Why Yes, There are Books Out There That Aren’t About Rich White Dudes

Sometimes I forget I don’t live in a safe, feminist-thinking, people loving bubble.

I mean, at home, we have two mostly non-verbal kiddos. It’s a love-fest of speech coaching, playing in the hose, and sneaking words in on the stair case when the kiddos aren’t looking. My husband is the wokest straight white dude I know. He’s pretty fantastic actually.

I work at a bar/restaurant where they ask for preferred pronoun on the application.

And I choose not to engage with bullshit online trolls, because I ain’t got time for that shit. I have novels to write, damn it.

But last night. Oh, last night, sexism smacked me right in the face.

It was about 11pm. I’d just gotten off work and was at the bar paying for the cajun tots I was bringing home for Brock. (Midnight cajun tots is where it’s at, yo.) Sitting next to the bar register is this older white guy by himself. I pretty much ignore him. I’m off the clock, but still wearing my work shirt, so I’m transitioning out of customer service mode.

The bartender asks me when my book is coming out. I cheerily tell him it came out last week, and his (appropriate) response is to say, “Well, I better get on the Amazon then.”

The guy sitting at the bar turns to me and says, “Oh, are you an authoress?”

First off, I give him the benefit of the doubt, dude might be trying to cutesy, but I still have to grind my teeth at the word “authoress.”

I answer that, yes, I write novels.  When asked, I specify that they are romance novels.

Now, I am not ashamed in the slightest about the kind of stories I write. In fact, I am damn proud of them. That shit is hard to do, but I show up everyday and get the words down and do the revisions and do the promotions. I am making a career for myself, and I don’t give a crap if people think it’s useless.

At the same time, I know when people aren’t going to appreciate the work I do. I already knew this guy was going to brush my books off as unimportant, but when the next words out of his mouth were, “Are they tawdry books for bored housewives?”

I almost kicked him in the shins.

But, since I was still mostly in work mode, I kept my tone of voice kind of light, almost teasing, and said, “I wouldn’t call them tawdry. There’s a bit of tawdriness, but they almost straddle the line between romance and women’s fiction.”

Now, before we proceed. I would like to say that there is absolutely nothing tawdry about my books. Is there sex? Absolutely. But it’s never gratuitous. Sex always helps advance the story in some way, but I wasn’t going to defend my work, and they people who read it to someone who clearly doesn’t give a damn about any of us. And The Other Lane does butt up on women’s fiction is places, but it is still first and foremost a romance novel. Could I have made it literary? Absolutely. Did I want to? No. The rest of my books are more romancy, because that what I have the most fun writing. Sue me for doing fun things that bring me fulfillment.

Then, dude dropped to a whole new level of scumbaggery.

He said, “Huh, women’s fiction. I didn’t know that was a genre that existed.”

I’m pretty sure my head exploded. I know I said something after that, but I have no clue what it was. I’m assuming it wasn’t the “fuck you” that was echoing through my head, because the guy left me alone after. I finished up my transaction and escaped, because I like my job, and telling a customer to fuck off while still in uniform sounds like a good way to lose it, but I’m still spitting mad about it this morning.

I couldn’t think of a way to defend my work and the people who read it (Bored housewives my ass. Women who stay home, with or without kids are still people with minds and emotions that are valuable) without sounding like a petulant child. At the same time, I’m angry with myself for not doing so, because I have a voice.

Next time, I start in on the lesson in intersectional feminism from the word, “authoress.”

 

How to Beat the Overwhelm

Anybody else drinking all of the coffee lately?

I have big dreams.

That’s never been a secret around here.

And making those dreams into a reality takes work. And it’s work I’m excited to get done, even if it’s big and scary, like announcing my debut novel, which comes out in 77 days, btw.

My days and weeks are busy. I get up early. I work until midnight, and most of it has nothing to do with being an author. It’s cooking, it’s cleaning. It’s taking care of kiddos, and during weeks like last week, it’s a whole hell of a lot of taking care of myself.

If a week was ever gonna derail me from accomplishing my goals, it was last week.

I’ve been battling a virus that is mostly an annoying cold, but has really done a number on my appetite. (Read, for a few days I had none.) I slept in everyday. I came home from work early one night and laid on the sofa. I missed emails. There were days that I didn’t write. My to-do lists sat untouched.

I was frustrated. Guilt weighed me down as more and more stuff piled up.

As I’m emerging from the worst of the virus, I’m completely overwhelmed with the volume of things I need to get done over the next few days–stuff I probably won’t get done this week either, because it’s Felix’s birthday on Tuesday, and mom stuff always comes first.

But here’s the thing.

I’m OK with it.

Do I guilt myself? Of course I do.

Do I let it stop me from doing what I can?

Absolutely not.

Sure, I only got a fraction of what I wanted to accomplish done last week, but what I did do was important. Taking care of yourself is important, even if that means sleeping all days and drinking all of the kombucha and reading The Allure of Julian Lefray

Inventorying what I did helps put the overwhelm of what I didn’t into prespective: I finished writing a prequel to The Other Lane (more on that later). I bought ISBNs, because that’s the responsible author thing to do. I posted to Instagram TWICE. All despite feeling like shit.

Badassery achieved.

Giving myself credit for what I did already makes the backlog feel more manageable.

And tomorrow, I’m baking cupcakes to celebrate Felix and not apologizing for only writing 16 words.

 

PS, you should totally follow me on Instagram. I’ve been posting a lot of pretty desk photos, but also some teasers from¬†The Other Lane. And , as always, there is knitting.

Even A Badass Needs a Nap

Yes, I am calling myself a badass. Look at that badass messy desk.

I woke up at 8:06 this morning.

We leave for school at 8:05.

I know what you’re thinking, what happened to getting up at 5:30 to get your word count in? I thought that was a thing you were doing.

It is, and I am. A week and a half in, getting up that early every day still isn’t easy, but I love the quiet and the freedom it gives me for the rest of my day when I’m not stressing when and how I’m going to cram in the rest of my words.

But today?

Today Rufus happened.

Rufus has started sleeping through the night–mostly. Sometimes he gets up at 3:30 am and won’t go back to sleep. Then I get up and get all of my early morning things accomplished extra early, but by the time we get through the school day and I spend a few hours on my feet at work, I go from a badass writer mom who does it all to a spitting mad badass you don’t want to mess with.

And then Rufus wants to get up at the same the next morning, and I have to tell you, I do not do so well on four hours of sleep or less. So this morning, when Rufus woke up and I was able to get him to go back to sleep, I fell asleep right along with him.

When my alarm went off, I shut that sucker down and kept right on snoozin.

Then of course, I panicked when I realized exactly how long I’d slept and the whole day was thrown outta whack.

But you know what? I’m not sorry.

My sore, overworked body needed those couple hours of extra sleep, and so did my husband. So did Rufus. Sure, Felix was five minutes late for school, but we got there right as they were serving breakfast, so it was a win all the way around.

Have I fit my word count in yet? No.

Maybe I won’t today.

And I’m OK with that.

I gave myself a break today, because obviously my body needed rest. Instead of writing, I knit at my desk while I watched some author business related videos I’ve been saving up. Those were way scarier than not hitting my word count.

And even of you are badass, it’s OK to give yourself a break when you do big and scary things.

I’ll be back at it tomorrow, plugging away at the keyboard as well as making my terrible and great plans for world book domination.

Stay tuned, and don’t push yourself too hard. Even badasses need a nap now and then.