Thursday, August 29, 2019

7 Things About Aloha to You

Hey, so, in case you haven't heard, my novella Aloha to You is now available at an etailer near you:
1. Seth is an aspiring journalist stuck in a job he doesn't like.  So he accepts the chance to do a fluffy interview with a woman who had a decent social media following.  Adriana is a DC-based lei maker who has crafted a life both on and off social media.  They have very different appoarches to life.  And they can't stop thinking about each other.  
2. The novella kicks off my City Complications series, but each story will feature it's own couple, so while their may be easter eggs that are more amusing to those who have read everything, feel free to start anywhere.  (Once the others are out.  Right now there's just one, so easy peasy.)
3. Content note:  This story contains a character dealing on page with anxiety and somewhat controlled panic attacks.  As always, it will not be the best story for everyone to read right now.  Also this one does contain on page sex.  
4. I have been accused of being contrary, which seems unfair and incorrect.  But the germ of an idea for this story did come to me as I was thinking how I would probably never write a royalty story because I'm not that interested in contemporary monarchies and then I realized I could write about someone who was self-declared princess on social media.  
5.  Another thing that will not surprise long time readers is that I really thing the world needs more stories about the people who live in DC who are not politicians.  So here you are, two folks, living in DC, making plans based on metro, and neither one of them is a politician.  
6.  I have a love/hate relationship with instagram myself.  But in thinking about what kind of people would really love Instagram or similar sites, and why they would find it a great and useful tool, I won't tell you I learned to love Instagram, but I appreciated why it's so popular with so many. 
7.  Also, if your brain is subject to hearing titles in song, and you hear Aloha to You to the tune of Michelle Branch's "Goodbye to You", well you are not alone.  If you don't, well, that's fine too.
Also, some of the folks I followed on Instagram for flower inspiration include @hakumaui, @helemelehi, @hawaiianleicompany, and @floraforager


Monday, August 26, 2019

Ripped Bodice Bingo - 2019

I participated in the Ripped Bodice's Summer Bingo again.  I tried to stick to books already in my TBR, but a few extra snuck in.  As always, some books counted for multiple categories (although obviously I picked only one when I submitted.)  No reviews here, although I've talked about one or two before and some may show up in my quarterly roundup.  It's alwasy a fun way to reorder the TBR, which is why I like doing this.  
Also warning, eloping is in quite a few cases a spoiler.  
Beach on the Cover - Hawaii Magic by Beverly Jenkins 
Next Door Neighbor - I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest, Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Atheist - Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo [technically Buddhist, but most Buddhists are atheists], One Life to Lose by Kris Ripper, As La Vista Turns by Kris Ripper 
Show Business - Crashed Into Her by Mia Sosa, Syncopation by Anna Zabo, Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo, The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker 
Queer Paranormal - We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Assasins - (Had planned to finish Robin Lafevers Mortal Heart, did not quite complete it.) 
Eloping - Rebel by Beverly Jenkins, The One You Can't Forget by Roni Loren, Repeat by Kylie Scott
Takes Place in Multiple Countries - Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole, Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, Fly With Me by Hudson Lin, With the Fire on High, An Innocent to Tame the Italian by Caitlin Crews
Sassy Grandparent - With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, Rebel by Beverly Jenkins, Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Heroine Smells Like a Flower - The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen, The One You Can't Forget by Roni Loren, Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Both Leads Over 50 - Fly With Me by Hudson Lin [their ages are not mentioned, I made an assumption that they could be]. 
Title Includes Character's Name - There's Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon, Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Dragons - (Meredith Katz's Smoke Signals would have been great, had I not already read it.)
Kilts - Her Royal Higness by Rachel Hawkins
YA Historical (The Robin Lafevers also would have worked here. As would Robin Talley's Pulp, since it has a dual timeline.) 
Wine and Spirits - Crashing Into Her by Mia Sosa, As La Vista Turns by Kris Ripper 
Cowboys (Brenda Jackson and Mia Hopkins have some great cowboys.) 
Roadtrip - Polaris Rising by Jesse Mihalik, I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
Epistolary - Red White and Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston, The One You Can't Forget by Roni Loren
Royalty - Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole, Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Tarot - Hired by Zoey Castile
Someone Wears a Costume - Polaris Rising by Jesse Mihalik, Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
Prom - With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest
F/F Contemporary - Off Limits by Vanessa North, Her Royal Higness by Rachel Hawkins, As La Vista Turns by Kris Ripper

Tara Kennedy

~Memory feeds imagination. – Amy Tan

Friday, August 23, 2019

Book News: Aloha to You

Hey, Folks, I have a novella releasing next week!  It is the first in the City Complications series. 
Blurb and preorder links below, and also over in the books tab.  

