State Of The Trout: Holy Shit, It’s December edition

Hey there everybody! I don’t have a lot of news to report, but I did want to let you know that my depressive episode I reported on before is thankfully over with. Thanks for all the messages of concern and support you guys gave me, I really appreciate that.

In other news:

  • There’s a new chapter of my free historical horror serial, The Afflicted available on Wattpad right now.
  • So, have you heard of people decorating their planners and stuff? I couldn’t get my head around why someone would want to do that, so I looked into it and, like many of my hobbies, that led to me actually doing it. People spend tons of money on stickers and washi tape and all these special doodads, but I’m cheap at heart, so I started making my own. On the off chance they could be useful to you, here’s a printable file. These are sized for the Erin Condren planner, and match the 2016 January color scheme. There are header stickers for work, home, and self, as well as a checklist for a.m. and p.m. meds, and some full-box ombre checklists. I print mine on matte paper so I can write on them. Feel free to share them if you like them and know someone who does this kind of stuff.
  • At 3 p.m. EST today (in about an hour and a half of this posting, yay for my promptness) I’ll be hanging out at the Facebook release party for A.L. Davroe’s Nexis, out today from Entangled Teen. Check out this book:


In the domed city of Evanescence, appearance is everything. A Natural Born among genetically altered Aristocrats, all Ella ever wanted was to be like everyone else. Augmented, sparkling, and perfect. Then…the crash. Devastated by her father’s death and struggling with her new physical limitations, Ella is terrified to learn she is not just alone, but little more than a prisoner.

Her only escape is to lose herself in Nexis, the hugely popular virtual reality game her father created. In Nexis she meets Guster, a senior player who guides Ella through the strange and compelling new world she now inhabits. He offers Ella guidance, friendship…and something more. Something that allows her to forget about the “real” world and makes her feel whole again. But when their separate worlds collide, Ella will have to choose between love and survival. Because Nexis isn’t quite the game everyone thinks it is.

And it’s been waiting for Ella.

Nexis is available at online retailers now.

That’s all I’ve got this time around. Look for a Grey recap this week, and possibly a much happier video from me to wash the taste of the depression one out of your brain.

I’m Going To Revolutionize The White Male Author’s Novel.

Well, here I am. I’ve read books by white male authors before. Loads of them. I’ve read like…five. Or six. Yeah, I haven’t read every single book written by a white dude, but I’ve read the back cover copy on a few novels, and I went to a movie adapted from a Nicholas Sparks book, so I think I have a pretty good handle on the kinds of stories white male authors are putting out there.

I can do better.

I mean, think about it. White male authors haven’t given us anything new or fresh in a while. We need a braver, bigger voice, from someone who isn’t afraid to blaze new trails and really challenge the way we think about white male literature.

When was the last time you read a book by a white male author that had a real, kick-ass female character? And when I say kick-ass, I don’t mean well-rounded and capable of taking care of herself. I’m talking a female character who’s physically perfect and super strong, but carrying around some irreparable emotional damage. Maybe there’s a guy in her life who’s not as tough as she is, but she’ll need him. He’s the only one who’ll be able to heal her heart, and make her a whole woman again. You can bet you’ll see that fresh take in my novel. I’m not afraid to make that leap.

Of course, I might go a different way. I might center the story around a twenty-something guy having a quarter-life crisis. Can you imagine that? He doesn’t know where he’s going, and he has a lot of choices he has to make. Who’s going to help him? Um, why not that wacky girl who works at the record store and colors her hair with Sharpies? She wears a-line dresses and has bangs that fall into her eyes. She’ll change my protagonist’s life by showing him how to let go of his anxieties, let go of his therapist and probably the sexy older professor he’s banging back at college. By the time the story ends, he’ll be hanging upside down on monkey bars to subtly illustrate for the reader that he’s finally found a new perspective.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: why should anyone listen to me? I’ve never written a white male author’s book before. But I put some real consideration into this decision. Unless my beta-reader’s aunt–the high-profile literary agent–happens to see my book and finds something marketable about it, I’m going to self-publish this revolutionary work. It’s going to be far too controversial and outside-the-box for a traditional publishing house or their audience. People aren’t going to get this book. It’s just too edgy. But people didn’t “get” Moby-Dick when it first came out, either (speaking of which, Moby-Dick? I don’t want to be passive aggressive here, but my book is going to blow that P.O.S. out of the water).

