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The Business Centaur’s Virgin Temp, Chapter Five

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Need to catch up?

The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch: S0407 “The Initiative”

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In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone realizes that she hasn’t written a Buffy recap for over a year but damn, what’s she gonna do, 2019 was a hell of a year. 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 How do these kids know all these outdated references, anyway?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/bi female gaze like whoa.
  31. Sunnydale General is the worst hospital in the world.
  32. Faith is hyper-sexualized needlessly.
  33. Slut shame!
  34. The Watchers have no fucking clue what they’re doing.
  35. Vampire bites, even very brief ones, are 99.8% fatal.
  36. Economic inequality is humorized and oversimplified.
  37. Buffy is an abusive romantic partner.
  38. Riley is the worst.
  39. Joss Whedon has a problem with fat people.
  40. Spike is an abusive romantic partner.
  41. Why are all these men so terrible?
  42. Wicca doesn’t work like that.
  43. Alcohol is evil.
  44. Head trauma doesn’t work like that.

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 into consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.

And a very merry Half-Price Chocolates Eve to you, dear reader!

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Guess what today is?

IT’S ANNOUNCE ANOTHER BACKLIST RE-RELEASE DAY.

Next up is Double Header, the sequel to Long Relief. Though I no longer write M/M for various reasons, including staying in my own lane, I really liked writing this one way back in 2012 and I’m happy to be able to offer it now as an Amazon exclusive and a free read with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Double Header is available for pre-order right now and it will release on February 18!

A sexy, shirtless muscular guy holding a bat. The title "Double Header" appears over his chest and "Abigail Barnette" is printed on the bottom.

When Javier Vargas was traded to the Grand Rapids Bengals, he didn’t just leave his team behind; he turned his back on the love of his life. Now, shortstop Zach Martin is playing for the Bengals, as well, and Javier can’t believe he ever walked away from the scorching heat between them.

Being a Bengal brings its own complications for Zach, who’s tired of never setting down roots. Playing beside Javier, Zach is constantly reminded of their passionate nights—and the pain of his loss.

Javier screwed up one chance with Zach, and he’s not about to let a second one pass him by. With scandals swirling all around the team, Javier has to decide whether to risk the life he’s built for himself or lose the only man he’s ever loved, again.

 

Amazon and Kindle Unlimited

Jealous Haters Book Club: Beautiful Disaster chapter 5 “Parker Hayes” or “Obvious Foil”

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First of all, I was so certain that I had written like eight of these recaps. Then, I went back and read through them to refresh my memory and I realized there were only four. But they’re long, like books on their own, because these chapters are fucking endless. Expect to see shorter chunks going forward every now and then, so I can actually deliver recaps to you.

Since we last met, something interesting happened on Ms. McGuire’s Facebook page back in the day before my mental breakdown. About seventy of you sent me screenshots but unfortunately, I couldn’t get them posted here or make snarky comments about them until after January 1, 2020, in what was already supposed to be The Year of Minding My Own Business.

I guess if someone is mentioned in something, though, it is their business. And I’m a total bitch and am more than willing to keep this boring-ass “literary feud” going because I genuinely dislike this MAGA garbage woman.

A facebook post by McGuire that reads: "Gracie... seriously... you need an intervention. I'm here to help. I haven't had someone follow me around the internet to be my personal social media police since Jenny Trout seemed herself the author patrol. You have enough time for this? That's... kinda sad." She follows it up with a gif of Regina George from Mean Girls saying, "Why are you so obsessed with me?"

I was like,  “Awww, thanks for constantly thinking of me, Jamie!” because our only direct altercation online ever was about her celebrating the fact that one of my publishers wasn’t paying authors and was suing blogger-turned-catfisher Jen Frederick for reporting it on her blog. That entire mess was a thousand years ago (and we mutually blocked each other on all social media that night) and since McGuire is an anti-vax hardcore conservative who’s firmly pro-Kavanaugh, I haven’t really felt the need to keep tabs on her. But somehow, she needed to name-check me in a conflict with another author that arose when McGuire chose to fat shame a child.

