Too Many Feels This Week

me and amy (2)First of all, let me apologize about the title.  I HATE that expression.  It doesn’t make sense at all and is grammatically incorrect.  But it seemed appropriate for this post.  See, I had decided to write a short, snarky blog post about the engagement of Benedict Cumberbatch and my reaction not to that event, but to the fangirl implosion.  And then yesterday, something happened that made me think that it would be stupid and insensitive to write about such a trivial thing.  Then I realized that my feelings about both issues were pretty similar and rooted in the same underlying ugliness.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock all week, you’ve probably heard that sapiosexual heartthrob and favorite Lexxx muse Benedict Cumberbatch, announced his upcoming nuptials to his girlfriend Sophie Hunter.  There was speculation that the internet might actually shut down, but it didn’t.  In fact, most fangirls have expressed nothing but happy thoughts and congratulations.  As for myself, I couldn’t be happier.  I’m extremely happy in my marriage and believe that I’ve found my soulmate.  It’s the most wonderful thing in the world and I’m so overjoyed that a person I respect and admire so much has found that for himself.  But I did see one comment that really took me aback.  Someone expressed that while they were happy for Ben and his future bride that they were really upset by how he announced this to his fans.  The implication being that the news should have been broken to them gently.  It was too sudden and he didn’t give them time to get used to the idea.  WTF?!  I wanted to scream at this person, “THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!  THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU!”  An engagement announcement in the newspaper isn’t for strangers (and yes, I hate to break it to you, ladies– we’re strangers).  It’s for family and friends to be notified that their loved one has an important life event coming up.  That comment summed up my whole problem with “fandom culture.”   Often times we tend to see celebrities as objects or products to be sold rather than people.  But they ARE people.  People with problems just like you.  People with moms and dads and siblings just like you.  People with mortgages and spoiled milk in their refrigerator and bad hair days and laundry piled up to their eyeballs and dirty socks in the bathroom just like you.  With people they don’t like and people they do.  And people they love.  The fact that fans saw that engagement announcement was just a side effect.  It wasn’t intended for you.  It was intended for one person to declare his love for another and to announce his intentions to his friends and family.  Just like people have been doing in their local newspapers since newspapers were invented.  Mr. Cumberbatch shouldn’t be under any obligation to announce anything to you about his personal life.  If he chooses to, then good on him.  But the fact that someone should be offended or upset that they weren’t told “properly” about a stranger’s engagement is ridiculous.  And SELFISH.  Get over yourself!

The other thing that happened this week is another, more extreme example of one person being selfish and seeing another person as an object to be possessed.  I got a call yesterday at work from a co-worker asking if I knew what was going on at an office building down the street.  There were all sorts of emergency vehicles and people milling around.  Knowing that my best friend works in said office building, I immediately panicked, worried that something terrible had happened to her.  Naturally I called her cell phone and to my great relief she picked up.  She informed me that a co-worker and mutual friend had been shot by her husband in the parking lot of their office.  He came to her work and asked if he could talk to her outside.  They argued and he shot her four times before turning the gun on himself.  The two of them had been separated for a few weeks.  It’s my understanding that the reason for the estrangement was that he was very abusive and she’d finally had enough.  Because he saw her as an object to be controlled and possessed, he couldn’t live with the fact that she was leaving him.  In an ultimate show of selfishness, he took her life and his own, leaving behind two children.  Two.  Whose lives will be ruined because of this extreme selfishness and objectification.

You might be thinking, “Okay Lexxx… please tell us what one thing has to do with another.”  But I’m getting there, just bear with me.  I’m very concerned about our culture.  I’m disturbed that we live in a world where people are so self-absorbed that they only worry about themselves and what they want.  My mother always told me that the definition of love was desiring to put someone else’s needs above your own.  In this world where everything is “all about me,” how can there be any love?  We’re so selfishly “looking out for number one” that its becoming this virus that creates evil and hatred.

