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Spookiness for a Cause

Right now, I think we can all agree that the world is a pretty shitty place. There’s so much unrest and misery everywhere we look, and honestly, sometimes, it’s so overwhelming, I don’t know where to put the time and energy I have available into fixing it. I know a lot of the people I talk to feel the same way. So, I’d like to share a low-effort, impactful way you can help at least one group of people.

In August, I went to the Rust City Book Con, and I was lucky enough to meet Marie Piper. She’s a fabulous author, and all around awesome person. She’s also part of a project that’s raising money for Chicago-area charities who provide services for area’s homeless population.

Winter is coming, and winter in Chicago is absolutely brutal. Marie and eight other authors donated their time and talents (as did the cover artist) to put together a spooky anthology that releases on October 17th. All proceeds are going the above mentioned charities.

I just bought my copy. I hope you’ll pick up a copy, too. Every little bit helps, so I hope that you’ll help R. Diamond, Harley Easton, Gregory L. Norris, Randi Perrin, CM Peters, Marie Piper, S.B. Roark, Sienna Saint-Cyr, and Katey Tattrie help the Chicago-area homeless.

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Pre-order Haunt today! 

 A shadow at the window…A creak in the floorboards…

The air is getting colder and the leaves are beginning to change. Halloween is just around the corner. This October, let R. Diamond, Harley Easton, Gregory L. Norris, Randi Perrin, CM Peters, Marie Piper, S.B. Roark, Sienna Saint-Cyr, and Katey Tattrie give you the shivers with HAUNT, a collection of nine brand-new and wide-ranging tales of haunted dwellings.

 

Roommates by Katey Tattrie

Redemption Hill by Randi Perrin

By Tethers Bound by S.B. Roark

The B Room by CM Peters

Error by R. Diamond

The Shut-In by Gregory L. Norris

Jessie by Marie Piper

Possessed by Sienna St. Cyr

People who live in Glass Sanitoriums by Harley Easton

 

*All proceeds from HAUNT will go to Chicago-area charities that provide services for the homeless population.*

Available October 17th, 2017 via Amazon.

For more information, visit Marie Piper

What I Gained–or Lost–by Taking a Risk

This bird is my Patronus.

So, I’m not really big on risk-taking, really. I like to be comfy. I like warm sweaters and toasty slippers. I like cwtching up under blankets and reading books. I like tea and toast. I like rainy autumn days.

I guess I’m basically a hobbit. I think that explains everything, because I also like second breakfast. And elevensies.

But anyway, like I said, I’m not into risks. Which isn’t to say I haven’t done stupid things that were also risky. But typically, I only realize the risks after I escape certain death. (Crossing the Mackinac Bridge about 45 minutes before the poor driver of the Yugo was blown over the side in her car, hiking on the rock formation that makes up Devil’s Wash Tub on a high wind/heavy wave day, driving through a stretch of road that Lake Superior was in the process of washing out at the time. All risks–all stupid as fuck because I am so, so bad at math.)

But, I guess I’ve also taken some intentional risks, though they’ve mostly been the emotional kind. Like this whole writing gig. No, not all of my books are written from personal experiences–I’m not out banging ghosts or lesser known Celtic deities, or killing vampires, or dealing with bad tempered Scottish authors who look like Aidan Turner. Though, I’d totally sign up for that one. But I think there are always elements of every writer in the stories they tell. I think that someone who knows me decently could easily pick out the bits and pieces of me that end up in any given character.

A lot of writers have a cool public persona. I hate to disappoint anyone, but I’m not one of them. What you see is what you get. Mostly, because I don’t have the time or energy to cultivate anything else. You either like me or you don’t. And that’s absolutely fine. I don’t imagine that I’m everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m okay with that. After all, not everyone is my cup of tea, either. But it is a bit of a risk to put myself, my feelings, my opinions, my whatever, out here like this on the regular.

