The Post-Squee blues

oh, internets.

I mentioned in my last post that I have a yearly get-together with some friends. We sit. We talk. We laugh. We bond.

And then, we have to leave. And we get the post squee blues.

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Oh, How I miss my squee people!

i’m so lucky to have such people in my life that understand me and are creative and ‘get’ how my brain works. Squee weekend is a time I get to hang out with those people 24-7, have fun and feel safe and understood. To go from that to the real world…. LOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGG SIIIIIIGHHHHHHHH

I’m  lucky to have these people in the first place. At times, I feel selfish and self-centered to want them year round!

other times, I’m angry and mad that having my squee crew on the regular is not the norm! HOW DARE THE WORLD FUNCTION THIS WAY!!???

Mostly, though, I just wish I were back in the conference room, at the  Grenville residence Inn, drinking coffee and sitting with my people, wondering if someone should make a run to the Bi-Low for wine or chips to get us through the night.

*flops on the floor dramatically*

*SIGHS*

 

 

 

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IT’S COMING UP ON SQUEE TIME!!

Since 2012, I’ve had the INCREDIBLE FORTUNE AND LUCK to be a part of SQUEE WEEKEND!!! [which is now a week long event].

It all started with my obsession with fanfic [at the time, Supernatural, and then branching out to Stargate Atlantis, and now Teen wolf and Marvel]. I happened upon a post on Live Journal talking about Squee Weekend – a time when anyone in the SGA [Stargate: Atlantis] fandom, could come and hangout with other fans. I hesitantly asked if anyone was welcome (I knew these people by their user names – reading their work online, but nothing else) and was HEARTWARMINGLY told YES – ALL ARE WELCOME.

all-are-welcome

Feeling really nervous, I booked my ticket.

BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE.

I had the BEST times at Squee! I’ve never felt so immediately at home, at peace with a group of people. I want to cry with happiness thinking about it. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to participate for the last 5 years. (okay, I think it’s 5? it may be 4, but no matter. LUCKY TO PARTICIPATE.]

These people are my people. My tribe. They GET me. And I hope they feel that I get them. Some are writers, some are readers, some are crafters; All are wonderful, genuine human beings. I LOVE squee weekend. Yes, we talk about writing. We talk about fanfic [a lot], we watch sci fi [STARGATE ATLANTIS – our one shared love that brought us all together – but also other things], and we eat and drink. And talk about more things. And go shopping at craft stores. And get overly excited about pens and ink and washi tape.  And sometimes you want a break, so you say to the group “Hey, I need some alone time. I’m going to go shower and nap.” and instead of what normally happens (WHAT? WHAT’s WRONG?? NO STAY, Are you okay??? NO, DON’T LEAVE, IT’S ALL GOOD – so you stay and feel weird and tired), the group says, OKAY SEE YOU WHEN YOU COME BACK, WE MIGHT EAT ALL THE CANDY WHILE YOU’RE GONE. There are no judgements or expectations. You just… leave. and have a shower and a nap. or go shopping by yourself and then have a coffee. and you come back and no one is sad or angry or mad you left. Only happy that they have your company again, but completely respectful of your time away AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

I legit get the post-squee blues when I come home. I MOPE. I SIGH. I stare longingly at my computer and think of my online friends and how I’m so so so lucky to know them and how I wish that every weekend was squee weekend.

 

*wipes away tears*

 

BUT NO TIME TO BE SAD RIGHT NOW FOR THE TIME OF SQUEE IS UPON US!!! I’m so ready for it! I’m ready all year long!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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Machu Picchu!

Internets. It’s been a while. I’ve been, ya know, around.

I finished book 4 and got that up, and then suffered when it turned out due to an update error, the copy I approved wasn’t the correct one [ps, if you got a copy riddled with typos EMAIL me – mgakis@hotmail.com and I’ll send you a clean copy]

Then, I had some real life stuff.

But then, I finally crossed something off my bucket list! MACHU PICCHU!!

I’ve had a dream to go to Peru for a while. I don’t even know when it started, only that it’s been years. I finally made that trip! I was fortunate enough to be able to go with my sisters. We get along well and know what buttons need to be left alone, and which ones can be PUSHED.

I MADE IT TO MACHU PICCHU!!

AND I HIKED UP TO THE SUN GATE. Which, wow! At that altitude [and I’m in okay-ish shape] it was QUITE the hike.

