Late-night thoughts

Ugh, I’m getting painfully close to finishing the draft of the fourth Jessica Christ book, Nu Alpha Omega. My sales from the first three in the series are starting to flatline, which is business-speak for I’ve been dragging ass on this FA REALZIES! Grammarly is trying to correct that to REALIZE, but no, Grammarly, you unfeeling slave to humans, I meant what I said and I said what I meant, and that was FA REALZIES. And now I realize how stupid that is.

This fourth book takes place over the course of Jessica’s college years, and it’s a little tricky writing it, because I’m trying not to mix in too much of my own college experience, but maybe I should have thought about that before I set it at my alma mater. Write what you know, I suppose. Of course, San Marcos is changing so much all the time that in whatever the hell not-so-distant future parallel universe Jessica Christ takes place in, who even knows where anything will be. Maybe rather than an LBJ statue erected in the center of the Quad, his hand outstretched in either a handshake or a full-palm grope, there’ll be a President Trump statue with his hand outstretched in definitely a grope.

Writing has been slow going since the election, I have to say. I’m not going to be another whiny liberal, because I’m not a liberal, so there, asshole. But as someone who writes satire, when reality seems so entirely absurd in itself, it’s hard to make it more absurd in the hope that someone will read what you wrote and go, “Now that’s just absurd!… Oh. Wait. I guess I get how this real-life thing that I clung to is also kind of absurd in that way.” South Park season 19 and 20 handled this about as well as any satire could. Of course, for the things that their stand-in character for Trump had to say to be more absurd than the things coming out of Trump’s own mouth, the material crossed some lines that I don’t know if South Park has even crossed before. I applaud them for that. I hope to one day ascend to the satirical levels of South Park. I’d even settle with turning out material as fast as South Park does, even if it was only mildly entertaining. Meanwhile, apparently Caitlyn Jenner will attend the inauguration, which is something anyone who’s seen season 19 and 20 will absolutely not believe. I literally laughed out loud when I read the news. Did Jenner’s agent not advise against this? (For those of you not in the know, South Park absolutely skewers Caitlyn Jenner and has her as Trump’s running mate.) Well shit. If Trump can just take the satire people write about him and make it look like news (real news, not that fake shit like… everything now? I think everything is considered fake news now) by giving truth to it, then satire is rendered impotent. I would almost pose the question, “How is he getting away with this?” except the answer, which wasn’t entirely clear for the months leading up to the election, is now alarmingly obvious: he’s the president of the most powerful country in the world. He can get away with anything. Seriously, think of something he could say that would cross a line he hasn’t already crossed. I can’t. Okay I can. If he said, “death to Christians,” he’d pretty much be done for. Right? Republicans wouldn’t let that go, right? I don’t even know anymore.

Man, you remember when Bill Clinton had sex in the oval office and everyone in my generation learned what oral sex was from the news? (Or rather, we already knew and whispered about it with our friends the way we would any urban myth, but this was the point where we sort of had to acknowledge to our parents that we knew and they had to acknowledge to us that, yes, it was a real thing people did to each other.) Don’t you miss those days?

I’m not too worried about the long term, because there are only two possible outcomes if you look far enough into the future. The first is that everything averages out to better than what we have now. Social progress tends to be a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing (except, erm, in Iran where it’s two steps forward, turn around and face the other direction; this is your new forward, now start marching) so in twenty years we’ll probably be back on track. Or there’s option two, which is that before long, we’re all dead. Killed, to be exact. I don’t really foresee an in-between here, but I’ve never been accused of being an optimist. But listen, in, say, one hundred and twenty years we’ll all be dead regardless. As long as you don’t have any children, you really don’t have to worry about the world after that point. Isn’t that a relief? If you already have children, then consider discouraging them from having children of their own, and it’s all good. Isn’t it about time for everyone to stop having kids anyway? Just have humankind sort of pull the Irish good-bye on planet earth? I guarantee most species wouldn’t even know we were gone. And it seems delightfully ironic to call use the term “Irish” with anything involving not having children. I think we should start calling unprotected sex “the ol’ Irish vasectomy.” Man, aren’t stereotypes fun?

So anyway, I’ll keep plugging away at this first draft of Nu Alpha Omega. If I’m a good little girl, I can finish it within the week. And then I just have the monumental task of cutting it down from 100,000+ words (or so) to maybe 90,000. And then making it funny. I worry this one won’t be funny. I worry that every time, really. And maybe I’m right to worry. I suppose worrying makes it less likely to happen because it triggers my perfectionist gene that then takes over and causes me to yell stuff like, “NO! THAT’S NOT EVEN WITTY!” to an empty office. So I need to finish it, then probably three weeks of revisions, then send to betas, then more revisions, then send to proofreader, then more tweaks, then promotion and launch. It’s gonna be a while, basically, and I shudder to think of what my sales will be like by that point. Maybe March? I really need to streamline this process. Fuhhhhhhhhh…

2 thoughts on “Late-night thoughts

  1. Denise Slease says:

    I just finished book 4 and was looking for signs of a book 5? How’s that working out for you? I love this series. Thanks for all the good laughs and hmmmmmm moments. 🙂

    • hclaire says:

      Oh wow, it’s awesome that you tracked me down! I love a friendly stalking. Thanks for letting me know what you think of the series so far, and thanks for reading!

      Book 5 is coming along slowly but surely. That’s not to say I’m not working like a maniac on it every day, just that there’s a lot to do PLUS a special surprise for readers. It’ll be at least a few more months before it’s out, but I’m hoping everyone will think it’s worth the wait. The best way to make sure you don’t miss the announcement of when it’s available is to join my reader list, The Collective (if you haven’t already). Sign up form is in the right-hand bar on this blog or at

      Thanks for checking in, Denise!

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