No, seriously. This whole thing stemmed from an incident where she questioned whether or not a fat teenaged dancer was really practicing as much as she claimed in an inspirational video because McGuire was certain that no once who danced as much as the girl in the video could possibly be fat. I was not involved in any of it, in any way. I hadn’t even heard of the associated drama. If I’m Quebec, she’s Rio de Janeiro, that’s how far apart we are where social media is concerned.  But wow, she sure jumped to my name. Maybe “fat” is just a concept she associates with me in her mind.

My only thought here was that McGuire hoped she could bait me into joining her fat-shaming drama, but the author who went full Wolverine on her ass did a fine enough job. So, all McGuire achieved was yet another self-delivered blow to her public image.

But in her defense, I’ve heard that clown college is actually quite stressful.

On to the recap!

“We all have a lawyer friend!”

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This is going to be quick and dirty, everyone. It started out as a Twitter thread that got too long. But I think it’s important.

I need to address something that is going to sound like an attack on specific individuals. I promise, it’s not. Because it’s not those specific individuals I see doing this. Keep that in mind as you read this post.

With the RWA stuff going on, we keep seeing a lot of tweets that say, “Don’t people know how many LAWYERS we have in the romance genre?!” They’re right. There are a lot of lawyers in romance.

But there are more people with working-class jobs.

While it’s awesome that we have people well-versed in the law who are willing to throw their knowledge into the ring as a tool to help the genre, it’s starting to feel a little bit like, “See, we’re valid because we have smart lawyer-type people!” Yes, the genre has been dismissed as, “Oh, those are written by bored housewives.” But just because that’s used as a dismissal by other people doesn’t mean we should throw those bored housewives under the bus in order to convince people that the genre is valid. Because here’s the thing: those people you’re screaming “LAWYERS! LAWYERS! LAWYERS!” at? They’re not listening anyway. They’re never going to change their opinions.

And the people I don’t see tossing around, “LAWYERS! LAWYERS! LAWYERS!” seem to be…the lawyers. It’s almost like they view their profession as a normal human job and not a paid superhero position and don’t see their involvement in the genre as the sole reason it’s a force to be reckoned with.

It’s starting to really sound like, “Romance isn’t THOSE people. It’s SMART people.” As if bored housewives, people who don’t go to college, disabled people who turn to writing when they’ve been denied access to or accommodation for secondary education, etc. can’t be as creative and intelligent as everyone else. As if the only way our work deserves respect and acknowledgment is if we can disavow the reality that there are far, far more people who come home from working at a supermarket or a daycare to squeeze a few hours of writing in between dinner and bedtime. If we removed their contributions to the genre, the shelves would be bare. There is room to celebrate and be proud of the genre without ignoring the diverse backgrounds and circumstances that led each of us to become romance authors.

And it’s a hell of a lot more intimidating if we frame ourselves as sleeper agents that have infiltrated the courts, factories, farms, schools, and families.

State of the Trout: New Year, Not-New Book! And other business-type things you know I don’t like to talk about.

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Hey everybody! It’s the very first day of 2020, and most of us are looking into the next decade with a “clean slate” mindset with regards to our resolutions for the roaring twenties. Today was the day I had planned to get back to running but it turns out I’ve just left my running clothes hanging up in the bathroom since the last time I used them way back in September. They needed a wash back then, too, let me tell you. Since Facebook tells me it’s bad luck to do laundry on New Year’s Day and OCD tells me that’s probably true and I’m putting my whole family at risk if I dare to clean the only sports bra I have that fits me, I guess I’ll be putting the miles off until tomorrow. I’m pretty nervous, truth be told; I haven’t run since breaking my foot. I’m a little afraid that I’ll start out and like four steps in the whole thing will break again.

