Friday Dog Blog Has a Change of Heart

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Something happened to me, on this 39th anniversary of my birth.



I looked around, and I thought, is this real life?

Is what real life?

Is what real life?

Have I been doing things wrong this whole time?

Doing what wrong?

Doing what wrong?

Have I been rooting for the wrong team?


Quit it with the sports metaphors.


Don't say it

Don’t say it

I can't

I can’t

Say What???

Say What???



Time To Get Political

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This will just take a second.  It is a poor substitute for cute puppies, but I can’t not say anything about this, so please bear with me.

There’s been some recent news for people who have to pee in North Carolina.  (And for people who live in Kansas, but I neither live nor vote in Kansas, so I’ll leave Kansas alone.)  That news is that we no longer have to live in FEAR and TERROR of a transgender person INVADING our precious dichotomous elimination.

(A transgender person, in over-simplified binary terms, is a person who was born with one gender but identifies and lives as another.  So a biological woman identifies as male and presents as male – meaning we would see this person out and about and assume this person was a male.  Same for biological males identifying as female.  We’d see this person and say, hey, there’s a lady.  Moving on.)

This law, that passed the general assembly, which is made up of assholes, and was quickly signed into law by governor mccrory, an asshole, does a lot of really really shitty things.  It’s one thing (and a terrible thing) to say that folks can only use the bathroom corresponding to the gender to which they were born.  This is stupid, and unnecessary, especially as there are literally no reported cases of transgender villainy, bathroom-wise.  (Whereas there are many reported cases of villainy inflicted upon transgender persons, presumably from people who equate transgenderism with creepery when in fact those are two very very different things.)

So that’s one shitty thing.  The law forces transgender people into potentially dangerous situations while protecting the biologically comfortable from literally nothing.

(But wait.  What about when you’re in a bar and the line for the women’s room is really long but there’s no one in the men’s room so you just go in and pee real quick?  Is that going to be illegal now?  IS IT.

No, Sarah, you’re thinking, that’s stupid.  I mean, the legislation is clearly not meant to inconvenience my drunk, white, cis-gendered female ass.  It’s only meant to inconvenience the perverts, and by perverts we mean transgendered people because there already is a law to protect us against actual perverts who are breaking an actual law that is preventing actually harmful things to people.  Again, moving on.)

It gets worse.  The way this law came to pass in North Carolina is that Charlotte, a big city, passed a law that said, hey friends, when you’re in Charlotte, you can’t not serve a gay person in your business because they’re gay.  In addition to being bad business, it is also now a law.  Great, right?  Wrong.  Because then the General Assembly was like THINK OF THE BATHROOMS and convened a special session – A SPECIAL SESSION DURING MARCH MADNESS THAT IS HOW STRONGLY THEY FEEL ABOUT THIS NON-THREAT IN PUBLIC RESTROOMS – where they passed a law that said, say, that nice thing in Charlotte?  Where it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation?  That kind of nice thing is now illegal.

Let’s make sure you understand me correctly:  The state of North Carolina passed a bill that made it ILLEGAL for LOCAL GOVERNMENTS to pass a law protecting its citizens.

This is exactly the situation the phrase “what the actual fuck” was invented for.

(Hidden away in that bill is also the provision that local government can’t pass a law requiring businesses to pay above the state minimum wage.  Which means that places like the Triangle (where I live, and where shit is expensive and where many people who work for my town literally cannot afford to live in this town) could not say to its businesses, hey, you want to benefit from the great things in this area?  You need to pay folks a living wage which, yes, is higher than a living wage might be in other parts of the state but sorry folks, that’s how we roll.  Except it’s not how we roll, since it is now illegal for local government to pass laws like this.

Because smaller government only means smaller government when it’s not accidentally making life better for the villainously queer or the villainously poor.  But let’s move on.)

This, friends, is bullshit.  This law protects nobody from anything, and actively endangers people who need protection.  It peels back the veneer of Southern hospitality and reveals the joker inside who is all, ha ha we only meant hospitality for people who are just like us.

I realize I am a writer of light romance novels that are fluffy and not particularly deep and that people probably seek out to be distracted from the shit like this in the world around us.  And I am glad that I can provide comfort to people, because I do not believe that there are no good people in the world.  There are.  There are even good people in the NC general assembly, probably.  And normally I stay away from posting things about my politics and religious views and such, because that has nothing to do with my writing, nor do the politics or religious views of my readers have anything to do with my writing.

