Cults and other weirdness

Do you ever get a weird song stuck in your head? If you are a human being, the answer is probably. And if the human being is me, then I have a song stuck in my head right now. I guess it’s just the subject matter that’s weird, because the song is oddly catchy. The subject is cults.

 

Speaking of weirdos, I write a series about a giant loser and his boyfriend. This is a cut part from One Little Lie where Ryan and Luke are hanging out in Ryan’s room being cute. They can’t be as on top of each other as they want to be because Ryan’s dad is home, they are teenagers, and Ryan’s father possibly owns a firearm. Okay, you are caught up.

~

Luke

“As much as I like your dad, you should probably open the door, so he doesn’t come back.”

“I don’t wanna get up.” Ryan groaned and buried his face in my chest. “Carry me.”

“Yeah, like that would work.”

Ryan was taller than me, though it was hard to tell when we were lying on the bed and he was clinging onto me like an octopus. I poked him in the side with a finger and he squirmed, so I did it again. He clung onto me tighter in retaliation, but I didn’t mind him being pressed up close to me in the first place, so I let him.

“Are you calling me fat?” he asked in a mock scandalized tone but didn’t pull away.

“I’m calling you a giant.” I wrapped my arms around him instead of pushing him away like I was supposed to. This wasn’t cuddling or something girly like that. It was just… a lying down hug. Okay, that didn’t sound any better.

He pulled his head back enough to glare. “You’re ruining the mood.”

“Think your dad did that,” I pointed out.

“Yeah, he’s good at that,” Ryan sighed before pulling away and getting up and opening the door.

“Too bad,” I continued. “I’m sure you were looking forward to doing that yourself.” Ryan was a smartass and could be kinda awkward, so he wasn’t the smoothest guy I’d ever dated. Well, no, he was, because he was the only guy I ever dated. Somehow, he made being weird seem attractive.

He came back and sat on the bed, hitting me in the stomach with a hand. “How dare you,” he protested. “I am romantic and sexy and errrrrotic.” He dragged the ‘r’ sound out while waggling his eyebrows at me.

Okay, sometimes he made being weird attractive and sometimes he was just weird. But still, it was cute coming from him. Even if I didn’t tell him that. “See that right there?” I asked smugly. “Ruining the mood.”

My TV broke and I had no idea

Quirky shows that nobody understands are right up my alley, and no matter how many times I tell myself not to get attached–confusing programs that make no sense don’t lead to ratings for some reason–I fall in love anyway. Though I think Dispatches from Elsewhere will at least get a resolution even if it’s not renewed because it’s an anthology show.

What is the series about? Guess. Really, your blind guess might be closer to the truth. Okay, I’ll try a summary. Four strangers are thrown together for what they think is a social experiment or something. It’s about characters doing stuff. They play games, dance with Bigfoot, and possibly don’t exist, so I really have no idea what’s happening. I still enjoyed whatever it is I watched.

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Photo from AMC

There’s also lots of art, music, and artistic, intellectual stuff that goes over my head. So due to this, and because it’s a crazy show where you have no clue what’s real, I didn’t question it when the episode started flickering in and out. It was subtle, and the characters were exploring in the dark. The effect worked, the light going in and out while they pondered the mystery of a possibly dead girl. Good job on the eeriness, show!

Except it kept flickering, becoming like a strobe light. Still, I figured it was part of the vibe. Everything is a little mystical, experimental, and odd, so the picture flickering wasn’t even the strangest part of the episode.

When the big, emotionally resonant part of the episode happened, and the whole screen turned black off and on, I finally realized there might be a problem with the TV. Because the big, emotionally resonant part would be more, you know, big and emotionally resonant if I could clearly see the character’s faces.

I watched almost a whole episode of the hour long show where the picture went from a little off to majorly screwed up. Elsewhere is the only show where I would think, ‘oh they’re just doing a thing’ and not ‘something’s broken.’ Something was broken. But it’s fixed now. Yay!

Tina Turner is still alive

Did you know the song Simply the Best is by Tina Turner? If you’re me, you definitely didn’t know that until right now. And if your first question after hearing the name Tina Turner is, hey, is she still alive? Yes! She’s Swiss now so that’s cool.

