Monday, October 9, 2017

Sometimes We Get What We Didn't Pay For #Giveaway

Me and Ericka Hart. Shitty picture, but she's a ball of fire;
I'm lucky I got even a blurry one.
Over the weekend I went to see an exhibit about dick pics (as one does), and to hear a panel talking about that, and feminism.

One of the speakers I especially wanted to see and meet was sex educator Ericka Hart, also a breast cancer sur-thriver and all around amazing woman.

And one of the things she mentioned that struck me as hugely important, is how, if we value something, we need to PAY for it. Like newspapers/magazines. I am now paying subscriptions to news organizations that I usually read only a small portion of, because I value the reporting in these tumultuous times. Reporters gotta eat, too.

Also, Teen Vogue has been kicking ass with their articles in the past year.

Ericka and most of my friends who are sex educators, generally don't make a boatload of money. We need them, we need their work in our communities, we need their articles on EveryDayFeminism and Medium and other outlets, but as far as paying for it? Ugh. People expect things should be free.

The only sex educators I personally know making bank are those who are ALSO sex workers of some type. And while yay for sex workers, that's important work too, much akin to that of massage therapists, we need to recognize the unpaid labor of the women, men, and non-binary folx who perform sex education out of love, simply because they see a need.

We need to find ways to pay them, whether it's via Patreon (I currently subscribe to Kimchi Cuddles and PolyRoleModels) or by hiring them for speaking engagements and events, or by buying their books.

I'm currently reading this one, just released:

"Tamara Pincus and Rebecca Hiles fuse personal experience and community research to break down the various incarnations of polyamorous relationship structures, the intersections of polyamory with race and gender, and the seemingly esoteric jargon of the lifestyle."

Polyamory might not be your lifestyle, but you just might want to read about people who are practicing it, because there are probably polyamorous families whose kids go to school with your kids, or grandkids.

I've pre-ordered this one:


"Love's Not Color Blind puts forward the framework—through research, anecdotal testimony, and analogy—for understanding, identifying, and ultimately confronting the manifestations of racism within polyamorous communities. Whether you’re a community leader or you just like to date a lot, this is an invaluable tool for creating a more inclusive polyamory."




Okay, but you're REALLY not into polyamory or open relationships? Not to fret, pet.


This terrific book by Walker Thornton works regardless of your relationship configuration, whether you're in a monogamous marriage, an open relationship or currently single. We ALL deserve pleasure. At every age.

"Using a 30-day format, each day focuses on a topic, using writings, images, and exercises to help women experience pleasure. You’ll explore self-care, sexual health, learning to ask for what you want, and more. Inviting Desire teaches you to enhance awareness of your body and embrace your sexuality."



This book, by Elle Chase, is soooo good. Wonderful text, descriptions, ILLUSTRATIONS and photographs. They work for every body, not just those who are big - for people with bad backs, or problem shoulders...

"Sex educator Elle Chase covers sex positions from basic to advanced, specific challenges faced as plus-sized lovers, and precise, body positive tips, tricks and techniques that cater to your big, beautiful body."

People keep trying to borrow my copy, but I won't let it out of my big beautiful hands.



I highly recommend ALL the above books. But the one I am giving away is another favorite, Emily Nagoski's Come As You Are.


"Researchers have spent the last decade trying to develop a “pink pill” for women to function like Viagra does for men. So where is it? Well, for reasons this book makes crystal clear, that pill will never be the answer—but as a result of the research that’s gone into it, scientists in the last few years have learned more about how women’s sexuality works than we ever thought possible, and Come as You Are explains it all.

The first lesson in this essential, transformative book by Dr. Emily Nagoski is that every woman has her own unique sexuality, like a fingerprint, and that women vary more than men in our anatomy, our sexual response mechanisms, and the way our bodies respond to the sexual world. So we never need to judge ourselves based on others’ experiences. Because women vary, and that’s normal.

Second lesson: sex happens in a context. And all the complications of everyday life influence the context surrounding a woman’s arousal, desire, and orgasm."

I really love Come As You Are, which is why I'm happy to send a paperback copy to someone in the USA (Foreign postage kills me, but you know what, if you're overseas, we'll work out a gift certificate or something.) If you'd like to be considered for it, just leave me a comment (if you're creating an account via Google to do so, make sure it has your email address in the background, or check back here to see if you won).


You don't have to buy my book, though I'm over the moon if you choose to do so - especially if you review it.  You don't have to sign up for my badass newsletter, though I'm totally stoked if you do - and I promise not to send you 8 bazillion mailings a year. Or Fan my Facebook Page, or Follow Me on Twitter, or any of those hoops some bloggers make you jump through to enter a giveaway.

Just leave a comment. A remark about one of these books, another sexy book recommendation, or a picture of your cat.

(I do not, actually, know how to leave a photo of a cat on a comment, but wouldn't it be awesome if we could?)

Note: If you're creating a new account via Google to leave your comment, please make sure in the background when you sign up it lists your eddress, so I can let you know you've won. Or check back here after Friday the 20th, when I'll be drawing the lucky winner.  Thanks!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Release Day vs. Technical Difficulties vs. Life

So yesterday, my Kicking Cancer's Ass memoir released! On all available sites.  Okay, on Amazon. Kindle version and Paperback. It's also available on Kobo.

