Archive for September, 2010



What Stace had to say on Thursday, September 30th, 2010
A Visit from Marta Acosta!

A special treat today! You don’t have to read more of my own disjointed ramblings, you get to read an interview with an actual real writer, lol, who makes sense and doesn’t just whine about stuff. Marta Acosta, who in addition to writing her terrifically funny books also runs the very popular Vampire Wire blog, has agreed to grace us all with her presence and show me how real writers behave when being interviewed (I suspect she wasn’t even drunk when she answered these questions!)

An artist’s rendering of Marta:

So Marta, thanks for stopping by today! You’ve written four books in the Casa Dracula series; the new one, HAUNTED HONEYMOON, is the last. Could you give the readers a general idea of what the series is about?

Thanks for having me, Stacia! The Casa Dracula books are romantic comedies about quirky, fun, sexy, and bright Milagro de Los Santos, who gets accidentally infected with vampirism and involved with a pack of snobby vampires. These people claim that they aren’t vampires, but have a genetic condition. During the course of the books, Milagro falls in and out of love, escapes anti-vampire extremists, defeats vampire zealots, tries to earn a living, while finding time for flirting and parties.

Each book is also a step forward as Milagro grows up and finds her place in the world.

Haunted Honeymoon is the final book in the series. Can you give readers a hint of what to expect?

Mil is having a torrid affair with dangerous and secretive Ian Ducharme, a member of the Vampire Council, but she still misses her ex-fiance Oswald Grant. She distrusts Ian and finds him immoral, while she admires Oswald. When Ian’s shenanigans with his seductive neighbor infuriate Mil, she takes off to London for a job assignment and meets a sexy young vamp who’s both a good guy and fun, too.

When she returns home, though, the bodies start piling up and Mil is being set up for murder. She’s basically kidnapped, held, and “harshly” questioned by a nameless organization. She escapes and runs to Oswald’s ranch. An accidental blow to her head results in amnesia and she forgets all about her life with the vampires. She’s got the opportunity for a re-do with Oswald, but she’s also got enemies looking for her. Will she make the same mistakes again?

So what made you want to do more humorous urban fantasy? Did it just come out that way, or did you always want to write funny?

I always wrote funny. I wrote serious too. I studied creative writing at a Fancy University and I wrote really grim, third-person, present tense fiction. However, every now and then I’d crack and turn in a completely inane story with cartoons. I’d read it to the class and everyone would stare at me and I could practically see the little WTF? bubbles over their heads.

It wasn’t my intention to write urban fantasy. When I started my first Casa Dracula book, I hadn’t even heard the term urban fantasy. I was just writing a funny story to amuse myself. I wanted to make spoof cliches about vampires being rich, gorgeous, and accomplished, and that fit well with a comedy-of-manners set up. Toss an aimless, broke, sexy, bright, and snarky girl into the scene and hit the frappe button.

Legend has it that Sir Donald Wolfit’s last words were, “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.” Do you agree? And do you think he came up with that line years before and was just waiting to use it?
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What Stace had to say on Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
Haircut

So, I did get my hair cut today. I went to a place at the local mall, and this very cool, adorable girl did it for me, and used the pictures as reference, and did an awesome job. I’m really, really happy with it. When I got home I added a bit of goop to the top, and although it looks really cute with the bangs down, I pulled them up with a bow for pictures so everyone can see how good a job she did re the picture, and how close it is. :-) (BTW, I only got like four hours of sleep last night, so please be kind in evaluating the photos.)

I’m just going to post a few pictures, and tomorrow I’ll be back with a proper post.

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What Stace had to say on Monday, September 27th, 2010
The Downside Market is OPEN!

For pre-orders, which I will explain in a minute.

First, now that I have your attention, have you all heard of A Glimpse of Darkness? It’s the multi-author story I’m participating in on Random House’s Suvudu blog, and it’s enormously fun; it’s a choose-your-own-adventure! Well, not choose your OWN, but the readers vote on what happens next, and we poor writers get less than a week to then write what happens next. I know!! It’s me, Lara Adrian, Kelly Meding, Harry Connolly, and Lucy A. Snyder, and we have a great story, and I’m so excited to get to participate. So please, come on over and get involved! Vote! Read! Make fun of me! Whatever you want.

Chapter One, written by Lara Adrian, is here.

Harry Connolly’s Chapter Two will be up today.

I hope to see you all over there, commenting and playing along!

Now…*drumroll*…

We have a web store! The Downside Market is open for pre-orders!

And, as a special pre-order, opening special thank-you giftie you guys rock blahblahblah, we’re offering 10% off ALL orders between now and October 8 (when the pre-order period ends).

Simply enter the coupon code PREORD10 at checkout.

Now, why pre-orders? Well. Because I want to be able to keep prices lower for you guys, and that’s the way the company I’m working with works. (Southern Promo, to remind you all.) Because I want to keep those prices reasonable while at the same time offering really high-quality items–name brands–which the pre-order period will enable us to do.

