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My Mom Is Sick Of All The ‘Little Me(s)’ In Storage

So I got a very excited email from my mom this morning. She is moving and the email was to let me know that she is sick of all the Buffy/Amber stuff she has been hoarding in storage for me for years and finally wants to say Hasta La Vista to it.

She has a few unsigned Triangle Tara dolls ($15 + shipping), some Buffy pictures ($10 + shipping), and copies of my first two films, Chance and Lovers, Liars and Lunatics ($20 each + shipping).

So, if you’re interested…contact my mom at: edtbenson@hotmail.com & help her clear out her storage unit!

You Broke Me A Little Bit

We repeat patterns. We get those old neural pathways ingrained in our grey matter and the synapses just keep firing over and over again, sending us down the same roads, inflicting us with the same feelings and habits until they’re all we know.

That’s why change frightens us. It resets those neural pathways, creates more of them, restructures how we think and feel. Change can often be a good thing, but Fear that change won’t be good, well, that’s why we hold on to the bad things, repeat bad habits. Plus treading those old neural pathways feels good, is pleasurable, even. The familiar just feels ‘right’.

Even when it’s not.

Sometimes we’re no different from those poor carriage horses who have blinders on––they just move forward without thought or context, someone/something else guiding their path. That’s what happens to us when we get set in our ways and take the easy road that feels familiar––when we should take the hard road, the one that will make us grow.

Robert Frost had it right in The Road Not Taken.

Today I had one of those neural pathway moments. It was not good. My expectations were such that I went right to that bad place in my mind––a place created by years of one, particular kind of experience. When I realized where I had gone, and how my brain had craved the bad, suspicious feelings…it made me cry.

I don’t want to be the person who has those thoughts anymore––and besides, no one deserves to wear a yoke placed in your hands by the actions of someone else.

SOUL BONER!!!!!

Yesterday was a bleh day. Sometimes you just have days like that. I did some work - hated everything I did and have already started re-writing it - and tried to spend some time with my lady friends I’m producing this short film, Uggs For Gaza, with, but I wasn’t great company.  I blame my horoscope entirely. It predicted I would be impotent and unable to express myself.

I don’t like being impotent.  Yesterday I needed Viagra for the soul.

Do they make that? And if they do, does it cause heart palpitations and cardiac arrest in exchange for a soul boner?

Because maybe I don’t want a soul boner that badly.

Soul boners aside (or astride), today was better. I got more work done and I had a real laughing jag over my coining of the term ‘soul boner’ - although I’m sure someone else has already coined it and I’m just riding coattails. 

Still, today is a minor bleh day, as well. Not that I blame my horoscope. Today it said I would have peace of mind. So, there’s that, at least.

SOUL BONER!!!!!


I Am Working

I didn’t stay in bed all day like I planned. I got up, took a shower, brushed my teeth…well, you get the picture. Now I’m sitting here writing. I’m supposed to be writing book stuff, but instead I am writing this blog while I listen to Billy Bragg and Wilco doing ‘California Stars’.

Being creative for a living is a blessing, but sometimes - like today - I look at the guy sitting next to me and wish I was the one holding a little box of tools, that I went from job to job, fixing things, having a finite time to my work, so that when I was done for the day, I was done.

I am never done. I am always at work.

I used to feel terribly guilty whenever I goofed off - I SHOULD BE WORKING! - but this has subsided some as I’ve gotten older and realized that work is not everything. Work does not define me (yes, it does) and it’s okay to have a life (no, it’s not).

You can’t write things, act things, make things…if all you do is work. You have to experience life. You have to laugh like an idiot, you have to sob like your soul is pouring out your eyes, you have to listen to the silence and revel in the noise…all of this is integral to creating.

I forget this sometimes. I get caught up in the work.

Alcohol (in moderation), good friends, food, music, movies, books…these are the things that remind me work is not everything. Life is fleeting. It is here and then gone so quickly we are idiots if we don’t enjoy at least a little bit of it.

