Category Archives: Uncategorized

The One About David Hon and His Dumb Article

It seems as if I am writing more and more of these responses than usual. Perhaps it is because there is a general increase of idiocy floating across my awareness than usual. Yay internet. Anyway, this most recent example is this oh-so-valiant article written by journalist David Hon, chronicling his reasons for not wanting to date a Feminist.

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Mmkay. Let’s go with that.

Even though there is just so, so much to unpack with this one, I am going to address one element which seems to continue to raise its ugly head, the one continuing misunderstanding about Feminism, which is mentioned in the very first sentence of the article.

“If you look for a reason to hate men, chances are you’re going to find it.”

-David Hon

Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that one can literally replace the word ‘man’ in this sentence with any noun and it would still work. Go ahead. Try it.

“If you look for a reason to hate hats, children, television, squids, bananas, motorcycles, Facebook, religion, eggs, Ghostbusters, round earth theory….. chances are you’re going to find it.”   

See? It works with anything. He did not stumble across some great secret tenant of feminism. Sorry.

But the truth is, and it is really, really sad that this even has to be explained, feminists don’t ‘hate men’. That is a diversionary tactic and quite an old one at that. There is so much information out there about what feminism stands for that not getting it reeks of ignorance.

In all actuality, we love men.

Love them.

You know why? Because the men that we surround ourselves with are awesome! These are the men who get it, who hear what we have to say, who recognize the inequalities surrounding us (all of us) on a daily basis. These men will change a diaper with the same skill and mental prowess as they would use to change a tire. These men know that taking care of their own children is called ‘parenting’, not ‘babysitting for mom’.

These men will hold a door open, but not because of patriarchal expectations of chivarly, but because they happened to be in front. They will not only watch the movie, but maybe even shed a tear when the dog dies. They will read the thing and talk about it after. They will acknowledge the culture of objectification surrounding women and little girls, the patriarchal gender norms which damages all children, girls and boys. They notice how difficult it is to find a Black Widow action figure to go with their son’s collection of Avengers toys. They realize how difficult it is that their partner can’t walk to the library without getting harrassed.

It is because of the existence of these men that we know bad behavior is not somehow inherient to male-dom. It is because of these men, that we know it is possible to function in the complex state of existing-while-human, to encompase traits of empathy without compromising one’s masculinity. (or compromising it, if that’s your thing).

When we draw attention to the inequalities surrounding us, we are not saying ‘We hate men’. We are saying, do better, and we are holding you accountable because we know it can be done. We know you can do better, because we are surrounded by those who do. Not only is it possible, but it’s also not all that difficult. I mean, look around.

Daniel Radcliffe gets it.

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John Legend gets it.

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George R.R. Martin gets it.

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Joss Whedon gets it.

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Even Sir Patrick Stewart gets it.

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And perhaps most importantly (to me anyway), this guy right here gets it.

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Free Comic Book Day 2016

In conclusion, it has been my experience that we as a culture are more prone to demonizing those who point out inequality, than we are to take a moment of self-reflection, examining in what ways we might be contributing to the problem. Furthermore, if you have a vocal outloud feminist in your life, congratulations. You made the cut. If not… well. I’m sure that’s purely by choice, right?

 

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An Insider Look….

The following post originally published here on May 19 on the blog of fantasy and horror author A.M. Rycroft. Rycroft’s book The Taming is available for pre-order on Kindle and Amazon.
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An Insider Look at the Ash Rising Saga with R.G. Westerman

CONTRIBUTED BY R.G. WESTERMAN

First I want to say that I am super excited to be able to guest post once more with A.M. It is an honor. I want to share a little bit about my current project, the Ash Rising Saga (find it on Amazon). This is a serial so it is ongoing for five episodes. Readers should be aware of that going in. I like to think of it as something along the lines of those old radio serials which always ended with some drastic cliffhanger, ensuring that everyone would tune in the following week, like theShadow or the Batman TV series.

Personally, I think of self-publishing as sort of the garage band of the publishing world. There are so many examples of writers who developed and honed their online presence to such an extent that the publishing houses have taken notice. People don’t realize that this is how E.L. James was able to publish the Fifty Shades series. She already had thousands of readers before she was ever offered a publishing contract. Amanda Hawking is another author who has done this. Publishing online opens that door and completely changes the market and expectations. It removes the gatekeeper system and allows the readers to decide. I think that is pretty exciting!

