Saturday, October 29, 2011

Feminism and Mommyism

Our perception of feminism has been warped by media. For example in this season of Castle, the female police chief demands she be called “sir.” She’s supposed to be a feminist, tough-as-nails woman who succeeds in a male dominated career, right? Then why does she put more value on “sir” than “mam”?

Her character implies it’s better to be considered a man. How is that feminist?

Another misperception comes from media’s parenting advice. Barbies are bad for girls’ self esteem right? And little girls shouldn’t be forced to wear pink. Why? Because that color and that toy are associated with femininity? Is everything feminine bad? Should we raise little girls as boys?

The argument – raise them the same way. I thought of that too. Unfortunately, my kids disagree with me on what toys they like. I provide a mixture of traditionally girl toys (dolls, kitchen, etc) and “boy” toys (cars, gadgets, construction, etc). They should play with both, right? Nope. Mine won't.

Does that mean we should only give pink toys to girls and blue toys to boys? No, but they should have a choice. If they choose what’s traditional to their gender, let them.

My biggest pet peeve is when women criticize stay-at-home moms. It is the toughest choice in the entire world when you hold your newborn baby and your maternity leave is up. You have to decide whether to leave this precious little one with another woman. Worries of whether your baby will feel loved, get everything she/he needs, of whether your children will latch onto a daycare worker more than you, and whether your children will be prepared for school – all weigh on you in that moment. Can someone else raise your children the way you would?

We’ve all heard co-workers sob because their child called another woman “mommy.” A typical toddler in daycare spends 8+ awake hours being raised by someone with different values, and only 4 to 6 hours awake with his parents, so of course the child will feel closer to his daycare provider. Financially, there may be no other choice.

However, if a mother finds a way to stay home to raise her children, why is that considered anti-feminist? Someone has to raise our babies. In a time when many life-threatening allergies are an issue for children, it may be wise for moms to have complete control over their infants’ and toddlers’ diets. There should be no shame in raising children.

Feminism isn’t about telling women what they can or can’t be. It’s about giving them choices to be whoever they want. Putting children before careers isn’t anti-feminist. It’s a difficult sacrifice, a very expensive family decision, and an investment in children’s future successes.

So many television shows and news articles now idealize women who have both a career and a family. That’s also a feminist choice, but not the only feminist path, and not the best choice for all families. My first son had autism and fifteen food allergies. Had I put my career first, he wouldn’t have started reading at the age of three, he wouldn’t be mainstreaming and succeeding in school, he wouldn’t be down to three allergies, and he wouldn’t have recovered from autism. Am I anti-feminist for having paused my career to raise my children?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Scattered Little Things

The website overhaul’s taking longer than expected. I need to finish up a sequel to a submission, and had forgotten about mother’s day. Little things pop up.

The hubby’s been sweet. He gave me a beautiful wine bottle opener last night. Every day this weekend = a mother’s day present. (He's a keeper.) And tomorrow, we’re hiking up a beautiful hill for a picnic. Yesterday, we rode bicycles to the store for gardening supplies.

I’m an awful gardener. I need a gardening mentor and motivator, but have no idea where to find one. No way, will I look online. I have found the worst, most vindictive crazy people online. Amongst my many good reviews, there are two negative reviews. Everyone has particular tastes, which is fine. However, one of these negative reviews is from an ex-critique partner I met in a forum. She uses multiple pseudonyms and copies and pastes that bad review on multiple sites.

Why haven’t I done the same to her? Not only would that be unprofessional, but I can’t endure reading any more of her work. I blocked her rants from my email. It’s like breaking up with a verbally abusive boyfriend who then scribbles your phone number on bathroom stalls. What do you do with that?

Speaking of avoiding crazies, I’ve been trying out software that motivates me to stay on task. “Freedom.” That fantastic name is misnomer. Freedom prevents me from online distractions while I’m writing. The internet is too alluring while writing act 2. Setting up Act 2 is riding a bike uphill. Sweaty, hard work. Act 3 is the fun part of coasting down the other side with wind blowing in your face and a thrill in your belly.

My website overhaul isn’t at the fun part yet. Last year I outgrew my old computer. I moved everything to a newer, faster, prettier model. Stupidly, I reorganized the files. This upset my visual web design program. (I mean no offense to Coffee Cup. I love you.) My website’s now a million piece puzzle scattered across my hard drive. Once put back together, new pieces can be added and out-of-date parts excised.

I’m definitely in a metaphor and simile mood today. I’ll have to chop those from my writing in the editing phase.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Website Overhaul

Next week, my out-of-date website will get its much needed overhaul. I'll even add barcodes for scanning with tablets and cellphones. It'll be awesome.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sequel to Healing Wounds - Vampires of an Aztec God

I worshiped in my two favorite places today - the library and Starbucks. (Cue choir music - Ahhhh-ahh-ah-ahhhhhhh.) My form of worship - writing, and I love it. I'm infatuated with this new work.

I know. I know. This was only supposed to be a quickie, a fling, but I fell in love. The short little rough draft of Vampires of an Aztec God was done. All I had to do was edit and submit. But I have to develop Bissette's story further. Oh and I want Charles to get his sexy resolution, too. And I need to play with Aztec (Chichimec) legends some more. They just fit too perfectly and the research is amazing. So in my places of worship, I mapped out twenty-two additional chapters this week. I'd started with five completed chapters but after such a tiny taste, I want the whole cake.

Plus, I received too much encouragement this past week. Emails asking about Bissette and Charles jazzed me up to expand on Bissette's tale and all the secrets I kept in Healing Wounds. (I love these emails and the wonderful people who send them.)