Aloha to You -

Seth is an aspiring journalist stuck in a day job he hates. When he interviews a DC-based lei maker he finds himself drawn to Adriana's non-traditional approach to following her dreams. But will his doubts about her approach ultimately be their undoing?
Adriana's already learned the dangers of living a life partially on line. She has set up boundaries and routines to keep herself safe. But it turns out routine can get a little, well, routine. Will Seth be the perfect addition to her life, or further proof that trusting others always ends in tears?
Some people have to find their dreams, Some people make them.

Out 8/29/19.  Available for preorder at various etailers


Universal Link:

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. This overview of some of the actions Jewish people and their allies have been taking across the country to protest the concentration camps was interesting. If this, or the continuting TMT protests in Hawaii have not made it onto your news, consider diversifyng your news sources. 
2. It isn't quite Banned Books month, but this piece looked at how some authors are finding themselves uninvited, because their books might depict people. (These are middle grade books, so it's not racy actions of a character, just the presence of people.) 
3. DCist took a look at why two newish hotels in DC have radio stations

Monday, August 19, 2019


Saturday was Bookstore Romance Day. I went to both One More Page and East City Books before going on to my normal Saturday plans. One More Page had a scavenger hunt, mimosas, a prize wheel, scones, cotton candy, and snocones. It was some good stuff. 
East City had some events planned for later but I enjoyed stopping by and seeing romance displays. 
As someone said, indie bookstores have begun embracing romance, such that there were six local stores participating (and honestly there are three more that carry romance, not everyone participates in all the things). It was great to see displays, and fun, and bookstores bragging about their romance. I hope it becomes a regular thing. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

How Four Weddings and a Funeral Made Me Mad

I was intrigued at Hulu's "Four Weddings and a Funeral" mini-series and added it to the watchlist. The main group of friends is all American now, having landed in London (for the most part) after attending school there. 
It is clearly more reboot than remake, some of these characters are brown, non-Christian. It does appear so far, that they are all straight though. (There are some very secondary characters who might not be straight.) There is also no one who has a nickname that makes fun of their looks, which is nice.
Given the longer stretch of time, more time occurs between the weddings, which is interesting although is does somewhat take away from some of the fun of figuring out what happened to people between these stretches of time. 
The first episode Maya meets Kash at the airport only to later discover he is dating her friend Ainsley. Obviously that's a tough line, but one assumes fast forwards of time, other relationships this all gets worked out. 
We also have Duffy who's apparently been silently in love with Maya forever, Gemma - Ainsley's British best friend, and Craig who is dating a girl he doesn't treat very well, and has a secret. 
My anger came from the Maya storyline so I will focus there. 
It doesn't seem much of a spoiler - since it happens in the first episode - to tell you it takes until the wedding between Kash and Ainsley for Kash to realize that he's not on the track he wants to be so he bails (sadly mid-wedding). The show by then had worked hard to show Maya and Kash still having chemistry and likes in common. Here's where I will get more spoilery as we move into the third episode and on. 