I had the idea for Ash after watching a whole lot of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead. I have always had this thing about the zombie apocalypse as a genre device. I was thinking about it one day and realized a couple of things. One, that most of the stories involve characters who experience the onset of the zombie apocalypse at the beginning. I wanted to see a world from the eyes of someone who had grown up in this reality. I guess my elevator pitch would be “Teenage girl that grew up in the zombie apocalypse”.

But it is also more than that. This is a very character driven series, and I really hope readers can get to know Ash in a way that keeps bringing them back. I think if she lived in this world she would be very active, maybe star of her sports team or head cheerleader. But she has this dark side too. She has to be very adaptable living in the world that she does. She has no memory of anything before the onset of the apocalypse, but she also has some traits that she does not understand. Not only is she trying to survive but she is trying to figure out her past as well.

I started writing for fun when I was in the fourth grade, I think. The first thing I ever wrote was the beginning of a retelling of Cinderella. I fancied it the Next Great American Novel, as one does with anything in the fourth grade. My creative past is in Theatre which is what explains my character driven method, I suppose. There are a ton of back-burner projects that I would love to just magically produce into reality, but that might be every other writer too, right?

I am also starting a Patreon project. When I first started being more serious about writing I attended a bi-weekly group. Eventually I got to where I was producing one completely finished short story each month. I would love to get back to that rate of production. Ironically I can’t devote too much to the Patreon project because I’m still freelancing. I have big dreams though.

Pre-sales for Ash are available now, and the book goes live on June 7th. Pre-sales for the following episode will be available at that time, along with a cover reveal for the second book. I can’t wait!

I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The absolute best way to follow along is to sign up for my newsletter. I send this out bi-weekly and it includes easy links, upcoming release dates, and more fun things. Come find me!


ABOUT R.G. WESTERMAN

Author R.G. Westerman can be found on Twitter (@rgwesterman), Facebook, and Instagram (@rgw0628). To get updates on what is new with her, visit her website and sign up for her newsletter athttp://rgw0628.wix.com/author. You can follow her Patreon campaign athttps://www.patreon.com/rgwesterman?ty=h.

To pre-order Ash Rising on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ash-Book-One-Rising-Saga-ebook/dp/B01F4JXACG.

My Interview with Veronica Rhine

The following post was originally published on May 5th, here at the blog of acclaimed fantasy and horror author A.M. Rycroft. Rycroft’s latest book “The Taming” is now available for pre-order on Kindle, with physical sales coming soon. The giveaway promotion for Veronica Rhine is no longer active, but follow her on Twitter for more promotions, @writerveronica. 

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An Interview With Paranormal Romance Author Veronica Rhine

Veronica Rhine is a prolific author of romance and paranormal romance titles. The Dream Walker Series is now available on Kindle and Amazon.

R.G. Westerman: Who is Veronica Rhine?

Veronica Rhine: I’ve been called complicated, but I don’t think that is necessarily true. I am a human animal trying to survive, just like everyone else. That is what I write about. Survival. I think that means different things to different people.

R.G: What does it mean to you?

V.: It means having all your needs met. One of my favorite devices to use in writing is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Once the basic needs are met, food, shelter, clothing, all of a sudden a whole new layer of needs appears. Comfort, happiness, enlightenment. I am sitting here craving a plate of bacon, because let’s face it. I’m always craving a plate of bacon, and I realize that if I were to get that bacon the next thing I would be aware of is the need to… I don’t know, find the meaning of life. It is as if we are never truly satisfied.

R.G: Tell us a little bit about your current series?

V.: It is good. I am allowed to say that about my own work, right? But it is that measure of satisfaction, I guess, that drives my characters. They all have the same desire to find the thing that makes them feel complete, if even for a moment. For Athena it is about escaping her dismal reality. The dreams she has makes her realize just how unhappy she is in her waking life.

R.G: Where did you get the idea for this series?

V.: From my mind of course! No really, I get asked that a lot. I am never sure how to answer that. I guess you could say I had a dream and when I woke up I asked the question.

R.G: What question is that?

