Saturday, November 5, 2016

Can We Stop Now?

Okay so this blog is going to be kind of ramble..ish so if you're not in the mood to read a particularly long/rambly blog you might want to pass this up. Oh, also if you're easily triggered please don't continue. I say that because we know in 2016 sensibilities are what matter most in the world.

So recently I've come across a novel that people are going batshit crazy over (before you ask, no, I don't know why batshit is used to describe a form of crazy nor am I aware exactly how crazy batshit can or cannot be) and the reaction is so volatile and frustrating that I couldn't just not speak about it. I'm sure some people saw my tweets the other day which vaguely referenced the situation.

The novel is called The Continent and it's a young adult novel by Keira Drake.

Certain people (read social justice warriors) are up in arms about this novel because they claim it perpetuates negative stereotypes (that nobody with an IQ about 10 actually believe in 2016) and thus it's a terrible book, proof the publishing industry is racist, and it/its author must be flamed for the good of the writing community! Yeah.

Okay for starters I will say that I haven't read this novel I've only seen the forsaken passages and did some research on it - but that's okay, because 90% of the people who are rating it down on goodreads haven't read it, either. They're just going along with whatever crackpot ignoramus is spouting racism and following suit.

In just the last forty-eight hours the novel has gone from a 4 star to a 2.8 star. And it's dropping lower as we speak. Let that sink in. An author's work is being dragged through the mud because someone found offense with her work. How is that acceptable? How is that any form of acceptable? Have people become such sheep that they'll believe anything anybody who has a soapbox says? Have people really become so easily offended and has the word racism completely lost its actual meaning? I don't know, all I know is that this type of behavior and ganging up is unacceptable.

The novel in question is about a white girl who wins a trip/obtains a trip to go to this mysterious continent to see the ongoing battle between two different tribes. Along the way she gets captured by the tribes and the "savage" people she was born/raised to believe were savage were actually intelligent, resourceful, etc. she learned that her misconceptions were just that. She learned to appreciate people who are NOT part of her own culture. Tell me again how this is racism? Tell me how it's racism for someone to learn that their prejudice is unfounded and grow to respect someone different than themselves because I just don't see it.

(Side note: apparently savage is now a terrible racial slur...we must inform Ben Savage and Fred Savage immediately so they can find an appropriate substitute.)

If I'm going to compare the novel to anything it would be "A Man Called Horse" by Dorothy M Johnson which was about a white man getting captured by natives and while originally thinking they're savages, learns that like him they're people with ideals, codes/rules, and morals. It's an excellent read if you haven't already.

The author in question did message the original shit-stirrer and explained herself, which of course is against rule #2 of being an author - never contact anyone who says ANYTHING negative about your novel because if you do you'll be a pariah and the hate will get worse. But to summarize, she explained the following:

"I feel like my novel was misrepresented today. It's not about white saviors if anything it's about privilege and how dangerous/destructive that can be. As a matter of fact PoC save the day and dozens of colors/creeds are represented."

That was apparently not a good response because it made things worse and just reinforced her ignorance and quote "white frailty" which I find funny because if the roles were reversed, the amount of backlash the author would receive from that is just...unimaginable.

I'm going to change topic here slightly. Obviously those who know me know that I'm mixed (Dominican/Italian) but I've always identified as Latino. I'm also gay. Do you know how many novels I've read where I felt Latinos were characterized incorrectly? Or how many novels I've read where gay people did/said cringy things that I would never say in a thousand years? TONS. But I didn't freak out, attack the novel, start a campaign against the novel, etc. etc. I just moved on. Because I understand that while my experiences are valid, they don't fit everyone. And that the way I see/do things might not necessarily be the way others see/do things. Just because I don't like something or it offends me, doesn't mean its bad/wrong. This seems to be another thing people forget in 2016.

And then you get a bunch of people saying "white people shouldn't write PoC because they don't do it right!" but then you have people bitching that there's not enough diversity/representation...well make up your minds. "Oh well do research!" Keira Drake apparently did do research and had PoC pre-read it, which they accepted it but that's not enough "Those PoC don't speak for everyone!"

FUCKING GAH. Do you see the paradox here? Am I crazy? I don't think I am. You can't win no matter what you do and it's ridiculous.

"But Michael, some people are offended by it so shouldn't something be done?" Yeah, it's called stop reading the novel and/or never read anything by the author ever again. But the idea that we need to force the author to change the entire story because random people think its not acceptable is highly toxic and just insane. And they're offended. So what? Are they going to catch leprosy or something?