But mostly, it’s so we can see what you guys want and what you don’t, and so we can change and update things to respond to that. Remember, this isn’t some big automated company where machines pick your generic item from a pile of other generic items. This is a small company run by actual people, who will be working to make sure everything is the best it can be, and helping out if by some small chance people aren’t satisfied. To me that’s worth a lot; certainly it’s the kind of experience I think you deserve.

Right now we don’t have as many items for each individual design; again, that’s so we can adjust to what you guys want. So please, if there’s something you’d rather see in a different style shirt or something, use the contact form here (the one there isn’t up yet) and let us know! If there’s something you don’t see at all, let us know! Comments? Complaints? Compliments? Please, do say something. This is all new to me–and frankly rather scary, as I’m convinced that we’ve done all this work and we’ll end up selling four shirts and that’s all–so I really want to hear opinions!

I think we have a pretty good selection up, though, Lots of colors and sizes; I made sure of the sizes, especially. And again, high quality is very important to me, and being able to offer good, affordable prices is even more so. Of course there are a few tote bags and other swag items, too, as well as a selection for the gentlemen (although that selection is admittedly smaller, since several of the designs are, well, for girls. You’ll see what I mean).

Something else is important to me, too. I think all of you are aware of my feelings about urban fantasy as a genre, how much I love it and love writing it. To that end, we designed several urban fantasy t-shirts; shirts not specific to my world or books, but which celebrate the genre itself. Because you know what? It should be celebrated! So please, check those out. And tell all your UF-fan friends! I’m planning/hoping to add more of those as well if they prove popular, and I really hope they will be. I’d love to see us all being proud, and saying it loud (ha, see what I did there)!

We’ll be adding new designs and items periodically, as well, and of course each time I’ll mention it here.

So…that’s it! What do you think!?

What Stace had to say on Sunday, September 26th, 2010
Saturday Night Rant

Because I feel like it, that’s why.

I went to get my hair cut today (yes, I just bitched about this on Twitter. So? I have something else to rant about too, so if you’ve already read this–oh, your time is soooo valuable, you can’t read a little rant more than once–feel free to skip.

Last week hubs and I were doing a bit of online browsing at Daddy O’s, which we do quite often and have done for years and years now, almost since it opened. And we came across pictures of this model and her adorable hair, which we both really liked, and thought would be really cute on me. So I’ve been thinking about it all week, and hubs printed out the pictures so I could look at them, and I decided, yeah, today I’m going to get do it. Because yes, it’s shorter than what I have now, but it isn’t, like, microshort or anything. I wore my hair a lot like it fifteen years or so ago, and it never took long to grow out.

Problem, of course, is that I don’t know where in this area to go. The last place I got a professional cut closed, and even if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have gone back there, because it was too expensive and the girl really didn’t listen to me or do what I wanted, which just sucked.

I drove past a few places, but they were all, like, “Day Spa/Salon”s, which means they’re going to be outrageously expensive too. Finally I found an open place, walked in, and was greeted by this incredibly dour, frumpy little woman with that burgundy-auburn dyed hair, do you know the color I mean? Seriously, she looked like Rosa Klebb. Without the cheer.

I already had that sort of nervous icky feeling in my stomach, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to let Mama Steelboot there near me with scissors. But I showed her my pictures anyway, figuring who knows, maybe she’s an excellent stylist who just has bad person taste, right?

Her thick eyebrows rose up to her weirdly side-swept bangs. “You want to go this short?”

I don’t think the cut is that short, actually, and that’s what I said. She sort of looks at my hair again, raises her eyebrows further, and says, “Well, it’s shorter than what you have now.”

Um, yeah…that’s why they call it a hair cut. Also, duh, I can see that it’s shorter than what I have now; I even brought pictures to reference, and am perfectly capable of understanding the concept of varying lengths. Also, fuck you, lady.

She took my name, and went to start sweeping up, and I stood there wondering why I was even contemplating letting this woman who obviously didn’t get me or what I wanted, and who I suspected might deliberately sabotage my hair just for pleasure, at all near me, so I didn’t. I told her I wanted to think about it more, and ran.

Why is it so damn hard to find a decent stylist? One who will actually listen to what you want, and give it to you? I just don’t get it. This is why I cut my own hair. I just don’t feel confident I can do that cut myself, because of all the layers in the back.

Anyway. This leads me to another rant, which was brought on by a humorous discussion on Absolute Write, and I’m basically going to repeat what I said. (Hmm. Maybe I should have called this post “Recycled Rants.”

The discussion was about celebrities eating during interviews, and how just once it would be cool to see someone polish off a cheeseburger or something. I commented that only very thin actresses get to do that, in the guise of A) proving they’re not anorexic; B) proving they just naturally have the metabolism of gazelles, hee, and it’s just natural on them. Both of which are bullshit, and piss me off.

