Friday, May 28, 2010

Bronwyn Green's mutilation of romance authors continues unchecked.

Last night, I got a hole punched in me. It was done by Rudis at The Tattoo and Piercing Studio in Grand Rapids, MI. Yes, the name of the place really is, "The Tattoo and Piercing Studio". No frills, no jackassery. I like that.

Anyway, Bronwyn Green went with me to man the camera and fulfill her goal of getting as many authors mutilated as she possibly could in one month. That sentence isn't right, but I can't figure out how to fix it. Too bad I had to skip critique group this morning to stay home with a cranky toddler. Anyway, she already got to Mia Watts. How many more authors have to be pierced before her bloodthirsty vengeance is assuaged?

Digression aside, here is the video of the actual piercing being done. I cut out all the unwrapping of tools and marking of dots on my lip and discussion of how I'm going to get pink eye from taking my laptop into the bathroom with me. What you'll see is just the positioning of the tongs and the actual needle going through my face. There isn't any finished shot of it on the video, because the immediate swelling that seemed to concentrate on just one side of my lip made it appear as though the piercing was really, really off-centered. But here's a picture of what it looks like the morning after, still slightly swollen but no where near as crooked looking as a result:

The jewelry he used was actually longer that needed, to accomodate for swelling. As you can see, it looks a bit snug right now. Keep in mind, that picture is after the swelling went down.

On to the video. This is not for the faint of heart, kids. Bronwyn has an eye for the graphic, and her lens does not shy away from stuff that looks painful.

And is painful. Very, very painful. This hurt like crazy.

Everyone have a good holiday weekend. I'm gonna spend mine drinking beer through a straw.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Okay, the big announcement...


This has to start with a little story.

Once upon a time, in my first critique group, the Friday Night Mudslingers, we had a saying. We were saying it all the time: "Jennifer Armintrout does not write romance." And it's true. The most common complaint I get from readers is, "I thought this was going to be a romance. They had it in the wrong section." I try to write romance, in fact I aspire to some day write category romances because I like them more than any other type of book. But when I try to write romance, I end up killing everybody. You can't have people skinned alive in a Harlequin Presents. I know. I looked it up.

Eventually, when I finally figured how to write a romance without murders in it, I was already locked into this Jennifer Armintrout gig. Now, Jennifer Armintrout couldn't write romance, even if she wanted to and had gotten good at it. People would not like that, and companies wouldn't pay for it.

So, I figured that if I can't write romances, I figure I'll leave that up to someone else. A someone else who happens to be me. Under the name Abigail Barnette, I will be writing ebooks, the first of which will be available from Samhain Publishing in September of this year. You'll be able to find more info about that at Abigail's site. I will still be writing as Jennifer Armintrout and being my normal self. As normal as I can be.

So, that's the big announcement.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

There is a downside to everything...

The thing I hate most about having a new computer, (which, as is implied by the phrase "new computer" be nothing but awesome) is forgetting that simple tasks you might once have done with a bit of shareware that you downloaded on your old machine is now impossible to accomplish because you do not have it anymore. In the worst case scenario, you have no way of getting that program again. In the best case scenario, who the hell am I kidding? I still have to download the same program, install it (on a Mac this is a hellish ordeal of clicking and dragging that is so simple as to be insulting, yet somehow not simple enough on a machine that practically runs itself for you) and try to get my bearings with whatever little changes the developers have made in the last three years since I bought a new computer.

There's no point or underlying meaning to take away from this post. I'm just mad that I have to wait for Gimp to download again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Romance Novel Characters, Class of 2022.

My son brought his yearbook home yesterday. I may or may not have blogged before about how ridiculous it seems to me that when my kid is in the nursing home, he'll be surrounded by Dakotas and Jaydens. And like, when I'm in the nursing home, I'll probably accuse some orderly named Montana of stealing my lipstick. But as I'm looking through these children's smiling faces and matching up the Souixzhans and the Hunters, I'm starting to think that elementary school yearbooks are underappreciated resources for romance writers. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Romance Novel Character Class of 2022:

If you are writing a contemporary romance about baseball players, might I suggest:
Brooklyn, Auston (not a typo)
Stryker, Gunner

If you're looking for a new twist on an old favorite, how about:
Mica, Abbygale,
Aryanna (I really hope the occurrence of "Aryan" in this one was unintentional)
Mariea, Mekenna, Kamrynn,
Kasssandra, Alexxis, Madylin,
Shayann, Jaiyde, Mersaydies,
Jazzmine, Karter, Madysen,
Elyzabeth, Kersten, Nickolice,

If you've just created a series about an impossibly large family of brothers, each hotter than the last, you might try:
Colton, Tanner, Ashton,
Brentin,Trenton, Dalton,
Karter, Landon, Caeden

Writing a historical romance set in the old west?
Montana, Cheyenne,
Dakota (There are two Dakotas in one class),
Dawson, Holden, Ezrian,

Of course, paranormal, fantasy, and scifi authors need their names, too:
Azlan, Tayah, Terri'aun,
Ameia, Rylie, Genel,
Therin, Tylar, Takaycee,
SiSi, Zarek, Rainen,
Kitara, Tehya, Kiau,
Coyana, Keghan, Deikon
Kaidyn, Emale, Thor,

Velour historicals, I have not forgotten you:
Azaria, O'Shea (That's a first name, folks)
Alainna, Teaghan, Tristren,
Ciara, Bram, Justus,
Adrionna, Trystan, Katryna

I don't know why i didn't think of this before. I agonize over finding the right name, that hasn't been over-used (okay, so Dakota and Colton are way, way overused) and all I needed to do was pick up my kid's yearbook. Of course, in years past it wouldn't have worked. He went to a Catholic school, so all the girls were named Mary and the boys were all Joseph.

