Wednesday, September 30, 2009

79 Crushes?

Actually, I’m sure I’ve had more than 79 crushes in my lifetime. I just noticed that according to this blog’s labels, I’ve had 79 posts about crushes of mine. The true number may be more like 279, and I’m not ashamed of it. If you’re in three-digits of crushes and counting, you shouldn’t be either.

This week’s episode of the CBS comedy “How I Met Your Mother” really cracked me up. When asked by Barney if he fantasized about other women, Marshall said he couldn’t unless he first fantasized that his wife Lily had died. This daydream involved Lily’s contracting a long term case of fatal hiccups, and only giving up the ghost after a long struggle, attempts at miracle cures, and fundraisers. Then after “an appropriate amount of time,” Marshall finished grieving and granted Lily’s dying wish, moving on with his life to fondle a busty delivery girl. In other words, the justification portion of the fantasy was a good 20 times longer than the sex.

I’m with Lily; better Marshall should have let her live and just fooled around.

I am a huge fan of marital fidelity (having been a victim of marital infidelity), but when it comes to one’s interior life, I say, go nuts. No one ever did his/her spousal faithfulness a favor by squelching the sex fantasies (just ask your favorite fallen televangelist). Meanwhile, a [few] dozen fun little crushes will be a lot easier on your psyche than the one that grips you for years.

So, I’ve told you about a lot of my crushes on these pages, but for fun let’s just cover a few more I’ve not mentioned before. Today I’ll run down a few select choices from my junior high/high school years:

Beatle Boots. This guy wore pointy boots with those sorts of heels like the Beatles wore in their early years. No one else in the school was that self-confident. Well, the rest of him gave him plenty reason to be, but the boots were what put him over the top.

My Math Teacher. I developed a crush on him for two reasons: (1) He was especially nice to me. (2) I was halfway through high school and had never crushed on a teacher, and felt I was really missing out. It always happens in the movies.

My Creative Writing Teacher. A year later, and not so much in my control as the math teacher. She was a woman. I didn’t dream about sex with her or anything, I just wanted to be her, and for her to really, really like me. To the point that it hurt enough I knew it was a crush.

Half the Varsity Basketball Team. They were really cute, they were really good, they were so tall. Except the one short one, who by virtue of that was unique and special and even more awesome because he had to work so much harder. Oh, and this was the 70s, so their uniform shorts were really short. Those were the days.

My Cousin. And boy, this is one of those moments you hope your relatives don’t read your blog. I saw my cousin every five years or so, but now we were both into adolescence. We listened to music and he pretended to conduct it, which struck me as funky and very sexy. He had very nice brown eyes. The fact that the attraction was illegal made it all the more tragic and enjoyable.

The Kid I Babysat. Speaking of inappropriateness, I sat for three neighbor kids, and this boy was maybe three years younger than me and really too old to be babysat. We all got in a tickle fight. I went home with my 50 cents an hour feeling quite strangely giddy.

The French Exchange Student: He had a quirky, foreign-looking smile, looked great in a Speedo, and was, well, French. Usually simply being French is enough, you know?

The Guy at Lunch: He always leaned up against the same wall and I caught him looking at me more than once. That was sufficient to classify him as Mysteriously Inscrutible. I’m a sucker for inscrutability anytime.

Smile, Hair and Voice. When you’re an adolescent girl, a cute smile, a head of tousled curly hair, and one of the best tenor voices in the choir is enough. Actually, way more than enough. He played an old guy in the school operetta and still looked a luscious seventeen, if a bit distinguished.

Smile, Brains, and Sense of Humor. Or, those. They work too. He could be an intellectual or a goofball. I liked him so well I asked him out 18 years later after my divorce. I think I scared the crap out of him; or maybe he’d just lost the sense of humor.

Cool Name. This guy in my Physics class was named Roland. He was pretty cute, too, but Roland. Isn’t that excellent?

Are you starting to think it doesn’t take much? You mean cool name wasn’t enough for you? Or boots?

Hey, I was going to end up writing a bizillion stories about love and sex, I had to gather material.

And the Crushes label count is now 80.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spot the Book, Maybe Win a $100 Amazon Certificate!

This week not only did I find my book on the shelf of our neighborhood Borders, one of my pals at Sellers Publishing spotted it on this display table in the front of the Borders store at Madison Square Garden. Blows my mind! And right next to FU, Penguin, too! (I love that blog.)

So, if you live in the U.S., odds are the book is in your nearby Borders, and will be at your local Barnes & Noble soon. Canadian readers, it's on its way to Chapters. Heck, I've been told it's going to be at stores all over the world in the next four to six weeks.