What pisses me off even more, along those same lines–and this is a blast from the past–is a scene in the Charlie’s Angels movie. Drew Barrymore, who produced it or whatever it was she did, insisted that there be a scene in it where the Angels sat down and ate burgers and fries, to convey the massage to girls women should eat and that they shouldn’t starve themselves to be thin or some crap like that. Except it’s bullshit, and Drew knows it.

If you want to be thin, you cannot sit down and tuck into plates of cheeseburgers and fries every day. You just can’t. Once a week, sure, especially if you’re fairly careful the rest of the time. But the idea that thin women gorge themselves at every opportunity is, IMO, just as damaging to young women as telling them not to eat.

It’s yet another unrealistic ideal for them to live up to. Not only are they supposed to be size 2s, they’re supposed to be able to eat half a cow and STILL be a size 2. For the record, I am a size 2 (actually, the jeans I’m wearing at the moment are a Juniors size 1, but they’re a bit tight). I worked hard to get to this size. I work hard to stay this size. That means I don’t get to eat burgers and fries every day. I don’t get to eat half a chocolate cream pie in the evening; in fact, I rarely eat anything for dessert except a bar of taffy (I like taffy, especially strawberry taffy. It’s not as good as Drumsticks–a taffy lolly I used to get in England–but I digress). When I’m hungry during the day I have a few pretzel sticks or something, or I don’t have anything at all.

In 2007, see, my weight hit 143 lbs. Yes, I know, for some women that looks great, but let me repeat that I’m barely 5’2, and very small-boned. I looked very round. Very round indeed. My features were distorted. I looked miserable, and I was miserable, and I got tired of wearing baggy t-shirts and having only one pair of jeans that fit me. So I started counting calories and making better choices, and by the time I was done in mid-2008, I’d lost 40 lbs.

Do I eat? Of course I eat. You have to eat to live. Do I get to eat whatever I want, whenever I want? No. I don’t. Neither do 99% of slim women, frankly. That’s a fact. It’s bad enough all the pressure on women to be thin, to be beautiful, to be perfect, to be sexy but not slutty, all that other stuff, without also adding the pressure that they should be able to have that perfect thin body without any effort, and that if they can’t stay thin while eating their weight in french fries there’s something wrong with them.

Not to mention, why, in determining that it’s necessary to show women eating–which is in itself kind of an insulting little thing to do, really–why choose burgers and fries? Why not a steak and baked potato? Why not some pasta? Why deliberately choose something extra fattening, that will make young women feel especially inadequate? If you want to set an example, why not have them sitting down to a really healthy meal? (Note: I honestly don’t think anything is wrong with burgers and fries as a meal, I don’t. I love them. I eat them probably once a week or once every couple of weeks, and my homemade burgers are delicious if I say so myself. But while I don’t think they’re the health disaster so many people do, I also don’t think they’re as good for you as fresh vegetables or leaner meats or whatever else, and I don’t see why, if you’re consciously setting out to set an example for young women, you wouldn’t want to set an example that shows them how to truly eat right).

We need to stop pretending that normal people are just naturally thin, and that no effort is required to maintain it. We need to stop pretending that our weight is something we have no control over, frankly, because that damages everyone (IMO). We need to stop sending the message, deliberately or not, that you are somehow inadequate if you can’t eat a plate of lard every day and not gain a pound. Oh, and you should be able to get up and run a marathon after, too.

Those super-skinny actresses are super-skinny, and they wolf down those burgers in interviews, because they probably haven’t eaten more than dry salad for a week preparing for that splurge. Being thin takes work. And you know what? It doesn’t look good on everyone, either. Certainly being super-skinny doesn’t. I always remember how pretty Laura Flynn-Boyle used to look before she became just leathery skin stretched over old bones.

If I had a different figure, I’d happily gain some weight. I would. I’m not a very curvy woman. I’m fairly straight-up-and-down; I don’t have a large bust, I don’t have a cushy, callipygian bottom. I am slight, petite in a word, and because of that every extra pound shows, and the only way I can feel comfortable and look good in my clothes is to be quite thin. If I was curvy, busty? Then I’d be happy to be curvy and busty, and I wouldn’t worry so much.

I don’t mean this post as The Personal History Of Stacia’s Weight, or as some kind of justification for my own appearance or anything else. All I mean it as is an attempt to be realistic, and to say something realistic to people. Yes, you can control your own weight, except in very rare cases. But yes, you do pay a price for that, and the price is food. Once you hit your goal weight you can relax a bit, sure, but you can never completely let yourself go (not to mention that after the first month or so your stomach shrinks and you just can’t eat as much anyway). Getting and staying thin is, for most of us, something we have to work at, not something that we can just tra-la-la through life not worrying about at all.

