Thursday, April 28, 2011

Self-Esteem, Bullies, and Glee

I know there have been complaints that Glee hasn't been as good this season as last, but I'm not sure that's true. I will admit, overall I'm not as excited about the music as I was last year, but the stories (for the most part) are better. Sure, they are still over-the-top and include stuff that would never fly in a real school, but I like that they are dealing with Kurt and Santana's sexuality and how it relates to their lives at school, drinking, and this week's bullying episode. Within the craziness penned, there is always a heavy thread of truth.

This week, they did a great job of showing the importance of self-acceptance, including among the adults. Or should I say adult? Because really, Will's acceptance of his cleft chin was something of a joke. But Emma admitting her OCD was well done. I wish they'd have gone further among the adults though for the simple reason that no matter how okay with ourselves we might be, everyone I know has something that they don't like about themselves (or at the very least question). I think they kind of missed a teaching opportunity with that.

But even more so, the lack of any Sue Sylvester story paralleling the Lauren Zizes/Quinn Fabray bullying story was a mistake. I know that Sue sub-plots tend to take over (if for no reason other than Jane Lynch steals every scene she's in), but if ever there was an episode that needed her, this was it. Whether we like it or not, bullying doesn't stop in high school. It doesn't even stop in college.

Sad fact of life: bullying never stops.

One example? The Judy Mays (Mrs. Buranich) mess. The woman, who has taught high school English for twenty-five years, is being persecuted by a group of parents because she *gasp* writes erotic romance. According to a quick Amazon search, she's been publishing for seven years, but it seems now it's an issue. It's not. A group of bullies just wants to make it into one. That's a nice blatant example, and it's caused a chunk of the writing industry to stand up and get behind her (in less than 24 hours the "Support Judy Mays (Mrs. Buranich)" Facebook page has garnered nearly 4500 "likes").

There are other, less obvious things than that. Another author had someone call her out on one of her youtube videos as being narcissistic. Um...really? Based on youtube? Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure most people who post themselves on youtube either think well of themselves or fake it for the camera. The author in question posted on her blog about her right to be whoever the hell she wants to be. She shouldn't have to do that. She's a human being and doesn't have to fit into anyone's mold of "right" but her own.

But she isn't the only one who's dealt with stuff like this. There are certain people out there who have at times chosen me as their target. Thankfully, I know better. I put up with bullies throughout school. These people have nothing on Brian from third grade, or the girls from fifth, or... Back then, I took the bullying really badly. Now? I kind of find the whole thing funny. Do I still react? Sure. I'm human. But in the end I just laugh because really the only thing those people are proving is that they can't get past school-yard mentality.

In the meantime, I'm thinking about making my own Gleek-tastic t-shirt...just as soon as I'm not busy writing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

What the Hell Is a Manwhore?

If you follow myself or my fantastic crit partner Katee Robert on Twitter, you'll have seen us mention how we're really the same person...just separated by most of the country and about fourteen years. Recently, you'll also have seen us tweeting about something we're calling Seleste and Katee's School for Manwhores. This new project came about after several discussions about men we know who have earned the title Manwhore but don't necessarily know how to be good at it. Posts here for the school are likely to be laden with profanity and innuendo (I can't say the same for Katee's blog, but if it's the case there too, I'm sure she'll let you all know herself ;) ). If you don't like profanity or innuendo, I strongly suggest you skip my every-other-week Monday posts and go poke around here instead.

For those of you who stuck around, without further ado, I give you Seleste and Katee's School for Manwhores.

Lesson #1: What is a Manwhore?

To the uninitiated, the word manwhore looks like an insult. It seems like the kind of thing a woman would say with a sneer on her face and venom on her lips. This, however, is not the case. Sure, like any other word, some women could attempt to turn it into a slur, but a true manwhore will simply laugh them off because they love who they are and aren't afraid to show it.

Simply put, a manwhore is a man who loves sex, flirtation and the chase. He might love it more than he loves breathing, and this love most likely has gotten him in trouble a time or two.

"But, Seleste, all men love sex." (I can hear you saying this to me right now. Really. It's getting kind of loud in here.)

I can't say all, but yes, most men love sex. For a manwhore it's different though. For them, it's like food, or water, or (as I mentioned) air. Without it, they wither into something less than what they are. They understand this about themselves and embrace it. They tend to be very confident and fairly alpha in their demeanor. They are the men who walk into a room and own it without even trying. Most of the manwhores I know have wicked senses of humor and sharp tongues--they are often fans of snark.

Those are the most common signs of a manwhore. Beyond that, if you aren't used to seeing them, they can be rather hard to spot. Part of the reason for this is anyone can be a manwhore. Old, young, skinny, fit, hefty, single, divorced, dating, married...none of their other "definers" matter. Well, okay, it is impossible for a woman (who is not transgender) to be a manwhore (more on this in later weeks). What this means though is everyone out there probably knows a manwhore (likely more than one), you just might not know that you do.

