Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Book reviews: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Hi all,

I wanted to say something real quick, as it was advised against me to respond to negative reviews.

I won't deny negative reviews are painful, but I am always, always, always grateful to receive feedback from a reader. If they bought the book, they have a right to their opinion, and to express that opinion however they wish. I won't ever think ill of someone for not liking my work.

So readers and reviewers - ALL readers and reviewers - thank you for taking the time read my stories. To those of you who enjoy it, my gratitude. To those of you who don't, my appreciation. I know you made a choice to purchase the book, and while I'm sorry it wasn't to your liking, I am eternally grateful to the time and money you invested in my work.

Thank you all for reading.

- Rosalie

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday, Monday

A devastating tornado swept Joplin, Missouri away last night. Joplin is about an hour away from where I live, and the common destination of many people in my family, as it sits near the state border where casinos are legal (Missouri is anti-gambling). At least 89 people have been confirmed dead. Please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts.

In other, happier news, I submitted for publication a short 5k story over the weekend; it's very sexual, and deals with a relationship between step-siblings. Just a fair warning to anyone who might think "ick!" - I actually don't consider this as taboo as others might; I didn't grow up with step-siblings. Still, from experience, I know it is a touchy subject for some. My CPs assured me I handled the matter delicately, though, so hopefully you guys will still respect me in the morning.

I have four days to go until my month o' vacations commences. Right now, I just want the storms to go away.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I survived the Rapture and all I got was this lousy blog post.

For anyone who doesn’t know, today was supposed to be the end of the world…according to a very small group of people following the teachings of a man named Harold Camping. I first became acquainted with the word “rapture” in college, as the Church of Christ beliefs (with which I grew up) never said anything about Christ’s followers floating to Heaven. I never read the “Left Behind” series – though I have read something by LaHaye regarding the role of women in marriage, and that pissed me off so much I literally chucked it across the room.

Many Christians believe in the Rapture, but Camping’s predictions weren’t embraced by the Christian community. Yes, there were believers…the same way some self-proclaimed Mormons embrace polygamy, and the way others think we were planted here by aliens. Most people have no qualms belittling a religion to which they don’t subscribe, and even more can find humor in the failings of their own beliefs.

It’s come to my attention that poking fun at the Rapture that Wasn’t might be a bad showing of an author, and on a purely observational level, I suppose I can understand why. The problem, though, is no matter what you do or say, whatever opinion you have on anything, be it religion, politics, what’s for dinner, someone is always, always, always going to disagree with you. Heck, if you’re on Twitter talking about how much you love steak and how you can’t understand anyone who would give up meat, you run the risk of offending a vegan. Supports of PETA don’t even want you owning animals, so don’t talk about Fluffy. Those paranormal authors who write about witches could be, in fact, upsetting the Wiccan community. We just don’t know.

This is the Internet, and nothing – nothing – is sacred. I don’t care who you are.

Does that mean you should go out of your way to knowingly offend someone? Of course not. If I ever have or ever do offend someone, I really want to know so I can apologize. I want to be able to say, “I was wrong” or “I don’t agree with you, but I sincerely apologize if anything I said upset you in any way. It was not my intention.” I don’t want my Christian readers to feel they can’t say anything to me because I am an atheist. Trust me, I don’t bite.

I was honestly very concerned when Lost Wages of Sin debuted. I don’t believe it’s sacrilegious, but I don’t adhere to any of the philosophies therein. My grandparents, however, would likely be more hurt at the religious content than the sexual content (which they would likewise oppose). I have a healthy respect for Christianity, and indeed all religions…but they just aren’t sacred to me, and they’re not sacred to a lot of people. And if something amuses me, like the Rapture that Wasn’t, I will tweet. Someone might be offended. If that’s the case, talk to me directly. I will apologize. Probably at least twenty times.

What strikes me about this situation is the idea of what is appropriate versus what is not. Have any of you been on Twitter recently? The things discussed on a day-to-day basis could make a sailor blush. I find it amusing that we can discuss sex, graphically, and brush it off with “I write erotic romance” without taking into account those who might be offended. Yes, I write erotic romance, and discussing sex doesn’t bother me, but I also don’t want to become a poster child for those dissenters that Judy Mays faced regarding her career. We can also discuss Authors Behaving Badly – going viral and exploding over negative reviews and how Author X has ruined her career. We can discuss Greek Mythology, make fun of Tom Cruise, laugh at Mel Gibson, and we don’t care what they or similar subscribers to those beliefs think, but when it comes to This Important Thing, making jokes isn’t allowed?

