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Month: April 2018

STATE OF THE TROUT: Where I’ve been, you’re doing fine, and BABY MAKES THREE cover reveal!

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Hey there, everybody! You might have noticed that I didn’t post anything last week.

That’s because I was dying.

Okay, not dying. I’m still alive (though I don’t believe anything so insignificant as death would ever stop me from blogging), but a really horrible plague hit our house. Fever, chills, cough, chest congestion, sore throat, earache and the drainage. My god, the drainage. All of this happened while I was trying desperately to finish the latest Ian and Penny books. Once I got those off to my editor, I allowed myself to take some much needed time off and just lay around eating popsicles and soup like a kid recovering from tonsilitis.

Anyway, I’m recovered and hopefully will remain so for a while. Fingers crossed. But while I was gripped by the miserableness, I had some thoughts about my fiction writing and how basically awful I’ve been to myself over it lately. I talked about this on Twitter but I think it’s important enough to share here, too.

My last release, The Sister, came out in August of 2017. I planned to release Baby Makes Three in February of 2018 at the very latest. But I only just now handed it off to my editor. Since January, I have been so brutal in my interior criticism of myself. I started writing Baby Makes Three in September, for god’s sake! Now, Baby Makes Three won’t come out until May? That’s eight months! Eight months between releases! How can I possibly sustain a living that way? We’re going to be poor again! We’re going to be on food stamps again! I should just stop writing and get a real job since I’m obviously no good at this one!

Obviously, this constant litany of self-hatred wasn’t conducive to my creativity. I would go days without writing. At one point, it took me a month to finish a chapter. After I got over the mid-book slump, though, things started to pick up. By the time I sent the book off to be edited, I realized I’d been way, way too hard on myself. During the writing of these books, the following things were going on:

  • The school year started.
  • My daughter was in a play, requiring me to sit through nightly rehearsals.
  • I ended up working on props for that play.
  • The holidays happened.
  • I worked tech for another play.
  • My daughter was involved in another play, herself.
  • My mother-in-law died, leaving us to clean out her apartment and take care of her estate.
  • And the whole time, I’ve been homeschooling my son.

Now, granted, I didn’t have to do the theater stuff I did, but we know what happens when writers are all work and no play. There’s a whole horror novel about that. On top of all of those things, I neglected to remember that:

  • I wasn’t just writing one book. I was writing two at the same time.
  • I was working on this blog daily.
  • Both books turned out longer than I expected, by about 15,000 words.

So, while I was freaking out about not working enough, not getting anything done, I was really writing about 15,000 words per week here and doing things for my mental health so that I could continue to function. On top of that, I was writing basically 160,000 words of fiction in eight months. That’s four months per book. I was doing just fine.

If you’re writing and you’re frustrated by how little you feel you’re getting done or how long it’s taking you to finish, I want you to drop what you’re doing and take stock of your life and what’s going on. Are things at work stressful? Are you putting in a lot of extra hours or coming home mentally sapped? Are you reeling from the loss of a loved one or a major upheaval in your home? Did a pet die? Did you or someone else lose a job? Maybe you’ve taken up a new hobby and it’s taking up time you would have spent on writing (which is not necessarily a bad thing, if it’s keeping you on an even keel)?

No matter what it is, stop being hateful to yourself. I love these books, but it’s always going to be tempered with a little bit of sadness that the writing of it was so brutally un-fun. I shouldn’t have done that to myself, and I’m going to try not to do that in the future. I hope you can join me in that. Let’s make a pact right now: we’re not going to be awful to ourselves for not being mindless writing machines with no other needs or desires in life.

So, after all of that, do you want to see the cover of Baby Makes Three? Of course, you do!

The cover of Baby Makes Three shows a picture of Nassau, Bahamas from the water, with boats and brightly colored homes near the shore. There is a white bar across the middle of the cover with the title, and a green bar with Internationally Bestselling Author Abigail Barnette on it. Below that, the image of a couple's feet and a baby's diapered bottom and little feet between them.

Baby Makes Three will be out in May. I’m not sure about a date yet but I’ll have more information as we get closer to the release. Thanks, everybody who continues to go on a journey with these characters!

