taste_is_sweet: (And he will actually kill you)
Hello, my beauties, and Happy Friday! Monday the March Break officially begins and I will be going to Canada with my kid to visit the fam. It should be awesome.

While I readily admit that I, too, can be at times almost as awesome as a trip to Canada to visit the fam, I am, as I'm fairly sure you're aware, human and therefore extremely fallible. Occasionally more fallible than your average bear, so to speak. There have been times, I admit, when the only thing keeping my mouth shut or my fingers still is the fact that I don't like hurting peoples' feelings. I am a big adherent to the rule that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all (or just hit the back button). I've also gotten pretty good at keeping things to myself.

All that typed, between you and me there have been many, many times with I've just wished I could, for example, leave a comment on someone's fic or their post that completely represented what I was thinking. Now, I would never actually do that (see above). I'm not generally a mean person and life is too short not to be nice.

But. And I hope I'm not alone in this, but. That hasn't stopped me from compiling a list of things I could say, but have and will not. I've included it here, because I can.

I hope some of you might unleash your baser selves and contribute in the comments, bearing in mind that this is nothing but venting, not aimed at anyone. Just devilish self-indulgence that I won't partake in out loud again.

I just think that we're entitled to what we feel, and allowed to feel things even if they're bad. The point is not to inflict those feelings on anyone else. Which is why they're under a cut.

But if you'd like to join me, there's plenty of room on the dark side. And we have cookies.
Mind the gap. )
Thank you for your forbearance and understanding. Now I'm going to take a shower.
taste_is_sweet: (Harlock Skull)
This was written for [livejournal.com profile] wordsinthebrain. The prompt was 'Invasion'. The Train isn't my idea, and was used with the creator's permission (you can check out the other passengers via the 'the Train' tag at the community).

2232 words; warnings for heavily implied death and violence. Hover over the French words for a translation.

Cliff wants to ask what the hell’s waiting for him at his stop, that the kid’s still this fucking scared. You don’t ask, though. Not in this car. Maybe the other passengers do, but in this car they know better. )

Betaed by the lovely, talented and extremely generous [livejournal.com profile] brumeier, considering I make her cry all the time.
taste_is_sweet: (Please be Advised)
I'm just going to say it: this post has no redeeming social value whatsoever, and is entirely AmyCat's and foxfireflamequeen's fault. Because blaming people is fun.

It's their fault because FoxFire said I should watch the 2015 Man from U.N.C.L.E. movie, which I'd wanted to do anyway. But still. And AmyCat asked me if it was any good.

Yes, AmyCat, it was good. Not going to lie, though. The best part of the movie is this guy:

Plus, he's tall enough to see space.
Looks like a cinnamon roll; will actually kill you

Meet Illya Kuryakin, as played by Armie Hammer with those big, soulful eyes. He has an admirable work ethic and breathtaking anger management issues, as perfectly illustrated in his and Napoleon Solo's (played by Henry Cavill) first conversation.



In short, he is an absolute, giant bae. This is almost literally the conversation I had with my husband while watching that scene in the cafe:

Me: I had no idea Henry Cavill was that hot.

Husband: That's Armie Hammer. Henry Cavill's the other one.

Me: The hot one is Armie Hammer?

It was a reasonable error, because Henry Cavill is blandly good looking and I'd only seen Armie Hammer when he was blandly good looking in The Lone Ranger, where he was upstaged by Johnny Depp and a horse. Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger was fine. Pleasant. I'd go so far as to say not unattractive. But definitely nothing to write home about. Pretty much like the entire Lone Ranger movie.

Illya, however, has an accent, painful backstory and mental health concerns. And he doesn't lose fights. Ever. He's perfect.






