Showing posts from April, 2013

Double Dose of Literary Delights

So the whole world now knows about Hunted Dreams' publication. I mean, the whole world. Everyone. Well, at least all my friends on Facebook. 

Sigh. I suck at promoting myself.

But anyway, to celebrate the release of my second full-length novel, my esteemed publisher, Soulmate Publishing, is offering my novella, Hunted, for free. If your Kindle is crying out for literary genius, head on over here within the next couple of days to grab a free copy of Hunted, the novella that started the Hunted Series. And please tell everyone else with a pulse to grab it, too. Oh, and snag an e-copy of  Hunted Dreams for $4.99 while you're at it. 

Hunted Past is OUT!

What’s surreal, paranormal, romantical, and FINALLY AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE? Yeah, that’s right: Hunted Dreams! Booyah! My third fiction piece and second full-length novel was released today solely to the clutches of Amazon (sorry, Kobo and other peeps, but my Soulmate editor tells me this may change after the contract is up with Amazon in three months) in e-book form.
Buy it! Read it! Laugh! Cry! Fall in love! Ignore your RL chores! If you’re into spooky scenes, fat sheroes, interracial and intersize love, and an adorable Pit Bull mix named Mina, you’re going to luv eet!
And if you like it, please write an Amazon review and feel free to buy your BFF, mother, son, and ex a copy.
Now get thee to Amazon to purchase some entertainment! 
Thanks, and happy readings!

Poetry Corner: Blue

I could try to sound all nonchalant, but that’s just so not my nature. So, without further ado: I WON! I WON! Yaaaaaaaaaay! :-D   :-D   :-D
A few weeks ago, one of my students told me about a local poetry contest. I sifted through dozens of poems, found one that seemed designed to dazzle judges, and submitted it. Last Friday, I attended the poetry reading and listened for 100 or so amazing minutes as poets sang their literary songs. Finally, at the end of the night, the judges revealed the third, second, and first place winners.
I won first place! I barely managed not to squee like a schoolchild while accepting my certificate and small-but-precious monetary prize.
Should any of my three faithful readers desire to read it, below is the winning poem. I penned it in the autumn of 2011 after a brief, tumultuous romance and shortly before moving from California to South Dakota.
Hope you enjoy.
Beautiful, bountiful, bright blue blossom.
In the salty nighttime, Jupiter smirks a path through the…

In Defense of Emoticons

There I was, cruising along in my car on a mild autumn afternoon, listening to my beloved “All Things Considered” on NPR, when all of a sudden, the conversation turned to a topic I find deeply significant and highly understudied. I speak, of course, of emoticons. Driving to work to teach a Sociology of Mass Media class (oh, serendipity), I listened with increasing annoyance as two commentators (“social media gurus”) discussed emoticons as, among other things, tools for lazily and inadequately representing our emotional states. One commentator even advised listeners to “maybe look for some verbiage that is more attuned to what you're trying to say.”
My first reaction? “Did these people really say we’re not adept at verbally expressing our emotions on the interwebs? Have they spent more than 17 seconds on Facebook or Twitter? Expressing emotions is what we do best and most often!”
In addition to worrying about the ignorant masses “relying too much on the tools to do the work for us,”…

The Universal "He" Just Isn't

Picture this: An overworked, vastly underpaid college instructor unwinds by using Facebook to do what it does best: feature pictures of cute animals. Up go pictures of her cats, of frolicking puppies, of pink, besnouted piggy wiggies (squeeeeee!). All is happiness and wet noses in her life… until. Until. Until someone calls an animal “he” without knowing its sex.
Contrary to people’s beliefs, approximately half of sexually dimorphic animalkind* isn’t male. Crazy but true. If all the animals called “he” were actually male, much of animalkind, including humans, would die out because there simply aren't enough females to reproduce the species.
“Oh, Elle, you wacky but lovable feminazi,” you say, “don’t you know ‘he’ is a gender-neutral pronoun? We learned in the fourth grade that ‘he’ is just as acceptable a gender placeholder as ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ are for ‘human.’ It has no bearing on gender or sex, you eccentric cutie pie.”
Yeah, except… it does have bearing on gender and sex. Stud…