The Worst Person I’ve Ever Met (Part Ten) “It’s All Right Here Waiting For Me”

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This is the penultimate post in this series because I’ll follow up on what happened in my friendship with Sam after all of these events took place. If you’ve missed out on the story so far, here are parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine.

There are mentions of rape in this installment.

Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 16, Justice or “Girlfriend in a coma/I know it’s serious”

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March went out like a failure:

A Facebook update from the official Handbook For Mortals account: "Much of the setting in Handbook For Mortals is based on Lani Sarem's experience working with Cirque du Soleil! What is your favorite Cirque show? Here's one of ours..." followed by a link to highlights from Le Reve on YouTube.

Le Rêve is not a Cirque Du Soleil production. It’s a competing franchise bankrolled entirely by…the Wynn Hotel and Casino, where the magic show in Handbook is set.

You’d think that someone who researched the setting of their book and worked for Cirque would have known that.

A Statement On Recent Twitter Activity

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Because Twitter has locked my account for encouraging self-harm, I have to make this statement here. The “self-harm” I encouraged was telling an abusive person to “breathe water” after he suggested I “stop breathing.” Why would I do such a thing?

Last night, I said some inflammatory but true things about the NRA. I said they were a terrorist organization responsible for every single mass shooting in the United States.

You heard me. True. That is a true statement.

After a few hundred responses calling me a fat cunt and advising me to die, I tweeted that we should melt down all the guns in the country and drown all NRA members and Trump supporters in the vat of molten metal.

Those who follow me on social media know that this is very on-brand.

I also stated that I didn’t care if Trump voters and NRA members lived or died. This is only a partially true statement, as I was directly addressing the people who were sending abusive tweets. But alt-right troll Jack Probesiec isolated that tweet and broadcast it to his hundreds of thousands of followers. Including other alt-right trolls including Curt Schlitter, Ian Miles Cheong, Joe Walsh, and NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch’s husband, whose name I can’t remember because he’s not as important as his wife. There were others with large followings, as well, who decried my “death threat” tweet.

Because to these fools, not caring deeply about their lives and their right to own as many shooty-go-bang-bangs as they can stockpile in their arsenal is a direct death threat. And they responded with:

  • Various comments about my weight, mental health, sexual orientation, and religion/culture because several of them were convinced that I’m Jewish
  • GIFs and photos of fat people they find to be abhorrent and grotesque
  • Remarks about “Arabs,” “Muslims,” “immigrants,” “jihad,” “Asians,” “Koreans,” and “gang bangers”
  • Comparisons of African-Americans to chimpanzees
  • Allegations that I’m fatherless…which is true but not really my fault unless you lack critical thinking skills
  • Detailed fantasies about how they’ll watch me or my children being raped and do nothing
  • Pity for my “cuck” husband, who is forced to be with me
  • Various fish-related insults that probably felt very clever at the time
  • Demands that I come to their house and try to take their guns, that I meet them in person, and one person even posted their own home address
  • My home address, former name, the names of some of my relatives and even the place of my husband’s employment

Some of them were, ironically, mocking my “large hands”. Considering it’s coming from the Trump crowd, who defend him and his bigly, bigly yuge hands all the time, this seems like a weird criticism. Also weird? The guy who tried to roast me by saying that I can’t give my dad an erection.

How widespread is this? Well, according to Twitter analytics, in the months of March, February, and January I averaged around four million “impressions” per month.

I’ve also averaged four million “impressions” this month. Which is…four days old.

At one point last night, I had blocked 200 people, only to scroll up and find 809 notifications waiting for me.

Not all of the tweets were abusive. A lot of people are “sad” for me. Or they’re praying for me and hoping Christ will come into my heart and tell me to put down the donuts. Many of them were simply telling me how much they don’t care about my opinion. Thousands of people don’t care so much that they had to flood my Twitter mentions, message me on Facebook, find any public Facebook post I’ve ever made, and track down my husband to make sure that we all know they do not care.

And gosh. All of this has just worn me down, right to the ground. And I want to apologize. Because I’m very, very sorry.

