Rich, white people have it so hard.
That’s what I say every time I see my copy of ‘The Great Gatsby’. Actually, that’s what I say every time I see a novel where the main protagonist is a rich white guy. A tortured rich white guy, no less.
I’ve heard this glorified paperweight occasionally referred to as “a great American novel’. I actually think it was just a great excuse for F. Scott Fitzgerald to go to parties at rich people’s houses and pretend to do research.
Let me give you a run down if you’ve never managed to make it through all 218 pages.
A nondescript everyman, Nick, moves to Long Island. He meets Jay Gatsby, who is the 1920’s equivalent of a crackhead who won the lottery. He later learns that Gatsby is in love with Daisy, a bored, and slightly slutty rich housewife. Daisy is married to the pompous douche bag, Tom Buchannan. Tom’s hobbies involve hating on Gatsby, ignoring his wife, and beating up hookers.
Later, we are shocked by an amazing twist. The previously penniless Gatsby, who became rich overnight, is involved in organized crime! Seriously, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Despite how interesting this might have been, it’s never really delved into at all.
Instead, Gatsby and Daisy accidentally run over Tom Buchannan’s hooker. Daisy was driving, but she leaves Gatsby holding the bag. Gatsby gets shot by the hooker’s husband and dies. Then, everyone goes to the funeral.
Also, there was a professional golfer, who might have been a professional golfing cheater, named Jordan. She was a throwaway character who did nothing to enhance the story. My guess would be F. Scott Fitzgerald was trying to impress a chick by putting her into his novel.
That’s it, in a nutshell. Am I saying the book is terrible? No. Am I saying it’s anything special? Again, no. Much like ‘Catcher in the Rye’, I’ve never gotten peoples obsession with this book.
And now their making another fucking movie about it. So now, I’m going to be forced to listen to people, who have never even cracked the spine on the novel, talk about the symbolism. They’ll talk about how it represented the US during the prohibition. They’ll take about how it displayed the dangers of excess and I’ll roll my eyes.
You want to read a good story about rich people being crazy, get yourself a copy of “Valley of the Dolls”. If you want to read a 1920’s version of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” with characters you don’t give a shit about, then pick up a copy of The Great Gatsby.
Me, I’m going to wait until the movie comes out on video and then fast forward through the entire thing, hoping to at least get some full frontal nudity from Leonardo DiCaprio.
Because I am a saint who loves to save other people time, as well as a super judgmental movie critic, I’ve figured out the entire plot line for several new movies that just came out, based on the previews alone. Now, you won’t have to actually sit through 2 hours of these pieces of crap in order to discuss them with your friends. Instead, I have summarized everything for you.
The Croods – An under appreciated ‘everyman’ relies only on steadfast determination and bravery to save his family from certain disaster. In doing so, he regains the respect of his boy crazy, shoe crazy teenage daughter. In addition, a small, fluffy character with no decipherable species or genus will provide constant comic relief and marketing revenue. Spoiler alert: Being forced to go to this movie will make you sorry you had children.
Olympus Has Fallen – An ex or current cop, who was somehow disgraced through no fault of his own, will single handedly save the country from terrorists. The president will be played by a nondescript white guy and Morgan Freeman will occasionally show up to offer sage advice. Spoiler alert: Gerard Butler’s facial expression will not change during the entire movie.
Oz the Great and Powerful – It has been said that the reason this movie is so awesome is because ‘it’s never been done before’. Well, except for when it was actually done before in 1939. The movie will rely on special effects and we will be forced to delve into the politics of Oz. This is exactly like what they did when they made the new Star Wars movies. The new Oz will have the one thing missing that made the first one wonderful; an excellent story. Spoiler alert: Essa will watch the movie on mute just so she can look at Mila Kunis. I’m not gay, but I would totally go gay for that chick.
The Host – Think Twilight, but replace vampires and werewolves with aliens. Essa predicts some kind of love triangle, and a clumsy girl with low self esteem who had no idea of her own inner strength. Expect a very drawn out trilogy where love overcomes all obstacles. Spoiler Alert: There’s really nothing to spoil.
Oblivion – Tom Cruise will play a man much younger than himself and make us all forget how short he is. Morgan Freeman will arrive, offer some sage advice, and possibly some random trivia about penguins. Tom Cruises’ love interest will be played by a girl half his age, and who is unknown, as Tom Cruise hates to share the spotlight. The moral of the story will be that scientologists were right all along. Spoiler Alert: Being the only black guy left on planet earth, Morgan Freeman’s character will probably not see the end of the movie.