This whole situation seems a lot like the one in the m/m community where some people suggest that women cannot write gay men correctly, which we know is not the truth. Anyone can write anyone. As I said above, everyone on this world is unique so just because something seems out of character for that person given their culture/ethnicity/gender/etc. doesn't mean nobody of that culture/ethnicity/gender/etc. would do/say the things that person does/says. It's called having an open mind, people.

The sad thing is Keira Drake and her publisher are probably going to give into the sensationalism and edit the story before it goes live rather than stand up for her free speech and her artistic right to keep the story as she originally envisioned it I.E. the whole point of publishing something, but whatever.

I'll end with this: just because you yell, complain, and whine the loudest about something, doesn't mean you're in the right.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Past, Present, & Future

Hello there, lovely people!

It's been a decent while since I've made a blog...about four or five months? Who remembers. But I don't want to let this blog die completely so I figure I should update and let those who care about me know what I've been up to these past few months and what I'm going to be doing in the future.

So for those who don't know (and I didn't exactly broadcast it) my fiance and myself decided to leave our apartment behind and go stay with friends so we could save up money for a bigger place. Unfortunately, due to a few factors I don't wish to mention (nothing nefarious I just don't like bad talking anyone) the living arrangement didn't work out. But there was no getting our apartment we were kinda out of a home. Luckily, we were able to stay with my family but it was far from an ideal situation us having been used to being on our own for years.

This whole scenario resulted in me losing drive and general enthusiasm for most of the things I wanted to do during the late spring/summer seasons and as a result I fell behind of my personal plans.

Anyway, fast forward a few months later and we're now back into our own space which is a load of stress/anxiety off of my shoulders. And I've been able to gain back all the enthusiasm/drive I lost and channel it properly.

Before I jump into what I am doing this year I need to talk about what I'm not doing.

I've thought long and hard about this but I've decided to extend my previous hiatus from the M/M community. For those who don't remember, I made a Facebook status (link) talking about how I was taking a leave from writing for an "indefinite" amount of time and not going to any conferences for 2015...which also extended to 2016.

Even though I said I was going to be done with writing in general...I was still writing stories just not M/M specific stories. And this made me realize something that I was denying to myself for a long time which was the fact that I wasn't happy in the m/m genre.

I hope it doesn't sound like I'm being ungrateful or anything. I love all the true friends I've made and the people who have enjoyed my writing but it wasn't fun for me. Three years ago I was young and ignorant (still young, less ignorant now) and I allowed people to fill my head with illusions of grandeur.

I was force-fed the mantra that cute gay boys sell books. I was made to believe that I should go into a genre because that's where I would do the best and achieve the best success. And who doesn't want to be successful doing something they love to do? If someone says they don't want to be successful at something they love - they're a liar. Plain and simple.

So after being told this over and over I decided to "sell-out" and write M/M novels/short stories when it's never what I wanted for myself or for my work. I wanted to write meaningful stories filled with lots of adventure, mystery, and just a sense of wonder.

I never wanted to have my character's sexuality be the whole point of the story or have my character defined by their sexuality. I don't think anyone should be defined by their sexuality. People are more than who they fall in love with / who they sleep with.

I thought that the M/M community would be the perfect place for me...I mean it's a community which is built around the idea of love/acceptance of LGBT how would that not be the place for me? But, unfortunately, the love/acceptance isn't as thriving as you'd believe/like. I say this with no disrespect or malice intended to the people who have supported/loved me for the past three years but there's a dark side to the M/M community and it just seems to be getting worse, not better.

And the point where it becomes more about the drama, politics, and cliques and less about the stories, acceptance, and love is when I have to step back and say I want no part of it. That doesn't mean I'm not going to talk to my friends in the community...just that I need to do what's best for me mentally and unfortunately, the M/M community stopped being that months ago.

That being said I'm not ending my writing career. I'm going to just go to where my heart belongs and where it always has: YA / Young Adult. I need to focus on the genre I always loved and I've already met so many people from the YA community and they're so accepting and just it's refreshing.

I'm currently writing again and making such good progress. 20k words in under a week...which is more than I achieved from June 2015 to June 2016. Why? Because my passion has been invigorated. For once I feel like I'm writing for me and not for people who either don't understand me or seek to put me in a box or put my work in a box of what it should/shouldn't be.

I hope that the fans/people who enjoyed my previous books will check out the new ones when they come out because even though I'm constantly growing and learning my writing style remains the same so I hope you enjoy the new ones too.

