Thursday, June 27, 2013

A good friend of mine finished my book, Boyfriend, a few weeks ago.  She offered to read it alooonngg time ago but it took me some time to build up the courage to send it.  She is an avid reader (which means she can sniff out crap), and although we have developed a great friendship through our almost four years of knowing each other, we met in my other life.  You know, the one were I am stuffy suit who doesn't waste words? But after my final edit, my confidence grew, and I decided to stop being a punk and take her up on her offer.  I was still really, really nervous.   Even though my book isn't about me, it is a pretty raw reveal into my imagination.  My take on pain... heartache... drugs... abuse... and sex.

And sex.

The book is about a college guy struggling to be a good guy in a relationship when everything around him is tempting him to stray... including his girlfriend's best friend.   He is layered.  He has a complex, abusive past and unresolved issues with his family.  However, the book takes the raw, honest journey with him through it all, and that journey naturally involves... sex.

My friend read the book in less than a week (and cried at the end... she is amazing) and not only did she read it, she provided me with instant text commentary.  One night, I was drinking a glass of wine (and chewing my fingernails) when I got a text from her that said (direct quote):  This is some seriously hot shit, dude! It makes me feel awkward knowing that you wrote it... It's seriously good! So good I have to try to forget it came from your brain because it kind of dampers the hotness.  

Translation: You are a mental whore. 

It's true.
Don't get me wrong, it's no Fifty Shades of Grey (or what I imagine Fifty Shades to be, I still haven't read it).  It is far from erotica.   The book has sex but the sex isn't the book.  However, to tell Nate's story, I had to dive head first (and swim all up in) the mind of a twenty-something college guy.  And not the kind of guy you marry- the kind of guy who broke your heart.  I wrote and said some things in the book I can barely read out loud.   One night, at about 2am, I was huddled over my laptop writing one particularly intense scene when my two year old woke up and came charging into the room.  I shut my laptop like I had been caught doing something wrong.  Nate can be a pretty dirty boy...  the muse was writing shamelessly, probably laughing while she did it.  Me? I was huddled in the corner reeking in my Catholic guilt.

I can't be the only one that blames my muse for naughty things...

Needless to say, the book was an out of box, exhilarating, challenging, fun, emotional and sexy experience.  And I will be probably be hiding under my kitchen table when its released (but don't worry, the muse will be at the book signings :-)). 

Love and Light,

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I forgot to mention, I was a Second Place Winner in the NA Alley Entangled Publishing Pitch Contest.

Thanks to the folks over at NA Alley for putting on the contest and Entangled Publishing for the awesome opportunity :-).

Love and Light,

At the beginning of college, I partied from Thursday to Sunday.  I had fun.  Dressing up. Getting hot.  And dancing with my girlfriends from our noses to our toes-es.  You know how it is... fresh from your parent's house, unleashed onto the world with no real responsibilities, and suddenly complete FREEDOM.  I went to an all-girls Catholic high school so I was really... repressed...  I was a good kid but I was in dire need of self-discovery.  I took full advantage of the opportunity.

By the end of college, the parties were all the same.  I was in a relationship, randomly obsessed with naps, and focused on getting into law school.  Suddenly frat boys looked stinky and sweaty, late-night cabs all smelled like vomit, and drunk people were really, really annoying.  By the time I graduated, I was beyond done.  If I forced myself to go to a party, I wore flats, would dance on autopilot, and glare at any guy that danced my way. 

In short, I had outgrown it.  I had partied it all out of my system and was discovering new things that I liked and new ways to make me happy (like naps and wine #thisis30).

Things have been going really well for me in a certain part of my non-writing life recently.  I mean... oddly well.  For some people, it may even be a dream come true.  The only problem is - it's not my dream.  On the outside, I'm kind of like...

But on the inside, I'm more like...

Don't get me wrong.  I'm grateful.  I don't like sardines but if I was starving on a desert island, and all that was left was sardines, I would eat it and thank God I found it.  But if I was forced to eat sardines every night for three and a half years and all I dreamt about was brownies, I'd probably really, really want brownies. 