Tomorrow I will think about staying in bed all day. I will maybe luxuriate in being under my brown comforter that leaks feathers. I will maybe stay in my PJ’s until it gets dark outside.

Today I am working. I swear it.

I am working.

It’s A Small World After All, Fish Face

So…I totally got called out for my blog post (Game Playing, Yo!) yesterday. And it’s my own fault because I should know way better than this. When you post something on a public blog, one that anyone or anything in the universe can read, well, be prepared to answer for your words.

Which is exactly what happened yesterday when the texting dude in question called me up to tell me someone he knew had forwarded him my post - EEEEK!  (Yes, I now have to admit the post was written because of one experience,
in particular, BUT I want to qualify this by saying that, though I may
have been too harsh a judge in this instance, I still one hundred
percent stand behind what I wrote. I have experienced the ‘texting disinterest” game before and have actually talked to a few dudes about it, confirming that once the hunt was over for them, they weren’t interested anymore.)


Moderately Confused Fish-Face Amber

Anywho…

I am an extremely verbal person. One who is very, very very rarely rendered speechless. This was one of those rare moments. I think I might’ve said ‘uhm’ really fast like ten times in a row then I might’ve also opened and closed my mouth like a silent codfish for a few minutes - which, thankfully, the guy in question could not see because we were on the phone. (Believe me when I say that confused fish face Amber is an unsettling sight to behold.)

The guy in question could very easily have silently stewed over what I wrote. He could’ve written me a nasty text or called to yell at me. He could’ve even completely ignored me like forever and ever and ever and ever.

INSTEAD he was kind and gracious. He said he was glad I’d written the post so that he had some insight into what I was thinking. I won’t go into detail, but, basically, we worked out the kinks and I think we will continue to be text buddies for a long time to come. Mostly because he chose to be open-minded and to communicate with me…and to give me the benefit of the doubt when I hadn’t done the same for him.

In this case, I was wrong. I jumped to conclusions.

The lesson learned is to take each experience I have, individually, not expecting any of them to be a repeat of the last.

Seems pretty basic, right? Wrong.

Oh, and I might still need to go to that nunnery, take a vow of silence, learn that sometimes silence can be golden.

By the way, can you still text when you take a vow of silence?

Synchronicity or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb

I believe in it. Or maybe I should say that I am open to it.

I know that when I start thinking about somebody, I am either going to run into them or get a phone call from them. It’s been like that my whole life. I’ve tried to manifest this experience, but forcing it never works. It happens when it happens, totally autonomously from what I want.

I’m in the process of writing a new series of books - witches are the theme - and the more stuff I read as I research the topic, the more interested I become in the idea that magic or miraculous happenings are somehow tied into the concept of Synchronicity. When something magical/miraculous happens, it’s easy to be in awe of it, to credit some supernatural force to its occurrence - which may well be the case, I can’t discount it - but maybe another way of looking at it is that it’s just a synchronous event. Maybe it’s only a confluence of cause and effect from a thousand different smaller moments, leading up to this one larger miraculous/magical experience. All of this happens behind the scenes, out of our direct line of view, so that the event appears magical/miraculous.

I don’t know. I like the idea of living in a world where magic exists…but I’ve never really been privy to it. So in these new books I wanted to create a world where magic is like quantum physics: A whole bunch of molecular events happening on a subatomic level so they can’t be witnessed by the naked eye. It’s still magic, but it’s a magic that’s a little more tangible.

I’m hoping that my research adventures into the world of Magic, Witches, Wicca, and the Occult will open up new avenues of thought. Or maybe something magical/miraculous will happen and I will then have first hand proof that the supernatural is alive and well in this world.

I’m keeping my mind open and my curiosity intact.

 




Game Playing, Yo!

I am not a game player. It puts me at a disadvantage. Especially when it comes to dating. With my friends, it’s a different bag. I am not counted out for being honest about who I am or what I want - but when it comes to dating and romantic stuff…jeeza-louisa.