But I can’t see something like this and not say something.  This is some kind of superpower meta-discrimination, and it is couched in language that tries to make it sound like they HAVE to discriminate in order to protect us.  That is a lie, and it is a dangerous, dangerous lie and a disgusting lie that I cannot even in the most accidental way condone.  It is gross.  I am against it.

I just finished listening to Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin and I know we’re all tired of hearing everything compared to Nazis, but here’s the thing.  You read that book, and you think, what the hell, people of the 1930s?  How did you not see that coming?  And the way they did not see that coming is they saw things happening, and they said nothing.  And while my writing persona pretends to be someone who keeps her mouth shut on issues that are not relevant, I can’t do it in this case.  This law is wrong.  It is probably also unconstitutional, but even if it’s not, it’s wrong, and it should be repealed faster than you can say Gay Panic.

If you want to do something about it, consider reaching out to the nice folks at Equality NC.  Or just talk about it.  Let it be known in your communities, in your churches, and in your families that this kind of political machination is hateful and wrong and fucking un-American.  Transgender people do not present a threat to cisgender people in bathrooms.  We’re all just sitting in there together, waiting for the other person to leave so we can fart.

So guess what, fuck you North Carolina.  I hope you lose your stupid basketball game.

Now back to our regularly scheduled frivolity.

Friday Dog Blog is Accessorizing

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Good morning!  I live in North Carolina now.

It’s true.  Very sad to leave WV, don’t really want to talk about it.  But I’m here, and it’s hot.

My main concern is thus:

Starr!  I don’t want her to be hot!  I saw this thing on sale:

K9 Koolee Products

Does she need this?  DO I NEED THIS???

Or is it as Trixie says, that it will be so hot that we will be inside watching TV with the air conditioning on like sensible people?

Or is it that I am having FEELINGS and struggling to deal with them???


Tell me, friends, what is the most extravagant thing you have purchased for a pet?

And: Happy Weekend!

Sunday Morning Slacking

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Good morning, brave readers!  I’m having an aggressively lazy Sunday morning because I have so much to do to get ready for RT. (Like, you know, write a book?  Maybe just a book proposal.  Either way, oy.)  (And do laundry.)  (And put outfits together and giveaways in boxes and ugh so much!) (And I started a running class and I’m supposed to run today but I don’t want to!  I want to be lazy!)  (Anyway.)

My friend Sweet Pammy went to the West Virginia Scottish Games yesterday, and I am jealous.  I was at work, serving the public and such, but on my break, I caught this, which is almost better than Live Men in Kilts:

A New Outlander Trailer! 

OK, it’s not better than Live Men in Kilts, but I have watched it approximately 600,000 times and OMG WHEN IS SUMMER!!!

But does it make anyone nervous that Diana Gabaldon hangs out with George R. R. Martin?  This is why I have only read the first Outlander book.  Because if I don’t read any more of them, nobody has to die and nothing bad happens to Jamie and Claire.  Although I did read one of the Lord John books.  Because I can resist neither repressed homoeroticism nor mysteries.

The other video I wish to share more accurately represents my mood, and is a mea culpa for missing the last two Friday Dog Blogs.  I have dog pixx!  I just keep forgetting to post them.

In the meantime, please enjoy this sloth being extremely lazy, even for a sloth:

Via The Sloth Sanctuary.

How are all y’all spending your lazy Sunday?

Let’s Hear It For the Dork

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I follow a lot of romance writers on the internets, and I sure do enjoy when they share pics of the big, beefy, alpha dudes who inspire their heroes.  I ain’t clickin’ away, you feel me?

But, Keith from Kentucky Home‘s farm muscles notwithstanding, my heroes are decidedly beta.  And, frequently, nerdy.  I mean, a smart guy with a sense of humor (and, fine, muscles)?  I write the hell out of that.

Anyhoo.  This video has been making the rounds and I cannot deal with it.  In a good way.

Watch all three songs if you know what’s good for you.  If you don’t, I do.  Watch the whole thing.

Why does Paul Rudd making jazz hands make me feel funny inside??

I have come to realize that Paul Rudd was totally some kind of subconscious inspiration for Andrew in “Kentucky Home.”  He’s clean-cut and dorky and so not afraid to laugh at himself.  Although Paul Rudd has probably taken more movement classes than Andrew has.  And Andrew wears glasses.

OMG Paul Rudd in glasses.

I have to go.

I tried to respond just on Twitter, but I’m way too wordy for that business.

