Don’t Keep Quiet

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Trump has been in office for less than two weeks and at every turn I feel like we’re seeing the beginnings of some 1984-Animal Farm Orwellian alt-reality turned actual reality. His cabinet appointments leave a lot to be desired and his executive orders, thus far, raise the hairs on the back of my neck and turn my stomach. If recklessly plowing forward with his plans to build the wall and the unofficial-official “Muslim Ban” are where he’s starting with domestic and foreign policy, I shudder to think where we’ll be in six months. Minority registries? Internment camps? And let’s not forget that he’s already placed gag orders on government scientists and removed a number of advocacy and information links– including climate change, LGBT+, health care, civil rights– from the White House website. While none of these things are inherently surprising, as CNN so callously pointed out, they are no less distressing. It all begs the disturbing question, what– or who– is next?

Trump has singled out plenty of targets and while I don’t know which one he’ll focus on next, I’d like to note that there is something to feel hopeful about: people are speaking out. Political paradies, such as the Daily Show with Trevor Noah and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee have been unrelenting in their criticisms of Trump and his new policies. Prominent scientists, like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, are vocalizing their support of the scientific community and standing firm in their adamance that facts are not subjective nor political and they will not be bullied into silence. Rogue NASA, EPA, and National Parks Services social media accounts have already popped up in a stunningly fast response to Trump’s gag order. I will note, that there are some inherent dangers with rogue accounts (appropriately mused over in the linked Forbes article), yet, their very existence speaks volumes of the current political climate. Rogue reporting exists as a necessity in the face of censorship, and it has been clear from the start that Trump’s tolerance for unfavorable reporting is nil. The tighter he pulls the restrictions, the more rogue and satirical reporting we will see in response.

It’s frightening to watch the changes already sweeping the nation, though it’s more frightening how many people are still denying what’s happening in front of our very eyes. Still, I am ever inspired by the acts of solidarity in the face of injustice. I can’t speak about the growing resistance without mentioning the global Women’s Marches the day after Trump’s inauguration or the protests at the airports following the refugee ban, both of which serve as a reminder that people are prepared to act in the face of Trump’s despotism. It is imperative as a country that we maintain this unity. Trump’s messages, the orders he’s signed into place, are meant to divide us. As we move forward, it will be easy to slip back into complacency, to focus only on those policies that immediately impact us, but we must remain ever vigilant. To be silent benefits no one.

 


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Remember…

Remember…

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It’s Friday. I would normally be posting this week’s Cards Against Humanity Flash Fiction, but today is January 20th, 2017– Inauguration Day– and I couldn’t bring myself to write something light-hearted on a day when so many people are so very afraid.

election day, 2016, trump, trump presidency, guy fawkes

Rather than espousing all the reasons I believe our fears for Donald Trump’s presidency are founded, I will simply say let us hope for the best while preparing for the worst. I hardly want to catastrophize, but it would be foolish to ignore the red flags. On November 8th, 2016 we voted into office a man who has by his words and actions made clear that he does not respect or care about women; ethnic minorities; immigrants; the LGBQT community; the disabled; the poor, working, and middle classes; the environment– have I missed anyone or anything?– and the reality is that no matter what happens during his presidency, by our very electing him, we’ve changed things irrevocably. The world’s view of us, our view of ourselves, has been tarnished.

Now, if a hit to our reputation and our egos is the worst that comes from Trump’s presidency, I will be grateful, but I can’t rest my hat on that. Trump’s censorship of the media has already begun. Take it seriously, keeping people uninformed and fearful is a powerful manipulation tactic. It also leaves plenty of room to insert propaganda supporting his own personal agenda and we’d better believe that he absolutely will: scapegoating was a base ingredient in his campaign strategy, be very wary of the hype. It’s in our nature to think in terms of us versus them; however, when we dehumanize entire groups of people, we are able to justify all manner of atrocities. Without a doubt, a time will come when we will be faced with the choice of turning a blind eye or standing together for the equality and dignity of a few. All Trump need do is make good on any one of his campaign promises. Remember, any and all threats to the civil liberties of one group are of concern to the entire population. We cannot hide behind the false belief that “it doesn’t affect me.” Maybe today it doesn’t, but that does not mean to say that the same will be true tomorrow.

I wish I could finish this post on a more hopeful or optimistic note– at the very least, I wish I could offer some insight or closure– but the truth is, I’m just as anxious as many of you. There’s nothing I can say that doesn’t feel horribly cliched or falsely positive at this moment, so I suppose I will simply end by saying that this isn’t over. Words have always been my weapon of choice and it seems to me I will have ample opportunity to use them in the coming years.


