen in a month, and no, I’m not going to link where I saw it.

b) Fictional characters are fictional. And frankly, as a reader, I don’t want to read about or watch perfect people who never say, think, or do anything problematic. While I think it’s important and valuable to point out the problematic shit, the characters and stories are not the author. Just as a story is no longer “our baby” when it goes out to readers, the story a reader gets isn’t the author. That said, I’ve seen both reviewers and authors lose sight of that. All I can say is: if/when I publish a story with some sexist, racist, homophobic, and/or slut-shaming character flaws, when that criticism comes, I will be happy to agree that said characterization is problematic, and that’s kind of the point. No one is perfect – even the best, most socially conscious hero or heroine would be fucking boring and unrealistic as fuck if they didn’t have their idiot moments. And said idiotic moments absolutely should be criticized, not celebrated.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, RAVES.

OMG, y’all. The Martian by Andy Weir. Can I tell you about this? I discovered Andy Weir, not from the bestseller hype, but from a tumblr meme that spoke to my agnostic self. Unfortunately, I can’t find the actual jpeg that went with it, but it was basically his short story, The Egg. Go ahead, read it.

…right?

Anyway, I was so blown away, I looked into his other stuff and nabbed The Martian. Funny enough, I haven’t actually finished reading it. Because it’s so damned good, I don’t want it to end. So I keep stopping myself and setting it aside. Seriously. Just read the first page, and you’ll see.

More exciting, it’s being made into a movie for release this fall, with a slew of awesome actors, and I CANNOT FUCKING WAIT OMG OMG OMG. Seriously, THAT CAST. and THAT STORY. GUH.

Speaking of Jeff Daniels, the husband and I just recently finished binge watching The Newsroom. More fantastic writing and acting. And yeah, yeah, typical middle aged white male hero, blah blah see point #2 up there.

I also finally broke into Orange is the New Black, which again – fantastic writing and acting. So many monologues, and they’re all good.

Game of Thrones? What is that? I don’t want to go there. We’re still watching it. I’m not happy about several obvious turns it’s taken, but no one is. It’s all been said, and whatever – DRAGONS.

Okay, that’s about all I have to throw into the void for now. Time to get back to job estimates and time travel. <3

I’m just going to go ahead and say it.

I think Nutella is overrated. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll spoon the fuck out of that shit. But I keep seeing all these “OMG AMAAAAZING” recipes involving gobs and gobs of Nutella in like, everything. It’s not THAT great, people.

Come at me.

Or come back to me when they start making Nutella with dark chocolate. Then we’ll talk.

Update on the Jenny Trout/Excessica thingo

I know I put pieces together and vaguely implied in my last post exactly what Jenny Trout is correcting here. So I feel it’s important to pass the message along, to the tiny little audience that might be bothering to read here.

 

Disappointed and Grateful

Brought to you by the Jenny Trout/Anne Rice/racist-slave-BDSM-hotmess-story/Excessica shitpot.

ali

At first I was bemused. Sure, there’s always drama somewhere. But haven’t we yet clued in and moved beyond the belief that any one writer and/or reviewer can have the power to “destroy” another writer’s career? I mean, never mind that people are going to read whatever the fuck they want to read, and make their own decisions. I guess if you’re not an all-powerful super-blogger, you’re just a brainwashed sheep that does whatever you’re told. And not that it matters, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who agreed that the original story that triggered this mess was pretty fucked up and racist, but I personally wasn’t willing to go so far as to contact retailers and demand its removal.

I also scratched my head at the thought that blogging a request/suggestion, no matter how scathing, to write to retailers and express opinions about their product, and/or “voting with your dollars,” somehow wasn’t a freedom of speech just as valid as any other. After all, we didn’t scream to protect Chick Fil-A from censorship, punishing those who spoke against them and encouraged others to boycott them for their marriage equality opposition.

The whole thing just seemed – odd. Odd, and a little ridiculous.

But, then it came to light. This isn’t really about censorship at all, is it? It’s about mean girls and cliques, and wanting to punish those who step out of line, give them a taste of their own medicine, whatever.

And that’s disappointing.

If that one slave story was actually removed from retailers due to people reporting it for racist content (and I honestly don’t know, as I wasn’t following that closely), that’s just… NOT the end of a career. At least, not any career that had a hope of being successful in the first place. Hell, if anything, I’d bet a cup of coffee and a pastry that all this hoo-hah has probably given that author more attention than they’d ever had, resulting in a spike of sales. But I could be wrong.