Because of reasons, my sisters and I ended up hiking it alone – we were all there the same day and the same time, but Ann wanted to see how fast she could go, and Jennifer was sight seeing as she went and pausing with another tour-member to take pics, and so we ended up each on our own journey.

As I hiked, I had time to think about the hike. AND THINK ABOUT THE HIKE. AND THINK ABOUT THE HIKE. it’s all uphill, and though it may look like a mild gradient, I’m no athlete. But as I hiked, I started feeling/thinking – wow, this is like a metaphor for life.

You’re on this journey. and when it starts out, you’re like, okay, so this looks fun and cool.

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And you’re having fun

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And then you realize, wait. All I’m seeing is dull grey shit. I have to keep my head down to know where I’m going, but this view kind of sucks.

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So you look up and you realize, I have no idea how far I’ve gone, or how much is left.

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But then! All of a sudden, YOU CAN SEE HOW FAR YOU WENT!! [although you still have no idea how much further it is]

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But it’s FUN AGAIN! and you take some time to appreciate it.   img_6104

But then you turn the corner and you’re tired and this is hard and suddenly up in front of you, you see something and you think ARE YOU FOR SERIOUS?? LIKE…. WHY WOULD YOU PUT THIS HERE. img_6105  But you’ve got no choice so you keep GOING UP. And the view is kind of the same, but also different. img_6101  THEN YOU MAKE IT [and your sister may or may not already be at the top waiting for you and you may or may not just chillax for your other sister – individual results may vary ;)]

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img_6133And in those moments at the top, it doesn’t seem like it was all that hard [BUT IT WAS]. But you did it!

 

 

Status Update – Dry Spells – unedited copy distributed between June 7-14

As noted on my FB page, I’ve confirmed that the wrong file was distributed to anyone that pre-ordered Dry Spells or ordered between June 7 and June 15. The right copy is being distributed now for NET NEW orders. For those that already have a copy, Amazon has to review the corrected version vs. the incorrect version and they get to determine if the changes are significant enough to warrant pushing out a new copy to people’s devices. That review is expected to be complete June 24.

The changes are significant.

The version that went out was my FIRST finished draft with no edits done by me or my editor. It’s NOT the version I approved to go out. Amazon thinks this is due to some kind of conversion error.

All I know is, if you have already read the book or are reading it now, I’m so sorry. That is not the book I hoped you’d enjoy.

Thank you to everyone that contacted me about the typos/errors. Without your help, I never would have known it was incorrect.

If you’d like a new version from me, please email me at mgakis@hotmail.com with your email addy.

M

Rape Culture, Sexual Assault Survivors and Covencraft

Boys will be boys.

She was drunk and and at a party. What did she expect?

She didn’t say no, so meant yes.

He’s got such a bright future ahead of him, it would be a shame if he suffered for this.

Jesus, I’m so sick of rape culture. I’m sick of a society that STILL questions victims. A society in which EVERY OTHER CRIME the defendant is the one on trial, but with rape, the victim bears the burden.

If you take the things said about rape victims and say them about gun-shot victims, you can no longer ignore how ridiculous they are.

Did you wear that outfit on the off chance you might get shot? Didn’t you know that it’s legal to carry firearms in the USA so you could be shot at any time and by leaving your house, you were agreeing to potentially be shot? Did you tell the gunman, explicitly and several times, NOT to shoot you? Too bad. Your silence was taken as a yes.

When I hear that, I want to walk up to these people and ask them if they want to be punched, and then, before they can say ‘no’, punch them in the neck and let them know  I took their silence as consent.

Or how about flipping it around to mugging – by wearing that nice watch, weren’t you in fact asking to be mugged? Don’t you think that’s a message to all the muggers out there that you had a watch and if they wanted it, they could mug you because you were advertising it?

What about car accidents?

Car accident? Didn’t you agree  an accident could happen when you got behind the wheel? Isn’t driving on the freeway like saying you don’t care if you’re sideswiped? In fact, you’re open to it? Since you didn’t have a sign explicitly stating you didn’t want to be crashed into, isn’t it likely that you DID??

If you’re telling me that men cannot control themselves around women because of what women wear, then I say in return, why am I not locking PEOPLE UP BECAUSE THEY ARE UNCONTROLLABLE?? You know what we do to uncontrollable creatures? Creatures with no will power, with no higher reasoning, with no morals to discern what’s right and wrong? WE INCARCERATE THEM IN ZOOS AND JAILS. For they are animals and cannot abide by our society’s rules.

