Musings

Writing Down the Lies to Make Room for the Truth

We all know what we want—whether it’s true happiness, love, a bright future. We just don’t know how to get it.

At least, not right away.

Especially when we’re often saddled with so much emotional and mental baggage that it’s difficult for us to move on, like, really move on. That’s because I think we often start out in this life believing a lie that is fed to us—that we’re not pretty enough, smart enough, not the boy or girl our parents truly wanted, just not… enough.

Sometimes it can be just one lie. Sometimes it can be all of them.

This was my lie: I grew up being told I wasn’t pretty enough, that I was fat, and that our dad didn’t want us, his other two children while my older brother got to stay with him after his divorce from our mom (temporarily). I grew up believing it was my fault, that I must have done something that made him send us away to this new place where people berated my mom for failing at her marriage, who reminded her almost every day in some way that she wasn’t good enough, too. And like cooties, lies get passed on.

I think it’s these ‘wounds’ that have made me a decent storyteller. At the very least, it taught me where to start the story. Because stories, at least, my stories, are like that. It’s from years of listening to that voice in my head that told me I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, or that I didn’t deserve the love I was getting, and that one day they’d find someone better because damn it, wasn’t that what always happened?

And so, unconsciously, long before I read writing craft, plotting, and outlining books, I knew where each story started. It works especially well when the voices inside your head don’t have anything else to say but the same things over and over again like a broken record, ungrateful tenants who never pay their rent but you let them stay anyway because you’ve gotten used to their message. Better their negative garble than the silence.

The challenge was getting myself my characters out of believing the lies they’d bought for so long until that moment where they’d learn the truth—their truth—that the things they thought were true all that time were not. Instead, their new truth, the one that was always there was this: that they’re beautiful. They’re smart. They’re brave. And they deserve all the best things life has to offer them.

In fact, here’s a secret: in my stories, the love connection with someone else is really just the bonus.

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Rescuing Rapunzel #trademarks

From products like Rapunzel, a hair product calling itself the future of hair to the name of teen rapper Rap-Unzel, the name Rapunzel is used far more than often than the familiar stories of Grimm and Disney.  Now United Trademark Holdings is attempting to trademark Rapunzel for its line of dolls.

Source: Rescuing Rapunzel: Suffolk Law Professors and students work to keep fairy tale princess in the public domain – IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Patent Law

I’m really gobsmacked when I see companies attempt to trademark names that have long belonged to everyone under the guise of, “oh, we’re just trademarking it for the use of dolls because we’ve got a line of Rapunzel dolls coming up. Just dolls. Nothing to see here. Really.”

Thank goodness, there are people paying attention to these things…

Don’t panic.  A host of Prince Charmings and Fairy Godmothers have taken an interest in United Trademark Holding Inc.’s activities.  Law Professors Rebecca Curtin and Loletta Darden of Suffolk University Law School, along with help from Suffolk’s Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic, filed an opposition at the TTAB to United’s trademark registration on May 9, 2018.

In their Notice of Opposition, they argue that the name Rapunzel belongs to the public.  “No company should ever be able to be the only company that can call their doll Rapunzel, because Rapunzel is already in the public domain,” said Curtin, who specializes in intellectual property law. “Rapunzel already belongs to everyone.”

Source: Rescuing Rapunzel: Suffolk Law Professors and students work to keep fairy tale princess in the public domain – IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Patent Law

Rapunzel is one of my favorite fairy tale princesses long before the Disney movie came out. It’s been around for a long time because, well, it’s based on an old fairy tale whose origins go all the way to 1634 when it first appeared as Petrosinella. It would later appear as Persinette in 1698 and then Rapunzel in 1790 before the brothers Grimm would add it to their collection of fairy tales in Children’s and Household Tales in 1812.

So how does a company in 2018 decide to apply for a trademark for the name? Can they prove they had first use of it? I don’t know anything about trademark law but I know about greed and there’s way too much of it these days.

Even words—words we and our ancestors grew up using—aren’t safe.

Hell, nothing is safe.

Sneaking Some Writing Time and That Kiss

Yup, it’s Monday and it’s time to sneak in that writing time! Summer is definitely in full swing and today, there aren’t any trips on the schedule. The kid is still in bed as I write this and while I really need to get Naughty Pen’s latest installment done, it’s too early to write sexy times. I haven’t even had my coffee yet!

