When Surrounding Yourself with Strong Female Energy Is Necessary to Your Existence

uterus art


There were five of us walking down the hallway that Tuesday morning after our writing support group meeting. The weekly meetings — the core meeting of a local writers’ group whose calendar is made up of critique groups, free writing sessions, open mics, and more — gave me a chance to connect with local writers, and to hang out with someone other than my husband, my toddler, and my cats. I had recently returned to the group after a one-year hiatus that had been necessitated by a shift in my work schedule. It was interesting to see how the group had shifted and grown in my absence.

“I’ve been telling my critique group about you ladies,” I said to three of the people with whom I was walking. “It’s so nice to see the group being infused with such strong feminine energy.”

Carl, one of the founding members of the group, rolled his eyes, because he knew I was halfway screwing with him.

The other half of me, however, was honestly thrilled that I’d somehow managed to surround myself with so many kick-ass women in the past couple of years. Before then, I’d felt so alone.

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Going Through Your Copyedited Manuscript Can Send You Tumbling Down an Existential Vortex


Lisa Romeo recently wrote that every activity she engages in lately seems to have multiple purposes. I immediately got what she was saying. Gone are the days when I read merely for pleasure. These days, when I read, I am looking for inspiration. I am looking for books I might cover in my role as a Book Riot contributor. I am looking for news hooks I can use as jumping off points for larger stories. When I read, I can’t help but see books from the point of view of a writer.

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When Something Ends And You’re Like ‘Okay, WTH Do I Do Now?’


As scattered as my life might seem to others (“What do you do?” “Oh, well, right now, I edit content for a general interest website; blog for a book website, a sex ed website, and a sex site; pitch freelance articles; work on book stuff; and sometimes teach yoga and meditation), I am actually very methodical when it comes to my career. I generally set a big goal ⇒ break that goal up into smaller steps ⇒ make my slow way toward completing all the steps ⇒ achieve my goal because I’m awesome ⇒ and then flail about because, suddenly, I don’t know what to do with myself.

The flailing sometimes involves binge eating and sometimes involves shopping and sometimes involves both but whatever. This is my process.

via GIPHY

After the end of one big project, and after the flailing, there is eventually a new beginning. And so I start all over again.

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My 35 Favorite Reads of 2017


Since becoming a contributor to Book Riot last year, my reading horizons have really broadened. There was a time when I could place most of my books into three main categories: horror, freelance writing how-tos, and sex. But when I put together my first favorite reads roundup last year, it was clear that things had shifted. I had become more open to celebrity memoirs, magical realism, YA, comics… all things I’d assumed weren’t for me. And because of Book Riot’s diversity requirements, I’d also moved away from reading 95 percent white chicks.

This year, I read even more (if you can believe it), and I also tracked some of the trends in my reading. Out of 157 reads this year (not including single-issue comics), I read a whopping 69 trade paperbacks (multiple comic issues collected into a single volume), with some additional graphic memoirs, novels, and anthologies sprinkled in (clearly, my new favorite medium). Next runner-up? Literary fiction (21), followed pretty closely by memoir (19). And then there was a general smattering of essays, horror, how-tos, narrative journalism, sci-fi, self-help, short stories, thrillers, and YA.

The authors I read were more diverse, too. I read 65 percent women, 24 percent authors of color, and 18 percent queer authors. Slowly, I’m trying to boost the number of books I read that allow me to learn more about the experiences and perspectives of others.

So which books did I lose my shit over?*

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That Time of Year When I Get to Bask in the Splendor of a Whole Bunch of Sex Educators


Almost two years ago, when I was trying to find a job that would challenge and fulfill me as much as the one I’d had with AASECT, I briefly considered getting a degree in public health and becoming a sex educator. At that point, I’d interviewed many educators for Contemporary Sexuality, and had also written articles about sexuality education for publications such as the Atlantic and Jezebel. I was fangirling hard over these men and women and the work they did.

But then I was like: Dude. You have an infant. You’re juggling a billion projects. You’re writing a book and teaching yoga. You can’t even commit to the local choir! How are you supposed to get a degree?

So instead, I contacted the fine folks at the Center for Sex Education and begged them to let me do volunteer work for them so I could soak up their wisdom and be cool by association.

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There Are So Many Books About Sexual Violence and It’s Depressing But It’s About Damn Time


In an age of high-profile sexual assault allegations and #metoo, at a time when whisper networks are becoming less whispery, it’s hard to know how to feel. Should we feel optimistic because men (at least men in power) are finally being forced to face consequences? Disillusioned because there really are no safe spaces for women? Frustrated by those to whom all of this comes as a surprise?

Feeling all of these things simultaneously, I’ve mostly kept my head down. After all, I have a book to edit, a book that is perhaps the biggest #metoo I have ever shared. [Read more…]

Why I Feel Extra Murder-y Sometimes and How You Can Avoid Feeling the Same Way

me feeling murder-y


There was a day last week when I felt extra murder-y.

It started early on. Like, within the first few minutes of waking up. After that, I spent my entire day with a permanent scowl on my face, my head throbbing, my fingers clenching, my skin hot. I had zero patience for anything and felt that, at any moment, the smallest thing could set me off and I’d be all:

via GIPHY

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There Are Things I’m Supposed To Be Doing Right Now, Aren’t There?


Life can often feel like a series of things you’re supposed to be doing: Go to college. Get a corporate job. Buy pumps and blazers. Work your way up the corporate ladder. Earn regular-yet-adequately-spaced-out promotions and raises. Get married and have babies. Eventually conquer the corporate world. Die.

Even when you step off that path and do something idiotic like become a freelance writer, there are things that are…well…expected of you. Mostly, they involve building the giant Jenga tower that is your platform, eventually becoming so cool that publishers pay you to write books on the regular, and then—I don’t know—ascending to a higher plane of coolness that involves a lot of literary readings and a-line dresses?

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Sometimes You Need Gentle Yoga But Sometimes You Need Beer. And Sometimes, You Need Both

(image by Chris Costes, via Flickr)


I was sick recently because of course I was. I’m allergic to everything (except food, thank god) and when I let my allergies go unchecked (which I always do), I turn into a sniveling, sneezing, snotting, coughing mess. For, like, ever.

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My Writing Allows Me To Be Just Slightly Braver Than My Typical Wussy-Wuss Self

(photo by roanokecollege, via Flickr)


In the hours leading up to my very first self-defense class, I worried about everything. I worried that my lack of coordination would be revealed within the first five minutes of class. I worried that there would be role-playing exercises, and that I’d make a fool of myself. I worried that, because of the nasty cold I’d had for the past week, I’d have a cough attack that I would be powerless to control. I worried that I wouldn’t find parking or that, because of rush hour traffic, I wouldn’t even get there on time.

Worrying. It’s just a thing that I do. It’s why I don’t do much else. Not anything outside of my comfort zone anyway.

Except when I’m on assignment.

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