Monthly Archives: June 2014

Fat Woman Wears Bikini in Public, Earth’s Orbit Unaffected

This is the first of what will be several writing retreat related posts this year, but I feel like this is the most important one:

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That’s right. I fulfilled New Year’s resolution #4. I wore a bikini in public. While being fat. This is me at Hunter’s Point in Copper Harbor, standing in Lake Superior. I should point out that this is as “in the water” as I got for my entire trip; there was still ice in Superior as recently as two weeks ago, and since it was a balmy fifty degrees Fahrenheit outside, swimming was not an option.

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This was a really fun resolution, because when I told people about it, it usually went like this:

Me: I’m going to wear a bikini this year!

Person: Oh, good for you! Are you doing Weight Watchers?

Me: No, I said I’m going to be wearing a bikini. I didn’t say I was dieting.

Person: *face melts off like the idea of my fatness in a two-piece is the equivalent of staring into the Arc of The Covenant.*

But you know what? I’m not displeased with the results. I look like a chubby pinup girl. The bathing suit is from Forever 21, if you’re looking for a similar one.

So, anybody out there with a not-so-perfect body wearing something daring this year? Email me your pics at jenny@jennytrout.com if you’re feeling brave, and I’ll put them on the blog!

Merlin Club S02E10: “Sweet Dreams” or “Blonde Princess #1″

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Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.

Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.

Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.

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Trout…aitus? I can’t make that one work.

Hey everybody! This blog is going on hiatus until Monday, June 30th. A Merlin post is scheduled for tomorrow, but after that, nothing but the most deathly silence, like unto the kingdom of the dead. Any comments that go into moderation during my absence will stay there until I return, as foretold in the prophecy. Emails received during this time will also go unanswered, but that’s basically how it is with most of my emails until I get the “storage warning” message and answer everything in a blind panic.

So, behave while I’m gone, and I’ll see you on the 30th!

Wednesday Blogging: What I Would Buy If I Won A Million Dollars

If I won a million dollars, I would be shocked. Because I don’t play the lottery. Casinos? I’m there all day long. I mean, not actually. I’m just expressing general approval, I’m not seriously going to the casino every day and spending all day there.

I would if I could.

So, aside from the obvious, “I would blow it all at the casino,” what would I do if I won a million dollars? Nothing that would probably excite you. I mean, one you pay the taxes on a million dollars, you’re really only walking away with like $600,000, depending on what state you’re in. I’m not poo-pooing that kind of money, I’m just saying, a million is not what it used to be.

So, keeping that in mind, here are the five things I would buy if I won a million dollars, after taxes and after I tucked some away into my money market account and i bonds:

1. A 2014 Mazda 3 5-door. In “titanium flash.” I really want this car. I could probably afford this car right now, but I would feel too guilty buying it right now, because we’ve got a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer I’m hoping to get to 300,000 miles on. Also, I don’t drive, so it would be indulgent to have two cars for one driver, as befitting my new status as gross-but-not-net millionaire.

2. I would pay my rent for a whole year. This is just practical. It gives me somewhere to live while:

3. I would buy a fixer-upper outright and work on fixing it up while living in the rent-paid-off-for-the-year house. That gives us time to do things right and get everything just the way we like it, in a home we’ll have no mortgage on at the end.

4. A food dehydrator. I know these aren’t that expensive, but I’ve never gotten the nerve to buy one. It just seems extravagant to me.

5. Probably more cosplay stuff. The one area of my life where I’m not horribly cheap and awful is cosplay. I’d love to splurge on some really good custom props or costume pieces, or just a bunch of wigs and wig-building material so I can play around.

Now that I’ve written this all out, I realize how painfully boring a person I must be in real life. So, pretend you never read any of this, and go read all the interesting answers other people gave, instead:

Jessica Jarman • Bronwyn Green • Kris Norris Leigh Jones • Gwendolyn Cease

 

Merlin Club S02E09 “The Lady of The Lake” or “I hate this one.”

