Funtimes–Video: Eve’s 2012 Sword Solo

Music noteI’ve been looking for motivation lately to get back into belly dancing regularly again. There have been contributing factors in my life that have just sapped my will to dance as often as I should and it bums me out. So I’ve been watching my favorite belly dance videos again to try to get back into the groove.

Eve is one of my favorites. Not only is she a big girl (like me) with killer moves, but she has this smile and energy and brings such joy to her dances that it’s hard to resist the urge to get up and move. Plus, she picks some non-conventional tunes to dance to (I love her blues grooves) as well as traditional music.

This sword dance was the first video of hers I watched and it is fabulous. I love how she deals with the sword when it loses balance. So enjoy.

And feel free to move.

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Writing–Back Into Print

Yearly special editionThe very first self-published thing I did was print. There was something very exciting about holding a physical book, even if it was self-published. It was a real thing with weight and dimension that contained my words.

And then it didn’t sell and the luster faded and I decided that eBooks were they way to go. They were easier to format, with fewer distributing requirements, and they were cheaper. They didn’t cost me anything to do whereas the actual books required me to buy a proof copy and verify everything was golden if I wanted wider distribution. As cheap as it sounds, I didn’t always have the money to do that.

However, when I realized that Yearly was selling well as an eBook and it wasn’t a fluke that it was selling well (by selling well I mean relative to the meager sales of my other works, not like selling well I can buy a yacht), I started thinking about print again. I wondered if a physical copy would sell as well as the digital one.

I think I already know the answer to this.

But!

There’s actually something egotistical about print copy. I can SIGN a print copy. I can scribble my name on the inside page with some not-nearly-clever-as-I-want dedication. I can actually physically hold this thing as I look at someone with crazy Gloria Swanson eyes and say, “Have you read my boooook?”

There’s also something about the physical form of a book that pushes me to be more of a salesman. Let’s face it, as an indie author, it’s just me trying to hock my cheesy wares out here. And I’m not very insistent about it. I’m very uncomfortable with forcing a product. I was a shitty up-saler in retail and the fast food industry. Nobody got the credit card or the extra nachos for sixty-nine cents. But if I’m going to build a fanbase (and more and more that’s what agents and publishers want to see, that you’ve already got people ready and waiting to buy your shit), then I need to learn to be a little more involved, I suppose.

The eBook of Yearly sells itself.

The special edition print version is going to have to be sold by me.

So watch this space for details.

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Writing–Reading Goals Update

booksSince we’ve accomplished half of a year already, I figure it’s time to check in to see how I’m accomplishing my reading goals.

As you may or probably don’t remember, this year I laid down the gauntlet of reading 24 books in total, 2 books a month, only 4 could be re-reads. The object of these goals was to get me into the habit of reading steadily. I also hoped that I would continue reading widely, which was what my reading goals emphasized last year, even though I put no restrictions on what I could read.

So, according to this, six months should equal 12 books. Let’s check the math. Here are the books I’ve read so far:

1. The Badge by Jack Webb

2. The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations edited by Alex Ayres

3. Jaws by Peter Benchley (re-read)

4. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore

5. Mortuary Confidential: Undertakers Spill the Dirt by Kenneth McKenzie and Todd Harra

6. Don’t Look Back, We’re Not Going That Way by Marcia Wallace

7. Ron Santo: A Perfect Ten by Pat Hughes and Rich Wolfe

8. Horns by Joe Hill

9. Just Farr Fun by Jamie Farr

10. The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb

11. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

12. Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian

Looks like I’m right on target. Decent mix of fiction and non-fiction. Even got some chick-lit and a classic in there. It hasn’t always been easy getting in my reading time every day and I admit to being lazy about it sometimes, but I’m meeting the challenge pretty well. Reading two books at once helps.

The best part about this is that I have a pile of books waiting to be read. I won’t need to be scrambling for something to read any time soon.

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Megalomania–PSA: Stop Saying “Being Fat Isn’t Healthy”

stopThis is going to be short because I want to be able to use it as a reference for people every time they make this comment. I want to be able to link to it and call it all good.

Three reasons for you to stop saying “Being fat isn’t healthy.”

1. You can’t tell the state of someone’s health by looking at them. If you could, then doctors wouldn’t need to go to school for so many years because anyone could be diagnosed with a glance (which is, unfortunately, how many doctors do diagnose fat patients). And if all it took to be healthy was to be thin, then Mary Tyler Moore wouldn’t have diabetes, Weight Watchers would be a cure-all, and there’d be no tragic articles about people who did all the right health things and still got cancer.

2. The lack of affordable healthcare in this country, the fact that healthcare is considered a privilege, the fact that healthcare is a for-profit business has contributed more to the state of my and many other’s health than weight ever will.

3. NO ONE IS OBLIGATED TO BE HEALTHY ANYWAY. For real. Fuck off.

So the next time you feel the urge to come at a fatty with the pseudo-concern blather of “being fat isn’t healthy” refer back to this list.

Particularly the last two words of number three.

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Megalomania–I Wish I Could Do My Life Like My Hair

Dark HairI got my hair cut and colored last week. No big thing. I try to go in every six weeks because by then my hair is getting shaggy and the color has faded from red to a copper. This last time, though, my stylist Tammy asked if we could do something different with the color.