Sorry. I’m calling bullshit.

Understand: I never, ever, ever, ever, ever want to offend anyone. I don’t say things to get a rise out of people, and I tend to shy from confrontation because this life is precious and I want to spend it doing other things, not arguing about something about which there will never be a change of mind. If I do offend someone, please know it wasn’t by design, and please contact me so I can apologize. I hate knowing I have hurt someone, and will likely feel bad about it long after you’ve moved onto other things. On the same note, though, I won’t apologize for being who I am. I am opinionated and outspoken, and I occasionally open my mouth and insert my foot. It happens. I’m not the first, and I won’t be the last…but I won’t get offended by someone doing or saying something that doesn’t coincide with what I think is ethical. Unless, you know, a crime of some sort is involved.

For the record: I, Rosalie Stanton, survived the Rapture.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Writing for yourself

I have this WIP I've been working on for almost two years, perhaps longer. It started right around the time Firsts was accepted for publication from Loose Id and has been referenced in numerous interviews in response to the questions "What can readers expect from you?" / "What are you currently working on?"

I wrote the first 12k or so before hitting my writer's block, and I tell you, it sucked. As any author knows, writing when your creativity is tapped is like trying to milk a bull. It just ain't happening, folks. Sorry, thanks for playing, please claim your consolation prize. It's also no surprise that last year, during my writing drought, I was going through one of the longest bouts of OCD-inspired depression I'd experienced in some years. I was also at a job I loathed and in a constant state of panic about losing that job due to my OCD.

Yeah, not fun.

A lot of things changed last year at the same time. I began CBT as in an effort to battle OCD (which was amazing -- as much as I knew about OCD then, I know 10x that amount now, which makes dealing with spikes so much easier). I also manned up and quit the job I had needlessly worried over (honestly, I actually hear some of the customers I once helped stopped going there because I was gone. Suck on that, bitches), and got a job where I didn't have to stress much, if at all, over anything.

Is it any surprise I began writing again?

Funny as it is, when I began writing Lost Wages of Sin, it was less out of inspiration and more out of wanting something out there while I continued work on that other WIP. Of course, I quickly became enamored with the world (true fact -- LWoS reminded me how much FUN writing can be. I hadn't enjoyed working on anything as much as that story in a painfully long time). I never intended LWoS to spawn into a series, but spawn it did, and I'm enjoying every minute.

If you're wondering, the original WIP in question is nearing completion (though will likely exceed the word count goal) and will hopefully be out this fall.

Here's the punchline, though...I don't think my readers will like it.

I really don't.

Well, except Sarah Ballance and Nikki London, who are reading it as I write. It's dark and creepy and very sexual, and while I am damn proud of the story, it just doesn't seem like something my readers will enjoy. At least, those readers who expect comedy with my writing (according to some, I'm good at that).

So why am I writing it? Because I wanna, dammit. Because the thought entered my head and refused to leave, and those are the stories I want to tell. I doubt I'll want to see the reviews of this book (should it even be accepted anywhere), but that's okay. It's something I did for me. And hey, maybe I'm being pessimistic or whatever, but I also refuse to shutdown a project I love because bloggers might not like it. Someone out there will. If don't write what I want to write, why the heck am I doing this to begin with?

Hopefully I'm wrong. I mean, every author wants their stories to be universally adored, and I'm not exactly someone who views the glass as half-full to begin with. So, hey, stranger things have happened. I've read books much, much, much darker that sold well and were critically acclaimed. It could happen.

And if it doesn't, oh well. You live and you learn, and then you get luvs.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I am not dead yet; I can dance and I can sing. I am not dead yet; I can do the Highland Fling

Well, my doctor was very patient and understanding (especially when I told him I was spiking), but suffice to say, I am not dying. He did say I have reactive hypoglycemia, which essentially means on occasion if I haven't had enough fiber, I'll start getting shaky after eating. Nothing to write home about.

Aaron suggested I start making a list.

