Sunday, November 22, 2020
Sunday, November 1, 2020
It's November! Feliz Día de los Muertos! Happy Diabetes Awareness month! And if you're participating, Happy NaNoWriMo! As you've probably guessed by the picture to the left, I am participating this year. It's been a while since I did so, but the words are finally flowing again so I decided why the hell not. I'm hoping to end 2020 with a completed book or two to add to my published page next year.
This year's NaNo offering will be a sequel to Lunchtime Sex, tentatively titled Dinner for Two. I actually already started another book in this series that I thought would be the sequel but I guess it's going to be book three now. We'll see which one gets finished, edited, and covered first. That one will most likely be titled Breakfast in Bed (see the theme there?) All three are part of my Sophisticated Women series, which is an older woman/younger man series of forty-something women getting their groove back and the twenty-something men who help them with that groove. They are erotic romances, and definitely have HEA endings.Día de los Muertos is a holiday I've always been aware of but don't technically celebrate in the traditional way. My mother used to create an altar every year but I never have. My son expressed an interest this year but it was too late to make one. However, this is definitely on the list of to-dos for next year. To anyone who is celebrating with an altar, post pictures! I love to see the creativity that goes into celebrating our loved ones. Mine will probably be mostly about my maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather. I also have two cousins I'd like to honor. Do people include their pets? This year I lost my beloved cat Cheetoh and years ago I lost my dog Baby who was seven years old. I think they both deserve a place on my altar.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
I can't wait for November 4th. Actually, I should probably say January 21st. Whatever date when my social media feed isn't bombarded, rightly so, by the mess that is the political atmosphere in this country. I'm not naïve enough to think everything is going to get better immediately after the election, or even on Jan. 1, 2021. However, once the results are in there isn't a damn thing we can do about it one way or another. So whether my guy wins or not, I expect to be sharing and posting a LOT fewer political posts once it's done. I'm not saying we should ignore injustice and turn a blind eye to the racial disparity in the U.S., and world. I'm not saying I plan to stick my head in the sand. I just hope there will be fewer lies spewed as absolute truths soon.
So, what are we going to rage about once the election is over? Again, there will still be racial injustice to fight. There will still be a HUGE gap between our wealthiest and poorest. There will still be rampant homelessness in a country covered in empty housing. But can we take a break for a bit? Like, maybe just the first week of December can we all agree to just talk online about books, movies, TV shows, whatever entertains us? Let's talk about anime and manga, graphic novels and comic books, video games and puzzles. Let's talk about gardens and walks in the park, or whatever outings you're able to do in your part of the country. Let's celebrate the lives of those we've lost to Covid-19 by remembering the good times instead of railing at the gods that we've lost them. Just for a few days, or a few hours, or a few minutes.
Starting December 1st I'm going to make a conscious effort to put more positivity out in my social media world. If I see something negative that I feel others need to know about I will still share it, but I'm hoping things will quiet down a bit by then. December does mark the end of hurricane season after all. Hopefully it will also mark the end, or close to it, of political chaos season. Even if it doesn't, I'm really going to try to post more non-political positives rather than almost all political mostly negatives. Hopefully, I'll also have a new release by then. We shall see. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Matthew McConaughey's new book Green Lights. As a Native Texan, I think I'm obligated to like MM, but even if I wasn't he's an easy celebrity to like.
Most people my age think of MM as he was in Dazed and Confused, which came out the year I graduated High School. To be honest, I've never watched the entire movie and remember very little about it that isn't regularly shared on social media. What I do remember when it comes to MM, is his awesome portrayal of lawyer Jake Brigance in A Time to Kill. That is a movie I will never forget, though I think I've only seen it once.
So, his acting chops in that movie are usually the first thing I think of whenever his name runs across my social media. But, being a Texan, I've seen various tales of him just generally being a great, down to earth guy at various times. The talk aired online by B&N this past Tuesday only reiterated my opinion. From the advertisement I expected it to be Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) interviewing Matthew McConaughey about his new book. However, it was actually more like MM interviewing DJ. They spoke about the book and it's premise of there being green lights in our life, basically good things that come along, or opportunities we're given. They also spoke about yellow and red lights and how they've dealt with them.