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Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

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Hello my delightful Cannes-Cans! I hope you all enjoyed a happy and fun holiday season. As always, I’m just a touch late to the party, but I have some exciting news and a gift – of sorts – for all my fans and followers: More Me!!!

cyberterrism, aftermath, me, roselynn cannesIn the process of recovering from the cataclysm that was my computer’s destruction, I’ve been struggling to get back into any kind of swing of things. In my most recent post about the aftermath of what happened, I talked about how I was moving toward acceptance. I’m still not sure I’m there. Honestly, I have good days and bad. Some are a flurry of activity – I’ve even managed to make some progress on Destroyed – while others are a struggle in nearly every way. The good news, at least, is that I seem to be having more good days than bad lately and I’ve made some personal changes (particularly a new and lower stress job) that seem to have bolstered my motivation and creativity. Amen-hallelujah! It’s about fucking time.

To start, if you haven’t been around (because I haven’t been posting), I’ve added some new pages to My Twisted Fairy Tales. Be sure to check them all out. I now have pages for fans of my fiction and fans of my Twitch stream. It’s been slow going, partly because this is not yet my full-time job and partly because there’s a lot I still have to learn about technology, but I’m working hard to make a fun and interactive home base for my Street Team. If you don’t know what a street team is, don’t fret, I’ve posted an FAQ. Your feedback and questions are very welcome! Submit here.

In addition to the new pages here, I’m doing my part to make myself more interactive and accessible. I’m the first to admit that social media doesn’t really light my fire, but I’ve been thinking hard about things I can do to get more involved in ways that will be fun for me and all of you. To start, I’ve begun (just today) to start using my Snapchat story feature. I thought it would be a great way to offer you all glimpses into my daily life and give you the opportunity to see what a goob I actually am. Add me on Snap @roselynncannes to see #adayinthelife of Cannes-Can. You’re welcome.

The other social media platform I’ve been supremely underutilizing is Goodreads. I’ve always been an avid reader and I ache when I think about how little reading I’ve done lately. This needs to change immediately, if not sooner. I’ve added a “Currently Reading” widget here so you will always know what book I’ve got my nose stuck in. Don’t forget to add me on Goodreads so we can nerd out together over our latest and greatest literary obsessions. I’m always open to book recommendations and I love dissecting the tops and bottoms of my reading list.

I’ve heard it said time and again that consistency is the secret to success. I’ve also heard it said that writers write (go figure). One of my issues with consistently blogging has been that I don’t always know what I want to write about and I wait for inspiration to strike, which typically means that I’m waiting for something I feel highly emotionally invested in. As I spend a lot of time doing follow-up research, searching for the perfect words, editing, and finding appropriate media content to include with my posts, I tend to be a bit of a slow writer. By the time it’s all said and done, I’ve frequently lost my fervor for whatever I started writing about and the post sits unfinished, never to see the light of day. Suffice to say I need to change my methods or I will forever and always be in a state of fits-and-starts.

Since what I really want to do is write for a living and since many of you are here because of my written content, it’s logical to make flash fiction my priority focus for my blog. I’ve had a blast doing promotional flash fiction and I love the idea of doing more of it. Part of what mateemo, lol, league of legends, selfie, roselynn cannesde the promotional pieces so fun for me was the game aspect. I was given a prompt – and in some cases a requisite story to build on and words I had to include – and good, bad, or ugly I had to make the best of what I was given. It really forced me to think outside my normal patterns and get creative in order to write a cohesive and interesting short. To date, I hadn’t been able to find a consistent source for prompts that inspired the same sense of fun, uniqueness, and challenge I experienced when I wrote those flash fiction pieces. Well, ask and ye shall receive! Husband inadvertently placed the perfect set of prompts in my stocking for Christmas this year (Thank you, Darling!). The first post will go live this Friday and each subsequent Friday in what I shall be dubbing #FlashFictionFriday. The only thing I love more than games is secrets and I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise, so you’ll just have to stay tuned. This is either the best idea I’ve ever had, or the worst. We shall see 😉

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve recently joined Patreon, which I hope will be great for me and for all of my fans. If you don’t know what Patreon is, that’s okay. You can read a bit about what it is and why it will be good for me, and by association all of you, here. Success for me would mean that writing is lucrative enough to make story-telling my full-time job. My success means that I have more time to create more of the content you want from me. If you enjoy my content, be it on my blog, my fiction, my stream, or my social media, at least check my Patreon out. Even if you decide patronage isn’t for you, there are lots of other ways you can show your appreciation, connect with me, and get involved. I’d love to see all your smiling faces! (Literally).

