Fat shaming, cut that out

Musing from the Bread Cafe.

Fat shaming in the land of reading.

I’m not a fan.
And I am trying really hard to remember when it’s my place to speak up, join in with the pitchforks and torches. Most of the time I don’t have a dog in the fight, and the fight isn’t one that needs my rallying cry. I’m talking about all the “drama” that likes to stir shit up.

Sometimes I don’t want to provide even negative publicity to an incident, so I take myself, do my action, and walk away from the social media posts.

But a lot lately has been showing up and squatting in my path. And while I can take my toys and walk around it, sometimes that’s not gonna work out.

An industry cover model went on a rant fat shaming the world at large, and his clientele. When he said (paraphrasing here), “it’s all just lame ass excuses don’t tell me why you’re fat shut up,” I took him off my covers. I unfriended and unfollowed. Yes, I know he already has my money, so I’m just “hurting” my wallet by recovering. No, I’m saying my characters who have body dysmorphic issues, or weight issues deserve more respect from a picture that represents them.

I didn’t say much (at the time), didn’t announce I was recovering my books, and recreating promo materials, I just did it. Several other cover models spewed similar vitriol, and I hunted their profiles down and made note that those faces would never be on my books.

A few weeks go by and a reader sends a message to an author that they couldn’t meet her at an event because she (the author) had gotten so fat. The reader then proceeded to give this author dieting advice. My blood boiled. How f&&**ing dare that reader shame her for not looking a specific way. So, of course, I had to look up who this author was, and send a message of support. It didn’t matter to me what this author looked like.

I was shocked when I saw what the author looked like. From the post, I had formed a certain look in my head and I expected to see someone my size. She was slightly thinner than average. Read that again: a person with a slightly smaller than average sized body was fat shamed.

I did post a message of solidarity for the author, because …
so many reasons, where do I even begin?

Rude much? Not any of that reader’s business? If that’s fat, I don’t even what to know what they would say about or to me.

And that’s the big one right there: If someone feels they can shame an average sized author for not appearing to meet some random personal fitness standards, what the hell is going to happen when I show up?

I’m fat. Big, large, plus sized. Have been most of my life.

And before anyone says by showing up, and living, and not hiding in a hole that I’m somehow promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, that’s some serious bullshit right there.

My health, my struggle, or my acceptance of my size is not out there as some excuse for consumption. I do not need to share my A1C numbers so that readers can decide if they want my books or not. My books are not about me. If they were they would be memoirs, and they aren’t. And if they were, all the heroines would be BBW redheads and all the heroes would have rocker-long black hair, they don’t.

Fat shaming, and all hate needs to go away. That shit is not cool. It is not the last acceptable prejudice that people can roll out, because it is not acceptable.

I’ve been stewing and thinking about whether I was going to post this or not, because it’s personal. How much am I willing to expose? How big of a dog do I have in this fight?

My dog is pretty big, and while I may not get online and rant and rave, I will be quietly in the back, slashing tires, and undermining the foundations in other ways.

Learning to be unapologetically one’s self is hard enough as it is. Shamers need to take a lesson from Thumper: If you can say anything nice, keep your trap shut!

Happy New Year!

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Well, It’s 2019, and I’m not seeing any flying cars.
I’m also very much not ready for it to be a new year.

Last year was pretty phenomenal!

I released the first five in the Legatum series! I got to play in Kindle Words again, and I released my second Holiday Stripper story.

I also learned so much about marketing and advertising, and I’ve got to say this: my brain hurts. It’s an every changing landscape on how to reach new friends and readers. There is no cookie cutter approach. You can’t just throw money at it and expect to come away with sales.

Something I did not expect when I became a writer: that I would have to become a marketing maven as well.

I just ended my two-year stint as the local RWA chapter secretary. That was great fun, I learned a lot. And I became friends with my fellow chapter leaders. (ooh I’m a “chapter leader”–ok, not anymore).

So what’s in store for 2019?

There will be more Improper Derailment episodes.