But here’s the the thing, even though sometimes I feel awkward and exposed and self-conscious, the benefits outweigh the risks. Depending on the prompt and what I’m motivated to write about on any given day, some posts end up working as an online journal. Some posts end up being therapy where I learn new things about myself/life/etc. And some posts end up forging connections and friendships, and those are things that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

If I hadn’t taken the risk to pursue publication and put myself out here, awkward weirdness and all,  I never would have met so many of my fantabulous friends. Absolutely amazing people that I only get to see once or twice a year. Some even less than that. Some that I haven’t met IRL yet,  and some I may never meet physically. But these are all people who are very dear to me, and I’m grateful for all of you.

Being oneself as unapologetically as possible isn’t always comfortable, but the risks are more than worth it when the result is the friendship and camaraderie of some of the best people I’ve ever encountered. In addition to a career that I love, I got a tribe that I love just as much, if not more. No, more. Writing wouldn’t be half as much fun without you. So, I’ll probably continue to do stupid shit and realize later it was risky, but I’ll also keep on taking this particular risk. The gains are too great not to.

Be sure to check out Jessica and Paige’s risky behavior, too.

The Most Rebellious Thing I Did While Growing Up

I feel as though this blog post is going to be an overwhelming disappointment. Of the five of us kids, I was really the least rebellious.

For instance, I  wasn’t the sibling who relandscaped a neighbor’s lawn with my car and relocated their patio furniture (also with my car) into their inground pool. That wasn’t me. That was my brother who’s two years younger than me.

I also wasn’t the sibling who ended up on Cops (and virtually every news station in the U.S.) because we got pulled over and my girlfriend stole the cop’s car and ran multiple barricades and had to have the tires shot out. That was my brother who’s thirteen years younger than me.

Nor was I the sibling who staged a fake hit and run accident that alarmed the old lady down the road who then called the cops. That was my brother who’s fifteen years younger than me.

Lastly, I wasn’t the sibling who cut off a huge chunk of below-the-ass length hair from the top of my soon to be sister-in-law’s head. That was my sister who’s eighteen years younger than me.

Most of my rebellious transgressions were the civil disobedience kind. And interestingly enough, most of my rebellious acts featured the same person…

  • Protesting and pushing the limits of the flagrantly sexist dress code at the Catholic high school I attended. (I spent a bit of time in detention for that.)
  • Protesting the preferential treatment the football players received at said Catholic high school by staging a walkout of my religion class with my forever friend, Alex Kourvo.  (More detention.)

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    These weren’t our detention outfits. This was just us being cute af.

  • Starting a literary magazine, with Alex and some other friends, and getting shut the fuck down by the administration. Yes, that happened. We put together a chapbook type collection of original fiction and poetry. We all contributed, someone’s dad bought us paper for printing and cardstock for the cover, and we distributed it to students at the school. And we all got in trouble. We were called into the office and reamed out. There was nothing offensive. Nothing problematic. But there were six or seven kids who dared to be creative, and that was a transgression that wouldn’t be tolerated.

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    Recently found a copy of contraband literary journal.

  • A final bit of rebellion was the garage band I was a member of–again, with my girl, Alex and several of our other friends. Our name? Rebell and the Ions. (If you put it together, it spells, Rebellion – get it?)
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    For some reason, the grouper fish was our mascot.

    You may have noticed a bit of a theme here. We’re still amazing forever friends, we’re both still writing, and we’re both still rebelling.

    Also? Neither one of us has been on Cops.

Be sure to check out Jess, Jessica, and Deelylah’s post and see what kind of shit they got up to.

Brain Dump

So, it’s brain dump time–we blog about everything rattling around in our heads. So, if you read further, please don’t expect a lot of coherence or cohesion. In addition to fighting with ADD, I’m also too tired and depressed and stressed out to try to do much beyond dump. So…here’s the unloading.

I’m tired, depressed, and angry. Lately, it seems the only news is bad news, and it’s not just bad, it’s catastrophically bad. It gets harder and harder to see hope beyond the latest horrific shitshow members of our “government” are pulling.

