On Anniversaries

The mister and I have been married for ten years. A whole decade. Not bad for only knowing each other a few weeks before we decided to take the plunge, and taking that plunge less than three months after we met.

The last few years in particular have been really tough. Buying a house, having a second child, multiple surgeries, separating from the Army, transitioning back into civilian life and dealing with the realities of his disabilities, starting a small business… It’s been pretty intense. And right now we’re near the end of flipping our first house, so money is tight and nerves are frazzled and our anxiety disorders are flaring up, but even with all of that, there’s no one else I’d rather be with.

I genuinely enjoy him as a person, not just because he’s hot (he is), but because he’s smart and thoughtful and nice and talented. He has his flaws; everyone has flaws (he has put up with all of mine for ten years, I’m pretty sure that makes him a saint). But it’s hard to focus on them when he has so many excellent, exceptional qualities that make me feel like an incredibly lucky woman. And I don’t think I could have picked a better partner. We work so well together, shore up weaknesses with our complementary strengths. It’s nice to know there’s someone there who has my back, and it’s nice to have his. I like being married, and I like being married to him.

It’s been a great ten years. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for ten more.

#amediting Cass Gets Her Kicks

Sometimes, I look back on things I’ve written and think, “I can do better.” I’ve left stuff out, I don’t like the style, I need better word choices, whatever the case is. Usually, I can’t go back in after I’ve finished a story and do anything to it. Writing purges my brain of the story and all its details, and especially years later, I’m lucky if I even recognize a story as my own. But I’m trying to learn to be a better editor, and there are things about Cass that bother me, and I’d like to feel better about it. I re-read it before I started editing again and I’m still really proud of it, but I could be more proud of it.

By editing back in the threesome in Texas, for example.

Way back in college, I wrote an RPF that was a fantasy within a character’s mind. I wimped out before I posted it and took out the smut part of the fantasy and put it up as a fade to black fic. The smut was half of the reason I’d written it in the first place, but I was afraid. I’ve spent a lot of my life afraid. It’s exhausting. But there’s an incredible sense of weightlessness and freedom when I screw up my courage to stop being afraid.

Fear in writers is a funny thing. It’s just words on paper, how scary can it be? Really scary. Terrifying. Especially for writers who are private in addition to introverted, revealing too much of ourselves is one of the scariest things imaginable. The thing I keep having to remind myself of, though, is that most people aren’t thinking about the writer. In fact, if I’m doing my job, no one is thinking about me. They’re too lost in the story to even remember it’s not real.

Fear kept me from posting that fic with the smut in it until several years later when I decided to stop being afraid, and it’s one of my most enduring stories. Thirteen years later, I still get the occasional email about how much a reader enjoyed it. Fear kept me from leaving Joe and Miguel in Cass Gets Her Kicks and kept me from writing Santa Rosa and Flagstaff to the best of my abilities.

And my abilities have evolved. I have more skill now. I’m better at writing things that are easy to read. Readability is the #1 requirement for a good story, I think. Things that are difficult to read drag readers out of a story, and make all the plot holes, inconsistent characterization, and just general badness that much more obvious.

So I #amediting the vaqueros back into Cass Gets Her Kicks. Cass deserves her cowboys

Sunday Inspiration: Jaime Beechum


Jaime Beechum, road trip photographer extraordinaire. Just… wow.

Adventures in Job Hunting: Scammy Scammers

The one thing that bothers me the most about the job scams is the knowledge that these lying thieves are successfully scamming people. If you’re in the position where you’re looking for a job and posting or responding to ads on Craigslist, chances are you’re in a pretty vulnerable position, and instead of help or legitimate opportunities, you’re finding fraud, theft, and potential criminal charges.

Job scams are such a big deal the FTC even has official webspace dedicated to them and how to file a complaint.

There are so many articles dedicated to listing the warning signs of scams that just simply Googling “job scams” turns up 25 million results.