After reading all this, some of you are probably wondering precisely why I said "manwhore" isn't an insult. The reason for that is simple. A manwhore owns his title. While he may not admit to it in certain circles, that's only because he's smart enough to know it wouldn't go over well. He's not ashamed of it--at all.

I'm the type of person who respects people who are real--no facades to hide behind, no glamours to see through. Because of that, I have a certain respect for manwhores, especially those who do it right. Which brings us right back to the reason for the school. Plus, for those of you who aren't fans of the manwhore, you might learn enough to avoid them ;-)

So, how many of you will own up to it? How many manwhores do you know? Are you one yourself?

Next week, we'll be at Katee's place. I do hope you'll stop by there as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Unexpected Alliances

We see it in literature all the time: the arch enemy comes in to aid the hero in his hour of need. Or at the very least stays his hand to keep from killing the hero. Vader saving Luke from the Emporer. Barbosa joining up with Sparrow. It isn't quite as common as "boy meets girl", but it's definitely not a rare thing. Like most genre fiction tropes, I tend to look at it from the "does this shit ever really happen?" perspective.


Turns out...yes, yes it does.


There is this person I know. We're not friends, never really were. At best we're acquaintances who have each other's phone numbers. For a while, our interaction was borderline hostile. Worst enemy? Probably not, but far from someone I ever expected to "save the day" if I fell into damsel-in-distress mode.

That was until last week. My mother-in-law was on her way to my house. I had thirty minutes until she was at my door, and someone had just thrown me into a screaming, crying rage. I wanted to break things and hurt people (yes, I have a violent temper--get over it). Considering my husband's mother was about to arrive...this was not a good place to be. I knew I needed to talk to someone, but every single friend I could think of would want to know what was wrong. In detail. And it would have just made me spiral deeper in the wrong direction. a fit of panic, I called the one person who I figured wouldn't give a shit what was going on. (See above) Why? Because sometimes I don't want my hand held. I don't want to hear that it'll be fine (which is bullshit as often as not). And I certainly don't want to re-hash everything. I just want a distraction. And what better distraction than randomly calling someone who you don't really get along with? Assuming they don't hang up (a risk to be sure), the worst that will happen is you'll end up in a fight...which is still a distraction.

Imagine my surprise when I said, "I just need you to talk to me; I don't care about what," the person on the other end did just that. By the time my mother-in-law showed up, I was not only laughing instead of crying, but I didn't want to get off the phone. We ended up talking for almost an hour before I felt like I had to go and be a civil hostess.

Sometimes, help does come from corners where you'd least expect it.

Oddly enough, as I started typing this post, that same person texted me today. Are we friends now? Maybe. I'm really not sure. For all I know, there are ulterior motives on the other end of things. Reality is I'm okay with that--I kind of expect it. But if there aren't? That'd be great too. I'd love to be able to say the enemy to friend thing does happen upon occasion.

Thanks for the positive energy. Hope I can pay it back sometime :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is This Thing On?

Hey all, I'm back from RT. Sadly I came back sick (whoever got me sick...I'm not very happy with you). So, I'm not doing a big blog post here this week. Today I'm at From the Shadows doing an interview about Badlands, and tomorrow I'll have my RT roundup go live at Wicked Lil Pixie's. Hopefully next week I'll be back to my old self and have something mind-alteringly brilliant to post here :P In the meantime, please visit my other haunts this week.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Find me at RT!

I've been talking about it for a while, but tomorrow I finally take of for the Romantic Times Booklovers' Convention in LA! This is my first con as a published author and I'm really geeked. Not only will I get the chance to meet a lot of my author friends I only know from online, but I get to meet people--real people!-- who read my books. Crazy excited about it. So, if you are one of those readers who wants to meet me, I'm going to give a list of activities I'll definitely be at (bolded) and others I'll probably be at so you can find me.


8pm (I think)--Decadent Publishing's field trip to the Viper Room to see Run Devil Run.


Morning--at the agent/editor pitches, seeing who I can see :)

Afternoon--various panels

3:25 pm -- I'll probably at least pop into the Carina Press publisher spotlight

6:30 pm-- Saucy Siren's through History

9 pm -- Ellora's Cave Bollywood Party


Morning--at the agent/editor pitches, seeing who I can see :)

Afternoon--various panels

8:30pm--Venetian Masquerade Faery Ball



1:30pm--Club RT briefly for Decadent Publishing spotlight

2:45pm--Steampunk Social

4:00pm--E-book Expo (signing)

6:00pm--Avon's Dusk to Dark Mixer

8:00pm--Vampire Ball


11:00am--Giant Book Fair (Signing as YA writer-me, Julie Particka)

5:00pm--Mr. Romance Competition

8:00pm--Carina Press Cocktail Hour

9:00pm--Harlequin Hollywood Glam party

If you're going to be there, I hope you pop by and say hi at some point!