Yes, in the second one you saw him push a motorcycle frame off himself, then carry it down a hill and throw it at someone. That's not his only super power either. In the beginning of the movie, Illya dodges bullets (as you do), runs down Solo's car on foot and then rips the trunk hood off with his bare hands. But it was the motorcycle-toss that got me thinking. Specifically about this guy:



And especially this one:



Here's the thing--it never made sense for me that the KGB/Red Room/Hydra would only create one Winter Soldier, or stop trying to perfect their version of the Super Soldier serum after it worked on Bucky Barnes. Even if you go with Bucky having global amnesia when the Russians find him (as in the comics), they go to a hell of a lot of trouble with building a memory erasing machine just for one guy. And we know from season two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that there's more than one way to skin a cat make someone happy to comply via brainwashing.

So I've decided that Illya Kuryakin is another Winter Soldier.

Oh, for sure he's not in the same league. He's not about to walk off bridges or kick guys into jet engines. But unlike the original, Illya can act like an ordinary human, albeit one with extraordinary talents, because he has memories. The Winter Soldier is the ruthless, unstoppable stuff of nightmares because he's more a weapon than a man. Illya Kuryakin is one of the best spies the Soviet Union ever produced, because he's still a person. He can work in a team; he can have emotional ties; he doesn't have to stay in the shadows like a ghost. And if he risks falling out of his programming, all his handlers have to do is kindle a reset via psychotic episode, by reminding him of his shameful family history. A family history that of course never actually happened.

And if that doesn't work, there's always the chair.

The canon fits beautifully, as far as I'm concerned. Illya and Bucky are even around the same age, give or take one of them being frozen for a few years. I can easily imagine the Winter Soldier training Illya. I can certainly imagine the two of the becoming friends. That is, as long as they could remember each other. Because there is no part of the Winter Soldier's history that isn't tragic. Then again, even without Hydra and the Red Room, Illya's story is pretty tragic too. And fandom can't ever have too many tragic super powered Russians, am I right?

I'm totally right.
Burned not-actually Russian cinnamon rolls who will kill you

taste_is_sweet: (What?)
As you all know, I had a new fantasy book out in November. I posted about it here, with a lovely cover image and the book description. Please do take a moment to check it out if you haven't seen it yet, just because the rest of this will be more relevant if you do. And probably funnier. :) I'll wait.

So far, I've had some terrific reviews and ratings on Goodreads.com, and two excellent reviews on Amazon.com. And then I got these: Cut for length and O.o )
taste_is_sweet: (Totally Tasty!)
Earlier this evening my son was looking at my author's copies of my published work, and asked why most of the short stories were under my real name, but some stories and both novels were by Aundrea Singer.

I explained about pen names, and how I started using the pen name for the gay romances I wrote because I was worried our conservative, fundamentalist neighbors wouldn't let their children play with him anymore if they knew about them. I used the example of this dickwad to remind him that this is how a hell of a lot of people think where we live.

My kid shuddered at the memory of the bigoted dickwad, then said, "I have a suggestion. We take your books to that guy, and do this...."

I thought he was going to mime giving the books to him, and was about to explain why it was a sweet idea but wouldn't make any difference.

My kid actually mimed using the books to hit the bigot over the head.

I love my kid.

The paper says "I wrote this". He thought it was hilarious.
Mommy wrote it

taste_is_sweet: (That's me baby)
You may have noticed that I haven't been around much lately. The major reason for my prolonged absences is basically that I suck.

I actually had intended to remedy this around the beginning of May, while Dom (that's my husband) and I were in Montreal. We went to Montreal because Dom had won a prestigious award from his old high school. He was really looking forward to getting it--more even than pretty much any other award he's ever won.
Owie.
Definitely didn't tickle

So naturally, five minutes before he was set to go to the reception, he fell and broke his upper right arm. (I'm not even kidding; he was about to put on his tie.) A Proximal Humerus Fracture means a break just under the shoulder joint. Not to put too fine a point on it, it fucking sucks. What sucks even harder is that my husband is disabled, and without his right arm his mobility's been reduced to just about zero. He's slowly getting better, but he needs a lot more help than normal. It's made it hard to think about anything else, like updating my live journal.