Now, please do not think that I’m equating fangirl wailing with murder.  The common thread that I’m getting at here is:  it is not all about you.  If you love someone (in whatever sense), be happy for their successes.  Put others’ needs ahead of your own when it’s healthy to do so.  Remember that people, whether they’re behind a computer screen, the silver screen or the screen door on your mama’s porch– are people. Love them accordingly.  Have the grace and wisdom to know when it’s time to step back and when it’s time to hold on.  I promise– promise promise promise– that it will come back to you.

 

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Forgive Me Somehow, Danielle Steele

CLICK ME to buy!

CLICK ME to buy!

In case there’s someone out there who didn’t know, my big sis, Lucy Blue, is a much better writer than me.  So much better that I’ve let her take over my blog today to talk about her new release, Alpha Romeo.  It’s a scintillating tell-all book written in the style of a Hollywood memoir.  Think about it this way– it’s the book about Angelina Jolie that you’ve always wanted to read.  Lucy herself describes the book as being  throwback to the old Danielle Steele/ Sidney Sheldon days.  Anyway, today she’s taking over to talk about how she came to write Alpha Romeo and why it’s such an important book for her. 

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When I was a teen-ager, my mother’s favorite writer was Danielle Steele.  It was one of the many things we fought about.  “Those books are just garbage,” I would tell her.  “They all have the same stupid, melodramatic plot.  The characters are paper dolls.  They read like the back of a cake mix.  You read Thomas Hardy for fun, for heaven’s sake.  How can you read that crap?”

                As I recall, her defense usually ran along the lines of different strokes for different folks.  But if I’d been particularly obnoxious, she might point out that she couldn’t understand how her beautiful daughter could enjoy “sickness” like Stephen King and Anne Rice, either, but she still loved me.

                As I got older and started writing fiction of my own, she read every word I wrote.  She was what that sicko Stephen King would call my “first reader,” and she praised it all, even the stuff outside her comfort zone, even the stuff I never finished.  She encouraged me every step of the way, and when I sold my first book, a horror opus about vampires, consumptive whores, and Shakespeare, no one could have been more proud.

                Mama’s health was never great, but about ten years ago, she took a definite turn for the worse.  I was in the midst of writing about medieval vampires for Pocket Books.  I actually made my first draft deadline for The Devil’s Knight during a two-week leave of absence I had taken from my day job to take care of her after her second open heart surgery.  I don’t remember ever having the conscious thought to write a “Mama book.”  I was very happy with my vamps.  But right around that same time, reading a tabloid account of a celebrity divorce, I got the idea for Scarlett Cross, a movie star who’s been haunted her whole life by the violent death of her mother.  I started writing about her in first person, a technique I hadn’t used for anything but short stories since college, because that was just how she came out of my head.

                There are no supernatural monsters in Scarlett’s world.  Maybe at that point in my life, the real world seemed a lot scarier than any horror I could think up.  Maybe I lost the knack for believing in fairies and witches and vamps for a while.  I know I made Scarlett a movie star to keep the fantasy, to keep that distance–the same reason, I suspect, that all of Danielle Steele’s heroines in those days were fashion models and lady business magnates and the daughters of Russian nobility.  Those women go through hell, but they look fabulous doing it, and they never have to worry about stuff like money or bad plumbing (at least not after the first fifty pages).  I know for me at that time, the story of an ordinary woman watching her mother waste away was beyond my talent and strength.  But I could write the outlandish trials and tribulations of Scarlett Cross at lightning speed, wallowing in her pain.  I wrote her made-up memoir right alongside my paranormals, hundreds and hundreds of pages of her voice telling the lurid story of her life while my own life as I had always known it fell apart.

                And out of that came my latest book, Alpha Romeo, the story of Scarlett’s first love.  Mama passed away in 2008, years before my notebooks full of Scarlett gelled into anything like an actual book, but sections of that manuscript were the last of my writing she ever read.  “I love this one,” she told me.  “This one is you.  This is the one.”  And while I know my vamps are as much me as Scarlett, and I still think Danielle Steele’s writing kind of sucks, I love this story in a way I’ve never loved anything else I’ve written.  Because I know she would love it, not because her daughter wrote it, but because it’s her kind of book. 

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Our poor mother always wondered how she ended up with two daughters who liked to hide in a fantasy world.  I think it’s safe to say that we are exactly what she made us. Here’s more about the book:

If the tabloids only knew.

