Three Like Me – Day One: Meg Murry

Me In Three Characters

Today I memed. I’m going to assume that’s a word.

Over the last week or so I saw this meme pop up on both Facebook and Twitter. The idea is you pick three fictional characters that as a whole represent you. The above is my contribution to said meme. From left to right to bottom they are: Meg Murry from A Wrinkle in Time, Alice from Through the Looking Glass, and Professor Stein from Soul Eater.

In case some of you don’t know all of the characters, let me explain who they are, and why I picked them. This got long, so I’m going to do one each day. Today is Meg.

Character One: Meg Murry – The Big Sister/Mom-Type

Meg Murry by Abraham J. LeeOne of the biggest parts of me is my momdom (I’m sure that’s not a word.). And while I’ve been a mom for going on ten years now, I’ve been a big sister for thirty-six. I’m the oldest of five kids, but that is not where the sister/mom thing ends.

As a kid I was the oldest of my cousins in my age group (except for Katie who is still older than me :D). That made me the built-in babysitter for not only my own siblings, but whichever set of cousins happened to be in the area at the time. This in-chargeness (fine I like making up words okay?) eventually spread to our group of friends, wherein I am also the oldest, usually by at least three to four years.

All my friends called me mom. A couple of my teachers in high school and college called me mom. The kids in our neighborhood I didn’t even know called me mom. It’s a moniker I wear proudly even though I annoyed everyone I when I was younger, and continue to annoy some of them to this day.

I tried to think of a fictional mom that suited me. None of them did. They were either too perfect, too grouchy, or too grown-up. That’s when I thought of Meg.

A Wrinkle In Time (cover)Meg is the main character in A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. She is the oldest of four, with three younger brothers: Charles Wallace, and the twins, Sandy and Dennys. At school she is troublesome and stubborn – too smart for school but without enough savvy or charisma to skate by undetected. As such she has few friends and instead has a close relationship with Charles who understands her better than anyone else.

In the course of the story Meg, Charles, and Meg’s schoolmate Calvin O’Keefe go off on a sci-fi adventure of epic proportions. During their travels her love of her family and her stubbornness to continue to be herself, faults and all, is what ends up saving not only their small group, but possibly the universe.

As a kid I connected with Meg instantaneously. She was bad at and hated school, because of the way it was taught, not because she was dumb. She thought little of herself, but much of her family. Instead of friends she had her mother and her brothers and she would stand up for them whatever it took. They were hers and whoa to anyone who caused them pain or grief.

When I first read this book and then the rest of the series, I was in the living hell of elementary school, stuck in the dumb classes due to an undiagnosed learning disability, dyslexia, and dyscalculia (and possibly autism). I had few friends and fewer who really understood me. But I had a big family that loved me and needed me. I warded of jerks on the playground and stood up for them if they were under fire. Helping with homework wasn’t my strong suit, but I could make a mean blanket fort and I was allowed to use the stove and make cookies. :9

Freeman and Wanschura Kids Christmas 1992

Top row left to right: My sister Amanda, cousin Max, Me. Middle row left to right: my oldest younger brother Stephen, cousin Amber, cousin Heather. Bottom: my youngest brothers (the twins) Alex and Tony (I have no idea which is which).

Elementary school melted into middle school and high school, and the threat of physical violence from other students faded with it. But I was still the built-in babysitter. I helped with problems that came up, homework questions that needed answering, made last minute Halloween costumes (I’m still doing that), and washed out cuts while applying far too many band-aids for each wound.

As the first with a car I drove everyone everywhere. As the “responsible” one I chaperoned parties, to varying success. Once my friends and family hit college I picked people up from trains and airports, helped move in and out of dorms, and drove to and from schools for weekend visits.

Now I have my own kids and I’m momming for real. And even though my boys take up a lot of my time and many of my friends are married and some even have their own kids, I still answers random questions at odd times of day, remind certain people they need to keep up with self-care, and help my brothers shop for Christmas and birthdays.

