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Something Wicked...

.... wicked AWESOME that is.

You have no idea how long I've been wanting to write this blog post. I've kept it under wraps and now that ink is on paper and things are legal and binding I can finally--FINALLY--say some amazing magic words.

My debut novel has been picked up by a publisher.

That's right, guys, I've finally mastered that strange alchemy of turning words into an actual factual contractual deal with a purveyor of books.

Meet me below the jump for the details! (Cause I've been dying to tell you all about it!!!)

So, for those who don't know, my book TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES** (Book 1 in my Etudes in C# series) has been on submission to publishers since mid-June. This means that my agent--the fabulously stellar Jennie Goloboy--sends an email &our big ass proposal document to editors at various publishing houses. If they like the sound of my book from the proposal, they will ask to read the manuscript.

As I said, the book had been out to several different houses over the course of about 4 months with various degrees of success and failure (depending on how you measure both). Tuesday, November 27 I got word from Jennie that an editor was taking the book to the acquisitions board at her publisher. (As I'm sure you can guess from the title, an acquisitions board is in charge of acquiring new books. In other words: someone was interested in buying MY book.)

Ho.Lee.Shitballs.
I spent that evening freaking out and full of anxiety and researching this publisher and talking myself out of it and basically turning myself into a ball of self-defeating tension. The next day I emailed Jennie with some of my concerns and we talked on the phone for a bit. (This is the part of agenting that I think requires the patience of a saint: putting up with my insecure ass when I'm hopped up on anxiety and caffeine.) She laid things out clearly, explaining some things that I hadn't quite understood from the email. Then she said, "By the way, she's calling me tomorrow to let me know if we have an offer."
We have just lost cabin pressure.
An offer? Soon? Like tomorrow? Oh sweet dear god! So, as you can imagine, I didn't sleep much on Wednesday (the 28th for those keeping score). I was up all night (again) with my brain doing backflips and inverting on itself and and and oh sweet lords of chai kill me for all the shit going through my brain! I woke up Thursday vibrating and messaged Jennie to tell her so. (She then told me to breathe and not have too much chai. How well she knows me.) She told me that she'd be calling later with the results of her conversation with the editor in question.
So, I went to the gym. And I puttered around the house. And I waited... and I checked my email. And I waited. And I looked at my phone... And innocent pixels died. Then it was time for me to go pick up my daughter from school."Alright," I said to my phone. "I'm leaving now. I'll be back in about 10 minutes. You know, in case anyone wanted to call. You could just...wait til I get back."
Wouldn't you know... the phone rang about a minute after I pulled out of the drive way.It was Jennie. She'd talked with the editor. We had an official offer.
We talked out all the details. I took notes. We both had a bit of a freakout because it was made of win. She had let all the other editors still reading the book know we had an offer and had given them a deadline as to when we needed decisions. Monday (December 3). By Monday we'd either move forward on this offer or have to possibly entertain others...but either way, Monday was going to be a big and decisive day.

Not much to do... other than celebrate!

I was all...

and
and
I was so freakin' happy and pumped full of mood altering hormones that I felt like I was going to vomit sparkling rainbows. So, I immediately hugged my husband. I sent a text message to my Attack Fish (my devoted Beta Readers who are epic amounts of amazing). I called my mother (yes, I do that). I called my father, but, he chose that particular week to be out of the freaking country bobbing around in an ocean, so this was the response I got from his voicemail:
I'm on a boat.
That night we had dinner plans with friends, so I took along a bottle of champagne to their house. When one of said friends saw the bottle she just looked at me and said, "Really?" I nodded because being a writer I like to show and not tell. There was rejoicing. And my friends were all like...
and...
I got to spend the weekend waiting and pinching myself. "Yup, offer of a book deal is still real." FINALLY got to tell my father and some other friends. Spent Sunday burying myself in football and housework to avoid the fact that the clock was moving too slowly. Started practically vibrating again....And then Monday rolled around.... by the end of the day I had an email from Jennie telling me that Cat and Marius have found their home. Long story short (too late), we officially accepted the offer from Entangled Publishing. And I was all...

