Reviews

I was about to write a review on Goodreads for a short story I read that I really appreciated in terms of writing but that gutted me in terms of subject. It was part of the Love’s Landscapes event. 

Goodreads’ rating system is five stars max. One star is ‘I didn’t like it’, two stars is ‘It was okay’, three stars is ‘I liked it’, four stars is ‘I really liked it’ and five stars is, you guessed it, ‘I loved it’.

First, I have to mention that the story was based on a written prompt from a reader’s point of view on a gif, chosen by said reader. The author writes a story based on that prompt, tags it and puts a content warning. The prompt was really fun, it described two young guys dancing closely and rubbing against each other and the reader asked for a story with a frottage scene included in it. It sounded interesting. The cover is also very cute and nice.

At the beginning of the story, there is a warning that it contains child abuse and drug use. I saw that. It also mentioned other things like sex industry and public activity (of the sexual nature, I presume). 

The writing was excellent. British English at its best, with arse and everything. Really good writing. The subject matter, even though I was warned, gutted me. In my opinion, the child abuse theme is the prevailing one in this book, not the romance between two young guys. 

I reached 66% of the story and gave up without having reached the scene that would include the prompt. To me, the story had nothing to do with the prompt at all. I’m guessing the scene is at the end, when the main character gets together with the guy he met who tries to help him? I hope anyway.

The point of this post: I went on Goodreads to leave a review for the author. My initial reaction was to write to her to congratulate her on her superb writing skills. Then I was stuck. I couldn’t give the story a three-star rating, I hadn’t liked it. I thought to leave a two-star rating, ‘It was okay’, and explain why I was giving it that rating.

I started writing the review, first congratulating her on her writing, then continued with why I hadn’t finished the book but inviting people who liked such hard and sad subjects to read this story, they’d love it, but that I read to escape and live new experiences through other people’s words and this was not an escape for me. Then I thought, well that’s unfair, the writing’s good but I’m gonna make her ratings go down because the subject matter wasn’t for me, really. As an aspiring author, I can understand if one wouldn’t like the negative comments and I know some authors find ratings very important.

Then I read the author’s bio, which she ends with: ‘Just a quick note: If you don’t like me, blow me!’ so I deleted the whole thing. Screw that.

Anyone has an opinion on reviews, their worth and if we should write them?

What my days should be like

My days should start with eating a small amount of plain yogourt, the Greek kind with 0% fat, drizzled with maple syrup, thirty minutes of power walking while watching an episode of something on Netflix, breakfast and coffee, emails, Facebook, lunch with kids if they’re up, kitchen duties and preparing supper in advance, going to classes if I’m giving any that day, supper, writing and bed.

My days start with waking up too early, reading too much in bed, like a couple of hours, getting hungry, having a big breakfast because of it, feeling bloated by the big breakfast, putting off the exercise because of it, feeling guilty, emails, feeding the kids if they’re up,  forgetting to eat again until feeling faint and nauseous, checking twitter and getting distracted by pictures of yummy men, running late for no apparent reason going to class if I’m giving one that day, leaving class way too hungry, getting home and throwing together a supper while my husband, just home from work, does the kitchen duties, getting distracted from writing by wasting time on Facebook and other nonsense and bed.

Who said ADHD sufferers shouldn’t feel like failures….

Running in water

That’s what it feels like. It feels like running in water.

My brain is sluggish at best. In a few seconds, I can think: “Pick up $20 from the table and put in wallet.” “Grab cheque to pay therapy.” “Check time not to be late.” “Call to make appointment for kid’s haircut.” These thoughts just whiz by like lightning.  And are promptly forgotten the minute lightning strikes.

What ensues is a series of slaps on the forehead throughout the day. “Did you call for my haircut?” Shit. Forgot. Dring – “Yeah? I’m in the car. Can you find me the closest ATM to my therapist’s office? I forgot my cheque.” Fuck. If I had remembered to pick up the $20 on the table before I left, I would’ve had enough money on me to pay my therapist in cash… And I’m late to my therapist’s office. Of course.

Oh: and the therapist I’m talking about? Not a psychologist, she’s my occupational therapist who helps me with my ADHD, and gives me tricks and strategies not to forget stuff and get better organised since I can’t seem to tolerate any meds.

All these things cause me a serious amount of anxiety because thoughts that don’t whiz by to be forgotten the minute they show up just bounce around in my head until I freak out: “I have to write today.” “I have to exercise.” “I have to phone an orthodontist to set up an appointment for the kid’s  ingrown tooth.” “I have to read on OneNote.” “I have to find that web page on Scrivener that I liked but that disappeared when my computer broke down.” “I have to get back to so-and-so concerning that email she sent me months ago.” Ding, ding, ding. My head’s a regular pinball machine.

