Mrs. Grouchy Pants

In honor of the late, exceedingly grumpy Andy Rooney, I'm going to give in to my inner bitch. She's well-hidden, is Bad Krissie, partly because I had a raging virago of a mother (when she was in her prime) and I hate hate hate anger, in general but in particular directed at me. Nice matters. Kindness matters. I'm gonna really regret doing this.

But fuck it.

Usually when I'm attacked (and trust me, I have been, mostly without reason) I go into mega-polite mode. A NYT author, in fact, possibly my favorite living writer, once lit into me with no provocation in a three screen email. My reply was brief and courteous - her accusations came from her own paranoia and nothing I had done, so I couldn't very well defend myself. Another writer I'd known quite intimately suddenly flipped and sent a public, screaming email to me. My response was just a shocked, "Jesus," and not a "what the fuck is wrong with you, woman?" which is what she deserved. I got publicly skewered by an anonymous agent blogger three weeks in a row, setting off a firestorm (which is clearly why she milked it for three weeks) and instead of responding I let Crusie go after her.

The few times I've let go and actually snapped at someone they've come back with both barrels blazing, and I'm down like a stone. I don't know how to fight, my skin is too thin, I don't want to hurt people.

But in honor of Andy Rooney, here's a one-time foray into bitchiness, and I'm going to flatly ignore any counter-attacks (or treat them with exquisite, brief politeness).

1. I am so fucking sick of the word "trope" that I'm ready to vomit. It got pulled out of the stinking reservoir of academe-speech, and everyone who wants to sound intelligent talking about romance novels uses it, and if I read it one more time I will scream. (Mind you, I come from an academic family so I've got some baggage there). Stop using that word! You can dredge up something more egregious, like enthuse. Misuse all the words you want. Just give a trope a break.

2. I'm tired of male writers swaggering around on the internet praising each other over their perspicacity in publishing via the internet, their condescension in referring to "legacy" publishers, their constant whipping it out and measuring it attitude. It has nothing to do with their talent, only their own delusions of importance. Mind you, I have my own delusions of grandeur, but at least I don't shove it down everyone's throat in my efforts to become poster-boys of the electronic revolution.

3. Everyone loves Janet Reid, an agent who is entertaining on panels and writes a snarky, witty blog. At least this time she's brave enough to sign her fucking name. Enough said. Let's hope she doesn't meet me in a dark alley with my posse of roving android assassins.

4. Social networking. I keep trying to understand tweeting but it's like trigonometry -- it just doesn't compute in my poor little brain. I adore technology, love the internet, enjoy FB and even like blogging when I'm not feeling pressured. But almost all the time I'd rather write. If I didn't feel like I had to do all these things then maybe I'd enjoy them more. But in the end, I'd rather be writing.

5. I'm tired of failure. Of publishers promising one thing and delivering another, or sometimes, nothing at all. I'm sick of going to conferences and meeting so many people who tell me they'd never read my books but they'll have to try (after 37 years of being published). I'm sick of hearing that my books are too dark and full of angst. Grow a pair. I'm sick of thinking each new opportunity is going to make everything all right and then discover I was wrong. Happiness is lowered expectations. I think I need to wipe mine out completely.

On the other hand, 6. I'm tired of whining about how publishers have mis-published me and let me down and screwed me over and blah blah blah. Enough, already. Time for me to grow a pair.

7. I hate hate hate the IRS. They're nice, polite, my own person agent, Chris, is unfailingly helpful. I hate them.

8. I am so sick of being fat. And not pretty. At 63 I should be over it. But American women always wanted to be fairy princesses, and I guess when I'm in my 90's, like my mother, I'll still be feeling sorry for myself over it. There, I said it.

9. I'm secretly pissed that I had to change my name after 35 years as a published writer. The subtext of that is that Anne Stuart's work has been for naught, I'm a failure, time to reinvent myself because all that work didn't matter. And I haven't had a contract as Anne Stuart for more than a year. Mind you, I haven't tried, so I shouldn't complain. But it's as if all the work that I poured my heart and soul into over the years doesn't matter.

10. I'm tired of being what I think everyone wants me to be. I'm tired of trying. Damn, I'm tired.

Tomorrow I'll be in a much better mood. After all, my books have touched many people. I'm in a business with writers like Laura Kinsale, Judith Ivory, Jennifer Crusie, Lani Diane Rich. I come from the tradition of Jane Austen, Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer. And there are fabulous writers writing today, like Joanna Bourne (BLACK HAWK is wonderful!), Elizabeth Hoyt (SCANDALOUS DESIRES might be the best book of the year), Eloisa James, Jeaniene Frost, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong, Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, Meredith Duran, and so many others ). I belong in that fellowship, and it's a wonderful thing.

But today I'll feel grouchy and weepy until I actually start writing. And then, assuming the words come, everything will brighten, and I won't give a damn. I'll be a fairy princess, and a goddess.

At least, until someone uses the word trope.