Category Archives: Psychology

You can land on Shiara in five weeks!

Five Weeks. FIVE. That’s one month plus one week. Hardly any time at all!

This week I’m talking about relationship dynamics. Specifically, how & why Khya and Tessen’s came to be not quite vanilla.

Short answer? It’s Kate Brauning​’s fault. The long answer is similar, yet a bit more complicated.

I wish I still had a link to Kate’s tweet, but it was something like, We must portray YA relationships as diversely as we do adult. Then she went on to say, (approximately) “For example, not all teens are entirely vanilla, but we give them no mirror.”

I said, “You’re okay with that? Because I can ABSOLUTELY do a D/s dynamic. Really, they’re already there. I just need to bring it out.“

Basically, Kate was all, “Yes. Good. Go.”

Knowing going in that my editor wouldn’t give me an “are we sure this is appropriate for teens” speech was a relief. It also gave me the freedom to explore the characters at a deeper level and take a new look at what sexuality meant in Itagami.

Desire (or a lack thereof) and the specific form that feeling takes is a very fraught topic in contemporary society. Dangerously so. The island of Shiara and the city of Sagen sy Itagami gave me a chance to erase a lot of the expectations and “rules” of desire. Although orientation is included in the “rules” (more to come another week), here I’m referring more to preferences, kinks, & fetishes.
Our culture makes a lot of value judgments on an individual’s behavior, ESPECIALLY in regards to sex.

In Itagami, the only rules are 1- CONSENT, 2- no irreparable harm, & 3- don’t let sex distract you from work.

That’s it.

Well, okay. There are a few more rules, but none regarding the HOW of desire or sex.

Although all of it is very minor, I mention or imply a lot of facets of sexuality in Island Of Exiles. Exhibitionism, voyeurism, masochism, and power dynamics all come up somewhere in some way in this book. For Khya and Tessen, though, control, power, trust, and surrender are all key components to their relationship. They both need something from the other, and a lot of the buildup with them is admitting those needs and trusting the other to meet them. Communication–verbal & non-verbal–is crucial in relationships, but especially in ones where power in the sexual relationship isn’t equal.

There are books (which shall remain unnamed) that portray these kinds of relationships in a VERY dangerous way. What I wanted to show is it’s not only okay to want things outside of the normal. It’s okay to talk about them. It’s okay to ask for them. What Khya and Tessen eventually illustrate (fair warning, they’re a sloooooow burn) is how everyone has different needs. Part of what makes relationships strong (ANY, not just romantic and/or sexual ones) is finding someone who needs what you can provide. Another important point, however, is recognizing your own needs and desires and accepting them.

How in the world is anyone supposed to do that if they never see a relationship that ticks their mental boxes in any form of media?

Like all other levels of diversity and representation, relationship dynamics and differing desires are so important. Dynamics, preferences, kinks, and fetishes are ESPECIALLY important for YA authors to consider and include. For most, the teen years is when they begin to discover arousal and desire. Or their lack thereof. If anything, portraying relationships outside the center of the bell curve is MORE important in YA than in adult. Puberty and adolescence and young adulthood are confusing enough. Why make it harder for anyone when we can provide a map?

What I hope is that Khya & Tessen–& the other pairings in the series–introduce teens to concepts about relationships they don’t often see.

In Itagami, monogamy isn’t societally expected. Polyamory is perfectly acceptable. Bisexuality is the normalized orientation. In Itagami, marriage–called a sumai bond in the book–is rare, but when that vow is made it is soul-deep and unbreakable. In Itagami, those who don’t have a sumai bond often move between romantic and/or sexual relationships as their needs change. In Itagami, “normal” has an entirely different set of definitions and expectations than what we’re used to, and I loved creating those rules. In Itagami, the how and why of what happens between two or more people isn’t something anyone else has a right to comment on. Not to say gossip doesn’t happen–it absolutely does–but the judgment and the interference I’ve seen happen in life doesn’t. Mostly.