One trick: OHIO. Or Only Handle It Once. So now I’m gonna go back to cleaning up the kitchen that I left mid-task when my phone rang next to my computer which led me to write this post.

Brilliant.

F*@%k F*@%k F*@%k

Pfff…. Another medication in the toilet.

Biphentin not only gives me painful acne but joint pain. And here I thought it was old age…

I’m only taking a small dosage to gradually increase to a dosage that would work and I’ll have to give it up, like the other ones.

I am so sick of this ADHD thing you have no idea.

Was it better not knowing? I wonder… I didn’t know I had it, thus lived my life thinking I was incompetent and a scatterbrain but now I know why I’m incompetent and a scatterbrain and I can’t do a bloody thing about it!

 

Preparing to be a parent

Read this first:

Posted: 06/02/2014 12:05 pm EDT Updated: 06/02/2014 12:59 pm EDT
I especially like No. 5. It’s hilarious. Bunmi Laditan captures the harsh realities of living with a toddler. And this is just to prepare you for one child. Imagine when you have a baby in your arms while all this is happening with a two-year-old! She writes a humorous post on how you can train yourself to have a kid, like hiring an actor to remain stuck to you all day, every day, borrow orangutans from the zoo and let them loose in your car to train for driving with children while keeping your eyes on the road, cooking a perfect meal and throwing it on the wall, cleaning everything up after.  Read it, it’s worth it.

It’s meant to be funny and light. And I did laugh a lot. Loud.

It reminded me of a conversation with my young friends this past Monday. Three twenty-somethings who immigrated here from France and a thirty-something mother of three from Montreal. They are just delightful. One twenty-something was telling us the ordeals she went through while babysitting a seven-month puppy last week. The puppy was sick with diarrhea, would whine and whimper if left alone in a room and was sprayed by a skunk at three-thirty in the morning during one of its hourly diarrhea attacks. My friend lost much-needed sleep and had to clean up the mess. She was glad to give the dog back to its owner. The dog needs training, keeps pulling on the leash, sleeps on the bed, pees everywhere…

At the end of her story, she said this (drumroll….): “It’s like having a child.”

We two moms assured her that although one would think that, it’s nothing like having a child when you actually have one. Just like your pets are your reason for living until your child is born.

My young, innocent friend said: “Well, yeah, having children must be better because at least they listen when you tell them to do something.”

At which the other mom and I burst out laughing, slapping our thighs in merriment. The younger one was serious. Which was even funnier!

So the young dogsitter said: “Well that’s it, I don’t want any children!”

That’s when I stopped laughing.

I told her that, although we kid around a lot about the struggles of having children, there’s nothing to prepare you for the love you’ll feel when they’re born. You won’t know how much you’re capable of loving someone until you hold your newborn in your arms. You’ll want to give everything to this little person because this is the most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to the world. They’re great kids who turn into great people. It’s a privilege to know them and watch them grow up to turn into individuals you’re happy to have in your life.

Another young one in the conversation said stop it, she was going to cry, wiping at her eyes.

My intention wasn’t to go all Hallmark on them. It’s really the way I feel, and the way a lot of parents feel.

Yes, it can be compared to living in a zoo with a monkey strapped to your leg, but the monkey will never be as cute as your own baby or elicit the same feelings. That’s why we let them get away with it. They’re cute and we love them.

They know it, too.

Love’s Landscapes – Don’t Read in the Closet 2014

Worth a free membership!

kajeharper

Today marks the start of the now-annual free M/M story event from the Goodreads M/M Romance Group. In theirLove’s Landscapes Stories folder every day through June, July, August and into September, there will be new stories posted in response to picture prompts. The length varies from 2000 to over 80,000 words, the content from humor to erotica to sweet romance to sci fi, mystery and more. Look at the story tags in the first box “Story Info” for content, genre and warnings. And enjoy!

Today our three first stories include
* Carte Blanche, a lovely contemporary about pushing one’s limitations from Nash Summers
* Broken Phoenix, a funny, sweet and quirky fantasy by the amazing Edmond Manning of “King Perry” fame,
* Villains, a sci-fi/fantasy adventure from Andrea Speed, whose “Infected” shifter series is one of my favorites.

Most stories will be downloadable on the…

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I miss them

I miss my characters. I finished a story for the Goodreads MM Romance group Love’s Landscape a week ago. I’m waiting to hear from an editor who’ll have the brilliant job of reading my crap. Poor, poor volunteer editor.

That said, I miss the characters. I think about them when I’m driving, when I’m reading, in my shower, or now, in front of my computer.

I want to write more about them. Ideas keep popping up in my mind. They have more to say, more to experience, more to share.

I think I’ll continue it, just for fun.

Tom, Dylan, I’m coming! Hold on!