The turnabout, blackballing the blogger-author author Jenny Trout from the Bad Boys Next Door anthology, served no purpose other than powerplay and reindeer games. And while it ultimately affected 11 other authors, I am hopeful that it’s Excessica (and their queen writer) that will suffer for it. Probably not, but in the spirit of my utter disgust, I can hope. Those authors who voluntarily pulled their stories from the anthology? I’ll happily go buy their stuff from other publishers. And I’m going to round out my Jenny Trout / Abigail Barnette library, now.

The Gratitude part of this post is again: I am really so grateful to be a nobody. This has served as a warning against certain social media voices. It has reminded and encouraged me to just focus even more on story-writing, and to avoid e-publishers like Excessica and Ellora’s Cave like the bloody plague, both as a reader and an author. I’ll take obscurity over that shittiness, thanks.

As for Anne Rice, the cow who hates fanfic but makes money writing Jesus fanfic herself, who lauds STGRB yet sends her ‘minions’ to do the exact same? Well, that’s really all you can say about her, isn’t it? Pretty much sums up her whole hypocrisy right there. My tinhat is piqued that it was really Rice’s fans that pushed this thing to its current position, though.

But this is all just, like, my opinion, man.

tumblr_m7xdf7FxoI1qz8cdzo1_1280

Blogging vs. Online Journaling

If anyone who actually reads this hasn’t noticed already, I’m pretty lousy at blogging. Which is both surprising and unsurprising to me. It’s surprising because I was always pretty prolific back in ye ol’ days of Live Journal. Unsurprising because, well, blogging isn’t really journaling. At least, successful blogging isn’t. The way I see it, that is.

I struggle with blogging much the same way I always dragged my feet when it came to essay assignments in school. If it’s not something that really sparks an interest to me personally, I don’t really want to do it.

That’s normal, though.

There’s plenty out there that interests me that I could blog about. But the other kicker is that I’m this weird combination of strongly-opinionated and extremely non-confrontational. Also, I don’t like saying or doing anything unless I know I am “right.” Ferguson? Oh hell yes I have opinions and thoughts. Feminism? Absolutely. Anti-vaccers? Yup. The evils of organized religion, including Christianity? Pretty sure my blood pressure is increasing, here.

But my opinions and feelings are the kind of strong that’s raw and sloppy. And trying to structure all that into something that is coherent and “right,” and on a regular, blog-schedule kind of basis? Fuck that. I embrace the fail where that’s concerned.

So I guess what you’re getting at this point is an occasional (jesus fucking christ I can NEVER SPELL THAT WORD RIGHT THE FIRST TIME), random journal post.

I’ve been having a spell of weird and highly entertaining dreams lately. A few nights ago I dreamed I saw an advertisement for “Genghis Khan On Ice,” a musical icecapades-esque spectacular. The costumes were gorgeous, but the performers were singing this upbeat, very rhythmic song in complete jibberish. Someone make this happen.

I also dreamed that I was explaining the difference between most Time Travel stories and the one I’m currently working on. This is more relevant as an actual topic than just, “hey! weird dream no one cares about!”

It just seems that, especially in the romance genre, time travel is used almost exclusively to drop a current-day hero or heroine into a completely different era, or vice versa. And hey, I’m not complaining – some of my favorites follow that trope. But I don’t often see time travel played with in the sense of actively changing a timeline, and the consequences of that. I also don’t see shorter distances traveled in TT. The time traveled is always very far removed from the main character’s origin-time. I guess that might be easier to write, less potential for tangles and troubles. But why play it safe? Let me know if you have read some unconventional time travels, and recommend me some books, if you’re out there. I did enjoy No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper. It had a badass heroine, magic, science, and consequences, but it was still a huge time jump. (I really do recommend it, though!)

Today I’m boiling a can of condensed milk, as a second attempt at making dulce de leche. The first one tasted a bit cheesy, maybe because it was an old can, or maybe because I boiled it for too long. Or, maybe because I might not actually love dulce de leche. I’m also going to attempt homemade marshmallows some time soon. And maybe macarons, even though I’ve never even tasted them. Also, jambalaya in the crock pot. I gotta get over my fear of cooking shrimp.

People, waffle-makers are for waffles. I’ve tried all the damned hacks, and you know what I got? Sure, I got waffle-cinnabons, but I also got a HUGE FUCKING MESS that I frankly don’t have time to clean out of my waffle iron. That said, I’m toying with the idea of making waffle croissants. Because I don’t care about going to IHOP.