Otherwise, I'm deeply sorry to those of you who love my M/M work and are waiting for Red Rose's completion. I'm just not in the proper head-space to give Alex the respect he deserves. I've honestly tried to write White Rose many times and it doesn't have the spark it's supposed to, the spark I felt the first novel have.

I know some people would be okay with just pushing out the novel / half-assing it but I'm not that person and I respect my readers way too much to just throw out something that isn't my 100% best. It's just how I am. Hopefully one day I'll be able to revisit Alex and his world.

Besides the writing I have two other things I'm working on. I've been working on a Fantasy TCG (Trading Card Game) since 2012 and I'm finally ready to start taking steps in order to release it. If you're interested or want to find out more you can like the page on Facebook (TCG Page)

I'm really excited about that project as I've been working with a few artists and I love TCGs so I'm hoping it'll do well. I plan on making a Kickstarter for it in the coming months.

Lastly, I've been pursing my love of baking. I've been making a lot of stuff from scratch, working with fondant, and different designs. I dream of opening a bakery one day. For now, I just plan on doing parties and stuff like that. I'm doing a project in November/December a 60 day anime/video game cupcake project where I design cupcakes based off of anime/video game characters. A different one a day. There will be more information on that in the near future.

I want to take this time to thank those of you who stuck through until the end. I hope that this blog didn't upset anyone but I didn't want to filter myself as blogs are supposed to be cathartic and editing that would deviate from the whole purpose.

I'll end it here.

Lots of love and applesauce <3

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Grinds My Gears

Hey everyone!

I'm blogging again which is actually a surprise to me as I haven't used this in such a long time and yet twice in a week I'm using it to talk about serious topics. But hey, at least I'm blogging.

So I was recently incensed about this issue after I saw someone talking about how someone felt entitled to an author's work without pay and how they were trying to pirate and how "authors make enough money!" etc. and well all of that is horrible and not true.

But it did get me thinking about something I hate.

I'm going to turn my attention on reviewers - now hold the flaming torches and delay the lynch mob for just a second. This blog isn't directed at ALL reviewers because I have many, many friends who are reviewers and without them, we authors wouldn't gain as much traction as we do.

But there is a group of reviewers who get me all flustered (no, not the ones who give me bad reviews - I love you guys! You make me better :D) and those reviewers are the ones who I'm going to be talking about.

I'm sure most/all authors are familiar with the practice of giving a reviewer a novel, for free, in exchange for an honest review.

It's fairly common, after all, because buying a novel is like...taking a small gamble akin to playing the lottery. You could spend 0.99 to $5.99 on a book and can either hate it or really really love it to the point where the author becomes one of your new favorite authors. I.E. you waste money or hit the jackpot. So an author giving a reviewer a free novel in exchange for an honest review helps circumvent that a bit because they're not taking a chance / wasting anything on their part, they just gain a free novel they may love and it's the author who stands to gain/lose on that exchange.

Except, there are some people/reviewers who take the novel and agree to do an honest review yet...never do. And those are the ones who upset me.

I can understand if life happens/things come up, but I could always ping the author and say "yeah, I couldn't review this because so and so happened, etc."

But to simply agree to do something and then not do it (after getting something for free, mind you) just really grinds my gears.

As I said earlier - reviews are SUPER IMPORTANT to an author's success. Without reviews, a novel will probably not sell well because there's no word of mouth to help it reach people.

And there's a vast difference between "here, take this book and if you like it, review it!" vs. "here take this book in exchange for an honest review" the former, there's no obligation but the later, I feel like there is and I feel like not following through is kind of a crappy thing to do.

To all the reviewers that do your thing and review hundreds of books a month, keep your promises, and help authors everywhere soar because of your brilliant opinions - keep doing you and you guys are awesome. <3

I apologize in advance if this offends anyone but it's my honest opinion.

And with that, I bid you farewell!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Share Love

Hey friends.

This post is going to be a bit different and I'm not going to do my usual format.

I'm sure everyone knows the tragedy that happened recently in Orlando. Fifty brothers and sisters were lost and even more were hurt. It's such a terrible situation that I don't even know how to process it and I can't even begin to understand why someone would do such a horrible thing.

I've been told and I strongly feel that I've been gifted with a large capacity for empathy. As such, I find it hard to fathom how someone could just do such a thing. If it were me, I'd be thinking a thousand different thoughts like: "I wouldn't want to be hurt, so why would I hurt someone else?" or "I wouldn't want to lose a friend/brother/sister, so why would I cause someone else to lose their friend/brother/sister?" or "I'd hate to get a call that my child was killed, so why would I want to put someone else in that position?" etc. etc.