What I did get to do was find the first time I got to see any statue of “The Kiss” in my Photos app which was from four years ago when I visited family in New York. No wonder I kept thinking when I was looking at the Kissing couple statue on USS Iowa that I’d seen something similar before! Goes to show that I must be getting old!

Anyway, the first time I saw a similar statue was at Times Square and I remember trying to get a picture of it sans people (which is impossible, given that it’s Times Square!).

I do love the original photograph even if there’s some controversy attached to it. Some people considered it assault since the couple wasn’t exactly a couple. The woman, Greta Zimmer Friedman, was a dental assistant who went to Times Square to celebrate the end of WWII when sailor George Mendonsa spun her around and kissed her. But she refutes any claims that it was assault or unwanted attention in a Time interview.

“It wasn’t that much of a kiss,” Friedman, who came forward as the woman in the photo years later, said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project. “It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn’t a romantic event.” – The Story Behind the WWII V-J Day Kiss Photo via Time.com

Two hours later, I just remembered I hadn’t clicked Publish on this blog post because, well, Facebook and ads and promo scheduling. I also started (finally!) inputting my numbers into a Google Sheet and figured out how to do calculations. That way, I can check on my numbers and update them even when I’m on the go.

I also posted a poll in my Reader Group about where they get/find/buy their books and so far, Kindle Unlimited is the top pick. Heck, I have KU and all ten slots are filled with books I have to read and if I were a voracious reader, I’m sure I’d be filling those ten slots with new books every week. At $10/month, that’s certainly an amazing deal. Netflix for books!

What about you? Where do you get/find/buy your books?

 

Heat Wave

Southern California is going through a heat wave and yesterday was bad. The Lil Dude and I had gone back to the USS Iowa for the last day of his Lego class and by the time we were done, it was 104 degrees outside.

It was so hot by the time we got home and for me to start the A/C that even our little dog was suffering. But with the A/C running, it helped a little bit… but just a little bit.

I slept with the windows open and that didn’t help as much, not with so much heat trapped in our little house. Hopefully today, it will be much better. According to Alexa, it’s going to be 103 degrees but Siri disagrees. She says it’ll only be 84 degrees.

Guess there’s only one way to find out.

How’s the weather where you’re at?

 

On Board the USS Iowa #Momlife

Today the Lil Dude and I spent the day at the Battleship USS Iowa. He had a Lego class in the morning and I got to write a little bit on my phone while he assembled the morning’s project which had to do with gears. In the afternoon, a young man named Gil took the kids on a tour of the deck after we had lunch at the Mess Hall. They learned how pulleys work—and I did, too.

After the class was dismissed for the day, the Lil Dude wanted to check out the gift shop which meant we had to start from the beginning. I had to turn in my annual family pass anyway and so we started the tour officially from the beginning. I like how they have a “Find Vicky” kind of game. Vicky (short for Victory) was the captain’s dog and apprentice mascot for the ship in the 1940’s and her photo is posted in various parts of the self-guided tour and kids would match the number to the location on the ship. To find all ten instances of Vicky meant climbing a lot of steep ladder/stairs and at first, the Lil Dude was afraid of them, but once he got the hang of it, he was fine.

One of the things that struck me about the museum is that it’s not funded by the city, state or the federal government. Battleship USS Iowa is fully funded by admissions, memberships, and donations. Everywhere you look, there are (Navy) veteran volunteers who are more than happy to give you a personalized tour of the ship and whenever a military veteran or active duty military personnel visits, his/her arrival is announced on the loudspeakers complete with branch and years served or if active.

In 80 degree heat, I have to admit we’re both sunburnt and by 9, Lil Dude was cranky and went to bed without any additional prompting. Now I’m trying to write but I think my brain is pretty fried, too. I’ll probably end up writing on my iPad in bed until it smacks me in the face.

And I must really love romance because guess what my favorite feature about the ship is?

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Yup. You know me too well…

 

 

 

 

Writer On Hold

Summer is in full swing and my writing time has been sporadic at best. But that’s okay because it’s summer and I’m actually looking forward to it. It actually helped that I told myself that this year, unlike the previous years, my writing takes second place to everything else.