One of the more serious parts of the talk happened when MM brought up that both of them have lost their fathers (which I didn't know). DJ spoke about being evicted from his home at age 14 and the effect that had on him. Seeing his mother cry was a driving force in him striving to be the successful man he is now. MM spoke a lot about his father and how much he misses him, which was very obvious in his voice. It was such a real, human moment to witness between these two men that can seem to far above us.
Probably my absolute favorite part, was when MM talked about knowing at age 8 what he wanted to be when he grew up. You'd think actor or artist, right? Someone famous and/or important. Actually, he said a father. That just melted my heart. I thoroughly enjoyed the talk, and the Q&A MM held afterward, answering questions that had been sent in before the event. Though I haven't received my copy of the book yet, I expect Green Lights to be just as satisfying as hearing that talk.
Now that virtual events are our new normal, I look forward to attending more author events such as this. A few weeks ago, I attended one hosted by Fresh Fiction in which they interviewed Lorraine Heath. If you follow me on Goodreads it's pretty obvious I've recently become addicted to her books. I plan to also host some virtual readings of my Gargoyle Masters series. Hopefully, book three will be ready soon. Once that date is set I'll plan three events where I read from each of the books and discuss their world. I hope you'll join me.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
At the time of our move out of city limits I was a lonely teenager with zero friends or acquaintances in the school district I was moved into as a Freshman. We moved into a "subdivision", which honestly freaked me out a little bit. The only things I knew about subdivisions at the time were from Rush lyrics, and none of it was flattering. That put a definite damper on my expectations of my new school and classmates. It actually turned out really well for me. I graduated with good friends, many I'm still in touch with, and tons of great memories. Did I conform? Yeah probably. At the time I didn't think much of it, but I realize now how much of my Mexican culture I sacrificed during my teen years. However, all teens go through the transition of identity phase and that was mine.
Years later, after many more moves, I talked my husband into moving back into the general area of my high school years because of those fond memories. We wound up, and still live, in a subdivision in the suburbs. But let me tell you about the suburbs where we live. It's quite diverse. I'm not surrounded by white housewives when I go to the grocery store. I don't see a plethora of Trump for President signs as I drive down the street. There's a feeling of community here, even though most of us stay to ourselves and only smile and wave to each other in passing. Once when walking into the local grocery store, a lady was struggling to push her cart and pull a carpet cleaning machine behind her. I immediately headed her way, but before I could help her two other people got to her and aided her to her car.
Another time, my husband and I were walking into the same store on a rainy day and a lady slipped and fell in front of us. The manager rushed out and a few other people stopped with us to help her. The store manager, who I knew well, talked her into letting me drive her home while my husband followed. No one thought anything of it because we're all neighbors. We're all a community. Sure, we have our problems like anywhere. I see Ring and Nextdoor alerts of stolen packages and car break-ins, but luckily it's not a daily occurrence. As mentioned, there are Trump supporters just like there are Biden supporters, but I've yet to see any public arguments. Everyone walking into the local grocery store wears a mask. When lost pet notices are posted people respond to help. I like living in my subdivision in the suburbs.
That being said, I DO NOT find Mike Pence in any way sexy or attractive. In fact, I laughed out loud when I saw that making the rounds on Twitter. I think a big part of the problem with the negative view of suburbs right now is the misconception that only one type of person lives in them. Well, that's certainly not true where I live and I have a feeling it's not true for a lot of suburbs around the U.S.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Sunday, October 4, 2020
When I was in high school I was an aunt to four rambunctious boys and one rambunctious girl. I loved all of them dearly but swore I wouldn't be having any of my own anytime soon. My plan was to become a photographer for either Sports Illustrated or National Geographic, hopefully both, and travel the world indulging in my passion of photography. I graduated. Started college, then life happened. By the time my second child made herself known I realized my plans had been forever altered. I don't remember ever mourning the life I thought I'd live. I remember nothing but happiness when I first became a mom, even if it hadn't been in my plans. Plans change and people change, and I think it all worked out.