Hopefully, all of this will be commonplace one day, but it’s not there yet. Especially in young adult fiction.

Khya & Tessen are snarky, strong, and incredibly fun to write. They’re also steamy as hell when they get together. Soon (sooner than I’m ready for, honestly), you’ll get to meet them for yourself!

Buy it from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Books-A-Million | IndieBound

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Don’t Erase The Aces

A while back, the wonderful Michael Waters asked if he could include me in a piece he was doing for the B&N Teen Blog about diverse authors in young adult who were writing diverse books. His questions were wonderfully thoughtful and concentrated on my experiences growing up asexual and how that orientation has impacted both my life and my writing. 

As I usually do when someone asks me to write something, I gave him WAY too much material. After the article released, I dumped the extra content here to come back and edit into a post later. Apparently, it’s later now. 

Side note: You can read part 1 and part 2 of Michael’s beautiful series by clicking on the links. You should also follow him on Twitter


Asexual. It’s a word that is usually first encountered—at least for my generation—in biology class. In that context, it refers to any organism that reproduces by splitting. Like amoeba.

That’s not I’m talking about when I use the word asexual.

Definitionally speaking, asexuality is an orientation in which an individual does not experience sexual attraction to anyone regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, or aesthetic appeal. Or even their wonderful personality.

What it means socially and contextually is a lot harder to pin down. For me, it’s a hyper-awareness of innuendo and oversexualization. It’s an extreme discomfort when someone calls me hot or even, sometimes, beautiful. It’s also the hope that one day I’ll be able to say “I’m asexual” without the explanation that always follows now.

Because I am asexual. More specifically, I identify as heteromantic-asexual.

Deciding on that label has been a winding, partially obstructed mental path (and explaining it could be it’s own post), and it took me through most of the ace spectrum identities. Since 2014, I’ve called myself demisexual and graysexual, but asexual really does fit best.

I wish I’d grown up knowing the term, because looking back at my life, it’s clear that this has always been a huge part of who I am. It never happened. I was twenty-nine before I first heard “asexual” outside the context of amoebic reproduction. By that age, I’d already been married and divorced. My lack of interest in sex had been a huge factor in the dissolution of that relationship. And the emotional manipulation and abuse I suffered through most of it.

For almost thirty years, I assumed I was straight but broken. How could I not? The only options I knew existed were straight, bisexual, or gay. I had no interest in kissing girls, so that knocked two of the three options out. I didn’t mind the thought of kissing boys (though I don’t think I’ll ever know how much of that is naturally me and how much of that is social conditioning), so straight was the only box left for me to check. “None of the above” was never offered.

Because I never had any explanation or understanding of why I didn’t want sex the way that the rest of society seemed to, and the way my ex-husband definitely did, the only answer I could come up with to the question “Why don’t you want me?” was “Because something is wrong with me.” It was a belief that developed over the course of years, and it was reinforced by my ex, by the media, and, inadvertently, my friends.

During my marriage, because I couldn’t explain the way my mind worked in a way that made sense to my ex, he used that against me, guilting me deeper into a sense of self-loathing I’m still in the process of shedding.

He would ask questions like: What’s wrong? Why don’t you want me? Don’t you love me?

He’d say things like: If you loved me, you’d do this for me. You won’t tell me the truth, so you must not trust me. This would make sense if you’d been raped or something. If you won’t give me what I want, I’ll go find it somewhere else.

Blaming me for his cheating was easy for him to do and, by the time that began happening, the relationship had been so twisted for so long that it was easy for me to accept. There was nothing in society or the media to tell me that he wasn’t right, so obviously it was my fault.

Trying to force myself into compliance only made things worse, causing depression and anxiety and self-esteem issues I’m still trying to get over years after my divorce was finalized.

