Author Interview: Sara Codair

Sometimes interviews can be awkward, but this one was just plane fun. I got to talk about my book and bacon!

J.P. Jackson

Author Interview:  Sara Codair

Hi Everyone! Today on the blog we have Sara Codair. Sara is a fellow author from NineStar Press and I’m thrilled they came by to visit me here. I have so many questions.  You will too after you see how Sara responded to the rapid-fire questions! So, without any further ado, everyone, please say hello!

Sara, this is everyone!

Sara CodairSara Codair: **waves**

JP Jackson: “I’m just itching to do these Rapid Fire questions.”

Sara Codair: “Great!”

JP Jackson: “Eagerness! I love it. Okay, here we go: Fast or Slow?”

Sara Codair: “Fast.”

JP Jackson: “Oh, me too. You should see me on my rollerblades. My hubby regularly tells me to slow down. But then I drive like a little old lady, so there’s that.”

<Giggles>

JP Jackson: “How about this, Romantic Comedy or Suspense Thriller?”

Sara Codair: “Wouldn’t matter. I like to read all kinds of…

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Flash Fiction: Lucky Lady Robes

Note: Generally, I save fiction over 500 words  for paying markets, but every once and a while, I write an odd story like this that just doesn’t fit in most markets. 

Lucky Lady Robes

By Sara Codair

In-home sales and independent consultant programs had been around forever, but none took off like Lucky Lady Robes. They hadn’t even been in business a year, and in some parts of the southwest, traditional stores struggled to keep customers. Up here in the northeast, that spark was just hitting the kindling.

“Now is the time to sign up, if I am going,” I told my friend, Lucy. Swaddled in brown scarves and blonde hair, she looked like a calico cat trying to be a human.

“I’ve only heard good things about them.” Lucy lifted a steaming mug to her mouth, breathing the steam until if fogged up her glasses.

“People don’t want to get sued,” I muttered into my Darjeeling tea. Still too hot to drink, I placed it on the table and re-read my contract for the tenth time. Something about the 80% wholesale discount and optimistic market analysis for my area seemed to good to be true, but all that the convoluted, red-inked document really told me was that I couldn’t get a refund, ever, and that if I defaced the company’s sacred brand image, they would burn me in court.

“You can’t keep bad news off the internet.” Lucy’s hands shook as she tilted her latte to her mouth and sipped. “Trust me, if there was something sketchy, someone would’ve said something about.”

“I’ll do more research.”

“If you do become a consultant, I’ll be your first customer.” Lucy grinned, put her mug down, and looked me in the eyes. “This is a golden opportunity. You’d be foolish to waste it.”

###

IMG_3031My first shipment of Lucky Lady Robes came in super quick. I was giddy, fluttering like magic as I tore open the box and inhaled fresh plastic. I rescued a pair of leggings from their transparent prison and ran my hands over the softest fabric I’d ever felt. My fingers quivered with joy as I traced corn silk swirls through the grass green background. I didn’t realize until I reached the end that I had smeared blood all over that pair.

Cursing my clumsiness, I ran to the sink and rinsed my sliced palm. I guessed I cut myself during my exuberant box opening. I bandaged my hand and liberated the remaining leggings. The colors varied, but they all had strange geometric shapes. Some had cat eyes. One pair had suns so realistic I thought they’d burn me if I touched them. I carefully hung each pair on my display, photographed them, and transferred them to a bright pink rack.

I uploaded my pictures to Facebook and had my first sale that night. Half my inventory was gone in three hours, but true to her word, Lucy bought the first pair.

The next morning, she wore the black and red, geometric beauties to our weekly coffee date.

Lucy gazed at the ceiling, walls, and floor, but she never made eye contact. “They’re as heavenly as pajamas, but it’s socially acceptable to wear them to work. Have you tried them yet?”

“No,” I admitted. “I had to pay for my inventory up front and didn’t have much to invest.”

