— Crabapple, Boekbinder, & Batt, I Have Your Heart
With special <3 to Joel Richard (@cajunjoel) for the link.
— Crabapple, Boekbinder, & Batt, I Have Your Heart
With special <3 to Joel Richard (@cajunjoel) for the link.
Once upon a time—say, a year or so ago—I picked up Merrie Destefano‘s Afterlife. It’s not my usual fare. Where I focused fairly strongly on romances, Afterlife is not a romance. Not in the way I usually consider it. Where I cringe away from first-person stories that hop character to character each chapter, Afterlife does exactly that. I didn’t read it for any number of reasons: too busy, not my usual, chores need doing, deadlines need reaching, name it.
And then I read it.
My world changed a little that day.
But surely that was a fluke; the right kind of combination of book and mood and timing that created such a perfect storm. It couldn’t be repeated by anyone short of, say, Neil Gaiman.
Surely Merrie’s follow-up, a stand-alone novel called Feast, would be nothing like its predecessor. It’s a new land, a new city, a new story. New characters, new everything. Surely Afterlife’s charm came at least partly from the inherently mystical setting of New Orleans. Every setting in New Orleans makes it that much better, right?
I can be such a book bigot sometimes.
Merrie, my brilliant friend, I owe you an apology. From the bottom of my heart to the top of my completely blown mind, I am so sorry.
Feast has been out for a very long time. Well, “very” according to book years, which are quite short. I made a mental note to read it in that fictional spare time I have, but between one thing or the next, I just never got to it.
I saw Merrie at RWA. She came up to have dinner with me, and I introduced her to my roommate, Amanda. She’s every bit as delightful as I ever expected, and though I had to dash out after a couple hours for an appointment—a thing I still regret—I enjoyed that dinner immensely.
Merrie brought with her a copy of Feast, complete with a charming inscribed note and an acknowledgment with my name in it. My heart went pitter-patter; Merrie, I think I love you a little.
But I still didn’t read it. Not yet. So many reasons that were true at the time. Reasons that now sound like thin little excuses keeping me from the magic waiting just beyond Feast’s cover.
Today, tired of staring at my computer monitor, I wandered off to take a hot bath and brought Feast with me. I made it ten pages before I climbed out of the bathtub, bothered by the awkward posture required to keep the book dry, and draped myself—dripping from my bath, too distracted to towel off and totally heedless—across my bed to read in peace. I didn’t even turn on a light.
From page one, I was trapped in Ticonderoga Falls. I devoured chapters, rolling to my back when my elbows got tired, upsetting my cat who impatiently shifted around me as I turned this position to that. I barely even noticed the light fading outside until the sky grew too dark to see by, and I dared lower the book and rise—clutching it to me as if afraid it’d creep out and fly away if I put it down—to turn on the light.
I devoured this book two hours. A record, I think. Page after page, I inhaled every word.
I once told Merrie that she has a lyrical style of writing that is at once both haunting and chewy. Like the words remain stuck in my mouth long after I’ve taken them in, juicy and rich and meaty, to mull over for days, months—and here a year after Afterlife—years later. I can only compare the quality of work to something you’d expect flowing from Neil Gaiman’s pen. The styles are different, the stories unique, but much like Neil’s books, they curl somewhere in that primitive hollow where instinct and creativity and inspiration stem from and set loose a thousand different imaginings.
I finish one of Merrie’s books, one of Neil’s books, and I am not sated so much as I am hungry for more—dreams, wishes, that little voice we used to have as children when we finish a story and say confidently, “I’m going to be a witch when I grow up!” Or a knight or a hero or a princess or a dragon or whatever it was that won our hearts.
I’m an idiot for waiting so long, and so I have to tell you, delicious readers, don’t be an idiot. Read Afterlife. Read Feast. And then keep reading, until everything she’s written has been devoured and she gets the message to write, keep writing, more, more, more, until our world is colored by her.
Merrie Destefano, let this be a warning to you: I know where you live. Make the word-magic happen.
Which is to say, let’s talk about things that matter to me, because really, that’s what matters. (Don’t look at me, you’re the one putting up with this.)
This? This is exactly what’s important. This is Serious Business — we have a dysfunctional relationship with “work”, and that’s gotta change. Look, let me derail you: I’m not having kids. There’s a lot of reasons why, but among them is the very real fear that by the time my kids are old enough to step out into the world, there’s going to be jack all for them. We’re in serious trouble, here. In the words of Eddie Izzard, “Infrastructure’s fucked.”
But you know what’s awesome? What’s awesome is that it doesn’t have to be that way. I remember a time when our working class were actually hard workers. When we thought being a skilled laborer—a welder, a plumber, a bleeding electronics repairman!—was pretty darn respectable. (Like how I’ll swear at random and then say things like darn? Just imagine it in a twangy Southern slant, it helps.)
What’s even more awesome is the fact the the mancandy has decided he’s done with retail jobs and intends to go back to school to pick up some certificates and/or an Applied Sciences degree in one of these kickass fields. Welding, maybe, since he can then use that to work on Steampunk ideas. Of which he has many.
That man is amazing.
Oh, and so is Mike Rowe.
I’m pretty sure I have no rhythm. I mean, sure, I know how to walk in high heels and I can fake a dance with a little bit of liquor and a good crowd, but I can’t dance worth crap. I admit this. But it doesn’t stop me.
