Monday, January 27, 2014

Rant On: Stop Mating Davina with Goliath

Am I only one bugged by seeing this duo pop up all over in romance? Davina, the heroine, is 5 foot nothing, possibly 100 pounds soaking wet, dainty (but always spunky and tough). Goliath, the hero, is 6'4"-6'6", extremely muscular, and with a gigantic peen that would make stallions check their envy at the gate.

According to Wikianswers, the average height for a man in the US is 5'10." This means there's a whole lot of guys under 5'10", as well as the basketball-player types.

I'm not an unbiased reader. I'm 5'9", and going all the way back to junior high, when I was taller than most of the boys in the class, I have personally experienced the reality that most boys (and men) won't even consider dating a woman their own height or, stars forbid, taller than they are (though there are a few brave and confident souls, bless 'em). Other tall women report the same thing.

So it's not just body jealousy because I will never be able to indulge in #Riccing. It's that the pool of date-able men for tall girls and women is already much smaller than the pool for the woman of average (5'5") height, let alone those just this side of being a hobbit.  So whenever I see a tiny woman hooking up with a tall guy, either IRL (in real life) or in fiction, part of me screams out:

Why can't you greedy bitches leave our men alone?

English: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at ...
English: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at The Nobel Peace Price Concert 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But okay, love is love, and love shouldn't have to consult a tape measure, right? I adore it when people fall in love and seem happy together, even people who appear somewhat of a physical mismatch, due to age, disability, skin color, religion, or weight or height variances. *cough* Jada Pinkett* *cough* *Will Smith*

I'm okay with the Davina and Goliath "thing" happening in fiction, with a few caveats:
  1. Mix it up a little. Don't make every story the Incredible Hulk getting it on with Thumbelina. That trope is becoming as overdone as the hot billionaire Dom partnering the naive virginal sub.
  2. Don't make it icky or unbelievable.
  3. Make sure your choreography works.

Goliath, you're a sick puppy.

Whenever I read a description as to how a huge, muscular guy has a constant boner for a diminutive woman, this little bitty thang who doesn't even come up to his shoulder, (in some cases, the author will emphasize how doll-like and/or childlike the hero thinks the heroine is) I don't think "sexy."

I think perv.

Authors, if you're going to write a huge height and weight difference, especially if the heroine is also ten years or more younger than the hero, please do not emphasize how young, fragile, or innocent the heroine appears.

Describing how her tiny, childlike hands could not fully encircle his ginormous swollen man-rod is not erotic, it's creepy. It makes everyone else 1) want to throw the book across the room, and 2) be afraid to try another of your stories.

Plus, the tree-trunk-sized penis you're "gifting" to your tall heroes? Nobody wants that.
I've discovered from friends and personal experience extensive research that:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Gratitude Highlights, An Interview, and the Fam Damily

Problem: In order to track things for which to be grateful for in 2014, I had to dump out my 2013 Gratitude Jar.

Some highlights:
  • For the first time, my sister and I talked about our mother's last few months, before she died of breast cancer. Made me cry, but in a good way.
  • The incredible beauty and scent of pink jasmine.
  • Getting a visit from my favorite sweet dog, Sarge, in my dreams.
  • After weeks of physical therapy for my frozen shoulder, finally being able to link my fingers under my back again in bridge position.
  • Getting my car paid off!
  • An amazing moon in the sky as I drove home from book club, gleaming like a crescent smile.
  • My first swim of the spring (dated 4/28/13) - warmer water than I expected.
  • A hilarious FB comment stream with my SoCal Lady Bloggers following a question about how does one review a lei. #GetLeid
  • Live music!
  • My African violet blooming again for the first time in three years.
  • An evening of soft tacos and old movies with my visiting sister, eaten off my good heirloom china (the tacos, I did not eat the movies nor my sister).

Do you see a pattern? (No, not on my china, I know about that one.) Much of these things have zero to do with luck or hard work (well, my African violet was), but simply acknowledging the many, many blessings all around me already.

Sometimes the blessings are hard to appreciate. Today, as this posts, I am driving my oldest sister for her first chemotherapy session. Although her surgery went extremely well, her stage of gall bladder cancer currently has a 28% survival rate even with the most aggressive treatment, so they are throwing the kitchen sink at it.