The Evil Dead – The new remake will lack the gallows humor that made the original trilogy a cult hit. However, as any fan of the franchise knows, the only good movie in the Evil Dead Trilogy was Army of Darkness. As such, there is a good chance that today’s special effects will make this fourth installment take off in a way that the original never did. Spoiler Alert: If you were a fan of the original, you are really going to miss Bruce Campbell.
Never Should Haves
GI Joe – I love Bruce Willis as much as then next gal, but another GI Joe movie? Really? The only movie I’m interested in seeing is the one that recreates my childhood GI Joe experience. GI Joe gets his face melted with a magnifying glass on a hot summer’s day.
Jurassic Park – It’s not friggen new if you just add 3d to the old one. Seriously, Spielberg, it’s like you’re making fun of me.
Odd Thomas – I loved the books, but the movie was murdered as soon as Anton Yelchin got the lead. Seriously, what other movies credits did the guy have to his name? Oh yeah, he played a cartoon albino pirate who barely spoke in the straight to video “Pirates: Band of Misfits”. That clearly qualifies him to play a tortured clairvoyant, who was the lead in a large series of bestselling books.
So there you go. I’ve summarized all of the upcoming movies based on the 12 seconds I saw, so you won’t have to waste your time writing to various actors, demanding your money back. Might I suggest instead, that you all just stay home and watch Game of Thrones? This season is going to be a good one. Jaime gets his hand cut off, and both Robb and Prince Joffrey are going to die!
Whoops, spoiler alert.
In case you all didn’t know, I’m a self published author. I’ve never tried to be traditionally published. With all the query letters and excerpts required, it just seemed like too much of a job interview for me. Instead, I decided to do my own publishing to Kindle, with the hope that if I ever developed enough of a following, it would be easier to get into print. To date, it has worked. I’ve gotten a couple of offers from agents, but I haven’t accepted anything yet.
What can I say? I’m lazy and contracts are filled with big, boring scary legal words that I don’t feel like Googling. For now, I’m staying indie.
One of the big things that I hear from other self published authors is complaints about reviews. Specifically, bad reviews. Some just agonize about their bad reviews. Others gloat and put quotes on Facebook. To both groups I say…’wow, you guys actually read your reviews?’
When I go to the Kindle boards, all I see is people bitching about their reviews. Placing them verbatim and saying ‘do you guys agree?’ People take reviews personally. They get their feelings hurt. They complain they are being bullied online.
My answer? You’re not being bullied online. By publishing, you’ve made yourself into a public figure. When you’re a public figure, people are going to hate you. They’re going to disagree with you. They’re going to create hate pages about you. Google any celebrity you can think of and I guarantee, you’re going to find at least one hate page dedicated to them. The page will be filled with inaccuracies and inflammatory words. You’ll see people just spewing hatred, accusing them of being pedophiles, puppy kickers, and all kinds of horrible things.
What you won’t see on those hate pages are the celebrities themselves commenting. Why? Because they’re too busy spending all their money. Most of them don’t even know their hate pages exist.
The first warning most new self published authors receive is the warning to never comment on their reviews. Otherwise, they’ll wind on on ‘badly behaving authors’ lists and get the Goodreads review Mafias after them. I disagree.
Why? Because no one is allowed to tell me what to say or what to think. I don’t avoid commenting on reviews out of fear. There are very few things left in this world that I am still afraid of, and none of them have to do with book reviews.
I don’t comment because I don’t care. Book reviews are opinions. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and no comment from me is going to change their opinion.
Instead, I make it a rule that I only read book reviews every six months. Then, I use statistics to get constructive feedback out of them.
For example, on Strangely Sober, one person out of 27 had a problem with my weird storyline and use of profanity. That equals a very small percentage and I’m not fixing it. However, 5 people out of 27 had a problem with my timing. That’s something I need to look into.
Review mafias who tag your book with ‘never read’ or ‘badly behaving authors’ tags only have as much power as you give them in your head. The truth is that they make up like .005% of anyone who is going to look at your book. You’re not being bullied and you’re not being harassed. People just don’t like you. A very small amount of people, and you’re just fueling their fire when you waste time responding instead of working on your next book.
So, when you ask me ‘how do I respond to a bad review’ my response is always going to be, ‘why are you reading your reviews at all?’
If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to get into flame wars on the internet, then you don’t need my help. Just continue taking every single criticism personally and you can spend all your free time arguing with strangers on Goodreads and Amazon instead.
I’ll stick to writing and I’ll wave to you from the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list.
Subject – A.J. Goode of A Good One
Location – some bushes outside a townhouse in London, England
I crouch down on the ground, being sure to stay out of sight as A.J. and I go through the inventory for tonight’s adventure. She picks up a carton of eggs and pops it open to make sure we have a full dozen.
