Category Archives: AZ Challenge

5 lessons from the A-Z Challenge

The April A-Z Challenge is over, and I completed it! Yay! Yeah, I started late and ended on the first day of May, but overall, I’m pretty proud of myself. Wait brb.

Okay, back now, and, WOAH! So, I just did that thing that Obama did once where a fly flew at me and I def caught it in my hand and smushed it SO I AM A SUPERHERO! I am feeling pretty good about myself at this moment! I mean, I’m basically Obama now, right?

Ahem. Anyways, as I wrote this weekend, I wanted to share my (beware corporate speak) KEY TAKEAWAYS from the experience for my fellow bloggers out there to compare and contrast. These “lessons” are very personal to me, and are in no way meant to tell anyone else how to blog, but in case others are interested I thought I’d put ’em down on virtual paper because I always like reading about others’ blogging and writing processes.

Lesson 1: I’m a planner: In the past, I’ve always had a vague goal of blogging a few times a week. Sometimes I’d accomplish this, and other weeks I’d fail, usually due to procrastination or pure laziness. During this challenge, however, I made a planned commitment to blog pretty much every day for a month, and I set aside a time to do it–around 9 pm every night for the following day’s post. And, guess what? It worked! With the exception of this past Saturday, which was supposed to be Z but got pushed back due to my being in NOLA for JazzFest and then getting a killer cold virus, I didn’t miss a day, and I finished the challenge. So, moving forward, I’m going to commit to posting minimum 2x per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with my planned blog writing time being Monday and Wednesday evenings. Huzzah for planning!

Lesson 2: Less is sometimes more: I felt better about (and got more views on) many of my shorter posts over the course of the challenge–especially humor posts. I’m going to try to keep my posts under 800 words, unless I feel like I need to go in depth on a topic. I can be a rambler in my writing, and since I don’t really edit my blog posts I need to just cut myself off. Lol not every thought I have is gold!

Lesson 3: Personal stories always connect: I love writing humor on my blog, and a lot of readers like it, too, but the post over the course of the month with the most views was the most “serious” one, F is for Fatass. It was hard to write, but it was worth it. I’m not saying my blog is going to become The Sad Sob Stories of Jackie–sometimes I need to write about boobs whether y’all want to read it or not–but issues I deal with like mental illness and body confidence connect with my readers, and are important for me to share, so I will continue to share them.

Lesson 4: Ask and you shall receive: Bloggers are always saying, “If you want people to comment, ask them to do so!” For the longest time I didn’t, but now I do and the frequency with which people comment has increased a ton. YOU WERE RIGHT, OTHER BLOGGERS, OKAY?

Lesson 5: Fun and engagement are the goal: Throughout the challenge, there were several times I started posts and deleted before publishing because I didn’t have fun writing them, or didn’t feel engaged while writing. I’m glad that I did this, because if I don’t like writing a 500 word post at all, or am not interested in it, then why the fuck would you want to read it? For instance, I’m liking writing this blog advice shizzle right now because I think it is useful and sort of funny, so I’m gonna keep typing away. If a topic doesn’t engage me, I won’t force it. It’s not like I’m gettin’ paid for this, so I’m NINE YEARS OLD I DO WHAT I WANT, ya know? So, have fun out there!

 

Anyone else participate in the challenge? What were your takeaways? Did you have fun? I had a blast 🙂 Lmk what you think in the comments! ❤

ZZZs and Zaps (A-Z Challenge)

This is it! The last post of the April (now May, I started late) A to Z Blogging Challenge! I’m here in New Orleans still, leaving tonight to head back to San Francisco, and it’s been an interesting couple of days.

On Saturday, our group went on a FANTASTIC walking tour of the Garden District in NOLA, where all the huge mansions are, including the one from American Horror Story: Coven AND Anne Rice’s old house!

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Who’s the baddest witch in town?
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Do you see a vampire? I hope there’s a vampire!