Meanwhile, her husband has been fighting for his life, since suffering a major stroke two days after she got out of the hospital. It has been a looong month, and he has been "declining" several times, a different organ or condition causing serious concern almost every day.. Outside of my day job, I've been spending most of my free time at the hospital.

On Friday, we got the news that his liver has failed, he was not a candidate for transplant, and the liver team would meet with us on Monday to discuss hospice care and give us a best guess as to how much time he had left. We spent Friday night and Saturday trying to come to terms  (again) with losing him; my sis trying frantically to arrange out how to transport him home (they live 3 1/2 hrs away, though they are temporarily relocated to LA), watching him sleep or stare catatonically at the TV.  Trying to say our goodbyes in his few lucid moments.

But Sunday... he was tremendously improved, and so were all his tests, so now they are chirping about moving him to stroke rehab (again) in a day or two to build up his strength. There is no number of facepalms that can adequately express the what-the-fuckery that I am, we are, feeling.

Not being dead, myself, I did notice that one of my BIL's stroke-rehab doctors was romance-cover-model hot, but even I could not muster the moxie or energy to get his picture for the blog. My WIP? Patiently gathering cyberdust at the moment; I don't have the energy or concentration to work on her right now.

And yet. I do feel blessed. Very tired, more than a little stressed and worried, but still, blessed. My family has been amazing, everyone stepping to the plate to help one another. I have a wide circle of friends who have offered all kinds of help and emotional support, and then I have my online friends, like you.  *kisses*

And I have my supportive groups, like WriterUnboxed. That circle of friends is celebrating its birthday this month, and its "mamas" granted me an online interview. I did the questions several months ago, but it's published on the site today. While I advise every writer to gather a face-to-face circle of writing friends if possible, my groups of online friends have been a wonderful source of support, encouragement, and resources. If you haven't visited Writer Unboxed before, please do visit and leave a comment or two.

Or, leave me a comment here. I promise I'll approve it and reply, eventually. If you want to be interviewed by me, check out my Rock Stars tab here, and send me an email. It'll have to wait till a time when I have two brain cells to rub together, but interview are always fun.

Thanks for your love & support, I can feel it coming in waves right through the monitor.

Monday, January 13, 2014

9 Ways to Find Your Next Favorite Book #amreading

Want to find more books you love, avoid more you loathe?

"All the" meme by Allie Brosh
Hyperbole and a Half
1) Analyze your book likes and dislikes. If you’ve never done this before, pick ten books that have stuck in your head, whether in a good way or bad way. Then figure out why. You can do it on paper, or via a site like GoodReads. (FYI, though I adore GoodReads and am part of the 1%, I am not on their payroll.)

What hooked you and kept you awake late into the night, turning pages? What made you fall asleep, or want to chuck the book across the room? Do you crave explicit sex scenes, or do you prefer that lovemaking is inferred, and takes place off-page, as it were? (For more on sorting out what "heat levels" are, check out my Some Like It Hot tab here.)

Do you enjoy authors who take time to dress the scene with detailed descriptions of rooms, clothing, and weather, or would you prefer they skip the Lauren Ashley crap and leap right into the action? Does elegant and evocative use of prose make your toes curl, or your stomach hurl?

There are no right or wrong answers; there is only what is right for YOU.

2) Join a book reading club, one that discusses books either in person through Meetup or Craigslist (if CL isn't too full of loons in your area), or online via GoodReads. Following some passionate discussions, I’ve learned and appreciated much more about books I’ve read, and also discovered nuances I'd missed. I've also found books I've loved and would never have picked up on my own, if they hadn't been the club's pick.

3) Ask a friend who reads. Again, this could be an online friend, or in person. If she is raving about The Moon Sisters or Hyperbole and a Half, ask her why. Her answer could inspire you to move that book to the top of your TBR (To Be Read) list, or to your hells-to-the-no list.

First paperback edition book cover
First paperback edition book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
4) Browse library bins. My local library has a “Something for Everyone” stand near its checkout, where there’s a wide variety of books, generally pretty battered very well-loved, from The Kite Runner to Twilight to Proof of Heaven.

If you use an e-reader, you can browse book covers via the website, and at least on the Los Angeles site, easily add them to your wish list. Since I cannot afford to BUY ALL THE BOOKS!, the library offers me a great way to feed the beast while still keeping the lights on.

Why yes, I did add The Dom Project to my Wish List.

5) Try another book by a favorite author, especially if they write in another genre or under more than one pen name.