Rape culture is abhorrent to us all, or at least, it should be. Women should not live in a society where this is considered unavoidable behavior and men should not tolerate the notion that some members of society believe their sex is so animalistic, immoral and uncontrollable that they cannot be responsible for their own actions.

I was so incredibly moved to write this post by the recent letter of a rape victim to her rapist, which has since gone viral. Her words were raw, evocative, eloquent and haunting. While I found the entirety of her letter moving, the part that stuck with me the most was when she wrote if her rapist had acknowledged what he’d done, admitted guilt and remorse, she would have considered a lighter sentence. I have never read such grace and mercy on earth. She wanted the acknowledgement of what he’d done, and for him to admit it was wrong. She would listen to it. She would acknowledge it. And she could not even get that.

I’ve said before that people are often uncomfortable when I discuss rape culture. They should be. I am. It’s wrong. We should all be uncomfortable about rape it until it is erased.

In my Covencraft novels, my lead character, Jade, is a sexual assault survivor. Book 4 deals with her assault a lot more than any other book. I didn’t want to focus on the actual act of the assault or the violence of it, because I find that often happens in modern media. It’s only for the shock value. The immediacy of the violence. Instead, I hope I’ve conveyed what we don’t usually see in media – the aftermath. The media shows us the trial [if there was one],  the articles and the outrage, and the shock and horror. But there is still life afterward and each person approaches it differently (note, my book deals with a female protag, but I do not mean to exclude male victims of rape). My character Jade has an intimately related character, Lily, and while they both experienced the same thing, they process/deal with it differently. Each day afterward, each week, each month, each year, are individual experiences and no one is more real or authentic than the other.

I’m tired of seeing stories in entertainment media about rape that have no aftermath. I’m tired of reading about campus rapes, date rapes, other rapes where the media drops the story after the trial as if that were the end of it. I’m tired of seeing rape used as a plot device for a character, but most especially as motivation for a male character [as in, my significant other was raped, I must now go forth on my quest of vengeance and justice and nevermind MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER because I am the wronged party here!]. There are stories to be told in the aftermath. Survival stories, struggling stories, heartfelt stories of distrust, disillusionment and recovery. Or maybe not. Maybe there is no recovery. Maybe there is a victim that never feels like a survivor.  Someone who does not or cannot live with their assault. That story is worthy of being told as well. That story has value and merit; it is real and to never tell it, is to dishonor it.

Rape happens. Until we significantly shift and change our society, it will continue to happen. I don’t want it to be the end-all be-all of the narrative. I want to know what happens after. I want to know the victim as MORE THAN A VICTIM. I want to know her story. I want us to keep talking about it. We cannot fix what we will not talk about.

Status Update – Covencraft, Historical romances

Hi all!

To keep the momentum of my writing, I decided to jump right into the next Covencraft story as soon as I finished book 4, Dry Spells. The next ‘story’ is Uncontrollable Burn and it deals with Jade’s feelings for Paris and a wildfire burning out of control.

OH THE SYMBOLISM

Le problem is I don’t know if Uncontrollable Burn will be a full length novel [80-110,000 words] or novella length [45-75000 words]. I thought it would be a novella, but as I work through the beginning, maybe it will be long, IDK.

Le struggles.

It will be done, no matter what the length. I just don’t now if it’s a novel or a novella. You’ll find out as I do!

That also means, I don’t know when I am returning to Margaux Gillis realm of historical romances. The next story will either be a sequel to Ravenwood, featuring Charlotte, or a new story – either a ghost story or a Jekyll and Hyde bit. STAY TUNED.!!

 

 

Hope Floats – or maybe that’s just fat, IDK

My sisters and I tried Float therapy today! You go into a pod type thing that is filled with heavily salted water and… float. you can have music or lights, or nothing. It’s supposed to be meditative, introspective, contemplative and a bunch of other ‘-ives.’

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Results – Ann and I liked it, Jennifer was sort of ‘meh’ about it. I was in a pod with no music and I opted for no lights as well. I was really looking for a meditative experience. What happened was I had a swim cap on and it was slowly letting water in and air out. There was a ‘puh-puh-puh’ sound, followed by an air bubble sneaking up the inside of my neck and escaping out the cap. I thought this was annoying at first, but then decided to use it as a kind of focus – I paid attention to the sound and the sensations and found it relaxing. I think if I go again, I’ll have it one degree warmer. I left a slight crack in the pod open to facilitate air circulation but whenever my toes drifted too close to the end of the pod, they were cold.