But that’s not why I’m here today. My running goals and broken foot don’t really affect you. You’re probably wondering why I even told you about them. Because my family is tired of hearing about it. That’s why.

Anywho, I told myself I would also come back to work on January 1st, and here we are. With actual, real work to present to you. If it had required a load of laundry, I wouldn’t be here. Just keep that in mind.

Back in the early days of the ’10s, I wrote a series of baseball romances for an indie publisher. Later, I got the rights back and intended to republish them but I’m very much like Walt Disney in that I like my head to be cold and also I keep moving forward. Going back to work on something I already wrote feels like rolling backward. But one of my resolutions for the year and the rest of my career, basically, is to treat my business more like a business and make those tough business decisions that won’t keep everybody happy. As a result, any backlist that I release is going to be Amazon-only. Not because I don’t appreciate my readers on other platforms but because the amount of time and frustration I invest in putting work on other platforms (I am easily overwhelmed, friends) has actually held me back from re-releasing the old work that I could be making money from. So, please don’t hate me as I re-release my old stuff on a single platform. I still plan on selling new work wide.

So, back to that baseball romance I was telling you about:

Close-up portrait of muscular man posing with a bat under the title, "Long Relief" and the author's name, "Abigail Barnette."

Billionaire entrepreneur Maggie Harper has lived and breathed baseball since birth. But being the coach’s daughter never prepared her for team ownership, and all the business savvy in the world can’t help her navigate the complications from a sizzling one-night stand with a player who definitely wants something more.

After pitching a disastrous game that cost the Bengals the championship pennant, veteran reliever Chris Thomas knows his days as a player are numbered. There are more important things to be worried about than the sexy new team owner, but Maggie’s hot-and-cold act is driving him to distraction. A woman has never come between him and the game before, but now he has to make a choice between his love of playing ball and his rapid fall for Maggie.

Caught between doing what’s right for the team and what’s right for them, Maggie and Chris have to decide what’s more important: a championship season, or a chance at love?

Preorder now at Amazon.com!

Long Relief will be out January 7th, so I hope those of you who don’t already own it haven’t spent up all your Amazon gift cards yet.

So, with that, this State of the Trout is concluded. Happy New Year, and gosh, I really hope 2020 is gonna be great for everybody in Trout Nation.

The Top Ten Most Bonkers Moments From This Weird Ass Damon Suede Interview

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Not long ago, I declared 2020 The Year Of Minding My Own Business.

But it ain’t 2020 yet.

If you haven’t been following the coup taking place behind the scenes at Romance Writers of America, you’re probably going to want a primer. As always, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has a great explanation of what went down, and Clair Ryan broke it down Barney-style for those of us who couldn’t keep up. So many people who are more familiar with the RWA than I (a non-member) am have written eloquently about the problems in the organization that are systemic and extend far, far past any one individual. I have no real contribution to make and didn’t plan on blogging about any of this. My voice is not so unique and insightful that I could somehow stampede into the organization’s business after leaving it in 2005 (and briefly rejoining a couple of years ago for one year before I bounced again) and say anything other people haven’t already said better and with more authority. I’m 100% on Courtney Milan’s side in this and staunchly against the trash fire RWA has been for a long, long time, and that’s really all I have to say about the overall kerfuffle.

But Damon Suede. Boy howdy.

In addition to sending his husband into a social media battle on his behalf, Suede has been revealed to be a name-dropping opportunist and outright liar (which you can read about in Ryan’s post). Suede has always been a gifted self-promoter. A constant fixture at the biggest conventions, charismatically holding events and speaking on tough-to-get panels, he somehow managed to book speaking gigs and keynotes throughout the ’10s despite publishing his first book in 2011 and not releasing any new romance fiction since 2017. After writing only five novels in a genre that routinely sees authors putting out that many books a year, Suede decided to write books about writing and charge a rumored $3,000 per day to give workshops to whatever certified MacArthur Fellows would pay that ridiculous amount of money to him. Then, with the unwavering confidence of a mediocre-at-best white man, he decided that with less than ten years as a romance novelist, he was ready to lead the genre as president of the Romance Writers of America. Which he ran for unopposed. Because he manipulated the other candidate into dropping out.