I've even started watching novelas (Spanish soap-operas) to pick up forgotten twists of phrase. I'm half-Mexican but beyond ordering tacos and asking where the bathroom is, I know practically no Spanish. It reminds me of my grandmother, though and of listening to my aunts gossip. The melodic cadence makes me feel all warm inside and I imagine the smell of caldo (soup) and tortillas.

I've been neglecting my other work-in-progress, that sci-fi vampire novel that bridges my two series, but it's incubating in my brain for later, along with three fantasies half-written. (I get overly excited and take on too much, but I promise I'll finish them, too.)

Summer's starting soon. That means a full-time writing playground for me. The hubby's off and gets to be stay-at-home dad while I work. Nice. Such a sweet hubby.

I truly appreciate him. Someone asked me if he's the inspiration for my stories. Thankfully, no. He's too together and supportive to be a fictional hero. Characters have flaws that keep them apart until they finally figure everything out. Ben had it mostly figured out from the beginning.

I am far from perfect. No, really. I have this fiery latin temper mixed with Irish rage that ignites when I reach my breaking point. Things I shouldn't say, explode from my mouth. I actually made an ex-boyfriend curl up in a ball, sobbing, literally on the floor in fetal position. That just made me see red, though now I feel kinda guilty about yelling at him. My rage rarely ignites with my hubby, but on the rare occasion it does, he knows how to put it out. He knows exactly what to say, how to listen, and how to compromise with me. He's my splash of cool water. I think what keeps me at peace is that I know he cares about me and any problem that arises is most likely due to a misunderstanding that can be talked through. A person like him with such calming devotion and commitment, is rare.

He picks up the slack at home while I'm writing. He's incredibly supportive of my career and has made countless sacrifices. That's why all my novels are dedicated to him.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

RT Adventures and After-Party Chat

I partied at the Romantic Times BOOKlovers Convention in Pittsburgh last week. They let me sign books. My very first booksigning. There had to be at least two hundred other authors there and they were all amazing. The icing to this cake - cover models abounded.

Aren't they pretty? Baby, they can put their hands anywhere they want. :)

Oooh, and check out the star! It has my name on it!

For more pictures and to share your own, head over to Coffee Time Romance. The best RT pics win prizes. Yay! Tonight, Tuesday at 9pm EST at Coffee Time Romance, there'll be an After-Party chat. Come share your RT tales, gossip, pics, etc. Already I've heard the most amazing stories and can't wait to hear everyone else's adventures.

Did anyone else suffer the "Hilton Hotel disease"? I'm still recovering from it. No, it's not an STD, though that would be hilarious.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Misadventures in Portland

The world’s biggest bookstore is in Portland, Oregon. Woo-hoo! So we had to see it before we move. It turned out to be my heaven, a brick-and-mortar version of - several stories high with many rooms filled with bookcases of new and out-of-print books.

What happened afterwards, however, was a demented version of hell.

Lugging around a stack of books and climbing stairs had built up an appetite. I craved my favorite food - sushi, which should be easy to find in a big city. Right? Chuck, our navigation system offered several Japanese restaurants nearby, that all turned out to be strip clubs. Five, not including the never-been-a-sushi-house strip clubs we drove past. Not that I have a problem with strip clubs, but what the hey? How many strip clubs does Portland really need?

So, we decided to wing it and stop somewhere on the way home. Strangely, every restaurant beyond the skyscrapers, closes after dusk, except for one confused Chinese restaurant. I say confused because it also serves Kimchee. (I reeeealy hate kimchee. My apartment-mate in college used to stink up the fridge with kimchee and that smell lingered for weeks.)

So here’s the funny part. After ordering, my hubby thanked the clerk for being open because he didn’t want to feed his family Burger King. The woman responded with, “Oh, Burger King is better.”

What the…We hadn’t a clue if she was joking or if it was a language barrier thing. She walked away as we stared for some sign, unsure.

So my hubby, being the sweetie that he is, said, “If the food sucks, we’ll toss it and eat somewhere else.”

My growling tummy figured, “Why not?”

She gave us drinks in those plastic tumblers typical of Pho restaurants, then told us, “You take it to go, okay? We’re closing.” She didn’t tell us this before we ordered, but after.

Yeah, weird.

So after using a very scary bathroom, we left with our Styrofoam encased, confused Chinese food; and sodas transferred into to-go cups.

I drove the first shift while the fam, the taste-testers ate. They loved it. My hubby described it as a school cafeteria version of Chinese food. Yeah, he likes cafeteria food and has a bionic stomach.

After all the clues so far, you’d think I’d have tossed it, but no, I bravely ate the chicken, rice, and salad during my hubby’s driving shift. “How can they screw up chicken?” I thought.

Oh, how I was wrong. I spent the next two days in the bathroom and am still recovering. The clerk was right – Burger King is better.

The grossest part was the next day as I was lying in bed whining about how awful I felt, my hubby came in reeking of the offending food. I nearly threw up when he leaned in to kiss me. He’d actually eaten the leftovers, knowing it was bad!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Won a New Covey Book Trailer Award!

And not just any New Covey Trailer Award. I won the new one, judged by award-winning screenwriters and directors from REC tv. Woo-hoo! Have you seen this site? It’s amazing! The Readers Entertainment Channel is an online television site where you can find original programming, author interviews, and gorgeous book trailers. Their primary goal is to promote reading as entertainment. I love them already.

RECtv is going to feature my Guardian of the Onyx Empire book video trailer and post it to either their Sci-Fi/Fantasy or Erotica channel. Yay! The book featured in this trailer is also the winner of a Night Owl Romance’s Reviewer Top Pick. Get your fix of an oh-so-sexy ex-love slave and his empress lover. Buy now.