Meanwhile Duffy decided to date someone who was great and listened to him and then decided life was short and dumped her and declared himself to Maya. Which sure. But where I went what now, was when Maya responded positively. Because the show had worked to demonstrate Maya's things in common and interest with Kash and had shown Duffy to pay particular attention to Maya but it had done nothing to make me believe Maya liked Duffy. Nothing. So it seemed like a fake speed bump so that when she and Kash saw each other again he couldn't ditch his girlfriend for Maya. 
Yes, we first met Maya involded in a relationship with a married man.  Yes, the show is telling us (and showing us) she has made bad decisions about men.  But somehow Duffy thinks he deserves her.  I'm not saying she's too good for him, she's not.  But the show seems to be treating Duffy's decision to toss aside the fellow teacher who read his 1400 page manuscript because she was nice but no spark as Duffy chasing his dream.  Whereas Maya dating Duffy and then ultimately deciding that it was nice but no spark because she realized she wasn't over Kash even though obviously he wasn't available to her, seems to be Maya continues to make bad decisions about men.  Even though she is actually trying very hard to make good decisions. 
I'm going to confess some of my anger about this - besides the idea that I honestly think you should shower jewels upon anyone who loves you enough to read your 1400 page manuscript.  (For those less clear on this, 1400 pages is about the size of three novels.  It is too long for one, even if it was an epic fantasy with a glossary in back which this is not.)  But, putting that to the side, I actually can tell that the show is planning to hook Duffy up with Gemma. So basically, I can already see who everyone is going to end up with, which is again a sign that the show knows how to signal these things to me when they want to and there was still no sign that Maya was going to respond to Duffy.  Not even a post-first hook up comment that for once she was dating a good guy.  
And Duffy has also gotten short shrift here, he is the character who longs, who notices that Maya hadn't attended a funeral since her mom's, that Ainsley was going to regret missing Craig's wedding, but he's also the guy who dumped a nice fellow teacher for lack of spark.  He made his students open his publishing letters. He decided a non-specific letter Maya wrote and then left in his jacket was to him even though it specifically said that things were complicated and that she knew wanting him was bad for her.  And look, I get it.  We'd all love to be a moment away from getting what we want.  But if that letter had been about him, then that would be him realizing that she thinks they should not be together but he should override her wishes.  And that's also gross.  
And in the end. I still feel this storyline gives Maya the shortest shrift.  Because Maya's the one who now can't make a choice that allows for her own happiness without having to hurt not one but two cast members who actually have only a limited say in her life choices.  Meanwhile another cast member got to handwave away a whole child.  (So far.)
So yeah, in the end everyone got what they wanted and needed.  But the framing of one character's journey made her look like more of a bad person than it needed to.  
I am still watching but the show is going to have to do some heavy lifting on both the Maya and Duffy fronts to redeem this for me. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. Apartment Therapy had a look into cultural appropriation in the world of home decor
2. Yeah, much like that xkcd comic, someone got "NULL" for their license plate, and well, messing with databases never ends well.  
3. Yelp and Grubhub, who I had not realized were under similar ownership, have added a service that appears to charge restaurants for phone calls.  

Monday, August 12, 2019

Books and Theater: Moulin Rouge

And finally, the book pairings I think share some thematic resonance with Moulin Rouge.  A particular caveat.  I do not read a whole lot from this particular time period, so I'm focusing on other aspects. 
Heidi Helig's For a Muse of Fire has theater, and performance, and trying to survive.  The story also includes ephemera including scripts of things that are happening. 
Lucy Parker's Act Like It has characters finding lines blurred between their stage relationship, their staged relationship, and their actual relationship. 
Rebekah Weatherspoon's Treasure remains a delight I continually recommend for the story of a stripper and the woman who can't keep her eyes off her, for it's discussion of artistic expression, class difference, and depression and what that means for your love life. 

Thursday, August 08, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1.  R.O. Kwan talked about why she decided it was important to be visible as a bisexual
2. This story of the changing DC as seen through long time liquor stores is fascinating.  
3. This poem by Sarah Kay about how we reach out when there are tragedies, is haunting. 

Monday, August 05, 2019

No New Words

One of the more mundane things about having become the nation of mass shootings is running out if words. Technically I am never out of words, words are my jam. But having written multiple times about mass shootings, having expressed sadness that we as a nation have prioritized the rights of guns over the right to live, having talked about how there is no place, not work, not school, not places of worship, not places of shopping, not concerts, not picnics safe from guns, what else is there to say? I can say that I will continue to work to change this, that I remember life before the assault weapon ban lapsed and I can see the difference, count the friends I have lost, and the friends I have had to wait to hear they were okay. But I said that before. It's still true but it's of little comfort when we are still gathering the list of names from the last shooting as news of the next comes in. I used to be able to tell overseas friends that you could go your whole life without being touched by gun violence here. It required some privilege and some luck, but we have made it ever less possible, chipped away at both the privilege and the odds. The only tiny solace I have is knowing the list of people who are mad grows daily. The only comfort I can offer these latest loved ones is that I am still mad, I am still motivated, and I will keep working. 

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. I don't just like this primer on self-care at conferences because I'm in it, although it doesn't hurt.  But yeah, you can do all the things, or very few of the things, finding your best amount is key.  Along with some semblances of routine.  
2. Wendy the Superlibrarian has some thoughts on the recent Macmillan announcement about library lending restrictions. As someone who currently has six books out from the library in either e or audio right now, my library lending supplements my extensive bought books.  As I've said before, libraries kept me in books when my book budget was minimal, and now that it's less minimal, the books I borrow often turn into books I buy and recommend.  Less library books won't make me buy more, it will make me buy less because I won't have the lower risk option.  As book prices creep up, I can't buy as many as I could before.  Any libraries build and sustain readers.
3. 70 songs is the answer to how many songs and song snippets appear in "Moulin Rouge" the Broadway version.  This article takes a look at the clearance process.