Times I thought I was dying: 15 (conservative number, truthfully. I didn't keep count when I was little)
Times I died: 0

Might be a good idea. Take that, Louise.

In other news, I have closed three of the four giveaways, and the winners have been notified. If you're still interested in winning Lost Wages of Sin, you have a chance! The giveaway at Scorching Book Reviews is still open.

I'm in the process of editing a manuscript (and it's one I really like, which is excellent), and I wrote a few hundred words on Know Thine Enemy yesterday. One of my CPs has read the bulk of what I have on Sinfully Scandalous (Sinners and Saints #2) and has said she thinks it's better than Wages, which makes me nervous and happy and then nervous. Yikes.

Also - I am taking 10 print copies of Lost Wages of Sin with me to the Lori Foster retreat here in a couple weeks. I'll be selling them for $8, which is a little less (now that I've done the math) than I had to pay to get them printed. Anyone who plans on going and would like a copy can email me or leave a comment here, and I'll be sure to put one aside.

Think that's it for the moment. Oh, except Lost Wages of Sin is finally available on Kindle! Did I already mention that? Oh, bother, I'm doing it again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

When "Did I leave the oven on?" causes a nervous breakdown

We all have small fears and concerns that dominate our minds in one way or another through each day. Will I make it to the bank on time? Did I call in my prescription? Do I have enough gas to make it home? Am I coming down with something?

I have what you would call normal days and abnormal days, and the normal far outweigh the abnormal. As I have disclosed in other posts, I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, and have been dealing with it for nearly twenty years. About a year ago, I began a new form of treatment for my OCD which dealt with direct confrontation of my obsessive thoughts. At the time, my obsessive thoughts revolved around various scenarios in which I would do something completely out of character. True, I still have these thoughts on a periodic basis, but I know how to handle them now.

Essentially, because I think it doesn’t mean it’s true. Because I worry about it doesn’t mean it will happen. I can pour a glass of water and place it on a desk, and think at it as hard as I can. Will it topple by my willing it to topple? Odds are, no. I can’t think things into existence.

My therapist has told me numerous times my OCD is a sign of my brilliance (as if there was any doubt *g*). It is true that OCD manifests most typically in people of high intelligence whose brain functions quicker than others (I’m not saying mine does, but it’s a nice thought. LOL). The list of people reported to have had OCD keeps me in good company. Charles Darwin, Howard Hughes, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Albert Einstein, to name a few. There are a good number of current celebrities, like Howie Mandel, who have done a lot for OCD awareness by coming out with their stories.

Most people associate OCD with handwashing, nitpickiness, germaphobia, and so on. Yes, this is an accurate representation of OCD, but I haven’t had these sorts of fears or compulsions since I was eleven. That is, until recently.

It’s not uncommon for OCD to take a different method of attack. For sufferers, OCD exists almost entirely separate from the self—like an annoying acquaintance who won’t leave you alone. I’ve named mine Louise, because it’s easier to attribute the OCD thoughts (i.e, not mine) to someone else rather than claim them for myself. I’m not the only one who’s done this. Recently, I read a self-pubbed book called “It’ll Be Okay” by Shannon Shy, only to discover his coping mechanisms were remarkably similar to the ones I’ve conjured. He attributed his obsessive thoughts to a non-entity separate from himself. I likewise discovered we hail from the same state, and actually went to the same college, but that’s beside the point. OCD operates like a brilliant super villain. Once you have its strategy figured and defeated, it comes back at you at your weaker spots, targeting vulnerable areas you mastered once but have forgotten to defend.

For me, my vulnerable area revolves around contamination fears. As I’ve said, I haven’t experienced contamination fears in a long time, and no matter how bad it gets from this point out, I refuse to give into the most obvious physical compulsions. The trouble is, while I know I’m all right, I can’t get it out of my head that something might be wrong. And here’s the kicker: if I look up a disease, like cancer, and examine the symptoms, my body will begin to mimic the symptoms—or rather, my brain will interpret a particular behavior as a sign of something deadly. In the end, I know it’s just OCD, but how do you convince yourself of that? How can you be certain? Maybe it is just OCD, but what if it’s not?

