Thursday, August 8, 2013

If Ever There Was A Totally Unlikable Antagonist, That Guy Is Cancer...

Hi guys. So. This is my dad.

Not the one in the wedding dress-that's me five years ago. (Look how adorable and young I was. 18. Dawww. Now, look back at my dad.) He is not a tiny guy. Note the broad shoulders and such. And if he wasn't wearing a jacket, you'd be like, "Woah. Look at those muscles." And they are Hard. As. Rocks. Basically, whenever I had boyfriends in high school, they would come in, and be like this: -_- Then they'd see my dad and be like this: O_O I think I have some exes who are actually STILL a little afraid of him, and I've been married for five years (tomorrow, actually, will be five years.)

Anyway, I'm super close to my dad. SUPER close. Probably because we're basically the same person. He's a tough, strong guy. Healthy, active, in his 40's. Never gets drunk. Doesn't smoke. No drugs. Nothing. And yesterday, we found out that he has cancer. So that sucked,

5 tumors on his liver. 5. One that's BIG. That's not good.Today he goes in for a biopsy and we'll find out if it's colon cancer that spread to the liver (HOPING that's not it. Cause that's no good. That would mean Stage 4.) or if it's primary liver cancer. Feels weird to be hoping that anything is any kind of cancer. But that's the one we're hoping for, cause it's easier to treat/cure. Stage IV colon is still possible to survive. Just, well, we'd very much like the higher odds, if possible.

So the thing is, yesterday freaking blew. It kind of felt like, not even real. My entire family is extremely close, and we're just sitting there blinking, like What? How is this possible? Are we gonna go, like, get one of those ribbons now? And start doing cancer walks and stuff? It doesn't feel real.

I very rarely have nightmares. But when I do, the one I've most frequently had throughout my life is about my dad dying, cause it's like one of my biggest fears. And those dreams are so awful because they feel real. And I went to bed thinking about cancer, and woke up thinking about it. (Strangely, I didn't have my recurring stress dream last night. I actually dreamt about this guy:

Which was certainly preferable. (I really did dream about Tudors-style Henry VIII. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers version. Which was kind of weird. *shrug*)

Anyway, I still woke up thinking about cancer. Cause my dad and I, we like the same movies, root for the same sports teams (except in baseball. I just can't make myself give a crap about baseball.), and whenever I tell him a book idea, he's like "That's awesome! You know what you should do with this scene?? And he's ALWAYS right. Seriously, in Never, Never, the one chapter that pretty much every single beta reader/CP I had commented on or said "This is so perfect! Whoa, I didn't see that coming!" was completely my dad's idea. (So, reader friends, pray about this if you plan on reading my stories. They're better when my dad is around. I promise.)

So yesterday we were basically all just freaking out and panicking and then researching allllll the things and alllllll the hospitals and allllll the doctors, and yeah. And all these possibilities start racing through your head. Like, what if he dies? What if they give him no time and he dies? He'd better be able to meet Elias when he comes at the end of November. And if he dies, what the crap am I gonna tell my 2 year old son, when he keeps asking "Where Poppy go?"

I can't handle that. I can't. I'm not ready to lose my dad. So screw that. None of us is ready for that. So we're gonna do everything we possibly can to beat this thing. Everything any doctor says to do. And beyond that, we're praying hard. We've got lots of people praying. That would be rather nice of you, dear reader, if you're the praying sort, by the way. We've seen impossible things happen because of prayer. Impossible things. And we're Christians. Ones who truly care about their faith, all of us. And it would be super awesome if God was like "Ok. You're right. Not his time yet." If He doesn't say that, well, it's not in His plan, and we will just figure out how to deal with it.

But right now, we are hoping and praying and gearing up to fight whatever we find. Cause SCREW. CANCER. Cancer is that kid who gave you swirlies every day at school and didn't even have, like, a screwed-up childhood to justify it. Cancer is that little fox-guy from Dora who swipes everything and then doesn't even take it; he just hides it to be mean. Cancer is the guy who shot a bunch of people in Aurora for no. freaking. reason. THAT'S cancer. The ultimate unlikable antagonist. The mustache-twirling, evil-for-the-sake-of-being-evil and ruining everyone's day butt hole. A likable antagonist can win, and we're cool with that. But NOT this guy. Screw that. They say every antagonist is the hero of his own story. Well, pray about everything if you would, and rec a doctor, or whatever. Cause Cancer does not get to be the hero of anyone's story. Nope.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Post by Rachel O'Laughlin- Coldness of Marek Blog Tour

Hello lovelies! I've missed you all in this little blogging hiatus I've had going. But what better way to return to cyberspace than to host the awesome Rachel O'Laughlin! A fantabulous author and all around great person. (Who decided to include some Damon gif's in this post, which should make all of us love her even more. Cause come on.) She's here to give some rockin stuff away AND talk about my all-time favorite thing: Anti-heroes. Sit down, people. Here. Have some popcorn.