But! He is getting better. His arm is slowly healing and I'm not quite as stressed to the gills, which means I can think about other stuff--like updating my live journal. And I actually have cool news with which to update.

My novella Aiden's Angel is coming out this Wednesday (and still available for pre-order). You can read the cover blurb here.

And...that's it, thank you. :)

taste_is_sweet: (Want to dive into your ocean)
Starting today and for the next 12 days, there will be a charity giveaway from 224 authors, review bloggers and publishers, to reward anyone donating at least $5.00 to a LGBT charity of your choice.

You can access the giveaway and links to charities via this post at Diverse Reader. There's a short story in italics at the beginning, with the full information at the end of how to sign up, as well as a video showcasing the people and publishers donating books. I wanted to donate a book myself, but I only found out about it on April 10, when the call for book donations had closed, alas. But I'm going to give $10.00 to #Pizza4Equality after I finish posting this.

You may be asking, 'Why pizza, Sweet?' And Best-Beloveds, I shall tell you.

Memories Pizza sells pizza in Walkerton, Indiana. Indiana, of course, has been in the news lately because of Governor Mike Pence signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on March 26, which was widely criticized as allowing any business to refuse to serve anyone whose existence they deemed contrary to their religious beliefs. Specifically, members of the LGBT community.

Memories Pizza became a poster child for exactly what liberals feared, when one of the owners stated that if asked, she'd refuse to cater a same-sex wedding.

Now to be fair, no one had asked. And at least according to this article, Memories Pizza has never turned away a gay customer. However, the statement infuriated so many people that the Pizzeria ended up closing under the media storm and barrage of negative comments. Whereupon TV host Dana Loesch of the extreme conservative network The Blaze started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the embattled restaurant. (Do yourself a favor--don't read the comments on that link.)

And they got nearly a million dollars in two days.

So, enter #PizzaforEquality, started by Scott Wooledge, with the idea that maybe that much money could be raised to fund charities protecting LGBT people and their rights, rather than to fund those places who would deny them. It's been a good start, but it's been more than two days and the campaign closes on April 29, so I thought I'd boost the signal. And get a book. Because books are awesome.

So is pizza! But only if you're willing to share.
taste_is_sweet: (Chuck was Worried)
I love the internet.

You probably do too--you're here, after all (and thank you for that). The 'net has given me fandom, friendships, introduced me to things I never knew existed, and enabled my first professional novel.

The World Wide Web is a repository of the simultaneously best and worst of humanity. Name anything you could possible want to learn about, see, hear, share or buy and it will be there in one form or another. Because of the internet we can debunk urban legends; learn new and awesome terminology; revel in fandom; and read stories and stories and stories and stories and stories.

And if you live in the U.S., you might lose it.

This excellent excerpt from Last Week Tonight not only makes the situation pellucid (that was for [livejournal.com profile] brumeier), it's incredibly funny. Well worth 13 minutes of your time. Just be careful of the NSFW language.



For those of you who don't have 13 minutes, the TL:DR version is this:

The biggest cable companies in the U.S., like Comcast and Verizon, want the Government to enact a law that will let them charge internet companies (think Netflix; Amazon; Etsy; that place where you bought that stuff that came in a box with no return address) more money to enable them to load faster on your computer.

That means companies who can't afford to pay (like that place with no return address) will suddenly become far less accessible. It's like the Fastpass at the Universal Theme Park in Orlando: The companies who can't pay will end up waiting in line to get to the consumer Revenge of the Mummy ride, while the rich ones just walk on through.

We can't let that happen. It probably will, but there's still time to do something about it. Go to fcc.gov/comments, read the simple instructions, and leave a public comment. Hopefully if enough people remind the Government who voted for them, it might keep this from happening.