My house is a wreck a mess–too messy for the houseguest I’ll have Sunday, but trying to get everything organized seems almost insurmountable at this point. I know she’s coming to see me, not judge my house, but as I look around, I’m still freaking out about it.

Honestly, I’m stressed and sad about literally everything from school  issues to job issues to this country’s rapid slide into fascism. And if I actually take the time to write out all the thoughts I’m having about these things, I’ll probably end up in a fetal position in the bathtub.

So, I’m going to move on to other random thoughts in my head.

I really need to get rid of the rest of the wedding dress that was the base for the new wedding dress I made.  It’s ginormous box is taking up too damn much space in my house and my brain.

My feet are ugly and my toes need to be painted desperately.

I have two audio preps that I need to finish this week for a client.

I really want to finish the chapter of my book that I’m writing.

I wrote over 10K while on vacation and still managed to do family stuff.

I’m sick and tired of being the one who has to decide what stays and goes in the big house purge.

I really want some popsicles, but we’re out.

In five more sleeps, I’ll be driving to the U.P. to pick up Jess.

I still need to write my blog about this year’s writer’s retreat.

Jess Jarman, Jenny Trout and I are going to be at the Rust City Book Con during the first weekend of August, and I still need to do ALL THE THINGS for that.

Jen and I are going to go see Billy Joel in Chicago in a few weeks.

I have awesome people in my life who make me realize how lucky I am to have so many people who love me.

I need to remember to bring fabric and scissors when I babysit my niece Saturday so I can use their table to cut out tops after I put her to bed. It’s the perfect height. and I don’t have to fight with cats there.

Cutting out fabric with cats is a nightmare.

I still want popsicles.

Sometimes, I feel like I hate everything, and that makes me feel like a terrible person.

I’m tired of constantly feeling like I’m trying to swim upstream and getting nowhere.

I’d like to go to bed right now, but I have too much to do.

I bet that Gwen, Kellie and Jess have heads full of better thoughts. You should go read theirs.

Looking for for great kids books about LGBT+ families?

Unless you’re super new here, you know that I love me some great picture books. Despite the fact that my kids are in their early twenties, my children’s book collection continues to grow. I get some to read to my nieces and nephews, and some are just for me.

Because books.

The It’s Fundamental – Children’s Book Blog is a fantastic resource for all things picture books. Run by a former educator (though, trust me, she’s still educating) named Crystal, this blog features fantastic booklists (carefully and thoughtfully curated by topic) as well as book reviews.

Some of her booklists include: Shark Week, World Changing Women, Trains, Juneteenth, Ramadan, Women in Science, Books for Kids Who are Afraid to Swim, Civil Rights, Star Wars–and this is just a small sampling of the topics. Seriously, this blog has it all!

But, I’m not blogging today to talk about Sharks or Star Wars (and now, I have Queen stuck in my head) but to share It’s Fundamental‘s amazing LGBT+ Families booklist.

When I was a kid, books featured families that were comprised of a mother, father and kids. Or the parents were dead and the kids were orphans. There was no inbetween. I remember wondering why there were never divorced parents like mine in books. We all know that representation is incredibly important, and as a child, when you never see your reality represented in stories, it leaves you with a feeling of disconnectedness. The sense of being “other”.

That’s why I’m so happy to see books like Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino and I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and A Family is a Family is a Family by Sara O’Leary.

Please take a few minutes and check out this fantastic list Crystal has put together. And if you’re on social media, enjoy books, like to give books as gifts, like hanging out at the library and/or representation and inclusion, be sure to follow It’s Fundamental‘s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages. Oh, and duh…the blog.

You won’t be sorry!

An app mysteriously appears on your phone and does something amazing. What does it do?

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Any time a politician betrays the ideals of our nation, (points if you heard that in Daveed Diggs’ voice) the app updates with one of those annoying little red numbers. In order to make the number go away, you have to open the app and hit the eject button. This jettisons the greedy, self-serving, treasonous assholes deep into into space where they’ll get exactly what they deserve.

Let’s see what kind of apps the other bloggers discovered on their phones. Deelylah and Kris (and Jess, too!)