Scarlett Cross is the classic Hollywood princess. Daddy is a movie star; Mama was a supermodel murdered when Scarlett was only four years old. Now she’s eighteen pretending to be younger for the sake of her father’s image and starting her own career as the muse of a famous European auteur. But bad boy actor Romeo Kidd is everything she’s ever wanted. He makes her feel safe and loved and wanted for the first time in her life, and she’ll do anything to keep from letting him go.

If Alpha sounds like your kind of book too, you can click the image above and zoom right over to buy it!  It’s also available from Purple Sword Publications and All Romance if you prefer a different format.  They also have nifty-neato excerpts so you can test drive first!! 

NEW RELEASE: Dollface

Alright, my laptop is playing tricks on me.  Deepest apologies to those of you that follow my blog.  You just received a blank blog post.  This is why I’m a Mac person.  My iMac never betrays me this way.  At any rate, I just wanted to let everyone know that my new short, “Dollface” has been released into the wild from No Boundaries Press!  It’s my first straight horror piece and it’s just so damn exciting! It’s also a great example (in my humble opinion) of that hazy genre we like to call Southern Gothic.   Y’all know I love to write about all things dark and sensual, but this time I delved into something less appetizing.  There are no happily ever afters in this story.  Well… except maybe for the nutty anti-heroine.

“Dollface” is the story of Caroline, a plain Jane, small town Southern girl who just happens to be a funeral home cosmetian. Everyone in town likes Caroline, though they’ve always felt that there was something not quite right about her. For years Caroline has pined in silence for the funeral director’s son, Scott Bauer. Scott has always been kind, but never returned her affections. Her world comes tumbling down when she discovers that Scott is to be married and will leave her forever. She can’t let that happen and will go to unnatural lengths to keep him.

Check out the blurb….

*****

“Hey there, Miss Caroline,” Justus shouted from the kitchen when he saw her come in.  “Thursday night usual?”

“Yes, please,” she replied, squeezing into one of the tiny booths in the corner.  Her Thursday night usual was stew beef and rice with a side of fresh tomatoes.  Looking around she saw the usual dinner crowd.  Sherriff  Roberts and his wife Melissa sat at the large corner table by the window.  Mr. Crabtree sat at the bar with his country fried steak, jabbering away to Mrs. Keester.  The Brewer twins ran around the old broken pinball machine while their mom read a book, completely oblivious.  Caroline sighed, her face fixed in an expression of contentment.  There were advantages to living in a small town.   Caroline always felt like she was among old friends in this place.  It helped with the loneliness.

“So guess who hopped in here for a piece of my sweet potato pie earlier?” Mrs. Keester asked, hefting her heavy breasts on to the counter in front of Mr. Crabtree.

“Couldn’t say,” he replied, helping himself to another forkful of collard greens.  “But I’m sure you’ll be glad to tell me, Wanda.”

Laughter echoed from the kitchen.  Justus’s head poked out from the window.  “Ain’t that the truth, Crabtree?  Our church don’t need a bulletin—we got Wanda.”

The men laughed heartily at Wanda’s expense for several seconds until she cleared her throat.  “You men finished?” she spat and emphasized her contempt on the word ‘men.’  “Anyway, Gerry Bauer’s son Scott was in here earlier today and he was jumpy as a whore in church.”  Caroline’s ears pricked at the mere mention of Scott’s name.  Grabbing the newspaper in the booth beside her, she pretended to read while listening closely to their conversation.

“Why’s that?”

“Well you know that girl from over in Maitland he’s been seein’—what’s her name—Ginny?”

“Ayuh,” Crabtree answered with a disinterested glance.  “What about her?”

“He was takin’ her out tonight so he could ask her to marry him!”

Caroline dropped her tea glass. It fell to the floor with a heavy clatter and  ice spilt all over.

Wanda rushed over from behind the bar and pulled a towel out of her apron.  “Caroline!  Are you okay, honey?”  She dropped  down on her knees and began picking up the ice off the floor.

*****

Now that I’ve whet your appetite, you can find the story at No Boundaries Press and Amazon.