Might. I'm not holding my breath--I'm not Comcast; I can't afford it.
taste_is_sweet: (Want to dive into your ocean)
Those of you living in civilized countries outside the United States may not know that recently Arizona (state of that smug bastard Roadrunner and that city where everyone makes a wrong turn; not to mention the state where it is now legal for a cop to ask anyone for their immigration papers at anytime, anywhere, if there is "reasonable suspicion" that the person is insufficiently light-skinned an illegal alien) voted in a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve people based on sexual orientation on religious grounds.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill (same link just above) after even the Republicans who had voted for it realized that pissing off Apple and the Superbowl committee might be a bad idea. Joh Stewart of the Daily Show has hilarious commentary on it below. (Unfortunately it's in two parts.):




But Mississippi, a state I know so little about that I had to look up its capitol (It's Jackson), decided to take up the banner of discrimination and vote in its own law about the very same thing.

The state flag of Mississippi, which perhaps tells us everything we need to know*
 photo Mississippistateflag.jpg

But it's Religious freedom, y'all. It's not about not serving homosexuals. It's about... allowing people to not serve homosexuals. In the name of freedom.

(I hope that my American FListies will sign this petition against it. It's endorsed by Lance Bass! Who should possibly move.)

But the thing I really don't get about Mississippi's bill is this: How do you tell if someone is homosexual before you serve them? I mean, same-sex marriage is illegal in Mississippi; it's not like any give bakery in Jackson is going to have a homosexual couple ordering a wedding cake. And sure, maybe if someone wants two bridal dresses for a commitment ceremony it might tip off the owner of the local Dress Barn. But what about restaurants? Or shoe stores? Or, I dunno, pet salons? Are you really going to ask someone if they're gay before you shave their dog? Even if they come prancing in dressed like Johnny Weir at an Oscar after-party, can you be sure that they threaten the God-given sanctity of your divorce just by existing? Unless a Canadian walks into your ski shop, how can you even know?

Obviously, the next step is for Mississippi to pass a law like Arizona's, that will let anyone ask for one's sexual orientation at any given time. And then they'd need to issue gay IDs. And then have special homosexual ghettos to make sure that no businesses are threatened by gays or lesbians trying to pass as normal people.

And then jail them for acting homosexual in public. Like Russia, to protect the children. Maybe those Reds have the right idea after all!



*To be fair, Georgia only got rid of the Confederate Battle Flag on their state flag in 2003.

taste_is_sweet: (Chuck was Worried)
(Yes, "oppilant" is a real word. I totally looked it up.) And edited because I can't believe I spelled 'losing' with two 'O's. What the hell, brain?

I've been told in no uncertain terms by the lovely woman I pay to bitch at that I may be losing out on opportunities because I'm terrified I'm reluctant to move out of my comfort zone.

Since I pay her to tell me these things, I can only assume she has my best interests at heart and is probably right. Therefore o, best-beloveds, I've decided that this year I need to get off my frightened little ass and go to a writers' conference.

What am I frightened about (I know you're not asking, but I'm telling you anyway)? That would be rejection, my friends. Plain and simple. I've posted about this before, because I'm nothing if not redundant consistent, but I didn't realize just how terrified I am of rejection until I contemplated being rejected in person by other writers I don't know.

Seriously, nauseous with terror just from looking at a couple upcoming conferences in Texas. All I can think of is going to these panels hosted by beautiful writers (that's not even a joke--they all look so pretty and thin in their pictures) who are way more successful than me and then I'll say something or offer something, or just, something...and there'll be crickets. The metaphor for the deadly silence just before the hapless comic taps the microphone and asks, "is this thing on?"

But, I'm going to be brave and do it anyway. However, it'd be a lot easier to be brave if I wasn't alone. So, is anyone else out there planning on going to a writers' conference, who would like some company? Even if it's outside of Texas, if it's not too far I could probably manage to go. And I can be extremely encouraging to other people, if necessary. It's just me I have trouble with. I'd love to meet more people on my FList, too.