Then we got brunch (see below to gain five pounds by looking at a photo):

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And then it started POURING. And thundering and lightning. And JazzFest flooded and shut down (no Stevie Wonder :() because lightning was zapping the stages and equipment and stuff, and then I realized I was ill from too much rich food and also had come down with a cold complete with sinus congestion, sneezing, coughing and fatigue. Soooo, I spent all of Saturday afternoon and evening napping, and after another INSANE brunch today, followed by more lightning and downpours and thunder, napped some more. So, basically, I’ve done a lot more sleeping (zzzzs!) and listening to lightning zapping (SEE WHAT I DID THERE? THIS IS THE Z CHALLENGE AND I’M RECOVERING FROM NYQUIL AND I AM REACHING HERE, PEOPLE) than tourism the past 48 hours. But you know what? It’s okay, because at least I can say I’ve seen the real NOLA weather, which is apparently out of control without the least provocation. Or maybe I offended some voodoo practitioner on my first day here, and he or she punished me with the rain and the cold virus. Or maybe I am rambling because YAAAAAWN this Nyquil is good stuff, y’all.

In any case, despite illness and rain, I’m really glad I came down to the Big Easy, and while the bons temps didn’t rouler so much in the last day or so, I have some good memories (and probably a good extra 3-5 pounds) to remember the trip by. See ya, New Orleans–I will be back!

As for the challenge, now that it’s finished I’ll be trying to stick to a regular blogging schedule of 2-3 times per week, starting with a recap of what I’ve learned from this experience. Thanks again for sticking through it! ❤

Yum & Yeah Ghosts! (A-Z Challenge)

Wow, I can’t believe we’re almost done with the challenge! Thanks again for sticking with it 🙂

Today’s “Y” word is yum, because the food here’s is amazing. Also, I have a ghost #goal update I MIGHT HAVE SEEN ONE!

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We got lasagna, fried kale, cauliflower with whipped feta, crawfish Monica and strawberry lemonade, and a traditional southern breakfast. All delicious.

Also, we went on a ghost tour and I took a picture of the allegedly haunted alley behind the oldest pharmacy in NOLA/the US, and this is possibly a ghost?

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All in all, a very successful Friday in the Big Easy!

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X-treme Walking & Drinking

Soooo…remember how I was only going to have two drinks per day in New Orleans!? LOLOLOLOL OK, YEAH.

Technically, I only had three drinks yesterday, but the third was this Hurricane from Pat O’Briens (thanks to the commenter who suggested it!) which had, like, several shots of rum in it. So who knows what my count was yesterday lol.

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I was preeeety tipsy. However, that didn’t prevent me from walking nearly 10,000 steps yesterday! Before my injury, I was walking minimum 10-12,000 steps a day, but over the past two weeks I’d probably been averaging 2,000 per day, so I am VERY proud of my X-TREEEEEEEEME (yeah, I’m really reaching for the letter X here, but the only other topics I could think of were Xerox machines and Xenophobia, which are both boring and/or enraging subjects. And I am proud of my walking, god damn it! And even proud of my drinking, because I knew my body and only had water at dinner last night and had a veggie pasta dish (which was delicious). Basically, I am a FUCKING PARAGON OF VIRTUE.

But, yeah. New Orleans is pretty great, though the heat and humidity are INSANE. You know it’s hot when you drink three big cocktails and countless glasses of water and barely need to pee because you are sweating it ALL out. So in terms of my NOLA goals, I’m at least meeting the sweating one.

Today is day one of JazzFest, and we’re hoping that Lauryn Hill shows up for her set, because you never know with that girl. Happy Friday!

 

If y’all have any more NOLA suggestions, please do leave them in the comments, they are GREAT.

Wet and Wild (A-Z Challenge)

So, I made it to New Orleans in one piece! Today it’s supposed to rain, which is fine, because THERE IS NO HAIR DRYER IN THIS APARTMENT! Witness:

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weeeeet hair

 

So, yeah, I had no idea what to write about for “W” in this challenge, other than writing itself, which I’ve done before and which takes time, and, BITCHES, MY FRIENDS AND I ARE GONNA GO GET BEIGNETS WE AIN’T GOT TIME FOR LONG BLOG POSTS.

