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State Of The Trout: Missed Deadline, Spooky Story Time, and The Next Book Recap

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Hey there, it’s your old pal, Jenny, coming to you live from the late-stage capitalist dystopia that is the United States of America. All of my grand plans for bringing my manuscript in on deadline got washed down the drain after last week’s newsworthy events sent me into a depression tailspin that was also experienced by basically everyone in the entire country. I’m sure productivity levels were through the roof last week, let me tell you.

Anyway, what that means for you is that the blog posts will continue to be…not here until I get the freaking book done. I’m so close. Like, a chapter and an epilogue close.

But I do have another Spooky Story Time for you!

 

This one is about my two visits to the Sorrel-Weed House in Savannah, GA. Yes, it really is a half-hour long video. It’s edited down from fifty minutes. I just have a lot to say about paranormal investigations, okay?

It’s also time to figure out what we’re recapping next. I had this wild fantasy of never recapping a book ever again but since Handbook For Mortals is over and the sequel hasn’t come out yet, I’ve had a lot of people saying, “You should recap [insert book here] next!” What we’re gonna do is this. We’re going to nominate books using this handy form:

 

I’ll leave nominations open until October 19, at which point the three books with the most nominations will be moved to semi-finals voting. If you fill out the optional question about why it would be a good fit, I may use your anonymous answer in support of your title if it advances to the finals.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print. Wish me luck as I head back into the writing cave.

The Worst Person I’ve Ever Met (Epilogue): What Happened To Sam?

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So, we’ve come to the final installment of this series. This is probably the hardest one for me to write because it’s difficult to examine a person you once considered your friend, know all the reasons for the spiral out of control they experienced, and still not want to rekindle that friendship now that they’ve got their shit together. But people have been asking for this part. So, here I go.

If you’ve missed out on the story so far, here are parts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten.

Autism, parenting, and my silence on recent “autism mom” memoirs

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I had planned to sit down today and give you guys the Handbook For Con Artists recap you crave, but a Twitter conversation prompted me to write this post, which has been coming for a while. I’ve talked on social media (and maybe here) about the fact that my teenaged son is autistic. And I’ve finally got the courage to say that I am, too. I am autistic.

This might have been why I didn’t consider the possibility that my son was autistic until he was seven years old and someone suggested it to me. A lot of the things he did at a young age, like flapping his hands and walking on his toes, melting down when he was overstimulated, becoming passionately engrossed in specific singular interests that could change in an instant, and other behaviors I won’t go into just, you know, because it’s not entirely my stuff to share, were things I had done when I was child, and I wasn’t autistic, so it never occurred to me that he was anything other than neurotypical. Even after diagnosis, I assumed that those were things neurotypical children all had in common and that other things “made” him autistic.

Now, I look back at my own childhood, much of which I don’t remember accurately due to my inability to recall what parts were real and what parts have been obscured by the elaborate fantasies I’d constructed. I was the weird kid in middle school, so I retreated into my head. While I sat at my desk physically, in my mind I was in my “head house,” a space that I constructed after learning about something called the method of loci (not to be confused with the genetics term loci). To this day, when I’m stressed almost to my breaking point, bored to the edge of literal tears, or caught in a situation I don’t want to be in, I fully check out of reality and go there. It’s not a case of idly daydreaming; I am completely immersed in that world and fully absent from this one. It has evolved over time, the decor has changed slightly, and there’s a big giant button on the wall that turns off intrusive thoughts if I push it. It’s a great self-preservation strategy that had a disastrous effect on my education. Teachers asked me why I wasn’t paying attention, why I wasn’t turning in my homework, why I wasn’t completing tests. I couldn’t give them an honest explanation. I told them what they wanted to hear because I already knew I was “a handful,” but lying to them because I thought I was giving the right answer made me even more of a handful, and I couldn’t figure out why.

“Jenny’s a wonderful girl. So imaginative. But she’s a handful.” I’d heard that so many times. Once, back in my elementary school days, I was playing with my cousins after Sunday dinner at my grandmother’s house. Seemingly out of nowhere, one of my uncles became furious at me. I didn’t know why; his kids and I had been playing a game where I was a mad scientist, one of us was an Igor, and one of us was a zombie creature that didn’t have a brain. To this day, I have no clue what I did wrong. Maybe I was too loud and obnoxious. Maybe I hurt one of my cousin’s feelings and didn’t notice, which I was prone to do because I didn’t understand which actions resulted in which reactions. What I do know is that one second we were playing and having fun, and the next my uncle stood up and said, “I’ve had it with that god damn kid!” and stormed out. Everyone sat around stunned. I was humiliated, but I didn’t feel like I deserved to cry, though I wanted to. My mother was furious with my aunt and uncle for weeks. My grandmother fielded hours of mediation phone calls over the incident. That became kind of a hallmark of my otherwise happy childhood: somehow, I would do something wrong, an adult would shout at me in front of people, and I would go off on my own away from the other kids because I saw how much my badness hurt the relationships in my family.

In second grade, I was diagnosed with ADD, like so many kids of my generation, and fed a steady diet of Ritalin. I’m not anti-pharmaceuticals as they’re used today––for god’s sake, take your pills, no matter what indie movies say––but I do believe that Ritalin was over-prescribed in the 1980s as a sort of “make your kid a behave” pill, based on anecdotal evidence from other people my age. Though Ritalin was supposed to make me focus, it did basically nothing. I ended up in some kind of group therapy situation where we all learned coping skills, and that worked better than anything. It was like a guidebook on how to be a normal kid. All I had to do was painstakingly imitate the way other people were acting? I could do that! I loved acting! It didn’t fix everything, but adults stopped yelling and I didn’t get into trouble as much, except where education was involved.

