Posts

Moral Quagmires when on the Job

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Ask a Manager is one of the very few blogs I follow. I check it every single day, delighting in the professional debacles the letter writers find themselves in. Unfailingly, Allison provides spot-on advice, emphasizing professional norms, office culture, and employment law in her responses. To be honest, her site is the reason I made Tess, the protagonist of my upcoming novella, an HR rep. I've never worked in HR, so reading Allison's site and seeing the absolutely unthinkable behavior of some employers made me grateful for literally every job I've ever had. Even the awful ones, because they were still better than some of these poor people's jobs. Don't believe me? A boss directed an employee, on pain of being fired, to leave a note at a grave for a worker who was on bereavement leave. Yeah, someone actually did that.

On the July 10 post, something unusual happened: I disagreed with Allison's advice. You can see the hyperlink, so please read it for yourself, b…

Twitter: The Necessary Evil for Indiepub authors

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On a panel at Planet Comicon this year, I was asked by one of the attendees my opinion for the best social media platform for an independent author to be on. Without hesitation, I answered, "Why, Twitter of course." Twitter is the primary meeting place of journalists, literary agents, and other media influencers. Not Facebook, not Instagram. Twitter. Sending out a well written tweet with just the right hashtag or commenting on the right agent's post could get you noticed, get you sales, or get you a three-book deal.

Grateful for my concise answer, the attendee asked me for my handle so she could follow me.
I had no Twitter. I was not on "the Twitters" as my mother would say. And why not? It was a reasonable question and it caused the Q&A session to momentarily derail. But I felt I owed the lady an honest answer.

1. Almost everything on Twitter is about politics now. Ev. Ry. Thing. No thank you.
2. There are multiple cases of people, regular people... not c…

Overcoming fear: Facing your demons through writing

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"...when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

It started with a fascination. There is a story arc in season 3 of HBO's True Blood regarding witches, both traditional female-led European witchery as well as a specific Central American brand of Brujeria, a distinctively male craft. The contrast between the type of magic practiced was fascinating to me. I hadn't even known at that time there were such a thing as male witches, particularly in Mexico, which has a very strong machismo culture. So, as it often does, the idea took hold in my brain and I got more curious about it. It didn't hurt that the actor portraying the male witch, the brujo, was Kevin Alejandro, who is a delight to the senses.


But then my writer's mind took over. What if the brujo in question wasn't a handsome and kind person? What if he was awful? And what if he decided to specifically be awful to you? Well, that would be mighty scary.

Thus, the …

No, you don’t look younger than you are. Here’s why you shouldn’t want to

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I arranged my own marriage... and here's why you should too

We’re blessed to live in an age where society is starting to figure out that you don’t have to be married to be happy. You don’t need some man to “pick you” for you to be a valid member of society and you definitely don’t require a partner to be happy. But for those who are the marrying kind, sometimes it can feel discouraging. It’s hard to meet people once you’re out of school and internet dating can be frustrating, if not outright dangerous. But there are plenty of success stories, and I’m happy to say I’m one of them.

When I was 27, I decided I wanted to marry. I did not have a boyfriend and hadn’t in some time. My last pairing was a four-month boyfriend when I was 19. It ended amicably when the Marines stationed us on opposite coasts. In the intervening time, I got my college degree and moved to Las Vegas to take a job. I had an apartment, stable employment, and small savings. All I needed was a husband. But being a classic introvert, I rarely left my apartment except for work and…

Review: In the Woods by Tana French

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As a longtime Law & Order aficionado, please believe that I am not easily impressed by police procedurals. Tana French's In the Woods was a spectacular combination of realism, casual (and dark) humor), and a description of a friendship that I painfully envy. When Detective Rob Ryan was a child, he went into the woods with two of his friends. The two friends were never seen again and young Rob (who used his real name of Adam back then) was found bloody, traumatized, but relatively uninjured. His memory of what had happened was completely swallowed by his young mind and his parents, trying to be helpful, sent him away to an English boarding school. Now an adult with a posh English accent, Rob is a detective in the prestigious murder squad with the Dublin Police and there has been a new murder. The murder of a child... in his old hometown. There are eerie echoes to the crime twenty years ago, but don't get your hopes up. You never find out what happened to Rob's childhood …

Review: The Trap by Melanie Raabe

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An author living alone in her house for eleven years. She has a dog, she has an assistant, and she has her publisher... and that's it. Linda never leaves her house, not since she found her sister murdered in her apartment. It wasn't just the sight of the dead body that so traumatized her. It was the sight of the murderer crouching in the corner, looking directly at her. She saw him. And he saw her. But then he ran away and she had no idea who he was. The terror he might come for her, combined with the guilt she feels for not saving her sister, not corralling her murderer, and worst of all, being angry with her sister at the time of her death—well, that would drive anyone crazy.
And throughout the majority of the book, we are not entirely sure that Linda hasn't gone crazy. It's a tight first person narrative and it would be an understatement to say that Linda is an unreliable narrator. We, the readers, have a hard time believing her. There are so many reasons not to, and…