So why do we insist on lying to our young women about that? Why do we insist on making them believe that not only do they have to be thin, they have to be effortlessly thin? Yeah, I get the desire to keep them from becoming anorexic, but I believe that whether we’re honest or not about what it takes to maintain a certain weight, anorexia will still happen. I think it’s more dangerous to tell them there’s no connection between what they eat and their weight, personally, but that may be just me.

And yeah, all of this may be just me. But it’s my rant, too. I just think we put enough pressure on young women without adding another in the idea that they should be eating like hogs at every opportunity while still staying very thin and gorgeous and perfect. It’s time we were honest with young women, and everyone else, about how difficult it is to hold to those artificial and often harmful standards.

Or maybe we could just give up those ridiculous standards anyway? I know, I know, too much to hope for. Sigh.

I’m out of rant energy now.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
RIP Jennifer Rardin

Yesterday I learned, through my fellow League of Reluctant Adults members, that Jennifer Rardin passed away on Monday. She was only forty-five.

Jennifer was a Leaguer for a while (she left due to time commitments not too long ago), and as such was someone I spoke to in emails on a semi-regular basis, someone I “knew,” in a bit more than just the general casual way so many of us writers know each other. She was funny and kind and smart, obviously someone who cared deeply for her family, her friends, and her readers; that came through in every email she sent to us and every discussion she joined in, even the ridiculous ones (which let’s face it, most of the conversations at the League are).

I am terribly saddened by this news, as are all of us at the League. We’ve lost a friend, someone we laughed with and cared about, a vivid and talented lady. Jaye Wells wrote a lovely tribute on the League blog here from all of us, and Nicole Peeler has another lovely one here.

If you’re a fan of her books, or someone who met her, and would like to leave condolences for her family you can do so here or on her website (linked above). I’m sure the messages being left are a great comfort to her family, and I urge you to take the time to let them know that her life and work touched you in some way.

I have some other updates and stuff to share, but I’ll do those tomorrow.

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010
A quick one

(I don’t know why I bother capitalizing my titles, since the website blog puts them in all caps anyway. But then. livejournal doesn’t. Anyway.)

I spent like 4 hours last night going through all of the shirt designs and picking which items and in what colors to offer them. Most stuff is going to be black, white, red, gray, or pink, with a few baby blues thrown in there. There are a few items that are Girls only (I seriously doubt a man is going to walk around in a few of these) but most stuff is unisex. Everything will be available in babydolls and ringer babydolls, and almost all of those will come in plus sizes up to 2XL; I tried to do the widest range I could, but some clothing items just aren’t offered in as wide a range as I would like. There will be tank tops and spaghetti-strap tanks too; they offered a tank with a shelf bra but I figure my readers are the type who like to show a little strap, heh heh heh. (I certainly do.) And hoodies, since people asked for them.

We’re still on track to get things going by the end of the week. So I’ll be mentioning this again, but let me just say it now first: if you have a logo idea you don’t see, let me know. If something isn’t available on an item you would like, let me know. As I’ve said, I went with Southern Promo rather than a place like Zazzle because I have more control, and I want it to have stuff people will like and want, and I want it to be available at a price people can afford, or so you can even maybe afford more than one thing. That’s worth paying a small monthly fee for it to me.

Also, and this is important. The stuff in the store isn’t the only stuff there will be! I’m working on stuff like bowling shirts and jackets and stuff too, and there will be more designs, and if you’ve done a design and want to see it on a shirt get in touch with me. So please, any thoughts or ideas, anything you’d like to see, let me know. Yes, I’m doing this because it’s fun and everything, but the main reason I’m doing it is because you guys asked for it.

Also, I’m thinking of cutting my hair. While internet shopping last night–without buying, which sucks, I hate shopping when I can’t get anything–I saw a girl with the most adorable hair ever. It’s short, which is different for me (my hair hasn’t been short since my early twenties), but I think I’m going to give it a go. So look for pictures soonish.

Also last night, while I was making the huge long list of products and colors, I was watching the “ID” channel. Does anyone know this channel? “Investigation Discovery.” Really interesting; they most air shows on forensics, or 48 HOURS specials on murders and stuff like that. Shows like that fascinate me, they do. But yesterday I had the ID channel on all day in the background, and right around two am I suddenly realized that I was just creeping myself the fuck out. I went outside for a cigarette and heard a noise; it was probably a bird landing on the porch but in my mind it was a crazed serial killer trying to jump the fence to slaughter me, probably after raping and beating me for good measure. I practically jumped out of my skin; I threw down my smoke and ran back into the house, where I locked both locks.

That’s when I decided maybe it was time to stop watching the ID channel for a little while. Twelve straight hours of murders–usually murders of women–was a little much even for me. So I put in Goodfellas instead, because Goodfellas is fucking awesome. (I worked in a movie theater in high school–one of the best jobs I ever had, seriously, at Wehrenberg Des Peres 4 “Cine'” [which is apparently now some sort of monstrous 24-screen place, but back then it was 4, and I loved it]–and we got Goodfellas when it was released. One day I went in to check the theater for loudnicks–we used to throw them out, the way theater management is supposed to do–and got totally engrossed in it. So I came in on my next day off to watch it. And ended up watching it twice. I’d go up after school to hang out with friends–we all hung out together all the time–and decide to go sit in Goodfellas for a while. I think I must have watched it thirty or forty times before we finally lost it. So, yeah, you could say I like Goodfellas a lot.)

