300th Post–Tunerville Announcement and a Cookie Giveaway!

It’s post number 300!

Wow, I never thought I’d get this far when I started. I had nothing to say, but I thought I should have a blog where I can talk about my writing. I hoped I’d publish something besides stories before now, but hey, whatever. Now I know how Mike Rowe must have felt when he hit 200 dirty jobs.

We can talk about that anytime you like, Mike. Over dinner maybe. Rawr.

Image:  Wikimedia Commons

In honor of this milestone, I’d like to give away some cookies, as promised. One lucky commenter will win a delicious dozen of the cookie of their choice from Pacific Cookie Company in Santa Cruz, CA. This luscious prize will be shipped directly to your door, from me.

Disclaimer:  I do not represent Pacific Cookie Company, and I’m not being paid or in any way compensated for giving away their cookies–I just really, really like them.

The first person to correctly identify the following photograph will win the cookies. Your comment must contain the following information:

• The subject—what is it?

• The place the photo was taken

• The year.

It’s not hard, honest. I will go by the timestamp on your comment. But you must have all three elements to win. Here is the picture.

Brown_ladyNow, as promised, I will tell you about my book!

Did the picture give you a clue?

Okay, okay, I’ll stop messing with you. Here we go!

What would you do if you could not only see a ghost, but talk to it, and even touch it? Chris Taylor, a landscaper who likes to hunt ghosts in his spare time, is tired of being the only person in the Ghost Crew who hasn’t had a paranormal encounter. One night, after a few too many beers and some aimless tinkering in his basement, Chris accidentally invents a tuner device that dials ghosts into the physical world.

He tests it out on an investigation. It works! Word gets out and Chris becomes famous. Lured by the promise of helping stranded spirits find their way to the next world, Chris sells the rights to his invention. A television network makes a show—Tunerville—around the device, but someone dupes it before the network can file the patent and soon, everyone has a tuner. Chris is riding high, but not everyone thinks the tuner is a good thing.

Suddenly, there are ghosts wandering everywhere. What’s more, if they stay long enough, they’re stuck. The dead flock to the tuners and the living struggle with this new normal.

Word reaches the Realm—the afterlife, where it causes great unrest. The doors of Heaven are closed and an Explorer, Callahan, is dispatched to deal with Chris and the situation. In the meantime, ambitious scientist Dr. Juliette Geiger has managed to jack a prototype tuner and open a dangerous portal, from which she carelessly intends to profit.

Chris, his fellow Ghost Crew members, and a groovy Seventies ghost try desperately to find a way to stop the madness—and Dr. Geiger. If they can’t, what will happen to the world?

________________

SO? Whaddya think? Pretty neat, huh? Well, I think so.

As I posted before the damn thing needs a bit of restructuring. I wrote the synopsis off the cuff, and the scenes came out in a different—and better—order than I originally wrote them. But that’s no biggie. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on my progress.

If you’re interested, be sure to sign up to follow me here at Graphomaniac. I can’t promise this book will be published or when, but I fully intend to do my very best to bring it to you so you have something to read besides this blog.

Remember to try your luck with the cookies—post your answer in the comments!

It’s Banned Books Week – read a book nobody wants you to see!

ALA Freadom Slide 2013 (2)It’s Banned Books Week again!

Every year, the American Library Association and a host of other reading-friendly organizations celebrates books banned for one reason or another—content, language, etc.  Some of our favorite reads, such as the Harry Potter series, get banned for the silliest reasons.

From the bannedbooks.org website, we learn the following:

 Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year.  According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 326 in 2011.  ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported.  (http://bannedbooksweek.org/censorship)

 I thought about listing the five dumbest reasons why a book is challenged, but I found other posts dealing with this on the interwebz.  Reading them, I realized there is only one reason:  fear.

  • Fear that kids will read something they shouldn’t.  Who’s responsible for that?

You decide what your kids read; don’t try to decide what mine do.  I want my kids to be Potter nerds.  I’m pretty sure the school librarians know what they are doing when they pick books for kids.

If you feel you have a legitimate objection, don’t go all crazypants; at least read the book in question so you can discuss your concerns intelligently.

  •  Fear of diversity.  What?  We’re all different; are you MAD?

Yes, you are.  If you can’t celebrate diversity, I don’t want to be like you anyway.  We can learn so much by reading about other cultures, and soon we’ll see how much we have in common.  Hello, deeper understanding.

  •  Just plain crazy fear of something that doesn’t even exist.  Magic, anyone?

This one is my favorite.  Who as a kid didn’t wish they could just think about candy and it would appear?  J.K. Rowling once said (roughly) that the spells in Harry Potter weren’t real.  You could wave a stick in the air and chant “Alohomora!” all day and nothing would happen, because she made it up.

That should be the end of it.  Unfortunately, it’s not.

THIS magic wand really works…and it is awesome.

THIS magic wand really works…and it is awesome.

 Image: ThinkGeek.com

 Fear keeps people from finding out more.  Then bad things stay the same, and we don’t grow as human beings.  When people fear something, they attack it.  But books do more than tell us things; they reflect us.  Perhaps there is more in a book than some people are comfortable seeing.

Look here for lists of frequently challenged books.  Pick one and read it today—if you can find it!

