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words about words

Archive for the tag “Video Games”

Schooled is free this week

Have you been waiting for the perfect opportunity to try the Lexy Cooper mystery series? There’s no time like the…present.

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From December 7 through 11 the digital version of Schooled (Lexy Cooper 1) is absolutely FREE!

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What’s Schooled about?

Lexy Cooper is a Community Manager at Xenon Corporation, maker of the Xenon24/7 videogame console and Xenonline gaming service. When a young woman’s nude body is discovered on the Xenon corporate campus, Lexy’s uncle, homicide detective Mike Malick, catches the case. As Malick investigates the crime, Lexy works the case from inside Xenon and discovers more about the seedy underbelly of the games industry than she ever wanted to know.

What do readers say?

“Filled with great characters, and a twisty-turney perfect murder mystery plot.”
“Witty, empowering, and deeper than you think.”
“Lexy is a character I find myself thinking about even weeks after finishing the novel.”
“A captivating thriller that introduces you to the inside of a big company that sells widely-loved entertainment products.”
“An awesome mix of humor, action, sex and more.”

Download your copy and tell your mystery-lover friends!

 

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Hair: A story of hate, love, and loss

I have always hated my hair. It’s curly, for one thing. And growing up in the 1980s, curly meant frizzy. We didn’t have flatirons or smoothing serum or special no-poo shampoo that didn’t dry out your locks. The only weapon I had against frizz growing up was letting my hair air-dry instead of blowdrying it. In short, my hair looked like absolute shit for a large portion of my life. I spent my early twenties relaxing my hair with drugstore kits.

What's more messed up: My curls or my poncho?

What’s more messed up: My curls or my poncho?

People always told me “Oh people pay a fortune for curls like yours” and “You’ll love them when you’re older.”

Nope. Never did. What I learned to do was wrestle them into submission. To wage warfare with chemicals and hardware. How could I control my life if I couldn’t control my hair?

If you’re of a newer vintage, you won’t remember a world without JLo and Beyonce and a myriad of diversely beautiful successful women. When I was growing up there was one standard of beauty and it was tall thin and blonde. If you didn’t look like Christie Brinkley or Cheryl Tiegs you were doing it wrong. The craziest thing to happen back then was Cindy Crawford. Her success was a game changer because she was a brunette. That’s right, brown hair was a big damn deal.

Curls at Kid #2's birthday party.

Curls at Kid #2’s birthday party.

What am I working up to? Well, I’m gonna lose all my hair approximately 21 days after my first chemotherapy treatment. Why 21? Because that’s the time it takes for your hair to grow from the root to the scalp. I don’t know if it’s going to thin first or just come out in clumps, but the end game (for now) is that I will be bald. I will also–because of the particular meds my oncologist is prescribing to kill my cancer–lose my eyebrows and eyelashes and well, everything else. I try to keep a sense of humor about this. I talk about drawing on eyebrows with a Sharpie or sticking two fuzzy false mustaches above my eyes.

What’s not a joke is that I’m going to look bad. Like really bad. Worse than I have ever looked in my life. And while I wish I could say I’m above vanity and ego…I’m just not.

Here’s another thing I’ve learned about chemo that I had wrong. When I thought about cancer before I thought “bald and skinny. Well, at least there’s the skinny part.” Wrong. They prescribe steroids to conteract inflammation. And these days most people gain weight during chemo. Imagine that: puking your guts out, yet gaining weight. Fun, right?

I don’t want to get into it too much, but let’s just say my BMI isn’t what it used to be. I’d say I’m still hanging onto the baby weight, but the baby is turning six so I think I have to own the extra weight. It’s no one’s fault but my own. I eat too much and exercise too little. Like the vast majority of Americans. But I’m sensitive about it, as many people are. I actually avoid going places I may see people I know because I’m ashamed of the way I look.

The way I look with all my hair and no steroid weight! Not the huge, bald, eyebrowless, maggoty-looking creature I see in my future.

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My curly hair in Singapore

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My curly hair in Cancun. Supermodel, she ain’t. But does she deserve a decade of harassment?

Am I making too big of deal out of all this? Sure. But before you judge me as frivolous or lazy (people looooove to judge others for their weight, don’t they), you should know this. When I worked in the video game industry, my image appeared on people’s TV screens all over the country. And a lot of people didn’t like what they saw. I was too fat and ugly to live in their estimation. I was so hideous that they threatened me with death and rape. Because my face and body were an insult to their eyes.

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My curly hair at E3. This is the girl that gamers deemed so hideous and obese I should be raped and killed.

Over time, that shit had long-term effects. Like, I refuse to let people take my photo. I have to control the image. I get nervous in crowds sometimes, especially if I see cameras.

But this was all long ago, Christa, why bring up the past? Because of things like this. The last time I made a blog post I saw that the vast majority of the traffic came from Twitter and Facebook. But there were a couple of outliers and I’m always interested in how people find this blog. So I clicked the link and found this.

what happened to trixie360

This will exist forever and there are dozens more exactly like it and much, much worse. How would that effect your self-image if it was about you? Some of you reading that might even have chuckled at it. Would it be funny if it was about your daughter or your wife?