I might not always be successful, but I love my friends and family, even when they drive me insane, and like Meg, I would give up anything for them if I had too.


My Boys and Bayonetta

Today through the magic of their highly restricted internet, my three boys managed learned that there were new Amiibos coming out soon (thank you very much Nintendo in-console advertising). Amiibos, for those who don’t know, are little figures that can interact with Wii U games, in this case, the latest Super Smash Brothers. All the characters are from Nintendo franchises and so far my kids have procured quite a collection. Aside from their small plastic faces staring up at me from various places they aren’t supposed to be in the house, I haven’t had a problem with them, until today.

The newest DLC and accompanying Amiibos are Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates, a game Kid #2 is in love with, and…Bayonetta from Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2. Again, for those of you unfamiliar, Bayonetta is a gun toting witch whose outfit is made of her own hair. She is, how shall I say? Provocative. Her games are rated M for mature, for some rather obvious reasons.

Bayonetta (covers)

The gaming community is still split on her character and whether she embodies a kickass woman freely embracing her sexuality or simply eye candy for the straight white male set. I don’t know enough about the games to have an opinion either way, though from my image search and few articles I’ve read I’m leaning towards the latter. But I’m not here to discuss who she is or is not. I’m here to discuss having to talk about men treating women as sex objects to kids young enough to not know what sex is yet.

This is not something that should need to happen. I shouldn’t have to explain to my boys that some grown-up men treat women badly and only like them because they are beautiful and not because they are nice people or smart or can do cool things. I shouldn’t have to tell them that some men are mean to women and think they aren’t as good as other men are. I certainly shouldn’t have to tell them that some men hurt women because they think they are lesser, or worse, just objects. Luckily that last bit didn’t come up, yet. But it will someday.

Today the conversation consisted of me explaining that some men were rude to women who dressed like Bayonetta and that I didn’t want them to be a part of that, even if the Smash Brothers version was toned down. After their why questions that I answered as best as I could, they insisted that they would never treat someone like that. Their sincerity made me smile, but the fact that I had to have this discussion at all made my stomach sick.

Someday I’m going to have to talk to my kids about sexism and catcalling and rape and violence against women. That makes me angry. It makes me angry that other moms and dads will have to do the same thing. And Heaven help the parents of girls!

This is not a society I want my children to exist in. This is not the reality I want them to grow up in. But all I can do about it is talk to them and help them grow up to be good people. I hope that is enough.

Why I Stopped Teasing My Husband For Liking My Little Pony

My Little Pony

There are a couple things you need to know about my family before I continue this post. Firstly, we are all geeks here, especially in relation to movies and TV. All of our favorites are cartoons and/or contain swords or lasers or both. Both my husband and I grew up as geeks and have been indoctrinating our children it the world of geekery since they were born.

As you may know from some of my other posts we have three young boys, which means at my house we don’t get to watch a lot of “grown-up” TV. Until recently it was mostly Nick Jr. Dora and Diego would compete for attention with SpongeBob and Patrick (my kids still use the word ‘barnacles’ as a curse word). So you can imagine how happy I was when the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon came and not only did my kids like it, but it was also amazing! I took to watching it with them and we recorded it so they could watch it whenever they wanted until the DVDs came out. (If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it now. It one of the best cartoons I’ve seen in years!)

Not once did anyone I know have a problem with me watching a “boy’s show”. I’d grown up with TMNT. It was a given that I would end up watching it with my kids. The fact that I was a girl didn’t come up even once.

Then a month ago, I noticed my boys were spending a lot of time on Saturday mornings, watching Netflix with my husband in his office. I finally decided to go see what they were up to and found them all laughing away at the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Now before I go further I would like to point out that not only did I like My Little Pony as a kid, but I have the video tapes of both the original pilot episode and the My Little Pony movie that went to theaters long, long ago. When my boys were a lot younger, the movie was one of their favorites. They watched it all the time. If you haven’t seen it and are a fan of 80s cartoons you should check it out. (Seriously Danny DeVito and Madeline Kahn are two of the many awesome voice actors.)