And I couldn't wait to tell the whole freakin' planet. I wanted to grab that guy at the gym and shake him like an 8 ball telling him, "DUDE! They're going to publish my book!!!" I wanted to buy everyone daisies and write it in the sky. I wanted to post far and wide my joyous squees... but I couldn't. Things weren't legal. Ink wasn't dry. Contracts still had to be negotiated and all that fun stuff.
Honestly, it took a while to sink in. A week later, when the vibrating stopped (or at least slowed down), I just sat down and the depth of it hit me. This is really happening. This is the real deal. Oh my fuck.It's taken some time, and I've developed tremendous restraint not to just blab this all over the Intertubez, but now... NOW!... I can finally squee out loud and fill you all in. Now I can tell you that my debut novel TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES** will be available as an ebook from Entangled Publishing.
We totally did it, guys. We got this far. We got to the part where the book gets published and you all can finally--FINALLY--read it!!! For real!I'm very excited to work with Entangled. They're enjoying a lot of successes right now and more good things are on the horizon for them. I'm very proud to be counted among their authors.So, as things get closer, we'll be pimping it and having all sorts of fun gearing up for the release. Until then, I've got some work to do, kittens.

HOLY SHIT!! :-D*bouncy happy squee*
**EDITED 16 September, 2013: This book has a new name! Henceforth it shall be called WILD CARD.

Newtown, Connecticut

I am so angry I could breathe fire. So sad I might melt into nothing but tears.

This is not okay.

I was a freshman in college when Columbine happened. I remember empathizing with both victims and shooters for that one... people pushed to their limits and unequipped to handle the rage of years of bullying. I think that might have been when I all but solidified my feelings on guns.

I think guns are cowardly weapons. Anyone with motor skills can lift a gun, pull the trigger and kill someone. Period. While yes, marksmen have tremendous skill that took years to hone... guns as a weapon are cowardly. They are an easy way out. You can take a life without thought at 800 ft/second without looking at that person's face, without watching their life bleed away. There is no ownership in gun violence...only quick (pardon the expression) hair-trigger reaction.

School shootings. The Aurora tragedy. The Clackamas mall shootings earlier this very week. And now Newtown, Connecticut. An elementary school.

This is not okay.

We have a problem.

We--as a society, as a country, as goddamn human beings--have a problem when we're more strict about 3 oz. bottles of shampoo than we are with lethal weapons that are killing children in their elementary school. How is this okay? How is it alright that kids are going to school with metal detectors, schools that are more secure than prisons? How is it okay? We've made these concessions (metal detectors, security passwords, police patrols in schools etc) to "keep our kids safe" but what we're really doing is pandering to the shooters. We're not doing anything about the problem, we're just putting a condom on it and hoping it doesn't break.

What the fuck is wrong with us?

This is a systemic problem. It's not just about gun control. It's also about mental health care, about our society's priorities, corrupt government, a glutted gun lobby, a disgusting news cycle, a furor over losing rights that were to secure citizens the ability to have a weapon that took 15 minutes to load, aim and fire. There are so many problems all linked together, so many deformities and mutations that make shit like this possible.

But no....now is not the time to have that conversation. The NRA might get pissy and raise Charlton Heston's   mangled corpse as some sort of gun-toting lich. A politician might not get to buy that new Mercedes this year. Ratings might drop.

Fuck you. A parent has to go home right now and look at presents under a tree that won't be unwrapped. A kindergartner has to learn how to process survivor's guilt.

Where does it stop? When does it become socially acceptable to have this conversation and do something about these problems?

You have no idea how hard I will be hugging my daughter today. 

Better Know A Trickster #2 - Maui No Ka Oi!

So, back in October I started a series of blog posts introducing you to the Tricksters of various pantheons. We started with the red-headed stepchild of Asgard, Loki. This time we're going to leave the icy Norse lands and sail to the South Pacific and meet that maker of mayhem, the slayer of the sun, the thief of fire himself: Hawaii's very own Maui!

Like Norse mythology, much of what we white folks know of the Hawaiian religion comes to us from Christian scholars who came to the islands and wrote about the savages they found. One of the better sources of information out there comes from David Kalakaua, the last reigning king of Hawaii. His book, The Legends and Myths of Hawaii, seeks to explain his culture to the rest of the world. This book is rich with understanding of the native religion and the tales the Hawaiians tell to this day.

One thing I've always found intriguing about the Hawaiian beliefs is how present it is in comparison to say the Judeo-Christian faiths. From what I've read--and I know that I don't know half of what there is to know, so if I'm wrong, feel free to correct me--the Hawaiians don't base their lives on the aftermath. The gods are here. They live and surf on the islands among mortals. Our ancestors remain with us as protective spirits. The philosophy is very rooted in the moment, the here and now.