I anticipate being very wet and wild today: wet hair, rain, and sweat. I am not sweating currently, but that will change because I am in the AirBNB with the AC on high blast, and it is in the ’80s here and humid AF and I am a sweat machine. IT’S BAD. That being said, I love New Orleans so far. I had my first Hurricane last night and it was amazing and I was drunk after one, which is how I like my drinks (#cheapdate). I also had fresh crab and it was great. Basically, I’m great and my life is great EXCEPT FOR MY WET HAIR. You can’t have everything, though.

Stay dry!

 

Voyage, Bon! (A-Z Challenge)

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Today, I am off on a voyage (usually I would say “trip,” but T was a couple days ago on the blogging challenge) to New Orleans for JazzFest. This is my first music festival in years; the last one I went to was Outside Lands in San Francisco when I first moved back there, oh, FIVE years ago.

I am much older and (maybe?) wiser this time, so I have some travel goals this time, and I’m putting them on the blog to keep myself accountable:

  • Don’t die: NOLA is booze and party central, and I am in my thirties, so staying alive might be a real challenge. I am going to try to limit my alcohol consumption to two drinks per day. LOL we’ll see how that goes. Also I will drink water.
  • See Stevie Wonder: OMG SO EXCITED. Also, the way 2016 is going, I think we all need to see as many musical legends in concert ASAP as they’re all dropping like flies.
  • Eat beignets: Never had one; time to change that. (I know, I am a noob, etc.)
  • Don’t get burned to a crisp: I am beyond ever trying to be tan again (not that I ever had that as a goal) and am owning being the palest bitch alive since Elizabeth I. I got my Neutrogena sheer sunscreen and a hippie dippie coverup for long festival days and I will NOT BE BURNED.
  • See a ghost: Okay, so this one might be hard, BUT I REALLY WANT TO SEE A GHOST AND I HEAR THERE ARE GHOSTS IN NEW ORLEANS! Especially since I am currently writing a novel with ghosts. If I don’t see a ghost, I at least want to see an Original Vampire. Preferably this one:
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    Marcel, you beautiful son of a bitch, I love you. Also, Originals fans, I *know* he’s not technically an original, just a normal vampire. Get over it!

     

  • Not break my foot again: I am in normal shoes now, but the foot is still a little sore, so I will just have to walk slowly and not trip over cobblestones and shit (the not drinking too much should help with this, too). Sorry in advance, T and other girls on the trip, for being a slowpoke!
  • Finish the A-Z Challenge! I’m so close, guys! Many thanks to putting up with some of my less, er, inspired posts over the last twenty days or so. I’ve actually learned a lot during the challenge about blogging–what content works, what doesn’t, how to hone my humor, how to balance serious with comical topics, how to make sure you all know I’m an extreme nerd, etc. My posts may be shorter for letters W-Z, but I’m sure you all won’t mind too much.
  • Sweat more than any human has ever sweated before in the history of the world: I don’t think this one will be hard.

 

À bientôt, bloggy bitches!

-Jackie

Seriously, if you have any suggestions on what to do in New Orleans (never been!), please leave them in the comments 🙂

 

Uteri (Uteruses? No, uteri): A guide for beginners (A-Z Challenge)

Guys,

I’m a BIG fan of uteri. I spent nine months in one, as did nearly all of us (no judgment to those of you who were grown in a Borg maturation chamber; I do NOT discriminate–some of my best friends are cybernetic life forms!). I’m even usually okay with my own uterus, with the exception of about six days each month. But uteri are complicated. They do a lot of shit, and if you’re a man, or even a young girl, you probably don’t understand the workings an implications of uteri in general, or in having one in particular. As a uterus-haver for over three decades now, I thought I’d share my wisdom. Prepare to be enlightened.