After the divorce, I tried one more time. Because I still thought straight was the only option I had. The relationship was better, but the same lack of interest in sex from my side of the relationship happened again; I still didn’t have any explanation for it except “There’s something wrong with me.”

When that relationship came to a natural conclusion, I didn’t look for anything new. There was an incredibly strong fear burrowing inside my head that I wouldn’t ever be able to make anyone happy because I’d never be able to give them what everyone but me so obviously needed. If what had happened in my marriage and the only other long-term relationship I attempted was just going to happen again, it wasn’t worth it. So I stopped trying.

But I still didn’t understand why I was so fundamentally different from the rest of the world.

The thing is, for someone to find out who they are, there needs to be a safe space for them to try things on—personalities, clothes, genders, sexualities, jobs, tastes—without the pressure of someone else’s expectations. I think one of the reasons it takes us so long to discover and become comfortable with who we are is so few of those spaces exist. Humans are social creatures, and we’re programmed to bond with others. For the most part, we want to please the tribe we’ve been born into or chosen, and sometimes the only way we can see to do that is to change or deny some aspect of ourselves.

And that’s why, even if I had heard of asexuality at a young age, I don’t know that I would’ve embraced it. I was somewhat socially isolated as a kid, different in small ways that seemed to make a huge difference. To discover back then that there was a true, significant difference between me and everyone else? I might have grabbed that and espoused it immediately, or I might have held it at a distance as I tried to follow the path everyone else was walking. It’s hard to know.

When I did finally find asexuality on a list of sexualities and gender identities, the loudest thought in my head was, “Holy hell. I’m not the only one. I’m not broken.”

It didn’t magically fix everything, and fully integrating the concept into my identity in a meaningful way has taken time—that’s an ongoing process—but it’s helped so much in understanding myself and determining what I need to be content. It’s helped me figure out what kind of compromises I’m willing to make if I ever find someone I want to be in a relationship with. It’s given me something almost like a shield I can hold up against the world when it tries to tell me that what I feel (or don’t feel, more often) is something that needs to be fixed.

Discovering asexuality has given me back a tiny spark of hope that one day I’ll find a romantic relationship that includes only the physical element I’m comfortable with, but actually finding that partner in a sex-obsessed world is…daunting to say the least.

The first person I told about asexuality warned me to make sure I wasn’t reacting out of fear and writing off something I actually, secretly wanted. It was several months before I mentioned it to anyone else and, partially because of the previous reaction—that “well, really…are you sure?” feeling I got from the conversation—this time I couched the whole conversation in the terms of “this is just a theory, and I’m not really sure, but it kind of fits, so I don’t know.”

The doubt of my initial conversation became a trend. In fact, the theme of a lot of “coming out” discussions has been something like, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that! That sounds so sad. Here, let me see how I can fix that for you. Have you tried ______?” In almost every case the words aren’t intended to hurtful, but that doesn’t make it okay.

Unless someone is already familiar with the asexual spectrum, confusion and disbelief are usually the predominate reaction to coming out ace. People don’t seem to know how to react to an absence of something. “You’ll change your mind when you meet the right person,” is an incredibly common response. Others include:

“You don’t know what you’re missing!”

“Are you sure your partner knew what they were doing?”

“Were you abused in the past? Maybe it’s just fear.”

“So, what? You’re a prude? Or just celibate?”

“You’re asexual? You can’t be! You’re not a virgin!”

“Wow, so you actually expect to find a guy who doesn’t want sex? Good luck with that one.”

The erasure and the disdain in these micro-aggressions (although some of them feel like straight-up aggressions to me sometimes) is frustrating. The feeling that the person I’m talking to believes they know my mind and my emotional experience of the world better than I do is sickening. What’s even worse is that the people asking these questions are usually the same people who don’t understand why asexuals are currently making so much noise about the fact that we exist.