V.: The same question all writers ask themselves when they begin a story. “What if…?”

R.G: Ah, yes. I know that question. So back to the Dream Walker series. Can you describe it in a nutshell?

V.: The main character is Athena Maze and she keeps having these dreams. This gorgeous man keeps visiting her and hot and steamy hijinks ensue. Of course this may or may not be real, and she may or may not be traveling between realms. It is loosely, (very loosely) based on Sleeping Beauty. I guess you could say “inspired by” more than based on.

R.G: Is there anything else in the works? What do readers have to look forward to?

V.: Funny you should ask. I’m toying with a Cinderella trilogy. Of course it would be just about as much like the fairy tale as this one is like Sleeping Beauty. I’m still knocking the idea around. I have a lot on my plate right now. But one thing I don’t have on my plate right now is bacon! I need to go and find some.

V.: I almost forgot to mention. The first book of the trilogy, Athena, is available for a free download on Amazon until May 5th (http://www.amazon.com/Athena-Book-Dream-Walker-Walkers-ebook/dp/B01EP4UP8I/). Everyone should flock to the site, literally right now and download a copy. It’s brilliant. You become a better human being by reading it.

R.G.: Duly noted. I’m going to get my copy right now.

Follow author Veronica Rhine on Twitter @writerveronica.

 

 

 

Scully and Moulder: Life Revisited

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.
-Ecclesiastes 1:9

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Before there was Supernatural, True Blood, Ghost Hunters, Monster Quest, Walking Dead, Being Human, iZombie, Fringe, Grimm or any number of television delicacies produced for viewers consumption, there was the show that started it all. The original supernatural cop show in which good looking people fought monsters, picked apart and gathered evidence on a variety of cases, largely delving into the unexplained. All the while each of them wrestling with their own set of personal demons, regarding their levels of skepticism and belief. FBI Agents Fox Moulder and Doctor Dana Scully made it cool to be a weirdo in the original X-Files, which first aired in 1993. Those of us who had grown up on Beetlejuice, Teen Wolf and Ghostbusters realised that all that is strange and unusual had finally reached Prime Time.

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Words cannot fully express the influence this show had on my media consumption. I was one of the original X-philes, watching every Sunday with religious fervor. My college dorm room was lined with X-files pin-ups, with both Duchovny and Anderson equal rivals for wall space. I wanted to BE them, more so than I admired them. One running joke in my Improv class whenever we played “Props” was if someone had run out of ideas, inevitably one of us would throw the prop into the air, regardless of what it was, point to it and say “Look Scully! A UFO!” I was hooked. I had it bad.

The will-they-or-won’t-they relationship shared by the two main characters only added to the appeal. Moulder, having suffered the childhood trauma of what he believed to be the alien abduction of his younger sister, carries with him all the angst and fervor of one with something to prove. Enter Dana Scully, the sceptic put in place by the FBI to disprove her partner’s work. Like two sides to a coin, they worked together, him bringing the emotion and passion while she offered a level-headed response. Though one of the most compelling through lines was that while Agent Scully liked to scoff at the idea of aliens and monsters, she often showed a more malleable side when it came to the miraculous. Her Catholic faith made appearances throughout the show and when it did the script became flipped. She was the one trying to convince the Agnostic Moulder of the possibility of miracles. I always enjoyed this dynamic as it showcased the depths of each of their characters. But perhaps most of all was the mutual respect the characters showed for each other. Sure there were those who hung on for a budding romance, but all of that was overshadowed by the way they acted like equals, like peers. Find me another show which successfully pulls this off.

We are now two episodes into the reboot of the X-files. I have read reviews which state that the first two are slow, that the season does not gain footing until the third episode. I do not know what reviewers thought the X-Files were. Where they saw slow, I saw growing tension and huge moments of awesome. The X-Files were never about the Monsters and Conspiracies for me. Instead, these elements simply gave a colorful backdrop to the shifting sands of Moulder and Scully’s relationship. This is the kind of program which is written in such a way that when things go quiet it is time to sit up and take notice. I will say that so far the show is perfection. It is not a rehash of the same dynamics. Instead, we as the viewers get to see the evolution of each of their personalities, stepping back into their lives like reconnecting with an old friend. Time has passed for Moulder and Scully, as it has for us viewers. The world has changed. We have changed. Moulder now has the life of what seems to be a paranoid recluse still plugging away at breaking through to find the truth. Scully works as a surgeon at a Catholic hospital, helping children born with deformities. The performances remained flawless. With a glance they could communicate every nuance, instantly bringing the audience up to speed to the state of their relationship.