Well, I’m just so darn happy, I had to throw a contest. Enter and you could win a $100 Amazon gift certificate or a personalized autographed book! It’s easy and fun to enter: all you have to do is spot the book in your local store and email me a photo. And I'll enter you twice if you're the first entrant from your state or (for non-U.S.) country. For complete contest details, visit the contest page on my Web site

I can't wait to see what you find on your local shelves and display tables! Good luck!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Twilight vs. True Blood

Everywhere I travel on the Interwebs these days, I encounter articles, posts and comments with themes similar to the following:

  • Twilight is too silly
  • "True Blood" is too smutty
  • Edward is a sissy, please bring back Nosferatu
  • Forget vampires, I dig werewolves
  • Forget vampires, I dig zombies
  • Vampires are better than anyone so shut up
  • Bella should shut up
  • Sookie is annoying
  • Team Edward vs. Team Jacob vs. Team Bill vs. Team Eric in all possible combinations

Some of this bashing is humorous and for fun, and then I can get a laugh out of it. But a lot of it is amazingly mean-spirited. I am sometimes tempted to put on a “make love not war” button. I know it’s human nature to say “my favorite vampire show/vampire hero/vampire-loving heroine is better than yours,” but everyone please chill! Whatever happened to “all kinds make a world?”

First of all, it seems kind of silly to me to do literary analysis of either Twilight or the Sookie Stackhouse books. Everyone on both sides needs to realize that none of these books can possibly be “worthless,” considering legions of readers love them. They were written to entertain, and just because they don’t entertain you, doesn’t mean they have no value.

I realize that sometimes it’s hard to get your mind around just how different people are from each other. I’m stunned by it every time I encounter it. But taste is an individual and varied thing. Just this week a fan told me her favorite story in my latest collection, Soulful Sex: The Darker Side, was the very one I happened to like the least. This has happened before, I assure you.

Truly, there’s probably no aspect of life where people differ as much as they do about sex. Not only do people have varied and disparate erotic preferences, oftentimes what one person likes is boring, unpleasant, or even disgusting to another. Consequently, when we argue about matters with erotic content—and you must recognize that the “Twilight vs. True Blood” debate is one such—opinions can certainly clash violently. That’s why it’s imperative to recognize this is a matter of taste, not esoteric absolutes.

I think about Stephenie Meyer’s first imaginings of Edward, so many years back. She had to have thought the concept of vampires avoiding the sun because it revealed their otherworldly appearance was original and interesting. I’m sure that writing about it was delightful. It is, in fact, a clever idea and one that has a certain charm.

No doubt Stephenie, had she thought about it, would have figured not everyone would go for this interpretation of the undead. But no writer can possibly aspire to please everyone, so that would have done little to dissuade her from writing about it. I’m sure she never guessed that one day it would become in vogue to bash the idea of “sparkly vampires” with as much virulence as you see on the Web. Of course, at the same time, there are plenty of people who think the concept is fabulously romantic.

Writers write for the people who will enjoy their work, not those who won’t. Think about it: what else can you do?

Our society has come a long way in learning to live and let live in the sexual arena. Most people recognize the diversity of erotic taste, just as they recognize that different people have different favorite colors, food, music, etc. There are a few absolutes, certainly (pedophilia, for example, is absolutely wrong), but much of the time we’re talking about just opinion. Blonds with beards get Joan excited, while Asians are a turn-on to Jean.

And therefore I’m suggesting, once you see that a million or two people (1) adore Twilight, (2) live for "True Blood," (3) think Edward is hot, (4) are crazy for Bill, etc., that should tell you none of these are worthy of condemnation. We all have our preferences, and you probably want to respect the preferences of others.

I think it’s fun to talk about favorites—I have ever since we passed around slam books in school (how’s that for an ancient term?). Mine (currently at least) are "True Blood," Eric, and vampires. That said, there’s a certain plotline in Breaking Dawn that I thought was brilliant; some days I really adore Bill; and Jacob and Sam have showed me that shapeshifters have their charm.

But what I really love is that there is so much out there for paranormal romance lovers of all stripes. So let’s celebrate the excellent variety of the smorgasbord! It’s so much better for the digestion.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Talkin' 'bout Vampires on Video

I have a little treat for those of you in any of the following categories:

1) You've always wondered what I look/sound like.

2) You're desperate to get tips on vampire dating.

3) You want to know more about my new book How to Catch and Keep a Vampire.

4) You really need to blow three and a half minutes on another funny online video that is at least as entertaining as Keyboard Cat.

If any of these define the person you are at this very moment in human history, you will not want to delay watching me in the new video below...

Don't say you weren't warned.

(Oh, and by the way, the book is starting to appear in stores, is in stock at Barnes & Noble online, and available at Amazon...coming soon to stores worldwide, everywhere by October 23.)