Since straight cis white ladies love nothing more than the idea of having a Gay Friend™, Suede managed to rise to elite circles in Romancelandia, like a genre fiction Anna Delvey. Anyone who criticized him or had negative experiences with him were hushed up with accusations of homophobia (even if they weren’t straight, themselves) or by the mere power wielded by people in high places. One friend remarked to me that she’d “always had a bad feeling” about Suede but was too afraid to voice it to anyone because “he hung out with all the big names.” Now that his desperate power grab to turn Romance Writers of American into RWKKK has been exposed, people have started airing their grievances in public, including passing around this interview from September, which…shouldn’t have reflected well on him at the time but for damn sure doesn’t now.

Damon Suede is not the sole cause of the Make Romance Racist Again initiative. He’s just trying to direct the current assault. The genre and organization have been rife with white supremacist ideals for a long time. In no way should the Suede narrative drown out the much, much more important issue surrounding how and why Milan was removed from RWA or the numerous stories from RWA members of color who have been victimized and discriminated against (check out the links on Ryan’s blog). While I have no vote in RWA, no experience or helpful insight in repairing an organization that has been damaged by Game of Thrones-level maneuvering, and nothing that could even remotely resemble any kind of even hypothetical solution that a smarter person hasn’t already come up with, I am super bitchy, hold big grudges on behalf of my friends, and have long been waiting for this dude to step one damn toe out of line. In the midst of all this heartbreak and chaos, my contribution is mockery. For we must laugh, even in the darkest of times.

Theydies and Gentlethems, I give you…

The Top Ten Most Bonkers Moments From This Weird-Ass Damon Suede Interview

  • He claims to have read 1200 words a minute in childhood. 1200 words a minute is 72,000 words an hour, which means that as a child, Damon Suede would have been capable of reading Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in a little under twelve hours. The target reading speed for a third-grader in the United States is 107 words per minute. The average for adults hovers around 200 without any speed-reading training.
  • He believes acting is a “blue collar” job. There are many reasons child actors drop out of the game in their teen years. I guess we have to add “too posh for it” to that list now?
  • The interviewer is super psyched about kids committing suicide at college. At around the 1:47 mark, Suede begins explaining why he didn’t go to Cornell, a.k.a. “Suicide U,” to begin his career as a theme park designer (seriously). For some reason, perhaps it was just an inability to follow Suede’s frenetic conversational pace, the interviewer gives a long, slow, “Niiiiiiice,” upon learning that the university has a high suicide rate.
  • Suede’s jewelry-obsessed Disney-lawyer family apparently inspired him to destroy the RWA. “For me, I wanted to take everything apart and then put it back together and make it tick. And so, it’s that Aristotelian biology thing.” A man can reveal a lot about himself when he opines on his desire to destroy everything made by others and resurrect it under his own power. Honestly, maybe we all should have seen this coming, at least since September. Special recognition goes to comparing himself to a legendary Greek thinker while also inadvertently implying that Aristotle was some kind of Dr. Frankenstein. Perhaps most chilling is the smile he gives when the interviewer asks if Suede is still smashing things apart. Suede’s reply? “Everything I do.”
  • Suede comes at writing from the unique perspective of being aware that readers exist. Due to his extensive background in theater and movies and television and comics and watchmaking and living at Disney World like a special, special boy, Suede thinks about how readers are going to read what he writes. Unlike the rest of us, who don’t have such a learned and interesting background (or seemingly endless disturbing metaphors about splitting readers open) and who are uniformly shocked at the revelation that other people can see the words we put down in the books we write. While most of us are concentrating on writing stories just the right length to level our coffee table in paperback form, Suede has figured out that the true secret to great writing is putting the words in the right places to make a reader enjoy what they’re reading. I’m so glad a man has finally explained this and apparently gets paid $3,000 a pop to explain it in person.
  • Despite the fact that he’s only published five books and never made a bestseller list, he has the type of fans only a rockstar could love. Suede claims that his readers are so unhinged in their worship of him that he’s been chased Beatles-style through hotels, ripped out of taxi cabs, had fans camped outside of his home, and thirty-nine people have tattooed his name or book covers on their bodies. In other words, Suede is in that exclusive sphere of author worship usually reserved for authors like Stephen King, Anne Rice, or Cassandra Clare.