I’m working on new exciting ideas…

Fallen Stars
(was Phantom Stars was unnamed, was… it went through a lot)

Their lives were full of lights, cameras, action, and glamour. Their deaths are where they find love.

Belvoir County
The biggest cocks in Kentucky. Magic, love, and fried chicken.

The Wolves of Wet Waterfalls
Werewolves, demons, and a little reverse harem action.

…and continuing with the next chapter in Legatum:
Redemption. Nando knows he messed up in San Diego. He needs to prove to his sister he is more than a spoiled, ego-centric brat. He needs to prove that to himself as well.

I don’t have a release schedule. If you sign up for my email list, you’ll be the first to get release dates, cover reveals, and other goodies.
Click here to go to the sign-up form.

NaNo Report

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This year I finished NaNoWrimo with 54,114 words.
I am miles and mile from where this story needs to be, so I’m excited to keep working on it.

This one doesn’t have a title yet. It’s a paranormal romance between a set designer, a hot actor, and the ghost of a different hot actor.

Here is a sneak peek:

The street view of his house wasn’t anything much, mostly a garage door, a small entry and a solid wall of grey stucco. Once through the entry there was a tiny courtyard with a fountain, and then the entry into the house. Stunning didn’t adequately describe his home. Inside everything was hard angles, concrete and glass modern. Outside it was all air and view.

 I hated the inadequacy I felt pulling into Liam’s neighborhood. It was that cosmic slam of not being able to properly provide for my daughter. The universe reminding me again, that I lived in a garage, and I would never be able to afford a home like this even though I had a good job that paid well. It’s not like I even wanted to live here. Sure the house was great, but this really wasn’t a neighborhood, it was a street with access to houses. No yards, no sidewalks, and no parking. Liam was lucky because he actually had a small driveway with off-street parking.

©2018 Lulu M Sylvian

Burnout

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I read this article in the May 2018, Romance Writers Report “The Key to a Lifelong Career,” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and I totally recognized myself in it: new on the scene, obsessively working to get as much content out as possible.

I already realized that I put myself on a tight schedule, but it’s my first full year as a published author. I definitely did not read this article and say “that’s not me” when it is so me.

You see, I can bang out a complete book in six weeks without any problems. I know this because I’ve done it more than once. But what I haven’t done more than once before this year was write, edit, revise, and have released back to back to back novels. I can feel myself headed toward total deep fried burnout.

So, even though I am in the middle of a deadline, I took the day off. But not just from writing, from panicking about the writing. I actually took the advice of the article and took screen time off too. I didn’t record my day’s adventures for Facebook or Instagram. I took pictures of my kids for me. And at the end of the day, when we were all back home and exhausted, I didn’t scoop up the laptop to occupy half my brain while we sat around and watched movies. I watched the movies.

The next day I’m back at writing. I have a huge word count to meet, but I tend to work ahead of my deadlines (not up to my deadlines). I’m confident everything will get done on schedule. And I know that going forward I will take the time for self-care first. I will not schedule my edits so close together, I will not schedule my releases so tight unless I’ve managed to work way ahead of those dates.

You see, writing the story is actually the easy part. Six weeks to get a complete, cohesive story is easy, as long as that’s all I’m doing. Once I add in the hours for marketing, revising and editing a second or third story at the same time, while still working my two part-time desk jobs, six weeks is not enough time.

I failed to take into account life, and all that other stuff when putting this year’s schedule together. Fortunately, I think I figured it out before I hit burnout. I recognized the signs in myself. I am approaching work with a new attitude, and a new sense of balance. I already knew I needed a business plan, now I know a few things that will need to be included. I’m glad I figured this out now, and not after two or three years of pushing myself too hard too far.

A simple guide to writing a simple review

Book Review

You love to read.

Authors love to be read.

Authors also love book reviews.

Reviews trip algorithms in online bookstores, reviews open up advertising options. More reviews get your favorite authors in front of more readers. More readers actually do lead to more books being written.