True story, I don’t like ballads. Which is less a story and more a sentence about my musical preferences. Simply the Best is no exception, so I’m not a fan of the song. However, I do like Tina Turner and have vague memories of trying to dance like her when I was a toddler. It’s a really good thing no photographic evidence of that exists because it sounds very embarrassing for me.

As someone with no musical ability, it’s crazy how someone can take a song and sing it differently and then I love it. Is it magic? I have no idea! I really love this version of the song by Noah Reid.

 

 

Lovely nonsense

With the volume off and the TV recording Dispatches from Elsewhere, the show makes no sense. I also had zero idea what it was about beforehand. When I saw some of it on mute, my best guess was the show involves something about dolphin mind control and acid trips. Starring Sally Field and Jason Segel.

Watching from the beginning with the sound on helps… a little. It mostly still makes no sense and I still couldn’t really tell you what it’s about. People are playing what might be a game? I don’t love shows with big mysteries because they rarely get solved, but I’m loving the hell out of this one. The show is hilarious and quirky, and while I have no idea what’s happening, it’s great.

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from telltaleTV

And it’s very, very pretty. I almost never notice visual details so that is the most explanation I can offer. Art is heavily involved and basically every scene is lovely. The music is also really good, and I think that’s important too, though I can’t tell you why. Everything is maybe important and it’s a show about people/art/music I think???? If I had to guess, the show is about making connections to anything you can make connections to, including people, art, and music.

There’s one part I wanted to share. At the beginning, the show promises to give you a quick character rundown before getting to the action without wasting time… it then spends the whole episode exploring the character anyway because it’s the show’s version of saying what the character needs like the song in Wizard of Oz. Which I thought was cool and really easy to see… once Jason Segel explained it.

So anyway, at the beginning, they say this is Peter or Fredwynn or Clara. Imagine them as you. And then there’s a few details to make the character relatable to the audience. I really love how this is done, super good storytelling disguised as lazy storytelling.

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This is Simone. Think of her as you.

So that part is just like all the others, her intro is the same. Yet it’s still not something you hear everyday, openly inviting people to relate to a trans girl. It’s a small moment but one I absolutely adore.

 

 

Ryan!

As someone who will use any excuse for a moodboard, I really like moodboards for some reason, here’s one for the character Ryan from One Little Word I have definitely made art for OLW before, but this is new art. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t use the “as a gay scientist” picture the first time, such a missed opportunity and travesty. Plus, I’m celebrating the new edition of the book.

 

There was a lot to Ryan.

I couldn’t force any baseball knowledge into his brain unless he thought a player was hot, but he absorbed science facts like a sponge. He listened to weird bands I’d never heard of, but they played good music. He was a devoted son, and he loved pasta but was so bad about not getting sauce on his face.

 

I’m not sure this is related, but in my head it is, so that’s close enough for me, as I’m you know, the one writing this. David from Schitt’s Creek kind of reminds me of Ryan because they’re both opinionated, sarcastic, and awkward. Which is as good a reason as any to post a clip of David being cute with his boyfriend.

 

 

 

shitt’s creek

My newest obsession is Schitt’s Creek, which has been on my Netflix watch-list literally since I got Netflix. It’s been so long that actually watching it marks the end of era as the show will never again be that thing I want to watch but have never seen. But that’s okay. It’s really freaking good.

I am now going to gush about the show a little, which I have given myself permission to do because I also found a way to relate it back to books.

Premise: Schitt’s Creek is one of those riches to rags stories about a wealthy  family who loses everything and has to start over. Which feels like a trope even though the only other show I can think of like it with a similar premise is Arrested Development.

Schitt’s Creek is the name of the town the Rose family starts over in, and Schitt is the name of the town’s founders, and their descendants still live in the town. It’s also ‘shit’ with an extra ‘t’, duh, but that apparently makes it appropriate enough to display with no censorship at all, which I think is really cool.

Why it’s awesome: Everything everyone says is hilarious, or the way they say it is what makes it fantastic, and I adore stories about terrible, selfish people learning to be a little less self-centered, preferably while still being endearingly terrible.

Also, duh, there’s queer characters! Awesome queer characters too. Even though it took me forever to start watching, usually the quickest way I start a book or show is: Do I have a mild interest? Are there gay people? If the answer to both is yes, I’m totally there.