There is nothing like getting a whole bunch of what you don't want to show you what it is you want. 

Love and Light,

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I'm all out of words this week...

...but I have a video (yay!). There are so many quotable moments in this interview but the title of this post has to be my favorite.  Thanks, Aisha Tyler!

And Happy Father's Day to all the Daddies especially the Daddy living in my house! Love you, spouse.

Love and Light,

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Warning: Contains Spoilers

Well, like many Game of Thrones fans, I have spent most of this week recovering from probably the most traumatizing thing I have ever seen on television.  Sunday's episode of the HBO show featured the infamous "Red Wedding" where a series of mistakes and bad decisions led to the slaughter of three [and a half... ugh :-(] series regulars and favorites at a wedding.  The dearly departed were probably the closest thing to "protagonists" that the series - which features multiple kingdoms vying for the throne (hence the title) - had.  Though in retrospect, there were countless clues, on Sunday night, at approximately 9:49pm, I stood up and screamed like my house was under attack.  I then proceeded to curl in a ball on my couch for at least a good thirty minutes.... only managing to text, tweet and status update my feelings over a big mug of Chamomile Tea.  You would have thought I had been the victim of a crime.  The gut-wrenching, blood curdling scream of one of the characters is still ringing in my ears. 

Since the airing, a number of videos have been released depicting the reactions of fans, including this awesome one of George R.R. Martin (who wrote the novels) watching some.  Those who have read the books (which the series has stayed remarkably true to) filmed their friends watching what they knew was coming.  The videos feature people jumping out of their seats, breaking into tears, and hiding under blankets.  Reactions may seem bizarre to the uninitiated but trust me, if you had been watching (which I suggest you do), you would have been doing the same damn thing. 

As a reader/viewer, I kind of hate George R.R. Martin for taking me on this journey.  Then again, I kind of love him.  Like a bad marriage.  The rollercoaster of emotions I have felt in the year that I have been watching this show (I was a late bloomer and caught up a few months prior to Season 3), has been unparalleled by any art I have ever consumed (though The Walking Dead is a close second).  As a writer, I am in awe.  George R.R. Martin has taken his time in creating a universe that is rich in detail and complexity.  We have gotten to know the characters: their motives, their history, their families, and the things they love.  He has truly blurred the lines between good and evil as their are no clear villains...  just people who make choices.  Some good.  Some bad.  It's a genre-bending, fantasy universe that is remarkably accurate in its depiction of humanity.  Once my initial shock wore off on Sunday, I had a moment where I thought... man... that was really, really good.

As I mentioned before, in April, I attended the Writer's Digest Conference East.  On the last day, I attended a session with Paula Munier from Talcott Notch on writing the first ten pages of a novel.  It was awesome.  One of the (many) gems she gave us as take-homes was to make sure your reader "feels something" in those first ten pages.  Some kind of emotion.  Something that keeps your reader reading and gets them to care about the story and your characters.  She gave us a number of examples of powerful openers including my favorite from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie.  I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.  That gives me goose bumps every time I read it.

Watching Game of Thrones, I realize there is a difference between genuine emotion and a manipulative kind of emotion (i.e., Color Purple v. For Colored Girls (movie not book)).   You know horrific things that you can make sense of (Sophia getting beat down in Color Purple) versus horrific things done purely for shock value (Michael Ealy throwing the kids out the window in For Colored Girls).  The reason I hate George... but really love him... is because I can understand why he wrote it.  Everything (and I mean from Season 1, Episode 1) of  Game of Thrones led to those ten minutes.  And as much as you disliked that it had to go down, when the dust settled, you understood it.  Because George was able to full develop characters and situations that understandably led to that that kind of tragedy. 

That kind of storytelling... that kind of art... it's the reason I write... it's the reason I read.

Brava, Mr. Martin (and all the folks over at HBO) for really getting it right.

Love and Light,
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