Archive for the ‘Want Me’ Category

"Want Me" has a cover!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Nice, yeah?



Art done by Fiona Jayde. Story’s coming out in April. 🙂

Words

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Note: The following is a brief post about slurs, and hence might contain triggers.

Some time in late high school or early college, I started to correct my friends whenever they used the word “gypped.” In most cases it wasn’t a confrontational correction, because–like with so many other casual slurs–they had no idea what it really meant. I’d say something like, “Did you know that word comes from the word ‘gypsy’?” Usually that was more than enough. They’d be horrified, they’d tell their friends, and within a couple of years I stopped hearing the word in any of our circles.

Generally speaking, I have good taste in friends. They’re good people. They just didn’t know.

Here’s something I didn’t know until last year.

“Gypsy” itself, is a slur. It’s been used for centuries to run Romani people out of villages, towns, cities, countries. It’s been used to deny employment or to justify slavery. The Romani have been victims of lynching and concentration camps, of hatred and erasure.

You might be tempted to tell yourself, “But that’s overseas. Here in America ‘Gypsy’ has a completely different connotation.”

No. Not really. In part because many Romani who survived the Holocaust moved here, and many survive to this day. They have children and those children feel the pain of their parents and grandparents acutely, so that connotation hasn’t disappeared, nor should it. Remembering that something happened is the first step in making sure it doesn’t happen again. Plus America has its own set of stereotypes, as well as its own history of enslaving Romani people.

A short, but by no means encompassing, list below:

  • Gypsies are thieves/charlatans who will rip you off if you let them.
  • Gypsies are fortune tellers.
  • Gypsy women are whores.
  • Gypsy men are killers.
  • They have the power to curse people.
  • They all love to dance and play tambourines and wear bandanas.
  • They’re hypersexual and hot tempered.
  • They’re all homeless and at best travel in roaming caravans criss-crossing the country.

But… But… I have Romani friends and they *self-identity* as Gypsy!

And that’s their choice. The people within a marginalized group can choose to reclaim a word used to shame and hurt them in an effort to turn it into a positive. However, it’s almost never okay for people outside that group to use the word to identify said group.

But the DICTIONARY says–

Stop. Just stop. Many dictionaries still list a definition of “nigger” as a snag or hindrance.* I dare you to use that term around me and try to use that definition to defend yourself. Pro-tip: You won’t have a chance, because I’ll already have blocked you.

So, yeah. “Gypsy” is not a good word. And I used it a lot.

I used it in the first edition of Want Me. Joel often calls Walker a “gypsy” because Walker is a wanderer (see dictionary excuse above). I didn’t think anything of it because I have American-Romani friends who self-identify as Gypsy (see friends excuse above). But since then, I’ve come across several articles** and firsthand accounts written by people who were pained by the term. They were emotional, and true, and hard to read. And if they were hard to read, I knew I had no concept of how painful it was to live that reality.

Honestly speaking, I don’t care about offending people. I do, however, care very much about hurting them.

When it came time to edit the second edition of Want Me, I took it as a second chance and made some changes. The story still starts with Joel using that word, but as his world gets bigger and deeper he–as he does with so many other things–matures out of it in a way that I think is believable and organic. I was glad to have the opportunity to make those changes, to have a chance to mature with him.

To anyone who was hurt reading the way the word was used in the first edition, I apologize. Full stop.

______
* A few of those articles:

** To be fair, Dictionary.com (from which I paraphrased this particular definition) tries fairly hard to explain that it is a slur, is offensive, and should not be used. And although I disagree with some of the things in its usage note, “Gypsy” doesn’t even get that treatment.

Good News and Bad News and More Good News

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Okay. Bad news first, yeah?

Bad news: As you’ve probably noticed, Chains wasn’t out on Christmas Eve. But I will do my best to have a January release date.

Good news: Want Me  has been picked up by Loose Id! That means it’ll be out in e-book format soon. How cool is that? The only thing that bums me out is that I had to take down the awesome cover art from the first edition, which had been created for me by the amazing Ulf. On the bright side, I’m looking forward to seeing the new interpretation from Loose Id.

To give the first cover a proper send-off, I’m giving away all the Want Me prints I have left. They include two 4×6 glossies, four 8.5×11 prints on card stock, five 3×5 prints on card stock, and one…well I don’t know what it is exactly. It’s translucent and has a sticker strip on the left-hand side, so I’m guessing it’s meant to be slipped inside notebooks or folders. I don’t even remember buying it. XD

Sooo many Want Me pics


If you’d like one of these prints, send an email to mcbride_rowan@yahoo.com (mcbride_rowan at yahoo dot com) with “I want a Want Me print” in the subject line. Please list the four items above, with the one you want most at the top and so on. First-come-first-serve, but I’ll do my best to send you the print you like most. Don’t forget to include your snail mail address.

