All posts by Rebecca

The good, the bad, and the ugly in 2015

We start with the ugly because it’s always good to finish on a high note, right?

  • Daesh (which is apparently what we should be calling those evil turds in Syria).
  • Trump.
  • Green grass and high temperatures in places where it’s supposed to be freezing in December. (Yes, it sounds nice but nope.)

On to the bad —

  • My book sales (nowhere near Gone Girl at the moment).
  • My book’s movie rights (none forthcoming).
  • My invitations to appear on high-level talk shows to discuss my book (none as far as the eye can see).

And to the good —

  • My book came out this year! (And people seem to like it)
  • I’ve had publications in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, the Smithsonian, and many, many others.
  • I’ve excelled in meme-making:

Putin and Obama Meme

I think the good wins. Y/N?

 

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A very short post

This will be a very short post.

Because it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving and I don’t feel like writing a lot.

Because I just spent two hours organizing my office.

Because it’s still not properly organized.

And because this is really to let you know that my publisher has decided to run a Black Friday sale (who is not doing this nowadays?) and discount the Kindle version of my book to 0.99 cents. Really.

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Best Black Friday deal ever. I think.

So click here, grab a copy, and travel to Russia without leaving your couch.

Because books are more effective than airplanes in bringing you places.

What the millennials can teach us

Today in conversations overheard on the street.

A mom and her 18/20 yr daughter walking behind me on the street. Madrid, Spain. They are speaking English.

Mom: I thought I heard you come in at 2:30am last night.

Daughter: I really needed to pee and didn’t want to do it on the street.

Mom: Your friends pee on the street?

Daughter: Yeah.

Mom: Even girls?

Daughter: Sure, mom. What else are they going to do? If you gotta go, you gotta go.

The wisdom of the younguns.

On mansplaining and other annoying matters

Three things happened recently.

The sun released a flare.

My computer decided it was time to retire.

And a couple of men I know thought it was their duty to offer me their unsolicited opinions on some facets of my life they have zero experience with.

Needless to say, I felt exactly the same way as this cat towards the three:

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 12.45.43 PM

Then I decided to ignore the sun because, well, it’s the sun and frankly, there is nothing I can do about it (except, catch a few rays of it to maintain my Vitamin D).

I also forgave my computer because, really, six years is a very good age to call it quits.

But with men who think that expressing their opinion means telling me that I am “wrong” or, worse, shushing me when I am in the process of speaking, well

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 12.44.14 PMBecause unless their opinion deals with a proven fact of science that I happen to be denying, telling me I am “wrong” sounds at best dickish and at worst mansplain-y.

And, honestly, it’s the easiest thing in the world to ask someone if they want your opinion on their life and their decisions. Try it. I guarantee it doesn’t hurt.

But, if it happens and you (1) forget to ask and, gasp, (2) tell someone they are “wrong” in their choices, step back and listen. Because chances are they’ll tell you that your patronizing attitude isn’t quite the thing they wanted to hear. And for God’s sake, don’t argue back with all that crap that it’s your opinion and you are entitled to it.

Sure you are. But you know what you are not entitled to?

Expressing that opinion when not asked and when it deals with someone else’s life that they certainly have more knowledge and experience with. Especially if you are out to tell them they are “wrong” about it. It being their life.

Because no. Just no. You don’t have that right. Not anymore (in all the previous centuries, maybe).

Okay, rant over.

Back to staring at the wall, waiting for the new computer to arrive.

A theory on assholes

The other day an asshole in a blue BMW couldn’t wait at the round about and zipped past us with his middle finger stuck out of his window. Not to be outdone, we responded with our middle fingers too. He then slowed down to a crawl, you know, to teach us a lesson. To show us the agony he must have experienced when he was behind us. To demonstrate the full extent of his assholishness. (If that’s not a word, I don’t care. You know what I mean).

I guess he forgot he was in a hurry.

My first thought was to follow him, find out where he lives, and test my death glare on him. But then I decided that stalking isn’t really my thing. Plus my death glare doesn’t guarantee death—at least not yet. Which is unfortunate in this case.

My second thought was – WTF is wrong with people? Why are there so many assholes running around? Assholes that shoot beautiful animals because they can pay someone to allow it; assholes that call immigrants rapists because they can pay someone to broadcast it; assholes that drive blue BMWs because… well, because they can pay to drive a BMW.

