Apples to Oranges
Find the positive, find the positive, find the positive…..Each day I repeat that to myself. Every day, I am bombarded with images that rip at my very soul and do so in a way that seems to leave a dark spot in its place. I try to expose it to the sun to bleach out the gray and lean toward the light to heal it whenever I can with something extraordinary and positive.
It's completely overwhelming at times and lately damn difficult. The current state of affairs with what is going on in our country, scares me to death.
I look to my nephew, whose life at eight, has not been easy. I've watched him struggle until things around him were stabilized, allowing him to flourish into a healthy and happy child.
I look to him for my positive. I watch him in wonder as he learns to ride his bike without training wheels. Some things are still a struggle for him. Fears we have yet to be able to calm or dispel. We keep trying and in him I try and find that positive light.
I sit on my front porch and watch the wildlife walk through, knowing how incredibly blessed I am.
I am married to an incredible woman who makes me laugh daily. Yes, that's a pink big wheel she's riding.
I have a life I never dreamed of. I've had a job that, overall, I've enjoyed for twenty-five years. I am in relatively good health. I have wonderful friends and family. I took a chance and wrote a book that got published and am working on getting the second one into print. I have much to be positive about. These are my PCT's- Positive CJ Thoughts for the day. Find the positive, find the light.
But..I also have other things I want to blog about today too. I have something I want you all to help out with. I am an apple girl. No, I'm not talking about the kind that is electronic. I am talking about the kind you pick off a tree and take a bite of. In particular, I am a Honeycrisp apple lover.
Now, I used to like Granny Smiths-
but since I found Honeycrisp, I've forsaken all others. Red Delicious just aren't my thing. I know there are Jonagold, Gala, Fuji and Pink Lady lover's out there, BUT, those people are just wrong. My Honeycrisp apple is the only one that should even be offered.
The thing I love most about my favorite apple is that first crisp bite. When the outer skin gives way to that sweeter flesh that lies beneath, I am in heaven. It's juicy with just the right sweet/tart combination.
Other apples just don't do it for me and in my opinion, shouldn't do it for you either. Someone tried to tell me about how much they loved Golden Delicious apples the other day, but I just told them they are too mushy. Red Delicious is anything but delicious in my book.
People should only buy Honeycrisp.
I've turned my nose up completely to those grafted apples.
They don't even belong in the apple category. Be on one side of the fence or the other, but grafting them together?
Nope, I'm against it.
And don't even get me started about oranges, what the hell do they even think they are doing hanging out with my apples.
They have their own place and it's no where near my apples. Yeah, I get it. It's a fruit but it can just stay over in the citrus lane for all I care. I don't even want it as juice. I can drink apple juice if I'm thirsty.
I've even decided I'm going to recruit others for my cause by getting everyone of my Facebook friends and those in the Facebook groups I'm apart of where we discuss apples, to start a campaign against all other apples.
I only want my Honeycrisp. I'm pretty sure if I go in and tell them the things I don't like about the other apples varieties, I can make my Honeycrisp the best selling apple of all. I want to see it take all the awards. I've heard there are some independent growers out there putting apples on the market but their stuff is not the quality of my Honeycrisp. Heck, I saw some in the bin the other day that had a bruise,
one had a nick out of a little piece of it.
Now I know the majority of that apple was fine, but I don't want anyone buying an apple that isn't perfect (at least as I see it).
Hey, I even saw at Walmart.com that I can rate the apples and tell people I don't know at all how bad those other apples are.
Maybe if a bunch of us do that, we can take those apples right off the market, then everyone could make my favorite, The Fabulous Honeycrisp, the only one out there.
What do you think? Are you with me? Okay, here's what we need to do….
Now before you think I am a complete nut, which is debatable on many forms, I want you to look at my lunacy and exchange my 'apples' for books and authors.
You, as a consumer, like what you like and I like what I like. It's not my place to make sure you only eat a Honeycrisp apple or to read only one author or publishing house. Hell, you might like every kind of apple out there and could care less about nicks and bruises. Even big name publishers in mainstream literature have grammatical and typo issues. It happens.
What shouldn't happen, is what I'm seeing a lot of. Concentrated efforts to run down one author and exalt another at the expense of the lesfic genre. We can't afford to have only one publisher and no indies. Yes, there are male authors writing lesfic or….gasp, a lesbian author that writes mainstream literature. My point is there is room for everyone. If it's just a money thing -as in a subpar book written just to make a buck, (we've all read something that made us wonder), then don't buy another book from that author. We have to support each other and the genre. There are so many things against us, people who want to silence us. We CAN NOT be the ones to apply the gag ourselves.
Please find a way to be positive in our discussion groups.
I had my first novel published and think it was well received. At least in my heart, BUT I have more stories to publish and write. My book is up for a GCLS Debut Novel of the Year.
So are many other really good books. What does that mean in the grand scheme of things? It means my publisher put my novel up for the category, it went through a first round judging process and was moved to the finals. Will it make a difference in my career as an author? That is yet to be seen, win or lose, I am humbled to have moved on. I'm trying to be positive about it and be grateful for the recognition. Here is a fact that I recognize- There are hundreds of fantastic lesbian fiction authors that will NEVER get the recognition they deserve for their books or their efforts to advance lesbian literature.
Honestly when the finals were announced, I actually felt bad about it because I knew there were fantastic books out there that didn't get into the finals. I watched as many of my peers vented their frustration online about not moving on and the process itself. I actually felt bad because mine did. Now, I tried to look at it differently for one reason. I am in a category of DEBUT novels, meaning first time authors. I'm not being judged against the legends of our genre. My book doesn't even compare (in my mind) to some of the books I've read by people who have been around much longer, have published more books than I have, and are far more talented. I doubt I will ever sell the amount of books some of these incredible authors do. I feel incredibly bad when someone worthy of recognition doesn’t get it. Is it likely I'll ever move on again? Time will tell. Why does this happen? I don't have all the answers.
I was a GCLS judge one year and can tell you that I judged with my honest opinion without thought to the authors I personally interact with. I judged the book on the content. Not the publishing house or the fact that it was an Indie, not the author's personality, and not the interaction I have with them- content. I judged on the things they asked me to look at, plot line, character development and yes grammar, typos, formatting and other things. Can I say every judge does that? I have no idea. I felt good about my choices and some of them won Goldies last year. Were there great books that I read that were not nominated at all? Yes. Anyone can nominate their book and many authors chose not to for their own reasons. I won't fault anyone for feeling whatever they do about the awards. Their experience is their experience. I will say that some of what others said about the process and nominations, or lack of, hurt and made me feel bad that my book moved on. I can't lie about that, BUT I also recognize what I said earlier about being in the Debut novel category.
I am hopeful for my publisher, Desert Palm Press. Lee took a chance on me and helped me learn what I didn't know. The process made me a better writer with DPP's help. For me, the award would be for DPP for the leap of faith they took on a debut author.
With all this being said, I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy every brand of apple out there. If you like oranges, enjoy those too. (I actually love oranges.) Tell everyone about how much you enjoy them and encourage them to take a big bite. If you do try one of those varieties and don't like them, find one you do. In our literature, do the same. In our genre, build up, not tear down.
I've said it before, we are a marginalized group that someone is constantly trying to silences. Don't help those who are out to do it.
My new work, "The Bucket List" is in the editing process. I got a sneak peak at the cover by the fabulous Ann McMann and it is a wowzer. No estimated release date, but I promise to let you know when my own 'Honeycrisp' is in the pipe. Until then, if you haven't read my debut novel 'frame by frame' it's available at all your favorite online outlets.