She laughed at me. Her cheeks creased when her mouth opened, but her eyes stayed absent. “Trust me, you need a pair or ten for yourself. I can’t wait for your next sale.”

###

IMG_3032Lucy bought three pairs at my second sale, and five at my third. Soon, all of our friends were buying, sharing, and tweeting about how comfortable their new leggings were.

I aw dollar signs left and right.

The dresses came next. The sweaters and shirts rode their tails to my inventory. The colors and styles varied, but they all had equally mesmerizing patterns, which, paired with luxurious fabric, enchanted customers.

I thought my inner circle would stop buying after a while, but they didn’t stop. These clothes were like crack and my friends were viral junkies, spreading their addiction to everyone around them.

After a year, I paid off my student loans, bought a house, and upgraded my car. Lucy was on the verge of losing her house, another friend was working 80 hours a week to pay down her credit card debt while a third was getting calls from collection agencies several times a day.

I told them to stop buying. I had a big enough fan-base now that even if a fraction of my customers bought from me at every sale, I’d be making more than I ever did selling cell phones. They didn’t stop – not even when I blocked them from my group and ignored their phone calls.

It was this strange, desperate behavior that led me to start researching the patterns. After venturing into dark corners of internet I hadn’t known existed, I learned that the symbols were from ancient cultures all around the world: sigils old gods used to keep follows worshipping.

I’ve never been superstitious and didn’t believe that symbols could influence anyone, but I was offended. What Lucky Lady Robes claimed as original artwork was appropriated from old religions that been all but wiped out by historic colonizers and conquerors. I blogged about this, hoping it would make people see through the company’s schemes.

Literally three minutes later, I had an email from corporate headquarters informing me that I violated the contract. Six days passed. I was assigned a court date. I hired a lawyer, thinking the worst that could happen was I’d lose my profits and go back to selling phones.

I lost the case, but I never got to hear how much the fine was. Buttery soft leggings had twined all around my limbs and up to my head. Sound couldn’t get through the thick fabric. No one heard me scream when they caught on fire.

 

 

Book Review: Once and Future

I’ll keep this review short. 

Once and Future is my favorite book I’ve read in 2019. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t  put it down. I read the whole thing in one day and really wish the sequel was already out.

Concerning the plot and concept, it reminded me of two of my favorite no longer running TV shows: BBC’s Merlin and Firefly. The world had a bit of a dystopian flare, reminiscent of Hunger Games and Feed.

There were spaceships, unchecked capitalism, sketch government cover ups, and hereos resisting cooperate villains.

Once and Future had just the right balance of goofy, darkness, action, and romance.

And all the characters were queer. One POV character was pan. Another was gay. There was a gender fluid side character with they/them pronouns. Another side character was ace.  This book had all the LGBTQIA rep.

The crew was full of personality!

I have zero complaints about the characters, plot, or ending. Even though this was a retelling, I was never quite sure what was going to happen next!

The only flaw I noticed was one I didn’t think of until a few days after I finished reading . The world building, on the science fiction side, lacked detail and explanation. So if you are someone who wants to know how the space travel and the terraforming and whatnot works, then you might have a problem with this aspect of it.

I had no problem ignoring those holes and just taking everything at face value. This was more science fantasy than science fiction anyway. After all, there was magic.

And really, I was in it for the characters and the adventure, not the technical side of the world building, so I’m still giving it five stars.  

Go read Once and Future now!

IWSG Day: Chemical Language

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

The first Wednesday of every month, the IWSG posts an optional question, encouraging members to read and comment on each other’s blogs.

April’s Question is:

What was an early experience where you learned that language has power?

 

 

The word “chemical” has a lot of power. As a kid, it was a word that induced fear or panic. Chemicals were bad smelling things used to clean or dangerous things used in science labs.

I believe I was in fifth grade when I had a science teacher who blew my mind by telling the class things like some of the juices and sodas we drank were technically chemicals. She said that even water was a chemical.

I remember a brief moment of fear, then realizing that the word “chemical” had a much broader meaning than I originally thought.