How it works: Despite hundreds of years of Science(TM), the uterus remains an icky mystery that no one should learn about in school, ever. Allow me to provide some clarity:

The uterus is an internal organ that is attached to a woman’s (EW!) vagina by a Service; I’m not sure what kind of Service, like if it’s an app like Uber or what, but that’s how they’re connected. *SCIENCE SHRUG* Until puberty, the uterus is filled with a divine pure light, which dissipates the moment a young girl has her first period and becomes a disgustingly tempting sexual being who’d better keep her legs SHUT. Every month, a tiny baby is released from the ovary, which is like a baby dispensary, and floats down a straw into the uterus, which is nice and comfy for it with a bed and an open bar and a designer wardrobe and everything. Sadly, this baby is soulless until and unless a sperm comes in through the vagina (EW!) and the Service and makes it alive. If this happens, the baby is now the Unborn(TM) and is the most precious form of life you will ever see, at least until it is born, after which time it is ON ITS FUCKING OWN. If there is no sperm, however, the baby is just flushed out through the Service and vagina with some blood (EW!) until a new baby comes down the straw the next month; this is called a Period, or, if you’re polite, “Aunt Flo’s visit, *wink*!” Periods happen until a woman hits menopause, which is when her baby dispensary ovaries are out of babies, and the woman becomes a useless shell and must leave public life and hide her unsightly, wrinkled body from the light of day and the eyes of men and fertile women.

How to care for it: Ladies: except for this blog post, it’s best to not think at all about caring your uterus, because thinking is hard and we’d rather you just go make some babies, thanks! If you’re a man, you’re the one who should be doing the thinking about uteruses for women, because, you know, reasons, but not TOO much thinking, because it’s gross.

So, gentlemen, here are the things you should know about caring for uteruses in some detail but no too much detail because EWWWWWW (Ladies, go bake something or scrub a dish, okay?):

-Women may complain of cramps when they get their periods (that’s the thing where the baby is flushed out through the Service, remember?), but they are lying and it’s all in their heads. Make sure you dismiss any complaints of discomfort, excessive bleeding or pain, dizziness, depression or other symptoms with verbal disparagement, or, if you’re pressed for time, an elegant eyeroll. How else are you going to get us to stop whining about made-up shit? Of course, even though we women are making up these symptoms, we are always bitchy and emotional on our periods, so you should make sure you take that into account when deciding whether or not we get that new corner office or pay raise!

-Uteruses are magic–they always work perfectly, especially during pregnancy, so women definitely don’t need accessible, affordable healthcare to stay healthy before, during, or after gestation, and any time off from work is just laughable! You may hear some rumors that uteruses sometimes “miscarry,” which is a fancy term for murdering the Unborn(TM) because the uterus-haver (aka “mother”) offended her god or didn’t cover her mouth when she coughed or looked at a fish or something. This does happen, and when it does you should make sure to shame the uterus-haver for not having seen this coming or made better choices or prayed harder! Uteruses also never allow babies of rape to be conceived, so don’t worry–if your teenage daughter comes to you sobbing saying her teacher forced himself on her and now she’s pregnant, you know that she was ACTUALLY asking for it, because if it was REALLY rape her body would have shut that whole thing down.

-Women cannot make decisions about their own uteruses, guys. We just can’t be trusted to figure this stuff out, so please, make sure you pass laws at every opportunity limiting our access to services that could help us make decisions about our uteruses, from pregnancy to birth control options, while also cutting benefits for families and children who are disadvantaged. Really, it’s all you can do to prevent us from running amok and just uterus-ing all over the place with our period blood (EW!) and independent thoughts! Thanks 🙂

What it all means: Okay, ladies, you can come back out of the kitchen and join us again! Here’s the crux of it–a uterus is the most important thing a woman can have, with the possible exception of BOOBS (TEEHEE!). The uterus is the core of a woman’s being, and if you don’t use it to procreate, well, you best not be having any sort of sex (TEEHEE!) because sex is only so that the sperm can come through the Service and give souls to the Unborn(TM). If you are having sex (TEEHEE!) and not getting pregnant, you’re basically a murderer.  If you are a lesbian, well, that’s just a phase, and you’re a murderer by omission. If you are celibate, well, why are you such a frigid bitch?, and also you’re a murderer. If you want to get pregnant and can’t because of medical issues, well, what did you do in a past life to deserve this, and why are you such a poor excuse for a woman? Stop whining and wasting so much money on IVF! Why don’t you just adopt!? Oh, and also, you’re a murderer.