Again, this is stuff I still do. I recently told a friend about one of my most secret desires: to successfully say, “Don’t eat that, it’s horrible,” as a compliment. You know, the way people will tell someone, “Oh, don’t eat any of that, it’s just horrible,” in a joking way that implies they don’t want anyone else to eat it because they want it all? If you’ve never botched the landing on this particular phrase, trust me: there is no coming back from it. I’ve tried it on a few occasions and it did not go over well. I end up replaying it over and over like a gymnast watching themselves on video to see where they made a mistake in their routine. I spend a lot of my time studying neurotypical humans and their interactions as though I’m a complete outsider to the entire species, trying to figure out how to best camouflage myself. It’s just as much work and just as alienating as it sounds. I’m always woefully behind by a decade or so of social development, it seems like. But one day, I fully believe I’ll be able to pull off a chuckle and a “don’t eat any of that, it’s just awful.” I was gently informed that most people don’t practice these types of easy social interactions with the goal of someday doing them correctly.

When my son was diagnosed, I began to seek out other parents of autistic children, because it was something I was told would be very important in helping me “deal” with my child. I didn’t see what I needed to “deal” with; as far as I knew, he was growing up exactly the way I did. I mean, how could I really be sure he was autistic? He was just like me and (all together now), I wasn’t autistic.

One of the things I noticed very early on was that “autism warrior mommies” (and yes, there are people who call themselves that) were easily sorted into three camps. One type became so obsessed with their child’s autism that having an autistic child became their identity and the kid was kind of an afterthought if they were a thought at all. Or, they suddenly started diagnosing their neurotypical children with autism in a sort of Munchausen-by-proxy-by-proxy kind of deal; when the kids would be evaluated and deemed neurotypical, whoever administered the evaluation didn’t know what they were talking about, didn’t listen to parents, shouldn’t be in that profession, had a personal vendetta, etc. Then there was the third kind of parent: the self-diagnosing autism mom.

A note here: Some parents do have to fight to get their kids a diagnosis when resources are denied by schools and government programs. Some parents are autistic and don’t know it until their children are diagnosed, specifically because healthcare providers and educators weren’t as familiar with autism in previous generations as they are now. But as someone who has spent a lifetime carefully studying humans, I feel I can say with confidence that some people are just insistent on being the center of the universe. And that’s pretty evident with some of the self-diagnosing autism warrior mommies. I became highly suspicious of some mothers who would self-diagnose, then start speaking with authority on their children’s’ experiences, even if those children were able to communicate their ideas, feelings, and opinions themselves. They asserted themselves as experts on autism and would become intensely defensive if another autistic person contradicted them or suggested they not share intimate details of their child’s life online. One self-diagnosed woman in a Facebook group graphically described her seventeen-year-old son’s toilet accidents and admitted that he didn’t want her to continue doing it, but she asserted that she was “far more autistic than him,” and therefore had the right to do so. I began to see self-diagnosis as fake and selfish, an attempt by a parent to center themselves when their child was getting too much attention or starting to rebel in the ways children are supposed to rebel.

I wondered why any of these “autism warrior mommies” couldn’t understand that their kids were people. That no tragedy had befallen their families. That they had never been guaranteed a neurotypical child, and that the idea of an autism “cure” was abhorrent when there were already constructive therapies and special education programs that could improve the quality of life for autistic people living in an unforgiving and aggressively neurotypical world. So much of their “activism” was performative and self-pitying. It was never about autistic people at all, but all the ways neurotypical people were burdened by the existence of them. Why couldn’t they see that?

Earlier this year, someone tweeted a link to a diagnostic tool being developed to evaluate adults for autism. I’m not entirely sure about all the specifics about it, but from my understanding, they were looking for both neurotypical people and people on the spectrum to take an online test to…I don’t know. See if their test worked? I’m not a scientist, so I have no idea. I thought, “okay, I’ll bite,” and took the test. When I say “online test,” I’m not talking about some kind of thirteen question, Buzzfeed-esque “design your dream wedding and we’ll guess how autistic you are” quiz. I recognized a lot of the questions from the tests administered to my son and the exhaustive questionnaires my husband and I’d had to fill out during the process. When the results were displayed, it didn’t say “YOU GOT: AUTISM!” with a twee description and a gif from The Gilmore Girls or anything. It just suggested consulting a professional and showed me that my final scores were about a hundred points over the threshold they were using to describe neurotypical people in their diagnostic criteria.

I called my friend Bronwyn Green immediately. “Do I seem autistic to you?” I demanded, and she said yes. I asked why she didn’t tell me: “If I thought you seemed autistic, it would have been the first thing I said to you! I would have been like, ‘hey, you seem autistic!'” She said, “Jen?” and waited silently for me to make the connection. And then the connections kept coming. I showed my husband the scores and he said, “Yeah? You’re autistic.” It was some kind of open secret I had never been in on. And soon, I was a self-diagnosing autism mommy. And I hated it.