Pretty much the only conversations I’ve had about asexuality that haven’t been somewhere on the scale between doubtful and disdainful have been with people who are already involved in the MOGAI (marginalized orientations, gender alignments, and identities) community. However, even in that sphere there can be pushback. Some people still try to claim that the A in LGBTQIA stands for allies. In the recent past, notable gay rights activists have literally laughed at the asexual awareness movement saying, “You have the asexuals marching for the right to not do anything. Which is hilarious! Like, you don’t need to march for that right, you just need to stay home and not do anything.” (Dan Savage, 2011, (A)Sexuality documentary)

What they don’t realize is that we’re not fighting for rights, we’re fighting for recognition.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, non-consummation of marriage has been perceived as an insult to the sacramental union and grounds for divorce. Today, a couple who doesn’t have sex would have an almost impossible time convincing the INS that their relationship is valid and real. This is the society we’re born into, so, you’re wrong.

We do need to march. Not because we’re fighting for the right to get married or even the right to “do nothing,” but because we’re fighting to be acknowledged, to have our existence validated and accepted. We’re marching and making noise and calling people out on their erasure because we want asexuality to be recognized as an orientation, not classified as a disorder.

And it has been. People see a “missing” sex drive as practically inhuman. “It’s a bit like people saying they never have an appetite for food. Sex is a natural drive, as natural as the drive for sustenance and water to survive. It’s a little difficult to judge these folks as normal.” (Dr. Leonard R. Derogatis as quoted in an article in the New York Times on June 9, 2005). Starting with the DSM-III, a notable lack of sexual desire has been considered a psychological disorder by the psychological community. It’s begun to shift away from that, the most recent DSM offering clarification that could protect ace-spectrum individuals from inaccurate diagnoses, but that doesn’t mean the perception has changed enough to counteract the stigma.

Not yet, but we’re working on it.

All we want people to see is that we are just as normal as anyone else on the planet, partially because there’s no such thing as normal. This isn’t a religious thing, and it’s not at all like abstinence or celibacy. We’re not trying to convert you. Go ahead and do your thing, whatever that is. We’ll be over here playing Scrabble or watching Netflix with only the literal chill, not the innuendo laden kind.

That is what we’re marching for. That is why we’re standing on our chairs with our hands wildly waving above our heads. That is why American Apparel’s erasure of the A infuriates us so much. We want to be seen. We want to be heard. We want the next generation of asexual children to grow up without the “What’s wrong with me?” question playing on loop in their minds. We want people to acknowledge our experiences as valid and real and not broken, and we want kids growing up today to be able to see asexuality on the list of available sexual spectrum check boxes.

What we’re fighting for and making noise about is the right to exist. So please stop erasing us.


My books that feature ace characters (as of this post):

I’ve read thousands of books in the course of my life, yet until I really went searching for it, I’ve only seen the word “asexual” used to describe someone’s orientation once. And that author used it wrong. It’s doubtful that any of my books will be about asexuality, but I want everything I write to include the concept. I went three decades without encountering the word, and so I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to someone else. If I can help someone who’s never heard of asexuality be a little more understanding when someone in their lives claims a spot on the spectrum, wonderful. If I can introduce this identity to someone who’s struggling to understand themselves, even better.

  • Deadly Sweet Lies will always be a special book for me because although Tumblr may have introduced me to the term asexual, it was my research into the spectrum for Julian Teagan’s character in Deadly that gave me my “Oh, that’s me” moment.
  • In the Laguna Tides series, Kody Patterson is demisexual, something that is verbally confirmed on paper by him in the third book, Dealing With Devalo (which should be out before the end of 2016, I think).
  • In my upcoming Assassins series one of the characters in Discord identifies as asexual, but I can’t say who because it’d be a bit of a spoiler. The narrator of the second book, Nemesis, is also confirmed on page as ace-spectrum.
  • Within The Ryogan Chronicles series, the fantasy trilogy that begins with Island of Exiles and releases with Entangled in 2017, will include more than one asexual-spectrum character.