If not, well. I was thinking of going to the Writers League of Texas Agents and Editors conference in June. If you happen to be there, I'll be the plain, geeky older woman in the back. But my tee-shirt will be awesome.
taste_is_sweet: (Please be Advised)
Many years ago, while riding the Toronto subway, I was in a car with a young woman and her two friends. This was back in the early 90s, when name-brand, novelty sneakers were very much 'in'. This young woman had on such a pair, and I, with nothing else to do, was watching her wearing them.

I didn't realize it might have been rude until she glared at me and demanded to know why I was staring at her.

"I'm just looking at your shoes," I said, horribly embarrassed.

And she replied: "They don't wanna know you!"

Snobs
 photo Sneakers.jpg

It's the kind of moment that stays with you, and sometimes, like when I'm about to post on LJ or--especially lately--when I send out another novel query after the previous one was rejected again (three for three so far!), I hear those words. They don't wanna know you.

I realize this isn't helpful, and not even true (at least with non-footwear). I've met many people who wanted to know me, though I can't speak for their shoes; and many of these people both still know me and still want to, as far as I can tell. And I know that the people rejecting my novel aren't actually rejecting me. Maybe they'd want to know me if we ever met in person, even if they did describe my novel as 'fairly well written' and 'off-putting' in the same paragraph.

Maybe I wouldn't want to know them, but that's not the point.

Radio Host Jay Smooth, who is a bit of a YouTube celebrity for his commentary on racism, homophobia and gender issues, calls these kind of internal mantras "Little Haters". He has a video about them, which is pretty cool:

And Martin Freeman, lately of The Hobbit but possibly more beloved as Sherlock's Dr. John Watson, told an Entertainment Weekly interviewer that he doesn't read reviews because (to paraphrase, because I can't find it), it wouldn't matter how many awesome reviews he got, he'd only remember the negative ones and they would ruin his life. He has inner haters too.

That's reassuring, of course, to know that even famous people have their they don't wanna know you moments. But it's also discouraging. It'd be nice to think that at some point, somehow, maybe, I'd reach a threshold of success that would mean I didn't have to make the little haters shut up all the time.

Instead, most some days, like right now, it's a constant battle to keep writing, and posting to LJ, and sending out my novel when it seems like no one will ever want it. And to remind myself that they--whomever 'they' actually are--probably do want to know me. Just maybe not my writing.

It's a battle I don't think I'll win, but I'm still trying. And I'm still writing. And that's something, right?

But their shoes would love me. Really.

Photo: "Colorful Sport Shoe" by John Kasawa, via Freedigitalphotos.net

taste_is_sweet: (Beasts of War and burden)
I'm sure you've all heard of it by now: Dinosaur Erotica.

It's a rising market, apparently. I haven't bought any of the novels myself, though of course with all the hype surrounding them, the co-authors of such gems as Mating with the Raptor are likely millionaires. (According to the interview link above, they were already making more money than their engineer friends.)

I think my favorite part is that beautiful cover, though I wonder how the heroine found that outfit in pseudo-bronze age Europe.
 photo Raptor.jpg

So, I read that short interview and some of the other articles about these writers, and I got to thinking that they were on to something.

I checked out a whole half-page of the Mating with the Raptor novel on Amazon and, well, let me say I've read a lot worse. There's even the beginning of a plot, of sorts. The writing feels kind of phoned-in, but I'm sure that after 200 or so short fics about women in dub-con relationships with mythological and extinct animals, I'd be phoning it in too. I certainly have to admire their work ethic.

And my conclusion, of course, is that I should be doing that. Fuck my attempts at being a novelist! Fuck plot and original, sympathetic characters--just get to the fucking. With dinosaurs.

[livejournal.com profile] sgamadison had the great idea of purposely writing the worst story idea she could think of, and then seeing how well it sold. I think that's awesome! Who's with me? Let's hear those terrible plot ideas (don't forget the sex)! God knows after being a dinosaur's love slave there's not much lower you can go. Except maybe underwater.