And it surprises me that these situations happen because it honestly feels like the person who did it either: (A) didn't think those things, or (B) didn't care. And I'm not sure which is worse.

The whole point of this blog post is that I've seen so many comments, posts, etc. about the tragedy and I think there's one important point that most are missing. Do not get angry. Do not hate.

I know that sounds odd, but let me finish.

Do not get angry - be upset, hurt, frustrated, etc. but do NOT get angry.

Do not hate - feel compassion, be worried, be understanding, etc. but do NOT hate.

If you let anger/hatred fill your soul you are only letting people like this win. People like this want to shake the foundation of life. They want you to become like them. They want you to stop loving, stop caring, stop feeling anything but what they feel which is anger and hatred. Do not give into that.

It's no secret that one of my favorite TV shows is Xena: Warrior Princess. At times like this I like to remember and reflect upon something Gabrielle said:

"There's only one way to end the cycle of violence and hatred, and it's through love and forgiveness."

And that's the honest truth of the matter. We can only prevent further events like this from happening when we continue to love with all of our hearts and share that love with everyone in our lives. The guy in question (I won't mention his name because I'd rather he be forgotten rather than immortalized for his horrible actions) hated himself for who/what he was. The scary thought is it could have been someone in your life. Someone in your life could have been the one to do such terrible things.

If you want to make a stand and make a change - just remember to love. I know it's hard during times like these, but please, don't forget to love and forgive.

Friday, October 9, 2015

I'm Okay - No, Really, I Am

Hey there, friends!

So it's been a while since I've posted on here, about a year, actually. It's been a long time, but know how those things go.

I promised the other day on Facebook that I would make a blog post to update you guys on what has been happening in my life and why I haven't been as present on Facebook and in the writing community as I used to be. And why I'm not attending GRL this year. I'm going to do just that. And you're getting it as uncensored as possible...I say as possible because a guy has gotta avoid lawsuits. :P

(this will be a long one so I apologize in advance)

If you guys remember, back in February I made a post talking about my indefinite leave from writing. It may have come as a shock to people since those who I've spoken to know how passionate I am about it and how my face lights up (or so I've been told) when I talk about it. It's true. I love writing. It's been a core part of me for  years - about fifteen years. So clearly something happened to warrant me dropping something that I've done for fifteen years and loved so much. I'll explain as thoroughly as possible without namedropping because that's a bitchy thing to do.

Back in November of last year I submitted a novel to a certain publisher. I submitted because I was told that one of the higher ups of the company was expecting it. I waited the full 8 or so weeks (the standard) and received no response. Now immediately this gave me pause. I've been in the business for three years and published by two other companies: Wilde City Press and Rocking Horse Publishing.

It's pretty standard that if you submit randomly, you endure the wait time, or if your material is requested/expected, you wait less. In the case of Wilde City, I two weeks? Maybe less - before my novel was read and accepted. Rocking Horse I waited a month. But much less than 8 weeks.

So this felt, in my opinion, a bit unprofessional. So I sent a nudge, got a response that they'd get right to it, and continue waiting patiently. 3 or 4 days later - I got the equivalent of a standard form rejection.

Well, of course I was devastated. I mean, again, I'm no stranger to the submission process - yeah, form rejections are standard at a certain level but usually not if someone higher up in the company is expecting it. That usually requires a more personally response. I'm not arrogant. I don't mind the novel being rejected. Lord knows I am probably the most self-depreciating author in the world. It's true, I'll fight you for that title. But I do mind how the situation was handled. And I feel like there was a severe lack of communication or something because I strongly feel like the person who was supposed to see the novel didn't.

Anyway, so I'm really broken up about it and I spoke to a really good friend of mine in the genre about it. The person who promised me that they would help make it happen for me and be there and claimed to be my #1 fan/supporter. This was all, unfortunately, not the case.

After being ignored for weeks and weeks I got (what I felt at the time and still kind of do) brushed off and my feelings weren't validated. They didn't honor any of the promises they made to me and when it came time to armor up and go into battle with me, they didn't.

Now let me explain something here. I know legally I'm an adult. But at my core, I'm very much still that young boy I've always been. The one who sees the good in everyone, has to turn the lights on in the house before heading to the bathroom in the middle night in case there are monsters or something lurking in the darkness, and who believes in heroes. Who believes in people.