I should play another round of Review Roundup, but I’m not in the mood, and this is just a quick one anyway.

What Stace had to say on Friday, September 17th, 2010
Updatey updates of updateyness!

I’m sure it will come as a great surprise to you that this post is full of updates.

I’m currently trying to figure out an easier way to send out Downside Army emails. I’m way behind on that–I’m now handling it all myself–and there’s a whole lot of new members. But hopefully, if you’re a member or if you’ve joined recently, you’ll be getting something in your email in the next week or so.

But today’s big news is store stuff! The bare bones of the store site is up (no, you can’t see it) and the list of products–not many to start with–it coming along. I’ve sent four logo/whatevers on to the guy handling it all for me, and he tells me that if all goes well we should be up and running by Friday next. Very exciting. Not sure if we’ll open then or if we’ll do a week of preorders or something ahead of time. What I do know is that it should be extremely easy to use–just like any other online storefront anywhere–and the prices will be either a bit or a considerable bit less than those on places like Zazzle. Plus the stuff should be better quality, and there will be a wider variety–maybe not at first, but eventually. Yes, it took longer than I would have hoped to get it all set up, but in the end I don’t feel like some sort of evil overlord charging thirty-five bucks for a t-shirt, and hopefully this means people who might not otherwise have gotten something will go ahead and get something, which would be cool.

So, if you have any requests or suggestions, let me know. I’m hoping to add new stuff on a semi-regular basis. And there are some interesting tidbits in the works aside from just the basic t-shirts & tote/messenger bags type of stuff, too.

I cut myself on my laptop last night. I have a Mac, and the edge of it is really sharp, and the plastic on mine cracked just at the edge. Which is where I think I did it. Anyway, I sliced my finger, and didn’t really notice until I realized I was bleeding on my keyboard. SEE WHAT I GO THROUGH FOR YOU PEOPLE?? Hahahaha. Anyway. It did sting (it still does), and I decided to leave the blood on the keys because I am so badass that I laugh at hygiene. Hygiene is afraid of me! (It’s not, like, tons of blood or anything. Just a little. It’s my offering to the Writing Gods. No, seriously.) (Also, if I was a dude nobody would even bat an eye at me leaving blood on my laptop.) Yes, I am literally working my fingers to the bone for you people.

Yes, that is my blood. Muahahaha!

And in other picture fun! A girl I know from online has recently jaunted off to Abu Dhabi, to teach or something. She emailed my pal Seeley DeBorn, who never updates her freaking blogs to say that she visited the hotel gift shop today–in someplace named Al Ain–to look for a book, figuring she’d have to make do with some tired old bestseller from last year, when lo and behold, she found UNHOLY MAGIC! Ha ha! No tired old bestsellers in Al Ain, no way! Instead, a sort-of-new book that sort of sold okay but didn’t exactly set any fucking records! Look!:

And I think that’s about it. I have a roast in the Crock-Pot that smells fantastic, and I’m working away on many many things, and my finger hurts a bit.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
Fuzzy Dice and Slaughterhouses

Just a quick one today, because I’ve been dinking around all morning and now have to go do stuff in like half an hour. Plus, I’m still not feeling great. Just a general sort of queasiness which hit me late yesterday afternoon (NO, contrary to what certain dorks named Brigwyn said on Twitter, I am not pregnant).

So. I was asked this morning by Anilu, the genius behind many of the t-shirt logos which you guys will hopefully be able to see soon (and things are moving along with that, more slowly than I would have liked, but they are moving along and again, the end result should be less expensive stuff plus a much wider variety), if Terrible had fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror of the Chevelle. My immediate thought was that he did. But I wasn’t entirely sure.

So I grabbed my copy of UG (since I’m writing the 4th book–and it’s coming along!–I keep copies of all three by the couch in case I need to double-check something) and started looking. And I popped onto Twitter to ask if anyone could remember, did he have fuzzy dice, and if so, where in the book did I mention it?

About eight people replied that yes, he definitely did. But we couldn’t find the reference. This went on for, oh, ten minutes, with all of us convinced that Terrible did indeed have fuzzy dice but with none of us able to find anywhere in the books where they’re mentioned. Finally I opened the original mss and searched for “dice,” on each of them.

Guess what? No dice.

So now I have to decide if I want to give him dice. On the one hand, he’s really not the kind of guy who would buy them for himself. On the other hand, it is exactly the kind of thing, say, Katie might buy for him, or that he might think are kind of funny/cool to have, so they’re totally the kind of thing he would have. I mean, they’re dice. he has a belt buckle with dice on them (yes, he does, I just never mentioned it; he has lots of different ones), so why not fuzzy dice?