But you don’t like to write book reports and aren’t comfortable putting out a review of that level.

But the authors keep asking for reviews.

And you like the authors and you want to help.

What do you?

Thats easy, you write a simple review. Authors don’t need those big elaborate reviews that include a synopsis, an analysis, and then an opinion.

Authors don’t need a Thug Notes level review (If you are not familiar with this brilliant literary reviewer, check him out https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLghL9V9QTN0jTgA1qrhWrBCB_Ln4xlVlB). Authors need you to share what you would want to know with other potential readers.

So here are some easy to answer questions that will help you to write a simple review:

Did you like the book? Yes? Fantastic keep going!

Why? What about the story kept you reading? Was it the characters, the location, the use of language, the hot romantic scenes, the lack of romantic scenes, the adventure, the intrigue….

Anything in particular really stands out? Plot twist you didn’t see coming, the character had a flaw and you really could relate to how they overcame it. You laughed out loud. You sobbed and dripped tears on the page.

Did you binge read the book and lose sleep?

And, lastly, would you recommend it?

You don’t need to worry about providing a brief spoiler-free overview. You don’t need to worry about analyzing the symbolism and pointing out any instances of foreshadowing. Just let us know you liked it.

Now what to do if you didn’t like the book.

At this point, most authors are going to say don’t leave a review. While that is an option, sometimes the book is so bad you feel the need to warn others off. Fair enough, but remember if you need to do that, do not level a personal attack on the author. That’s just rude and unnecessary.

What about the story bothered you? Were there overwhelming themes or storylines that you don’t like to read you were unaware were in this book? Was the storyline difficult to follow? Try to be specific in your reasoning for not liking the story. If you didn’t like the characters share that.

Make sure you are clear about the type of book you are reading. It doesn’t help anyone to complain about a relationship in the middle of your adventure if you are reading a romance novel. Or to complain about the violence in a war action novel.

Reviews don’t have to be complex. They really aren’t difficult or intimidating. And authors appreciate them more than you know.

 

 

The Flu Sucks!

So I got SICK!

Again.

I’m so tired of getting sick. Fall of 2017 I felt like I was pretty much sick constantly! I am ready to be healthy!

It totally messed all my schedules up. My family had to drag me out of bed Christmas morning to open prezzies. I had not wrapped any of theirs because I basically got bitch slapped by the flu 3 days before Christmas.

I am behind of files to the publisher, files to the editor, and word count.
I am behind of all the marketing for my January release, and anything else I should be doing.

I’m behind, but I’m still here kicking!

Let’s hope 2018 is a much healthier year for everyone!

Musing from the bread cafe, number 4

Random Thoughts

Uhm crazy lady doing yoga in line. She’s complaining that the guy in front of her ordered gasp bagels.

Oye.

Tonight I’m at a different location. Same chain, only this one is in a mall. I’m sitting behind a glass wall, and feel a bit like a goldfish. A really boring goldfish with all the people who are walking by.

Fortunately, I am not the subject of anyone’s attention. I didn’t put much thought into where I was sitting in regards to the mall but in regards to the other people in the cafe. Yeah. Next time I need to pay attention to the fact that people can see through glass walls.

On the other hand, I can also see through glass walls. This mall has a walker. Not a zombie, but someone who does their walking laps inside the mall. I haven’t seen that in a while. Then again it has been a while since I’ve hung out at a mall.

I’m considering entering a contest that is basically a sex scene write-off. Where two scenes go head to a-hem head, and readers vote for their favorite. I’m having a moment of “do I write hot enough.” (edit: apparently I don’t since I did not win my little write-off)

Which is directly at war with the whole “people I know might read this” and then again, the crazy part where my characters actually dictate how much heat they are willing to share on a page.

No seriously, I have some very private characters, they don’t want anyone reading about how they verb nouns and all of that.

Yeah, I know. I need to focus on my “brand.” The goal is to be a hot and humorous romance author, focusing more on the paranormal, but occasionally letting the normal shine through.

