Monday, April 28, 2014

Is the fault in the stars, or somewhere else?

Hey y'all,

Since it's a Monday, I figure: Hey, why not tackle a depressing subject. Because I'm like that, guys. Let's take a pile of depresso and throw on a heap of sadness. I promise to offer free hugs at the end. Here we go: If you've been anywhere but living under a rock, you've probably seen this cover/poster around.

Now I will be the first to admit: I have not read this book. And I probably won't. Before any of you start throwing things, let me explain. I don't really want to read a story about two sick, star-crossed lovers. That's not really the type of novel I go for. Having lost a close loved one to cancer, this book would probably literally destroy any kind of emotional stability that I have.
And glass is easily broken.
So this probably explains my problem. But I don't get books like this. Or movies for that matter.There was a period of time where movie producers seemed to go out of their way to make extremely tragic movies. Almost as if they were paid on a tear-by-tear basis.

Make sure the tissues are within easy reach.
Are these bad movies? Not at all. When I remembered a scene from 'Stepmom' writing this, I almost started crying. Susan Sarandon was amazing in that movie.

So what's the big deal? You ask. Why do you have your knickers in such a bunch? You exclaim.

Here's my problem. These movies make terminal disease beautiful, lovely, important life-teaching moments. Can diseases be this way? Yes. For sure. I don't want to take any meaning away from terrible times, from anyone. But the problem is: When we beautify such heartbreaking, horrible, tragic diseases, we make them enviable.

Take 'A Walk to Remember.' It's pitched as a teenage romance. As in: God, I wish someone loved me like Shane West loved Mandy Moore. Isn't it sweet? Wasn't it so romantic? My answer?

What is it? Tragic. Horrible. NO ONE should die that young. Heck, take away the young. Any terminable disease that rips people from life, is a horrible, nasty, nightmare thing. It isn't romantic. It isn't beautiful. It is painful. And scary. And every other terrible adjective we can throw at it.

Now please believe me when I say: I hope people can find some meaning within these life moments. But I'm afraid, that when Hollywood and books make them seem so beautiful, real people start to doubt themselves. Because in those moments when you are curled up on the floor, sobbing because you are sick, or your mom is sick, or your significant other, or your little baby girl, I don't want you to think: But Keanu Reeves learned so much from this disease. Why can't I be more like him? Why can't I respond to this sickness with a smile on my face, as if I'm blessed to be given this burden?

It's human nature to react poorly to bad medical news. Whatever your religion or system of belief, death is scary. We can't help but cling to the life we know, and we want our loved ones there with us. Which means we want to fight tooth and nail against any disease that threatens to take us, or them, away.

And fighting is human. Thank God for the survivors. They are amazing. They are the true story. The true miracle and happy ending.

But the idea of romanticizing death or the actual disease itself: That's not alright. It's normal to be crushed by the loss of a loved one. And no one should be expected to take a diagnosis like cancer with a beatific smile. You're allowed to be scared. No matter what Hollywood may tell you.

Life is a miracle. And I get that these movies and books are supposed to prove this to us. But it isn't right to belittle the struggle that people with terminable illnesses go through. Or the nightmare their family members and loved ones will face. Because anyone who says those moments are beautiful? Honestly, they are lying to you.

Maybe thousands of people are reading the above-mentioned book and imagining they had such a love story. But when it comes down to it, no one would want to trade places with the main characters. Because everyone wants to be healthy and free from disease.

If you're not, if your family member or loved one is not, then from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry. If you're struggling, that's normal. If you feel like you're in a deep dark hole and you can't understand why this is happening, that's normal. If you fight to get out of bed in the morning because everything seems to hard. That. Is. Normal.

These romanticized movies are not the truth, and that's my problem with them. To pretend these diseases are beautiful, is to take away the power from the survivors and the fighters. Their disease is not beautiful. But their fight is. To make movie magic from the loss of the fight is wrong. Plain and simple.

Because it is the fight that is important. It is the person that is important. They are what is beautiful.

And I'm sorry to make you all read something so heavy on a Monday. So here's a hug, and a box full of kittens. I love you. XO, JD

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Happy Sunday

Hey y'all,

Prepare for pure silliness. It's one of THOSE days.

Like Camelot, this is a silly place.
Sundays are pretty sweet, ain't gonna lie to you. But you know what sucks hind end? After Sunday, comes the unpleasant Monday.

Bite me.

I can't even tell you why I hate Mondays so much. I don't even work Mondays, guys. I say this not to brag. I work Friday and Saturday nights instead. Fair trade... maybe?

But, I digress. In an effort to quell any upcoming attacks of Mondayitis, I decided to dedicate this post to wonderful things (instead of my boring fascinating soliloquies on editing). And if I've learned anything over on my WhyIsMyWritingCrying tumblr, nothing is quite as amazing as pictures of attractive British men. I mean seriously, add a dash of Tom Hiddleston and suddenly you are Miss Popularity. God bless you, Tom.