Is there some rule book that I didn’t get? Because it feels like there’s this rigid framework in place that I totally have not been clued into.

It’s not a big deal. It doesn’t make me sad or angry…more like confused and uncertain.

So many dudes talk about how difficult women are, how they can’t get laid, they can’t get a girlfriend or even a date…well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not limited to men. Women deal with the same stuff. We’re just quiet about it.

Scratch that. We’re not quiet about it, we talk ad nauseum about it to our girlfriends, but we don’t write blog posts about it (well, maybe a few) or put it out there in the pop culture medium (well, a few do - to their credit). I think finding a partner - or, Hell, just someone to go see a movie with - is difficult all the way around. For everyone.

But it’s the game playing that kills me. I just can’t do it.

There’s this whole weird thing where you’re supposed to pretend like you’re not interested in someone so that they work really hard to get your attention.

For example, there’s like some archaic rule that if you don’t reply to some dude’s texts, he will - I swear to God - literally text you non-stop a whole, one-sided conversation that you never once have to reply to and by the end of it he’s like begging you to go out with him. But if you make the mistake of even once replying back during his frenzy…then he immediately stops texting you.

Game over.

So what am I supposed to do? Be a pretend texting fisherman? Trying to hook some poor guy with my disinterest and then coming in for the kill after letting him text himself into oblivion?

Ugh.

I like you. You like me. Seems like a really simple concept, right?

Wrong.

Makes me want to get myself to a nunnery. At least you’re safe from all the bullshit there.

Because God doesn’t text.


Waiting In Line

I’m standing here waiting in line at the post office. I have been here for a long time. When Dante was crafting Purgatorio there was no such thing as the US post office - but if Dante were writing his Divine Comedy now, the line I am in would figure heavily in his work.

The Next Big Thing Blog: The Golden Age Of Death (That Chris Golden Made Me Do!)

My friend Chris Golden tagged me in this “Next Big Thing” chain letter that you are about to read. It appears, upon first encounter, to just be a fun little Q&A for authors to spread the word about their latest and upcoming projects…but what no one realizes is that “The Next Big Thing” is actually a parasite living off the energy of writers, asking only that they give a little blood and then forward it on so it may infect writers and readers everywhere.

I am a host now. I am infected. I am about to infect YOU!

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The Next Big Thing: THE GOLDEN AGE OF DEATH

Where did the idea come from for the book?

After I finished my Death’s Daughter trilogy, I was tasked with writing two additional books in my series. Needless to say, after writing three books, I had to find new ways of entertaining myself. To do this, I made the fourth book, How To Be Death, a locked room mystery a la Agatha Christie. and for the fifth and final book, The Golden Age Of Death, I flipped the books on their head, writing in a mix of third person and first person perspective. It was a bit crazy, at first, but I think it turned out rather well. Now you get to play around in the heads of the secondary characters that you’ve gotten to know and love in the other four books. Yippee!!

What genre does your book fall under?

I write in the Urban Fantasy genre - although, I think these books are a bit more fantasy than the traditional Urban Fantasy books most people are used to. I like to say: if you took Neil Gaiman and ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ and mushed them together, well, you’d get my stuff.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie
rendition?

I am a new fan of Sara Paxton. She is amazing in a little indie called “The Innkeepers” and if she ever played Calliope, I would be ecstatic. My friend Ashley Artus - though much taller than my fawn - was the inspiration for Jarvis, so maybe we can entice him to come play with us if we ever make a live action version of the books.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Death is run like a corporation and our hero, Calliope Reaper-Jones, well, her dad is the President and CEO - when he gets kidnapped she has to come and run the company in stead, or her family will lose their immortality.

