Showing posts from 2011

The Romance of Betas

I papered the walls of my adolescent and early adult existence with the pages of romance novels. As I got older, I expanded to other genres, but romances will always mean safety, comfort, and reliability to the adult Elle. I love romances: their predictable narrative format, their feel-good happily-ever-afters, their celebration of relationships as the most crucial aspect of human existence. I have great affection and nostalgia for some of the more common romantic staples: the initial dislike and distrust that hides bubbling passion, the BFF who represents the shero’s and/or hero’s id, the shero’s stumble or fall from a tree root or from a ladder (oopsy-daisy!) and into the strong arms of that oh-so-insufferable man. I even find adorable some of the impossible euphemisms for orgasms. Overall, I’m a flag-waving fan of the genre. Only one thing causes a slight snag in my overwhelming devotion to the genre: A preponderance of alpha men. I like alphas; they’re great peeps and all. And sure…

Paranormal Romance: Celebrating the Beauty of the Common

I like the different. I like the weird. I like things that don’t quite fit, that look a bit too large or taste a smidge too bitter. I celebrate ugly and find inspiration in dissonance. If I wanted to be like everyone else, I would have become an accountant. Instead, I write paranormal romance.
Like many readers of paranormal romance, I like characters who don’t fit the archetypes. My heroes aren’t all alpha males, my sheroes are sometimes fat and happy about it, my female villains (gasp) don’t always sexually smolder to prove they’re powerful.
I wrote my very first published piece of paranormal fiction, Hunted, after pondering, “What would a world look like if women were the warriors and men the healers and thinkers?” My second novel, Hunted Past, grapples with definitions of beauty: Can people with scars – inside and out – be beautiful? Is beauty a noun, an adjective, or a verb? In my third, not-yet-published, novel, Hunted Dreams, my main couple is interracial, interspecies, and int…

Let's Not Make Nativism an American Tradition

You, like me, may have stumbled several times across the op-ed entitled “Christmas 2011 – Birth of a New Tradition.” Its chief message?: “Buy American,” a sentiment many of us can support. It’s the writers’ reasoning, as well as their repeated, and disdainful, waving of the phrase “the Chinese” like a nativist, pro-American flag, that knots my granny panties.
Below is a response I posted to a listserv of which I’m a member. Enjoy.

Hey, all.
Thanks for sharing this call to action. I, for one, am a huge fan of not buying people more stuff, since that's the last thing most of us need. My own personal philosophy is to either eschew presents or else buy people experiences, especially dinner with an amazing person like, well, me. :-D  Also, I'm deeply annoyed by our consumerist culture, which thrives on making people feel the answers to all of life's questions can be found in the aisle of a store. It also actively promotes sizeism, looksism, and other inequalities in hopes of &quo…

The Voices! The Voices!

I’m sure some wise person somewhere at sometime said something to the effect of, “When authors create characters, they are in fact merely articulating pieces of themselves.” The fact is, we write what we know, and, if we’ve been doing things right, we tend to know ourselves pretty well; in this way, at least some aspects of each of our characters end up mirroring our own.
That acknowledged, I want to learn to make my characters speak with extremely distinct voices. I just finished writing a book featuring a young, well-educated White woman and a mixed-raced, ex-Army vet. They have distinct personalities and have lived enormously different lives; as such, I don’t want them to sound anything like the other. I found this my single biggest challenge when penning the book. I ended up differentiating them in large and obvious ways: Katana, my shero, refuses to swear and, as a college student, has a pretty decent vocabulary, while Reed, my hero, swears a lot more and uses some slang, as I fi…

November is National Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month!

The cutest things in the world are kittens and puppies, right? Those disproportionately-large heads, those enormous eyes, that boundless energy and clumsiness, the amoral gleam in their eyes: Nothing in the world is cuter. Right? 

In spite of the obscene, cuddly cuteness of baby kittens and puplets, I admit I find something else even more adorable: An adult animal, especially a senior, that doesn't pee all over my carpet and expend enough energy to make a meth addict crave a nap. 

I LOVE SENIOR ANIMALS. They're awesome. Like me, they're low-key, snuggly, and already know what truly matters in life: snuggles, warmth, and boundless love. 

In case I haven't yet totally harshed your kitten/puppy buzz, below are some reasons from Petfinder and me listing why senior animals are a family's best friend:

1. Baby animals, especially puppies, pee a lot. Seniors have already been potty trained.
2. You're in the mood for a nap and some bad TV? Guess what? So is a senior pet. Eve…

Introducing the Rainbow Fatniks

At its 2011 National Convention, NAAFA was foolish enough to host a talent contest. And tell my partner-in-crime and me about it. After conferring with another friend and raiding the shelves of our friend, Paula's, awesome size-friendly costume shop, we were ready to go.

On August 7, 2011, the Rainbow Fatniks were born. Two fat, black-clad, round-spectacled, beret-wearing drama qu-- uh, I mean poets emerged on the scene and, bongos in hand, proudly performed two fat-pride beatnik poems. For those who can't understand the words, I included them below. 