But the crazy thing is that when I asked the question, everyone, even me, was convinced that he already had fuzzy dice. All of us. We just knew he did.

So what do you say? Shall I go ahead and give him fuzzy dice?

Also, we’ve done another round of updates! Check the Fun Stuff page in particular; there are some CITY OF GHOSTS deleted scenes (especially the two scenes which ended up becoming the burning slaughterhouse scene)! And some reader-made wallpapers and buttons for you to copy and use for whatever you like! And links to the Goodreads and Shelfari groups readers have set up, if you’d like to join in the discussions. There are a few new interviews linked on the media page. I’d meant to have a page listing all of the books I read but that page didn’t get made, and my weblady is on vacation. So I may try to set that up myself.

Anyway, go have fun with all the new things. I hope you enjoy them. And, if you’ve created anything based on the books–wallpapers, buttons, livejournal or webforum icons, whatever–and you would like to share them with other readers here, just let me know. I’m happy to add them.

So…fuzzy dice, yay or nay?

What Stace had to say on Friday, September 10th, 2010
Everybody’s Gotta Right to be Right

Oh, before I start, there’s a new interview with me up at Paperback Dolls, done on the Saturday night during Dragoncon. It’s pretty decent, I think, though I could have sworn it went on longer than that. Maybe it was just because the interviewer was really fun to talk to. It was my first ever face-to-face, talk-into-a-recorder interview, too!

So I do wish I’d been more comfortable/experienced with that. And, you know, that I didn’t sound so silly and like I wasn’t actually answering the questions posed. Sigh. But still, it’s fun, and Caitlin came to hang out with us partway through so she’s in there too, which is of course awesome except all of our little asides and stuff aren’t in there, heh. Anyway. Go read it if you like.

I’ve also done another interview, with Julie at Yummy Man and Kick Ass Chicks, which was, again, lots of fun. That’s going to be posted at some point tomorrow, Saturday the 11th. (Which, has everyone forgotten what that day is? I don’t think we should have a national day of mourning forever, but I do think it’s sad and upsetting that I’m not even seeing mention of it anywhere.)

Anyway. A few months ago I had a discussion with a few friends about this subject, and now it’s come up again. Will someone please tell me when everyone decided that they had to be right all the time, that they never had to take blame for or accept responsibility for their mistakes or the effects their words and/or actions have on others, and that apologizing in any way is a terrible, weak, dumb thing to do?

As I think I’ve said before, we all–every single one of us–has at one time or another hurt another person. We said something we didn’t mean. Or we meant it when we said it but regretted saying it after. Or it was a flip, throw-away comment, made as a joke, that inadvertently really hurt or upset someone else. Or made them angry. Or whatever. Maybe we were having an off day. Maybe they were simply someone who doesn’t and never will understand us, and so the ability to connect and follow meanings just isn’t there.

We’ve all done it. All of us. We’re human, and that’s what humans do. Show me a person who has never in their lives hurt another person and I’ll show you a person who’s spent their entire lives in one room, or who has simply never spoken to anyone, although even then, what if someone tried to speak to them, and they didn’t reply? Wouldn’t that be hurtful? I think so.

But when did it become such a horrible, evil thing to do to just say you’re sorry? When did we decide we would rather argue and argue and argue, instead of just saying, “I’m sorry,” and letting the matter drop?

My friends and I were discussing a few of the biggest internet kerfuffles of the last year/year and a half or so, and how big they got, and how painful they were for so many people, and how in pretty much every case, the whole thing could have been avoided had one person, early on, just said, “You know, I’m not sure I understand why you’re upset, but it’s enough for me to know you are upset, so I really want to apologize because I certainly didn’t want to hurt you or make you angry.”

Apologizing is not giving in. Apologizing is not admitting you’re wrong. You don’t have to believe you’re wrong to apologize. It’s simply the right thing to do. The polite, civilized thing to do. And in a society which is supposed to be polite and civilized, I notice a disturbing number of people lately who don’t care who they hurt, who don’t care how many people they drag through the mud or rip apart, who don’t care how much filth spills over onto other people who had the misfortune of being in the same area. It’s all worth it if they get to prove they’re right. They are unequivocally, absolutely, totally right, and all the people who don’t see that are obviously morons with no soul, and if Person A just explains him- or herself enough times, or offers enough justifications, then Person B will of course realize how wrong they’ve been, bow meekly, and walk away, leaving Person A victorious.

Except life doesn’t work that way, and people don’t work that way, and all that will happen is everyone will get angrier and angrier and angrier, and friendships and reputations will be ruined and psyches scarred, just because everyone had to be right.