Here’s where things really go sideways to me: I believe it when autistic people tell me they’re autistic, even if they’re self-diagnosed. If someone is suffering from anxiety, depression, OCD and they self-diagnose it? It makes perfect sense to me. But it picks away at me to think that maybe I’ve gaslighted myself into becoming self-diagnosing autism mommy. Occasionally, it occurs to me that maybe there’s such a thing as autismdar. Like gaydar, but for autism. I maintain that LGBQA+* identifying people have an innate ability to tell if other people are straight or “one of us” after years of painstakingly pretending to be heterosexual while we’re closeted. Is the same true for autism? Is the reason I resent and doubt the mothers who use their self-diagnosis as both a weapon and a shield because I’ve spent so many years studying neurotypical people as a means of protective camouflage that I can now spot them from a mile away? I’ve met parents who self-diagnosed and thought, “Yeah, sounds about right,” while others I’ve rolled my eyes at and thought, “Yeah, right.” What creates the difference? can’t diagnose them, so why do I doubt some people but not others?

At this point, you might be rolling your eyes at me and thinking, “Yeah, right.” Because a lot of the times, I’m doing that, too. Despite all the evidence, despite it seeming absolutely natural and right to me to think, “I am autistic,” I worry that those moms who say, “Well, I’m autistic and I support Autism Speaks!” or “I was autistic, until I started focusing on my gut health,” feel like it’s natural and right, too. I’m not the gatekeeper of autism. I don’t know who is. Do I have the right to doubt some self-diagnoses but believe others? Do I even have the right to diagnose myself?

In the middle of all of this soul-searching, two books have been hot topics in the literary world. One of them, written by a woman referred to as the Elmo Mom, details all the ways she’s using “exposure therapy” (i.e., dragging her screaming, terrified child into situations that traumatize him) to right the wrong the universe did when it saddled her with an autistic son. In it, she daydreams about abandoning her son to have a new and better life with her neurotypical daughter. She expresses open hatred and abusive, neglectful behaviors then tries to justify them by imploring the reader to consider her own pain. She relates “and the whole bus clapped”-style anecdotes about kindly strangers coming to her rescue and praising her for her saintliness. She recently wrote an online essay about bystanders cruelly judging her for bodily wrestling her resisting, screaming child into a Sesame Street Live performance, asserting that her son has every right to be there. She never considers that he has every right to not be there, as well. In the end, he does sit through the performance, and she receives her reward: an hour or so of being able to deny that her son has autism.

Another book, the title of which I’ve forgotten, is the memoir of a woman who has no qualms about stating that she plans to have her autistic teen sterilized, lest he impregnate someone and she’s forced to deal with it. You’ll have to forgive me for not looking up this title and author; I just can’t handle reading her sickening garbage, yet I’ll still find myself compelled to.

Several readers of this blog have contacted me about these books, wondering if I would write a post about them or bring attention to them on social media. Like a coward, I ignored those emails. If you were a person who contacted me and didn’t receive a reply, I apologize for my rudeness, but this is all fresh and raw to me. It’s not that I’m struggling with the tragedy of finding out I’m autistic. That part of the experience is very much like the time I found out I have a deformed blood vessel in my brain. It was a thing I didn’t know, then I knew it, but ultimately it hasn’t demonstrated any impact on my life, so it’s just a thing that is. Realizing that I’m autistic was just a moment of, “Oh. Okay, that actually explains a lot of stuff.” It didn’t change who I am as a person or how I view myself. But it very much changes the way I view the people in my life during my childhood.

Now, when I read the disgusting thoughts of the autism warrior mommies who write their memoirs about how sad and tragic their children have made their lives I see myself in the role of that child, rather than as a parent criticizing another parent. I read about Elmo Mom fantasizing about abandoning her child for a better one and wonder if my mother had those same thoughts. Being the consequence of an unintended pregnancy had already put those seeds of doubt in my mind with regards to whether my mom ever regretted having me because of the life she might have had otherwise. It never occurred to me to worry that she might have regretted having me due to me not coming out as advertised. It never once crossed my mind to view my family with suspicion, to think that they might not have been annoyed or disdainful of my behaviors because I was a handful, but because of circumstances that were out of my control. And never in my life have I ever considered that I might have been in danger from the adults who had to care for me. All of this has made me think things about people I love that I don’t want to think. And for that reason, I’ve been unable to write about or think too deeply about these horrible, abusive women who have monetized hating their children.

This post might be super ableist. I can’t tell. It might be unfair of me to opt out of autism activism when other people can’t. That’s a valid criticism. Right now, I’m not even entirely comfortable labeling myself as autistic without some kind of paperwork or certificate to prove it, but I’m unable to separate myself out as an ally, either. I’m interested to hear from those of you who are actually autistic if you’re comfortable sharing your thoughts on self-diagnosis in the comments, whether you’re formally diagnosed or self-diagnosed. It’s a strange experience to be the same person you were yesterday, yet doubt everything about the narrative of your life story today.

 

 

 

*The “T” in LGBTQA+ was removed because I was speaking specifically about sexuality and I don’t know if transgender people have a gaydar equivalent. I excluded the T from the acronym so as not to make assumptions or erase heterosexual transgender people.

Blog Hiatus This Week!

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Hark, all ye citizens of Trout Nation! There won’t be posts this week because I’m not only hard at work on the next Ian and Penny novels, but I’m also knee deep in tech week for Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery at the Kalamazoo Civic Theater. I’m a dresser (a person who stands backstage and helps actors change their clothes quickly), and that’s a big job on this show, where five actors play forty characters!