And to answer your question, no, I don't know why my particular rendition of a fat beatnik channeled an evangelical Black woman. 

Elle's Fatnik Beat Poem
Fat, fat, fat Does my open mouth scare you? Does my weight make you feel Like half a person? Does the thunder from my thighs Send you scurrying under the covers at night? Does the wind from my wings Blow you away?
Or maybe you think The smile of my belly Laughs at you behind your ba…

A Response to Torrid's Mass Email Entitled "What's the Skinny?"

Dear Torrid:
I have a burning love for your store and so appreciate your willingness to accommodate the awesome girth of women of average size and above (average American woman is a size 14, as I'm sure you know). Given all that, why would you write an email entitled "What's the skinny?" I know what the slang term means and understand you're trying to maintain an image of a hip, youthful company. But since visiting your shop is one of the few pleasurable and non-sizeist experiences we fat girls have, I would really appreciate you not mocking us by employing a term that, as a symbol of all we're not but are told we "should be," has been used in the past to degrade and marginalize us. 
In the future, please rethink the thoughtless use of such terms, no matter how hip and cool they make you sound.
Oh and while we're talking, expanding your size ranges to include larger ones would be amazing. Fat women of all sizes have too few stylish options; we'…

Hunted Past is OUT!

I'm comin' out! 
I want the world to know,
Got to let it show
I'm comin' out...
There's a new me comin' out
And I just had to live
And I wanna give
I'm completely positive....
~"I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross

I refer, of course, to the new release of my first full-length novel, Hunted Past! Yes! It is finally available for purchase! I'm so proud, if I could, I'd hand it to my mom and let her pin it to the fridge!

Hunted Past is available in digital and paperback forms, through the publisher and through Amazon (the paperback and Kindle versions of which suck up tons of profit, so go through the publisher). And, in case you have forgotten, the synopsis is below. 

What are you waiting for? It's out! Go get it!

Serena O’Donnell, a healer, copes with depressed and suicidal patients dealing with past tragedies. She lives a quiet and safe life, comfortable in the thought she is free to define her own path. Suddenly a random phone call tumbles her exis…

The New Elle Hill Logo

So I'm co-sponsoring a Big, Fat Flea Market in Duarte, CA on December 9 and 10, 2011. (Yes, I'll chat more about that in the future.) I'm also the one designing its publications, and while carefully pasting logos into various documents, a dreadful realization suddenly kicked me in the frontal lobe: I don't have an author logo. 

"No logo?" you gasp. "But, Elle, how could you, a future New York Times bestseller, have neglected such a vital marketing logistic?" I know, right? Shameful! 

So, with that thought in mind, I did what any writer would do when faced when the ugly reality of their logo-less existence: I whined to my little sister. But oh, my little sister isn't just any little sister. She's also a visual artiste. Score! She designs all my visual stuff, my oldest sister tends to all the logistical and informational stuff, and I just sit here and look pretty while brushing my lustrous, seal-brown hair (see previous post). 

Sadly, my little s…

In Support of Brown

Picture this: A shero’s flaxen hair streams in some generic breeze while her muscular love interest flexes his shirtless pecs and tries not to care that his curly black hair is gorgeous in a sex-tousled kinda way. You know what bugs me the most about this imaginary scene? No, it’s not the trite imagery, nor is it the traditional gender enactments. Well, okay, maybe that. But most of all, I’m annoyed that the shero — that far too many of our sheroes – is blonde. I know flowing blonde hair is a romantic staple (although less for us paranormal romancefiends), but, really, must we? Have you ever seen coffee-brown hair stream in a generic breeze? Pretty darn sexy. Or a magnificent afro bounce in the sunlight? Glorious. So why do we authors, like so many media professionals, persist in over-representing a very small percent of our population? Depending on whicharticleyou read, natural blonde Americans (sorry for the snub, Canadians and others) account for anywhere between two and sixteen perce…

Hunted: A Review

The reviews for Hunted, my saucy little 15,000-word novella, are pouring in! I can hardly keep track of them! Well, okay, there have only been two, but they both mean a lot to me. One is on Hunted's Amazon page (oh yes, it has one!) and one is online, sitting there for the world to see. And you know what? You all need to see it, too:

This review was written by Ann Montclair, an obviously-brilliant and talented writer of our times. Thanks, Ann!