My darlings:

Alexis, the adventurous free spirit. She also has hella style game, and she’s gorgeous. I would love to say I’m more like her, but I’m not.

David is who I uncomfortably identify with. He’s a worried over-thinker who is moody and obnoxious with an acerbic wit that is usually not appreciated. P.S. yay for pansexuality. In terms of growth and personal story, I prefer Alexis’ arc better. But David has the best romance.

Books!

Okay, now after being a loser about a TV show I love, here is a quote from One Little Word about being chill and not a weirdo.

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College Admissions, but in a fun way!

Talking about anything in the world? Super easy, I will do that even if not asked. Talking about myself? Not my favorite thing. Especially if I have to say nice things about me. My self esteem isn’t terrible, but boasting about yourself is just awk. So I’m pretty sure I hated writing college admissions essays.

But college essays written by the Stranger Things kids? I’m so there. I also enjoyed these because ‘freaking out about college’ is half the plot of One Step Forward. The real college application process is stressful as hell but fun when fictionalized.

My favorite character in general is Steve. And that he used a dictionary definition in his essay is objectively hilarious and perfect. I also enjoyed it because I had the character Luke do the same thing and they are both sweet, un-creative confused bisexual disasters.

I have one friend who also loves Stranger Things and we were at trivia the week after the third season aired. I asked what he thought about the latest episodes, and he looked at me and said, “You can’t spell America without Erica.” Which might be the best response to anything ever. So this is my way of saying that Erica’s essay was also awesome.

A little bit of…

Friendly reminder to live your life with this much confidence. Not that I’m telling you what to do. I’m going through a Schitt’s Creek phase, so this is mostly just my excuse to post this video. Maybe it’s not good to be so oblivious to one’s own flaws, but on the other hand, if you don’t know about your weaknesses, you can’t let them stop you.

It makes me happy that all I had to do was type “a little” into Youtube and it knew what I wanted.

 

And now the story of this story

Because I am incapable of on topicing, first I have to say that the title I made up sounds like something Perd Hapley would say. He’s the painfully literal over-explainer and reporter from Parks and Rec for those who aren’t as Perd obsessed. Actually, maybe the title is an actual quote from him? Well, either way, totally intention on my part.

(The only way to improve on the perfection of Perd, in my opinion, is to know his actor is also a reporter in real life and he only plays reporters.)

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pic from reddit

The Story’s Origin Story

Fun fact, or at least one of those things, when I wrote One Little Word, I had no idea what I was doing. It was my first ever YA gay romance and the plot contained such depth and complexity. Just kidding, the original idea was this: so there’s this nerd. And then there’s a jock. And they aren’t friends but then they have to date for reasons.

How did I come up with something so original? Easy, I didn’t try to be unique! I wanted to use popular tropes. Plus, I was also counting on my complete inability to ever keep things simple to ensure the end result would be both familiar and unique.

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Needed a picture, so here’s one with a quote from the book.

Writing this, it sounds like I had a plan with this novel. When I wrote it, again, I had no idea what I was doing. Whether I’ve learned anything since then, who knows, but now I more confidently fumble my way along.

These observations brought to you by my attempts to make a print version of the ebook.

Extreme Makeover Book Edition

Someday I would love for all my books to have print and audio versions. Though, it’s hard to say when that mythical day will arrive. My current print efforts are being done with all the speed of an old, doomed gazelle at a watering hole.

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Another quote

The cool part is that the ebook is getting an update. New cover, expanded scenes, theoretically more editing. Which means, when One Little Word goes on sale, that’s a perfect opportunity to get the new edition, become acquainted with the series, or even leave a review. I’m saying all this as if it’s totally just occurring to me and not something planned at all.

The One Little Word sale is from, oh my god, I literally just looked it up, how do I not remember again? Okay, the sale is from Feb 16-23. The book will be 99 cents the whole time. Yay!

Also, if you have Kindle Unlimited, anytime before April is a good to check out the book. Or any of the books I’ve written. Since they are leaving the KU library. I have as much idea as you whether this will be a permanent change or not, which means I have no idea. Unless you have an idea, then you know more than me, so let me know? That would be kind.

The End

And now, I’m going to start as I began, with gratuitous Perd Hapley.