What makes a blog popular?

So here is a compliment for all of you. Come on guys, look in the mirror. You know it's true. 

Right back, atcha!
Still not cheered right up? Ok, ok. Don't worry, I have your back.

She's shocked at what a hottie you are.
Really? You're still upset? Wow. This calls for the big guns. I mean... seriously. Brace yourself.

Brace. Your. Self.

Hot British man AND cookies.

 Although like Cookie Monster, I have a hard time determining which one of the above I would rather have more.(P.s. The internet really let me down. I could not find a picture of Tom Hiddleston and an adorable kitten. Tom Hiddleston AS an adorable kitten, yes. But the former, negative. Bad form, internet, bad form indeed).

Oh come off it, guys! I told you this was silly. Not even a smile. Not one CHUCKLE!!

Ok fine, this is my last ditch effort. To make you smile. To brighten your day. Honestly, I'm just doing a public service here. Completely out of the goodness of my own heart. Because I care. About you. And cookies.

Me when I wake up Monday morning?

Seriously y'all, I love ya. Have a most happy today (and do your best tomorrow, it'll be over soon).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where my servers at?

This one goes out to all my fellow servers, or anyone who has ever worked in the service industry. So I won’t start this with a Happy Friday, since if you’re a waiter, most likely you no longer know the true meaning of the word ‘weekend.’

This word you're using... It seems familiar, somehow.
 Last night I had one of those hellaciously awful shifts, that make you just want to run away somewhere. Or maybe hide in the walk-in freezer. I mean, at least that's where the ice cream is, so I could sit back there and have myself a good cry, while I shame eat 5 gallons of soft serve. 

I'll just grab some hot fudge on the way...
Sometimes when you walk into work, it just feels wrong. As if everyone is in a bad mood, the customers, the employees... For whatever reason, there's a icky feeling in the air and you just KNOW something bad is going to happen. Whether it's you dropping a tray full of food; spilling a drink down a customers back; getting a $2 tip on a $100 tab; or the kitchen losing three of your tickets in a row. Whatever tragedy that happens, when it occurs, it really is no surprise. 

Excuse me while I bask in my sadness.
 For me, last night it was just someone being unexpectedly nasty. After a shift fighting the end of a cold and having my little hiney handed to me on a platter, I really didn't know how to respond to her anger. Did she have some reason to be upset? Undoubtedly. When you have seven plus tables at a time, one table is probably going to suffer. But did she have the right to be nasty? To make me want to cry? Decidedly not. And how did I want to respond? 

Hold still, so I can smack you again.

But the truth of the matter is: she is just a human. And like all humans, some days the world just pours so much excrement down on you, you can't HELP but pour out some negativity on someone else. She responded wrongly, but for all I know, her reaction was completely excused by some event in her life. 

So here is my plea. Just like I beg any potential customer to recognize the fact that their server is a real life human being (and not some food serving robot), and thus prone to sometimes making mistakes. I also say this: as hard as it is, sometimes we servers need to remember that our customers are just as human as we are. As flawed and sometimes nasty as our own selves. Maybe it doesn't make that initial moment of conflict any easier to bear. 

But at the end of the shift, when we just want to rest our aching feet and nurse our hidden hurts, lets try to remind ourselves: We are all humans, and we all can sometimes spill our nastiness out onto others. So take a deep breath, and move on. And hopefully, it will only get easier. 

Until then, I'll see you in the walk-in. Promise to save you some ice cream.

Oh, and here's an adorable kitten to brighten your day. 

It says: I love you.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I'm faithful to THE FAITHFUL

Hey y’all.

I have a confession to make. I’ve completely been failing at reading. Yes, reading. In between editing, and obsessing over covers, and researching self-promotion tips, and continuously refreshing the ABNA page on Amazon, somehow my time for reading has gone out the window (let’s ignore the fact that I haven’t been working on the sequel to MT like I should either…)

So, now for the first, in hopefully a continual string, of book reviews, I thought I would give a shout out to the amazing and simply stunning, THE FAITHFUL by S.M. Freedman.

Short summary: According to I Fidele, non-psychics are cockroaches. And the extermination is about to begin. (Longer summary and excerpt available here).

I was lucky enough to read this book as a beta, and let me tell you- I could NOT put it down. What was a ‘let’s read this in one hour chunks’ read, became a non-stop 5 hours, I can’t put this book down even though my eyes are screaming and I’m starving… etc. read.

But if you don’t believe me, we can ask other people. Even Commodus liked it!

He doesn't enjoy liking things, you busy little bees. That's why he's so upset that THE FAITHFUL is to die for.