This is Cannes-Can wishing you all a very Happy New Year! Thank you all for being here! I heart your collective faces off!!!


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The 5 Stages of Moving the Fuck On

The 5 Stages of Moving the Fuck On

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This isn’t happening. Who the fuck does this? There has to be a way to fix it. Fuck…I can’t go on. I guess I’ll just get up and go on.

Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

hemingway, writing, bleed, typewriter

 

Requisite reading: A Stranger Broke My Heart Today (only if you want this post to make sense).

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The Real Reason I Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Talk to People

The Real Reason I Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Talk to People

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i hate pants and socializing, introvert, no to pantsYou may think all writers are anti-social introverts who hate interacting with others. While I would typically tell you not to be a judgmental twat-waffle, I can also acknowledge that some stereotypes exist for a reason and unfortunately this may be one that I live up to. No, I’m not anti-social per say, but I do enjoy my own company– and that of the voices in my head– more than I enjoy anyone else’s. And sure I don’t actually hate interacting with others, but there are certainly aspects of appropriate social behavior that I don’t love. Like small talk…and wearing pants.

There is no situation in which my social fuckery is more prevalent than when new men approach me to strike up a conversation. Why? Because no matter how mundane it starts, I assume they are eventually going to steer the conversation down a road I’m not interested in traveling. Is this judgmental and probably vain of me? Absofuckinglutely. Do I care? No.

Before you call me a hypocrite for being a judgy bitch– which I might be, but is beside the point– walk a mile in my shoes. Life experience has taught me that the subtext of “Hey, how are ya?” is actually “Hey, DTF?” Since my answer to this question has always been a loud and resounding no, I’ve had to learn to navigate these uncomfortable situations in ways that allow me to leave feeling good about myself, and comfortable with my safety, while still getting my message across.

When I was a young lass who cared too much what other people thought of me, I didn’t want to be presumptuous, so I always tried to be amiable and friendly while throwing subtle signs that I wasn’t interested in anything other than polite conversation. Seems like nice enough way of handling things if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, I’ve never found subtlety to be particularly effective, so when the inevitable advance was finally made and I said “Thanks, but no thanks,” I suddenly found myself branded a tease and wondering how the hell that happened. As this became a repetitive issue, I naturally thought the problem was me.

Not wanting to send mixed messages, I changed my approach. No one likes to feel strung along, so logically it follows that if subtlety doesn’t work, then a courteous but firm dismissal right out the gate would be appreciated, right? Wrong. Evidently, candidly expressing a lack of interest before an actual proposition has been made makes one a conceited bitch. Well, shit. I can’t fucking win, can I? The result is that navigating the line between demonstrating exclusively platonic interest and being a pleasant, sociable human being is stressful, not to mention exhausting. And I know I’m not the only woman that feels this way. It was out of this damned if I do, damned if I don’t reality that I adopted an “If you can’t beat ’em, fuck with ’em” attitude.

Sarcasm is, and kind of always has been, my thing. Some would call it a defense mechanism; I just think I’m funny. I used to temper my natural impulses because people that don’t realize I’m being sarcastic think I’m just an asshole. As I’ve gotten older and possibly a little wiser, I’ve decided that if I don’t want to wear pants, I simply won’t wear pants. And if I want to be sarcastic, by God, I’ll be sarcastic. I’m not malicious or cruel, I just happen to have a dry sense of humor. I’ve also found that maybe I can use my super-human ability for sarcasm for good rather than evil. You be the judge.

With social media rapidly replacing face-to-face interaction, and too many people treating Facebook like Tinder, social media has become an excellent forum for me to let my true colors fly. Ladies, I hope my methods amuse and inspire you. Gentlemen, it’s not personal, but if you private message me and I don’t know you, prepare to be trolled. Among my ever growing repertoire, here are some of my favorite tactics for deflecting unwanted attention, each used with varying levels of success by yours truly

P.S. I didn’t obtain permission before posting these, so I’ve deleted the names and pictures of everyone I’ve interacted with in order to protect their identity as well as avoid a lawsuit for slander or some shit. My side of the conversation is always in blue.