With me, I’m 99.5% certain on an intellectual level that everything I’ve experienced recently is just a symptom of the disease I already have telling me I have something else. It helps to try and educate people about OCD, as well, because as I explain to my blog readers or a friend or a complete stranger the behavior of my condition, the more clearly I can understand what I’m going through. Even in writing this, I have reminded myself of the evil tricks my mind can play on me. Does that mean my symptoms have subsided? In intensity, yes, but they will be back.

As it is, I have an appointment with my physician tomorrow. Hopefully by this time tomorrow, I’ll be set back straight.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Where does the time go?

My four interviews are live, as are the giveaway contests. Readers have three chances to win an e-copy of Lost Wages of Sin, and one chance to win a print copy. Thanks to Sarah Ballance, Ju Dimello, Nikki, and Marq for the opportunity to essentially hijack their blogs for a few days.

If you haven't entered one of the giveaways and would like the opportunity, now's your chance.

Ju Dimello
Loves to Read For Fun
Sarah Ballance
Scorching Book Reviews

There are also two new reviews out for Lost Wages of Sin! 3.75 Bells from Hanging With Bells, and 5 Martinis from Book Martini Reviews!

I recently finished another chapter of Sinfully Scandalous. Luxi decided to make life difficult by doing something I hadn't planned. Yet I'm beginning to think she's a genius, because her carelessness has, I believe, made the future chapters a lot more plausible in terms of motivation. So, loathe as I am to admit it, kudos to Luxi. Maybe she does know what she's doing. Let's hope. She couldn't possibly get me in more trouble, could she?

All right, ya'll. It's 10:30 on a Saturday night and I'm ready for bed. When did I become an old lady? :(

Friday, May 13, 2011

Not happy

Well, all but two of the participants who commented on the interview giveaway posted on Ju Dimello's blog have been erased in Blogger's little hissy fit. So to all who entered the giveaway: should you stumble upon this post, please leave a comment so I know to include you in the drawing. Even if the comments are restored, I want to make sure everyone has a fair shot in being counted.


Yours disgruntled,

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another interview & giveaway!

How much of me can you take? Let's find out!

My interview at Loves to Read For Fun

Also, I am taking 10 paperback copies of Lost Wages of Sin with me to the Lori Foster Reader & Author Get Together, and will be selling them for $8 (which is what I paid for them, so I'm not charging more than I put into it). If you're attending and would like me to save you a copy, please let me know and I will do so. You can leave a comment here or email me at If I end up getting more than 10 requests, I'll order more for this event.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lost Wages of Sin - New interviews, reviews, and giveaways

I am going on three different trips over three consecutive weekends. My mother and I are heading out to either Natchez (setting of LWoS) or Eureka Springs Memorial Day weekend. Our destination depends on the road conditions -- the recent Ark-like rainfall has made any concrete plans a little hard to piece together.

The weekend after our mother-daughter holiday is Lori Foster's Readers and Authors Get Together, which I am attending alongside two of the awesomest people who ever awesomed, J.A. Saare and Madelyn Ford. This is my first convention, so I'm both extremely nervous and excited.

Weekend after that, Nikki London is taking me to Vegas to see Paul McCartney in concert.

So yeah. Busy month ahead.

This week is full of promotions. I'm doing four book giveaways, and have likewise been interviewed at each site. This will be the last giveaways for LWoS for the foreseeable future, though I might do some Amazon giftcard giveaways once everything settles down from the trips. Also, if there's interest, I'll post snippets of the first chapter of Sinfully Scandalous, Book 2 in the Sinners and Saints series -- the full chapter being available in the print version of Lost Wages of Sin.

If you'd like to be entered into the first drawing for Lost Wages of Sin, check out my interview at Ju Dimello's blog, and comment with your email address for a chance to win!

I've also received some excellent reviews for Lost Wages of Sin over the past few weeks, each of which has me bouncing off whatever surface is readily available.