If you’re in the Kalamazoo area, I highly encourage you to come check out the show. It’s funny and farcical and I’m snort-laughing backstage every night. For tickets and more information, please visit here.

Next week there’ll be another installment of The Worst Person I’ve Ever Met, as well as True Blood Tuesday, Handbook For Mortals, and hopefully a Big Damn Rewatch post.

Trout Nation 2017 In Review

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Every year, I make a post where I highlight what I believe to be my very best posts from the year. But this year, I’m not sure I had that many truly “good” posts. Yet so many of you continue to visit and support this site. I’m blessed by your continued presence and participation, but I’ve obviously lost my drive and focus, not just here, but in my fiction writing, too. So, with that in mind, I’m going to try to enter 2018 with new drive.

That said, here is the Trout Nation year in review:

January

I re-released Surrender, a book of my heart that I poured massive research into only to see the publisher crash and burn a few short years later.

I ranked every song in Galavant, a stunning work of epic silliness that you should definitely watch if you haven’t already.

Chronic pain patients were thoroughly insulted by Veronica Roth’s Carve The Mark, a New York Times bestseller filled to the brim with racism and ableism.

February

I offered some helpful tips to the jackass journalists gleefully using Fifty Shades Darker as a vehicle for their desire to demean women.

And I offered some helpful terminology to enhance your Mario Karting experience.

Have a writing question? This is when The Big Damn Writer Question Box debuted.

March

People with enough time on their hands to obsess over wanting to break up an actor’s marriage decided I was a terrible person. Captain Kirk was on my side, though.

Say Goodbye To Hollywood, a somewhat-inspired by Fifty Shades Of Grey novel, released.

I hated Beauty And The Beast so much that I loved it.

Abortion was a big theme in March, with my stance on cis male allies and a review of a fantastic HBO documentary posting within days of each other.

April

I got plagiarized. Again. This has got to stop happening. Luckily, you all had my back.

I showed you how to make a waffle, via a weird video.

May

My mental health took a crash.

And I absolutely had it with MAGA and their fake concern for the LGBTQA+ community.

Why even are male writers? And other tips for incorporating bear-death into your writing career.

June

Wonder Woman was, despite popular criticism, really darn queer.

Did you know that panhandlers make more than minimum wage workers do?

July

Twitter continued to protect Nazis.

My daughter’s reaction to Jodie Whittaker’s casting as the Thirteenth Doctor went viral. I even got interviewed about Doctor Who on BBC Radio, so basically that was a dream come true.

My husband had a problem with my proposed career change, and we made another waffle!

August

Neil and Sophie returned in The Sister. Sadly, it didn’t become a legitimate New York Times bestseller like Handbook For Mortals did.

September

We finished our re-watch of Buffy season three and started season four. Which seemed like a perfect time to come clean about some weird shit I keep in my office.

October

I got the opportunity to review Una, one of my favorite films of 2017.

We dove into a parallel rewatch of Angel. I’m pretty sure I messed up the title on that recap.

November

I started an ongoing series about the worst person I’ve ever met.

December

Bronwyn Green Leslie Knope-d the absolute fuck out of Christmas, but even her beautiful gift was nothing compared to the blessed visit from our favorite con artist, Zade Sarem.

So, here we go, into 2018 and a brave new world of however this plays out. Thanks as always for going on this incredibly weird journey with me.

An In-Depth And Formal Reply To An Actual Vegas Performer

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Yesterday, someone left a comment on one of my Handbook For Mortals recaps.

Actually, I work in a Vegas show on the strip and yes this kind of stuff does happen. Automation is a fairly new thing (last 15 years) and doesn’t work properly all the time. Also, performers in Cirque and Cirque type shows get injured all the time. If you think an investigation of that kind would happen every time there was a serious injury well we would be doing that every day. That is why we get paid well. Most of us are athletes, a lot of us Olympic athletes and we know what we signed up for. Injuries happen during the shows all the time. We are doing crazy stuff and it’s dangerous that’s why people pay a lot of money to see it. People get injured during the show and you don’t even know and we keep going. We don’t stop the show. The one and only time someone fell to their death was actually during KA. DURING A ACTUAL PERFORMANCE IN FRONT OF A AUDIENCE. They witnessed it even…I think the show was back in a day or so. Accidents that happen during rehearsal that only leads to injury an injury like this, wouldn’t even stop the show that night. The show must go one is a real thing in our world.

I have also fallen asleep in my theater before the doors. I find it odd that you tear apart something that you don’t know. You have never worked at a Vegas show (you admit that when you talk about the falling asleep in the theatre scene) yet you INSIST that’s not how this works.

Catwalks lead to platforms in these types of theaters. Perhaps, she should have described it better since most of you wouldn’t know this, but I understood exactly what she’s talking about.

If I remember reading somewhere, she lives in Vegas and works in entertainment. They say write what you know. Maybe the things she wrote are more rooted in reality than you know.

I have also run into Carrot Top (not with Wayne Newton though) in that very mall.

