Rules, broken

“Any halfway decent artist can outline,” she sneered.

You can’t sneer a statement.

She raised her eyes to his.

What’d she do, pick them up off the floor?

Long ago and far away, when I first had this thing called a critique group, a thing that was foreign to me, I was taught these “rules.” I had never heard of these “rules.” I didn’t know what was wrong with raising one’s eyes or sneering one’s reply. I found such phrasings helpful and I read lots of books that had such things in it, lots of books by famed (and good) authors.

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The Proviso rebooted

You know how when you’re in a discussion and it’s really animated and you have things to say but you don’t get to because the discussion’s going by too fast and then you forget until you go home and you’re cracking wise to yourself because you really are that witty, but your timing’s shit and you go to bed annoyed because you didn’t think of it when it really mattered?

And you know how you laugh at a joke you don’t understand because everyone is laughing and you don’t want to look stupid, but you forget about it until, like, seven years later you come across the joke and you’ve lived a little between then and now, and now you get it and it’s hilarious?

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The little things that do not show

“All day I did the little things, the little things that do not show; I brought the kindling for the fire, I put the candles in a row, I filled a bowl with marigolds, the shallow bowl you love the best—and made the house a pleasant place where weariness might take its rest.”

—Blanche Bane Kuder
The Blue Bowl

Decluttering my mind

1. Vomit blue ink all over the agenda book with how cluttered and chaotic the mind is until clarity ensues. It may or may not take 14 pages, front and back.

2. Take the Female Tax Deduction to her art class. Walk through the park barefoot in the grass (for the first time in years) to get to the art gallery. Think about taking a yoga class. Finish a cross stitch. When XX TD is finished with her art class, solve a glass labyrinth with her. Walk (in the grass) (barefoot) (this is crucial) up the terraces to the gallery. Talk to tourists and answer questions about the new exhibit (the Green Man-ish sculptures) and good barbecue. Stroll through the art gallery after having responded to nature’s call. Sit and let XX TD sketch a medieval knight on a horse.

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Maps were made by people who went first

“…maps were made by people who went first and didn’t die. The maps that survive are the ones that work.”

God’s Debris
Scott Adams
p 32

The only thing more powerful than fear

“The only thing more powerful than fear is routine.”

Rot & Ruin
Jonathan Maberry
p 190

Cadillacs in our dreams

1984 Cadillac Eldorado BiarritzSo when I was 16, I had a short-lived stint at Shoney’s as a salad bar attendant. I’ve never worked that hard in my life on a consistent basis. I didn’t do well for several reasons.

My trainer was a woman who was ancient when Christ was born.[1] I felt so sorry for her, working herself to death at this shitty job. Shouldn’t she have moved up and on by now? She was nice, more inclined toward talking than training.

Anyway, I think I might have been gauche/crass enough to ask her why she was doing this job. She told me she was saving up to buy her husband a brand-new Cadillac. In cash. The fact that it was for her husband gave me pause, but I went with it.

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A contest!

My good friend Melissa Blue is celebrating her 10th anniversary of writing with a contest. A bunch of us writerly types pitched in to make it an awesome one, so a lot of people have a chance to win some good stuff. The contest started September 7, so I’m a bit slow on the uptake, but! It goes until September 13.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Say You’ll Go

Sometimes love isn't enough...until it's the only thing you have left.
Sometimes love isn’t enough…until it’s the only thing you have left.
     Janelle Monáe: Say You’ll Go

“Tess … ” She stopped cold at the breath of a whisper, her heart slamming into her ribs so hard she thought it would fall out right there on the table and flop around. She turned slowly—so slowly.

She opened her mouth to scream at him for ambushing her, but she realized just in time that he was as stunned as she was.

And he was beautiful. More beautiful than he had been when he was nineteen. More beautiful than he was the night he’d left her. Yet nothing about him had changed.

His hair was still a mass of long mahogany-red waves past his shoulders. Bunches of hair at his temples had been braided into tiny plaits fastened behind his head. His earrings were medium-sized gold hoops. His stark art deco sun tattoo still spread its rays down along his neck, chin, and jaw. His shirt was blousy white linen floating untucked over oxblood leathers, the ties at the neck hanging loose. His wrist tattoos were on full display. Then she looked at his hands.

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Virginity as a feminist statement

Best friends forever...until the first kiss.

EMILIO: “Why is being a virgin when you get married so important to you?”

VICTORIA: “Because it’s not important to anybody else,” she snapped, then huffed. “No. What happened was, I saw girls in high school—and one at church—they’d have sex, almost always pressured. Sometimes it was date rape, but they didn’t have the guts to say so. Or they were confused or conflicted about it. And they’d either get pregnant or the guy would treat them like crap. Regardless of what people like to think, I’m not oblivious. I see and hear, and I remember. But I don’t care.”

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We all know how it works

I read that once in a comment on a Mormon women’s writer’s blog bemoaning explicit sex in books. If I recall correctly, it was one where a bunch of the Deseret Book-published writers gather, because it was a “name” who said it. I don’t remember if my book was the one under discussion or not. Didn’t matter.

“We all know how it works.”

What struck me then and still does is that, No, we don’t all know how it works, especially the girls who’re told not to do that. I wanted to say something, but I’m not fond of walking into lions’ dens for the hell of it. This, that no, our girls don’t know how it works, is a ginormous problem. Not only do we not teach them what it is, what they’re supposed to be abstaining from, we teach them they have to dress so as to keep the boys from wanting to make them do it.

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Book updates


allowme-150x225My story, “Allow Me to Introduce Myself,” that appeared in Monsters & Mormons has been ready for me to put up for sale for quite a while. I just haven’t gotten around to it. I hope to get that done before Christmas. Kidding. Not really. It won’t be on the Dunham site, so if you want to buy it from me (please do!) it’ll only be here, in the sidebar.

A Mormon nun battles demons and insecurity in the Louisiana bayou—with a baby alligator by her side and weapons powered by cold fusion.

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Confessions of a wannabe foodie

chicken-fried London broilMy relationship with food is like having an abusive ex-boyfriend: He keeps coming back and coming back, every day, even though you don’t want to see him. You want to get rid of him but he won’t go away. It’s not an analogy of “I eat because I have to” and “I can’t really live without him.” It’s that you really don’t want want food in the house the way you really don’t want him to come back. That’s where the analogy stops.

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Two new books

Best friends forever...until the first kiss.
Best friends forever…until the first kiss.
Sometimes love isn't enough...until it is.
Sometimes love isn’t enough…until it is.


go on sale today!

The print books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the regular places.

The ebooks are available from me (see links above), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all the regular places (iBooks coming soon). From now until May 15, 2014, they will be priced at $1.99. After, they will be $5.99 and $4.99 respectively.

Get ’em now!

Scheduling fun?

Laissez le bon temps roulez!I’m asking a question, but I’m not sure I’ll understand any responses I’ll get.

A long time ago, I wrote this post: Mommy, why don’t you smile anymore?

I was doing a psych eval for clearance for a surgery I hope to have some time this coming summer, and the shrink said, “You don’t know how to relax, do you?” Why no. No, I don’t. I don’t remember the last time I had actual fun that didn’t involve guilt for being unproductive.

Twittercrank linked me to this: Young/Old. I’m some depressing amalgam of each. I have a comfort zone. Some of those things I can violate. Some I can’t. Depends on the day and time of the month.

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