Why is it so damn hard to just say, “I’m sorry?” To just be graceful, and admit that although you meant no offense, obviously whatever you said or did had an unintended consequence? Why are people so reluctant to do that, why are they so determined to sacrifice the feelings of anyone and everyone else just so they can be right? Why are they so determined to convince themselves and the other people involved that they were wrong to be offended, or to take the comment that way? That it’s all their fault for being oversensitive, or babyish, or for expecting special treatment? People will rely on the worst self-serving pop-psychology bullshit to justify their own nastiness and insensitivity, because apparently just acknowledging and respecting the feelings of another human being is just way beyond their skill level, or what they’re prepared to do.

I don’t get it. It pisses me off. Grow up, you fucking morons. Just apologize, the way an adult does. Only a child needs to insist on being right all the time, and in resorting to this “blame the victim for their obviously skewed worldview” crap so they can avoid taking responsibility for their own actions. And you know, if you’re like that, and you seriously need so bad to be right all the time and to believe that you personally exist in this ethereal bubble of spiritual, social, and mental perfection that no mere mortal can possibly understand, then go fuck yourself, because you’re an asshole.

Yes, there are some people who deliberately set out to hurt or offend others. But most people don’t. I get that. Most of us get that. And like I said above, we’ve all done it. I can totally understand the “I really don’t understand what I did to upset you,” feeling. I’ve been there. I can totally understand the “That’s really not what I meant, and I find it pretty impossible to even understand how you misunderstood me so thoroughly, or why you assumed the worst like that.” I’ve been there too. I understand how it hurts to be misunderstood like that, because again, been there. I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of hurt feelings and offense. And it’s not pleasant. It’s not fun. Nobody likes to be hurt, and honestly, no decent person likes to think they’ve hurt someone else.

But sometimes we just have to suck it up, you know? If I make a joke about trees, and someone’s cousin married a tree and they then take offense, I need to apologize. By doing so I’m not admitting what I said was wrong. I’m not admitting defeat. I’m not admitting that I am an anti-tree hatist of the most evil proportion. I’m just saying that I didn’t mean to hurt or offend them. How is that wrong? How is that a lie? How is that insincere? Why is that so hard for people?

And even if I think both the person and their cousin are completely nut-rot crazy, I apologize. Yes, because again, I hurt or offended them, and that’s not a good thing to do. But also because perhaps someone offended by something like that is a bit unstable or is simply having a really bad, painful day, and by apologizing I can make them feel better. Maybe someone offended by that is the type who’ll stick around arguing for hours and hours, who’ll start spamming the blog or sending crazy emails, and I can head all of that trouble off at the pass just by saying I’m sorry. (That’s another thing too, about the Need To Be Right: why do you spend so much time and energy arguing with someone online? Why not just shrug and walk away? Stop replying to comments about it, stop engaging in discussions about it. It’s very simple. Let it go.)

By arguing and arguing, and needing so badly to be right, I prove not only what an insecure, needy little twat I am, but that I truly have no manners, that I truly am a selfish boor. Who wants to hang out with that kind of person?

There comes a point in every argument where the best thing to do is simply to give up. I believe that when you’re hurt someone, it’s your duty to apologize right away. But if that’s not what the argument is about, or if it’s past that point or whatever, there is still a sense of class and grace in being the one to walk away. It doesn’t make you look weak; just the opposite, in fact. Being willing to apologize, being willing to say that although you can’t agree, you don’t want to argue anymore, makes you look braver, stronger. It makes you the bigger person. I admire someone who can gracefully apologize and walk away. I do not admire someone who will resort to anything, any argument no matter how low, any justification no matter how crappy, any defense no matter how far-fetched and desperate, to prove themselves right. And especially, to lay the blame on the other person.

You know what? An argument–whether in real life or, especially, online–isn’t a fucking trial to save you from a murder rap. You’re not trying to escape a death sentence. It’s just not that damned important; it shouldn’t be, certainly. It shouldn’t be so important that your entire self-worth and self-image hinge on you being deemed THE VICTOR in this particular throwdown. It’s just a disagreement. You apologize and move on. And you know, if you’re so offended by the other person taking offense, maybe all of the bullshit you’re trying to ascribe to them apply to you as well, hmm?

It’s never pleasant to be told something you said or did was taken badly and upset someone. Nobody likes to feel like the villain. And certainly, when there are issues like racism or sexism involved, that can be really upsetting. But the way to prove that you’re not isn’t by arguing and yelling and claiming anyone who saw that in your statement is obviously a moron and way oversensitive. The way to prove you’re not is just to apologize. “Oh, man, it didn’t even occur to me that someone would read my comment that way. I’m so, so sorry it made you feel like that!”

It’s very easy. It’s part of being a member of society, whether that’s an online one or a Real Life one. And it’s part of being a decent person, frankly.

You don’t need to be right. You do need to behave like a human being. Just fucking apologize. Or soon you’ll have no one to apologize to, because no one will be speaking to you–except, perhaps, a couple of other sycophantic tools, but how long do you think that will last, when you’re all so rude, unpleasant, and convinced of your own superiority?