And now for some more good news!

One Good Hand/One Good Year received an Honorable Mention from the Rainbow Awards! Sci-fi/fantasy category.

Rainbow Awards 2012 Honorable Mention - SciFi and Fantasy Category


I’m stoked. Are you stoked? I’m totally stoked. 😀

A Note About "Want Me"

Friday, November 16th, 2012

click the pic to learn more about Want Me

The first edition of Want Me is going out of print. I can’t tell you why yet, but I’m sure you can figure it out. 😉

Straightforwardness

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Main characters in my finished and published stories, ranked in order of straightforwardness, starting with the most straightforward and ending with the least:

Rafe Dirisio — (Lone)
Paul Graham — (Paul’s Dream)
Joe Wilson — (A Picture’s Worth)
Kian Somers — (Paul’s Dream)
Zakai — (Paul’s Dream)
Joel Beckett — (Want Me)
Keith Taylor — (Chasing Winter)
Ace Donovan — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Riley Jameson — (One Shot)
Walker Cain — (Want Me)
Nick Carlyle — (One Shot)
Spade Hart — (One Good Hand/One Good Year)
Seth Anderson — (Lone)
Draven Donnor — (Just Perfect)
Mason Ripley — (A Picture’s Worth)
Asher Croft — (Paul’s Dream)
Jesse Winter — (Chasing Winter)
Dorian Burns — (Lone)
Cody West — (Just Perfect)

You might be thinking, “What?! How is Jesse so far down on the list, and how is WALKER square in the middle??” If you are thinking that, what follows is what passes for logic on my end:

First, this list only gauges straightforwardness, and does not take badassitude into account. Though, really, when you think about it, Jesse is plenty badass. Whenever Keith–who is gigantic and endowed with freaky super strength–steps out of line, Jesse never hesitates to knock him right back into it.

Second, the ranking is value-neutral. So whatever nefarious schemes a character might have going on (I’m looking at you, Draven), they don’t count for anything in this list.

Last, straightforwardness does not mean trustworthy. So, while Spade is arguably the most trustworthy character on the list, he waits till damned-near the end of the first book to tell Ace what he is, which Ace doesn’t take well. At all.

But anyway.

Jesse is in the bottom three because through most of Chasing Winter what he says and what he’s thinking are totally out of sync. For example:

“You always told me that willpower could accomplish anything.”

If I had known he’d remember every damned thing I said, I would have tried harder to stay away from such trite clichés. “Yes, I did say that.”

Or–

Keith grinned. “I’m making you uncomfortable, aren’t I?” He left the couch and searched out his briefs. “I’ll get out of your hair.”

I grabbed the top of the couch with my right arm and pulled myself up to watch him dress. Now that he wasn’t touching me, I felt…oh, God, I felt more alone than I ever had in my life. “Thank you.”

And he’s like that through most of the book. So now he’s on the bottom of a totally arbitrary, written-by-the-whim-of-the-author list on straightforwardness.

Jesse was fairly easy to place. If you’ve read Just Perfect, then you know why Cody ranks rock-bottom. No brainer. Same with Rafe and Paul. Rafe wears his heart on his sleeve and is always sure everyone around him knows where he stands. Paul’s heart is frozen solid for a while, but even then everything he does has a reason and he has no qualms about explaining those reasons to you.

Walker wasn’t so easy. Sure, he locks Joel to him in a horrifying spiral of magic that pretty much ruins both their lives, but remember–nefariousness has no weight on this list. He’s also a liar by nature, which would naturally rank him lower. But he doesn’t fuck around when it comes to his obsession with Joel. Never deviates. Never lets Joel forget that he’s never going to deviate. So, yeah, horrifying. But hey, straightforward.

You’re probably safer if you just don’t believe in anything Dorian does or says. Ever. I know it sort of worked out in Lone, but dude. Trust me on that one.

Riley was also hard to place. One Shot’s told from Nick’s point of view, and he’s royally freaked out through most of that story, so it’s hard to gauge how much of Riley’s actions are warped by that filter.

Seth was a pain in the ass. He’s got that crazy Ravager-magic-want-it-now-so-will-HAVE-IT-NOW thing going on. And first instinct is to rank him higher because even in human form he’s all “Look at my massive brown puppy eyes don’t you want to pet my hair?” But Seth doesn’t even know himself, so by default that cripples his ability to be straightforward with Rafe.

So that’s my logic, such as it is. I think it’s pretty easy to see why I put the others in their places on the list.