Happy accomplishments to me! And to you, too! (Giveaway)

This post is a bit late. My actual ten year publishing anniversary was on March 30th, and I’d planned to do a giveaway to celebrate. However, my mother-in-law died the day before, and understandably, I just didn’t feel like celebrating anything. I was just trying to make it through the visitation and funeral and hold it together for my husband. And though we miss her, we’re comforted by the fact that she was ready and she’s no longer in pain.

While my MIL wasn’t a romance fan–she prefered “spy thrillers”–she was very proud of me. And my husband pointed out recently that she’d be pissed if she knew I was blowing off my anniversary, so here I am…with a celebratory giveaway.

On March 30th, 2007, Ellora’s Cave (before it became the utter train wreck it was to become) published my first novel. And now, ten years and twenty-eight days later, I’ve had 32 published novels and novellas, 72 flash fiction stories, and 988 blog posts (not including guest posts).

I know I’m not as prolific as some, but I am pleased with what I’ve managed to accomplish in the last 10 years. I think that women are sort of societally programed to downplay their accomplishments. (See? I did it right there in the opening of this paragraph. Damnit, Bron! But you know what? I’m leaving it, because it proves my point.)

We’re conditioned not to be too proud of things we’ve done lest people think we’re bragging or too full of ourselves. But fuck that! Women’s accomplishments are just as valid as men’s. No offence to any men who might be reading this, but this whole downplaying of accomplishments definitely skews toward women.

So, to celebrate ten exciting and tumultuous years in this business, I’m going to give away my four print ARCs from the Bound series  that I write with my girl Jessica Jarman, as well as some swag, to the grand prize winner. I’ll also be giving away a few other print books and more swag to other winners. All you need to do to enter is comment on this post and tell me about your accomplishments that you’re most proud of–no matter how big or how small. Let’s celebrate each other!

Please either leave your email address with your comment or email me at bronwyn@bronwyngreen.com with a copy of your comment so I can reach you if you win. Everyone has an equal opportunity to win, and winners will be chosen old school (my kids picking entries from a hat) because rafflecopter hates my blog. Contest closes at 10 PM EST on May 1st.

So, c’mon! Tell me what you’re proud of!

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Monthly Goals Check-In: April 2017

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Man… this has been a month. A long, weird, disquieting month.

Sadly, my mother-in-law died recently, so much of this month has been dealing with grief, and frustration, and anger at a certain family member on that side who needs to be throat punched. But that’s life.

Weirdly, I managed to accomplish quite a few things. This was my list.

Finish the client edits I have scheduled. (Yep. Scheduled 3. Edited 6.)

Complete all April blog posts. (Yep.)

Finish up work on 2 of the (now) 5 websites I’m working on. (Finished one, progress on two and waiting for client response on both.)

Knit 3.5 pussyhats (Yepper.)

Progress on new book and Mist & Stone. (Progress on new book. Zilch on Mist and Stone rewrite.)

Continue with the Organized Home Challenge (Yes and also no. We’re still cleaning and purging but not in order of the list.)

Finish sorting stuff for donation. (Still sorting. Still donating.)

Sew more journal covers and open Etsy site. (Nope.)

I also completed a bunch of things that weren’t on the list.

I proofed, reformatted, and reuploaded 6 of my books.

I did a podcast with Focus on Fantasy Romance about editing.

I updated my blog links.

I cleaned up my blog tags and categories.

I also read 6 books from my TBR pile.

All things considered, I did pretty well this month.

Okay, so…my goals for May are:

Revise and re-release at least one of my stories that I have the rights back on.

Progress on RP.

Progress on TFAD

Complete 7 client edits.

Complete all May blog posts.

Progress on 4 client websites.

Complete the 7 sewing projects I owe people.

Begin deconstructing and reconstructing wedding dress.

Read some more.

Be sure to see how the other bloggers did. Jess, Deelylah, Torrance, and Gwen.

I Wish I’d Learned This Earlier Than I Did

Lessons-Learned

Welcome to another episode of Therapy with Bron. But hey, I figure if I struggle with this shit, some of you might, too.