So, now I'm forty-five and indulging in writing, something that wasn't even on my radar back in high school. I've always loved to read and write. As a child I'd make up stories all the time but not write them down. I was the kid sitting on the playground reading a book instead of running around with everyone else. Though I'd never expected to become an author, when I think back to various times in my life I realize I probably should have considered it. The spark was always there, I just hadn't noticed it.
I know a lot of people hate getting older. They hate having their birthdays acknowledged and fussed over. I'm the complete opposite, not only about my own birthday but about those of my loved ones, too. Since we couldn't throw the big bash I wanted to give my mom for her milestone birthday, we hired mariachis to play at her house. My sister made signs for her yard and her sister baked a cake, covered in seventy individual candles (she's the youngest and had to rub it in mama's face). For my daughter, we drove up to Denton for the day to have a small celebration at her apartment. It wasn't all I'd hoped to do, but it was enough.
Getting older isn't a bad thing if you can look at what you've accomplished in the years you've lived. If you're happy with the person you are today, then all of the hardships have been worth it.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Mulan is one of those that sticks with you long after you've watched it. If your family is like mine, you trade quotes at random times (usually from Mushu), sing the songs together, and recount the funniest parts over and over. It's one we've loved and watched many times since it's release onto VHS. So, it was with great excitement that my family looked forward to the release of a live-action Mulan. Understandably, my kids were skeptical about this one being as good or better than the original but we decided to watch it anyway.
Shortly after the movie became available word got out online that the main actress and at least one actor had some troublesome political views. To be completely honest, in a good year I might not know what's going on in other countries, especially on other continents, that is causing unrest among their citizens. Everyone knows this has not been a good year, however, my son explained some of it to me so I wasn't completely unaware when we chose to rent the movie. My son decided to stay in his room while the rest of us watched the movie.
It started out well. I liked seeing a glimpse of Mulan as a child that wasn't given in the original. It was odd seeing her have a sister instead of her wise and amusing grandmother, who had seemed to be the only one to cut her a little slack. But then the plot twisted into something far different from the cartoon. This wasn't a smart only child who was trying to make her father proud of her because of her love for him. This Mulan has inner power that she must keep secret because she's female living in a male-dominated world. Her parents are exasperated by her. Her father offended rather than the loving animated character who, while full of pride, still loves his daughter deeply enough to look past her flaws. This isn't necessarily a Mulan little girls could or would look up to when what they see in the mirror isn't who they hope to be.
The movie follows the events of the original for the most part, but then a different villain is thrust upon us. We meet a witch who is very powerful, but for some reason acts as a minion for the true bad guy, Böri Khan. Why? The entire characterization of Xianniang makes no sense whatsoever. She is the one sent in first to clear the way for Böri Khan and his elite group of baddies. He talks down to her and basically treats her like shit, but she follows him anyway. Why? What hold does he have on her, a magical witch who can turn into a bird and fly away at any time? What makes even less sense is the ending when she sacrifices herself to save Mulan based on little more than one meeting where she admits they have a lot in common (which Mulan disagrees with BTW). Xianniang was a very unsatisfactory addition to the movie. Without fleshing out her character, she shouldn't have been added at all.
Then there's the Big Reveal. In the cartoon, Mulan is injured saving Li Shang, a character that sadly didn't make the cut into the live-action version. Now, she fights the witch, loses, then I guess has an epiphany? The witch basically dares her to reveal herself so she strips off (and throws away!) her father's armor (probably a family heirloom BTW) and rides back into battle sans armor and with her hair down. This is the part that doesn't make a lot of sense to my American mind. Her hair had been up, but the guys still had to know it was long, right? I mean, I can fit a lot of hair into a bun, but her bun wasn't exactly small and discreet. Anyway, she rides in and saves the day. They appreciate it but immediately recognize she is a woman and must be banished. This is the part of the movie I liked the least (because I didn't really hate any of it). It makes no sense to throw away her dad's armor before heading into a battle. It makes no sense to reveal herself at that point in time. The animated version played this out much better.
I'm not going to go into the ending too much other than to say I understand now why Jet Li didn't want to be in the movie. Apparently his daughter talked him into it, but really, they could've had a carboard cutout play the emperor for all the life they gave him in this movie.