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Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.

Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.

Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.

Continue reading

Wednesday Blogging: Stuff I need so I can write.

Sometimes, I’ll read interviews with writers and they’ll be all, “Do you have a ritual? What do you need to get the creative juices flowing?” and the writer is like, “I need my Mont Blanc fountain pen and a glass of exquisite red wine and a Moleskein notebook beautifully collaged with inspirational photos that evoke the tone and mood of my characters and settings.” And I’m like, get the fuck over yourself, you sound like a total diva, and everybody knows you wear sweatpants and guzzle Diet Coke because we see your ass talking about it on the Twitter daily.

But other times, I’m like, what if everybody has a special ritual for writing? And I’m the only one who doesn’t? Because I am, as I have long suspected, not a real writer? Because I’m a fraud?

I really hope the other writers this week have similar answers to mine, or else I’ll look like an asshole. I also hope that none of them use Mont Blanc pens.

Here’s my totally boring and not at all original list of things I need:

Tunes. I make Spotify playlists for all the books I’m working on. I usually share these on Tumblr after the book comes out, but other times I share them in progress. Whatever, I’m easy. Anyway, the songs I add are sometimes songs with lyrics that remind me of plot points, some just reflect the tone of the story, and others are just like, “Hey, I heard this on the radio and I want to hear it several times a day.”

Here are the playlists for the projects I’m working on right now:

Sometimes, though, I just sit with headphones on and pretend to not hear people.

My Pax. As frequent readers may be aware, I’m not the healthiest person in the world at the moment. I use marijuana to treat my fibromyalgia and epilepsy. I almost typed leprosy, I’m so glad I caught that. Not… caught leprosy. I’m just making everything worse. I’m glad I didn’t accidentally make you think I had a horrible disease. Or… yet another horrible disease. There. Better. Also, marijuana is fun and relaxing as hell, so bonus for me, because I live in a state that allows medical use of cannabis. This little gadget:

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a Pax, a hand-held, rechargeable, portable vaporizer, and it’s my very best friend on days when I’m in a ton of pain (like I was when I took this picture). It’s easier on the lungs than smoke, and doesn’t get your office as smelly (although I do still smoke sometimes). The Pax is a freaking miracle for cannabis patients and the recreational consumer. You can read about it here: Pax by Ploom.

A large canning jar full of water. Not a Mason jar or a Ball jar. I mean those really big two quart fuckers. I drink a lot of water, and I don’t like to get up to go get more. “But don’t you have to get up to go to the bathroom?” Ha ha, puny mortal. My bladder is like a freaking parade balloon.

A way to bribe myself. I’m the least disciplined writer I know. I hear about people who write ten thousand words a day and I’m like, lucky if I get two thousand and a blog post in. I have to bargain with myself by doling out little treats: “When you get to a thousand words, you can spend a half hour drawing.” “If you get this blog post done today, you can take the night off to watch your shows.” But, as is my parenting style, I don’t enforce these conditions and reward myself anyway. This is also why I fail at dieting.

Those are the things I need. That’s about it.

You can find out if any of the other Wednesday bloggers aren’t speaking to me anymore because of my Mont Blanc comment, check out their posts here:

Jessica Jarman • Bronwyn Green • Kris Norris Kellie St. James • Gwendolyn Cease

 

 

Clarification

I’ve gotten some comments, DMs, and emails about my last post wherein people have expressed concern over my reasoning behind quitting the After recaps. Coupled with STGRB’s most recent post, which alleges that I quit recapping because I finally understand the link between criticism of a work and bullying of an author, I thought I would jump on here and try again. This has been an extremely stressful weekend for me (I don’t remember signing up to tech a production of Les Liaisons Ridicule, but it seems to be happening whether I want it to or not), so I’m thinking I didn’t quite get my point across as effectively as I meant to.

I am not discontinuing the recaps because I feel criticism of a work is a personal attack on an author.

I am not discontinuing the recaps because I’ve changed my stance on reader reviews.