I guess the thing we really have to remember here is that, despite having an overall uninformed opinion of the white male style of writing, I’m pretty sure I can barge right in and do it better than all the chumps who aren’t six degrees separated from a six-figure contract by stroke of pure networking luck. After all, if traditional publishing, that institution that strives to present only the most original and artistic takes, finds my novel marketable, that’s truly a sign that I’ve broken the mold. Even if I clearly demonstrate that I’m not sure what the mold is shaped like, or used for. Jell-o, maybe? Ice cubes?

Meh, I can do it better, anyway.

That’s how you sound, Scott Bergstrom. 

Jealous Hater Book Club: Apolonia Chapter 15

Recently, a friend asked me if I had stopped doing these recaps. And I was like, yeah, I had to, because they were putting my dog to sleep. But I was just kidding. I’m hilarious like that.

Anyway, no I haven’t stopped, and I’m not going to stop, because I’m over halfway done with this, and there’s no sense in putting myself through the first 66% of the book and not finishing. It would be like letting a Civil War surgeon on a dirty battlefield half amputate my leg and then just leave the job unfinished.

A word of caution here: due to recent injury, I’m using dictation software to write this recap. So some stuff will probably look weird, and I will likely not catch it when I edit. It’s just my luck.

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RWA/RRW Issues Life-Long Ban Against Plagiarist Laura Harner

Romance Writers of America, the largest professional organization of romance authors in the U.S., has taken disciplinary action against Laura Harner for plagiarism of author Becky McGraw:

The RWA Ethics Committee reviewed the complaint of plagiarism brought by Becky McGraw against Laura Harner. After examining and assessing all corresponding documents, Laura Harner received lifetime expulsion from membership in Romance Writers of America due to plagiarism, which includes a permanent ban from participating in or attending any RWA-sponsored events or activities including conferences, workshops, classes, and any chapter activities. Ms. Harner was notified on November 16, 2015.

Rainbow Romance Writers, a special interest chapter of RWA, of which McGraw was a member, has also issued a statement:

RRW would like to extend our deepest condolences to Becky McGraw and Opal Carew for the blatant theft perpetrated against you. No author should be betrayed by one of their own and we hope you will find justice. Please don’t allow this duplicity to discourage you from writing. The romance community and your fans have your back!

You can read the RRW statement in full here, as well as a section dedicated to answering questions regarding copyright and plagiarism.

For more on Laura Harner’s plagiarism, see here and here.

VIDEO: What I’m Like When I’m Depressed.

I’ve been having a rough time lately, and it occurred to me that if I made a video about it, I could give you guys a clearer picture of how depression, anxiety, and OCD all kind of wind together to make me like this. It’s a long-ish video, and it’s very whiney. I didn’t make it because I’m desperate for everyone to come out and be like, “Oh, you’re so WONDERFUL! Please don’t think bad things about yourself because YOU’RE SO MAGICAL!” or any bullshit like that. I just wanted to share this with you guys, and maybe some of you do the same stuff when you’re having a really hard time.


#LegionXIII Rome watch along S01E03: “An Owl In A Thornbush” or “Cannonball Pompey Run”

A picture of a big roman number XIII, in front of an ominous sky, in the middle of a road through a field. In the crotch of the X, I, dressed as a centurion, naturally, am slumped over, sleeping. Bronwyn Green, dressed in a stola, is looking nervously at a harp, and Jess is depicted as the woman with a bloody knife from the DVD cover of season 2.

Quick rundown of the episode: Caesar is back in Italy with a single legion. Guess which legion? Hurrah! Except this makes him a traitor, so the people who are loyal to him in the city are kind of SOL now. But as Antony points out, it’s really only treason if they lose. He sends Vorenus and Pullo and some other soldiers off with a message for Rome, a message they’re supposed to deliver to the Senate doors.

We get to meet the father of Niobe’s baby, who she totally doesn’t love, you guys. Except for the passionate kissing and stuff. And Vorena the Elder is like, we are all covering for you, you either need to come clean to dad or stop fooling around with this guy.

With Caesar thirty miles from Rome, Pompey is sort of like, “You know, let’s just leave. Fly south for the winter. Then we’ll get the band back together and come back.” And everyone in his crew does what he says, even though they all know he’s running away like a coward. He’s also going to take as much money as he can from the treasury, and he sends some dudes to get it, all sneaky like. But the guys in charge have a knife-related disagreement over whether or not they should take it to Pompey, and instead some of the soldiers run off with it.

Supporters of Pompey surround Atia’s house, where Servillia and Brutus are trapped with them. The mob is about to break down the door, and everyone is making plans for who will kill who before they can be taken alive, when suddenly everything just stops. The news guy is in the square talking about how anyone who doesn’t leave the city with Pompey is a traitor.