Today, I looked up definitions of chemicals, here are some of the results I got:

OxfordDictionaries.com

“A distinct compound or substance, especially one which has been artificially prepared or purified.”

Dictionary.com

Wikipedia

“A chemical substance is a form of matter having constant chemical composition and characteristic properties.[1][2] A chemical substance cannot be separated into its constituent elements by physical separation methods, i.e., without breaking chemical bonds.[3] Chemical substances can be simple substances[4]chemical compounds, or alloysChemical elements may or may not be included in the definition, depending on expert viewpoint.[4]

Basically, almost anything is a chemical. Some of the definitions mention artificially prepared substances or those used in a chemical process, but nowhere do they say it is exclusive to those things. However, these elements of the dictionary definitions do have a stronger connection to the perceived definition of the word than the more scientific definition on wiki.  (I know isn’t always the most credible website, but I included it anyway because the definition there echoed what I’d hear before. Plus, sometimes I trust the internet hive mind more than random website put up by individuals).

The word chemical, at its core, really doesn’t tell you much about something. It’s as general a term as material or substance. However, if I went up to someone and asked if they wanted to drink a chemical, they’d probably look at me like I had twenty heads.

This always reminds me how a words literal meaning and the meaning it carries for individuals within a culture or society, can be different things and can affect the power and effects that the word has.

Last night, I was reminded how chemical’s connotation can spread fear and panic, even to people who are aware of the words denotative meaning.

IMG_2994.jpg
capsized barge

The lake I live on was getting an being treated with alum, which will bind excess nutrients, specifically phosphorus, and reduce the amount of cyanobacteria blooms in the lake. The barge carrying the alum capsized.

 

The whole neighborhood was out watching the ensuing spectacle of trying to flip the barge back over and drag it to shore. The more people threw around the word “chemical” the more nervous people got. By the end of the night, there was a post on Facebook claiming “Time to take a stand merrimac this company the town hired just flipped the boat carrying 1500 gallons of environmental hazardous materials” The language in this post in powerful in a negative way. It uses words whose connotative meaning scares people with a call to action based on false information.

 The town did not hire the company when in reality, the lake association did the hiring, and the funding came from two towns, association fundraisers, and an EPA grant.  The materials were going into the lake anyway, and at the time this was posted, the tanks had not been recovered, so no one actually knew how much of the alum, if any, had actually spilled. The hazard was that the alum and the chemical used to balance the ph might not have spilled in the same proportions they would be put into the lake in. Some of the older, weaker fish might die — the same fish that would probably die when the water temperature rose and the oxygen levels declined in the summer. 

However, the person who posted this didn’t care about truth. The language in this is intended to scare and aggravate people. In Merrimac, residents are facing tax hikes because of a new school and a new police station. This person used language and misinformation to try and decrease people’s confidence in the town’s decision making abilities when it comes to spending money and hiring contractors, probably trying to get people to oppose the necessary but expensive new school.

When I log onto the town Facebook, I often find myself wondering how much thought people actually put into these posts. How much of it is careless and unfiltered, and how much is calculated lies and word choice people use to further their own, small-town political agenda?

I’ve also noticed that the tone these malcontents use in their town-related posts echoes that of some politically conservative relatives and twitter trolls. However, detailed analysis of the language used in social media forums is content for a completely different post.

What I hope readers take away from this post is that often, the connotation of a word lends it far for power than its denotative or literal meaning.

The difference between chemical’s connotative and denotative meaning surprised me when I was a child, but it was something I didn’t really think much about it until last night when the word “chemical” was spreading fear throughout my neighborhood.

Chemical may have been an accurate term for the contents of the tanks, but saying “substance” or “material” would have been accurate too, and they would not have conjured the same fear as chemical did. Even using the name of the chemical might have caused less fear.

The words and language we use are as important and influential in our interactions with our neighbors, friends, and family as they are within our writing.

Can you think of any words whose connotative meaning evokes fear?