“I have to say, I was skeptical when you wanted to come all the way to England to do my interview, but now, I’m pretty sure this is the best interview ever!”
I check my duffel bag and count out the rolls of toilet paper. Another even dozen. We are going to destroy this bitch’s house. “I know,” I peer up at a window on the second floor. “Now we just have to wait for her to go to sleep.”
A.J. snorts. “She’ll probably be up all night, stealing characters from other writer’s novels and turning them into pornographic caricatures for one of her alleged ‘books’.”
I can only hope she’s wrong. I didn’t come all the way to England just to crouch in E.L. James’ bushes. I have vandalism planned. Sure, it’s immature, but so am I. I let out a whoosh of air as the light in the upstairs room goes off. The half assed hack has finally gone to bed.
A.J. stands up, egg in hand, ready to launch her attack. Suddenly, I notice movement next to a Mercedes parked in the driveway. I grab A.J. by the wrist and yank her back down into the bushes.
“Shit, someone is here.” I focus on the car and try to see what’s going on. A figure, all in black, is squatted next to one of the rear tires. She looks oddly familiar.
A.J. recognizes her too. “Is that Stephenie Meyer?”
“Yeah, what the hell is she doing here?” I stand and walk over to her. “Stephenie Meyer?”
She spins around, looking guilty and I notice she has an air cap in her hand. “That’s me.”
“What are you doing here?” A.J. has joined us.
She looks down at the cap in her hand. “I come here once a week to let all the air out of E.L. James’ tires. What are you guys doing here?”
“We’re here to vandalize her house, and also to do a featured blogger interview.” I tug on A.J.’s arm, “We’ll let you get back to work.”
A.J. and I return to the bushes and pick up our supplies. She takes an egg out of the carton and launches it in a beautiful overhand throw that splatters all over the front door. “Damn, that was satisfying.”
I nod in agreement and pull out my tape recorder.
Tell us about your site, A Good One. What inspired you to write it? What are your goals with it?
I started blogging as a way of getting into the habit of writing every day. It’s sort of a mixed bag of ideas and stories on topics that include parenting, writing, and dealing with ADHD, Depression, and chronic pain – without being a journal about self-pity and whining. I’m trying to convey the idea that there is always hope, that things can always get better.
Initially, I was inspired by a horrible little troll who uses her blog here to slander some of my friends on another site. When I saw how she hurt people by doing the wrong thing with her words, I felt inspired to start a blog that could do the right thing with mine. I want to use my blog to lift others up, not tear them down.
I hope that writing this bog will help me hone my writing skills and habits. I’d like to make a few people laugh or smile or at least relate to something I write. Overall, it’s about accountability. If I’m going to call myself a writer, and blog about trying to be a writer, then I have to write. I have to follow through.
What writing projects are you working on right now?
I am working on a novel that is tentatively called “Her House Divided”. It’s a romantic fiction about a woman rebuilding her life after a devastating injury, and a man who would do anything to preserve the historic waterfront property they have inherited together. The opening chapters took third place in the Series Contemporary category of this year’s Launching a Star competition.
I also have a short story called “A Walk In The Woods” that may have to become a YA novel because it just keeps growing. It has become one of those projects that I don’t even enjoy anymore but I can’t seem to walk away from it. It’s about the disappearance of a child in a very small town, told from the point of view of a teen who is related to the main suspect.
How much booze does it take you to write a sex scene? What’s your drink of choice?
I have a real weakness for hard cider and German wines, although there’s nothing like an ice-cold Coors on a hot day. Whichever one I choose, I have to drink just enough to feel all warm and friendly, but not enough to get silly. Otherwise, my characters end up doing inexplicable things that have nothing to do with sex, and I just have to sober up and rewrite everything.
Does the popularity of 50 Shade of Gray make you lose faith in humanity too?
Ugh. I don’t understand why people are gobbling up those books. They are badly written, with poorly-defined and unbelievable characters, and the sex scenes aren’t the least bit of a turn-on. Honestly, it feels like something that was written by a virgin with rape fantasies and lots of batteries.
You know, I actually remember it when it was a “Twilight” fanfiction called “Master of the Universe”. It broke so many rules of Fanfiction.Net, but she was one of those arrogant butthurts who thought she was above the rules because she was just so damn special. Because of her and the negative attention she brought down on the site, Fanfction.Net had to redefine their M and MA ratings and step up enforcement, which has led to the deletion of thousands of stories.
You were diagnosed with ADHD. Have you always had it, or was it adult onset. How do you deal with it?