Tunerville and 300th post update: 

On my 300th post, one random commenter who answers a trivia question correctly will win a prize.  I had intended to make it cookies, because of the poll I posted a while back (more votes for that than anything else).

Unfortunately, the cookie shop I wanted to deal with for my giveaway doesn’t want to be associated with personal blogs.  That’s cool; it’s hard to control your info on the ‘net these days.  (Maybe my last post had something to do with it; I don’t know.)  Anyway, no ill will there, so I’ll look around and see if I can find something else.  I may have to put off the post until the 30th.  But the Tunerville reveal is still on.  So stay tuned.

 

 

REAL MEN DON’T ACT LIKE MONSTERS

I put this title in caps because this is about to get real, people.  Usually I don’t take on any social shit here, but this is too important.  You need to watch this video, now.  It has a bit of language, but she is 100% FUCKING RIGHT.  Nobody deserves this shit and it’s way past time it stopped.  Guys, stop it.  Tell your friends to stop it.  Tell your sons.  Tell your brothers.  Tell your sister not to slut-shame.  Tell your mothers and your fathers.  Tell everybody.  This could be your daughter, sister, mother, friend, cousin, wife, girlfriend.  It’s all of us, and we are SICK OF IT.

I’m speaking not only as a woman, but as a victim of acquaintance rape.  It happened in college, when I was hanging out with a fellow student who lived in the same apartment complex.  We had a sandwich and a beer and then a little kissing happened.  I didn’t want to go any further, and he MADE ME.  He held me down, pulled my jeans down, and did it.

Why didn’t I scream?  Or fight?

You know what panic and/or fear can do to you?  It freezes you in place, like an Arctic blast freezes a mammoth.  It’s such an oh-my-god-what-the-fuck-is-happening moment that you literally cannot move.

I got up, pulled my jeans up, grabbed my purse, and ran.  Ran out the door, down the stairs, and across the parking lot to my building.  I remember the light over the door blurry through my tears, and then I don’t remember anything.

I blocked it out.  For an entire year.

I finally told my best friend C., one weekend when I was visiting home, during a sleepover.  She had this huge bedroom, with a scratchy carpet, and we often sat on it in front of her stereo making mix tapes (shut up).  I told her right there, on the floor, while staring at the paneled wall.

I remember her shock, her incredulity.  What I don’t remember is being judged.  I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I felt safe there with her.  I felt safe with her when she came to visit me at school, and we were at Long John Silver’s, and it was crowded, and to get to the only empty booth, we had to walk right past the one where my rapist was sitting, big as life.  I remember the panic that came rushing back, my trembling hands that could barely set my food down before I dropped it.  She wanted to kill him.  I told her no, it was useless.  He wasn’t worth it.

For years after that, I had flashbacks.  If I was with a guy, and he got on top of me without me in control, if I didn’t pull him down or he didn’t warn me, that same panic would flood back.  I can’t stand being restrained.

God I can barely type this; my hands are shaking just thinking about it.

Men, EVERY woman or girl should feel safe with you.  If she doesn’t, you failed.  You failed not at being a man, but at being a human being.  Because the second you make a woman (or anyone) feel afraid of you because of your behavior, you cease to be human to us.  We stop seeing men.  We only see threats, animals.  Monsters.  Anyone who victimizes someone else–men, women, teens, children or pets–becomes a monster.

Look in the mirror.  Are you a monster?

You are if:

  • You think someone deserves to be raped because of what she is wearing.
  • You think she asks for violence because she is walking late at night.
  • You think ANYONE asks to be victimized.
  • You bully people who are different from you, in race, creed, sexual orientation, etc.
  • You make jokes about raping someone because you think they’re hot (women hate this, you idiot).
  • You excuse other people who act this way, or keep silent when your tongue could save someone’s life.

Women, you need to stop slut-shaming.  We can’t afford not to help each other.  We need to keep speaking, step in when another woman is being abused or threatened, step in, step up, call the police, FIGHT.  Fight this madness. Hunt it down and kill it.  It’s our world too.  Good, thoughtful, kind men…I know you’re out there.  Won’t you join us?

I want to get married (to a man; I don’t hate men.  Far from it.) someday soon, and have a baby while I still can.  If it’s a girl, I want her to grow up in a world where she can feel proud of who she is, proud to be a woman and safe at least most of the time.  I hope for every woman who survived this horror, and for those who have yet to do so, that they find compassion and understanding, and that it comes as much from the men in her life too.  That’s all any living, breathing human deserves.

Don’t be a monster.  Be a monster hunter instead.

Yarrr! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye scurvy knaves!

Talk_Like_a_Pirate_DayEvery September 19, ye should talk like a pirate as much as ye can, jest fer fun.  If ye don’t participate, then we’ll keelhaul ye!

I be workin’ from home today–there be clients in the office and I said nay on wearin’ me glad rags.  Since I don’t have time to post more than this, I be leavin’ ye with a cute pirate kitty video.

Reminder–there be only three more posts until me 300th, when I be givin’ ye a treat–I’ll be sharin’ the plottin’ of me book, Tunerville, with ye.  On September 28th, tune in and weigh in for a chance to win a prize!  Iffen ye be fond of cookies, ye’ll wanna be there.

Meantimes, enjoy this li’l video of a furry pirate-in-trainin’.  Weighin’ anchor now–have a piratey day!