I don’t think this book is the greatest book of all time and I don’t think I’ve ever heard Lani compare her book to THUG. I think the story is overall fun and while if you want to run a fine tooth comb over it, you will find mistakes. You can do that with almost anything. Huge budget movies that cost over 100 million dollars have some errors. There are websites dedicated to finding them. Though those websites are more like a scavenger hunt fun type of find the error. Not a tear someone apart, the way you have engaged in here. All of you really. I bet most of you who are commenting and putting her and the book down have never even put out a book. I wonder what we could all say about your own book. Some of what Jenny says is funny but if you were actually being objective here you would point out the good stuff too. There is lots of it, but your whole point is to bring someone and their art down as much as possible. And you are criticizing her for being some kind of bad person?
You should really try checking your own moral compass here.

I knew from the moment I read, “I have also run into Carrot Top” that this Lani Sarem’s sock puppet account. First of all, the authorial voice is the same with which she wrote Handbook For Mortals. Secondly, who the fuck brags about running into Carrot Top or knowing Carrot Top or just basically talks about Carrot Top as much as she does? But Tez, our awesome Trout Nation comment moderator checked out the domain behind the commenter’s email address, readervillage, and found that it’s registered to…
A DNS look up listing Lani Sarem as admin and billing contact
I’ve redacted some info because we don’t dox around these here parts.
Isn’t it super weird that someone who has an email address registered to a domain owned by Lani Sarem just so happened to stumble across my posts about Handbook For Mortals and decided they needed to defend the book? What makes it even more super weird is that readervillage isn’t even a website. They do have a Twitter account, though, and in the bio they explain that they’re just here to help you find a good book:
If you need to a place to turn for accurate helpful advice. It takes a Village. Reader Village.  coming soon.
Now, I’m not sure how soon readervillage.com is coming, considering if you click that link it’s going to take you to a page where GoDaddy informs you that the domain has expired. But I’m glad that a service exists to give me “accurate helpful advice” about what book to buy. Judging by the fact that every single tweet on the account seems to be shilling Lani Sarem’s appearances, the book must be some kind of huge phenomenon!
What I’m saying here is that it might be a total coincidence that a commenter with an email address from an expired domain for some kind of shady backdoor PR machine that only promotes Handbook For Mortals  and which is owned by Lani Sarem just happened to show up to call me and everyone in the comments section a bad person and defend the books. Oh, no, sorry. What I meant to say is that this is absolutely one hundred percent Lani Sarem.
I originally made a glib remark to this “anonymous commenter”, but knowing now that I’m dealing with a totally legit New York Times bestselling author, I better put on my Sunday britches and give this a real response.
Actually, I work in a Vegas show on the strip and yes this kind of stuff does happen. Automation is a fairly new thing (last 15 years) and doesn’t work properly all the time.
False. The show that Zade’s diving act is inspired by, Cirque Du Soleil’s O, opened in 1998 with state-of-the-art automation. Earlier than that, EFX opened in 1995, featuring, you guessed it, fully automated set pieces and animatronics. Cirque Du Soleil’s Mystére opened in 1993 and featured a revolving stage and automated lifts. These are just shows in Las Vegas. By the early 1980s, Broadway shows like Cats and Les Miserables already featured automated stage pieces. Automation isn’t new to theatre, in Vegas or anywhere else. And while nothing works all the time, no one in the comments or the recap suggested that it did, or that accidents didn’t happen because of it.
Also, performers in Cirque and Cirque type shows get injured all the time. If you think an investigation of that kind would happen every time there was a serious injury well we would be doing that every day. That is why we get paid well. Most of us are athletes, a lot of us Olympic athletes and we know what we signed up for. Injuries happen during the shows all the time. We are doing crazy stuff and it’s dangerous that’s why people pay a lot of money to see it.
This is the part where it really becomes embarrassing for you, Lani. Please do not come to my blog pretending to be an Olympic athlete. All I’m going to do is cackle my way straight to hell. And while yes, performers in Cirque-esque shows do get injured frequently, that doesn’t mean they’re not investigated by OSHA. They are required by law to report serious injuries. That’s how there are statistics that back up your “all the time” assertion. There are also OSHA inspections of major Las Vegas shows and investigations when something goes seriously wrong. Your anecdotes don’t invalidate government regulation and facts that anyone can just google for free. Of course, nothing matches the real-life experiences of a make-believe Olympian.
People get injured during the show and you don’t even know and we keep going. We don’t stop the show.
Except for when they do. Like in 2007 when two acrobats performing in Zumanity fell during an aerial act and the show had to be stopped to remove them on stretchers. While the show did later resume in front of the audience, it did stop, to the point that tickets were refunded to over a thousand audience members because of the delay.
The one and only time someone fell to their death was actually during KA. DURING A ACTUAL PERFORMANCE IN FRONT OF A AUDIENCE. They witnessed it even…I think the show was back in a day or so.
You think wrong. Sarah Guillot-Guyard died in that accident on June 29, and Ka was closed indefinitely pending investigation. You know, those things that don’t happen because the performance is so important that it overrides state and federal law? Yeah, one of those imaginary things that we non-Vegas plebs foolishly believe exist shut down Ka until July 16th, and the show didn’t return to a full schedule until July 23, almost a month after the initial accident. And that investigation? It didn’t close until November.
I find it odd that you tear apart something that you don’t know. You have never worked at a Vegas show (you admit that when you talk about the falling asleep in the theatre scene) yet you INSIST that’s not how this works.
I find it odd that you wrote a book and INSIST that everyone in the industry bend to you because you think you know better than those of us who’ve worked in it for decades. Gosh, I can’t even imagine your frustration, with people talking about stuff they don’t know!
Except every criticism I make in one of these recaps is something I actually research. Which was how I knew about Ka and Zumanity and how OSHA conducts their investigations of stage shows, specifically in Nevada. Because I do my homework before I jump into something. You probably should have done that before you tried to pull your stunt. Or create an untraceable sock puppet.
Catwalks lead to platforms in these types of theaters. Perhaps, she should have described it better since most of you wouldn’t know this, but I understood exactly what she’s talking about.
I don’t recall having an issue with catwalks leading to platforms, but I’d guess that you knew what she was talking about because you are she.
If I remember reading somewhere, she lives in Vegas and works in entertainment. They say write what you know. Maybe the things she wrote are more rooted in reality than you know.
The fact that you took so many pains to try and cover the fact that you are Lani Sarem talking about yourself in the third person makes this so much more cringey than it would have been otherwise.

