Ripping the Bodice is Book of the Day at Ravenous Romance today! So if you haven’t delved into the mysteries behind Angry Torso Man, now is your chance!
A good friend of mine from back in the day when I had a small waistline is flying me and Dave out to visit her for a week. Yup, flying us out there. How does one even start to thank someone for that kind of generosity? Ideas, anyone? Because I’m still blown away by this. I feel humbled that someone would want my/our company enough to buy us plane tickets. On the other hand, I think I’d do the same thing if our finances permitted, but it’s always easier for me to appreciate someone OTHER than myself. I’m not very good at the self-love thing at times.
Marcy and I met at a Jackstraws gig. Jackstraws is a folk band that played at renaissance faires (Huzzah, y’all!), restaurants, and at places like Seaport Village. They’ve since branched out, but the cool thing is I still recognize names and faces from back in the day. I was their female singer/tambourine player/dancer for a year (somewhere I have pictures of me in a full red gypsy skirt, off the shoulder white blouse, cinch belt – did I mention tiny waist? – and many bangled bracelets). Loved the music and the attention. I was a little better at the self-love thing back then.
I remember one gig, a special Halloween themed show at a restaurant, that got derailed when the other female singer and the flautist dropped acid. The flautist could handle it. The singer spent the evening in the ladies room, staring at her reflection and possibly watching finger trails. The guitarist’s girlfriend tried to fill in, but unfortunately had no sense of rhythm or pitch. It is from this gig the quote “A tambourine in the wrong hands is a dangerous weapon” originated. This was a one time incident, fyi, back in the early ’80s. The musicianship of all the members of Jackstraws I worked with and/or just enjoyed listening to was and is of the highest quality.
But I digress. Marcy and I hit it off really well. We had many slumber parties at our respective houses (more at hers, I think, because we could sneak into the kitchen at night and make strawberry daquaries, pillow held over the blender to avoid waking up her parents. Couldn’t get away with that at my house), did Ren Faires together, went to parties (including one where the above mentioned flautist gave me my first hallucinogenic mushrooms), and wrote together. When I ran away from home (three nights after a really stupid fight with my stepdad ’cause we were both tired and grouchy), I stayed at Marcy’s house. So did all of my clothing and furniture. Drama queen that I was, I didn’t do anything half-measure.
As happens when people grow up, go to school and get jobs, Marcy and I lost track of each other for a while. We reconnected briefly when she moved back to San Diego with her young daughter, but fell out of touch again. Then in 2009 Marcy found me on Facebook (at least I think it was Facebook) and we started corresponding sporadically. She was living in Hawaii, a military doctor. Gotta say that blew me away. I mean… a doctor. And an officer. Wow.
Anyway, Marcy and her daughter Megan (now nearing high school graduation age) went on a trip to check out prospective colleges and several they wanted to see were in San Francisco. So Dave and I happily hosted them for a few days. Marcy still pretty much looked exactly as I remembered, not exactly old enough to be a mother to Megan (heartbreakingly beautiful and a total sweetheart). And the friendship was also pretty much as it used to be, as in easy to sink back into it like a comfy chair. Which is pretty much the way the best and lasting friendships seem to work. Made me really regret the years we were out of touch, but completely appreciate having Marcy back in my life.
So… Hawaii. Leaving Saturday morning. I’m hoping we will be making strawberry daiquiris at least once. Guess we can leave the pillow out of it this time.
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In further Ravenous news, I’m happy to announce that my alter-ego Inara LaVey’s book CHAMPAGNE placed #11 in the romance category on the Predators and Editors Poll. Oddly enough, it was not listed under erotica, which is kind of ironic considering it features a menage a trois. Nice to know whoever nominated it did see the romance and there IS a ‘happily ever after’ ending. Or ‘happily for now,’ as it were. Also Champagne is the Book of the Day at Ravenous Romance today! Woot! And see nice things reviewers have said:
“Well-written with Ms. LaVey’s usual flair for humor, sex and fun, Champagne is a wild ride through France. Ms. LaVey has a way with words and humor; she never fails to leave a smile on my face.” –Bookwenches (4 stars)
“Champagne by Inara LaVey is a witty, fun, informational and erotic adventure through France’s wine country. I look forward to reading more work from this talented author.” –Dark Divas (4 “delightful divas”)
Other Ravenous authors who made the top 20 in erotica and romance were Lisa Lane, C. Margery Kempe, Ryan Field, Sandra Cormier and Lexi Ryan. Congrats, all, on this well-deserved recognition! For more details courtesy of the lovely Lisa Lane, go here.
Finally coming out of blogging quarantine, getting my butt in gear (or my butt in the chair and my FINGERS in gear) and posting again! Today it’s about the difficulty of getting back into writing when one takes a break and whether or not recipes in the middle of a murder mystery are a GOOD thing or not!
It’s been a good long while since I actually wrote any sort of real blog post. I took the month of January off of all my blogging duties, including Make Mine Mystery, Fatal Foodies, and my own Zhadi’s Den. I did manage one hostess duty turn at Un:Bound for Ravenous Wednesday and a couple of quick posts, and I’ve slowly been hacking away at my WIP, but pretty much it’s been a barren desert in my head as far as creative inspiration.