Next steps: Now that you’ve learned everything there is to know about uteri (yes, the above text contains all the information you’ll ever need to know), first things first: you’re welcome. Secondly, go use this info, guys and gals! If you’re a guy, make sure to spend all your time and energy legislating uteri for their own good, and if you’re a girl, well–is your baby coming down the straw yet? If so, time to get gestating!

Love,

Shameful uterus-haver who has not had a baby, this post is all a lie, WHY AM I EVEN ALIVE,

Jackie

 

Please leave your comments below, unless you are a GOP legislator or the ghost of Antonin Scalia.  And if you have a spare five bucks, in all seriousness, Planned Parenthood is a wonderful organization.

 

 

What Happens To My Tote Bags When I Die? (A-Z Challenge)

Dear Higher Power,

I know you haven’t heard from me in a while, but I try not to bother you unless it’s, ya know, serious. Thanks for being a sport, and…prepare yourself.

I’ve been grappling with something big recently; a spiritual struggle that transcends any I’ve known before. I’ve been asking myself a question, and no matter how I plumb the depths of my soul and mind, I cannot answer it. Do you know, Higher Power?

Do you know what happens to my tote bags when I die?

For years, I didn’t give the presence of tote bags in my life a thought. Before college, they weren’t even a factor. If you went to the grocery store, your purchased items went into a bag (“paper or plastic?”), and you took the bag and brought it to your car and then your house and then the paper bags became recycling bags and the plastic bags became liners for your tiny bathroom waste basket. It wasn’t uncommon to have a drawer chock full of plastic Stop-N-Shop bags, just waiting to be filled with tissues and tampon wrappers, or to be vomited into after a really bad night at the dive bar.

And then, overnight, or so it seemed, things changed. “Would you like to purchase an eco-friendly tote bag for $1.95?” the cashier asked one day, her cheerful gaze barely masking contempt at my obvious hesitation. Why would I buy a canvas tote bag when the plastic one provided by the store was free, I wondered? But then I looked into her eyes, and knew that $1.95 plus tax was a small price to pay to avoid the shame of being publicly labeled as against the environment by Cheryl at the organic Co-op in the Financial District in NYC. “Yes, please!” I said, handing over my debit card and grasping the hefty canvas tote–to the cashier’s obvious approval and relief.

Suddenly, the cheerful offer to purchase a tote bag with every grocery trip became more sinister: “Do you need a bag today, or did you bring your own?” I was horrified to discover that it was now expected that I bring my own tote bags to the grocery store, so as to save the environment. If I didn’t, I was irresponsible, callous, even discourteous. Unplanned stops at the grocery store caused extreme shame as I babbled my excuses to the unimpressed baggers: “Oh, I was just out for a run, and then I realized I needed some milk. Usually I bring my own bags! I have tons of them at home, I promise, it’s just this once!”

It was never just this once, and the baggers knew it–and they showed their disappointment in their scowls.

But the truth was, I did have tons of tote bags at home! The drawer that once contained crumpled masses of plastic was now brimming with yards of canvas covered with the logos of every grocery store in NYC. And yet, I could never remember to bring an empty tote with me at all times in case I needed to make an unscheduled purchase–earning me the wrath not only of grocery employees but of my fellow customers at well. “Someone forgot their bags, hmm?” the lady in the fur coat would ask, apparently unaware of the existence of the word “irony.”