I have also run into Carrot Top (not with Wayne Newton though) in that very mall.

This is how I knew it was you, by the way. You’ve name dropped Carrot Top in more than one interview. We get it. You know Carrot Top. But the point wasn’t whether or not he’d be there. The point was whether or not Carrot Top and Wayne Newton would be strolling around a mall together after a publicized appearance. And I still call all the bullshit on that one.

I don’t think this book is the greatest book of all time and I don’t think I’ve ever heard Lani compare her book to THUG.

We’re in agreement on that. But while you didn’t compare your book to The Hate U Give, you have mouthed off about its author more than once, telling readers at a signing that it’s “not my fault Angie is black,” and accusing her of jealousy in a Facebook post that God and everybody saw.

I thought it was a particularly nice touch that you asked to friend someone who said that The Hate U Give is only popular because it’s anti-white people.

 I think the story is overall fun and while if you want to run a fine tooth comb over it, you will find mistakes.

You do not need a fine-toothed comb to catch your mistakes. You could run a yard rake over this book and find the mistakes. You could run a combine harvester over this thing and find mistakes, and that’s because you thought you were smarter than anyone else in the industry, that you were going to be able to easily scam readers, retailers, publishers, and Hollywood to get the movie deal you dreamed of.

Huge budget movies that cost over 100 million dollars have some errors. There are websites dedicated to finding them. Though those websites are more like a scavenger hunt fun type of find the error. Not a tear someone apart, the way you have engaged in here.

The “tear someone apart” aspect you’re seeing here is because I don’t like con artists. I don’t like scammers, I don’t like people trying to cheat their way to the top of an industry that they don’t know anything about and frankly don’t belong in because they couldn’t be bothered to pay their dues and learn just like the rest of us. I’m tearing you apart, Lani, because I don’t respect con-artists who aren’t good at conning people.

I bet most of you who are commenting and putting her and the book down have never even put out a book.

This is an author’s blog. And many of the regular commenters are authors, themselves. You would be surprised at how many people here and elsewhere on the internet are critical of you and your book because we’ve written one ourselves.

I wonder what we could all say about your own book.

I wonder, too. Why don’t you head on over to Amazon and pick up my free book, The Boss? I mean, there are already 601 reviews for it and 60% of those are five stars, leaving it with an overall rating of four-and-a-half stars. In fact, most of my books are highly rated there, but I’m sure you could find all sorts of things wrong with it. Go ahead and leave the link to your review in the comments, I would love to get some tips from a real-life bestselling author.

Some of what Jenny says is funny but if you were actually being objective here you would point out the good stuff too. There is lots of it, but your whole point is to bring someone and their art down as much as possible.

First of all, everything I say is funny, because I’m fucking hilarious. And if I were being objective, I would still struggle to find anything good to point out about your book. It was clearly written as quickly as possible by someone who was more interested in grabbing fame than actually giving readers a decent story for the ludicrous price you were charging for it. I notice you’ve changed the price on Amazon, but when I bought the ebook, it was $9.99. You’ve admitted in interviews to selling the hardcover for $35.00 at conventions. And as for bringing down someone’s art, you published a book with a cover that literally steals another artist’s art.

And you are criticizing her for being some kind of bad person?

Yes. I am absolutely criticizing you for being a bad person. Because you are. Bad people tell endless lies to paint themselves as the victim of situations they caused through their own shadiness. Which is what you do. You scammed your way onto the bestseller list. You lied repeatedly about it. You changed your lies multiple times when you got caught. You wrote an op-ed for Rolling Stone and were the subject of a lengthy feature on Vulture yet you continue to tell people that you haven’t been given a chance to tell your story. You intentionally miscategorized your book as YA when it’s clearly not, simply to take advantage of a popular genre. You talked shit about the book industry, my industry, because your scheme unraveled, but somehow that’s our fault because we don’t understand how to run things as well as you do. When none of that turned in your favor, you blamed another author for your downfall, an author who did the work and got something she deserved. And now you’re here, lying yet again because you just can’t help yourself. Lies, lies, lies, upon lies and lies and lies. You are a liar.

You are an outsider who barged in and not only wanted instant glory but a complete overhaul of publishing to suit your goals. Are there issues in the industry? Yes. Were you the scam-artist savior we needed? No, and nobody fucking asked you for your opinion or your overpriced, under-edited dreck that you insist deserves a place beside legitimate books and legitimate authors.