Anyway, based on all this what do you think happened when I caught them watching the new series? To my shame, it wasn’t what you think. I believe I said something like, “Oh, you guys are watching that show.” Then I rolled my eyes and walked away.

Over the next couple of weeks, both I and my friends (mostly guys) ragged on my husband about it whenever the show came up. I was okay with my kids watching it. It was a kids’ TV show after all. But the fact that my husband liked the very girly show too was (in our minds) a good reason to pick at him. Being my husband, he would mostly stick his tongue out at us and say something to the effect of, “You don’t know what you’re missing.” or “I can like it if I want to. It’s good!”

Not once did it occur to me that this was something I shouldn’t be doing. After all, it was a “girl” TV show. Boy’s shouldn’t like girl’s TV shows.

Wait. What?

It took me far longer than it should have to have this epiphany, but it suddenly occurred to me a few days ago that if I could watch Ninja Turtles with my kids (and sometimes by myself) why couldn’t my husband like and watch My Little Ponies? Yes there are some extreme portions of the MLP fanbase, but that’s pretty much true of every fanbase these days. And as long as he wasn’t keeping pictures of Twilight Sparkle on his nightstand, what was wrong with him enjoying a well written cartoon with the kids or on his own?

Well, the answer is there isn’t anything wrong with it. I was guilty of making fun of him for the same thing that boys made fun of me for doing as a kid.

“You can’t like Transformers! It’s for boys!”

The hell I can’t! You try and stop me! I can like whatever I want. And if other kids made fun of my boys for liking MLP, I’m sure I would have words with them or their parents as well.

So yesterday I apologized to my husband. And I intend on sharing this with my guy friends so they stop picking on him too. My house is now (as I thought it was before) a bully free zone. Everyone in my family is free enjoy whatever shows, movies, comics, video games, etc. they want.

And that should be true in all aspects of our lives. It’s the different flavors of geeks that make our culture truly awesome. No one has the right to tell someone they shouldn’t like X or that they aren’t liking X the right way. There are enough bullies in the world. We should be supporting each other not knocking each other down.

So next time you get a chance, show some geek love to a group you normally might avoid. Because whether you like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony, always remember geekdom is magic.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Back from Vicodin Land

Doctor Doctor by Dongedyframe
Hello again everyone! I’ve been gone from the blog for a bit now haven’t I? It’s been a busy year for me, but most recently it’s been a very boring/trippy month. I had hernia surgery three weeks ago Monday. Since then, I haven’t been able to lift anything over 5lbs. (a gallon of milk is 8lbs.), walk or stand for any length of time, or laugh too hard without hurting. Until the end of last week I wasn’t even able to sit at the computer. Good bits about having surgery: you don’t have to do any cleaning or shopping, and you have an excuse to sit and watch TV all day. Also the pain meds I was on the first week apparently made me a lot more fun to be around.

This was the first time I’ve ever been put under for surgery. It was so weird. The nurse (who was very nice, but a liar) put a mask on me and said, “Okay, this is just oxygen. Take deep breaths to relax yourself.” I knew that wasn’t true. I’ve seen medical shows on TV before. And sure enough, as she’s talking to me the lights above my head started getting closer, like I was floating towards the ceiling. Then I fell asleep and the next thing I knew I woke up in the recovery room! It’s such an odd feeling to fall asleep against your will. It wasn’t scary or anything, just surprising. I somehow didn’t believe I would simply fall asleep than be awake somewhere else as if no time had passed. But that really is what it felt like. But I digress.