I have a pretty good reason for this. As most of you who read my blog know, my dad passed away on December 27th and we very recently had the funeral service Monday, February 1st (a day before my birthday, actually). Most of my experience with death and loss has been with my pets, so processing something this life-changing has been challenging.
I know a lot of writers who use stress and grief to fuel their creative fire and lose themselves in their work. I have never been one of those writers. Stress and sorrow incapacitate me, my brain goes into vapor lock mode, and all I want to do is sleep or walk. I have done a lot of walking over the last month, starting with a three and a half hour hike the day after my dad died. I walked from my office down in the Financial District to my home, out by the SF Zoo and Ocean Beach. Lots of hills, lots of greenery, lots of miles. My legs and butt definitely had a few things to say about the fact I forgot to stretch out after I got home, but I won’t repeat them. They weren’t very polite.
One of the issues connected with Dad’s death that I’ve been processing is based on something he said to me many years ago, after he’d had a few too many drinks. I was in my early twenties and still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I don’t remember exactly how or why the conversation turned to my career path, but I will always remember what Dad said to me at the time: “I’d expect a lot more of you if you were a man.”
Wow. What does one even do with something like that? Sure, it was said under the influence of alcohol, but it still had the power to burn into my brain and memory. He might as well have been etched those words in acid on a gauntlet and slapped me across the face with it because that comment made everything I tried to accomplish from that point on an attempt, subconscious or otherwise, to earn my father’s approval.
When I started writing seriously, as in getting a couple of low budget screenplays optioned, publishing short stories and essays, and finally getting my murder mystery published, I never enjoyed the small successes for more than a nano-second because none of it was ever quite good enough to get a ‘well done’ from Dad. I always got the feeling I’d fallen short because I didn’t have that million dollar sale for a screenplay or mega-advance for my book. Sure, I’d come further along the trail than a lot of aspiring writers, but it just wasn’t good enough.
Praise from other people, while welcomed, didn’t register as much as it should have. I was always looking ahead to my next project, tying myself up in knots about it not being good enough, and refusing to pat myself on the back at all to celebrate each of those small victories and steps along the way. In other words, I treated myself like crap and no doubt gummed up my emotional/creative connection many times during the writing process.
Well, now Dad’s gone. I don’t have to prove myself to him any more. Maybe I never had to do so and I certainly didn’t realize until one of those long walks brought me some clarity regarding exactly how much of my life has been about proving myself to be good enough even though I hadn’t been born male. This realization floored me. It both opened up the possibility that I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone anymore…and left me feeling totally bereft that I’d never get the chance to do so.
I miss my dad. I think he was proud of me, even if it was behind my back, maybe even proud of the fact that I could write like ‘a drunken misogynistic man,’ (something I took as a serious compliment considering the narrator was a hard-bitten private detective who happened to be a zombie) at least for my story A Man’s Gotta Eat What a Man’s Gotta Eat. In fact, I think if I had been a son, he would have loved that story. It was hard for him to get past some of the language considering I was his baby girl.
Now I’m learning to write for myself again. As my sister pointed out, I’ve written since I was old enough to string words together, it’s always been something I’ve just done because I loved it. So time to write for myself again. Towards that end, I got a lovely boost this morning when Loren Rhoads, creator and editor of Morbid Curiosity Magazine and the anthology Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues, posted this link on my Facebook page. It reminded me of the pleasure I got out of writing those essays as well as made me realize my writing has touched other people (sometimes they laugh, sometimes they go ‘eeeuwww!’) , and that Dad’s remark uttered way back in the mists of time also shaped me into who I am now and possibly made me a better writer.
So Dad, I’m tipping back a bit of Scotch in your honor… and putting on the following song by Blood, Sweat and Tears because it’s what I had playing in my head when I said goodbye to you Monday. If ever a song captured your essence, this is it:
I’m not scared of dying,
And I don’t really care.
If it’s peace you find in dying,
Well then let the time be near.
If it’s peace you find in dying,
And if dying time is here,
Just bundle up my coffin
‘Cause it’s cold way down there.
I hear that its cold way down their.
Yeah, crazy cold way down their.
And when I die, and when I’m gone,
There’ll be one child born
In this world to carry on,
to carry on.
Now troubles are many, they’re as deep as a well.
I can swear there ain’t no heaven but I pray there ain’t no hell.
Swear there ain’t no heaven and I pray there ain’t no hell,
But I’ll never know by living, only my dying will tell.
Yes only my dying will tell.
Yeah, only my dying will tell.
Give me my freedom for as long as I be.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me.
All I ask of living is to have no chains on me,
And all I ask of dying is to go naturally.
Oh I want to go naturally.
Here I go,
Here comes the devil,
Look out children,
Here he comes!
Here he comes! Hey…
Don’t want to go by the devil.
Don’t want to go by demon.
Don’t want to go by Satan,
Don’t want to die uneasy.
Just let me go naturally.
and when I die,
When I’m dead, dead and gone,
There’ll be one child born in our world to carry on,
To carry on.