I’m sorry so many of you were in the Armed Forces. You should not have been representing our country abroad. I do not thank you for your service, despite the several of you that demanded I do so.

I’m sorry that you feel the best way to communicate your ideas is through sloppy memes of Hillary Clinton.

I’m sorry that one of you has an Abraham Lincoln parody account but can’t appreciate the irony in using it to defend guns.

I’m sorry that so many of you don’t have mirrors in your homes and don’t understand that a fat person calling another fat person fat isn’t the devastating insult you think it is.

I’m sorry that your mom’s abortion didn’t take.

I’m sorry that so many conservative women have figured out how to bleach their hair with drugstore products, but don’t know how to follow it up with toner or conditioner.

I’m sorry that MAGAs uniformly don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re,” and it’s unfortunate that they mix those up while calling people ignorant, idiots, stupid, and uneducated.

But most of all, I’m sorry that you think that because I said I don’t care about you or your right to own your toys, I should be afraid of you. I am not afraid of you. I will never be afraid of you. Because if you need to own sixty guns, you’re a coward. If you need to assert how tough and manly and violent you are, you’re afraid. Because your fear bleeds through every one of your pathetic, uninspired, unimaginative words. You call for civil war, violent revolution, rising up, and then the moment there’s a mass shooting, you move fast to avoid being blamed for it. You’re pretty shitty terrorists if you won’t own these attacks. Even Al-Qaeda took credit for shit they didn’t do.

So, do what you’re going to do. You’re already contacting Amazon (who will obviously be very eager to help Trump supporters right now, I’m sure they’ll get right on that), companies who published my books a decade ago and with whom I’ve burned my own bridges, thanks, people I work with (who are fully aware of who I am and what I represent), and whatever other institution you think is going to come along and spank me for being mean to you about your boomsticks.

You don’t matter. You’ll never matter. You know you don’t matter. And that’s why you need a controversial object in your home to reassure you that somehow, someday, you might be able to prove your worth in a fantasy home invasion or public shoot-out. Continue stockpiling all your unnecessary accessories to make your Great Value rifles look like the video game version of a useful tactical weapon. Because at the end of the day, no matter how you threaten, no matter what you lob at me, I still walk away without the blood of murdered children on my hands.

You can’t say the same for yourself.

Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 15 (part 2) The Tower or “This is the part where adapting the screenplay into a book got hard”

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Every time I think, “You know, I’m going to run out of Handbook For Mortals shenanigans before we get to the end of the recaps,” I am proved wrong. So, this installment brings us…


Awesome tweeter Aron alerted me to this press release, tweeted by an account called ADA IT Solutions. Since Handbook For Mortals has nothing at all to do with either the Americans with Disabilities Act or improved access to technology as outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s pretty clear that Cision PR Newswire’s strategy seems to be “throw something at the wall and see if it sticks.” Which falls right in line with Handbook and Lani Sarem, who both receive a generous re-branding as we steam toward the release of the movie.


Author Lani Sarem, whose initial offering Handbook for Mortalsdebuted at No. 34 on the USA Today Bestseller list, continues promotion on the national Comic Con circuit alongside American PieRookie of the Year star Thomas Ian Nicholas. The film is scheduled to shoot later this year, based on the book.  In a year of empowering females within the industry, it’s important to note that the film is not only very female-driven, but also includes a strong female protagonist, female director, female line producer and Sarem herself as the author.

No longer billed as a New York Times bestseller, this bulletin is content to celebrate the (also scammed) success of the book as a USA Today bestseller. I mean, who needs a big flashy label when you’re suddenly, out of absofuckinglutely nowhere, a juggernaut of feminist power? I mean, a female director (probably Lani Sarem), a female line producer (also probably Lani Sarem), and a strong female protagonist who never has to work to get anything she wants because her daddy gives it to her? Hold onto your pussy hats, ladies, we’re going to the theater!

Handbook for Mortals is about a young woman with supernatural powers who joins a Las Vegas magic show only to find that love is more dangerous than magick.

It certainly is for the girl at Hot Dog On A Stick who’s covered in broken glass and lemonade.