I have three words for this book: powerful, insightful, and…


I have three words for this book: powerful, insightful, and important. @IWGregorio has done a brilliant job educating the reader on what it means to be intersex/AIS while not lessening the emotional impact of Krissy’s story in the slightest. This is a book about tolerance, gender, love, strength, mistakes, forgiveness, finding out who you are, and the mutable nature of what it means to be a girl or a boy or human, really. An excellent story by an amazing author and one I highly recommend!

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Reviews: Colin Fischer by Miller and Stentz

Life is math.

We know this because mathematics can reduce anything to a system of equations. Sometimes the solutions tell us things that seem “intuitively obvious.” This means that we do not need math to figure them out. For example, the Parking Problem.

Some mathematicians at a university wanted to know how people could minimize the time it takes to find a parking spot and get into a store. Here is what they found: The optimal strategy is to take the first space you see and then walk.

When I told my father about this, he asked why it took mathematicians at a university to figure it out. I explained that while the conclusions seems intuitively obvious, it runs counter to standard human behavior. Most people will not take the first space the come across. Instead, the will seek out a better, theoretical spot that could be more convenient, incorrectly believing it will save them time.

I used to think people did this because they’re bad at math, but actually it’s because they’re gamblers. They pass up good opportunities that are right in front of them in exchange for imagined improvements that almost never materialize. This is why I trust math and I do not trust people. Math makes better sense.

This is one of Colin Fisher’s many observations in his Notebook, a catalog of facts, observations, and notations dating back to his pre-school days. Colin has been diagnosed with high-functioning Aspergers Syndrome and that translates to a variety of quirks which place him firmly on the outskirts of his school’s social spectrum. He’s bullied by some, ridiculed by others, ignored by most, and befriended by few, but Colin honestly doesn’t care. He enjoys school and enjoys making observations of his peers even more. Even his main tormentor, Wayne Connelly, is worthy of consideration. This turns out to be for the bully’s benefit after an incident in the cafeteria–one involving an interrupted birthday party and a gunshot–leaves Wayne the prime suspect. Only Colin, the one person with the most reason to want Wayne out of school, believes his innocence. Only Colin starts asking the right questions to figure out what really happened, just like one of his idols, Sherlock Holmes, would.

Especially given that I believe Sherlock Holmes (had he been a real person) probably could have been diagnosed with some form of Autism, Aspergers, or other sociodevelopmental syndrome, I think Colin is this generation’s Sherlock. You may not like him, but you’ll empathize as he tries to safely navigate the perils of high school. You’ll cheer each small victory and you’ll smile when people find him as baffling as he finds them. Every character in the book became intriguing when seen through Colin’s eyes and his relationships with his parents, his younger brother, and his peers involve interesting and unusual dynamics. Everyone around him has to take Colin for what he is or leave him, but either way it makes very little difference to Colin. His very indifference made him even more fascinating.

I read this book all in one day… in fact, often while I was supposed to be doing other things. I fell in love with Colin from page one. I can actually pinpoint the moment, because it happened at the end of his first Notebook observation, one centering on the inexplicable schooling habits of hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos. In it, Colin states the following:

My name is Colin Fischer. I’m fourteen years old and weigh 121 lbs. Today is my first day of high school.
I have 1,365 days left until I’m finished.

The tenor of the statements, a simple listing of facts, is a thing of brilliance. Possibly without even realizing it, Colin is doing what every other kid facing their looming high school career is doing: dreading the trials to come and counting the days until they don’t have to face them anymore.  Colin’s observations are intelligent, thorough, and thought provoking and some of his references (and those of the narrator) would have left me in the dust if not for the very handy footnotes. Not having an overly analytical mind myself, I find books like this mesmerizing if only for letting me peek into an entirely different worldview. It’s probably why I studied psychology in college; trying to figure out how different people think intrigues me just as much as it puzzles Colin.

