New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! J (the fiancé) and I have been on vacation since Christmas Eve, and I currently have the world’s crappiest internet connection. But I wanted to wander out for a m-oment to say farewell to 2015, and get my 2016 resolutions down in writing.

In 2016, I resolve to:

–Publish a book! (Okay, so that one’s kind of a gimmie. But I needed an easy one.)

–Be nicer to myself. I tend to be very hard on myself, and my confidence sucks. I don’t deserve it. I will treat myself, and my body, better.

–Read books I wouldn’t normally read. Time to expand my mind!

–Write The Demon Within, part 2, which is tentatively titled Embracing the Demon. I need to have it to my editor by about November/December 2016 for a spring 2017 publication date.

James MarstersI can’t believe 2015 is over already. It’s been a big year. I got engaged, bought a house, finished my book, and met James Marsters and David Tennant. I got to tell them both how much their work means to me, which was awesome.

Next year, I will get married, publish my book, and maybe I’ll shell out the cash to get a picture with David Tennant. Worth. It.

Jessica Jones and F*cked-Up Heroines

Photo source: Netflix

Photo source: Netflix

I’ve been hearing about the new Netflix series, “Jessica Jones,” for the last couple of months now. And I. Can’t. Wait. It kind of looks like “Veronica Mars” (which I also loved) meets Marvel. It can’t be a coincidence that Krysten Ritter, who plays Jessica, also played a supporting role on “Veronica Mars,” and returned in the movie last year? No, absolutely not.

But I think what really appeals to me about it is that, just from what I can glean from the trailers and the little bit I’ve read about the character’s backstory in the comics, Jessica seems…incredibly screwed up. Also, incredibly badass.

Exhibit A:

Did she just take out a bar full of huge, drunken men; turn on Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation”; and take a shot while her knuckles were still covered in blood??? Oh yeah, I think she did.

Exhibit B:

Note the whiskey bottle on the nightstand. Also, I kind of want to do that to my alarm clock every day. Of course, my alarm clock doesn’t go off at 3:00 in the afternoon. (I’m also loving the dissonance between the sickly sweet song and the clock smashing. Awesome.)

Of course, there’s also David Tennant, which always helps…

Yes, he’s the bad guy, but even in this voiceover he’s still almost unbearably sexy. And is it weird that I half expected him to offer to whisk Jessica off in the TARDIS to see all of time and space? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

But I think one of the biggest reasons this series appeals to me is because it seems, more often than not, that heroines have to be perfect and likeable all the time. I do believe that imperfect or unlikeable female characters have a harder time being accepted in our cultural landscape than male ones, and it bothered me.

The Demon Within is coming out in less than seven months now, and it has one of those imperfect heroines. Dale is, quite frankly, really screwed up, and I spend so much time in her head that I forget sometimes just how screwed up she is. She blacks out and kills people. And even if it’s people who, arguably, “deserve” it, normal, psychologically healthy people don’t do this, because we realize it’s not the way to live in a  functional society. And instead of facing the music the first time she killed–when she was still a minor and might have gotten off easier–she changed identities and went on the run, avoiding the law for more than a decade and killing six more people.

In spite of all this, I find Dale to be, at times, both likeable and sympathetic. She wants so badly to be a normal person, but her own mind is out of her control sometimes. On the other hand, she’s got a core of protectiveness for others that she can’t eliminate, and it’s seeing other people being hurt/victimized that trigger her blackouts.

But ever since I wrote the first draft, I worried that readers would have a hard time accepting a character like Dale.

But seeing the trailers for “Jessica Jones”–just the fact that this show exists–shows me that maybe there’s room for characters like Dale: fundamentally flawed, fucked-up, and female.

PS: Can I say that I’m absolutely loving the depiction of NYC shown in the below teaser. It reminds me a lot of Sin City, but a little more cartoon-y. Not quite realistic but totally atmospheric. It seems like the creators realize NYC can be a character in and of itself.

I Got Bookmarks!!! Also Other Stuff.

So I haven’t written in a while–bad Beth! But in fairness, I’ve been hard at work completing rewrites on The Demon Within. I took a few days off at the end of last week to give myself a big push, and I’ve been working all week long with almost no breaks. It’s basically been work, write, and sleep for the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I haven’t been sleeping enough, so I find myself drifting off at inopportune times. Not good. I think I was a cat in a past life, because I can pretty much nap anywhere, and in any position. Blame having AP Chemistry as my first period class during my junior year of high school. I liked chemistry, but advance science is just not something you should to a 16 year old at 7:30 in the morning.

So I was going to write tonight, but I’m feeling a little groggy and a little headachy, and I think I might be better off getting to bed at a reasonable time and getting up tomorrow morning to write. I’m hoping to finish the draft by the 31st. It’ll be close.

First things first…I HAVE BOOKMARKS!!! They are so amazing and awesome, and here’s a picture:

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They look amazing! Thank you to the amazing Robert J. Peterson, who, in addition to being my editor over at California Coldblood Books and a talented author himself, is also a kick-ass web designer and graphic artist. He designed the bookmarks for me. He wears way more hats than I do, and I am in awe.

This is not the cover of the book. The book cover will feature original art, and it has not been designed yet.

The blurb is a little hard to read in this photo, so it says:

All Dale Highland wants is a normal life. Too bad she can’t stop killing people.

It’s been ten years since the first time Dale blacked out and killed someone. Since then, she’s been on the run, searching for the cause of her blackouts–and a way to control them.

When an enigmatic and sexy assassin named John tells her she’s half demon, Dale and John embark on a quest to find the only person who can answer Dale’s questions: her mother.

But Dale’s mother is the key figure in an ancient war between angels and demons. To find the answers she seeks, Dale will have to risk not only her life…but also her soul.

It’s pretty much the same as what I now have up on the Books page, but it was condensed a little more for space on the bookmark.

I did go to Wizard World Comic Con a couple of weekends ago, and I did get to meet David Tennant. I told him how much the show meant to me, and how it helped me get through after my mom’s death. He seemed really touched. Unfortunately, since I signed up for an autograph and not a picture, I didn’t get a selfie with him. (I suspect it was a time thing. Some of the other celebrities had provisions for selfies, but the line for Tennant was HUGE! “Who” fans are a devoted–and apparently rich–group.

My autographed photo is now sitting on my desk, glowering at me. Motivation.

I did get my selfie taken with James Marsters (of “Buffy” fame):

James Marsters

This one meant a lot to me, too. I was a huge “Buffy” fan during high school and college. It was a passion my mom and I shared. While, as a dumb 15 year old, I was Team Angel all the way, she was always all about Spike–even long before his affair with Buffy. It took me getting a little older and wiser to see the appeal, but I so understand now. I’ll just pretend that episode in season 6 never happened.

James was great, very friendly and courteous to all the fans, and he really took the time to talk to each of us.

It was a great experience, all around.