I was diagnosed with ADHD shortly after the birth of my second child, I’ve tried everything from Ritalin to Stratterra to Adderall, but now I’m just trying to manage it with life skills I’ve had to learn. Lots of to-do-lists, lots of routines, lots of planning. I’ve learned a lot from Martha Cilley’s book “Sink Reflections” and her website Flylady.Net. She’s dangerously perky. But the organizational tips have been life-saving for me.
Although my house was MUCH cleaner when I had my Adderall. Good stuff.
Same question, insert depression.
The Depression diagnosis is fairly new, although I think I’ve probably had bouts of it my entire life. I’m in therapy twice a month, and we’re still figuring out whether to go the medication route or not. Right now, I pretty much deal with it by writing about it and trying to spend time with people who raise me up.
You can bring back one person from the dead to ask them one question. Who do you bring back and what do you ask?
Laura Ingalls Wilder. “Who really wrote your books, you or your daughter?”
You used to work as a cosmetologist. Did you ever have a major screw up, like you shaved a bad spot into their head or waxed off an eyebrow. Tell us about it.
In beauty school, I gave a perm to a woman who had used Sun-In on her hair. When the perm solution hit the Sun-In, the chemical reaction literally melted the hair. I took off the processing cap and a bunch of perm rods hit the floor, with hair still wrapped around them. Legally, it wasn’t my fault because the client had lied about the products in her hair, but I was so upset I threw up for days.
Lesson learned: Never lie to your hairdresser. Ever.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Brach’s Double-Dippers. Those, and my unfortunate addiction to fanfiction and the early music of R.E.M.
The quote you want on your tombstone?
The same one that’s on my father’s: Humor is God’s Gift.
I put away my tape recorder as I appraise the damage A.J. and I have done. The rolls of toilet paper and eggs have been put to good use.
“Nicely done.” We both turn around as Stephenie Meyer comes to stand with us, admiring the absolute mess we have made. There is not a square inch that isn’t covered in egg or toilet paper.
“I thought you didn’t mind that E.L. James stole your characters to write her shitty books.”
Stephenie snorts. “My publicist made me say that. In reality, I hope her ‘inner goddess’ fucking chokes to death.”
A.J. and I smile. We couldn’t agree more.
If you want to check out A.J.’s site, she can be found at A Good One.
I’ve written my own posts on hate mail and how I responded to it, but I’ve never considered any of my new blogger friends and how you guys deal with it. For that, I’m sorry. I wish I had done an FQ before, because you probably would have felt a lot better about getting your hate mail. It happens to everyone and you are not alone.
I’ll never forget my first piece of hate mail. I pulled open an unapproved comment on my WordPress site, expecting a comment agreeing with me or telling a funny story. Instead, I was confronted with a message that called me a fat, ugly bitch. I started to sweat and my hands started to shake. I was furious and terrified all at the same time. I wasn’t sure how to respond. So, instead, I went and I looked in my bathroom mirror.
Then I realized that I was still smoking hot and still height weight appropriate. My shoulders slumped in relief as I realized I was dealing with a “troller”.
There is a difference between hate mail and between comments that just disagree with you. Hatemail is designed to make you feel sad and hurt. It’s designed to get a rise out of you. Disagreeing comments are just that. They are comments from people that just disagree with you. If you can’t handle a dissenting opinion, I can’t help you. If you’re going to write, then you need to be prepared to argue with people that think you are an idiot. Dissent makes the world go round
But you shouldn’t have to deal with hate mail and you should NEVER back down on your own turf. Hate mail threatens you. It attacks you as a person, instead of offering reason based arguments. So how the hell do you deal with it?
Essa Alroc has your back. Since my first hate mail comment, I’ve gotten over 200 hate mail comments that go straight to my spam box. Sometimes I ignore, sometimes I respond. But I don’t take it personally and my hands don’t shake when a hate mail letter shows up anymore.
Instead, I get a rush of adrenaline and my fingers tingle as I realize that I am about to win.
So how do you do that? How do you let it roll off your back and get all badass like me? Well my friends, it’s a four step process.
#1…Ignore. Most hate mail is designed to get a rise out of you in order to get attention. Always remember, it is not about you. It is about your troller and the fact that they want site hits. If you’re like me, you smirk, roll your eyes and delete.
#2…You email. I almost always give my hate mailers one chance to take back what they said. If you have an email address, respond to them. Ask what their problem is. One of my earliest hate mailers was a guy named Jack. I responded to his voracious comment in private email and we actually opened a dialog. I realized he did not 100% understand one of my posts and we discussed it. He made some good points and so did I. He is now a good friend and a regular follower.