My question: Do you agree with me? Disagree? Where would you rank these guys, and why?


Interesting fact: I was not aware that “straightforwardness” was a legit word until I typed it up for the first time and didn’t get the red spell-fail squigglies. Prior to that I’d assumed I had made it up. “Squigglies,” however, is apparently fake, which feels wrong to me. >.>

Experimenting

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

I’m going to try and self-publish an e-book this December. It’s a short story, and I’m thinking of making it free. If I don’t make it free, then all proceeds will go to charity. I haven’t decided on which one yet, since there are a lot I like. But if I go that route, I’ll be sure to let you know the specifics.

While I’ve semi-self-published a hardcopy book (Want Me) before, I hired a company to handle the heavy lifting regarding formatting and distribution. I’m going to be doing this e-book mostly by myself (I say mostly because I have great beta readers and an awesome cover artist, etc.) and the process boggles my mind. Whole new respect for the attention to detail my publishers give my work.

The story’s called Chains. I should probably write a blurb for it. And build a page for it on my site. And get it formatted correctly for different e-reader formats. And…

It’ll be fun. I’m sure it’ll go off without a hitch. >.>

Chains is a good story, though. Even with hitches it’ll be worth it.

Let’s ready to HOP!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

I keep telling myself that I’ll write better post titles. It doesn’t appear to be working

I’m participating in two blog hops in May, and I’d like you to hop along with me!

Hop Against Homophobia logo

The first is for Hop Against Homophobia, which runs from May 17th to 20th. May 17th marks the International Day Against Homophobia, so a lot of authors are getting together to share their thoughts and experiences. I encourage you to participate, not only to win prizes (I’ll be giving away a hardcopy of Want Me), but to share your stories with us as we share ours with you. You can find more information here.

Scavenger Hunt Logo

On May 25th, Miho Li is hosting a scavenger hunt. Follow the clues to solve the puzzle, and you’ll be entered to win twenty books, including an e-copy of One Good Hand, the first book in the “One Good” series. During the search, authors Katrina Strauss, Z.A. Maxfield, Sloan Parker, and many more will be posting content exclusive to the hunt. I don’t know who I’ll draw yet, but the writer who gets me will post a sneak peek of the first chapter of One Good Verse, the third story in its series. More details can be had on Miho’s site.

It should be good. I hope to see you.

On heroes, villains, and what I can get away with.

Friday, January 20th, 2012

A while back I got a rejection letter (I know, shocker, right?). It was nice as far as rejection letters go. Said my writing skills were tight. The story itself was too dark, though. I know this because the word ‘dark’ was used five times in two paragraphs.

It made me realize that I’m not so good at telling my heroes from my antiheroes from my villains, and that this could actually be a problem.

click the pic to learn more about One ShotSometimes I don’t cross a line by much and an editor will tell me how to revise. In the original manuscript of One Shot, Riley was much scarier than he is in the published version. When I made him nicer I made the mistake of not toughening up Nick by a proportional amount, but Nick’s still a little hottie in my book so that’s okay.

click the pic to learn more about Want MeWalker Cain from Want Me, however, didn’t get dialed down at all. For good or ill, it was one of the reasons I chose to self-publish. It meant I could go crazy with the storyline. I got to write a character who literally had no concept of right and wrong, not even as other people saw it. He wanted. He took. That was his life. Unfortunately what he wanted most was Joel, and the spiral they were thrown into as a result turned out to be razor sharp and painful for both of them.

Ahh, how I loved that book.

Still, there was an element of likability to Walker. Partly because he just didn’t know any better. Innocence born from madness.

click the pic if you'd like to learn more about Just PerfectDraven Donnor is not mad. He knows exactly what he’s doing. And he knows that almost everything he does is not right by human standards. So that would make him a villain, yeah? Except that he’s not human. He has a moral code, but it’s a product of who he is, of a culture very different than ours. And when it comes to Cody, he’s all about loving, he’s all about protecting, he’s all about getting closer. So he’s got flaws, but he also has one really, really good trait. Maybe that makes him an antihero. But…

When he becomes an assassin, he finds that he enjoys his job. That never changes. No angst. No crisis of conscience. Plus at the beginning of the story he steals from Cody. His best friend. Which brings us back into villain territory. On the other hand, from his perspective he is a natural, right being, rightly doing what comes naturally to him. Then again, most villains think the same thing about themselves, meaning Antihero Upgrade denied.

As you can see, I’m not entirely certain how I should feel about my newest character. But I feel for him all the same. He is Draven and I love him. Just like I love Walker. Just like all those psychotic characters I adore so much in anime. (I’m looking at you, Akabane.)