Guest Post: Anti-Heroes: Good Guys With Issues

I’m uber thrilled to be guest-posting on Brianna’s blog today! She just happens to be a person I admire and love, and is also the author of a novel featuring THE BEST Young Adult anti-hero I have ever had the honor of reading. For real.

I love rogues. Not when I meet them in person, but when I see them in fiction? Instant love. Why do I love them so? Maybe because they’re all bad boyish and clothed in black and generally swoon-worthy? Um, it probably is the main reason, but then I would have to end this blog post right now, so I’m just gonna ignore that. I also love old movies. I could watch Jimmy Stewart forever and ever. At a young age I also discovered Errol Flynn — wait, does anyone else in my generation actually recognize that name? (Okay, I admit it, I’m a dinosaur in a mid-twenties body. Or I could be a Salvatore, in which case all of this should make complete sense.)

ANYHOW, Errol Flynn acted in a string of movies based on the adventure novels by a long-forgotten writer named Rafael Sabatini, best known for SCARAMOUCHE and CAPTAIN BLOOD. (The movies were not very true to the books, I might add.) Sabatini filled his pages with alpha-in-their-own-mind-sometimes-total-jerk lead characters, and frankly, that doesn’t sound appealing, does it? These dudes had issues. They had dark obsessions, anger management problems, control freak tendencies, struggles with addictions. They could be very hate-able, and sometimes very lovable, but they always had their dark side.

Agatha Christie, another writer whom I love, made use of the anti-hero every chance she got. Her typical setting is a murder mystery, but in some of her stories we’re actually hoping the sleuths do NOT uncover the murderer, because the suspect is a better person than the one who got offed. Her anti-hero is often someone quirky and damaged, but when it all shakes out, they were doing the best they could to fix a broken situation, and something went wrong. They were the hero of the moment, even if they hadn’t always been one.

Since I love them so much, I shouldn’t have been surprised when my main character hit the page as a completely misguided and selfish being. I really wanted to write a heroic character full of strength and morality. No lie, I truly did. I fought it for awhile, in revisions, trying to make Trzl lovable and dear. She just wasn’t. And DANG. I LIKED HER THAT WAY. That’s who she is, and that’s who she has to be in order to do the things she does.

As writers, though, why the rogues? Why the disrespectful, stubborn, chip-on-their-shoulder rebels? Why can’t all main characters be good-hearted and honest?

We all have baggage, experiences that make us who and what we are. Anti-heroes have various reasons for living the way they do, too. Their actions may be more violent or more cruel or more unsavory, but haven’t we all done little awful things that weren’t okay? Anti-heroes take that to the next level. They explore what inside of us could be horrible if we didn’t keep it in check. But they have one thing in common: they have integrity. Whatever their moral code, their brand of honor, their version of ethics — they set standards for themselves, and they uphold that standard as best they can, even if they slip now and then.

It’s that streak of selflessness, that moment of heroism, that line they will not cross no matter the circumstances that makes my heart beat fast. Therein lies a glimpse of redemption. It gives us a connection to people we might see as wrong, evil, or delusional. Their stories are different from the truly heroic sort, but they are a sampling of humanity, and I’m infatuated with them. Because they’re damaged. They’re hurt and haunted. They’re real.

And totally worthy of story.


Book Info:


Epic Fantasy
The First in the Serengard Series
Release Date: August 6, 2013

Serengard has been under Orion rule for centuries—centuries of insufferable adherence to laws and traditions that its people no longer believe in. Raised by her scholarly grandfather in the fiery southern city of Neroi, Trzl is dedicated to turning the monarchy into a free society where knowledge is king and no one has to be subject to the whims of an Orion.

As the rebellion escalates, her choices have an eerie impact on the revolution at large, elevating her to a position of influence she has only dreamed of attaining. But there are downsides to her new power that entangle her in a dangerous web of emotions, appearances and alliances. Even as she plays to the attractions of Hodran, a rich nobleman who wants to aid her cause, she is drawn to Mikel, a loyalist farmer who hates the rebellion but just might be winning her heart.

By the time Trzl realizes she is in too deep, she has an infant son and a dark mess of betrayal and lies. She runs to the furthest corner of the kingdom in hopes that she will be left alone with her child, but she has created too many demons. A figure she once trusted will take her captive in the chilling Cliffs of Marek, throw her back into the political upheaval she helped create, and leave her at the mercy of a man she never wanted for an enemy.

Author Bio:

Obsessed with all things history, Rachel O’Laughlin grew up writing adventure stories and only recently fell in love with fantasy as a genre. She lives in New England with her husband and children, grows roses and tweets often. She adores lattes, The Fray, long drives in the country, and any dark story with a good twist. Coldness of Marek is her first novel.


Rachel O'Laughlin
Writer of  some things epic and some things fantasy.
Where to Buy the Book:
And nowwwwwwww, a shiny giveaway!!!
Rachel is giving away a couple signed paperbacks of Coldness of Marek and some swag! This giveaway is open to U.S. and international residents, though if you live outside the U.S., the prize will be 3 ebooks  of Coldness instead. So, get entering, peeps!" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sooooooooooooooo, to round this whole thing out. Buy it. Read it. Damon and I are.