#3…You respond in the comments. For this, you must be prepared for an argument. (If they’re hate mailers, then they’re comments will lack logic and soon, you’re followers will take care of them for you.) However, if the comments are really pissing you off, you can change them. For example, some hateful idiot was stupid enough to send me this message.
I changed it to this.
You’ll notice that I mention occasionally that ‘Essaland is not a democracy’. That’s because it’s true. You can change comments. You can make your responders look like idiots. You can fuck with them endlessly because when they come to your page, they need to play by your rules. Never forget that. Your site is your kingdom. If you’re going to be a blogger, you need to defend it.
#4…You ask for an Essa intervention. This is a last resort, but it is still an option. If you’ve found my hidden site, you know that I have some rudimentary HTML skills and that fucking with people is a hobby of mine. If someone is coming to your page, attacking you, and you don’t know what to do, then feel free to contact me. I’m always available to attack and violate someone who thinks they own the internet. Seriously, it’s like crack to me.
If you’re going to write, then you need to be prepared for criticism. If you can defend your position, you’re always a mile ahead of anyone who chooses to go with personal attacks. However, if they’ve gone too far, if they’ve attempted to hack your site, of if they’ve started attacking you personally, then maybe its time to take it a step father.
If so, it only takes two minutes to send an email. You know where my contact page is. Send it.
FYI, last cunt who tried to attack my page, consider me Dikembe Mutombo. Not in my house bitch. I might have ignored you, with your stupid little response, but then you tried to insert a half assed codec. You’ll be hearing from me later. Let’s hope you have some money saved for a new computer….
Subject: H.E. Ellis of the same name site H.E. Ellis
Location; Rural New Hampshire in wintertime
I peer out the window of the airport and all I can see is white. A cabbie takes my suitcase and comments on what a mild spring day it is. I am unable to respond as we step out the door; my lips have frozen to my teeth. Four cab rides, a horse drawn carriage, a skidoo and a four mile snow shoe hike later, I collapse in a heap by a mailbox. After a moment, a woman exits the small farmhouse and walks to the mailbox. She is wearing a tank top and jean shorts.
“Boy, that groundhog was right. Spring came early.” She pulls open the mailbox and rolls her eyes as she goes through a stack of letters. “More fucking hate mail for Jodi Picoult. I am not Jodi Picoult!” She finally notices me shivering in a heap on the ground. “Who are you?”
I come to a halting stand and reach out a trembling hand. “Mrgly flurgron di..” My lips are still frozen to my teeth. I try again. “I’m Essa and you must be H.E. Ellis. I’m here to interview you.” I look around. “Or I’ve died and hell is a frozen, barren wasteland.”
She shrugs. “It’s the only place the cops won’t find me. Let’s head into the house. This weather is terrible.
“Tell me about it. I…”
“I’m sweating my ass off out here.” She leads the way into the house, her flip flops slapping the ground. I follow her in as quickly as my frozen limbs will allow and pull out my tape recorder.
Of all places, why rural New Hampshire?
I survived a south Florida driveby. No really.
I spent most of my childhood moving from one shitty south Florida shantytown to the next. By the time I was fifteen I had gotten myself so deep into trouble that my mother sent me to live with my father in sunny, suburban, whitebread Connecticut. Talk about a culture shock. From there I followed a boy to rural New Hampshire and have been blissfully happy with my adopted hometown ever since. Seriously, there is no place on Earth like my little corner of New Hampshire. Well, maybe Nebraska…
How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
Three years ago I won a writing contest by submitting my suicide note. No really.
I am sure at some point on my blog I’ve spoken of how I got into writing by submitting a piece of flash fiction to a local contest that I ended up winning, but I doubt I included the dark place I was in when I wrote it. It is in essence my suicide note, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Enough people have asked me about how I got started writing that I have made a sub-page on my blog under ABOUT ME where I go into detail describing what actually led up to me becoming a writer.
You can find it here:
HOW IT ALL BEGAN http://heellisgoa.com/about/how-it-all-began/
Tell us about your website.
I like to think of my blog as a giant, empty warehouse where all the coolest people gather to throw the most awesome parties. Hardly anyone knows about it, and on it’s own it doesn’t have much to offer, but when uber bloggers drop in it’s instantly transformed into a virtual Studio 57. Truly, it’s my fellow bloggers who make it great.
Tell us about The Gods of Asphalt series.