Wait, that's an option for character names. Saints! Why haven't we seen a handsome were-panther named Ethelbert yet?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New blog? Co-blog? Also blog? What do I call this?

Because I like to keep my stuff all nice and separate, and I'm not good at being professional and serious over here, I've started another blog. I'm not abandoning this one, just making a new blog for a specific area of my life. Weed Mom is shaping up to be a very frank, personal discussion on the issues I'm facing in my journey with chronic pain and medical marijuana. I'll be blogging there about how it affects my family, my body, and my own personal taboos. I'll post news about Fibromyalgia and Michigan's medical marijuana program. Right now, I'm twenty days away from being a medical marijuana patient, but it's never too early to start blogging a truly bizarre experience.

If you are interested, there's the link up there. If you know someone who might be interested, send them the link. And if you're not interested, that's fine, but stay tuned here for an upcoming, awesome announcement.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Tornado Day! Err... that doesn't sound right.

Whether or not that's an appropriate greeting today, it is, in fact, Tornado Day. It's a well-known fact amongst my readers that I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during my Blood Ties days. It's less well-known that before that, Kalamazoo, Michigan was my neighborhood.

Richelle Mead is also a Kalamazoo native. So, if you want to write Urban Fantasy, being born in or near Kalamazoo is a good way to get a start, I guess.

Thirty years ago today (three-months before I was born, just throwing that out there), an F3 tornado ripped through downtown Kalamazoo. According to my favorite meteorologist, Mr. Bill Steffen (who is cool as hell), that means it was going between 158 and 206 m.p.h. Five people were killed by the high winds, falling trees, and the collapse of the rear wall of the Gilmore's department store.

Tornadoes happen all the time, so why is this one such a big deal to us? Well, for one, we have one, maybe two tornadoes a year. Two, you've all seen Twister, right? Tornadoes generally happen in rural areas. Well, here's a Google satellite image of Kalamazoo, including the "downtown" area that the Tornado of 1980 destroyed:

View Larger Map

Thirty years later, anyone old enough to remember the Tornado will eagerly share stories of it. People who were in Gilmore's when it collapsed. I heard a first-hand account from a woman I used to work with who ran across Bronson Park just before the Tornado plowed through it. In high school, my friends and I would go to Mount Home cemetery and drink in huge scar the Tornado left on the grounds.

The Kalamazoo Tornado is legend 'round these parts (hence the capitalization). You can still buy t-shirts proclaiming that you survived the tornado. There's a facebook group where people share their stories. Some buildings (like the part of my son's old school that you see destroyed in the following video) have plaques commemorating the fact they either were erected on the remains of a building destroyed by the Tornado, or that they didn't get destroyed.

So, check out the vid, which is truly, truly spooky.

And another first-hand account, with a slide show of the destruction, is here:

That's all I got today folks. Enjoy your (hopefully) severe weather-free day.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My coworkers are lazy.

So, I'm sharing office space with these two new guys. They're quiet, that's a plus, but they don't really do anything. They just stare at me, and occasionally they eat. They don't look very smart.

They look kind of like this:

Except there are two of them.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So, where have I been? Not blogging, I can tell you that. Sometimes, I just run out of things to say. Or, I have things to say, but they make me too angry to form coherent sentences. That's a blog for later this week. Today, I'm going to tell the harrowing tale of the thing in my back.

I had a tumor. It started out as a little tumor. See, at first, I thought I had a dowager's hump or something. Then, my back started hurting. This was back in January or February. I remember it like it was yesterday, because my days are mostly all the same. I was sitting in my basement family room with my besty, Jill, and we were ignoring each other in favor of looking at imagechan our laptops. We paused occasionally to show each other something funny. Oh, and also, we were watching Dracula 2000 and talking about how Gerard Butler was hotter back when he was fat. Anyway, I was like, "My back hurts. Right in the humpal area."

I went to my doctor, and she poked it and measured it and said, "Huh. I don't know what that is, but I don't like it." Which is not the best thing to hear from your doctor. Then, she got me an appointment with a surgeon, and he poked my hump and measured it and said, "It's tumor. You want to take it off or leave it there?" Like that's a decision you're going to make. "You know, I have this searing back, neck and shoulder pain, but let's just see how this plays out." I don't think so, thanks a lot.

So, after my surgery was rescheduled once, I finally went in and had the tumor removed on April 28th. The whole experience was pretty cool. They gave me drugs that were way better than anything I can get off the street, and which caused me to try and pull out my IV and take my gown off until the anesthesiologist just went ahead and put me under, probably because I was an idiot and screaming, "I can't breathe!" as they held the oxygen mask over my face. When I woke up, there was no tumor. In fact, I'm willing to believe that there never was a tumor. I think it was Cthulhu.

Let's look at the facts, shall we? Cthulhu is that guy, right up there. Note the bulbous head and tentacle face. Now, I didn't take a picture of my tumor, owing to the fact that I was anesthetized when it was being removed, but my surgeon did use the word "tentacle" to describe it. There was a central mass and TENTACLES reaching toward my spine. Stubby tentacles, he said, but I'm pretty sure he was just trying to minimize the horror factor once I found out that The Deep Ones had taken over my body and were clearly trying to gain control of my central nervous system.

Now that my back is no longer R'lyeh West, I can concentrate on important matters. Like introducing you to an amazing new writer (who also happens to be me), talking about professionalism and mistakes new writers make, and venting my spleen about all manner of things that have been ticking me off lately.

Also, to keep me in good blogging form, if there is any subject you want me to address, let me know. I might blog about it. Or I'll tell you to get stuffed.