And Then It Got Ugly

Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago I posted about the art of winning arguments on the net? Uh huh. Some people did not read that post. Some people got in a big brouhaha over the weekend. Did I speak up? Yes, a little. Did I get in any arguments? Um, not really. Was I offended? HELL YES. And worst part of it all is that I tried really hard to follow my own advice and stay cool and professional and not instigate or reply to inflammatory statements and remarks.  I tried not to take anything personally cause nothing was directed at me with my name on it. And still I was offended.

BY BOTH SIDES

Yep. Everyone freaking offended me at some point or another. See, one group I’m on made a remark that offended the people on another group. That group in turn used the same remark to say something offensive about the first group. Sound a little 5th grade-ish? It was. And I’m probably going to burn in the hell of their loop when all the shark-mouthed typists get wind of this…both loops. Double crucifixion. I guess it means I get to come back twice from the dead on a Sunday. But only if they crucify a couple of thieves as well. And now, I’ll get raped over a barrel by a rhino for using the bible and Easter as an analogy of sorts. I just know I’m gonna get reamed. If I don’t…if they choose to ignore my inflammatory words…HUZZAH! THANK GOD! Because yanno, nothing inflammatory over the weekend was ignored. Every little nuance and syllable was scrutinized in case someone was picking on someone else.

Now, it’s true that the above words are a tad tongue in cheek. You see, I’m trying to find some bit of humor in all of this in order to restore my psyche to some sort of equilibrium. ‘Cause it really is true that both sides offended me. And the saddest thing is that last year I left one of the groups because a member offended me and a friend and was allowed to do so unchecked. I came back this weekend in a show of support because of an issue of discrimination. I’m not even there 2 full days and someone there offended me. Again!

You’d think I’d learn my lesson and just not join that group again. But I’m in for a penny (well $12.50 to be honest) so I might as well take a leaf from my own post of January 23 and let it go. So I am. And I’m not leaving this time. I want to see what happens. If I email the head of this group, she’ll probably tell me that the offenders didn’t mean to offend me. That’s probably true but it doesn’t take the sting away. Guess I’ll have to pull up my big girl panties and deal.

What did I come away from the weekend with? One, a heck of a lot of respect for a woman who started an RWA chapter under a lot of gunfire. Two, a healthy appreciation for two authors whose words and cool heads I have always admired. Three, my sense of humor…intact.

Everyone and their mother and brother and cousins five times removed are blogging about this brouhaha. People who aren’t in the organization are blogging about it. It’s ugly. I feel dirty from the fallout. And very, very sad.

Should I be blogging the political trail like the other authors? Maybe. But seriously, I think they have enough people spouting fire and brimstone. They don’t need me to jump on the blog-bandwagon. I’d rather do a Rodney King. Use my humor to make little cryptic remarks on my blog that not many people will understand and pretty much no one will understand 100% unless they ask me in an email. Which I will reply to. Right after work. 😉

I will do several things in support of what I feel is right though. One, I’m not leaving RWA, RRW or PAN. If things need changing, it ain’t gonna happen if all the movers and shakers take their toys and wallets and go home. Two, not gonna let any of em offend me to the point that I start considering leaving those three groups despite #1. Three, I’ll send whatever emails and letters I need to in order to assist in the call for RWA to make some policy changes so another brouhaha like this doesn’t happen. Four, gonna ignore the blogs by readers who are spouting fire and brimstone over something that is kinda, sorta not their bizness cause they aren’t RWA members or even authors trying to enter the contest in question. Five, not gonna take this stuff personally. I have a family to support therefore I need to sleep at night. Six, not dwell on this stuff. Which means it’s time for me to stop blogging about it in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

It’s Marcus Monday and have I got a yummeh one for you today!

 

Now, I’ve got to go to work.  You all try to have a good Monday and dodge the ugly, okay? 😉

Comfort Zone

I finished Kissing Joan Collins early Sunday morning and turned it in to my editor. It’s a short novella for Valentine’s Day and will be out at MLR Press. The story has a little more snarky humor than I usually inject into a story and it vaguely reminds me of chick lit stories. I dedicated the book to a fellow author because of something he said once that stuck in my head and became fuel for this story.

Usually, when I dedicate a book to someone it’s because they’ve done something that somehow influenced the story. It might be that they just encouraged me when I needed a boost to finished. Or they could have said something that spawned an idea. The smallest influence could be the reason I dedicate a book to someone.

