Tuesday, March 27, 2012

5 Reasons: Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman

I recently finished Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by JB Lynn.  It's one of those books whose hook is enough to keep you turning the pages regardless of the time of night (even when you've got work in the morning).

And here are 5 REASONS why I love this book IN ORDER .

1. The voice is fresh and sassy--not the typical, dare I say, whiny first person narrative we see ALL too often these days.  Maggie Lee isn't the type of woman to whimper and pout about the bad turn life has given her.  She takes charge--and takes aim.

2.  God, short for Godzilla.  The talking Lizard.  I don't know if I have to go on.  There's a TALKING LIZARD!
The best part about Godzilla, this snarky little guy, is how believably he comes across.  This book isn't a fantasy or sci-fi novel.  It's realistic.  Yet, despite the unlikelihood, God fits perfectly into the story, adding a spice and a sneer whenever necessary.  I enjoyed every scene he was in, and always had a laugh for Maggie's affection (or lack there of) for him.
(Not to mention, JB describes his voice as sounding exactly like one of my favorite actors--making him that much more special).

3.  Maggie is a realistic flesh-and-blood woman, with real problems.  Her character wasn't outlandish or unbelievable.  In everything she does, I believed her.  Maggie's family--a bunch of nutters--and work life leave a lot to be desired, and she deals with all their demands while keeping her new secret hidden.
Unlike shoes like Nikita (Maggie Q) and Wanted (Angelina Jolie), Maggie isn't the type of woman to suddenly strut around in skimpy leather outfits, pretending like what she's doing is "no big thing".  She's just figuring out how to go about following the rules of killing someone, and all in the name of love--love for her 3 year old niece whose hospital bills are stacking up.

4.  Confessions is begging for a sequel.  JB wraps up the main plot satisfactorily (and even throws in an epilogue), but gives us a taste of what could be to come--questions yet answered.  There doesn't HAVE to be a sequel (I'd live without one), but JB left her options open.  As I set my copy of the book down and rested my head against my pillow, I wondered just how certain relationships would play out.  Like Paul--what was going to come from what Maggie remarks about him?  And Patrick?  How can I NOT be curious to know how involved he stays in her life, having just trained her to be a hired gun.

5.  Maggie is a hitwoman.  Need I say more?  Yes?  She's slightly neurotic, and her neurosis is half the fun!  Don't take my word for it.  Find out for yourself!

Want to read it?  Go for it!  I recommend it.  What sold me on it, before knowing anything about it, was knowing that Victoria Marini was JB's agent.  This woman is one of my favorite agents in the business, and I trust her judgement!

You can see Victoria's take on Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman here:

And you can always buy it her (only 3.99 on kindle):

Go forth, you readers!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

For the Love of All Things Wordy

Major topic of discussion lately: Words.

Words, words, everywhere words.  Sermons about words, Staff Trainings about words.  Everywhere I go and most things I hear are discussions about words.

Truth is...I love it.  I love words.  I'm a talker.  Words are so amazingly wonderful, and yet people don't seem to realize it.  As a writer, words are essential to my job, my passion.  The way I word things is the difference from bad writing to amazing writing all from the placement of one little word.

Words can do miraculous and fascinating things.  Biblically, words were used when the sick were healed and the dead were raised.  Historically, words have been used to stir revolutions and governmental changes (Martin Luther King Jr.  Winston Churchill  and Abraham Lincoln).  

They can do terrible and evil things.  Again, in the Bible it's through words that Satan causes the downfall of many.  And in reference to History, we need only to look at Adolf Hitler to know how words could change the world.  One man, speaking eloquently to stir a crowd, ushered the genocide of 6 million Jewish individuals.

Even in our every day lives, words can murder, mend, or mature a relationship.

A harshly spoken word can end a friendship, a marriage, a family.  Well placed, wicked, word can be the spark that starts a fire of pain and destruction.

A compassionate, kind, or loving word can mend a hurting relationship, or nurture a relationship that is already blossoming.  When someone acknowledges your hard work, or compliments you--that is beneficial.  A good conversation can brighten my day.
The words "I love you" when spoken to that one and only person you will love romantically--I can only imagine what that must feel like.

Words are so SO important, and yet we hardly notice.  We jabber on and flippantly cast out remarks we don't realize can offend or harm another.

Honestly, the more we talk about words, the more I want to see what it would be like without them.  Like Eddie Murphy's new movie (haven't seen it, is it even out?)  Treat every word like it's important.

If my day job won't have a cow about it, I will ask if I can take a day to "Fast" from words.  I want to spend a full 24 hours without speaking and see just how much it changes my perspective.

I'd best choose carefully ;).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Google Broke my Heart--and other Artistic ponderings

Inspiration hits in the weirdest places.

Funnily enough, so does dejection.

I started this blog on another path, had a paragraph written out about Artists and our crafts.  Then I went to search for a list--you know, a way to say "hey, here are all the listed types of artists.  Look how many of us there are."

But when I hit "search" on my little Google bar, I wasn't there.
Not me specifically of course, but Writers were a part of the lists.  Fair enough to the literal tendencies of Google, neither were Musicians.
Google is ever a cruel Mistress...or Master.

This was somewhat silly to me, but also disheartening.  I then started tap tap tapping away in my Google toolbar for a new search, and to my expectation, Google could fill in the blanks for me--because I was not the only one who was wondering this:

"Are writers considered Artists?"