This says something serious about my psyche. I’ve yet to figure out what, exactly. As the writer of such stories, am I the hero or the villain? Maybe I’m trying to write the best story possible with a concept that’s always intrigued me, and maybe I hope Just Perfect catches on and its popularity will let me write more of it. Some of the stories I’d like to tell are cool and dark and possibly twisted. And I believe they belong on the shelf right next to my fluffy stories, because I love fluffy too.

Perhaps my ultimate goal is to bring balance to my backlist. That’s a worthy aspiration, even if the road is five times as dark.

Does that mean I’m the antihero?

Or am I just a writer with wicked thoughts, trying to see what xe can get away with?

Ah, the horror.

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

I was just starting fourth grade when I saw my first Freddy Krueger movie. Nightmare on Elmstreet 3: Dream Warriors. It freaked me out bad. Prior to that all my monsters had clear and specific ways to defeat them and in my head these things seemed doable should I ever find myself in trouble. Werewolves and silver? Check. Vampires and stakes through the heart/sunlight? Check and check. Mummies? Find the loose bandage and unwrap that sucker. Check. (At the time this was Flawless Logic.) I wouldn’t be introduced to zombies till the following year, so we were good to go.

Until Freddy Krueger. Because you can’t fight sleep.

Sure, some of the characters won out in the end. But then there’d be a sequel and they all went down eventually. Even Nancy.

These days not a lot of movies scare me. I do remember having a full-on WTF when it turned out the zombies in the Dawn of the Dead remake could run at top speed. That sure as hell wasn’t in my Zombie Survival Guide. But once it was over, it was over. It didn’t keep me up at night or anything.

Still, every so often I’ll stumble across something that turns me right back into that little kid staring wide-eyed at the screen watching a knife-gloved man tearing through the dreams of innocent people while they slept.

The topiary scene in the book version of The Shining. The whole damned “Blink” episode in Doctor Who. That split second revelation while I watched In the Mouth of Madness for the first time. I think what gets to me is the loss of control and total inability to save myself from it. How can I be sure that sound is just leaves in the wind? How do I not blink? What do you mean I’m already there?

In most horror stories, if you’re fast enough/strong enough/smart enough then there’s a chance you can wrest control of your own fate. The ones that get to me most are the ones where that’s not even an option.

Which begs the question: Why the hell did I write Want Me? Joel loses all control of self and fate when Walker invokes his spell in chapter one. And every turn of the spiral slices that loss deeper.

The story scared the bejeezus out of me while I was writing it. When it was first released I put a warning on all my portals that it was a dark, dark book. I was sure it was going to freak everyone out.

One of the first fan-letters I received said something to the effect of “Read your book. With the way you were talking I was expecting mountains of corpses or something, though.” So my definition of scary is certainly not universal.

When people ask about Want Me, I never call it a Romance. Usually I refer to it as Erotic Horror and I’m somewhat alarmed when a reader tells me it’s the first book of mine they’ve picked up. What a first impression to make. But for the most part they seem to have been good impressions.

What Romantic/Erotic Horror stories have made good impressions on you? Which ones had scenes that stuck with you weeks, months, years later? Anything scaring you this Halloween? 😉

Want Me, Book Depository, and a Manga Rec

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Mrs. Giggles loves Book Depository. Talks about it all the time on her blog. For some reason I never thought to check it out until recently.

She’s right. It’s pretty freaking awesome. Most of their books have discounts comparable to the other big online book stores, and they have free shipping all over the world, no matter how much or how little you buy. Since I have a lot of days where I only buy one book at a time, this really works for me.

As is my habit when I hit a new book site, I typed my name in the search bar, and it turns out Want Me is listed there as well. So, wherever you are, you can get it shipped to you for free. Very cool.

Click the pic to learn more about Want Me

What I ended up buying on Book Depository was volume one of Kurashina Sensei’s Passion. Was in the mood for a sensei story, and it turned out to be perfect for that. Kurashina himself is one of my favorite types of characters: high strung, high tempered, badass when the chips are down, and his heart’s always in the right place. He wears a suit. He wears glasses. It’s nice.

The story follows Kurashina-sensei as he returns to his alma mater to teach, and how he deals with a wide array of personalities. There’s an interesting dynamic between him and one of the students that starts with Kurashina’s cat puking all over the student.

I’ve only read volume one so far, and it was funny. It was also sweet without getting sugary and I was looking for something lighthearted to read (I’d been feeling the weight of writer’s block and just needed to freaking relax). So if you’re looking for something like that too, I recommend KSP.

Kurashina Sensei's Passion cover