I thought I would find 90 minutes too long, but it felt okay. I’ve had meditation practice before and I’ve also worked on my mindfulness and my ability to ‘just be’ so I really looked at this as an opportunity to practice both those things.

It was warm. It was cozy. It was hard to ‘relax’ but that’s just our culture, I suspect.

It was SALTY. I think they said that there are 24 big bags of Epsom salts in each pod. But it sure does make you float-y. there is just no chance of you sinking. It’s very cushioned.

I definitely think I’ll go again. I found it relaxing and enjoyed it. But next time, I think I’ll bring my own shampoo and really wash my hair well after. I only did a quick wash today and I still feel kind of salty.

 

 

Dry Spells [Covencraft #4] releases June 7!

Dry Spells will be released June 7! It’s up for pre-order at the moment and will be ready to download on June 7th! I’m very excited [as always!]

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I struggle with each book in its own way and then when I get to the end I’m like, ‘huh. Why was that so hard?’ I didn’t know the ’emotional heart’ of this book for a long time, and then when I did figure it out, it was SO OBVIOUS I wondered if I had purposely been blind to it for some ‘as yet still unknown to me’ reason.

I’m always proud of my work. *pats self on back*.  Maybe it’s egotistical or narcissistic, but I work hard at my writing and hope I get better with each book. I’m always grateful I have the opportunity to write and that I finished another story – getting it out of my head and into the computer. The transition from brain to fingers to keyboard to actual-readable-book is a tumultuous one, but I find it rewarding.

I’m already working on the next installment of Covencraft, Uncontrollable Burn. I just don’t know yet if it will be a novella or a full length book. We’ll see how Jade and Paris [and Lily and Bruce and everyone else!] feels about it!

 

 

 

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo!

Hi all!
The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo was this past weekend and, as per usual, I attended with my bro-in-law and my nephews [and a friend of my bro-in-law].
I’m getting so old. I was exhausted after only 5 hrs, lol.
My nephew and I decided to try for costumes this year! While I think they definitely need some work, I’m quite proud of our first attempts! My nephew went as a Warlock from the video game Destiny and I went as the Winter Soldier [BECAUSE EVEN WHEN STEVE HAD NOTHING, HE HAD BUCKY and also, Sebastian Stan].

As usual, I picked up some arty type stuff –  some pins this year and some Funkos.

IMG_4838 IMG_4810 I have a lot of art around my house from previous comic expos. If you want AMAZING ART that OTHER PEOPLE WON’T HAVE, then GET THEE TO A COMIC EXPO. the artists there are SO talented. It’s STUNNING.

I was super proud of my city! there were signs all around that Costumes did NOT equal CONSENT and that disrespectful behaviour would not be tolerated. AND! they had gender neutral bathrooms for those that would prefer that. I gave my nephews a big speech on why this was important. I don’t know if they ‘got it,’ but they are polite enough to listen and nod.

Also, because life wasn’t busy enough, my sister got two foster puppies from AARCS and we’ve had them for about three weeks. Normally puppies have a week turnaround time [before being adopted] but these guys had to wait a week before being fixed [due to them being  young] and now we’re waiting for some results and some paperwork to be processed. So it’s been busy at home. BUT SO FLUFFY and cute. I step in dog pee about 3 times a day, but then PUPPY SNUGGLES.

I’m almost done my edit of Dry Spells, and then it goes off to Donna for SPAG and another editor. FINGERS CROSSED.

 

 

Dry Spells Cover Reveal!

LOOK WHAT I HAVE HERE!!

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I’m just wrapping up the end of the first draft, and then two things happen – I go back to the beginning and start editing and it also goes out to my BFF/editor Donna for the “Yo, does this make sense mostly or is it a hot mess” initial read though. Usually, my first draft is rough, but I tend not to have too many plot holes or missing items – I don’t like to write out of order. I skipped over two scenes in this book and wrote one out of order, but other than that, I write from start to finish, so I shouldn’t have a hot mess when I’m done, but… I feel like I never know. I’m too close to it when I finish it to tell.

 

I’m still tweaking the book blurb [aka book jacket, aka the hardest thing I write, aka my least fave thing to do] but it should be ready shortly and then book 4 will go up for pre-order. I’m thinking a release date of June 7.

Unless it really IS A HOT MESS, lol. I will be eagerly awaiting Donna’s feedback.