My secret dream is to actually do a fusion style of belly dance that is as much theater as it is dance. I love the evocative storytelling-through-dance stuff, and I really like mixing up belly dance with art like the clip above. I doubt I’ll ever get this good — see that whole lack of rhtyhm thing — but I figure, hey, a girl can dream.
There’s a lady here locally who’s been teaching belly dance for years. I’ve flitted in and out of her class like, as she puts it, a specter, and I keep going back. This time, I found out that I get a discount at the gym where she teaches because of my current side job. I am so there.
What are they going to do? Laugh? Well, okay. If you must. (p.s. Any local dreamers/dancers want to go with me?)
Well, according to the reviews, you actually love Before the Witches. Do you see this face? Does it look like complaining face?
Skippy. It is, in fact, the opposite of a complaining face. I’m completely humbled by all the people who have written me to say they loved it. You make me blushy! And squee’y! And filled with glee!
So, to everyone who purchased my novella, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For those of you who haven’t jumped on the end of the world bandwagon, check it out! For $1.99, you can’t really go wrong. Dear Author says so.
And it’s all good stuff over at Casa Karina. Most notably, don’t forget I’ve got two rockin’ things happening on Tuesday, May 31st. The first is the release of Blood of the Wicked, which is going to happen, well… nationally. You know. Like it does.
The second is my release party! If you’re local and happen to have the evening free, come on by and say hi! I’ll be at Skylark’s Hidden Cafe from 7 ’til they close, so swing on by with intents to eat, drink, or get your copy signed. I won’t have any to give away there, but I’ll happily sign anything you want! (Except, you know, wangs. I kind of draw the line at signing wangs. “But Karina,” you say, “why on earth would you say this?” … Because someone’s asked. I’m just sayin’. Better to be up front. Besides, I write really big…)
And because I can’t get over how freaking fabulous this is, here’s a shout out to Chuck and Michelle Wendig, who just recently welcomed Benjamin aka B-Dub to the hizzouse.
Congratulations, you wonderful, miraculous, crazy-ass lunatics, you!
(And while you’re at it, delicious readers, saunter on over and download your copy of Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey. I even said something awesome about it! Because it’s true.)
Let me very clear here: I hate reality shows. Seriously, I hate, loathe and despise them. Whenever I hear Jersey Shore, I’m seized with a sudden urge to shake my head until the alcohol-soaked, fake-baked ear mites fall out. Survivor makes me want to scream, and if I hear Tyra purr, ”Smize,” one more time, my compassionate chip is going to go all haywire. It won’t be pretty.
It’ll be like Data happily chirping, “Life… forms, you pretty little life… forms…”
With all that out there, I just have to say: I love, lovelovelove Deadliest Catch. So much so that at the end of last season, the mancandy and I watched with sorrow as Captain Phil Harris passed away. We watched the Harris boys say good-bye to their father with tears in our eyes and we mourned with them.
For the first time in a very long time, we made sure that we were there, together, in front of our television to catch every episode of a television show. And yes, in it’s most basic form, Deadliest Catch is a “reality show”.
Only it’s not.
Because it’s actually interesting.
Okay, maybe that’s mean. And not entirely true. These days, “reality show” seems to indicate a certain style of filming. It’s the name they give those types of shows featuring co-eds, models, the desperate, and the fame-starved all gathered together under one roof, as it were. A competition, a house, a… uh… what is Jersey Shore all about, anyway?
The Discovery shows I enjoy catching now and again all have an element of “reality” about them. Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe is a perennial favorite, as is Mythbusters when we bother to catch it. I enjoy watching Auction Kings because I spent a lot of time around antiques and auctions, and it’s always interesting to see what kind of treasures people store.
But none of them, not a one, grabs me like Deadliest Catch.
I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel so invested in the Harris boys. Maybe it’s from falling a little bit in love with all the captains and the various crew as I watched them struggle and push and hurt through another season. Maybe it’s like spending time with that one gruff uncle who’se as weathered as a sea barnacle but, in his own way, as lovable as a teddy bear.
Maybe I’m just crazy.
I don’t really consider Discovery’s shows “reality” in the showbiz buzzword way. Instead, I see them as “reality” in the… wait for it… real way. The drama that happens isn’t any better or worse than the drama I deal with in my own life.
And the kicker? Ah, the point where I realize I’m lost forever.
Deadliest Catch is on Tuesdays, at 10pm. This is the time reserved for Body of Proof, one of a multitude of crime shows I’m already obsessed with. Having had several months to separate from the Bering Sea, I figured that was that. Tonight, we watched NCIS: Los Angeles, like we do, and followed it up with some Dana Delany goodness. Filled up on the joys of Tuesday television, I popped over to Discovery to see if Auction Kings was on. You know, kill some time.
And then I see them. The fishing crab boats all in a circle, and a snapshot of Captain Phil Harris on the screen. And as the first strains of Bon Jovi’s “Dead or Alive” fill the speakers, I threw my hands into the air and shouted, “Yes!” as the mancandy laughed at me.
I’m watching it now. There’s hope on the Bering Sea.
And unceasing bleeping.
But I can’t deny that I felt an unmistakable little thrill through my heart as the boys lit fireworks in honor of the fallen Captain. I hadn’t intended to stay up this late, but Jon Bon Jovi and the Bering Sea have changed my mind. Because I’m sick in the freaking head.
Oh, yeah, and addicted.