That’s the jumping off point for the series and The Golden Age of Death, the fifth and final book, is the conclusion of Calliope’s story.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My agent,Howard Morhaim, is the man responsible for unleashing my insanity upon the world. Poor man, having to deal with me! But he’s a mensch.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took me six months then I went back in and made a bunch of changes on the second draft…turning it a bit past my deadline.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Anton Strout and I both write ‘fantasy’ heavy Urban Fantasy. Especially in his new book “Alchemystic”, the first book in his new Spellmason Chronicles series…it has a plucky heroine who makes very human decisions about her life and situation.  Very much like Calliope.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write a female protagonist who wasn’t perfect, who made mistakes and learned from them, who grew through the course of the series. That was pretty much the inspiration for writing the books.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s funny. And silly. And…I don’t know. It’s so weird to have to pimp yourself out, ya know? I guess the thing to pique your interest for the book is that it takes place mostly in Hell. Which is always fun for the whole family.  I don’t know. Argh.

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That concludes the infecting part of this whole endeavor. Now I’m gonna give a shout out to the other authors who Chris tagged to blog today:

S.G. Browne got stuck sitting next to me at one of his first signings…and he didn’t get scared! Well, at least not after the first 30 minutes. He wrote a lovely, lovely book called Breathers that I highly recommend. Right now he has I Saw Zombies Eating Santa Claus…a book that’s the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list! You can check him out on his site right here: http://sgbrowne.com/

Cherie Priest wrote the awesome book Boneshaker that I love. Being from Alabama, I can say that she’s a maestro at capturing the heady, spooky atmosphere of the Southern Gothic supernatural tale. Her latest book The Inexplicables is out right now and would also make an awesome holiday gift (wink, wink). http://www.cheriepriest.com/

Caitlin Kittredge is the gal responsible for the Iron Codex YA series, which is just awesome blossom - and makes a great stocking stuffer! I had to steal this bit from Chris’s bio because it’s just adorable: “She once told me that she’s not ready for the zombie apocalypse, but she is prepared for the kitten apocalypse.” Hehehe, I love it! You can check her out here: http://www.caitlinkittredge.com/

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And now for the lovely and kind souls who have agreed to carry on the infection on my behalf.  Please go check out their blogs/tumblrs next Tuesday:

Bradley P. Beaulieu is a mensch! And now the whole world knows it. He is the author of the epic fantasy series The Lays of Anuskaya (the third book, The Straits of Galahesh, is out in April) and the co-host of the popular Speculate podcast. He just funded the first level of his kickstarter campaign for the book collection Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten & Other Stories in less than a day and five hours. Did I say he was a mensch? You can check out his kickstarter here: kickbrad & his blog.
Even though Carolyn Cohagan and I share the same editor at Simon & Schuster, we actually met, funnily enough, through our mutual friend, Drea Clark.  Carolyn is the author of the Middle Grade book The Lost Children – which I adore - and its follow-up Ida and The Unfinished City. Right now she is working on a top secret project, but I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at it and it’s amazing.  So keep your eye on Miz Cohagan and her blog for more news!

My friend, Sina Grace, is one of the most talented artists I know - he’s so talented that I snapped him up to do the illustrations for my Middle Grade book Among The Ghosts. Right now he has a new graphic novel out called Not My Bag that he both wrote and illustrated. I think it’s the bees knees - by far one of my fav graphic novels ever! Pick up Not My Bag and follow Sina’s work right here on his tumblr.

What to say about Sarah Kuhn? She is an accomplished journalist and novelist whose latest novella One Con Glory is so good that it made me laugh out loud like twenty times. It’s so good, in fact, that Hollywood has come calling - and Sarah has written the script! Right now she is hard at work on her next book which will be her first foray into Urban Fantasy. You can check her out here on her book page and on her tumblr!

Kate Noble writes really smart Regency Romance novels, including If I Fall and Follow My Lead.  And when I say smart, what I mean is: She creates some of the pluckiest, wittiest, and intelligent heroines in the romance genre, period. Kate also has the best hair of anyone I know – I am deeply envious of it - and you can get a glimpse of it right here in her author picture on her blog.
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