Hunted by Elle Hill is a paranormal romantic thriller set against the backdrop of modern day Los Angeles. The gritty, kick-butt heroine, Gray Leigh, is a Hunter, a superhuman with the ability to sniff out and destroy Leeches, another kind of superhuman that feeds on human misery. When Gray is sent to protect a scientist who has come dangerously close to unearthing their secret world, she finds Dr. Simon Romero more than worth her attention. Between flurries of violence and philosophical musings, these two make time for some serious romance. Ac…

Well-Behaved Betas Make History, Too

You know those awesome Facebook memes where you get to talk uninterruptedly about yourself? (I’m convinced middle-class White women made them up because we’re socialized to relinquish our social and verbal space and these memes allow us to stake tiny claims in conversational territory.) I recently accepted the challenge of naming “fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books) who've influenced you and that will always stick with you.” My soul-deep desire to talk about myself wasn’t what surprised me; it was the tenor of my answers.
My list of the literary and TV characters that have most inspired me includes, among several others, Beth March from Little Women; Willow Rosenberg from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; Jane Eyre from, well, you know; and Spock from Star Trek.
My initial reaction: Geez, am I a nerd! Okay, not really a shock. My secondary reaction: As a friend, Pippa Jay, and I subsequently discussed, our favorite characters tend to be “betas.” I like betas. Al…

Hodgepodge Post

I have tons of thoughts burbling in my brain and no ability or inclination to work them into a creative whole. As a result, below is a random smattering of thoughts and announcements. 

1. Hunted Past, my full-length novel, will be released on October 28 through Wild Rose Press. Like in paperback and everything. Seriously. Given the October 12 release of Hunted, this is a good month for Elle! (Pretty cool, since it's my favorite month and the one that contains my second favorite holiday!)

2. October 19 is my first favorite holiday. It's National Love Your Body Day! That means today is LYBD Eve! Are you loving your body right now? If not, better stop what you're doing and start lovin' on it. Your body does a lot: Processes those brilliant thoughts, moves you from here to there, hugs partners and provides pets with resting places, breathes, processes toxins, looks smokin' in neckties (ties look sexy on everyone, no matter their sex), and countless other things. And yet …

Six Sentence Sunday: Hunted Dreams

I admit I'm kinda new to this six-sentence Sunday phenomenon, so forgive me if I'm doing it wrong. Below I'm pasting, well, six sentences from the manuscript I just sent my publisher. It's not out yet, but I feel pretty confident saying it will be soon. It's by far my best work yet -- er, not that Hunted and Hunted Past aren't fantastic and all...

Below is the first time our shero, as yet unnamed, meets our hero, Reed. Happy SSS, everyone!


Reed gestured to the sky, the walls, the buildings that crowded around them at unnatural angles. “This is your world,” he said, “not mine. I’m just a bit player. Somehow you pulled me into your subconscious playground.” She drew her breath in sharply, and her nostrils flared. “Are you saying this is a dream?” she all but whispered.

Interview with the Va-- uh, Author

I was interviewed by sister-author and all-around-awesome woman Donna Shields on the release of Hunted. To hear more about your favorite author (Me, right? Uh, right?), head on over to Donna's blog post. And while you're there, you might decide to buy one of her books. And maybe an extra digital copy of Hunted. Just a suggestion.

Hunted Promo Video

Some call it a promotional video. Some call it a book trailer. I call it two minutes of PURE AWESOME! Thanks to the (inexpensive yet uber-professional) work of Kris Owen of Wolfwen Entertainment, I now have some dramatic music and visuals to stoke the fires of desire for my paranormal romance novella, Hunted, released today through Soul Mate Publishing

(And btw, I paid good money to use that drool-worthy picture of Simon, the crazy-hot Colombian scientist and our shero's love interest. Never say we artists don't sacrifice for our art!) 

Jump on board the blog merry-go-round!

Soul Mate Publishing is ready to launch, and they have a full crew of brilliant and talented writers to, um, steer you over the choppy waters of literary deprivation... or something. Okay, really bad metaphor aside, Soul Mate Publishing is launching on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. Woohoo!

Oh yes, my friend, this means exactly what you think it means: Your romantic fiction-less days have come to an end. Just visit Soul Mate Publishing, and they will supply you with your RDA of happily-ever-afters.

Below is a list of blogs you can visit to hear more from amazing authors who, like yours truly, have the privilege of helping Soul Mate launch their amazing new publishing company. I hope you'll support them (and me, but if you're among the three peeps who read this, I imagine that won't be an issue) by perusing and purchasing some of their literary wares. 

Let's help a small publishing company and their crew of dedicated authors stay afloat! If you don't, I might have to re…

The Fatties are Coming, the Fatties are Coming!

To quote from a press release just issued by NAAFA, the international, premier fat rights organization: "Living Large: Obesity in America is a collaboration between NPR and the Public Insight Network from American Public Media. They have featured a number of articles about being fat in America. They have made available a public survey for you to share your story 'if obesity has touched your life.'"

An opportunity to tell media about fatties? Sign me up! I eagerly clicked on the NAAFA-provided link to the Public Insight Network and shared with them my, ahem, concerns about the (unscientific and irrational) "obesity"-inspired, moral panic tsunami currently crashing down on us Westerners. I am only too happy to share my responses to their questionnaire and urge all three peeps who read this blog to follow my example.  


What conversations do you have - or avoid having - about weight?

As a sociologist who studies bodies and is a member of size-r…