And I can honestly say I believed in this person SO much. I trusted them. They were like a super hero to me. And maybe that was an unfair burden to place upon someone but I can't control how I feel about a person. And it was like my hero let me down. I did my best to always be there for them when they needed it and I feel like they weren't there for me when I needed them the most. It hurt.

This wasn't the only thing going on at the time, either. I was dealing with personal IRL problems a few of which I'll share. My fiance was getting laid off of work and I needed to get a job in a restaurant to help out, we were struggling with an infestation of termites in our house and a crappy landlord who wouldn't fix the heat or air conditioning so we were a bitch to the elements, and other things I don't care to mention.

So what do you do when it feels like your life is falling apart and you feel as though one of the people you thought you could always count on isn't there for you? Well, in my case, you pull away. I decided it was the healthiest option to distance myself from writing/the community and spent some time just doing other things I loved.

I actually managed to release a book even though I was taking a hiatus (Sequestered Hearts buy it now on Amazon! :P) and have been working hard to balance myself and kill the anxiety/depression inside of me. It's been working for a while.

As for why I'm not going to GRL this year: I can't justify spending the money. It's so far away and even though I want to see some people who'll be there, it's just not in the cards. Plus I'm too disappointed in myself to go. I should have already released White Rose and had Black Rose on the way out. Instead I've let a lot of you down and for that I'm deeply sorry. I miss Alex. I want to continue his story. And I will.

I'm working out my schedule for next year. I definitely plan to write more. I can't escape it. I'm working on two novels right now that I know you guys will love because they're both dear to my heart. One about a gay young man raising his younger brother who has autism and another story about a gay vampire hunter. One serious, one dark humor-esque. I'm actually enjoying writing them. I plan on getting to White Rose some point. I'm thinking before GRL 2016. That'll be nice.

So here's where I'll end the blog post. I want to personally thank Taryn, Wade, and Lisa for being there for me whenever I need them. If it wasn't for you three, I don't know what I would have done. Thank you guys so much.

Honorable mentions go to Rebecca, Juli, Jackie, Nicole, Jeff, and Zallora. You guys are also super supportive. I appreciate the love.

Sorry for the rambling/ranting.


Friday, November 7, 2014

GRL 2014 (Part 2) The Sequel

Hello everyone!

It's been a while since I've posted - which is bad because I know I promised to do the follow up to my first GRL post within the week...but stuff happens! I'm sure you know how that is.

To give you a short rundown of why I wasn't able to post the last half when I said I was: I finished three short stories, finished a novel, and started NaNoWriMo. Yeah, it was a lot. But I'm here now and as any pregnant mother will tell you: better late than never.

In the last entry (x) I ended my GRL breakdown on Thursday. So here's the rest of the week. I hope you enjoy!


I woke up with a slight hangover. I had way too much to drink Thursday night and somewhere between the free alcohol and the exotic dancers I was just way too out of it. I sent a text to J.P. and asked her if I did anything ABB (author behaving badly) worthy. She told me I was cute, but not obnoxious. I'll accept that. :P

I showered and got dressed - I wore a Batman shirt and I made my poor fiance wear a Robin shirt (complete with cape) but it was nice because people thought they were adorable. I didn't have time to make any readings because I had to immediately go downstairs and make my way to the Wilde City table because I was scheduled to do table watching with Sara York. It was a good opportunity to sit and talk with the readers. I had fun.

Afterwards I met back with the gang and we helped J.P. mentally prepare for her BDSM panel. At some point I had to run back to the Wilde City Press table to get her things (she brought naughty things to show) and uh, at some point I misplaced her riding crop. I didn't want her to get mad at me so this resulted in me going around asking people if they've seen my riding crop. Yeah... even more awkward was having to go BACK to the Wilde City Press table and ask TJ Klune, SA Mcaulay, Dolorianne Morris, and Daniel Kaine if they've seen a riding crop somewhere around. Daniel did, and handed it to me and they laughed. I don't think I could have possibly blushed harder.

So I ran back to the BDSM panel, handed J.P. her crop (in front of a room full of people) and sat down. The day was saved! Yay. It was a lovely panel.
Later, after eating lunch, I managed to listen to Shira Anthony sing some beautiful opera songs. I had to walk away after a certain point because I was shaking and crying - her voice is seriously that amazing. At some point after, my lovely assistant, William, managed to set me up with Lori - who's son does cover modeling! Connections to a model, for an author, is like cocaine. You have no idea.

Later, after cleaning up and taking things to the room, I had to message a few people and figure out dinner plans. It ended up being: William, J.P., Brandilyn Carpenter, Taryn Plendl, Wade Kelly, Jodi, and Anthony & Me.