In this instance, the other author said something about authors needing to step out of their comfort zone sometimes. I don’t think it was one of those profound things you say where everyone goes “WOAH.” You know what I mean – the “I coulda had a V-8” moment. I think it was just something he said in conversation (I forget if it was on a loop, in a chat or in email) and probably didn’t intend for me to take away as inspiring. But I did.

You see this story is about how two men (it is a gay rom story) step out of their comfort zones one Valentine’s Day and discover a bright future together. The backstory is that the two guys meet in college and are instantly attracted to one another. They both react really dorky and are embarrassed by their actions so they each hide their attraction. They go on to spend their college years as roommates and best friends. As adults, their friendship continues. Then, one of the men leaves the area for a year for work. While he’s gone, the one left behind realizes he still has deeper feelings for his friend. The one who’s away realizes he loves and misses his friend so much that one, he needs to move back home and two, he needs to tell the other guy he wants to be with him.

The hero who moved away enlists the help of his friend’s siblings, who of course know their brother loves this guy. They set s scene that forces both men out of their comfort zone and confessions ensue. Of course, a hot night together also ensues. Followed by a morning with doubts and fears exposed. But they work it out because I don’t write anything but happy endings. LOL

The catalyst, the thing that forces the men out of their comfort zones…a dress. One man dresses as Joan Collins playing Alexis Carrington in Dynasty in order to get the attention of the other man. The sight of his friend in a dress has the other hero leaping the barriers of his comfort zone to try to get with him. So it’s almost as if the Joan Collins outfit is a character all its own in this book.

At any rate, it’s a charming little fun story about a guy in drag trying to nail his best friend. 😉 It will have the standard Valentine’s Day cover for sales at MLR Press and I made it a fun cover for third party distribution sites.

I’ve got other projects I need to get to next but I’ll probably take the next day or two and figure out which one should be next. Meanwhile, let’s round up this post with a lovely Marcus on this Monday morning.

Oh yum. Marcus and a fast machine. What a great combo! Everyone have a great Monday!

 

The Art of Winning

In the four years I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve probably written on this topic before. I don’t have the time this morning to slog back through four years of posts though so here I am all prepped to talk about winning an argument. Yesterday, Nikki (Motley) and I were talking about arguing with people on the net. I’ve been around the net long enough (18 years) to know there is an art to winning when people on the net are contentious. It’s simple really. You walk away.

Now, for those of you who say walking away isn’t winning, I beg to differ. First, you have to understand the very nature of arguments on the internet. You have people who feel emotion A about a subject. You have people who feel emotion B about that subject. Each side tries to convince the other to change their mind/stance. And they do this knowing full well that they have an audience who is critiquing their argument, some of whom back stance A, some of whom back stance B, some who like to stir the pot, and some who just enjoy watching the fur fly. This leads me to the key to winning.

People engaged in arguments on the net or who are watching or backing those who argue on the net are all in it for one thing…attention.  Therefore, the key to winning is to walk away. Give no attention to these people. Ignore their contentious behavior. You will come out on top guaranteed.

I know lots of you aren’t going to agree with me on this. One reason is because none of us can stop ourselves from correcting someone who has their facts wrong. This type of argument isn’t exactly the kind I mean though. I often have to answer argumentative posts on loops from people who think that just because I used Amy Grant’s Breath of Heaven in the video posted on this blog that I must be infringing on her copyright unless she gave me permission. Um, wrong. And I can prove it. Get your facts straight before you accuse me of copyright infringement. The video is posted to YouTube who has an agreement with most labels for the use of their music. And a lot of artists can’t give permission for the use of their music anyway. Oftentimes, their label owns the copyright not the artist.

So the people who want to be contentious about copyrights and videos need to be told the facts. I don’t argue with them. I state the facts baldly (as I have above) and I usually post a couple of links to articles on news sites about the agreements with the labels and a link to YouTube’s own blog that goes into detail about how the agreements work. End of the argument as far as I’m concerned. I corrected their misguided statements with the facts and at that point, I walk away because there is nothing more to be said. If the contentious person wants to keep arguing their point, they can talk to themselves and their minions. I’m not going to argue with them.