Tactic 1: The Curt Reply

Now, in my experience one-word answering someone only deters them about 50% of the time, and that’s when it’s used in person. Online the success rate is even lower. So, while I recognize the Curt Reply isn’t the most efficient deterrent, I like to use it to give potential would-be suitors an opportunity to declare their intentions. They rarely do, which means I go into the conversation planning on following up with one of my other tactics.

troll

 

This is as far as I ever go with the Curt Reply before employing something else. Which tactic I move to depends entirely on my mood and the general direction of the conversation thus far.

Tactic 2: Just Call a Spade a Spade

In spite of what I said earlier, there’s nothing wrong with taking the direct approach. If all your spidey senses are screaming stranger danger, you are well within your right to ask someone what they expect to get out of the conversation. But be warned, if you’re direct early on, you’re likely to be hit with defensiveness and/or a guilt trip. Like this guy, who got defensive and tried to make me feel like a jerkwad for asking him what his endgame was. SMH. He had no idea the can of worms he just opened up. I almost feel bad for him. Almost.

troll, direct, guilt trip, don't even

 

Tactic 3: Make Yourself as Pretentious, Vapid, and Self-Centered as Possible

This was my response to Mr. I Just Want To Have A Nice Chat. It seemed fair. One of the reasons I’m on social media is to interact with and reach readers. Maybe I’d spark his interest, we’d share a laugh, and he would look into my book. Right? Appallingly, as the conversation continued, my certainty that he hasn’t read a single book grew three times that day.

troll, vapid, self-centered, don't talk to me

I don’t always talk about my writing when using this approach. Any manner of superficial first world problem will do.

troll, nail polish, avoiding people

Tactic 4: Say It In Song

Sometimes they think I’m as funny as I think I am, though I’ll admit that’s a rare turn. More often I get a lot of okay’s in response to my antics, so props to this guy both for being direct and for taking my rejection in stride.

troll, say it in song

Tactic 5: Speak Exclusively in Quotes

These can be either book or movie quotes. The thing to remember is that the more famous and well recognized the quote, the less relevant it needs to be to whatever question you’ve been asked.

 

 

troll, book quotes, this happened

troll, quotes, seriously, this happened

Tactic 6: Give Them a Dose of Their Own Medicine

This is similar to Calling a Spade a Spade. Both tactics involve being direct about the situation, but Give Them a Dose of Their Own Medicine has the added element of twisting the situation to make them the bad guy. On a separate note, instant messengers, use some common sense! If you messaged me, you should know who the fuck you’re talking to. My name is on the top of the damn IM box. Jesus Christ.

troll, fuckboy, again seriously

 

Tactic 7: Use an Obscure Metaphor

And ride that gravy train all the way into the station. This one happened to have the added bonus of continuing the reverse guilt train he tried to start with me at the beginning of the conversation.

troll, metaphor, library book

 

Well, I certainly hope he learned his lesson, though given his excessive use of the word ‘okay’, I have my doubts.

In conclusion and summation of, there you have it: my favorite tactics for deflecting unwanted attention. While I may be an asshole, I’m a clever asshole. Remember, it only needs to be funny to me, and I have a weird sense of humor.


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A Stranger Broke My Heart Today

A Stranger Broke My Heart Today

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It’s a hostile world, perhaps exceptionally so in the online world. My step-dad, a software programmer, has been saying this to me for years. I always knew he was right, but it wasn’t until I found myself on the receiving end of what is ultimately an act of cyberterrorism that I truly internalized the lesson. I think, by now, most of us know that if you get an email regarding a distant relative and a small fortune that it’s probably a scam, and you should delete that shit ASAP. I mean, I don’t know your family, maybe it’s legit. Not where I’d place my bet, though.

But what if you requested the information?

My company posted a help wanted ad on Craigslist. Because I handle all of our communication with the outside world, it made sense to funnel applicants to me. We received lots of legitimate inquiries and have successfully hired employees this way in the past, so when I received an email referencing the ad I posted with a resume attached, I wasn’t suspicious. It caught my attention that it was password protected, but resumes frequently have personal information on them, so again, it didn’t really red flag for me. When it was all said and done, it only took 4 clicks for a complete stranger to thrash my entire world.

I was hit with Cerberware encryption software, which seeks out and encrypts your most important files: your .docs, .jpegs, .mp3s– basically, your documents, pictures, and music. Files that have the highest sentimental, monetary, or utility value to the user. The twats don’t steal them, they just make them completely inaccessible to you, the owner. Cerberware Ransomware is a 2 MB encryption code. I don’t know much about computers, but in essence it’s so big that it would be impossible to decode without a “key”. And that’s where they get you. You see, they send you this lovely notification telling you what you’ve been hit with, describing what encryption is, and then demanding– in my case– $679.00 to sell me the key I need to access my own property. The real kick in the teeth is the part where they tell you that this isn’t malicious and together we can make the internet a safer place.