I forget what our original plans were. I think we were going to a Chilis or something? I don't know. We wound up at BWW (Buffalo Wild Wings) and had the most amazing time. J.P. polished off two margaritas and was really, really giggly. =P

We took two cars, which was good, because I remembered last minute that I needed to stop at K-Mart and get the rest of my outfit for Dreamspinner Casino Night (as I didn't get  a chance to before I left NJ) so Wade, William, Anthony & I went to K-Mart. And I managed to buy my outfit and get ready for Casino Night just in time.

I took some pictures, played on some of the tables (Blackjack and Roulette mostly) but gambling isn't really my thing. So I met William and Anthony at the swimming pool and did some late night swimming and hot tubbing. A good way to end the night for sure. =)


I woke up and after a nice hot shower, I noticed I had a slight sore throat (probably from talking so much and yelling at events) but I ignored it - there was no way in hell I was going to take a sick day at GRL.

I went downstairs to Riptide's Breakfast thing and grabbed myself some grub - I was practically ravenous. After eating, I went over to the Waterfall Side Lounge for J.P.'s reading and listened to her read a passage from one of her novels. I had to leave midway through the next person's reading because of anxiety - it was too many people and I couldn't sit for so long. Reason #2005 why anxiety sucks and isn't fun.

After I calmed down, Anthony and I went over to see ZAM, and K.A. Mitchell do a panel. It was really enjoyable even though I was so exhausted and tired. We then left and went to see how J.P. was doing after her reading. She was fine, she also happened to be chatting to Brandon, who was nervous about his own reading. I don't know how it went personally because we left to not add to the pressure (but I heard good things!)

We all went out to Portillos again and I got my usual - chicken sandwich and cheese fries, yum yum - and then it was back to the venue to help William, help J.P. to set up for the Featured Author signing event. After helping them set up, I ran to the room to change into my Corrupted by J.P. Barnaby T-shirt (I have to support my mentor, after all! :D) and then came back down.

The event was incredible! First thing was that J.P. had a long line! It was crazy. And then I also had people coming up to me and asking me to sign their copies of my novel, too. I was totally floored. In addition, I found out that all copies of my novel were sold out! 100% sold out and I wasn't even registered as an author! It was crazy and such a wonderful feeling. I owe it all to the individuals who loved my novel or the ones who wanted to take a chance on a new author. Simply incredible.

I also made my way over to browse a few of the authors - I bought a couple of novels, including another one from Daniel, because let's face it, he's a good writer. And I kind of enjoyed torturing him by asking him to sign stuff because he gets twitchy. :P

After the event - I had to organize dinner plans again. And because it was the LAST day, I had to make it a big one. I didn't get to have everyone I wanted there, but I tried my best and got a decent number of people. Our dinner party included - Lisa H, Rhys  Ford, Dani (from Love Bytes Reviews), J.P., William, Jodi, Taryn, Wade, Anthony, Myself, and GAH am I forgetting somebody? If I am, I apologize! (I'm writing this blog on little sleep) Anyway, we went to Dennys and had a wonderful time. The kids table especially had a good time. :P

After dinner, we went back to the venue to get ready for the final big event - The Totally Bound Totally Time Travel Party! Our dinner plans ran a bit late and I had limited time to get dressed. My costume wasn't working. I was aiming to be Marshall Lee (from Adventure Time) and my boyfriend was Finn. It didn't work, so I ended up just telling people I was a lesbian. K.A. Mitchell said I wasn't butch enough! :P

I also may have gotten very drunk that night. See, I had tons of drink tickets and I also had two full bottles of white wine...which is my no/no drink. And uh, well, yeah. It was all a blur of people and random things. I know I spoke to Daniel Kaine at some point who was also very drunk himself - wine, too, it's a real killer man. And I know I kept drinking well past what I should have. And Anthony had his hands full dealing with my antics.
I'm not going to get into the rest of the night...but I think my status (from that night) about sums it up:

So yeah, it was my favorite day overall.


I woke up and was feeling really crappy. Not only was I now officially sick (sore throat, runny nose, aka con crud) but I was also hung over. YAY! Not. I had to literally force myself out of bed to shower and get ready for the final day.

I let my boyfriend sleep in a bit and went down and had a long discussion with J.P. and Jodi about life and everything else.

I made it to the final day breakfast and Anthony was already there waiting for me. I drank an excessive amount of orange juice and we planned out what we were going to do next.