Brutus is stressed about whether or not they should stay in the city, and he tries to convince his mother to leave. But Servillia is gonna stand by her man. Octavia is gonna stand by her man, too, but since she’s Octavia and this show treats her the way it does, her mom sends Timon (her security dude) to kill Glabius.

Now that the city is all but Caesar’s, Atia finds herself in exactly the right position to be killing people who get in her way. Because she’s a straight-up mafia don. People are coming to her for “protection”, which she gives them for a fee after she makes them grovel appropriately.

Without the money from the treasury, Pompey and all the rich people trudging along behind him are up shit creek without a paddle. Bad news for them, Vorenus and Pullo and the cavalry find the thieves first. Pullo wants to rescue the slave girl the thieves are dragging behind the cart, but Vorenus is like, nah.

Atia should be pretty much in the clear with the whole “murder my ex-son-in-law” thing, until someone brings his dead body to the house. Which of course devastates Octavia. And then she totally blows her cover with Octavia by letting her guilty conscience show. Luckily, Atia easily recovers from her bouts of conscience when they attack, and she swears on all sorts of very Roman things to swear by that she didn’t do it.

Caesar’s declaration to Rome is basically, “Look, we all have bad days. If you were rebelling against me before, just don’t do it violently anymore. You can still hate me, that’s cool, but you’re not my enemy and you get to keep all your stuff.” Which is about 100% more user friendly than Pompey’s “Do it, or consequences” that’s going to end in crucifixion or some other horrible Roman thing.

Vorenus decides that he’s a traitor to Rome, so he’s going to desert the legion and go home and fix his marriage. He apologizes to Niobe for how he’s been treating her, and she tries to tell him about the whole “Hey, your grandson is actually my son with this other dude I’m still seeing,” but he shushes her up and tells her that the past is in the past.

As Caesar marches into Rome, Pullo goes back to find the girl being dragged behind the now untended ox cart. He finds her, and she’s barely alive. He also finds all the gold, and does what any man who finds an ox cart of gold would do: he jumps on that fucker and drives the oxen straight out of dodge, while Caesar’s weird sounding horns trumpet his return.

 My favorite part of the episode: It’s actually one of my favorite scenes of the series overall: Octavia and Atia arguing over whether or not Atia should get to slit Octavia’s throat in the event of impending rape/murder by the angry mob.

My least favorite part of the episode: It is so unfair that Glabius had to die, but nobody gets to be happy on this show. Even when they win, they’re not happy. Still, this put’s Octavia’s average at one shitty thing happening to her per episode.

Favorite costume: 

Pompey's wife, in a really pretty blue/gray veil thing with intricate metallic thread embroidery of flowers along the edges, and a stola made of some nave blue ridged material.

Team Atia or Team Servillia: Setting aside my feelings for her for the rest of the show, Servillia wins this round, for handling the equivalent of a nasty Facebook politics fight with her son with grace, while also sticking to her guns.

Favorite watch-a-long tweet:

What hairdo or costume would Bronwyn steal? I bet we had the same fave this episode. I’m going to ask her to help me make it (sans intricate embroidery, because I have no patience for that kind of thing).

Guess Jess’s head canon. “I have no need for your coital expertise.” –Vorenus, to Pullo. “Yes you do.” Jess, to the TV.

Now go check out Bronwyn’s and Jess’s posts, and join us two Monday’s from now (we’re taking the week off for American Thanksgiving) at 9 PM EST for season one, episode four, “Stealing From Saturn”. Tweet to #LegionXIII to join us!


The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch S02E22: “Becoming part 2″

In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone messed up her finger and has to use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to do this recap, so expect some typos. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
  2. Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
  3. Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
  4. Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
  5. Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
  6. The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
  7. All the monsters look like wieners.
  8. If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
  9. Angel is a dick.
  10. Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
  11. Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
  12. Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
  13. Science and technology are not to be trusted.
  14. Mental illness is stigmatized.
  15. Only Willow can use a computer.
  16. Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
  17. Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
  18. Oz is the Anti-Xander
  19. Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
  20. Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
  21. The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.
  22. Smoking is evil.
  23. Despite praise for its positive portrayal of non-straight sexualities, some of this shit is homophobic as fuck.
  24. How do these kids know all these outdated references, anyway?
  25. Technology is used inconsistently as per its convenience in the script.
  26. Sunnydale residents are no longer shocked by supernatural attacks.
  27. Casual rape dismissal/victim blaming a-go-go
  28. Snyder believes Buffy is a demon or other evil entity.
  29. The Scoobies kind of help turn Jonathan into a bad guy.
  30. This show caters to the straight female gaze like whoa.
  31. Sunnydale General is the worst hospital in the world.

Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments.  Even though I might forget that you mentioned it. WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it. 

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