The point of this post is I’m now able to sit at the computer again. Which means I’m back to work on Fantasy-Faction, two weeks later than I thought I would be. I saw the doctor today and he said only two more weeks of reduced activity and I’ll be at 100%! Which means I still can’t lift anything and my house is going to stay destroyed for a bit, but he was very happy with how everything was turning out.

In the not so good news department, on top of me being laid out for three weeks from the surgery, my husband and I have had the cold from hell for two weeks. Which wouldn’t be too bad if the kids hadn’t all gotten a stomach bug over the weekend. It’s like my house is cursed with a plague. I’m not sure who I upset enough to get a pox put on my house, but I promise I won’t ever do it again.

So here I am now, two weeks behind schedule, tending sick kids, and so bored from staying put for three weeks that filing papers sounds fun. I have never been so ready to get back to work before in my life. 🙂 I promise if I owe you an email or response to something I should have it to you by Friday. Hope you all are doing well. I also hope I’ll be caught up with everything soonish, because I am really missing my writing right now. All this sitting around has given me way too much time to plot and worldbuild in my head. Time to write it all down!

A big thanks to all the Fantasy-Faction staff that covered things while I was out and to all the well wishes I’ve recieved from all my online friends and family. You guys are the best!

Happy Writing! 🙂

Title image by Dongedyframe.

Lucky Sevens on Friday the 13th

Rainbow by kameronelisabeth

I’m back! And I have good news! My husband Pat got a job! 😀 In other good news it’s spring and I have the windows open. The breeze is blowing fresh air in and airing out my stuffy house. My kids are behaving themselves and it’s Friday! Who could ask for anything more?

Well I probably could, but I’d be pressing my luck. A lot has gone on since I posted last. But before I get into that, let me take a moment to thank Rachel Sasseen (@stellamortis) for prompting me to get my blog back up and running. Monday Rachel tagged me and six other authors in a cool Twitter game called Lucky 7s. Here’s how the game works:

Lucky Sevens

– Open the document for your current MS/WIP

– Go to page 7 or to page 77

– Go to line 7

– Copy the next 7 lines (sentences or paragraphs) and post them exactly as they are written. No changing or cheating!

– Tag 7 authors and let them know.

This sounded like fun, so I came to my blog to post it…and realized I hadn’t posted here in four months, and I didn’t really want to point people here when it was so neglected. So in-between my other projects this week I’ve slowly been getting my blog up to speed and now I think it’s as good as it’s going to get, for the moment. Getting back to the game, here are my results from page 7 of Mark of the Essence.

Solomon slammed his hand down on his wrench trying to get the last bolt to budge. But the heat in the store was making his palms sweaty and his hand slipped past the handle and slammed into the floor of the compartment. “Fate touched! That hurt!”

He rubbed his sore hand for a moment then glared at the offending wrench. He grabbed the handle and reefed on it as hard as he could, ignoring the pain from the exertion. The bolt started to budge and Solomon smiled. “Ha! That’ll teach you, you crappy malfunctioning piece of shit!”

You can (and should) read Rachel’s results here. Hers are funnier than mine.

What else has been going on? Oh!

In February we launched the First Annual Fantasy-Faction Anthology Writing Contest! Next year (2013), Fantasy-Faction will be publishing its first short story fantasy anthology. It will contain six to eight short stories by famous published authors + six stories by unknown authors. These six people will be our contest winners! And in addition to winning a spot in the anthology, the top three places also get a monetary prize as well! You can check out the rules and contest details here.

Speaking of contests, this month’s Fantasy-Faction writing challenge is poetry.

Check it out here.

I’ve also officially signed up to go to Balticon and BookExpo America. I’m going to be going to NY Comic Con again this year, but I’m still waiting for the press pass option to open up.

There are a few more reviews in my review section. I’ll be adding at least one more by the end of the month. I’m actually reading two books at the moment, so we’ll have to see which one wins out.

There’s probably more going on, but I can’t think of anything else right this second. Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Writing! 🙂

Title image by kameronelisabeth.