Overall, it wasn't the worst remake I've ever seen. It wasn't the worst movie by a long shot. But I did miss the comedy and the music of the animated version. I do prefer that movies about other cultures stick closely to the truth of those cultures though, so I'm going on the advice of others to look for the 2009 version of Mulan, which some believe more closely follows the original poem.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
I signed my first publishing contract in the summer of 2008. Before that acceptance email that completely changed the way I viewed myself when it came to writing, I basically just wrote as stories came to me. I wrote because I wanted to know the rest of the story that was playing through my mind. I wrote for myself. The first time someone told me they liked what I had written I was shocked. These crazy stories I make up in my mind weren't supposed to actually go anywhere or do anything for anyone. Not even me.
Now it's been over ten years since my first book landed on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and I'm completely indie-published. I don't have a company to help me edit, publish, cover, and promote my stories. I'll be completely honest, there are days where it doesn't feel as if all the work is worth it. Does anyone care if I ever publish another book? Is anyone actually waiting for my 3rd Gargoyle book, 4th Archangel book, 2nd Shapeshifter book, or any of the erotic stories I have yet to republish? Maybe, maybe not. I've had to really think about this over the past few months because independent publishing is not cheap. I promised my husband at the very beginning of this journey that I would only spend money I make on my books on book-related things. I lied. Luckily, he's a wonderful man with a great job, and I work fulltime as well. However, I've had to take things very slowly with anything new that requires not only a book cover (of which I am barely capable), but also a real editor rather than a free Beta reader. This, my dear readers, is only one of the reasons I don't have more books available for purchase right now.
At the beginning of the year I had great hopes of having the third Gargoyle book out by the summer. Then Covid-19 happened and I've found it very hard to concentrate on writing. The plethora of blog posts over this past months are my way of getting back into the swing of things. I'm hoping oiling my writing muscles in this way will bring my mojo back. I think it's working. I certainly am not having any trouble writing the blog posts. But even once I get the book done I still have to pay for an editor. A couple of months ago I invested in another beautiful cover from the very talented Kanaxa. I can't wait to share it with y'all, but that's not happening until I have a release date. I have to finish the book first.
So, what was my great epiphany about my writing? What is the decision I've come to as mentioned in the blog title? I've decided to stop worrying about trying to keep up with the expectations other authors have for themselves and to be more realistic in the expectations I set for myself. I've decided to start writing for ME again. I still want to keep my readers happy. I love y'all and am completely humbled every time I sell a book. However, I can't live under that pressure right now. I'm going to once again look at each book as a story I want to tell rather than a possible source of income. Luckily, I have the ability to do that because as mentioned above my husband and I both work. I'm going to stop looking at my author brand as a business (at least for the moment) and consider it an expression of myself I want to share with the world. I hope you will join me on my journey.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020
In February of 1989 I was thirteen years old and suffering through the Spring semester of my eighth grade year. All I cared about was heavy metal music and learning how to play guitar. All I wore was black concert t-shirts and real denim jeans (yeah we had those back then) with holes in the knees, plus the requisite Converse, or as we called them "Chucks". I don't remember how I watched the first B&T movie, but I remember wanting everything I could get my hands on. The photo to the left came out of a box of Bill & Ted cereal. I don't even remember what it tasted like. I also have a Bill & Ted comic book in my collection. Maybe someday I'll even read it.
To say I was excited at the prospect of a new Bill & Ted movie is a bit of an understatement. I was ecstatic and fully prepared to head to the theater for opening night. Thanks to the pandemic (haha, yeah 'thanks') I didn't even have to leave my livingroom. In preparation for watching Bill and Ted Face the Music, my family watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. I think it's safe to say the first one is still my favorite.
If you've never seen B&T 2, the third movie might have you scratching your head at some of the characters and the role they play. In the 2nd movie Bill and Ted meet Death, who at the end of the movie joins Wyld Stallyns. He plays a big role in that movie so I wasn't surprised to see him in the new one. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a majority of the actors from the first two movies reprised their roles for number three. It was great to see familiar faces, but a little sad to know that George Carlin could only be shown as a hologram since we lost him in 2008.