The worst part about all of this? You think we’re dumb enough to believe you. You think we’re dumb enough not to see through your ineptitude.

You insult authors.

You insult readers.

You insult the entire publishing industry.

That’s why people don’t like you. You’re an egotistical, delusional liar who can’t even pull off a convincing sock puppet on the internet.

You should really try checking your own moral compass here.

Just checked. It’s pointing directly to the magnetic pole of fuck you and the pseudo-famous friends whose coattails you rode in on. You and your technicolor dream hair can stay the entire fuck away from my blog from now on.

PS. When you’re trying to stage a fake picture of your book in a bookstore, Sarem doesn’t fall alphabetically between Lowry and Lieu.

State Of The Trout: Wanna see something creepy?

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Hey guys! This is a short update. If you follow me on Twitter, you have heard of my shitty weekend. Two cars, a refrigerator, my laptop and the only keyboard in the house compatible with my iMac broke. the fuck. down. Seriously. Then last night, our Kindle Fire remote stopped working and poor Mr.Jen was like, “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO US?!” But he’s been pretty dramatic recently, anyway.

The point is, the reason I haven’t had a Handbook For Mortals post this week so far is that I was having to use text-to-speech to write it, which makes everything take roughly twelve times longer than just typing. Trying to finagle rides for kids to appointments and activities without a car was equally time-consuming. Now, the reason I’m telling you all of this is that I’ve been very open with my mental health issues and I don’t want anyone to think I’m sliding back down to the low point I was at earlier in the year. I’m fine, just everything I own is broken.

That said, tomorrow there’ll be a Handbook For Mortals recap instead of the advice column, and then next week hopefully everything will be calmed down and returned to normal. In the meantime, I expressed myself through the medium of video. Please watch me talk about my creepy Anthony Head memorabilia collection:

 

Apologies in advance for the lack of captions. When I have a working keyboard, I will absolutely add some.

Anyway, I should have a new keyboard today, USPS willing. Cross your parts for me.

The Big Damn Buffy Recap S03E20 “The Prom”

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In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone has a zit on the side of her head that just will not go away. 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.

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.

The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch S02E12 “Bad Eggs”

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In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone is seriously, so bloated from pie right now. 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.

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. 
Before we go any further with this recap, I need to share my gender swap Giles cosplay with you all:genderswap giles You can’t see it in the picture, but underneath that tight white shirt, I’m wearing a leopard print bra. Because you know Giles has a little freak in him. Also, yes. That is the Handbook for The Recently Deceased in my hand. It seems like a Watcher would have a copy of that for emergencies.

Jealous Hater Book Club

 

Jenny Trout

Jenny reads books with a reputation for having problematic content, poor writing, or ethical  weirdness. Then she tells you about what’s in them so you don’t have to spend your money or time on them.

Currently Reading: Handbook For Mortals by Lani Sarem.

Introduction and Chapter 0, The Fool or “There Must Be Something More Than This Technicolor Dream Hair Life”
Chapter 1, The Magician or “That’s Not How Any Of This Works”
Chapter 2, The Hermit or “Cifnaf Annataz”
Chapter 3, The Hierophant or “Nothing Happened”
Chapter 4, The Empress or “Star Trek Season 1 Episode 14 ‘Court Martial’”
Chapter 5, The Emperor or ““Dive And Blush And Blush And Dive And Blush And Blush And Blush.”
Chapter 6, The Moon or “Total Drama High School”
Chapter 7, Strength (part one) or “Rebel Without A Clue”
Chapter 7, Strength (part two) or “Circus Of The Stars”
Chapter 8, The Star (part one) or “If you’re in love, show me! Show me!”
Chapter 8, The Star (part two) or “Have you ever noticed how much I say ‘um’? YOU WILL TODAY.”
Chapter 8, The Star (part three) or “Carrie, But With Lemonade”

JENNY READS FIFTY SHADES OF MIDNIGHT SUN:

Incomplete due the book just being so incredibly disturbing.

Monday, May 9, 2011, or, “Return of The Chedward”
Saturday, May 14, 2011, or “Lack of situational awareness makes our hero look like a serial killer.”
Sunday, May 15, 2011, or “The impossible has occurred: Ana is suddenly tolerable”
Thursday May 19, 2011, or “Misogylicious!”
Friday, May 20, 2011 or “The Hero Portland Needs”
Saturday, May 21, 2011 part one, part two, part three, part four
Sunday, May 22, 2011 part one, part two, part three

 

JEALOUS HATER BOOK CLUB: APOLONIA

This is the only recap ever started out of sheer personal spite after the author took the side of a shady scam of a publishing house for suing a blogger who’d written an exposé on the company not paying its authors.

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 Chapter 5 • Chapter 6   Chapter 7  • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9  • Chapter 10 Chapter 11 • Chapter 12 • Chapter 13 • Chapter 14 Chapter 15 • Chapter 16 • Chapter 17 • Chapter 18 • Chapter 19 • Chapter 20 • Chapters 21 and 22

 

JENNY READS AFTER.

This recap was abandoned after I learned more of the circumstances surrounding the author and the acquisition/publication of her book.

Chapters 1 –  3, “The Best Girl Ever” 

Chapters 4 – 6, “You don’t know you’re beautiful/that’s what makes you horrible.”

Chapters 7 – 9, “Big ass party with a crowded kitchen/people talk shh but it’s just Tessa’s internal monologue.”