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I tried to just reply to this blog post in a tweet, but 140 characters ain’t gonna cut it. So I’ll just do this here in a blog post.  Blog-to-blog.  But be warned, mine is a rambler.

Rebecca Rogers Maher writes contemporary romance, but I think if it is possible for books to be the opposite of my contemporary romances, these are them.  For example, she does not frequently employ the cuteness of dogs.  And whereas my books tend to be gentle and light and emo-in-a-fun-way, hers are deep and angsty, but not in a billionaire way.

Anyhoo, she wrote this here blog post:  “Why Writing Flawed Heroines is a Feminist Issue”

And you all know I love me some feminist issues.

Read it.  It resonates with me, and it’s something I struggle with in my writing.  (Is struggle too strong a word?  If I say I struggle, will you still like me???)  I write fun books, and I want to write fun books.  I’m not being pressured by my publisher to be more lighthearted.  I am lighthearted, dammit.  But there are certain demands of a heroine in lighthearted contemporary romance, and though she may be sassy and up to ten pounds overweight, she must definitely be likeable.  This way the reader can relate to her and can root for her happy ending.  Because a likeable heroine, as RRM points out, is one who deserves love.

But, as Samantha Fox so eloquently said, naughty girls need love too.  (Yes they do…)

This is all coming to a head for me because I am currently and again wrestling with Katie Carson’s story.  Katie is the sister of Keith, the hero of Kentucky Home. Katie is, as my friend Pam pointed out, a bitch on wheels.  She is a difficult person.  She has a short fuse and a chip on her shoulder.  She drinks too much.  She sleeps around.  She ends arguments by storming off in a huff.  She’s a little bit of a brat.  But I love her!  If I knew her IRL, I wouldn’t change her for the world!  But as I’m writing, I can’t help feeling like I have to smooth out some of her rough edges to make her loveable, and to make her love story fun.  Because Katie, in addition to being a bitch on wheels, is also a lot of fun.

So I think I’m going to print out this paragraph from RRM’s essay and tack it up to the corkboard that faces my desk, the one I usually reserve for pics of hot guys:

But kindness isn’t the only thing that drives this world. Ambition does too. Intelligence. Integrity. Fierce morals. Physical strength. Incisive humor. Sexual energy. Being really good at what you do. We admire our male characters for these qualities, but our female characters don’t get away with possessing more than a few. And if they do, they must be so pretty and sweet that we don’t feel overwhelmed.

And then she says “Fuck You,” which I also like.

OK, friends, that’s my ramble.  Now I have to go work on my Bachelor recap, where if you ain’t likeable, the Committee of Traditionally Beautiful Women will stone you for not being Here For The Right Reasons.  Convergence!  Or something!

Kisses and Feminism!

Friday Dog Blog is Grateful

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Happy Thanksgiving Yesterday! My friend Craig (“Oh? Who’s Craig?” –My Mom) came over and we ate butternut squash chili and pumpkin pie and some other good stuff.

But this is Friday Dog Blog, so let’s talk about dogs.

The county animal shelter held a Furry Feast, in which we fed the dogs a special Thanksgiving treat (Mutt Loaf!) and then walked them and generally gave them love.  There was also a similar situation with cats, but you all know how I feel about cats.

Anyhoo, it was a gorgeous, sunny, cold day, and a great opportunity to spread some love while preemptively working off Thanksgiving dinner.  And there were a gratifyingly large number of people there, so I only got to walk two of those sweet hounds.

Don’t worry; I took pictures.

IMG_20131128_113710798First up was Jake, who is what we like to call a West Virginia Brown Dog, which is a rare and precious breed in these hills, and by rare and precious I mean that they are everywhere, and they are brown.  And I think they have to be short?  Anyway, Jake and I became best friends and he showed me his special butt-scratching dance.  What I mean is that I scratched his butt, he danced.  Too cute!

IMG_20131128_115737869_HDRThen there was Fallon, who was big and old and quiet and slow and did a great job peeing on everything the other dogs peed on.  Fallon reminds me of my dream to start a rescue organization for elderly, gray-faced dogs called Old Bitches Rescue Network (OBRN).  Fallon is a male dog, but I would not be prejudiced in the OBRN.

And then I went home and ate my body weight in squash products.

What did you all do for Thanksgiving?

Oh, Just Musing.

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So, two things on the internet have spoken to me already this morning.  And it’s not even noon!

Thing 1:


How should I be feeling about the fact that I can relate to Mary Worth AGAIN?  Tell me how to feel!