This movie was as ridiculous as I expected it to be, but better. I love that they went back to the format of the first movie in going through time to find historical figures. That it was Bill and Ted's daughters made it even better. I got goosebumps when Jimmie Hendrix started playing against Mozart. That was the best scene in my opinion and something I would've loved to see expanded on. Could you imagine being able to get legendary musicians from all through time together to jam? That absolutely made the movie for me. I also loved the couples therapy scene. It was exactly as I would've expected Bill & Ted to act with their wives even after twenty-five years. Absolutely hilarious.
The whole movie has a lot of throw-back to the first two movies. I like that they didn't act as if the second one never happened, or try to change any major plot points. I've seen some people on Twitter upset that a fat suit was used. I do understand those who are upset over it, and honestly it could've been left out. I believe the point was to show that Ted was drinking so much he gained weight, but other things pointed to him drinking too much so it could've been left out. That's really my only complaint about this movie.
This one won't win any awards or hit any Best of lists. However, considering the chaos all around us in the year 2020 I think it was just the type of refreshing mindless entertainment we need. It had great music, ridiculous jokes, and Keanu and Alex stepping right back into their characters as if they were slipping on well-worn jackets. I loved it and will definitely be watching it again.
If you decide to watch it take note, there is a final scene after all of the credits that's worth the wait.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! September 15th through October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month. Why doesn't it start on the first? I have no idea. To be honest, this is the first year I've publicly acknowledged it because I usually don't know it's coming and forget about it once it's here. I have an odd relationship with my heritage, but the fact is I'm proud to say I'm Mexican American, born and raised in Texas.
I wasn't always proud of my heritage. In fact, I spent my entire childhood and adolescence wishing I was white. This is a fact that I've only come to realize, and come to terms with, in the past few years and I feel like I've missed out on so much of my rich culture.
The photo to the left is of my mama at an art installation I took her to for Mother's Day a few years back. It featured the Virgin de Guadalupe, a symbol that holds a special place in my mama's heart. As a teenager, I wouldn't have wanted to attend such an event. I rebelled against learning conversational Spanish. I never dressed or spoke in a way that would reflect my Mexican heritage. Looking back I can't say exactly why I felt that way, but being Mexican always felt like a stigma. I saw various things in my youth that led me to that, but there were a lot of wonderful things too, and I can only blame my perception of what was beautiful and accepted for missing out on that part of my culture.
I was raised on the north side of Houston in a diverse area, but mainly Hispanic. For middle school I was sent to a magnet school in a predominantly African American area but there were still different cultures around me. However, my closest friends were white. Once I hit high school we moved north to the suburbs and I was in a predominantly white school. It was a completely different social, economic, and cultural climate. I wanted to fit in like any teenager. I wished daily that I'd been born white, but that idea was never so simple in my head. I wished I was blond. I wished I was tall and thin. I wished I could wear the same clothes as my white female classmates and look the same way they did. But still I didn't realize I wanted to be white. I begrudgingly took Spanish class because I knew I could ace it, and I did. I was a member of the Spanish National Honor Society without being able to hold a conversation with my grandma in Spanish. I was a fraud. I felt like an impostor.
It's been a few years since I've embraced being Hispanic, but eleven or so years ago when deciding on a pen name I didn't think twice about using Missy Jane. My real name is Melissa and Missy is a nickname. My real middle name is Jane. I joked that it would be easier for me to remember, but was that all? I can't help but wonder if I was subconsciously suppressing my roots. Was I trying to hide my brown skin with an Anglo-sounding name? Perhaps. If so, it wasn't something I thought about until the past few months when more and more Latinx authors have become known to me. They're all over Twitter proudly proclaiming their heritage. They put it in their books and on their beautiful book covers. Once again I feel like a fraud. I almost never write a blond character, but they do tend to have pale skin. I've started to make them darker. I've started to add a kink to their hair. I've started to hear Spanglish as I write and yearn to include it whenever a conversation happens that I know could happen in my own family.