So yeah, I’m fucking sensitive and fragile and all that. And being bald isn’t going to do me any favors in the looks department and I’m going to have to live in my disgusting body for several months without even my hair to hide behind.

I didn’t mean for this post to be such a downer. I meant to say that on the eve of its destruction I have, at long last, learned to love my curls. It will be several years before it is this long again, and it may come back a different texture. My unruly mass of dark hair is my defining feature (well, that and my rack, which is another impending loss) and I decided to give it a glorious send-off by having it colored a vibrant fuck-you purple.

Before and After the Purplesplosion.

Before and After the Purplesplosion.

Next week is wall-to-wall medical shit. Two more biopsies (I predict the left boob is a false alarm, but that the cancer has spread to the lymph node in my right armpit), an echocardiogram, and surgery to install the mediport. I watched a video of the procedure on YouTube, which may have been a mistake.

It is strange that right now cancer is having its way with me but I feel physically fine. Next Monday I will begin to feel ill in order to get better.

My New Book Has Arrived!

Lexy4CoverSmallHip hip HOORAY, my new book is now available! It’s the fourth full-length Lexy Cooper mystery. You can pick up the eBook right now at Amazon, or you can wait for the paperback this summer. Any questions?

What if I don’t have a Kindle?

You’re in luck, cowboy. You don’t need the dedicated eReader to enjoy Kindle books. All you need is an electronic device with a screen. You can read Lexy books on your PC, your tablet, or your phone. Just download the free Kindle app for your weapon of choice.

I’m thinking about trying Lexy books, but where should I start?

Start at the beginning, grasshopper. The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first page of Schooled. All books in which Lexy appears are in this order:

  1. Schooled 
  2. Pwned
  3. I Saw Lexy Kissing Santa (short story)
  4. Griefed
  5. Summer Wind (Mike Malick #1)
  6. Glitched

TriplethreatColorFinalsmall copyYou can actually pick up the first four of these in one package: Lexy Cooper Triple Threat. It’s available in eBook and paperback.

Well, crap, I thought I was up-to-date, but I haven’t read Summer Wind. Do I need to read it before starting Glitched?

Heck no! There are a couple of things that happen in Mike’s book that are referenced in Lexy’s book, but not knowing them will not prevent you from following or (hopefully) enjoying Glitched.

I’ve read all the books, but can’t keep track of what’s what and who’s who. Can you help?

Yes indeed, young Skywalker. My dear friend Wendy wrote this Lexy primer to help refresh your memory.

Glitched came out at midnight last night and I’m already finished. What’s next for Lexy?

Yikes. You, sir or madam, are hardcore. And I love that. Lexy will next appear in a short story called Hurricane Lexy that picks up immediately after the end of Glitched. Then she will make an appearance in the second Mike Malick book You Go to My Head this fall. The next full-length Lexy mystery novel a.k.a. “Lexy 5” will follow in the first half of 2016.

It’s heeeeere!

This post is a bit tardy. After all my new mystery novel “Schooled” has been available for a smidge over a week now and I’m just getting around to posting about it. However, the up-side is that I have a week’s worth of  stuff to talk about other than a link to the Amazon page.

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I want to thank what I’ve come to think of as “Team Lexy,” namely editor Marti McKenna, proofreader Stacie Magelssen, and cover artist Brett Parson.

I’ve been blown away by how many people bought and read the entire book on the day it released. You people are hardcore and I love you!

The feedback has been great so far. I’m hearing a lot of “I stayed up all night to finish it,” “Can’t wait for the next one,” and a handful of readers have admitted to crushing on the characters Lexy Cooper and Detective Mike Malick. (Upcoming post about this added responsibility for subsequent books).

Here are some excerpts from the Amazon.com reviews. The bold bits are mine.

“There are few books that will make you go from cover to cover in one sitting. This book is one of those rare gems. With the type of pace and characters you’d find in a good television show I found myself drawn into this universe and didn’t want to leave.”

Lexy Cooper is THE sexy heroine for the gaming generation. She not only has an amazing job at a video game company, but she has a hot uncle who is a cop. Together, they use their valuable traits and very different methods to track down a killer.”

“Charter’s characterization is excellent. I feel as though I know Lexy, Mike, The Barbies… I feel like if I met them at a party, we would need no introduction. I think it is the characterization that makes the book so entrancing. We’ve all read books where the supporting cast is two dimensional. Charter’s characters breathe.

“Schooled is a fast paced & raunchy whodunnit set in the gaming world. For gamers it is a fascinating a peak behind the scenes, but you don’t have to like video games to enjoy this murder mystery.”

“This is a straight up page turner.”

So, to sum up: Whew! It’s done and out there. Also Woohoo! People like it!

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