I try really hard not to live my life consumed by regret. There are too many other things I’d rather be consumed by–laughter, love, a good story, kitty and kid cuddles, nature, music, etc. But even though I try not to dwell, I do have some regrets about things that I wish I’d learned earlier in life.

Like…

1.) How to say no. 🎼🎶🎵 Lord, show me how to say no to this. I don’t know how to say no to this.🎶🎵 (What? You thought I’d pass up opportunity for a Hamilton reference? Foolish mortal.) This is one of those things I’ve never been terribly good at. I’m not saying that I go along with everything that’s ever suggested to me, but I’m often overly concerned that me saying no to someone will hurt their feelings. In the past, I’ve found myself agreeing to projects or taking on obligations that I didn’t really want to do. Weirdly, these boundary issues have never really extended into my relationships with my husband or my kids or my daycare kids. I don’t even know what that says about me.

2.) Asking for what I need doesn’t make me selfish or weak. I’m not sure why this is such a damn struggle.  I mean, it’s really common sense, right? If you need help or you need a hug or whatever, just ask. I think that societally we’re all under the misconception that need = selfishness/weakness – both of which are heavily frowned upon by western society. While I’m clearly not a professional psychologist or a sociologist, it seems like most women skew toward selfishness (particularly older generations) though, with younger generations, I feel like they’re pretty equal. And the majority of men seem to lean toward weakness. Of course, neither of these things are true and most of us are more than willing to cut others slack we won’t cut ourselves, and that’s not healthy.

3.) Self-care is necessary and doesn’t make you selfish (there’s that word again) or lazy. Self-care is any activity that you choose that helps you relax in order to maintain your emotional and physical health and helps you feel able to continue to function. Currently, Parks and Rec and all manner of crafting are self-care go-tos. I think I must have internalized a lot of weird opinions about selfishness and laziness, and TBH, I’m not even sure where they came from. Catholic school seems the most likely place, because it wasn’t from my mom who was my primary parent/caregiver. I mean, she’d encourage “mental health” days from school when we needed them, and trust me, very few school age kids in the 80s had any kind of grasp of mental health.

4.) Being proud of yourself isn’t bragging. I think a lot of us, women especially, have a lot of anxiety tied up with any kind of pride in themselves and their work. For whatever reason, it seems more acceptable to verbalize pride in your children as long as you’re not that person and that’s all you ever talk about or the person who takes ownership of their children’s accomplishments as though they’re responsible.

But back to being proud of yourself for a sec. For a lot  of women, (focusing on women here, because there’s a definite gender difference with this issue) there’s a special kind of anxiety that comes along feeling any kind of pride in yourself or your work. And actually verbalizing that pride? Hahahahahahahahaha. No. Even if we’ve worked our asses off, and are genuinely pleased with something we’ve done, we won’t say anything positive about it. We might even speak negatively about it or say nothing at all.

5.) Saying thank you when someone compliments you doesn’t mean you’re bragging. I know I’ve mentioned this phenomenon on the blog before, but dude…still a struggle. And I know I’m not alone. When someone compliments us or our work more likely to say, “Thank you, but…” That “but” is always followed by a variation of the following: “I got lucky.” Or, “I had a lot of help.” Or, “People are just being nice.” Or, “They like me.” Or “They just felt bad for me.” These are things I hear my colleagues say on the regular. These are things I’ve said on the regular. Granted, I’m much more cognizant of this issue now, and I try really hard to just say “thank you, I really appreciate that” without trying to downplay it. But it’s soooooooooo hard.

I know there are people out there who put this behavior down to false modesty or fishing for more compliments, but this is an anxiety-inducing issue for a lot of people.