The GOA series closely, I mean very closely parallels my life. I am surrounded by boys and men constantly, each with vastly differing personalities, and all of them volatile. As the only adult female my job became that of a living translator, attempting and often times failing at getting the males to understand each other. I began to wonder how men would get along without women to soften their world or give them comfort. From there I decided I would write a series about a family of men without wives or grandmothers or girlfriends. Each book would be written from the perspective of a different man struggling to find his place within the family and a need for love in his life.
In your Gods of Asphalt series, and the majority of your books, the characters are written from a male POV. Do you find it difficult to write a POV for a different gender and also, how do you do it?
I wish I could tell you that I have some amazing God-given talent that lets me adopt any manner of literary voice I wish but sadly, I cannot. I find it nearly impossible to write from the POV of a female for reasons I couldn’t begin to fathom. When I first started my blog I actually toyed with the idea of writing it as a man, but chickened out at the last second. Came close to pulling it off, though.
The Reapers with Issues series is a collaboration among you and a few other authors. How do you manage that? Tell us about your partners for this series as well as the inspiration for it.
When my friend S. Quinn Shaw was diagnosed with a terminal illness, my ex-husband Mikhail and I joined her at a Maine beach house owned by our mutual friend, Tom Elias. We spent that long fourth of July weekend lending her support and sharing her pain. Well somewhere between the lobster and beer we came up with a storyline that just cracked us all up. We imagined a typical family business with a patriarch who was soon to retire, a bevy of sons all clamoring for his job, the bastard son who comes out of nowhere, and the outside hires who are the only ones actually doing any work. From there we plugged in characters: God as the dad, the Archangels as his sons, Lucifer as the “black sheep” and Jesus as the bastard/favorite son. The Four Horsemen are the outsiders who try to do the best they can while the family business is in turmoil. The story practically wrote itself.
As far as a collaboration is concerned, we all contributed to the entire storyline, with me agreeing to write the first two novels and Tom Elias writing the remaining two. I guess the biggest secret about REAPERS is that we never set out to write it for real; we were all just amusing ourselves at a very dark time in our lives. But Quinn insisted that there was a story to be told, and so we did. I think she enjoyed having power over the “Reaper” and I know it made her more comfortable to demystify the afterlife. Thus, REAPERS WITH ISSUES, a title she came up with, was born. Quinn liked to joke that my name shares book cover billing with my ex-husband, my current love interest, and my dead best friend. That’s got to be some kind of record.
What song do you have in your music library that you would be ashamed to have anyone see?
Song? As in only one? Let’s see..I have more Rap music than I’d care to admit. Mostly what I have is music from my kids’ generation that I have to listen to in secret so they don’t think I am trying to be “cool.” For example, I know every word of EVERYWHERE I GO by Hollywood Undead and will belt it out every chance I get when I am alone. Google that shit at your own peril.
Favorite illicit substance?
True Absinthe. What can I say? I’m a closet Goth.
If you had to get rid of any state in the US, which one would it be and why?
MASSACHUSETTS. Anyone from New England knows why.
Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Same sex couples are encouraged.
Gordon Ramsay and Tim Gunn. They are the perfect Yin and Yang couple if you ask me. They both work in industries where perfection, sophistication and creativity are mandatory, yet each one brings out the best in their underlings in two completely different ways. I think I could be successful at anything I wanted to do in life with the two of them to guide me- one strong and driven, demanding only the highest of standards, one thoughtful and supportive who would encourage me to be the best I could be. Sigh…if only.
Of all the various positions in the Kama Sutra, which one do you believe is most likely to cause serious permanent injury and why?
I’ll be honest…I had to look up positions of the Kama Sutra and all I’ve got to say is that at 4’11″ the CATAPULT is right out.
Are you absolutely sure you’re not Jodi Picoult?
Hmm…let me think about this for a moment. I am not a New Hampshire woman who brags about what a great writer she is because she has the guts to write stories about a child who has cancer or a woman who has cancer or a woman who becomes a lawyer in order to defend a child who has cancer or a woman who dies of cancer while in childbirth…ad nauseam.
I am simply a writer who has donated all of the proceeds from her novels to a child who actually has cancer. If you’d like to help a brave young girl by contributing to a worthy cause greater than anything Ms. Picoult could ever write about, please visit www.wristsaroundtheworld.com
I’m putting away my tape recorder right now to write a somewhat squishy fan letter to H.E. Ellis. It’s not often that I find another ‘chick-with-balls’ writing on the web. By chick with balls, I mean someone who is willing to go no-holds-barred, not afraid to offend, no subject is forbidden…but still knows how to be funny. When it comes to hate mail, I have to say women who write like we do get the most. Why? Because we’re not acting like ‘ladies.’