Did I mention that in the event that you attempt to recover your files through other means, the Cerberware will corrupt them, rendering them permanently irrecoverable? Oh, and the assholes give you a deadline. I was given 5 days to pay the discounted rate and if I missed it, the amount would double. Fail to pay by the second deadline and they corrupt all your files anyway.

Not malicious? Fuck you very much.

As soon as reality came crashing through my confusion, I experienced the gut-wrenching horror that I am– was– 58k words into a novel that I needed to get to my editor in three weeks and nearly half of that was completely unrecoverable. At a conservative guess, the irrecoverable material represents around 80 hours of work on my part. That might not sound like a lot, but I have a full time job. That 80-hour effort has been spread out over months and it doesn’t include any of the time spent on research– files that I also lost, by the way.

The word ‘devastated’ comes to mind.

My knee-jerk reaction was to call my step-dad, upon which I received the comforting news that, “These guys are bastards. You’re going to have to pay them.” What he means is, I need to pay them  if I’m going to have any hope of getting anything back. After extensive research, what we found is that there are some reconfiguration programs that people have tried, but success rates are low– and by low, I mean practically zero. We also discovered that there are lots of reports of people paying the money and receiving nothing for it. Discouraging, to say the least.

Not surprisingly when the shock wore off, it made room for anger, at myself– for not backing up when I knew better– and at whoever did this. Perhaps naively, because I know that there are some truly terrible people out there, but I find myself oddly hurt that someone would do this. My moral compass might not always point True North, but I do take special care not to do things that I know will be hurtful to others, so this level of intentional cruelty is somewhat incomprehensible to me.

There’s no denying, all my options suck some serious hairy ball sac, so what do I do? Try to make the least crappy decision and hope for the best. Oh, and kiss my files goodbye.

To whoever did this,

I’m certain that you will never read this, but it makes me feel better to say it. I don’t know whether you believe the diatribe you’re spouting or if you’re just that much of an asshole, though I suppose it doesn’t matter. Whether or not you would have released my own property to me, your scheme works because people pay, which is a sort of endorsement of what you’re doing. I cannot in good conscience allow myself to financially support the deliberate harm you are causing.

You say this program isn’t malicious; I’d laugh at the sheer audacity of it if I wasn’t so compelled to cry. My friends tell me you don’t deserve my tears– and they’re right– but I know the truth. My tears are mine alone. I’m a drop in the ocean to you. Not even a blip on your radar. You don’t give a shit about my tears, just my money, which isn’t yours to have either. While I’m not exactly winning in this situation, neither are you, and that’s enough for me. It has to be.

To me, the work you stole is worth the amount you’re demanding. More, even. However, in spite of the fact that it literally makes me ill to think about my loss, I won’t pay you. Not one cent. Not ever.

Kindly, take your lack of maliciousness and choke on it.

nope, double bird, fuck you
You make me wish I had more middle fingers

To Anyone Reading This,

Life frequently gives the test first and teaches the lesson second. The internet is a hostile place. Don’t open things from people you don’t know, no matter how legitimate it might seem. It’s just not worth it. Perhaps even more importantly, back-up your work. Even if we’re cautious, accidents happen. Shit gets through. Computers crash. The worst sometimes happens. There are no words to express how desperately I wish I’d been on a back-up regimen. It takes only moments and I could have spared myself a great deal of agony. Discipline weighs ounces; regret weighs tons. Don’t set yourself up to run your race with weights around your ankles.

And last, but not least, To my Fallen Fans,

You might have guessed, but I lost half of what I’d written of Destroyed. The story’s still there, right where I need it: in my head. I can– and will– rebuild, but it would be a lie to say I’m fine. I’m not fine. I’ve spent the past ten days grieving. The task of re-writing and finishing in time to publish by October 2nd feels insurmountable. While it feels insurmountable, the only way to truly fail would be to quit. There’s nothing else for it except to get up, dust myself off, and keep on creeping on. So that’s what I’ll do.

Don’t let the bastards get you down. As an avid reader, I know how insufferable it is to wait for the next book in a series. I adore you all and would never make you wait longer than absolutely necessary. Bear with me Destroyed is coming.

galaxy quest, never give up, never surrender


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A lot has happened since this post– you know, relatively speaking– check out the latest chapter of my story: The 5 Stages of Moving the Fuck On

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