The author truly has a gift with words. Some of the descriptions are so stunning and beautiful, I feel like they are imprinted in my mind’s eye. In other books, descriptions of characters can bore, and sometimes even, annoy me. But the characters Freedman has created are so real, and so… present, it’s like they are people I’ve known all along, but I just needed this book to remind me of their existence. When describing a little girl’s school picture, Freedman writes:

“Ryanne perched awkwardly on a stool, her hands clutched in her lap. Red hair flamed in a cloud around her pale face. Her denim dress was several sizes too big and had a red strawberry on the breast pocket. Scabbed, bony knees poked out from the hem of her dress, and dingy lace socks circled her ankles above scuffed black patent shoes.”

I swear I’ve seen that picture before. In fact, if I searched through my old yearbooks, would I find it? This image is so clear in my mind, I almost think I would.

And the plot? How can I express my appreciation for this complex web the author wove around me. I have to admit, when I reached the end, my mouth was hanging up in a less than flattering expression.
Something like this.
Playing a ‘will she-won’t she’ game with the reader, the author stuns you with a conclusion you might have guessed at, but never fully realized. Add in a hefty dose of reality and a slight hand with researched details, and you have a world with fantastical elements, that still seems so very possible.

I really can’t say enough about this novel. I give it all the stars I can. It’s available at Amazon in either print or kindle here.

Loves forever if you give it a read and review. Let’s give this author the feedback and recognition she deserves. If you need me, I'll be in the corner, reading it again. 

Must learn to read faster!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

ABNA Excerpts

Happy Sunday/Easter!

Now everyone, a request.

The excerpts are out for Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest. Now, actual voting doesn't happen, yet. But I would absolutely love you forever and ever if you would tell me what you think.

First off, my own excerpt for 'Mirrored Time.' What's it about? I'm so glad you asked!
New jobs aren't supposed to be this hard. Crazy half-gods, time travelers and ex-gladiator thieves? Unemployment never looked so good.

Second, the lovely Shoshona Freedman's 'The Faithful' is also available for review. It's such a fantastic excerpt! You won't be disappointing.
According to I Fidele, non-psychics are cockroaches. And the extermination is about to begin.
We would so love to know what you think, because you're the best! Think of us this way every time we get a review: 

Honest to God, it's like looking in a mirror.

A Change of Pace

Hey all,
Just messing around with formatting (again). I know, big sigh! But exciting news- MIRRORED TIME got sent off to the editor today. Which mostly means I have to finally let it out of my grasping, perfectionist, never completely happy hands.

Although if actual publishing is ever going to happen, this is a thing that needs to be. So goodbye manuscript, I await your return patiently. Soon you will be shiny and oh so pretty, and all the boys readers will love you!

When will MT be ready, you ask? Well... in the immortal words of Maximus' friend Juba: "Soon, but not yet."

And then I'll be all:

I think it's movie time, how bout you? I'll bring the popcorn. See ya soon [but not yet]!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Because I'm Happy

This song has been stuck in my head all day.

Maybe because for the first time in my life, I'm pursuing the dream I've always held, but was too afraid to go after. And let me tell you, it can be terrifying. I've gotten some really great support. Sadly, I've also gotten some not so great support.

But it doesn't really matter. Because let me tell you a little secret: There is something to this "pursuing your passion" business. I love every second I've been working on MIRRORED TIME. Even during those moments when I want to bang my head against the computer screen. Even those moments when I find out I have over 600 buts in my manuscript! It doesn't matter, I love it! And I hope you all are enjoying the ride (and that you will enjoy MT).

I've been a little hush-hush on the exact release date, but it's because I don't want to make promises I can't keep. The MS is going to an editor on Monday, and I'm working with a talented designer for the cover. I'll keep y'all posted.

Until then, maybe check out something I made for a little fun. Half crazy, half true, and hopefully all funny:

Love you all! Hope you are happy too!

Monday, April 14, 2014

ABNA Quarter-finalist!

Hey y'all,

H'okay. I'm so incrediably excited to announce that 'Mirrored Time' has made it into the next round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest!

That's right guys, I'm a quarterfinalist!! ::undignified noises of excitement:: Ehem, apologies. I'm just so frakking excited I can't even... WORDS!!
My friend and fellow WWW lady, SM Freedman, author of the fabulous 'The Faithful,' has also made it to the next round in the 'Mystery & Thriller' category. I can't think of anyone who deserves it more. Believe me, when that book comes out on April 21st, you will NEED to be one of the first in line. To keep up with news from her, check out her site:

Anyways, I will be sure to keep you updated on any future news. But right now- back to the manuscript I go.

Guys- I'm thrilled. It's getting so close. I can almost taste that release date! Like chocolate and whipcream! Thank you so much to all my supporters. Without your help, I wouldn't be on this amazing journey. Thanks x a million.

Loves! JD XX