Then, after a move back to San Francisco, my tote bag shame became codified into law: California taxes 10 cents per a paper bag at the grocery store, which you can of course avoid if you bring your own. My tote bag collection, which had diminished during the packing process, was sorely lacking, so I slowly built it back up again, with totes from every establishment in the city gracing the floor of my coat closet: Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s. Burger Urge. That Store With The Fifty Dollar White T-Shirts. Even Walgreens, for Christ’s sake.

Even Walgreens. 

And here is where my spiritual crisis began to arise. What the FUCK, I asked myself as I selected two of my favorite tote bags, so chosen for their wide, sturdy handles, for a trip to the local market, is going to happen to all these damned tote bags when I die?

The purpose of these multi-purpose bags is to save the environment, but when I die, whether it’s six years from now or sixty, won’t my friends/family/children/pets/landlords just want to throw these things the fuck out? Should I provide for their distribution in my will? Will a crafty friend have them made into a really uncomfortable and ugly commemorative quilt? Will my great-great-grandchildren be showing my tote bags to their kids in a far distant future where they all live on the starship Enterprise? Behold, these are the tote bags of your ancestor, who lived before the advent of warp speed and universal health care; treasure them always! If they are thrown out, do they compost? Or will they just add to a giant landfill somewhere? And if they are thrown out, then what was the point of anything?

What was the point of anything?

WHAT WAS THE POINT OF ANYTHING?

Is it all a lie, Higher Power? Am I really helping the environment? Or is it all a conspiracy funded by Big Tote, and are all my canvas bags destined to choke poor, innocent dolphins in the ocean? What is the answer, HP? WHAT HAPPENS TO MY TOTE BAGS WHEN I DIE?

As always, thanks for your consideration, Higher Power. I’d like to hear back on this before Tuesday, when I’m planning on going to the grocery store. Whole Foods is offering a 2-for-1 deal on Spring-themed canvas tote bags with every purchase, and I’d like to know ahead of time whether I’ll be wasting my money or damning my soul and the fate of the human race for all eternity.

Peace, love, and tote bags,

Jackie

 

 

Please leave your thoughts in the comments, like and share if you enjoyed, and if you need a tote bag, just come by my place and I can probably hook you up.

 

 

 

 

Star Trek: 5 Somewhat Unpopular Fan Opinions (A-Z Challenge)

Anyone who has had a conversation with me for more than five minutes know that I have two TV passions that will stay with me until the day I die: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Star Trek. Today is S day for the blogging challenge, so that means one thing: STAR TREK DAY!

And because I love me some controversy, below are five somewhat controversial opinions I hold on the franchise beloved by nerds everywhere. Be warned: THERE WILL BE FEMINISM.

Now, Number 1, ENGAGE! MAXIMUM WARP!

1. The Original Series is kind of meh: Some of my earliest television memories are not of Sesame Street or The Muppets, but rather of watching my dad’s complete set of Star Trek: TOS VHS tapes (early 90s FTW!) on lazy Saturdays. In particular, I watched the Tribble episode over and over, because what five-year-old doesn’t enjoy fuzzy blobs of fast-breeding purring cuteness? And while I still believe Star Trek: TOS is one of the great classic TV shows, I prefer the later series and films, with their diverse casts and modern acting styles (oh, Shatner’s delivery sometimes). I know, I’m a blasphemer: COME AT ME, FANDOM. Also, sorry, Dad, don’t kill me! And yes, The City at the Edge of Forever is the best TOS episode.

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STAHP IT I’M GONNA CRY!

2. I Like Star Trek: Generations (#7 movie): I know this movie is universally hated, and yes, I think it did poorly by (SPOILER) Kirk’s death, but I actually really like it. The scene where Picard tells Troi about his brother’s  and nephew’s deaths is particularly touching, and I thought the concept of the Nexus ribbon, which is basically heaven, was unique. Underrated!

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Don’t lie, you would totally live in the Nexus.

3. My favorite uniforms are the ones from Voyager and early DS9: I know everyone prefers the grey/black uniforms from First Contact and beyond, but they are WRONG. There’s something about the simplicity of the Voyager and early DS9 jumpsuits that speak to me. They just look very comfortable, though I know the real-life versions probably weren’t.