The scammers who have contacted me have been for the car-wrap scam, the smuggling scam, the cashier’s check scam, and one guy who insisted that I work for him, but he couldn’t pay me until I opened a bank account with his “affiliate” bank. I have a bank account. I actually have three, and I’m quite satisfied with them.

I’m not going to list tips for spotting job scams. Seriously there are so many articles. What I am going to say is stay safe and try not to let them get to you, and don’t give anyone any information until you’ve thoroughly vetted them. Also, if you can, sign up for a Google voice number, that way when you’re done fielding those calls and texts, you can just get rid of it, and if you need to submit information to the FTC with your complaint, everything is digital and easily accessible.

Adventures in Job Hunting: The Existential Crisis

I am a very capable person. I learn quickly, am probably a little too eager to please, and have zero problem with work that’s “beneath” me. But job hunting is kind of soul-crushing, isn’t it? I haven’t hunted like this since 2006, after I graduated. I spent five months applying to every job I even kind of thought I could do before I got hired on as an inventory manager with a local Austin company that was a terrible fit for me. That was a difficult year until I got randomly hired on without even an interview for the last company I worked for, and I loved it there. I was great there. Now I’m seven years out of the work force with things like bookkeeping for our small business and self-published authorship on my resume, and while I’ve maintained my skills and learned a few new things since, when I’m feeling my worst–like now–it all looks so shabby and I start wondering what even is the point?

Well, the point is to find work.

But to not get so caught up in the hunt that I forget the good things.

I’m fortunate. I don’t technically need a job. I want one, and I need it for my own sense of well-being and to ease my financial anxiety (there’s no feeling quite like realizing literally all of your money, all of your credit, all of your borrowing power, is sunk into one investment), but things are just tight right now, not dire.

My brain, of course, doesn’t realize that. It sees the bank account and goes so hard into panic mode I wonder if I need to go to the ER because I’m having a heart attack.

I’m taking a step back, at least for a couple of days. Limiting the applications and the Craigslist ads (if anyone is looking for a bookkeeper, btw, please let me know) and spending a little more time breathing. Regrouping. I’ll find work, because I always do, and I’ll find the job I want, because I pretty much always get what I want even if it means changing what I want.

And, in case anyone is in the same boat, here are some tips for battling the existential crisis borne of the job search.

Also, here’s a video of the Chippendales Gladiators show. Obviously NSFW but I’m not at work right now, anyway.

Route 66 Motels

Did you know there’s a whole website dedicated to unique motels of Route 66? I love how kitschy, cute, and even weird they can be. If Cass hadn’t been so focused on one kind of kick, I think she would have spent more time having fun with the motels and roadside attractions.

Adventures in Job Hunting

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve been looking for work. I haven’t had a “real” job since 2010, but lately I’ve felt antsy and wanted one, and a little extra income certainly wouldn’t be unwelcome, so I’ve been looking. I signed back up for LinkedIn and made my profile all shiny. I broke out the old résumé and cleaned it up. It looks good. You know what else looks good? My cover letters.

But job-hunting is exhausting and nerve-wracking. I spent most of yesterday feeling like I was going to puke. I’m looking for specific work, and I have the skills and the education for it, but finding job listings that feel like a good fit with companies that I can vet isn’t easy. So I also posted ads on Craigslist.

And boy has that been an adventure. It’s the smuggling scam I’m most offended by, to be honest. I got an email offering me work “receiving and shipping packages” and the scammer outright said they were buying ancient artifacts. I’m not sure if they actually are, but they had a copy of my résumé, wasn’t asking me to smuggle cultural resources a bit clueless? I just don’t understand the real estate scams. The “post this listing” job offers. Are they for finding victims? One “recruiter” was so persistent when I politely and professionally said, “I don’t think I’m the right fit for the position” that I had to tell him the whole first page of Google results for his phone number were scam complaints.

Come on, dude. Have some self-awareness.