Namely, the Lil Dude.

The day before yesterday, I found all my art supplies—easel, acrylic paints, brushes, and pads, oh so many watercolor art pads—in the gazebo of all places where hubby had stashed my art bin. I’m afraid it’s been sitting there for at least eight years and some of the art pads hadn’t even been unwrapped yet.

The kid, of course, picked the canvas immediately. He wanted to use the desktop easel, too, and all the paints. His homeroom teacher is an artist and taught the class about Matisse, Da Vinci. and Paul Klee and so he’s got some exposure to art (which reminds me, I need to take him to the museums in Downtown LA now because he’ll appreciate the art pieces more).

He first did watercolor and he painted our backyard including the apartment building that looms over us in yellow, orange and black. Then it was off to paint with acrylics and for the life of me, I need a color wheel because when he asked me what makes brown since I only had the basic colors, I drew a blank. This is why I prefer pen and ink! After his painting was dry, he immediately put it up on the wall.

I did try to write as much as I could and have about 11k words of naughty pen’s next installment. Unfortunately, because it took too long for me to write this fourth book after I completed the third book in January, I somehow lost the plot. But I’m not worried. I’ll find it somehow.

But first, summer…

 

 

A Paperback Giveaway!

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Are you on Instagram? Because I’m having a giveaway of Breaking the Rules to celebrate the 4th of July weekend here in the US.

Link to enter is here.

In other news, it’s been interesting having a half-naked man on the cover of my book. When I brought it with me to my son’s class thinking I could proof it while waiting for him at the coffee shop next door (before the instructor asked me to stay with him the whole time for the rest of the week), I realized that I couldn’t just leave it face up without having to cover his torso with something, my phone, a small notebook… anything.

Maybe it’s just me but it garnered a few weird looks. Worse when I had to return to class and stay with the kid the whole time. Because I couldn’t put it inside my purse, it remained on the table face down the entire time. What’s the point of a cover, eh? But then, the Lego class wasn’t exactly its demographic now, was it?

The coffee shop was a different matter. It got me thinking about how reading romance is basically termed by many as “a guilty pleasure,” one where you wouldn’t necessarily flaunt your book cover just anywhere (or admit you like reading it) compared to, let’s say, the latest literary fiction book.

In many ways, it’s made me appreciate the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, no matter the controversy and criticism surrounding its narrative because it flung the door to “guilty pleasures” wide open—not that reading romance is a guilty pleasure compared to literary fiction; reading should be just that… reading.

I remember giving it the side-eye when I first heard about it and I haven’t seen the movies nor plan to mainly because the main actor, Jamie Dornan, sold me as a cold-blooded serial killer/family man in BBC’s The Fall and I can’t see him in anything else.

I’ve had friends and relatives tell me how they never knew BDSM existed until they read FSOG and wonder why I haven’t read it myself. The two reasons why are 1) because I know BDSM doesn’t work the way FSOG depicts it, and 2) I heard of FSOG when it was a Twilight fan fiction story called Masters of the Universe. It had such a huge following that when it was published by a small Australian press called The Writer’s Coffee Shop, it caught the attention of large publishing houses and in the end, Vintage, a subsidiary of Random House won the bidding war for it. It doesn’t even matter that the author changed only 11% of the material from Masters of the Univers Twilight fanfic, but Vintage considers it original work.

And while E-readers also made it possible for us to read whatever we want to read these days without anyone seeing the cover of the book we’re holding in our hands and judging us, it doesn’t mean we’re that comfortable shouting it on the rooftops that we like to read romances… or erotica or smut. My grandfather, a former mayor and judge, used to rip romance books I brought home from school. He didn’t care if it was something I borrowed from a classmate, it had no place in my life. To him, it was trash and there were no exceptions. It actually took me a long time to read romance and a much longer time to admit that I write them. Even now, on my personal FB page, it’s not something I announce to everyone I know that I write romance. it’s just not something any of my friends from school would even come out and admit that they read my books. Instead, I receive private messages telling me they enjoyed reading about Ashe and Riley or Dax and Harlow.

Maybe that’s just how things are depending on where you’re at…

BUT if you’re on Instagram and want to enter to win a book, go check out out my giveaway. I’ll be giving out more than one because we all know the adage, the more the merrier!