I can't promise that I will always get it right. I can't promise that I will be a good representative of my Mexican heritage. But I'm going to make more of an effort. I'm proud to say I'm Latina, Mexicana, Hispanic, Chicana, any one of the numerous words that means my skin is naturally brown, my black hair is naturally curly, and in the summer I wear chanclas.
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Sunday, September 6, 2020
I'm most active on Twitter these days, I think because of the faster pace. I tend to log on while I'm at work during the week because I have a lot of down time and I can take a peek at what the online world is talking about fairly quickly. But being on Twitter is a double-edged sword. It's a great way to let people know about my books, talk to bibliophiles of all genres, and get great writing advice. However, it can also be a pitfall of hate and negativity. Politics aside, there can be some really unpleasant people on Twitter which is why they allow you to block and mute accounts that you don't want to engage with or read posts from. So, what do you do when someone you want to engage with blocks you? The short answer is, absolutely nothing. Trying to engage with someone who doesn't want to engage with you will only lead to trouble no matter how you look at it. This isn't something I usually worry about, but I have to admit that finding out I'm blocked by someone I want to engage with is unpleasant.
So what happens when someone you've never engaged with, or even knew of before, blocks you? Again, nothing really. Twitter is just an online platform not an arena full of people that you can touch and see. Most people don't have a real photo of themselves or use their real names. It's all superficial and shouldn't be an emotional thing at all. However, it can be. Not long ago the Romance Community was talking about an author that many people engage with and learn from but it wasn't anyone I had ever heard of. I clicked on the link to learn more about them and instead realized they had blocked me from seeing anything at all. I have to admit, I was really taken aback. If this person is so highly regarded and doesn't want to even know I exist, what does that say about me?! In essence, nothing at all. It could be that at some point I Tweeted, Retweeted, or even just liked a post that this person disagreed with enough to warrant them never wanting to engage with me. And that's perfectly fine. That's exactly what Block and Mute are meant to do. But it honestly took a couple of days for me to get past it because of how highly regarded this person is in our Romance Community. The worst part to me is not being able to make amends or explain myself because I have no clue why I've been blocked. But the truth is it really doesn't matter. I had never heard of this person before which means we probably have nothing in common other than being in the Romance Community. And that's fine because as individuals, there's no way all of us are going to get along.
For a lot of creators impostor syndrome is a very real, very harsh malady that we fight against every time we attempt to create. Social media can be both a hindrance and a life preserver. If you get positive feedback online it helps to realize that yes, maybe you can do this creative thing you've set out to do. But negative feedback (including being blocked, muted or ignored) feeds into that doubt that nags at the backs of all our minds when we have the audacity to try creating art. If this ever hits you just remember that social media is completely voluntary and not necessarily reflective of reality many times. It's okay if some people don't want to engage with you because there are others who do. No matter what you put out there, someone wants and maybe even needs to see it. Be your own best audience and keep creating.
If you'd like to engage with me online, I can be found here:
Twitter the quickest way to get my attention
Instagram mostly pictures of my cats & food I've cooked or am about to eat, but occasionally books too
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Thursday, August 27, 2020
In July I lost one of my furbabies (pictured above). Cheetoh adopted us in 2015. She just showed up one day as a scrawny stray meowing in the hopes we'd feed her. I fed her and loved her and fed her some more. If you follow me on Instagram you're probably very familiar with her antics. I loved her so very much, but she developed Diabetes without us realizing it until it was too late to reverse the effects.
Along the way I also returned to working in the office instead of at home. Unfortunately, I have no real choice in the matter even though I disagree with it since I can completely do my job from home (except checking the mail on Mondays). However, it keeps me active when working from home definitely didn't. I also republished an erotic short story originally released by Ellora's Cave called Educating Macey. It's always been one of my favorites because no matter how many times I read it, that opening scene always makes me laugh. I have it available indefinitely for free.
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Thursday, May 21, 2020
|Calico cat named Jessie|
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Saturday, February 1, 2020
by Tina Donahue
Wanna Be Bad Book 2
Genre: Contemporary MFM Menage Romance
I'm happy to announce that my friend and fellow Romance author Tina Donahue has a new release!