She put in the red lowlights like always, but wanted to do something other than leaving the coppery remnants from the previous colorings. She asked my permission and I said sure. I’m always game to do something different with my hair.

Tammy mixed up the color, but didn’t tell me what it was. I didn’t ask. I just let it ride.

I was a little surprised when she washed it all out and it ended up being so dark, but I like it. I think it looks good. I can’t wait to see what happens when the color starts to fade.

I have this tendency to be quite cavalier with my hair. When I went from long to shoulder length in my late 20′s, I told the stylist to do whatever she wanted, just cut it off. Really. When I decided to get the pixie cut, I basically quit coming up with reasons not to and just said, “fuck it”. Every time I’ve colored my hair, it’s been with the idea of “let’s see what happens”. I’ve done it all with a spirit of adventure and an understanding that I could deal with the fallout later if I didn’t like it.

I just wish I could be so free-spirited in the rest of my life. Most of my decisions are made based on taking very little risk. It’s all about being practical and mature, very security-conscious. I’ve always been a rather conservative risk-taker in my life, but there have been times, most notably in my early 20′s, when I was just like, “Hey, whatever. Let’s ride. I’ll deal with any consequences later. I want to enjoy what’s going right now and see how far it can go.” And I’ve paid for it. And in ways I’m still paying for it.

But I’m also paying a heavier price for being so cautious, I think. It’s sort of puts a cramp in my life, living responsibilities first, always. It’s hard to have a good time being so hung up on being safe. I can’t just say “let it ride” anymore because I’m always too busy thinking about the next thing. Part of it has to do with the instability of my income and my overwhelming need to pay the bills. But part of it is because I’ve become very complacent in my 30′s and I don’t want to bust out with something rad because it might mess up my sleep schedule.

And that’s a drag.

I need to live my life more like I do my hair.

At least, maybe, a little bit.

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Writing–July Projects

Rainbow paperIt’s official. I am burned out on revising.

This revision/rewrite of The Timeless Man has been most successful. I think I’ve fixed most if not all of the major story problems that were plaguing it. It’s not nearly as boring now! Everything in it now has a purpose. The only thing left hanging right now is the ending. It needs to be changed, yet be the same, if that makes any sense at all. Don’t worry if it doesn’t. I’m not exactly sure how to work that either.

But since I’ve had my revising, I’m going to take a step back from that and focus some energy elsewhere.

The read of (Vampires) Made in America continues (I got a late start on it last month and I measure out the reading so I fully digest what I’m I’m dealing with). The ideas I had for fixes going into the reading are sort of not going to happen at all. It seems that the first draft was a better than I remembered it being, so far story-wise. There are some changes that need to be made, but they’re not nearly as big as I thought they’d be.

I’ll be honest with you. When I got to the end of the first chapter, the last line made me laugh out loud. Now that doesn’t mean I’m fucking brilliant or anything, but it did signal to me that maybe this story wouldn’t be so bad after all.

To counteract my revising fatigue, I’m going to write something new. Sure that seems counter-intuitive since I’ve already got a huge list of projects that need revising and duh, stupid, why are you adding to it? But I need to flex my first draft muscles more often than just in November. The idea is for a longer short story, possibly novella, something that I’ve been kicking around in my brain for a while. I think it’ll be nice to just take the month and play in that world for a while.

And finally, I’ve decided to journey back into print, at least for a while. I’m going to put together a special print edition of Yearly featuring Gone Missing. I may throw in the first part of Night of the Nothing Man, just to see if I can’t drum up some interest in it. If this project goes well, I might look into giving other projects the same type of treatment, most notably A Tale of Two Lady Killers, since it is a novel. It’s going to have sell a more than a few more copies before I commit to that, though.

I’m really looking forward to shaking things up in July. My brains need the break.

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Writing–And, Lo, Here Is the Fix You’re Looking For

Rainbow paperI’m not going to lie to you. The revisions/rewrites on The Timeless Man have been a slog, a real downer. I like the story, but I don’t. I like the character of Arthur Meadows, I like what Ivy is doing for him, I like the Blackout Wednesday parallel I worked, but the story is damn boring. I realize that I don’t need a mythological creature trying to kill people to make a story interesting, but dammit, something needs to be happening. And I have struggled all month long with that.

Until, like a beam of light straight from the Heavens coming down, washing me over with its brilliance, I think I found a way to make this story interesting.

Of course, it couldn’t come at a better time (she said sarcastically). After all, I’ve only slogged through this first round of revisions/rewrites and I’m almost to the finish line and I was so looking forward to putting this masterpiece away for a little while before I tried tackling it again. And for me to put in this fix, I’ll have to go back to the middle of the story and write in the new stuff, the new scenes and characters, which means I’ll probably end up changing part of the last third of what I wrote and probably the ending as well. So, here, when I thought I was almost finished (at least for now)…I’m not.

I am excited about the idea and I think the changes will improve the story greatly. I think it might actually save the whole mess from being a snooze-fest. This is a great, great thing.

However, I’m not thrilled with the amount of backtracking this change will require.

This is what I’m talking about when I keep thinking the more I write, the more fluid and less time-consuming the process will end up being. I keep thinking the more I do this in general, the less I will end up doing THIS, i.e. rewrites because I should have thought of this in the damn first place.

Oh, well.

All part of the gig.

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