6.) Imposter Syndrome is a thing that exists. A few years ago, I learned about this little thing called Imposter Syndrome. It, again, predominantly affects more women than men, but men definitely experience it, too–particularly men in academia. The simplified description is basically that you feel like you’re a fraud, you have no business being in your field, and certainly no business calling yourself an expert, and someday, everyone will find out that you have no clue what you’re doing and you faked your way through your entire career. This constant feeling that the other shoe is going to drop is most common when starting a new project, nearing completion on a project, and/or achieving any kind of success with a project. And the more successes you have, the worse this feeling gets. The end result is usually metric fuck-ton of anxiety and it makes sufferers hesitant to call any kind of attention to their work.  It’s fucking bullshit.

7.) That one Maya Angelou quote is 3012% accurate. The quote I’m talking about is: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” I have a tendency to take people at their word. I’m rarely suspicious of anyone’s motives, and if they say something that sounds reasonable, I believe them. Some might (and probably have) called me naïve or gullible. You know what? I’m not even going to argue that. I could have saved myself years of heartache, grief, anxiety, and second-guessing myself if I’d a.) come across this quote sooner and b.) paid attention to it. I think we’ve all had people in our lives who purportedly had our best interests at heart, cared for us, and only wanted to help or see us succeed. Yet, so often, their actions were at odds with what they said. And if questioned, they’d always have a reasonable explanation for whatever troublesome thing they did. If you’re particularly naïve or gullible, that bullshit can turn into some next level gaslighting.

8.) Listen to your gut. No, I mean it. Really listen. If something or someone feels off, even the tiniest bit, pay attention to that feeling. I’m not suggesting that every twinge you get about a person means they’re an axe murderer. But you know how you sometimes meet people and they seem super great, (and some of them totally are, btw–those usually aren’t the ones you get twinges about) but you get this weird little feeling in the back of your mind or the pit of your stomach? Or even if everyone else really likes a person, but some indefinable thing about them rubs you the wrong way? Listen to those things. I’m not saying you need to run away and shun them, but maybe that’s a cue to slow down and observe this person a bit more before including them in your inner circle. Those little twinges are rarely wrong.

Okay, that’s it for Bron’s Life Lessons, today. Be sure to check out what Jess, Deelylah, Kris, and Gwen wish they’d learned earlier.

 

What would the title of my memoir be, and why?

triple banded

Please Note: If Kris Norris ever abandons me, this is how shitty my future book covers will look. *makes plans to bribe Norris with Tim Horton’s tea*

I feel like the “why” of this title can best be summed up by potential chapter headings comprised of things I’ve said in text messages.

1.) If I don’t answer for a bit, it’s because I’m driving home from the motherfucking store.

2.) I’d run away and join the circus, but I have no marketable circus skills. And also clowns.

3.) Yes…I ignored that little voice in the back of my head that said that person was batshit crazy. Again.

4.) Math is hard, yo.

5.) I cannot possibly people today.

6.) I’m sorry my cat hates you.

7.) Look, I just need some cheese.

8.) Is it wrong that I’m proud of my four-year-old niece for using “What the fuck” properly in a sentence?

9.) I don’t recall becoming a bigamist, but at the same, time, my brain has been nothing but cracks, lately. So…maybe?

10.) The hold music is static-y soft jazz. I am in hell.

11.) Excellent. I feel like the more people we have spreading the accelerant, the quicker it’ll be over.

12.) Filed under bad ideas: Don’t look at fabric you made your kids’ clothes out of. Especially not while you’re ovulating.

13.) I’m gonna need bail money. There’s a neighbor kid out there somewhere blowing a goddam gym whistle.

14.) But in Clue, aren’t you just supposed to murder people with the candlestick? Or are we lighting candles to celebrate afterward?

15.) I feel like we won’t be able to have our podcast if I’m in jail, though.

16.) I have zero of popsicles. And also zero of patience.

17.) Never look a gift moodswing in the mouth.

18.) I am a font of random information.

19.) Fuck that. I’m putting on my ruffle-butt undies and my ruffled bonnet. And we’re gonna go Pollyanna the fuck out of everything.

20.) ADD Powers ACTIVATE! Form of Squirrel!

That’s it for me this week, be sure to check out the other bloggers’ memoir titles. Jess, Jessica, Deelylah, Gwen, and Kellie.

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