Arguing on the net is a waste of time and the ability to walk away from wasted time and emotion is definitely winning. You are not ever going to change the minds of contentious people. No amount of logic and arguing your points will make them change their stance. You truly need to understand this before you let one of these people suck you in. And those of you who get into these “debates” in order to support, protect and/or defend a friend need to be especially cognizant of the fact that you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind. The best defense of a friend is to teach them to walk away.

People left standing on their own screaming their stance like Chicken Little look pretty ridiculous and pathetic. And they look like losers. So learn to walk away from these people because it really is the only way to win.

Now that I’ve given my lesson on winning net wars, here’s another Marcus from a past post to cheer up your Monday.

A winning stance wouldn’t you say? 😉 I think so, but then I think his arms are pretty sexy. LOL I hope you all have a wonderful, contentious free Monday!

Coming Down

It’s 4 am and I’m up because I’m coming down. People who live with long term illnesses like asthma or diabetes often live on medication for the majority of their lives. It’s rare that they aren’t on anything at all. And when they’ve been on drugs for a long time and are taken off of them, weird things can happen to your body. Last week I was taken off all my asthma meds and given five days of prednisone. Steriods. Each pill is a smaller dose than the one before it so your body is weaned off of them. However, that first day with nothing leaves me with a very unhappy body.

Now, I fully understand withdrawals. Anyone who knows me knows that I live with a recovering addict. I’ve seen a lot of things related to drug use in my thirteen years with him, most notably withdrawals. And I’ve been on steriods before so I know coming down from them can sometimes leave me feeling really sick. Every time that I’ve been sick on coming down has been because I was taken off of all my asthma meds. Coming down from steriods when I was still on my other meds wasn’t too bad. Some nausea and headachiness and that’s about it. Coming down from steriods when I’ve been taken off of everything leaves me spinning.

So I’m sitting here at the moment because the pounding thunder of my head woke me. When I sat up in bed, I felt the nausea hit me. I know the sweats aren’t far behind. And I don’t know which is worse, the nausea or throwing up, which is what happened to me the last time I was in this situation.

I’m going to get a bottle of water and start the hydration process which does help flush everything out of my body. And I’ll have Rott get me ginger ale for the nausea. I’m reluctant to take anything for the headache and thus far it’s painful but not unbearable so I’ll forgo the Tylenol until I can’t take it any longer. The longer I hold out, the better off I’ll be, I know from experience.

I half expected this to happen because I’ve done this before, but I wasn’t sure how menopause would affect withdrawals. My body reacts oddly to some things now. Apparently though, this one thing hasn’t changed, which leaves me with a single observation. Coming down sucks major ass.

Anyway, I’m off to hydrate. My eyes hurt looking at the monitor anyway. I’ll leave you with a yummy Marcus as I usually do. This is another retro Marcus that I posted some years back.

That photo should help my Monday feel a little better, drug withdrawals or not! LOL Happy Monday people!

She Walks in Beauty

She Walks in Beauty

by: George Gordon (Lord) Byron (1788-1824)

HE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
 
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
 
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

By all accounts Lord Byron wasn’t all that respected by his peers but he certainly cut a dash in his world. And in the modern world we read his poetry and other works. His lover, Lady Caroline Lamb, famously described him as “mad, bad and dangerous to know” and we pay homage to him by using that phrase even today. The thing about Byron is that – love him or hate him – he definitely wasn’t someone you could ignore or forget.

I wonder at the things we find unforgettable. A woman such as the one Byron describes in She Walks in Beauty wouldn’t likely be forgotten by anyone and might even be immortalized in print, on canvas or film or through awards won. For myself, I don’t expect to be immortalized in any way. However, there are people in my life who, although they’ve no idea of it and no one would likely be able to tell with any real certainty, have been immortalized within my body of work. They may not have made an impression on the world at large but they made an impression on me and that led to them – or some small part of them – being used in one of my books.

I’m no Byron. My work isn’t likely to be read centuries from now as his is. But I still like to think that I’ve given a taste of immortality to those whom I’ve put into a book. And I thank them for whatever it was about them that captured my imagination enough to lead me to put them in a book because it was never an idea I came up with on my own but rather something they said or did that captivated me. So I thank you all for the inspiration you’ve given me, continue to give me and will give me in the future. Who needs a muse when they have friends!

So now that I’m done being weird today, I have a Marcus for you and then I’m off to tame my Monday.

Hope you all have a great day!