Until the 19th century, the myths were handed down mostly in an oral tradition where the kahuna--wise man or priest--sang the tales. The backbone of Hawaiian mythology is the Kumulipo. This is the origin chant. To "perform" it, one needs more than 6 hours and some awa to keep the throat cooperating. Beginning with the darkest of void, the Kumulipo describes the birth of the world. Beginning with the coral polyp, populating the ocean, then the land and skies until finally man shows up. Then, the lineage of the kings is spoken. There are still those today who can trace their ancestry to the Kumulipo chant.

Like most trickster deities, Maui's birth is full of its own mystery. As chronicled in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth chant of the Kumulipo, Maui's mother Hina--goddess of the moon--wears the loincloth of a mortal chief, Akalana, and became pregnant. Now there's some subtext here about the loincloth and what she did with it. Some say that she was overly fond of the young chief and snatched the loincloth, then masturbated with it. (So, call me maybe?) However she came by the seed of the mortal, Hina was surprised when she delivered not a baby but an egg. This egg hatched to reveal a rooster.

When the goddess gave birth to a cock, the other deities feared she had broken the sacred laws--taboo. Immediately, it seems, Maui must fight to survive. His own uncles challenge him to physical combat and leave him with a bleeding head. And it just gets better from there. Ten times, Maui is tested by the gods and the circumstance of his very existence. But, as he navigates his difficulties, his guile and cunning are forged.

Among the strifes of Maui are some of his most famous exploits. The sixth test comes when he asks his mother about his parentage. While the lines in the chant are sparse, myths of these trials have bloomed like the islands themselves. Hina sends Maui to be with his mortal family and he acquires a fish-hook from his grandmother. The hook itself is made of her bone, and the line from her hair. She has given Maui a powerful object indeed! While he is very lazy and leaves the actual work of fishing to the mortal sons of Akalana, Maui casts this hook into the sea and draws up the islands! However, he never finished the task of uniting them, and thus we have the chain of them dotting the Pacific.

Like other tricksters, Maui is known for his mastery over the elements, specifically fire. He stole the fire from the mudhen and snared the sun because it crossed the sky too quickly. Summer is dedicated to him for slowing the sun's passage for the people of the islands. The constellation of Scorpio is also known to the islanders as Maui's hook.

The Kumulipo chant itself calls him trickster, revering his cunning ways. "Maui-of-the-loincloth/ The lawless shapeshifter of the island/A chief indeed." (Beckwith, 136.)

The last island that his hook drew from the water was the verdant isle that we call Maui. He claimed it for his own and to this day the natives insist that Maui no ka oi! Maui is the best. I'm inclined to agree.

If you like the artwork in this post, please visit the artist Brittney Lee at her Etsy shop. Show her some love and buy a print. She is a rock star! I've got two of her pieces in my house and if I had the extra bank I'd give her all the monies for more awesomeness.  Also, a special thanks to Kanila Tripp for fact-checking me and making sure that I don't sound like a lame haole girl. 

My People

 design by Mark RantalI don't know what to say. I mean, there are words careening through my head. Some of them are cool and rational while others are fiery. I didn't know anyone in that theater in Aurora, Colorado today. But I might have. Someone walked into a theater full of geeks and opened fire.

My people.

That was heinous. Dispicable. Sick. I am angry and sad beyond coherence about what happened today. Innocent people just out to see the final installment in a beloved franchise, people out to have a good time with friends and family were shot and killed. Some were wounded but will have to live their lives with nightmares. Those that were uninjured don't leave this unharmed. Everyone there will carry a scar of some kind.

Families have lost sons and daughters. Friends and strangers are left wondering WHY?

This wasn't right. What happened today at the hands of one man was a true tragedy.

But what really has my blood boiling and my stomach in knots right now? The people in positions of power or influence--politicians and journalists--who are already using this pimp their own agendas.

I will not link to their comments here nor will I paraphrase. Sadly, I don't need to because their voices are rising above the others right now. I will not sully my space here with their bullshit.

The message I want you to hear is love.

Come together. Hug your friends. Go to a movie. Walk in a crowded mall. Do not be afraid. Do not give in to arguing or passing blame. ONE MAN did this for his own reasons and we may never know them. This was not a political stunt or an attack on a specific religion. This was a single, sick person on a shooting spree.  To postulate otherwise is blind, fear-mongering speculation at best and egocentric bullshit at worst that tarnishes the tragedy people are going through right now.