I’ll tell you how I feel.  I feel crummy because my back hurts and Mary Worth is giving me the words to let my feelings fly.  Feelings like: ouch, and: geez I am out of shape, and: why does everything bad happen to me?  Because I am not good at being sick or injured.  You know how they say that men are total babies with an injury?  That is me.  I am so manly when it comes to dealing with pain.


Speaking of the gender dichotomy (and when am I not), here is Thing 2:

Danielle Steel: “Are you still a Brain Surgeon?”

In which Danielle Steel, one of the most famous and prolific authors in the western hemisphere, responds to men (it’s always men!) who ask her if she is still writing:

It goes like this, I run into a man I know or meet at a dinner party for the first time in a long time. After hello, they open with, “So, are you still writing?” Hmmm…..this immediately suggests to me that they have not read the NY Times (bestseller list) in many years, the Wall Street Journal, or maybe they don’t read at all. Yes, I am STILL writing. What this does is that it immediately puts my writing into the category as a hobby. As in, are you still taking piano lessons, doing macrame, have a parrot? I don’t have a huge ego about my work, but let’s face it, for me it is a job. A job I love, and I have been doing it since I was 19 years old. I have been in the Guinness book of world records repeatedly for having a book on the bestseller list for more weeks consecutively than whoever. Yes, for Heaven’s sake, I am still writing. It’s my work, my job, how my family eats and went to college.

She goes on and it’s kind of awesome, especially when she describes men who can’t handle women’s success as “really a bore and not much fun.”  I think of all of the fabulous author photos of her that I have encountered and this is exactly what I imagine the woman on the back of her books saying.

Anyway, I love a chance to get up in arms about gender inequality, and if you laugh because it is inspired by Danielle Steel, that just means that you are dismissive of women’s writing and women’s tastes and I get to punch you in the gut.

Because, listen.  I ain’t no Danielle Steel.  My books are neither as fabulous nor as plentiful.  So people don’t ask me if I am still at it, but they do ask me how much it is selling, or how much money I have made.  And those people are always men.  Seriously!  I don’t think I have ever had a woman ask me how many books I have sold.  Does this mean men need to quantify success (in which case, why the hell are they up Danielle Steel’s butt?)?  Or does it just mean that Danielle Steel and I know some dickish men.

I don’t mean all men, of course.  I know some very nice, very generous men.  Some of them are from my books, and they are made up by me.  Some are from other books, made up by other people.  Some are real.  What I’m getting at is that I’m not saying that either of the above stories means that all men are obsessed with success.  I’m just saying that only men ask me that question.

And my back hurts.

In other news, Professor Goose got a new kitten, and guess how her big cat feels about it:


Strunk and White Up In Here

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I did not use proper title case in the above blog title.  Keeping it!  Because I live on the edge.  The Grammar Edge.

For an English major, I have pretty appalling grammar.  I write like I talk.  I put commas where pauses go.  I end sentences with prepositions.  I say “talk” instead of “speak.”

It’s called narrative voice, people!

No, it’s called laziness.

Which is why I am filled with gratitude that my publisher has amazing copyeditors (copy editors?) who fix all of my dumb mistakes so Vassar does not revoke my degree.  I am a person who appreciates minutiae (job requirement for a librarian), but to have to go through another one of my dumb manuscripts looking for where I misused a semicolon; that seems like the tenth circle of hay-ull.

For those of you who have never had the benefit of a professional copy( )editor, let me share a small tool of the trade.  For each manuscript or series, they create a style sheet that documents the grammar rules that must be consistent in the document.  (Chicago Manual of Style, holla!)  This also includes character descriptions, place names, phrases, and other things that are unique to the book and must be kept consistent throughout.  (They also point out when I use the same word twice in one paragraph.  But since I don’t have a blog copy editor, I’m leaving it in.)

So, I’m working on my corrections for Kentucky Christmas (coming to an e-reader near you in December!), and I’m looking over the style sheet for Kentucky Home and marveling at the thorough job she did with the style sheet because under “Words/Terms/Phrases” we have items like bed head, Tilt-A-Whirl, perv, Greenbrier, and my personal favorite:

Handsome Farm Guy Calendar for Women Who Liked Their Dirty Calendars Modest

Which I hope you all recognize as sort of a throw-away joke from Kentucky Home, but which has been diligently documented on the style sheet.  And which is why I am full of pity and gratitude for copy editors.

Copy Editors 4 Life!

That’s it.  Carry on.  Sentence fragments.