I then spent the next couple of hours taking photo-booth pictures with my friends/the people I care about and it was a wonderful way to close the official events.

The rest of Sunday I spent hanging out with three of my good friends (Juli, Rebecca, William) and saying goodbye to everyone.


And that about ends my GRL breakdown. I hope you enjoyed it. As last year, I had an amazing time - hell, an even better time this year, and I can't wait until October rolls around so I can do it again and see all the people who make me feel loved and cared about. <3

As always, lots of love and applesauce <3

Pictures from the second half:


Friday, October 24, 2014

GRL 2014 (Part 1)

Hello everyone!

So of course it's time for the official GRL master post! I've been longing to make this post for at least a few days now but I was unable to because of the infamous con-crud. I'm not sure where or when I picked it up and from whom - but it had to have something to do with all the people I kissed (on the cheek!) or maybe just all the hugging. I don't know and to be honest, I really don't care. I had tons of fun.

So that being said, I'm going to break down each day from the moment I got there until the time when the conference was over. And this time I have pictures! Yay, pictures!

I hope you enjoy!


So there really isn't anything noteworthy about most of Tuesday as most of it was spent in a car driving from New Jersey to Chicago. Yeah, it sounded good on paper and I know for a fact we saved a great deal of money on travel (driving only cost about 120 dollars because our car is amazing on mileage - where plane tickets were around 180 each round-trip or whatever) but it was exhausting.

We left 10:30 AM and arrived at the beautiful hotel around 9:00 PM, Central. So almost twelve hours in a car. Not fun. But it was nice once we got to leave the car and unwind.

I met the wonderful and talented J.P. Barnaby in the lobby who proceeded to pull me into the hugest hug possible. You have no idea the magnitude of this hug - it was the hug to end all hugs. For those who don't know, she's a very good friend of mine. We usually talk for 2-3 hours straight once or twice a week and it was nice to finally see her in person after a year.

I also got a chance to be officially introduced to William Cooper, my lent-assistant, whom I met last year but we really didn't talk much. He's a lovely guy and very, very sweet. I'll just insert this here - I couldn't ask for a better assistant. EVER.

After we had our hello, I was instructed they were going to go play a game called Cards Against Humanity...which, just by the name, I should have knew what I was in for. The rest of the night was a blur...but I do remember snapping turtles biting off the tip and pacman uncontrollably guzzling cum - so I'm going to assume it was a good night.

We also managed to have Chicago pizza for the first time and it was delicious.


So of course Wednesday began with me texting J.P. and asking her what she was doing that morning because we've talked so much and seen so little of each other so I'll be damned if were weren't going to spend as much time together as possible - which she agreed.

So we got breakfast together and when I went downstairs to her room with the fiance I was introduced to the lovely Jodi. Now, apparently we met the year before but I seriously did not remember - it doesn't say anything negative about her, but rather about how many people you meet in a single weekend at GRL. This time I like to say we were officially introduced because got to spend a great deal of time together and actually had a conversation for more than a few minutes. She's one of the sweetest, most genuine people you could ever want to meet.

So being a glutton at heart, I wanted to sample the breakfast buffet, my fiance did too. I didn't see an issue because we've stayed at hotels with breakfast buffets before and they were stellar...yeah, wasn't the case this time. The waffles tasted like depression and the bagels were so hard I thought the secret ingredient was Viagra. But in all honesty it was the only negative experience so it's forgivable. :P

Anyway, after breakfast we had a lot to do. We went back up in the room and proceeded to assemble about 250 bags of stuff. You see, J.P. being the generous, kind-hearted individual she is, allowed authors who couldn't attend as authors or couldn't make it to put their swag inside of her bags. This was lovely...but we were flooded! I think we had stuff from over 50 different authors and it was basically just myself, William, and two others assembling everything together. It was chaotic - but fun. I also had help from two lovely ladies (who are good friends) Juli and Rebecca - I met them last year on the last we didn't get to hang out as much as we should have. But this year I like to think I remedied that.

Afterwards I tagged along with J.P. to pick up Ms. Shae Connor and Jared Rackler from the airport. Now I had met Shae previously twice - wonderful person and has such an amazing smile - but this was my first time actually meeting Jared officially. He was at GRL last year but I don't think I found the inner strength to approach him as I was much too shy back then and he well, doesn't appear to be. Let me say he's also very sweet and funny. We all had quite the car ride back. I won't get too personal but our topics ranged from writing to threesomes to slippery dildos. Yeah...if you weren't there, you certainly missed out.