I’m sure H.E. Ellis would totally agree with me when I say I’d rather be funny than be considered a lady. In fact, if you ask me, being a lady sounds boring as fuck. Rock on H.E. Ellis.
To anyone out there who likes the kind of humor that is displayed at Essa on Everything, I urge you to visit H.E. Ellis’ site. She’s like me, but if I grew up and got way better at grammar. If you want to check her out, head over to her site: H.E. Ellis
Happy Friday everyone. I came up with an idea for weekly postings that I want to get feedback on. Recently, I collaborated with another site for an award and it was pretty fun. It also allowed us to find new followers who might be interested in our sites because of cross promotion.
Seriously, business school was so worth the $50k. I learned about cross promotion and how to work a beer bong.
Anyway, this is something I’d like to do here. I have a lot of regular commenters and a lot of awesome blogs that I follow. Once a week, I would like to feature one of these bloggers on my site. For each featured blogger, I would do an interview (filled with profanity and many ridiculous, inappropriate questions) and links to the bloggers page. If you are an author and blogger, I would be willing to add links to your Amazon page or other sites for your books.
What’s in it for me? Nothing more than the enjoyment of asking people I’ve never met in person invasive, personal questions. We had to know that would be a huge draw for me.
If you think you might be interested, feel free to comment below or send me a message by my contact form.
A few weeks back, I did a post about getting started in freelance writing. A lot of people liked it, and a lot more had questions. One very big question I got was if you can get paid for doing book reviews. I mean, I get it. If you’re a reader so it sounds like an awesome job, right? Free books, tell your opinion, get paid. Well, it’s not quite that simple and there are a few pitfalls.
If you can believe it, there is a bit of scandal in something as boring as the history of book reviews. Let me tell you about it.
Once upon a time, there was a man named John Locke. He wrote delightful little novels about a spy named Donavon Creed. They were mind candy. He made a million dollars…and he did it all through self publishing on the kindle platform. He handled all his own marketing because on top of being a writer, he was also a businessman.
Turns out, he was a slightly unethical businessman. See, he paid for people to get his book and give him reviews. He also paid people to leave bad reviews on the books of competitors. For him, it was all a game of math. Beat the Amazon ranking system; make it to the top 10 of the fiction section. Stay there for weeks thanks to the momentum. It was a genius evil plan of cat-stoking-maniacal-laugh proportions. Locke beat the house. He won the internet.
Then people found out and shit rolled downhill. Amazon, concerned about the credibility of their ranking system, started deleting reviews. They did it in bulk. Accounts that were known for accepting money for reviews were banned. The reviewing system fell apart.
Then came the mobs and their pitchforks. Readers were pissed at authors for conning them. Some would go as far as to organize online attacks and destroy author’s rankings on Goodreads and Amazon. Authors didn’t behave any better. They got into arguments in the forums with the reviewers that left reviews for them. They attacked book bloggers on their blogs.
All of this did two things. It eliminated your ability to get directly paid for book reviews, but it also created a niche market. The niche market is the need for book reviewers for indie books. Reputable indie reviewers. Because of the online flame wars, many popular book blogs no longer review indie books. If you can establish a good following of readers, you can make bank on an indie book blog.
The trick is not to get paid directly for reviews. Instead, it’s to get paid through offering an advertising forum. See, a self published author is always looking for cheap ways to advertise their free days or discount books. Authors find these sites by searching Google for high ranking indie blogs so we can cheaply advertise our books. If you’re popular, you can get a flood of requests for reviews and a flood of request for advertising. Free books and paid advertising. You make out on two fronts.
Check out sites like Captivated Reading, Underground Book Reviews or the delightfully named Insatiable Book Sluts to see what I’m talking about. These reviewers are hobbyist reviewers, so they have credibility, but they can also make money by allowing paid advertising on their sites. Not all of them do. Some only review out of love for reading, but they all have the kind of credibility and following you need. If you want to get paid for reviewing books, that’s what you need to do. Above all, your credibility and your following decide your price.
By credibility, I mean you don’t just review only the books you like. You must be willing to be a critic. You tell people what you honestly thought of the book. Here’s where it could kind of suck.
You might get a psycho author. Not all indies understand professionalism. They might seem normal in the beginning, but if you pan their book for bad writing or an unbelievable plot, they will cyber stalk you. They are few and far between, I promise, but they do occasionally poke their heads out. You can avoid this by checking out their webpage ahead of time. If they spend most of their time ranting about their Amazon reviews, or complain about being bullied by reviewers, that is a shit storm you want no part of.