Colin Fischer is out today! Do yourself a favor and go get the book now. It’s worth it. I’m hoping the implied promise of a sequel holds true. In fact, I’m hoping for a long, drawn out series of books revolving around Colin. I don’t think I will ever get tired of diving into his head.

Erica’s Rating: 5/5

Find the book on:
Amazon – Kindle  |  Hardcover
Barnes & Noble – Nook  |  Hardcover
Goodreads

If you vanished tomorrow, would anyone miss you?

Brighton People (c) Justin Eveleigh

A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday and I think this story scares me more than anything else I’ve read in a long time. Mostly because it could happen so easily to so many people.

On 25 January 2006, officials from a north London housing association repossessing a bedsit in Wood Green owing to rent arrears made a grim discovery. Lying on the sofa was the skeleton of a 38-year-old woman who had been dead for almost three years. In a corner of the room the television set was still on, tuned to BBC1, and a small pile of unopened Christmas presents lay on the floor. Washing up was heaped in the kitchen sink and a mountain of post lay behind the front door. Food in the refrigerator was marked with 2003 expiry dates. The dead woman’s body was so badly decomposed it could only be identified by comparing dental records with an old holiday photograph of her smiling. Her name was revealed to be Joyce Carol Vincent.

 Carol Morley, a filmmaker and London resident, found a short article about the strange circumstances surrounding Joyce’s death in a newspaper someone left on the tube. The article contained very little information and didn’t even include a photo of the woman, but the article stuck with Carol. She wanted to know more.

Now, years later, Carol has produced a documentary called Dreams of a Life about Joyce Carol Vincent. She spent years tracking down people who knew Joyce and interviewing them. She collected photographs and anecdotes and bound them together into a beautiful piece on the isolation still possible in a world that’s constantly connected.

THIS is what I mean when I recommend finding inspiration in the world around you. No matter how outlandish a fictional situation seems, chances are you can find a real life moment with even more impossible circumstances. Finding the spark that sends you on a quest for answers is only a matter of time. And having your eyes open wide enough to see it.

To read more about Carol’s quest to tell Joyce’s story, read this article. You can also watch the movie trailer here or play it below.

Stories can control minds. No, seriously.

(c) Andrew Schmidt

Movies, television, and books all present stories to an audience. Obviously. That much is kind of a given, right? But what we forget is that stories have always been used as a teaching tool. Myths, legends, and (please don’t kill me) religion were all developed in story form to make them more memorable, to give them a beginning and a middle and an end for people to hang onto, and for crowd control, aka mind control. Stories were used for centuries (and still are used) to impart wisdom, lessons, and history and even though we’ve kind of lost that tradition in a sense–at least in modern American culture–stories still teach us things whether we want them to or not. They shape the way we see the world and sometimes work to point us all in the same direction. Whether we realize it or not.

Why am I talking about stories and mind control? Blame Cracked.com. Again.

A couple of days ago I found an article on their website called 5 Ways You Don’t Realize Movies Are Controlling Your Brain. Have I commented yet on the fact that the Cracked writers are not only hilarious but blindingly intelligent? I’m kind of in awe of them. But, anyway, not the point. The point is this article and the very valid incredibly interesting points it made about pop culture and the way the general population (especially my generation and all that have come after it) have been influenced by it. Most of us in ways we’ll never realize. One of the points the author David Wong makes is this:

You’ve seen Braveheart, right? You know that’s based on a historical event — the movie makes it clear that Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, was a real guy who really lived in Scotland back in the horse and castle days. You also know that Hollywood spiced things up for the movie — the real Wallace probably never assassinated a dude and then jumped his horse off a balcony in slow motion.

So if you don’t mind, just quickly tell me which parts were fiction. Without looking it up.