2. I like Data’s Day: Many trekkies HATE the TNG episode “Data’s Day,” where Data relates a day in his life to a correspondent. It’s comic, touching, exciting (FAKE VULCAN AMBASSADOR WHO IS ACTUALLY ROMULAN FTW!) and always makes me tear up in the end, despite the presence of (ugh) Chief O’Brien, who should be nicknamed CHIEF MISOGYNY in his treatment of his wife, Keiko, who is too damned good for him.

1. I love Voyager and Janeway is my favorite captain: Oh, how the fanboys LOVE to hate on Voyager and Captain Janeway (especially Captain Janeway)! But honestly, I never understood the hate for the series–it had no more “bad” episodes than TNG, the first two seasons of which were mostly awful–though I do understand the hate for Janeway. In my opinion, she was a character before her time on television: a flawed, strong, badass woman who made controversial and sometimes wrong decisions. And yet people hate her. Why? Welp, considering that she was the most like the beloved Kirk than any other captain (she basically said “fuck it” to the Prime Directive when it suited her, and was constantly gambling based on her gut), fans’ hatred of her basically boils down to her vagina. Plain and simple. And yes, people will argue to the death that OH, I DON’T LIKE HER BECAUSE XYZ, but XYZ is usually bullshit and, again, never that different than the shit that Kirk, and even Sisko and Picard, pulled on more than one occasion (um, remember when Sisko was basically an ACCESSORY TO MURDER? Kind of torturing that one douche from the Equinox was nothin’, my friends!). People forget that this bitch was 75,000 lightyears from home and had to do EVERYTHING on her own, with only Chakotay and his tattoo to advise her when she went too far. She saved Seven’s humanity, made Tom Paris a decent human being, took a chance on the maquis, and, oh right, she CHANGED HISTORY to get her crew home sooner! She’s a BAMF with fabulous god-damned hair, and I will defend her, and Kate Mulgrew’s performance (yes, that’s the woman from OITNB, she was badass before that show) until the day I die. As I always say:

right way janeway

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My hair is fabulous and ridiculous and I WILL DESTROY THIS SHIP BEFORE I LET YOU BOARD IT!

Please boldly go into the comment section and leave me your thoughts! Long live Janeway!

 

 

Romance Novels: 10 Ways to Guarantee My Readership (A-Z Challenge)

It’s R day on the AZ Challenge, so I’m tackling one of my favorite topics: Romance novels. I personally discovered the Romance genre in my mid-twenties, and boy, did I wish I had gotten off my high horse and dived in earlier! Thanks a lot, college, for making me read fucking classics and, like, textbooks for four years. I REALLY APPRECIATE IT (heavy sarcasm).

Ahem. Anyways, for six years or so I’ve read anywhere from one to ten romance novels a month depending on my workload and willingness to sleep, so I think I know what I’m talking about. Therefore, I’m going to do you all a favor and share 10 ways to guarantee my readership of your Romance Novel(TM) to all romance writers (and aspiring writers) out there:

10. Regency setting: Set your novel in Regency England, complete with references to Almack’s, people being good or bad ton, shining Hessian boots, and muslin gowns, and I am fucking THERE. Bonus points if there’s a makeover scene where the heroine goes to a famous modiste for a new wardrobe of ravishing gowns which highlight her elegant figure FAR BETTER than the “plain round gowns” she was wearing before.

9. Dukes: I will read anything with a Duke in it, and I am not alone. If there were actually as many Dukes in England in the 18th and 19th centuries as there are depicted in period romance novels, there would have been more Dukes than bakers and chimney sweepers combined, but who gives a shit? Dukes are DA BOMB. Extra credit if the Duke is only marrying to beget an heir, but then falls in love with his betrothed/marriage of convenience bride and has to discover who he really is as an emotional being before professing his love to her.