People.

Not your political party or your church or companies.

People.

People were shot and killed. People lost loved ones. People have to pick up the pieces.

These were geeks. These were my people.

We are all better than this. We are all above the petty shit hitting the airwaves.

Be those people. Be kind. Forget agendas and remember people.

Nerdmaste

Sluts and Sports

So there's a lot going on in the news to talk about, and anyone who's read my blog for any amount of time knows that I have a plethora of opinions. Rather than rant at length about All The Things, though, I'm just going to condense things down a bit. Join me. Let's chat.Sports: I'm an Indy girl, born and raised, and I hate to see what's going on with my Colts. Last week, owner Irsay decided it would be in the club's best interests to cut Peyton Manning. Alright, after last season and a nebulous future and your new golden boy Andrew Luck waiting in the wings, I can see where that might make sense in someone's mind. I'm sad that Peyton is leaving the team, but hope he finds a new home where he can play out his remaining years and thrive. (If that place happened to be Phoenix, Arizona, I would be ecstatic. Just sayin', love. Come to the desert. You'd look spectacular in red.) I'll still cheer on my Colts and I'll still root for my #18 every week wherever he lands. I'm grateful to him for all he did for Indy as a player and as a member of our community. And even with all the cash he gets for breaking those records, the man has class. Love love love my Peyton.But could someone please tell me what Irsay was smoking when he thought it would be brilliant to pack up pretty much the whole damn starting offensive line and send them off in a Mayflower truck? I mean, has Irsay discovered some new tropical hallucinagen? I have heard the argument that "well, when you're rebuilding a team you need to cut the old players who won't be around much longer to afford new players who can grow together". Bollocks! What about having veterans to coach your young blood and temper fresh talent with wisdom?

The mood around Indy this week has been like a funeral and it's not hard to understand why. I remember the 80s and 90s. I remember the days of Jeff George. (*shudder*) I remember when every week Indy watched the Colts suck monkey taint while other teams stomped our defensive line into the end zone to use as fertilizer. Back then, a local musician named Duke Tumatoe penned a song. Every Friday the song would be played as a kind of rain dance hoping that the gods would deliver touchdowns to our dehydrated Colts. I haven't heard that song in an age because it hasn't been needed with Peyton around. Now, though, it seems it's time to dust it off and start crooning. Lord, help our Colts.

Women's Health: Every day I get an email from someone wanting to make my dick bigger, harder, stronger to give her great stony pleasure. Usually this is in the form of a cock-enhancing drug. And I don't even have a penis. Junk mail at its worst. I mean, I at least have a roof or a carpet, so those ads for carpet cleaners could be useful, but without a penis, Viagra is just entirely out. One thing I've never gotten, though, is an email offering me contraceptives or an abortion. At least those would be anatomically correct. But, it seems that once again my vagina is getting me into trouble simply by being. You all know what I'm talking about and if you don't you must live in a media-free vacuous hole that even the Amish look upon with awe and wonder. Santorum, Rush, state legislatures ... riddle me this...
What the fuck is going on with the political war on women's health?
Look, I get it that there are people who have objections to birth control. I also understand that some people see abortion as murder. I'm willing to have civil discourse over this. Me? I'm pro-choice, plain and simple. I have a daughter, so obviously you know what my personal choice was, but I respect your right to make whatever decision you and yours feel is best for your situation. Done. Period. I won't begrudge you your opinions.
However, when you start trying to make and enforce laws that would violate another human being's body, laws that are specifically designed to humiliate and remove a person's choice of how and when to reproduce? That's when I get a little bit miffed. These same people who say that a woman who uses the Pill is a slut are the ones who see no problem with floods of emails busking for Viagra.
Are we really having this conversation now? A woman who is being responsible for herself and her partner is suddenly a prostitute and should have no problem shaming herself YouTube for all to see. Do I have that right? A woman's body is to be used by men specifically for pro-creative sex (sometimes with the help of Four-Hour Boner Juice) and the only choice she's allowed to make is whether or not she opens her legs. Do I understand?
Bullshit.
Put your probes away. Educate yourselves on what a woman's body does, how and why it does it and how contraception helps those actions run smoothly. Quit your male posturing and sit the fuck down with your happy blue pills, a bottle of Lubriderm and a box of Kleenex.