Some Literary Politics... of Hair

Our crowning glory is all tied all up in knots with issues of power, privilege, history, and tradition. You think I exaggerate? Ask a Pentecostal woman why she doesn’t cut her hair, an Orthodox Jewish man why he wears his peyot, a Black woman about the politics of straightening, a woman media star how longshe’s sported hair extensions. You think it’s a coincidence that18% of Americans have blond hairand 2% of the world’s population sports blond hairand yet you can't shake a rice cake in Hollywood without touching a towhead?*
Even books, an arguably more cerebral popular cultural medium, aren't immune. Novels may not contribute directly to visual culture, but they do verbally represent and reproduce it. I mean, for not even being visual media, most books get all (representationally) dressed up in a host of visual tropes. In my genre, paranormal romance, for example, ever notice how many sheroes’ tresses tumble down their back like May Day ribbons? How come no, or very few, chara…

Hunted Dreams: The Back Blurb

One of my least favorite parts of writing involves penning the book's back cover blurb. (You know what that is, right? Imagine picking up a paperback and turning it over to read its brief summary. Yep, that's it.) Condensing my complex characters and multi-layered plot into something that sounds like an ad for TV's latest Amazing New Series(tm)? Almost as fun as delivering lengthy speeches. To a crowded, un-air-conditioned room filled with sweating bodies. While wearing polyester. 

Better yet, remember the horror of writing conclusions to essays and research papers? Yeah, it's like that.

Nonetheless, editors require us to do this awful, awful thing, and like good like nerdy introverts, we do it without complaining (on the outside, anyway). 

I'm never comfortable with back blurbs, since I feel like a cheesy salesperson hawking my wares in an oversaturated market. That, plus I don't think I'm very adept at writing summaries of my own work. But nonetheless, and a…

Explaining the "Elle": A Guide to Pronunciation

It’s time we cleared the air. See, it has recently come to my attention that my name stumps peeps. The “Hill” part isn't a hurdle, but the palindromic nature of my first name appears to confuse many would-be pronouncers.
Because I’m me and think everything deserves a story, let me first provide some background. “Elle Hill” is a nom de plume, a moniker I plucked from the ether a few years ago when deciding to honor my greatest passion and publish my fiction. The first name on my birth certificate, like 83% of the rest of my family’s, begins with an “L”; as a result, I named my writerly self “Elle,” pronounced like the letter. In this way, my literary identity constantly honors 83% of my beloved family of origin (sorry, Kris).
My last name, “Hill,” derives from my father’s middle name, an honorable name with a boatload of history. I proudly wear my father’s surname, Owen, in my everyday life, but I also wanted to honor him as a writer; hence, “Hill.”
(This last name is important to k…

Poetry Corner: "Mandatory Health Assessment"

Eyebrows tweezed, Lips pouting pinkly, Fat feet grinding plush carpet underfoot, Legs almost-shaved: I made my entrance.
I came. I saw. I was fabulous. “Do you have an appointment?” My nose stud sizzled. “Who’s your insurance carrier?” My cleavage daunted. “Have a seat over there.” My derriere swayed a charmed-snake dance.
Well, yes, Small line of foldable Black plastic, One of you may have the honor Of touching this, Of holding all that. I hear your ecstatic groan And raise you A papery sigh of relief.
“Hill! Ellen- Elle- Ellie Hill!” The partition trembles At my advance. No rush, sweet thang – I’m coming.
My goodness! What big tools you have! The better to—Ow! My finger slobbers blood, My arm seethes Hot red streaks. I was born in June. They say the temperature that day— No, a six. Of seventy-four.
A bathroom scale – As cheap and plastic as smiles – Creaks, pops… and stops. I knew it! I’m immeasurable! But… “The forms,” she says, “the forms. Can you estimate?” No need – I know! Three ninety-two. You heard right: Three. Nine.…