Everything we love about the show is present, the snarky banter, the dubious evidence, the hints of a larger overarching conspiracy. Moving forward in time, gives us a wiser more subdued Scully and a more wild-eyed Moulder, glancing over his shoulder. He is perhaps out-paranoided by guest star Joel McHale, who plays an online host to conspiracy theorists. His presence is an obvious reach to bring in younger viewers to the show, albeit perhaps a successful one. I cannot help but want Agent Moulder to look him over and say something like “Paranoid? Ha! I could teach you a thing or two,” while Scully gives them both the silent sardonic green-eyed stare.

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I look forward to the rest of the mini-series though I would easily watch these two if they ran a Paranormal Cozy mystery series out of their nursing home. For the duration of the remaining episodes, I shall be floating on a triangle shaped cloud that I once more live in a world in which the X-Files is on television.

The truth IS out there, yall.

A letter to the next generation,

Dear youngsters,

Forty. Gah!!

They used to call this age “over the hill”. I categorically reject that notion. Forty is the new… what? Sixteen, is it? I haven’t really kept up with what is what, and what means what. It does not really matter. I’m still having fun. I have kept some notes along the way, and I wanted to pass some of them to the younger ones. Because you guys are EVERYWHERE!

They called us Generation X, the children of the Boomers. The ones after us are called Generation Y. The next ones after will have a different name, and so on.

We thought we owned the world, and we did for a little while, until 9/11 and then the recession, and the world died a little bit around us. We thought we would live our dreams, and we did for a little while until the daily grind of existence forced our hand. We thought ourselves invincible. And we were. For a little while.

You will not believe any of this, because the inevitable curse of youth is that the elders have nothing important to say. And the inevitable curse of the older generation is carrying the bits of knowledge that the younger ones will never heed.

You will have your fashion just as we had our flannels and combat boots. You will have your music, and you will think of it as the first to truly understand, to change the face of music forever, the first who really gets it… just as we had said about Kurt Cobain, and our parents said about Elvis and the Beatles. Whatever you listen to in your teens and twenties will be the music that you one day refer back to as “the last of the good music”. They don’t make it like they used to. We all have said it. You will too.

You will have your youth, your heart will get broken, you will make some messy mistakes, you will live, you will love, you will be hurt and you will feel joy. You will question your upbringing. And then you will question what ever caused you to question it in the first place.

One day you may have kids, and you will find yourself saying things you only thought your parents said. One day you will wake up to find that you don’t really care what kind of ‘statement’ your clothes make. One day you will look in the mirror and see that all of your hair is its natural color again. You will discover that whatever job you have, you have had for quite some time.

There are things that you have been told that are not true.You may have been told that it does not matter if you are a nice person as long as you follow the rules. This is not true. It matters if you are a nice person. It matters very much. Showing kindess to others is most important. The person receiving the kindness does not care why you are being kind, simply that you are.

Follow your dreams. The economy is improving, but it is still in the toilet. Being ‘responsible’ by having a day job will not pay the bills. So if the bills are not getting paid, it might as well be while you are doing something you enjoy.

Dig in. Life hurts sometimes. Find a way to cope with it. Life is also wonderful. You cannot have one without the other. We believed we could change the world. And maybe we did a little bit, just as our parents did, and just as you will.

There is no such thing as being too old to wear black eyeliner, or pink lipstick, or bold print flowers, or leather miniskirts, or Madonna’s pointy bra (though most of you are too young to get that reference). The point is if you are comfortable in something, if you feel good then go for it. Follow your instincts. Trust your gut. If something seems too good to be true then it probably is.

There. That is everything I have learned so far. There is more yet to come of course, so stick around. I’ll write another one of these when I’m 80. Oh, and one last thing. It’s all real. All of it. The conspiracy, the fairies, the dragons and monsters. Everything you have ever thought to be out of reach is there, just around the corner, just over your shoulder.

Go find it.

Sincerely,

This forty year old.