    With five books.

    And no bestsellers.

  • His readership is a lot cooler than the old fuddy-duddies who follow much, much bigger names in the genre. Name dropping Eloisa James, Suede says she complained that her fan base is made up of “gentle, seventy-year-old women who cry over their walkers,” while his readers are “young, browner, cooler,” and have piercings and tattoos. Now, I don’t know Eloisa James but I know that she writes historical romance and that “gentle, seventy-year-old women” basically sign her paycheck. If his claims are true, that would make James a real dick to talk about her readers in such disparaging, misogynistic stereotypes. If his claims aren’t true, he’s a real dick to talk about her readers in such disparaging, misogynistic stereotypes and attribute them to her in a damning soundbite. But hey, at least he managed to work in that people of color read his books, right?
  • Gay romance is anti-patriarchal despite being all about men? Somehow? Girl-on-girl books, though, not so much. Suede asserts that women are the primary readers of M/M romance because the stories involve relationships where “everyone has power.” Not only do power imbalances in gay relationships exist, but that imbalance also exists in tons of M/M fiction aimed at a predominately straight female audience who want to read a hetero relationship they identify with, but without any women in it. Still, Suede considers f/f books a tough sell due to the lack of male vulnerability in the narrative and not, like, straight lady homophobia and internalized misogyny. Considering the fact that publishers used to reject f/f books with phrases like, “no pink parts,” I’m inclined to say that misogyny, not feminism, drives much of the m/m romance market. But what do I know? I’m just a queer person with a coochie.
  • The first reference made to a female author’s work comes seven minutes into this ten-minute video about a genre pioneered and dominated by women. And the reference is to Jane Austen.
  • Suede’s vision for Romance Writers of America is…wait for it…diversity. After the interviewer asks Suede what his vision is for RWA, Suede rattles off a lot of statistics about the genre, followed by, “Somebody asked me what my vision is for RWA […].” Like, dude…the guy sitting across from you, desperately trying to get a word in, is the one who asked you that question. But the rest of Suede’s answer is somehow even more shamelessly lacking in self-awareness. “I believe everyone deserves a place at the table. Everybody,” he insists, turning to the camera to clap his hands and issue the directive, “We need to step. it. up.” Of course, he’s very careful to insert the caveat that while everyone deserves opportunities, that doesn’t mean everyone gets to be successful and every author is responsible for their own success. And we’ve seen proof of that philosophy in the past week. Apparently, Suede is fine with his “browner” fans tattooing his name on their bodies and hell, they can even have a seat at the table if they want to try their hands at writing, but god forbid they criticize an RWA member for overt racism. God forbid they take up too much elbow room at that table, or speak too loudly. And by the way, if you don’t succeed, it’s probably not due to any systemic issue in publishing. You’re just not self-promoting as hard as Jacqueline Susann.

Watching this video, I can only shake my head. This man has been telling everyone all along exactly who he is. Why did so many people ignore it? Why did so many big names signal boost him and bring him into their cliques? How did someone this obnoxious win so many hearts? And how much OTC allergy medication can an adult male take before he turns into Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch? This interview was from September. Has it worn off yet? When it does, will Suede regain the power to feel shame? Or was he born without that gene? So many mysteries. Sadly, they probably won’t be solved before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, so I’ll be left to wonder while minding my own damn business in 2020.

Bitchy New Year, everybody!