Sarem and Nicholas took an interesting approach to find an early audience for the franchise. Nicholas was booked as a celebrity guest at many conventions including Motor City, Alamo City and all the Wizard World Comic Cons starting early in 2017. They promoted the story and pre-sold Handbook for Mortals all across the country before the book even had a cover. In fact, it was at Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia where they met comic book artist Ryan M. Kincaid, who ultimately drew the cover art.

If I’m ever accused of a crime, I’m going to use that line. I didn’t burn that house down. I “took an interesting approach” to building redesign. I didn’t murder that guy. I “took an interesting approach” to interpersonal conflict resolution. I didn’t steal that loaf of bread. I “took an interesting approach” to capitalism.

You know. Just the same exact way Ryan M. Kincaid “took an interesting approach” to drawing the cover art by literally tracing another author’s work.

On creating a story centered around a female lead, Sarem notes, “That was always the idea. Even at a young age I noticed what was going on.”

According to the feature on her on Vulture, the thing she noticed that was going on was that she couldn’t get parts as an actress, so she wrote this one specifically for herself. This isn’t empowering to women. It’s empowering to one woman.

About the comic conventions where she allegedly sold one book every forty-six seconds, per the math done by commenter Maths GCSE Graduate on the last recap, Sarem says:

“It’s a great place to meet fans looking for the next source of entertainment,” Sarem explains. “They’re excited to find something new and there’s nothing like watching them walk away clutching the book like it’s the most valuable thing they own.”

Nobody has ever felt that way about this book. And most people don’t go to conventions looking for “the next source of entertainment.” They go to see the people who are already making the entertainment they like. They want to meet the artists and illustrators and celebrities they already know.

You might be thinking to yourself, “How did Lani Sarem get this far into the press release without namedropping?” Well, don’t worry. Thomas Ian Nicholas is there to do it for her:

Nicholas also says, “It’s fun getting this project off the ground by connecting directly with people in the right environment. Plus, spending the weekend with other guests like Gregg SulkinJason MomoaHolly Marie CombsBonnie WrightSebastian StanIan Somerhalder– it’s starting to feel like one big supportive family.”

Okay, but they’re no Carrot Tops, are they?

The press release goes on in an attempt to tie Sarem and Handbook to Disney via Thomas Ian Nicholas and John Heder’s Disney trivia panel that Sarem moderates and that a Disney artist showed up to hand out prizes for. One thing you can say for Lani (who absolutely wrote this press release herself, as no one who does this as their job would write a press release that included so much information completely unrelated to the main point), she sure knows how to starfuck in public.

Lest you think the entire thing is about the famous people Sarem and Nicholas sometimes stand next to, oh no, dear reader. We haven’t forgotten that this is a work of fearful and staggering feminism:

 For several years, she was one of the youngest female band managers with two platinum selling, Grammy award-winning acts nestled in her roster of bands. Music is another area of the entertainment business that is typically a boys club. Sarem is no stranger to breaking down those walls and says, “It’s always an interesting challenge to find your place as a woman in a male-centric business. I hope I’m one of the many people that bring about positive change to the film industry. I want to inspire young girls to know they can dream big and achieve whatever their heart desires.”

Yes, young girls, you can dream big and achieve…wait, what the fuck has Lani Sarem ever achieved, aside from being fired from the bands she managed because they apparently grew tired of her schemes and going on to expose herself as a clumsy fraud in the literary world? Watch out, film industry. Lani is on her way to fix you the way she fixed publishing. Sit down, women in Holywood who have been fighting for equality! Lani Sarem has it handled.

Obviously, now that Handbook For Mortals is burning its bra, everyone is going to stop mocking it, right?

Gretchen Weiners from Mean Girls saying, "That's just like, the rules of feminism."

Nope! Sorry, Lani Sarem, but your scam has never been about “empowering women.” It’s been 100% about you getting famous by any means necessary. It’s been about empowering you. Now you’ve been slightly sort-of kind of notable in a fully non-important way for almost a year. That’s all people are willing to give you in all of this, which is honestly more than you deserve.

Anyway onto the blistering female empowerment of Handbook For Mortals