8. Cinderella story: Every fourth romance novel is a Cinderella story, where the heroine is an under-appreciated governess/poor relation/companion and is rescued from poverty and/or abuse by a rich lord (lol usually a Duke) and then she becomes the most celebrated hostess in London due to her unique charm, personality, and style, and the bitchy old shrew who treated her like crap in her old life is left to rot in the country. And you know what? I FUCKING LOVE IT. There’s a reason Cinderella has been retold a thousand times: it’s a classic, it works, and if you add a Duke it’s somehow even better than a prince charming.

7. Mistaken identity: OH MAN I GET SO EXCITED AT THIS. The mistaken identity usually happens when the heroine, who is set on a good match in order to save herself/her family from penury, falls in love with the rich, handsome hero, but mistakes him for (or is fooled into believing him to be) a gardener, highwayman, rake, poor soldier, or some other unsuitable dude.  Ultimately, she decides to FUCK SOCIETY and run off with her gardener for TRUE LOVE, only to discover that he was the mysterious or cold Earl/Lord/Marquess/probably Duke all along. And the hero is thrilled because he knows that his girl loves him for HIM, not just because of his money and rank, and they ARE SO HAPPY OMG CRYING.

6. Dowager Duchess/Countess Plays Cupid: If you include an older female relation who is funny and bucks convention to maneuver her lucky-in-rank-and-fortune but unlucky-in-love son into a marriage with the right girl, I will def read your book. If you describe her in such a way that makes me able to imagine Maggie Smith or Judi Dench playing her in a movie, I will read EVERYTHING YOU EVER WROTE NO MATTER HOW SHITTY.

maggie smith
Include her and I will read your book

5. Your book is basically Pride & Prejudice: If your book is a hate-turns-to-love story where the stuffy rich guy (again, usually a Duke) proposes to the unconventional heroine and is turned down only to win her heart later on by proving how great he is underneath, I will read it, because it is basically Pride and Prejudice and I will read every version of that book ever, no matter how cheesy it is.

4. You are Mary BaloghIf you are Mary Balogh, I will never stop reading your books. Or loving you…er, your books. It’s your books that I love, not you, Mary. I’m not sleeping in a tree with a view into your bedroom window or anything. Nope, not doing that.

slightly dangerous
This is one of my faves because it hits #4 and #5 – Mary wrote it and it’s basically P&P. Oh, and he’s a Duke. Everyone wins, especially my heart.

3. There is a sexy Scotsman in your book: If there is a sexy Scotsman in your book, I will read your book. It is one of the few departures from Regency that I allow; COUNT YOUR LUCKY STARS, DIANA GABALDON!

sam-heughan-sexy-gifs-04302015-11
You’re lucky you wrote this dude, Diana.

2. The heroine is a secret heiress: Oh, am I sucker for the secret heiress! She is usually over twenty-two, and therefore on the shelf, but she has an inheritance of MINIMUM 50,000 pounds comin’ her way and doesn’t even KNOW it! And everyone treats her like crap EXCEPT the hero who loves her even though she’s poor (or so he thinks), AND the libertine gold-digger who is somehow aware of her secret inheritance and is planning to kidnap her for it. Oh, man, everyone is SO SURPRISED by her secret fortune, but it doesn’t matter because at the end she has LOVE and LOVE IS SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN MONEY.

1. The Marriage of Convenience: YASSSSS QUEEEN! There is nothing better than the marriage of convenience; nothing. It is the best trope in all of romance, and I will defend it until my dying day. Guy meets girl; guy needs wife, girl needs to get away from her shitty existence. They become friends…AND THEN SO MUCH MORE. And then there’s a misunderstanding where they both think the other one hates them, and then there’s usually a duel, and then they live happily ever after. SIGH. I COULD LIVE ON THIS, YOU GUYS.

Ok, gtg, I have a queue of like 30 marriage of convenience Duke novels on my Goodreads rn. Ttyl, and remember, ladies, ONLY MARRY HIM IF HE IS OF GOOD TON!

 

Please let me know what you think in the comments, especially if you are a Duke…and if you are a Duke, call me. ❤