Chapters 10 – 12, “Don’t forget where you belong (at this party, forever).”

Did you come here looking for my in-depth sporknalysis of 50 Shades of Grey? Allow me to provide you with handy links to all of it. At the bottom, you will find links to stand-alone posts about 50 Shades of Grey. Posts are imported from older blogs, hence the lack of comments when I address comments within posts.

Audio recaps courtesy of Beneath The Hat.

JENNY READS 50 SHADES OF GREY:

DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND MY CONTROL, ALL OR MOST OF THE IMAGES IN THE 50 SHADES OF GREY RECAP ARE NOW GONE. THIS IS A SITUATION THAT I WILL TRY TO SLOWLY BUT SURELY RECTIFY, HOWEVER MOST ARE LOST FOREVER. SORRY ABOUT THAT. DON’T EVER DELETE A WORDPRESS BLOG.

Chapter 1: Ana is the shittiest friend ever.   Audio
Chapter 2: Shopping for a serial killer’s birthday Audio
Chapter 3: Bike accidents get me squirrely in the pants. Audio
Chapter 4: Everybody wants Ana even though she’s terrible Audio
Chapter 5: Ian Sommerhalder, what are you doing?! Audio
Chapter 6: Up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful helicopter and sex dungeon Audio
Chapter 7: I wish the whole book was as short as this chapter Audio
Chapter 8: This one time, I fucked a girl so hard she turned into a pirate Audio
Chapter 9: Back like a mysterious rash Audio
Chapter 10: Hot and cold running dick Audio
Chapter 11: Sign here. And here. Initial here. Are you getting hot yet? Audio
Chapter 12: Untitled, full of Wonka Audio
Chapter 13: That one time when Jen started drinking at seven in the morning to get through a recap Audio
Chapter 14: I’m pretty sure I’ve read this book before, but with vampires in it.
Chapter 15: I’m halfway done!
Chapter 16: Shit just got real
Chapter 17: Night of the moth
Chapter 18: “Fifty Shades of Fucked Up”
Chapter 19: Now with 100% more television references
Chapter 20: “Behind the boathouse/I’ll show you my dark secret”
Chapter 21: She’s leaving on a first-class flight to Georgia
Chapter 22: Mrs. Robinson on my mind
Chapter 23: Red dawn
Chapter 24: Hipster Beethoven
Chapter 25: DTF
Chapter 26: I’m a survivor, I did not give up, I did not stop, I’m gonna drink now

JENNY READS 50 SHADES DARKER:

Chapter 1: This totally wasn’t one long fanfic cut into three parts in a desperate money grab.
Chapter 2: Kinky Fuckery
Chapter 3: All hail King Jerkface
Chapter 4: Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson
Chapter 5: Everything is unrealistic, because it’s more dramatic that way.
Chapter 6: Party Poopers
Chapter 7: Nothing says romance like forced birth control
Chapter 8: I won’t participate in the plot and you can’t make me!
Chapter 9: Isn’t that how Natalie Wood died?
Chapter 10: So little conflict, so many words.
Chapter 11: Right makes might
Chapter 12: Piano for Dummies
Chapter 13: My precioussss
Chapter 14: Yes, but what about the Volturi?
Chapter 15: 50 Shades Derper
Chapter 16: A Treatise on Spreader Bars and Human Anatomy, with a Focus on Physics
Chapter 17: The One About The Car
Chapter 18: 50 Shades’s Greatest Hits
Chapter 19: 50’s Greatest Hits Vol. II
Chapter 20: I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ with someone who doesn’t have a helicopter or a yacht.
Chapter 21: The shorty skirt catches the worm
Chapter 22: Every episode of Dynasty, ever.

JENNY READS 50 SHADES FREED

Chapter 1: MINE.
Chapter 2: The one where they almost do peeing stuff
Chapter 3: Wherein Jenny uses the fuck word nonstop for thirty pages
Chapter 4: Tickle-me Chedward
Chapter 5: False Tension Blowout! (ft. the most boring car chase of all time)
Chapter 6: In Praise of Vague Anal
Chapter 7: Are you fucking kidding me? Starring Kristen Wiig.
Chapter 8: Guys, you’re going to need a cigarette, for real.
Chapter 9: Fuck this, just fuck all of it.
Chapter 10: Merlin edition
Chapter 11: The chapter where there was nothing funny to say, because it was too fucking sad.
Chapter 12: How’s your Aspen?
Chapter 13: Ana is the only gay in the village.
Chapter 14: My god. My god, there is something correct in this book.
Chapter 15: Take the blue pill, it’s just better that way.
Chapter 16: Blind to Recursion
Chapter 17: Grey’s Anatomy
Chapter 18: It wasn’t called “Jack & Karen, but it should have been.”
Chapter 19: I did not see that coming
Chapter 20: This is definitely not an abusive relationship.
Chapter 21: Lysistrata
Chapter 22: A dumbass walks into a bank
Chapter 23: THE FOG
Chapter 24: How very dare you save my sister’s life!
Chapter 25: My race is almost run
Epilogue: : This is what E.L. James has wrought, and we all have to live with it.

JENNY BLOGS ABOUT 50 SHADES:

An open letter to 50 Shades of Grey fans and ardent defenders

50 Shades and Abusive relationships

Why BDSM doesn’t need 50 Shades defenders

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