Can of worms

can-o-wormsThere’s a big thread going at Dear Author about how RWA shouldn’t hate the erotic. I expressed the idea that it’s wrong for people who don’t want to judge inspirational romances to have to (when they haven’t signed up for them), just as conservative readers shouldn’t have to judge strong sexual content, should they prefer not to. I’m totally on board with that. I don’t think anyone should have read something they find objectionable. (I do wonder, however, if the folks who refuse to read sex ever read murder mysteries, and if so, why is murder okay, but sex is not? That’s a different post.)

My proposed solution was a box indicating a book contains one or the other, though I suppose it’s theoretically possible it could be both. (I’d sort of like to read that one. And any non-Christian inspie, too. I’d be intrigued with a Judaic romance or a Wiccan one. I’ve just had my fill of traditional Christian values.) Note: that’s not a condemnation of anyone else’s beliefs or way of life.

It’s only reflection of my personal taste. So how come when I say I’d rather not read an inspie entered in the historical category it becomes a lack of respect for all Christians? Now I’ll grant you my initial tone was flip, but I’m pretty much that way on all topics. I very seldom get all-the-way-down-to-the-bone serious about anything (and I tend to think people who are 100% earnest are a bit tiresome). But that’s neither here, nor there.

The reason I’ve brought this to my blog is: I’m paying for the bandwidth, so I feel free to ramble here. And this is the thing–it’s very hard to have this discussion because so many people seem to internalize “does not want to read inspies” as “hates / condemns all Christians.” Personally, I cannot make the leap, myself. I’ve never heard an erotic romance author say, “You just hate all the people who have sex because you’re not allowed to!” Now there have been other bits of silliness there, like, “you’re just jealous” or “you’re too stodgy to appreciate my genius” but those are different criticisms, I think.

I’m thinking in particular about one objection I read to erotic content on an RWA loop. Unfortunately, I can’t share it with you, but if I could (and I changed all the hate-language to a religious counterpoint), I would be lynched, no question. And yet it’s okay to say the opposite in reverse? Since when does not wanting to read a book equate to religious persecution? That might even make sense, if Christianity were still a minor religion. I could understand the cry of persecution, if the Wiccans were rallying behind it. But this kneejerk yell of prejudice puzzles me.

I am not interested in reading a book that sets forth certain values as the definite ideal. I am not interested in a book that tells me how I should approach my spirituality (and I was never good at coloring in the lines either). That doesn’t mean I don’t wish everyone else well who has found joy and peace in organized religion. Me, I have too many questions. Too many things don’t make sense. The rules that are set forth, many of them, seem designed to enrich the church’s power base, not improve my soul. It seemed predicated on fear of punishment, which is not the way I want to live. I would rather do good and be kind because I want to, not because I fear burning in eternal flames. I don’t enjoy people who believe their way is the only way, and if I am being completely candid, I have never had a Buddhist come knocking at my door to interrupt my workday and harangue me on the state of my soul. That said, I recognize those “bad encounters” I’ve had with organized [Christian] religion don’t encompass the full picture.

And I think every person should pursue the path that makes them happy, and it harm none. That doesn’t make me Wiccan. I am what I am, and I’m not going to find my faith depicted in a book. I would rather read about other things and let my faith be private. Why is that so wrong?

2010 RUTA Awards

It has come to my attention that filthy & fabulous books get short shrift in certain awards, so the time has come for a new star to arise.

The RUTA celebrates all the books that don’t follow the rules. In Romance Up the Ass, we will cheer the foul-mouthed, sexually confident heroine. Graphic bangage? Fine! Violence? Bring it on.

So we’re now in the planning stages. Climb aboard, and help us create categories that rock your world. So far, we have:

Sex on a Stick Hero
Foulest-mouthed Heroine
Best Butt-sex
Most Creative Menage
Best “O”

What else you got?

How my life is different than before

Earlier this week, I Twittered about being out of water. It wasn’t a mechanical issue; there was simply no water in the city tanks because we’re suffering from a drought. The responses astonished me, because I’ve grown used to the vagaries of living here. Things that once would’ve totally flummoxed me, I now work around (and in quite creative ways).

Living in Mexico has changed me for the better. Things are different here in so many ways that I cannot easily enumerate them all, but I am going to try because I love this country, and I want to share it with all of you. The culture of consumption is not so prominent here. There’s not such an overwhelming obsession with newest, brightest, shiniest toys. If it works, it will do. I picked that mentality up as well, I’m happy to say.

When I bought my “new” laptop two years ago, it was an old Ibook from Mercado Libre. I’m totally in love with it, and I won’t replace it even if I have to walk up four mountainous flights of stairs to have it serviced (and I did). When I bought my “new” desktop this year, I got an old Imac (and it’s the cutest thing ever.) It can’t do a lot more than word processing or surfing, but that’s all I need. I’m better now at being content.

And there’s a lot more recycling out of pure necessity. If put something out that we’ve replaced, someone will carry it away before the rubbish men come by. It’s a lot like I imagine Victorian England must’ve been, with so many layers of sale and resale until the item wound up in the rag-girl’s basket.