Like the evil king they were fighting — was he a real historical figure, too? What about Wallace’s palooka friend, Hamish? Or the crazy Irish sidekick? Were those real guys? That part where Mel Gibson’s main ally (Robert the Bruce) betrayed him and sided with the English in that big battle (aka the turning point of the entire story)– did that really happen? What about the bit at the end, where Wallace has sex with that princess, revealing that the future king of England would actually be Mel Gibson’s son? That’s the most historically important thing in the whole film, surely that was true, right?

You don’t know, do you? But who cares, right? It’s not like that impacts your life at all. It’s just historical trivia. OK, now consider this: After Jaws hit theaters, we nearly drove sharks to extinction with feverish hunting, to the point that their populations may never recover.

 “Oookaaay,” you may be saying to yourself. “Interesting. But are you for or against this whole mind control theory?”

I’m neither. Or maybe both. It doesn’t matter. The lesson I’m trying to pull out of this convoluted post is that authors need to do two things: use this truth to their advantage and be careful not to abuse it.
In the article, David makes another point, one that references another article on Cracked: 7 Bullshit Police Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks to Movies). Did you know you do not have a legal right to a phone call if you get arrested. The police do not have to give you a phone call if they have a reason not to. Any reason. Want to know why you thought otherwise (unless you have cops or lawyers in your family)? Because movies and TV uses this line so often most people assume it’s true. David explains:

Now take this one step further, and think about how many other aspects of your life you’ve only experienced via Hollywood. If you’re from a rural area, how do you know what it’s like to live in the city? Or vice versa? If you’ve never been to Paris, where does your mental image of it come from? Some of you reading this very article loved The Sopranos because its depiction of the mob was so much more “realistic” than all those stylized movies that came before it. How do you know it’s more realistic? What are you comparing it to? All those real mobsters who come over at Thanksgiving?

The reality is that vast piles of facts that you have crammed into your brain basement were picked up from pop culture, and for the most part, you don’t realize that’s where the information came from. This is called source amnesia, and I’ve talked about it before — you know that giraffes sleep standing up, but you’ve long forgotten whether you heard that fact in school or in a tour at the zoo, or saw it in a cartoon. Either way, you will treat that fact as true until something comes along to counter it — this is the entire reason MythBusters is still on the air.

As an ex-psychology geek, any article that correctly references things like source amnesia makes me a little giddy, but this article brilliantly brought home both the joys and the perils of writing a book and sending it out into the universe. It’s wonderful because we can play on the perceptions of the masses and give ourselves more creative leeway to make our stories more interesting, dynamic, heart-wrenching, action-packed, whatever. However, we are responsible for the images and information we put out into the world. Even if we can’t control how one particular person interprets what we write, we have to be at least aware of the messages most people will see in the stories we present. If you play your part right, the messages will blend and people won’t quite know where fact ends and fiction begins. Then you two will have played a part in the mind control of the globe.

Sounds fun, right? 🙂

Life: There Come The Moments

OMG. I just had a little revelation and I’m not so sure I like it.

While reading Cindy Bennett’s blog I came across this banner on the bottom of her page:

Totally a worthwhile cause and one I support, so I went to “Take the pledge.” And that’s when it happened.

To take the pledge, you have you identify yourself as either a student or an adult. It’s been a while since I’ve been in school of any sort and I’ve been supporting myself for years now, but for some reason this simplistic delineation made my brain do this:

*&#% (*^ %)(* %$( *^#%_) * #^* &!!!!!! OMG I’M AN ADULT! When the hell did this happen?!

As off-putting as this moment is in my life, it’s a lesson we can use as writers. Don’t underestimate the little things. Sometimes the biggest realizations and moments of truth a person has comes from seeing something small… like a banner ad for a worthy cause on someone’s website. These moments can change motivations, help piece a mental puzzle together, or give a character the reason s/he needs to do x, y, or z.

Don’t get me wrong, books definitely need their big, drama-fueled moments, too, but life isn’t made up of those. Books shouldn’t be either.

Oh, and, yes. I did still go back and take the pledge. Because I’m an adult. And that’s what adults do. 😉