Most of my paternal family are a mix of ranchers, farmers and a coal miner or two, and they’re not known for running off at the mouth. I think there’s a type of man who delights in using as few words as possible. And as much as I love loud, take-no-prisoner type women, I also love a still-waters-run-deep sort of fella.
Sweet Abuelita, an illustration in the book.
Henry “Hank” Burnett, from the book cover
In my second novel, Bitter Springs, an historical Western set in Del Rio, Texas in the 1870s, I had a lot of fun with Henry “Hank” Burnett, the freed slave turned mesteñeros, stepping in as the quintessential cowboy. (And for more on how he absolutely was the quintessential cowboy–most likely not straight nor white–click here.) In the following excerpts, Renaldo is a young, coming of age horse-trainer (21) the baby of a boisterous, loving Texican family. He’s made a faux pas and… well, maybe it’s best you read it. (And get a glass of water, ’cause brother, Hank is dry.)
One of the drawbacks of Mormon Culture—a term by which I mean the culture that Mormons and Mormon-adjacent folks who live in Utah and surrounding Mormon-concentrated areas like Idaho and Arizona engage in—drawbacks of this is the expectation for a life that isn’t really based on reality. It’s an idea that if you live life like a character in a ’50’s television show, that “Aww shucks, I’m meeting Penny and Skip at the Frosty’s for a malted!” lifestyle, everything is going to turn out perfectly.
Your fellow citizens provide your laugh track, which means you need to up the hijinks every week. At first you think this Leave it to Beaver episode is going to be fun, but when you look at it through the lens of reality, you start to wonder where Mrs. Cleaver hides the hard liquor to cope. It’s only through thinking back on those formative years where I developed my tastes and preferences in dating that I can see how it really set me up to fail in finding my Perfect Mormon Husband. (Spoiler alert: I never did.)
This week’s podcast is all about the dumb, unnecessarily huge gestures that I made to woo boys, how this sets up expectations for romance that’s almost impossible to achieve, and the ultimate way for a Mormon girl to ask a boy named Joseph Smith to a dance, based off a true and amazing story. This week is brought to you by a flood of shameful and hilarious memories that I had from listening to This American Life‘s podcast about grand gestures (and if you haven’t read Elna Baker’s book, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, you should! AND SEE? I wasn’t lying about all the dances!!)
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This is a day that means a lot to me. Spirit Day, Purple Shirt Day, Support LGBTQ Youth Day, however you want to call it, it’s a day that both reminds me of how my oldest child struggled with coming out, with bullying at his school, and how many kids around the world face this every day. It also gives me hope, because my second child–while still facing the struggles that so many youth face as LGBTQ–and her girlfriend faced a wave of acceptance.
It gets better? It’s GETTING better, but that’s because of supportive folks like yourself and GLAAD’s drive to educate the public.
So here’s where you come in: my publisher, an LGBTQ publishing house, is not only dropping the price of all books today by 25%, they will be donating $1 to GLAAD for every book, print or electronic, sold today.
And I’m matching dollar for dollar for any of my books purchased. That’s a price cut and $2 to a terrific organization, their purpose to help make life better for the queer youth of today and tomorrow. All day, until midnight PST in the US, so grab my book, someone else’s book, get involved with IP’s direct donation link, just show your SPIRIT!
Edit: Aww, heck, let’s throw in BITTER SPRINGS, too. All pre-sale purchases today will add to my Dollar Matching. Let’s get to raising funds!
As release week continues along (Hey, I could have thrown us waaay back with a Sid & Marty Kroft reference: “I said LAUNCH not LUNCH,” but I didn’t. And you’re welcome), I thought I’d give your word-reading eyes a rest by showing you pictures–mostly location scouting, but some fantasy casting is under the cut–that I used as points of reference throughout The Bones Of You.
But first… It’s important that you know that in my mind, these were my inspirations for Moira and Dough Face:
Nora Jane Noone, aka Moira Byrne
And the fantastic Christopher Hanke as Dough-Face. He’s actually super attractive and awesome in real life, so I share this with apologies to Mr. Hanke. 😉
But wait, there’s more! So much more…
As we get closer to the release date (Tuesday, November 18th!), I thought I’d go back to how I actually wrote this monster, which was to a specific soundtrack. Am I the only one who does this? I “cast” characters in my head, locations, and then have to layer on a soundtrack like it’s a movie. And then I write. And honestly, this is one of my most favorite soundtracks/playlists that I’ve ever put together. And if you pay attention, the entire story is told here. Spoiler alert? Ha ha.
Reminder that you can pre-order my book from my publisher’s store, from Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, or ask your friendly Indie book seller to get you a copy (even better, because those come on the pretty cream paper instead of Amazon’s Bright White). There’s still some time left to enter my Goodreads Giveaway and win a free copy!
And now, some tunes. Click for the link. Below is the tracklisting, and you should buy all of these albums, for they are stellar. Continue reading
I have kids. Kids are expensive. It’s not even the doctor/maintenance stuff–which, don’t get me wrong, that’s expensive–but rather all the hoo-has you buy them to keep them entertained. I’m pretty even-keeled on what’s appropriate and what’s brat-inducing, but every so often a trend comes along, and the next thing you know, you have a huge plastic organizer for all the stupid Silly Bandz your fifth grader has acquired.
For me, it was scratch-n-sniff stickers.
Because sometimes you need a hit o’pickle, am I right?
Do you see this ridiculous face? That’s Sally Derg, our sweet German Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix, taken six years ago. In this picture she’s modeling the latest in anti-anxiety wear, a Thundershirt, and I can attest that they work! Not during tornadoes, though, which is a pity since I live in Tornado Alley.
THE EYES OF A KILLER
We had to put this sweet girl down last month, and that’s an ache that doesn’t go. I’m just now able to talk about it without bursting into tears. Continue reading
[good time intensifies]
I am a child/teen of the 80s, which means I loved MTV, John Hughes movies and roller skating. There was a roller rink down the bottom of the hill that my parent’s house was on, and it was a buck to get in and get some shoes. Ah, the good ol’ days of wearing borrowed, sweaty, weirdly bumpy inside shoes. Â If you were cool, you had your own. But they wouldn’t be lame boot-style, they’d be speed skates, low, black, with shocks built in, and you’d have fat, neon laces.
I had old-school white boots with red wheels, but they were mine. ThenÂ a growth spurt left me stuck with the old brown boots where one never fit right. If you managed to get a pair off the shelf that fit perfectly right off the bat, you’re probably a demon and we should end you. Look: I don’t support witchcraft or tomfoolery.*
*that’s a dirty lie.Â I think you’re amazing. Continue reading