The Twelve Strippers of Christmas– what branding does this represent?

There are three paranormal stories, one sci-fi story, two virgins, two high school crushes, and a whole lot of feathers.

Humor, sexy, fun.

Musings from the Bread Cafe: the second installation

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I am inexplicably happy, the little book club men are back. They’ve been back several times now.

They all have the book open in front of them, and they are actively referring to passages they are discussing. They are too far away to overhear. I can only see them.

The book they are reading has an orangey- yellow cover. I know, helpful description. But they have been working on the same book for over a month.

Also, there seems to be another book group meeting. Its a bunch of ladies, I want to believe they are a romance book club. They are laughing a lot. I hope the book they are talking about is good. I wonder if they are actually talking about their book yet?

The other day there was a mother reading to her kids as they waited for their dinner to be delivered.

I’ve noticed a huge drop in how crowded it is here now that school is out.

I’m getting some good word counts in when I come here to write. I haven’t been able to come in twice a week as I had been because of changes to sports practice schedules, but that’s okay.

Last month there was some scary excitement. I heard a shuffle and the sound that a crowd makes as everyone gasps. I looked up and this woman was administering the Heimlich to a much taller person. She did not lose her cool, and managed to take care of the situation. The cops showed up and spoke with both her and the person she helped. I certainly hope the Bread Cafe people comped them some free goodies, both the hero of the day and the person who was choking. I’m glad that woman was calm and level headed. I’m glad this interlude had a happy ending.

Back to word count, and inappropriate search histories on my browser.

 

BIG NEWS

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Happy Birthday to Me!

That’s not my big news- but it is my birthday. My big news is BIG, lots of moving parts! This post is just like an awesome birthday present to me!

Part One:
I am super excited to announce I’ve become part of the Griffyn Ink family! I’ve featured interviews here with several of their authors (Savannah Kade, D.B. Sieders, and Victoria Raschke) and now I’m one of them!

Super happy dance!

via GIPHY

Part Two:
Cover Reveal!!!
Did you see it yet?

Twelve Strippers of Christmas coming October 2017

Isn’t it awesome? It’s awesome! I’m excited!

http://lmsylvian.com/the-twelve-strip…mas-cover-reveal/

Part Three:
The Twelve Strippers of Christmas has a release date!
October 26th, it will be available in paperback and as ebook.
Pre-sale information coming soon!

It’s really happening guys! So freaking excited!

Part Four:
I’m excited to announce I will be one of the participating authors in November’s holiday release of St. Helena Vinyard Kindle World.
I will share more details as we get closer to the big event and roll out.

Each one of these announcements has me hand flapping happy!

via GIPHY

Musings from the Bread Cafe

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Musings from the Bread Cafe -the first.

The guy in the corner ahead of me is gesticulating frantically. It is vitally important the person across from him get his point. There is one problem, the seat is empty. I can’t decide if he is practicing a conversation re-hashing a conversation or completely whacked.

The odds are fairly high, based on how he’s dressed, that the ear away from me has a blue tooth phone accessory in it. I just can’t see it. So to me, he looks a little bit crazy.

There is a rather obnoxious woman drowning out the book club I’d be more interested in eavesdropping in on. All I know is next week they’ll be back to discuss chapter two. They are behind me, so I can’t even sneak a peak at what book they are reading.

I don’t eavesdrop on purpose. After all I’m here to work, not to people watch.

I feel a little S.L.O.W. in that it took me so long to realize I could drop the kids at their weekly sporting practice and come and write. I used to take grading and crocheting to sports practice. Dragging the laptop around, not so easy: I can’t balance it on my knees and write while sitting on bleachers.

I’ve been coming to the Bread Cafe for just about six months now. I haven’t tracked word count yet, but I know I can write a good chunk while here. Mostly I track what types of scenes I’m writing. I have this theory, all writers working in public should either be killing someone, hiding a body in their word count, or writing smexy. Honestly, I haven’t written or edited that many romantic interludes while here.

It’s time to refill my tea and get to work.