Of course, every writer on "yahoo answers" said "Yes, I consider myself an Artist", but I couldn't find a concrete "Wikipedia" type assertion that I was INDEED and Artist in the eyes of the world (and not just the eyes of other writers).

In my search I stumbled across another blog; what I read there made me smile, laugh at the truth, and ponder what I was going to write here.  The author was discussing how another woman was described as an "Artist" and therefore allowed to dress in a strange, interesting, stand-out fashion.
The author wondered why their coworker remarked "Uh-uh, don't even think about it.  She's an artist."

But I'm an Artist too...
I just don't create visual art.

My art is all in my head.  I can create anything--any world, any person, any rule.  If I can think it, I can have it. In fact, for my art to be considered "good" (not even great yet), I have to be able to create just those things--People, places, rules, societies, habits--to the finest detail.

So when a fellow Writer/Artist is told "Uh-uh you couldn't wear that. You're no artist"  I balk.

Truth be told, if you've known me through a month of clothing, you'll know I have my own taste.  It isn't always about blending into the crowd, but it's not always about standing out either.

I make my own rules.  If I want to wear leg warmers with a skirt and a boat-neck sweatshirt I will(that sounds totally cute).  If I want to wear jeans and a t-shirt as a standard run of the mill American, I'll do that too.

If I want to pretend to be my character (A villainous Sorceress or a shy tomboy) in public to see how people would react to that character...
Well then, I damn well will!

I'm an artist, no bones about it.
I'm a special kind of artist, because I require you to use your imagination to see what I see.  I won't put it in front of you.  I'll let you create it a bit in your own head.  I'll give you my idea of what I see and the picture in your head will be totally different from the picture in mine.

I love that.
Try it:

Samson slowly turned his head in Eric's direction, though Eric was sure he didn't see him. His face impassive, only his forest green eyes betrayed his alertness.  Those eyes held more wisdom than Eric thought was possible for someone only four and twenty.
From the moment he'd joined the King's Army, Samson had proved to be a surprise.  His short cropped brown hair never broke rank--not even after a restful night's sleep.  The man's intimidation factor was emphasized by the clean cut goatee on his square chin and the often grim mouth.
Samson was the only man who could go longer without expressing any emotions than Eric.  While he watched his Second in command, Eric saw Samson reach up and tap the side of his straight edged nose.  Eric grimaced at the sign.
He'd been spotted.

Now, I don't know who YOU see when you read about Samson.  But I know I see a young man a few doors down.
That's who I modeled Samson after, and if you don't know that boy, you would have no way of knowing exactly what he looks like.
Samson, in your head, is now yours.  How you see him is who he now is to you.
There's your art.
And my art.

This rant was brought to you by Google.
If you'd like to check out the short blog I referenced, here's the URL:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's Starting...

It seems to me that if something is popular, than a portion of my generation and the one beneath it will rally against it for simply that reason.
It's the same reason for Emos.  Nonconformists...conforming to each other.

While I normally couldn't care less about what young Americans are rallying for or against when it comes to a popular topic ("I love Justin Bieber." "I hate Justin Bieber because so many people love him". etc)  I have taken a more recent one to heart.

Kony 2012.

Joseph Kony is an evil man.  That's very simply put.  I don't know all the information, nor do I pretend to.  This movement isn't about me knowing EVERY single fact there is to know about Joseph Kony and what he has done.

The point of this campaign is to get the word out and get enough people behind it to show the government that we care about these kids in Uganda who are being kidnapped and forced to kill.  Kony has taken over 30,000 kids and destroyed their childhood.  If the child won't cooperate, then he or she dies.

I care about this movement.  Truly.  I don't throw my hat into any activist ring just because "it's the thing to do". This means something to me; but as I stated in the beginning, I come from a generation in Facebook, where everyone feels the need to toss in their two bits.

I understand that not everyone will have a heart for this campaign, and I don't hold that against them.  There are several things that I see and think "That's a good cause", yet I am not stirred into action.

However, just because I'm not stirred into action doesn't mean my Facebook status is suddenly going to berate those who believe in it.

To me, it seems wildly immature to post pictures and statuses against Kony 2012.  If you don't support it, or you don't have any interest in it, that's great!  You are entitled to be free to participate in whatever you wish.  We are Americans after all.
But that doesn't mean you should throw stones at the cause.  Joking is one thing, but outright disdain is uncalled for.

I've seen it said that we don't have the money or the man power for deployment, so Kony 2012 isn't relevant.

Watch the video.  We already have a team of troops over in Uganda to help the Ugandans find Kony.  We have the equipment, technology, and military know-how to help them track this man who calls us "The Great Power".  Our government wouldn't have sent the team over there if there wasn't a budget for it.

We have the opportunity to help people--children--and our government is for it if we are.  We The People are standing behind this campaign so the government (democrats and republicans alike) keep our team over there to help the Ugandan military force.

This is my plea:
If you aren't interested, please go about your day in a kind, loving, brotherly manner.  Please don't attack those who care about it.
When you have a cause you are fighting for, won't you want your fellow Americans (and Facebook users--people you "requested" as friends) to support you, regardless of whether they support your cause?

Please play nice, everyone.  This means something to millions.  Don't bash it just because it's the new popular thing and you like to be a rebel and a nonconformist.  Look around...you aren't unique.  And for every hurtful/negative thing you post...think of the kids in Uganda under Kony's "care".

This man deserves to be famous.  Deserves to be known.  But not for anything good he's done.

It's time to Stop Joseph Kony.

Kony 2012