You hurt someone, you own your words. Whatever. Just do it. Grow the hell up.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, September 9th, 2010
My Lackadaisical Blog

Yep, I’m being lazy, and although I’ll be posting this Thursday morning it’s actually quite late Wednesday night as I write this, and I got barely any sleep last night, so I’m quite tired.

And because I’m quite tired I have very little to discuss. It occurs to me I should mention Dragon*Con. I had a wonderful time at the con, I really did. Friday I got to hang out with Caitlin and my family, in addition to sitting and chatting in the bar with a number of other people whose names I’m not going to mention because they probably don’t want to admit they were actually in public with me, ha. No, actually, it was just a lot of people. But I think a great time was had by all.

This was my stepdaughter’s, and my daughters’, first Dragoncon, and they were pretty awed by the whole thing. We left them at home on Saturday–that being the most crowded day, usually, and yeah, it certainly was–and wandered around ourselves. Ended up–surprise!–in the bar again. I did a little interview for a very nice girl named Day, and my friend Shannan came along, and somehow the conversation turned to a video I saw online once of a couple discussing their bestiality and how they really love their pet miniature horse. Hey, I just saw it, okay, I wasn’t in it or anything. And I wasn’t talking about it like it was a beautiful love story or something. It just came up in conversation, as these things are wont to do if you hang out with weirdos like me and my friends.

The point of my mentioning it is, apparently on Sunday people were hearing that I actually had a bestiality porn video on my phone, and was showing people. So there goes the rumor mill! I’m waiting for the tale of how someone caught me shooting up in the bathrooms or something to get out. Because, um, of course that never happened! Ha ha! No, not me! (Of course I’m joking. It totally happened. Ha! See what I did there? Oh, I am a card.) No, really, honestly, of course it didn’t happen, because I didn’t shoot up anything in any bathrooms because I am not a shooter-upper, but such is the nature of rumor that I’m expecting more outrageous stories about me, is all. My agent says that’s a good thing, because obviously if people need to talk about you you’re doing something right, and he said something else that was really wise and reassuring but I don’t remember now what it was. Anyway, I find the whole thing both terrifying and amusing, so we’ll see which of those wins out.

On Saturday too we hooked up with our pals Chris and Mike, and went for drinks in the restaurant, and then to home.

So Sunday I was pretty well exhausted. To the point where I started drinking around two pm just in order to stay awake. You know, hair of the dog and all. And it worked; I did in fact stay awake. I had a panel at 5:30 that my children got to come and see, which was pretty cool; they waved at me a lot and I waved back, and they really wanted to wear costumes so they were Wonder Woman (Faerie) and Batgirl (Princess). Sadly, hubs had to take them all home shortly after that panel ended, leaving Caitlin and I all on our alones. We didn’t end up in the bar that night, well, not the Hyatt bar where we’d been. Instead we had dinner with more friends, two very awesome ladies, and then we hooked up with other friends and hung out in the lobby area by where the comic artists alley was, drinking from the little bar there and looking at costumes and generally having a gay old time.

And that was it. We came home. Had considered going back Monday but I was exhausted and felt like absolute crap. Yes, all that vodka caught up with me on Monday; I was capable of movement and speech and all, but I certainly didn’t feel like my chipper self, and the thought of dragging my ass down to the Marta station, and from there on the train down to the con, and then around the con, just didn’t appeal. So I didn’t get to see the dealer room at all this year, which was again a disappointment since I wanted to get myself something. (Of course, it also meant there was no repeat of last year’s corset issue. And I admit, part of me wondered if that booth wouldn’t have a picture of me taped up somewhere with a warning not to let me anywhere near the store. Now I’ll never know, sigh.)

What else shall I mention, in my lackadaisical blog post? My stepdaughter went home this morning, so it’s been kind of a downer day here, which sucks since Caitlin is here. And then she leaves tomorrow which makes me sad too. And all my Dragoncon pals, of course, have already left, which always sucks.

On the plus side, though, work on the 4th Downside book is coming along nicely. Work on the t-shirt designs and other things is coming along nicely, and I’m quite pleased and enthused and I think you all will be too, at least I hope so. I have the deleted scenes from CITY OF GHOSTS and a list of other updates and tidbits ready to be added to the site, along with more really cool reader-made stuff that I think you guys are going to love. And I’m going to do a list of research books, and sort of suggested reading/things I read, for those who want to learn a bit more about that stuff. So I’m quite excited about the next wave of updates. And as always, if there’s anything you guys want to see on the site, let me know, and I will do my best. (And if you’ve done anything like wallpapers or artwork or something along those lines and would like to share it on the site, let me know that too.)

Oh, and several of you asked questions in the comments on my little “How Babies Are Made” series. I will get to them as soon as possible, and give you what answers I can, okay?

I think that’s it for today’s lackadaisical blog post.