Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cancer Sucks

Yesterday I got to spend an hour on the phone with my mom. This doesn't sound like such a bad thing... until I tell you that we spent the hour talking about cancer.

No. There is no emergency or reason for panic (at least with regard to me or mine--at the moment).

The thing is, cancer runs in my family pretty hard-core. And today I'm going in for the first step in the process of getting the genetic test done to see if I'm at greater risk for breast or ovarian cancer. That meant I had to fill out paperwork on my family history with regard to the disease.

Here's the deal. I know, in my heart, that at least one of the two tests will come back positive--likely both. I've known since I was a little girl that odds are, cancer's going to get me. It was never an "if," it's always been a "when."

But it's different to watch that piece of paper get filled up. It only goes as far out as grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins. Of my four grandparents... three had cancer (two died from it). One aunt had it (survived). Her daughter died from it--she was the same age I am right now. Closer to home, one of my sisters is a cancer survivor. (She was diagnosed when she was younger than I am now.) Of the other three, two have had lumps removed that were thankfully benign. My mother did too. Of the two that have been tested--both have the genetic markers. 

It's a vicious, vicious, scary-ass disease.

Why am I writing this post today? I'm not sure. Maybe because it's a topic that people don't talk about enough until it's already an issue, and then the conversations start with "I'm so sorry..." Maybe because I'm more nervous about the test than I thought I'd be. Or maybe it's just because it's late and this is what's on my mind. Maybe all of the above.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

When Life Hands You Lemons

Sorry about no post last week. No excuse. It just didn't happen.

There's a saying that says: When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I saw a picture recently that said: Unless life gives you sugar and water too, your lemonade is going to suck.

It got me to thinking about a lot of things. As some of you know, there have been... issues (it's a nice, innocent, all-encompassing word) regarding the PRT. The short version is life gave me lemons. Since I don't expect life to hand everything to me, I went off in search of water and sugar. I found some--yay! But the lemonade still sucks.

Basically, what the story boils down to is this--the PRT is going to be on hold for longer than anticipated. Sadly, I can't afford the vodka necessary to make this lemonade rock.

On the other hand, I have this other bottle, and if I let it age for a while it'll make a killer party beverage. So, as much as you don't want to wait and I don't want to wait, that's the option at the moment. On a high note (because even when there's no vodka, I'm a look for the silver lining kind of girl), I'm hoping that when the time comes that I can release PRT 2, Perfectly Human, the rest of the series won't be far behind. As long as I can find the time in between other projects to write them, the remaining four books in the series will all be released within about a 12-24 month period of time.

Will there be other things from me in the meantime? I sure hope so! And I promise if and when I have news, I will let you know.

To that end though, I may step back a bit from blogging. Not quitting, but not stressing over content every week. So, it might be normal post, or a video, or a movie review, or some sort of character sketch. And I may miss a week here or there while everything else in life tries to settle.

But rest assured, I am NOT abandoning Elle and Cass. The PRT hasn't disappeared, it's just taking a break and licking its wounds. They will be back.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Writing Cliques

People gravitate towards others like them. Sometimes it's common interests, similar personalities, socioeconomic status, gender, race... all sorts of reasons for it. In high school, we call them cliques. Funny thing is, that doesn't stop on graduation day. And it is very common in the writerly world.

In some ways, this is not a bad thing. You want your crit partners, writing group, etc. to really mesh well so that critiques and brain-storming and the like are as productive as possible. But there's a point when an author steps from behind those closed doors and into the public eye that the responsibility shifts a bit.

There are a lot of examples of this with authors-behaving-badly and spouting off in such ways that it drives away their fans, but what about subtler things? In order to have a unifying base, let's talk Twitter. Many, many authors are on Twitter. Some have huge followings, some don't. Some follow back everyone (or anyone who talks to them) and some don't. I'm not going to make comments based on that since you don't have to follow someone to talk to them.

However, some authors don't seem to get that Twitter is about interaction (and I'm going to pick--anonymously--on some authors whose books I adore here). If all you're doing is shouting into the ether, you're doing it wrong. Most people who follow you on twitter also follow your blog/facebook/website/newsletter... they're already fans. So shouting is pointless.

What's more annoying though? When authors throw out questions or statements that invite discussion but only respond to those in their little circle (the writing clique I spoke of earlier). Twitter is not the school cafeteria where your conversation is just you and your little table of friends chatting, or at least it shouldn't be. People are on Twitter to interact, and if an author chooses to ignore their fans (I'll be generous here with the one I'm thinking of) 90% of the time when they say something that invites discussion, it will serve to alienate fans. Yes, I have unfollowed authors because I liked their work, but I was getting really sick of seeing how they ignored their fans. Other people I know have stopped reading their work entirely because of this.

I've noticed another disturbing trend with big(ger) authors. They will start a Twitter event, whether productivity or character driven, that encompasses more than just their books. They will invite others to join in... and then within that event, they only communicate with those in their clique. Especially when it's a productivity thing (writing sprints, 1k1hr, etc). Those who aren't published and don't get mad words every day are the ones who need the atta'boys far more than some other author with multiple NY contracts under their belt.

The thing is, Twitter offers authors a really great opportunity to mentor fledgeling writers without the mad time-commitment. It's a type of support that is hard to come by these days and is almost a guaranteed way to make those writers (who are invariably readers as well) become lifelong fans.

So... I don't get it.

Sure, I understand the occasional @mention getting lost in the feed, even when asking for responses. And I totally understand not being able to respond to everything all the time (some of those people have thousands and tens of thousands of followers). But to ignore the opportunity to interact with all those people all the time in favor of hanging with just your clique...

Yeah. Not a fan.