Impregnated by the Ichthyosaur, anyone?

taste_is_sweet: (Carry This Weight)
Yeah, I was mostly fine the whole weekend after learning about the school shooting on Friday, but today it seems I can't stop seeing things about it and I keep crying. Maybe because Jav's in school. I keep putting myself in the place of all those parents who lost their precious little boy or girl on Friday. And all those kids who were only five and six and who died frightened and wanting their mommies and daddies.

Obviously, I shouldn't do that. It's not doing me any good and it's not like it helps anyone, least of all me. But I can't not. I don't have very strong boundaries at the best of times and things like this tend to throw me. A lot.

I'll probably be fine tomorrow. But maybe I'll get my kid early today.
taste_is_sweet: (Brave Little Toaster)
Yes, oh best beloveds, I am now on Twitter. You can find me there either via Aundrea Singer or Taste_is_Sweet. I haven't tweeted anything yet in terror of it disappearing into the ether with a deafening and humiliating silence. Because I'm assuming that, like LJ, if you follow someone you can read their tweets, but no one will read your tweets unless they follow you, right?

I feel like the new kid in the high school cafeteria, here. Does anyone want to be my twitter friend? I promise I don't pick my nose in public and I bathe regularly.
taste_is_sweet: (What?)
(Please note there might be triggers in the information for the petition. The blog being protested celebrates rape and violent homophobia.)

MTV: Stop supporting hate!
taste_is_sweet: (Want to dive into your ocean)
Putin's tyrannical oppression of anything considered to be 'homosexual propaganda' (like, you know, daring to hold a banner for gay rights) is terrifying. Please help to put international pressure on Russia to stop treating their citizens like criminals for who they love.

Hooligans? Bring it on, Putin! | All Out
taste_is_sweet: (Chuck was Worried)
College Station. Deep in the heart of Texas, home of the Aggies, the Candy 95 radio station, and the occasional tornadoes. Like the one that almost hit us tonight.

Yeah. Nothing like that awesome gut-churning moment when your son's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show is interrupted by a grey screen with the National Weather Service warning for a tornado scrolling across it replete with blaring alarm.

Not a tornado watch, unfortunately, which just means you need to check the local KAGS ('K-Ags'! Like the Aggies! Get it?) every so often and maybe worry just a tad. No, this was a Tornado Warning, which means, 'better move your ass to an indoor room before the spinning whirlwind of death descends like the fist of an angry god'.

We've had tornado watches before, and warnings, and once a tornado even came so close that it paused just south of our little manicured subdivision before dissipating. But all that was before we had a kid. Nothing ramps up the adrenaline rush of the bleating National Weather Service TV alarm like having your son sitting in your lap and so scared he keeps asking if it's time to go hide in the bathroom. The poor little guy was freaked out enough that despite our assurances that the heroic weather dude would let us know when it was time to go bathtub-diving, he ended up so exhausted with worry by the end of it that for the first time in literally a year he actually announced he was going to bed, rather than commence his usual thirty-minute negotiation.

Luckily the tornado went all, 'Surprise! I'm heading downtown!' while I was moving essentials to the bathroom and decided to menace my excellent friend [livejournal.com profile] anna_bird instead. In the meantime I shared OMFG TORNADO! texts with my neighbors and found it mildly amusing that the very excited weather dude started telling us we had to worry about hail and flash floods instead of tornadoes. Hail the size of eggs? Floods deep enough to swim in? No problem, weather dude. We got a garage, yo.

(And yes, on the news they were warning the local idiots to please NOT GO SWIMMING IN THE FLOOD WATERS. BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, IT'S A FLOOD AND YOU MIGHT DROWN.)

An hour later it was as if nothing had ever happened, except for the new swimming hole and people with egg-sized dents on the roofs and hoods of their cars. A tornado even hit next door in Burleson county (hey, tornado! What did that Fedex distribution center ever do to you?), but here, nothing. My beloved child is sleeping soundly and safely in his bed and my husband and I are watching late-night television like any regular Friday night. Phew.

But I'm checking the KAGS station before I go to bed, believe me. Just in case.

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