Nowadays, I don’t throw stuff out as quickly. I repurpose it. A 1 liter water bottle is perfect to refill or add a packet of Clight (like crystal light.) Boxes can be used for school projects. I took an old table Andres didn’t want and stashed it in my office. It’s serving as a side table / bookshelf now. When we replaced our kitchen table, I put it in the dining room. We use it to play board games and the kids do their homework there. We have some old chairs I once would’ve tossed. Now I am going to tighten the screws and see about reupholstering them. Nothing goes to waste.

I used to not think about how much water we used. It’s easy to take it for granted until you run out. Once, that would’ve upset me very much. This time, I only gave thanks that we had bottled water on hand and could make do. It’s possible to flush your toilets from a bit of water you pour in the tank from a pitcher. There are worse things than bathing in a sun-drenched garden, while standing on sun-warmed terracotta tiles against a backdrop of fuchsia bougainvilleas. Making do from pitchers and jugs wasn’t as hard as one might think.

I don’t use the dishwasher anymore. The dishes are done in my house by hand (and I just did them) in a little red tub. You’d be amazed at how little water (and soap) it takes to clean up. I don’t use the dryer unless it’s raining. (I just hung my kids’ school uniforms on the line in the back garden to dry.) I can walk almost anywhere I need to go, living here. I like that.

But the power grid can be unstable here as well. Today, the electricity went off for a good two hours for no apparent reason. Of course I lost internet. Once, that would’ve have upset me too. Today, I said, “This is a good thing. Now I can focus on my work, and I better hurry while my Ibook battery lasts.” I finished my 3K just before the power came back on (and had 2 hours of battery life left. My little Ibook can go four hours or more).

Here, my eyes have been opened to another way of life, and it’s not because it has become fashionable to be green. It’s because there are many people here, sharing the same resources, and they’ve learned to care for what they have and make the most of it. Those were lessons I needed, and I am grateful to have learned. I find myself more patient now, less easily overset by unforeseen hitches.

We’ve bought land on a mountaintop , and eventually, we’re going to build a house. That will be the first new home I’ve ever lived in. We plan to work with a green architect who specializes in rooftop gardens. I’m thinking solar panels and a cistern to catch rainwater, make use of the rainy season. In mind’s eye, I can see this place. It’s different than what I’d have chosen five years ago, but I like the way I’ve changed.

What little things are you doing to save the world?

The Lazy Bloggers Salvation

Dude! I just discovered I have not updated this since people stopped clapping and Tinkerbell died. You would not believe how insane my life has become. Cheers, mate.

I am frantic with responding to fanmail, selling my soul to Google, & just generally being a biatch to my cats. My day seems to be packed from sun up to sun down and beyond. I am so tired of my kids wanting me to give them attention and stuff, but it will be fun fun fun till they take my TBird away.

I swear on the bones of my ancestors, I will update you with my nefarious activities as soon as I get a chance. You have my word! This is for my ever faithful, devoted public.

(How awesome is that?) Coz I didn’t write a word of it! Is your blog making you feel guilty? Australia can help you!

I heart the internet.

I’m Bringing Sexy Back

new-doubleblind

It’s not easy to tread lightly wearing steel-toed boots.

Sirantha Jax isn’t known for diplomatic finesse. As a “Jumper” who navigates ships through grimspace, she’s used to kicking ass first and taking names later—much later. Not exactly the obvious choice to sell the Conglomerate to the Ithtorians, a people whose opinions of humans are as hard as their exoskeletons.

And Ithiss-Tor council meetings aren’t the only place where Ambassador Jax needs to maneuver carefully. Her lover, March, is frozen in permanent “kill” mode, and his hair-trigger threatens to sabotage the talks—not to mention their relationship.

But Jax won’t give up on the man or the mission. With the Outskirts beleaguered by raiders, pirates, and the flesh-eating Morgut, an alliance with Ithiss-Tor may be humanity’s only hope. Which has Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job…

Reader Feedback: Blue Diablo

This is always the MOST exciting part of a release for me — finding out what readers thought of a book. Here’s an excerpt from a review I read today:

“That’s when it hit me: not only did Corine’s thoughts and fears remind me of real life conversations, everything from those issues to the description of her looks, down to what she wore…

Aguirre managed to create a character who really could be one of us. Her power isn’t so bizarrely out there. I attended an intuition workshop that included psychometry. Each participant handled objects much like Corine goes—granted, with far less success and none of the price our heroine has to pay. She’s kick ass without being able to kick everybody’s ass; in a combat situation, she’s better armed with a cell phone ready to call 911 than with a gun, but she’s no damsel in distress waiting for the big strong men to come rescue her.”

–From A Writer’s Block

I’m tickled by this because I can’t think of a higher compliment than saying my heroine feels like a real person. Let the happy-dance commence now.

ETA: More coolness. I have cover art for the anthology I’m in. bigger-vamp-rom-2-cover

The next book?

I’m taking nominations now for the next book we read. Most likely, it won’t be until the end of April because things are crazy for me right now. That said, the ballots are open. I’ll start with a couple possibilities:

DESIRE UNCHAINED by Larissa Ione
ANGELS’ BLOOD by Nalini Singh

Name your own in comments. When I have five good choices, I’ll make up a poll and then we’ll take an official vote. Mind you, I’m not giving out free books this time. If you wanna get the book, read it, and chat about it with us, you’re more than welcome.