Have you added it to your TBR list on Goodreads yet?
Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n Roll, and a Tiara (How I Celebrated Kicking Cancer's Ass)


Plan A was to also have it available on iBooks, B & N, and Smashwords, but... life got in the way.

It'll get there soon, and that's good enough.

I've gotten a little sidetracked from blogging and the finishing touches, by friends who needed time and attention, including one who began her own breast cancer journey in June, and is now trying to wrap her mind around a body disfigured by a missing breast, and then two weeks ago, a face disfigured by the removal of a "small" bit of basal cell carcinoma that turned out to be more extensive than they thought. So I've been supporting her as much as I can, with phone calls and visits.

The T-shirt I desperately need from CatalogueFavorites
I've also spent priceless, delicious time with friends, family, lovers. And that's kind of the point of this cancer journey of mine, that life is short, and people are the most important thing. There will always be time to struggle with the technical difficulties that come with trying to format a book for different e-versions and print.

FWIW, WordPerfect is still out there and still a MUCH better program than stupid Microsoft Word, especially if one wants to have different odd and even page headers, but to suppress the headers on the pages where chapters begin.

Except that when you convert a .doc to WordPerfect, Word will corrupt the file during the conversion process, as a final "Up yours!" Asshole.

I got it done (I think) and paperbacks are ordered for my upcoming books signing on October 15 at Jenette Bras in Old Pasadena.



Here's something else that got in the way... Mah toof hab an owwie.

This was BEFORE the dental work. 
Yes, although I take very good care of my teeth, including thrice yearly cleaning and I JUST HAD dental work to replace an aging crown in July, another tooth decided to blow up on me. Pretty much within a 24-hour period.

It's hard to concentrate not just when your jaw hurts like a mo-fo, but infection in da face also impacts da brain. They kinda hang out together, you know?

Luckily, one emergency root canal later, it's about taken care of now (thank you, antibiotics!). Like my breast cancer journey itself, just one more unexpected detour.



But in honor of my dental distraction, here's a short excerpt from the chapter titled, appropriately, Bring On the Metal Hook!

EVERY TIME I HAD A DENTAL APPOINTMENT, I started off with high hopes. First, that I would get there on time (almost never). I am traffic-math challenged, and in L.A., traffic seems to grow worse every trip. Second, I hoped that Pat, my dental hygienist, would be impressed. I worked so hard at polishing the parts that were not-so-good the last visit. I tried to use dental picks and floss to get the gunk out of the crevices, polish well… 
And every time, Pat would find spots I’d missed, places I’d neglected. One would think, that for as long as I’d been conscientiously working on it, my teeth would be flawless. But no.
One would also think that my writing, which I’d also been working on for decades years, would be flawless. And at every critique group meeting, somebody would get out the metal hook and start poking and fire up the drill to root out the rotten parts.... 

If you write, does your editing process feel like a root canal? I can't give you painkillers over the Interwebs, but here's the music I picked for that chapter:





What songs would you choose to illustrate time with your dentist - and critique group? Leave a comment and tell me about your suggestion, or your recent life detours.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Five Lessons Trains Taught Me About Writing

1) I Think I Can, I Think I Can


We always need to believe in ourselves. If we think we can, we just might be able to accomplish what seems impossible; and if we're convinced we can't, we are 100% guaranteed to  fulfill our prediction of failure.


2) Refueling on a Long Journey Is Always Necessary

Writing long-term, is a marathon, not a sprint. Amtrak, not Metro. Modern trains need diesel refueling; steam trains need coal and water.
via Wikimedia Commons
We need to read books, watch movies and trashy reality shows, hang out with friends, spend some quality time with our family, lovers, and vibrators. Whatever fills us up and makes us feel ready to steam on, we need to reserve space and time to do that.



3) The Journey Can Be a Dirty, Messy, Exhausting Process


In every generation, there are are whiners; people who are outraged that, considering how marvelous they are, they must reduce themselves to XYZ indignity to put food on the table or to earn success as a writer.

In 19th century America, some complained about how wearying a train journey was; the enervating effects of hours on a train, the coal dust upon one's clothing, the inferior food en route. Of course, trains were still easier than walking, taking a sea journey, or a covered wagon. Better yet, there was always staying at home.



Strasburg RR, via Wikimedia Commons
See that dark smoke drifting back? Yep, it'll get on you.
To embark on a transcontinental voyage, by whatever means, we had to want it. If we did, we accepted the reality that more than likely, bad shit was gonna happen along the way.

Suck it up, Buttercup. Every writer has always had to make sacrifices and/or accommodations to suit the needs of his or her era. In the current market, success as a writer requires Social Media and a lot of hard work, rejection and criticism.

Don't like it? Don't board the train, then.


4) Always Have Another Engine Ready To Go in the Roundhouse


If one train gets stuck, is that it? Are we going to just roll over and abandon the dream?

Oh, hell no! We're going to rev up another engine and get it out there.

Roundhouse
via Cliff1066 via Flickr Creative Commons 
We should always have more than one project, at the very least in an embryonic stage, in our heads. Because aren't we thinking of new ideas all the time? Write 'em on a steno pad; dictate them to a voice recorder, take e-notes via Evernote or some other gadget, but we need to capture many, many ideas, and develop them as time allows.


5) You Always Need A Cowcatcher