If you are an author as well as a reviewer, you might want to consider separating those for your book blog. Some people are suspicious of reviewers who are also authors. It doesn’t mean your opinions aren’t completely above board, but you if you have a horse in the race, its hard to be unbiased. Why do you think I hate every single book above mine on Amazon? Because I’m a jealous bitch.
Getting started in book reviewing is as easy as actually reviewing books. Get onto Amazon, write in depth reviews for the books you’ve read. Write honest reviews. Don’t get into online flame wars with authors. Build your reviewing credibility and offer the option to advertise for indies. A lot of huge sites started out as small book blogs that gained a huge following.
Also, if you need a book to get started, feel free to contact me. I give out free print copies to review sites, along with free naked pictures** to those who give me good reviews.
** Free naked pictures feature middle-aged Bea Arthur, not author.
After Christmas letdown. I remember it being a lot more severe when I was a kid. Maybe it’s because its such a relief that Christmas is over. Maybe it’s because I’ve replaced the letdown with a more adult version. It’s called ‘the hangover’. It’s mainly that same, sluggish, depressed feeling, but the adult version includes vomiting.
You know what a great cure for after Christmas
hangover letdown is? Downloading one of my new books onto that awesome new kindle you got. Let me take you to a beautiful, magical place, where Gary Busey is a valid authority figure and casual drug use is considered a life calling.
First off, if you’re the commitment shy type, my novella, The Apology, is free for the next three days. This book is the literary equivalent of a bar fly. Very little time commitment and it doesn’t expect you to spend any money on it. Also, like that experienced bar fly, it is fantastic in bed and will do dirty, dirty things to you. Well, not really, but sex sells. Let’s just say it’s good. It even has alpacas. Trust me, you’ll love it.
If you have read my first book, Strangely Sober and liked it, then the second installment, Asymmetric Angels, is out today. If you read my first book, Strangely Sober, and hated it, why the hell are you still reading my blog? That’s just weird.
Or you can see the book that started it all. Satisfied readers have said things like “I think you would have to be on something to read this book!”. Ok, that was actually a quote from my 1 star review, but it looks much more positive when there’s an exclamation point added, don’t you think? Really though, some people actually liked it. You should check it out. You might be one of those people.
Today, I looked slightly to the right of my computer screen and realized that my site counter for the release of my next book, Asymmetric Angels, has significantly less time on it than it used to.
When the hell did that happen?
I currently have three days to finish my next 100k word book, if I want to get it to my proofreader in time for the December 26 release. Is it done? Mostly. It’s all written in my head. It’s just getting the damn words down on paper that’s the pain in the ass.
When are they going to invent mind reading dictation software? It’s the 21st Century for Gods sake. We should all be riding around in hover cars, living in space, and I should be able to write my novels while I’m sleeping.
Anywho, I’d say all together I have about 20k words left to go. That’s not so bad. Mainly just closing up plot holes and writing the ending with enough lose ends to allow me leeway into the third and final book. But I can’t get it done. Why? Because I’m the words biggest procrastinator and I have the attention span of a baby goldfish. To give you all an idea of what I’m dealing with here, below is an inside look into my writing process.
An insanely hot girl sits at a crappy computer desk in a small suburb outside of the Orlando metro area. She scratched her chin thoughtfully. “Is this a chin hair?” Tug, tug, tug. “How the hell did it get so long? How did I not notice this before?” Tug, tug, tug. She takes her hand away from her face. “What was I doing again? Oh, yeah. Novel. Must finish novel.” She cracks her knuckles and lights another cigarette. She types a few words on the screen. Reads them out loud. Deletes them all again. Lifts her coffee mug to take a sip. “Argh! When the hell did I put a cigarette out in this!” Spits out coffee disgustedly and notices her overflowing ashtray. Stomps off to the kitchen to get new, cigarette-butt-free coffee and empty ashtray. Returns and sits back down. “Where was I again? Oh, yeah. Novel.” Begins to type when she sees a small, moving dot on her screen. “Is that an ant? Where the hell did an ant come from?” She climbs out of her chair, peering suspiciously, and begins to follow the ant as it crawls off her screen. She tracks it across her desk, down her wall and all the way to her bathroom before she loses track of it. Sighing deeply, she returns to her computer and sits back down. “What was I doing again? Oh, yeah. Novel.” She begins typing and scratches her chin thoughtfully. “Is this a chin hair?” Tug, tug, tug.
Anyway, as you all can see what I’m dealing with here, I really need to buckle down if I’m going to get this done. Until this book is safely nestled in the arms of my proofreader, I’m going to be offline, but I’ll be back soon, sharing my mild disdain and skewered world perspective for all your entertainment.
Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I really have to go take care of this chin hair.