When I recapped 50 Shades of Grey, it was about more than just recapping a poorly written book. It was about the way she treated the Twilight fans, about the blatant plagiarism and the way nobody gave a fuck about Stephenie Meyer and how all of the hoopla over her stolen work may have made her feel. It was about the author demanding that survivors of abuse stop talking about the obvious themes of abuse in her novels because it was harshing her fans’ collective buzz. It was about the normalization and romanticization of abuse, rape culture, and misogyny, all denied by the media and readers.

I’ve heard that After has problematic content. I haven’t read far enough to get to it, but I believe you that it’s there because you guys haven’t lied to me yet. Someone said there were lines lifted from You’ve Got Mail. That’s not cool. But when it comes down to the wire, the situation isn’t the same. I don’t feel publishing RPF is as murky an ethical line as publishing AU fanfic with the names changed. I don’t feel that the target audience for both books  is the same. After appears to have a mostly teen to twenty-something readership. 50 Shades of Grey was marketed primarily to twenty-something to forty-something women, i.e., an age demographic who should fucking well know better than to think a guy flying into a rage over a pregnancy he helped cause is romantic. And the author is twenty-five. I sold my first book at twenty-four, and believe me, it’s got problematic content in it. Why? Because I hadn’t had life experiences to tell me that what I was writing upheld dangerous, deeply entrenched cultural beliefs.

Does that mean I think people should be able to get away with problematic content without comment, just because they’re  young and inexperienced? Just because they’re nice? No. But I know exactly what it’s like to be thrown into the deep end of the pool when you’re in your early twenties, albeit on a much smaller scale.

When my first book came out, I was sent on a bus tour, with two authors who had years more experience than I did. One of them even gently corrected me because I was mispronouncing my agency’s name. That was my level of naiveté. My first book signing was on a tuesday. On thursday, while we were signing books in a Golden Eagle store in Columbus, Ohio, my agent called to tell me I had made the USA Today Bestseller list. Meanwhile, I was twenty-six years old, crying myself to sleep in my hotel room because I was homesick for my boyfriend and my baby. That was in June of 2006. By September of that same year, I had a six-figure, four book contract. It was overwhelming.

But I had gone out and pursued that. That was my dream, to be a published author. Anna Todd didn’t go out and write a book. She wrote a fanfic, and she shared it as a fanfic, and then it blew up. While we can sit here and be like, “Oh yeah, sucks to be her,” all sarcastically, she is going to experience a level of success that people who write books on purpose have a difficult time dealing with. So, I sympathize with her.

Does this mean I think you’re a big old meany head if you write negative reviews? Of course not. It means that my personal feelings about this particular author make it impossible for me to separate her from her work, and therefore it would be pointless for me to continue my recaps, because I will always be holding back. That doesn’t mean I think all reviewers should hold back. That doesn’t mean I’ll never snark anything again. And it doesn’t mean I support problematic themes in books, or that I think After in its current form is an unimpeachable work of literary perfection. It just means that I, personally, am having a difficult time tearing apart something I can’t separate from the person who wrote it.

And let me reiterate, it feels yucky to me to focus on this particular book because of the editor who bought it. This person was my last editor at my old publisher. I received my last rejection from that company from him. At the time, I was in a very bad place in my life, and losing my foothold in traditional publishing was devastating. If I continued with these recaps, I would be constantly doubting myself, going, “Okay, are you mad at the state of publishing, or are you mad that your old editor is handing out P2P deals left and right?” When I started the recaps, I had no way of knowing that this development was going to pop up, but when it did, I had to reconsider whether or not I could trust myself to be objective.

I know that as a professional, I’m supposed to keep business business and personal personal. But I’m not perfect at that. And if I keep going forward pretending I am, I’m doing myself a disservice, because I’m never going to grow as a person if I’m not honest with myself.

I hope this makes my position a little more clear. I’m not joining the Be Nice brigade. I never will. But in this one case, I cannot keep my personal feelings separate from the project.