That night we proceeded to play Cards Against Humanity, again. It was Myself, Anthony, J.P., William, Jodi, Jared, Daniel Kaine (adorkable and gives amazing hugs!), Brandon Witt (cute, funny, and has a nice laugh), Amy DiMartino (beautiful, funny, and reminds me of home!), and I'm sure a few others. Let's just say it was chaotic. Notable mentions? Daniel giving AIDs to naughty children and the discovery that pacman seriously needs to seek help for his cum-guzzling problem.


This was the first "official" day of the conference. 

I didn't go to the newbie meet n' greet this year. I wasn't a newbie, so I didn't see the point. I was much too busy sleeping - I was exhausted, okay?!

I shot a text to J.P. and of course, our gang went to breakfast again. Only this time we didn't have the buffet, we just ordered off the menu. Huge improvement. My pancakes were beautiful and fluffy and I just wanted to wrap them around my naked body while dancing to I touch myself by divinyls. Yeah, they were seriously that good.

After breakfast it was time to head down to the Supporting Author Signing. I helped them carry stuff down and basically went to support William (his first time being a supporting author) as well as Wade Kelly (another close friend) and Jeff Adams (sweetest guy ever). During my venture in the Supporting Author room, I managed to finally meet Taryn Plendl - a lovely woman who's quickly become one of my closest friends. I enjoyed chatting with her and her lovely daughter made my fiance and I two My Little Pony bracelets. He got Rarity, I got Twilight Sparkle. OMG! They were beautiful. I don't think I took it off once the entire weekend.

I have to mention that I was shocked that people were actually buying my books! I must have had like twenty people come up and ask me to sign their things. It was a bit overwhelming and I couldn't even begin to handle it. I was blushing like crazy and came dangerously close to crying a few times. But I was bolstered by William, J.P., Anthony, Rebecca, Taryn, and Juli-Anna. So I didn't do that.

Speaking of people buying my novel - three fellow authors whom I just so happened to look up to, also purchased copies! T.J. Klune, Daniel Kaine, and K.A. Mitchell! Holy cow! I'll have to address them separately.

T.J. - I was surprised when I saw that he'd be attending this year but I was really happy. As soon as I possibly could, I said hello and hugged him. I spent some time with him and Eric Arvin last year and they really were amazing. We chatted a bit and I mentioned I had a novel out - I don't want to fully recap what I said because I don't feel like crying right now - but I mentioned how they were part of the reason why I worked up the courage to actually try to make my way into the M/M genre and he asked me to show him the novel. I did, and he bought a copy. I don't know if he actually intended for me to have an out of body experience or not...but I came dangerously close.

Daniel - I met him last year. He was far too quiet so I thought he hated me. This year I decided to try and see if I'd get the death glare or not. He came up to me and mentioned he purchased it and after two chapters thought it was really good. And let me say it sounded really pretty coming from him. :P
Anyway, I melted and yeah, I signed it - actually messed up my name! >.>

K.A. - sweet woman, one of my first friends in the genre. I love her to death. I was so touched that such a brilliant author actually took the time to buy my novel and when she asked me to sign it I actually teared up. >.<;;

Afterwards I went out to lunch with J.P., Anthony, William, and Jodi - we went back to Portillos which is a delicious place near the hotel. Think cheese fries to end all cheese fries. They were that good.

The rest of the afternoon was a blur - I know I went to the authors lounge and stuck pretty close to J.P. and co. - we were officially her minions for the week. Which was a fun job! And I managed to raid the swag room and was given a hug by Rhys Ford (a close friend) and finally bumped into Lisa of The Novel Approach who is another close friend - and got a huge hug from.

Thursday night was the Juke Joint! Let me start off by saying that I was kind of drunk. See, somebody thought it would be a good idea to leave a bunch of booze out on a table in the hotel with a sign saying: "Free to a good GRL home" and well, I took that as a personal invitation. I downed a whole bottle of rum and milk. I had fun. I did some things I didn't think I would. I actually tipped an exotic dancer. A pretty cute one. And I kissed him, too! Holy cow. Again. I danced on a dance floor to S&M...with a woman and a man. It was crazy.


This post is getting kind of long so I'm going to cut it off here. I'll post the last three days before the week is over. But yeah. The first half of GRL was AMAZING. Second half was better.

As always, lots of love (and applesauce) <3

Pictures from the first half:

(Me, Anthony, Daniel Kaine!)

(Me and Dancer Derrick)

(Brandon Witt feeding me chocolate cake!)

(Me with TJ Klune!)