And then it dawned on me that there is a connection between the amount of money a douchecanoe has, the amount of power he* holds, and the level of assholishness he possesses. That isn’t to say that all rich people are assholes — but it is to say that the majority of assholes are definitely rich. Or, as in the case of ISIS, horny and drunk on power.

So now that you know what makes an asshole – watch out when you win that lottery. You don’t want to add to the ever-expanding pool of assholes.

* Yes, I am aware that women can be assholes too. But it’s my blog and I’ll use a he if I want to.

Don’t read the comments. Ever. I mean it. Really.

The other day I made a mistake and Googled ‘Rebecca Strong’. Not the first time I’d done it of course – in fact, since my novel came out I’d been Googling myself and the name of the novel regularly. Sometimes even between 74 and 137 times a day. In case I made the New York Times bestseller list, you know?

This time though – instead of coming up with nothing – the search pulled up a few results.

Unfortunately none of those results were from the New York Times. Or from the Publisher’s Weekly. Or even from the Kirkus Review.

Instead they were unlicensed translations into Russian of the article I penned for Quartz about why I wrote my novel under a pseudonym. Followed by hundreds of comments.

Angry comments.

Insulting comments.

Abusive comments.

Hateful comments.

Comments that made me go like this:

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Lesson learned.

DO. NOT. READ. THE. COMMENTS.

Going, going,… gone! The free original art piece that was … raffled off to celebrate the launch of my book

And the winner was … one of Facebook users who commented (and shared!) on a Free Original Art contest with a simple math problem (it involved the cover of WHO IS MR. PLUTIN? and counting).

Then there were days and days of me working with oil paint, gold leaf, matryoshkas, and recycled wood — and voila.

I give you the piece that’s called RUSSIA.

Russia

Any thoughts on what I am trying to say here?

What-America-can-teach-others series: Part I

If you are expecting a highbrow narrative about freedom and democracy, you are reading the wrong blog (plus I’m not certain America’s earned the right to teach that***).

If you are expecting some wholesome land-of-entrepreneurs-and-visionaries bragging – again, wrong blog.

But if you are looking for a petty but brutal deconstruction of what drives me completely aghast while living abroad – welcome. You are in the right place.

(1) We start with double dipping. Really, Europe? You haven’t yet learned that ingesting someone else’s saliva with hummus doesn’t a good middle-eastern dip make?

(2) The planning. Not uniquely American thing for sure, but people? Don’t you think informing a presenter of what’s required of them earlier rather than later would make for a better presentation? R-e-s-p-o-n-d to my email with at least a few details. Soon. Now preferably. I cannot read your mind, you know.

(3) Please wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Just. Please.

(4) Those swimming caps have to go.

Part II is coming up sometime in the future.

If you need me, I’ll be at my desk obsessively refreshing e-mail in hopes that I am wrong about the above-mentioned #2.

*** Fox News aficionados: you now definitely know you are reading the wrong blog.

To act or not to act

I must say the red carpet could be fun. As could probably be going on that stage and receiving a gold statuette (although worrying about tripping over a long dress would bring insomnia for weeks prior and that wouldn’t bode well for looking smashing). But I know I’d enjoy the after-parties and the goody-bags. Chanel and Hermes can make it up to me for all the lost sleep.

Long story short.

If you watch the trailer below and like what you see, have your people talk to my people***. I can definitely make it if Meryl Streep is too busy.

*** Fine. Just fill in the contact form.

That moment you all have been waiting for

…is finally here. Or almost here. Either way I can hardly contain my excitement. Which is why my total sleep over the last few days equals exactly 5 hours, 33 minutes, and 14 seconds.

And I’ve learned that the only way to lose sleep is either to be worried or to be excited. I much prefer the latter, of course. Unfortunately, gaining sleep still eludes me.

But I digress.

The momentous event that has had me counting pixels on my phone is my book. To be more precise – it’s the imminent release of my book. And to be more precise, it’s this:

Who is Mr. Plutin?MY COVER! (Excuse me while I scream, throw hands in the air, and dance around a little bit).

Also it’s this: my publisher is running a giveaway on Goodreads so go over there and sign up!

And this: it’s available for Kindle pre-order now here. Print copies will be available on the release date (June 22).

If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen raiding my fridge for all the champagne and chocolate.