"Rosalie Stanton definitely delivered in this book with engaging and funny characters plus a storyline that zipped along, making me wonder where the time had gone when I was finished. This book for me, was a fresh new take on a paranormal world and some quick and neat world-building that left space for plenty more tales.
- Sayuri of Parajunkee's View (4/5)

"I just loved this book. It was witty, raunchy, intelligent and quick. The two main characters, Ava and Dante have a centuries long friendship that evolves into some of the best sex scenes ever. If not for the chemistry created by Ms. Stanton between Ava and Dante, I don't think the words would have resonated quite so much.
- Wendy of The Romance Studio (5/5)

"Lost Wages of Sin hits all the marks: it’s about love at its core, a hero you’ll be thinking about for quite some time, great mythology and just enough sexy action to get your attention
- Chelsea of Vampire's Book Club (4.5/5)

"What grabbed me most about this novel is of course Dante whose utter devotion and love for Ava shines through each and every single one of his actions. Though when compared to Ava in strength and physical abilities Dante falls short, nevertheless he never hesitates to put himself on the line for the love of his life and each and every single time he confesses his love for Ava to hear nothing of that nature in return just made me bleed for him a little. Let me not forget the banter between Dante and Ava that serves to be as much of a turn on as the actual scenes of intense hotness that Rosalie has down to a pat, the scene in the alley being my favorite!"
- Maldivianbookreviewer of Maldivian Book Reviewer's Realm (4/5)

"Lost Wages of Sin is a light and funny paranormal romance with memorable characters and hot, steamy sex (tongue loving FTW!). I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author."
- Marq at Loves to Read For Fun (4/5)

"I loved Lost Wages of Sin. It's a fast paced story that will pull you in immediately. Dante is DEFINITELY worthy of his new hashtag. So please, pick up this book. Read it! Share it! Tweet it! Go forth and share the #DanteTongueLove. I promise you won't regret it."
- Dren at Dren's B-Spot (5/5)

I'll post more reviews as they come, but these have me indefinitely situated on Cloud Nine. Thanks again to all who have taken the time to read and review the book! And remember, you have four chances to win a copy of Lost Wages of Sin this week, starting with my interview at Ju Dimello's blog! Go, comment, win!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

J.A. Saare, how I love thee, let me count the ways...

Author: J.A. Saare
Publisher: Mundania Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN for Trade pbk: 9781594267130
ISBN for ebook: 9781594267123
Release date: 5/3/11
Author's website:
Enter coupon code: RHIANNONSLAW10 for 10% off.

I can’t believe I forgot to mention this! I’m such a bad friend (and crit partner).

You guys remember my home-girl, J.A. Saare, right? The author that chilled us, thrilled us, and fulfilled us with her amazing book Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between? The book has been given a makeover and is, as of yesterday, officially available to the public at its new home, Mundania Press. Aside from the amazing story, readers can now anticipate a new author forward, the vignettes she’s penned, and the first two chapters of The Renfield Syndrome, the exciting next installment in the Rhiannon’s Law series.

I won’t lie: J.A. Saare is a close, dear friend of mine, so there is an obvious conflict of interest. We first met after she sent me an email regarding her love of my debut novella, Firsts, and her obsessive love of Thorn. I was extraordinarily moved by her kindness, not to mention taking the time to contact a novice author who was sitting in the corner twiddling her thumbs. Thanks to Jaime, I have become more of a social butterfly and forged new relationships online. She’s one of a kind.

That’s all well and good as a person, but I will say this: I read Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between before we became more than acquaintances. She’d been kind to me and if an author’s kind, it makes me that much more likely to purchase their book. I bought Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between and just…well, devoured it. Between the dialogue, descriptions, vivid-world building, and dynamite plot and action sequences, I fell in love. Not to mention, there’s Rhiannon. Rhiannon’s kickass persona, sense of humor, don’t-fuck-with-me-attitude rendered me thoroughly absorbed. I also love the way Rhiannon feels like a person rather than a character; I see her, tough as nails, and understand how much of it is a defense mechanism, how much is ingrained, and where the two overlap. And of course, Disco, the vampire who made readers swoon and gasp and plead for more. There are also a number of side-characters—Goose, Paine, and so on—who contribute more than I think I even realized.

If you’re at all familiar with this book, you’re likewise familiar with the ending—or have at least heard tale. The second book in the series has been complete for a while now, and it is—if at all possible—better than the first.

J.A. Saare is one of those authors that inspires me to write. She’s been a friend for a long time, but one of my favorite authors even longer. But don’t take my word for it. Go. Buy. Read. You won’t regret it.

Want more? J.A. Saare recently sat down with Bells and discussed her work and the upcoming books in the series. Click here!

Coming soon! Who's excited as I am?

Monday, May 2, 2011

One nation, indivisible

I won’t get political on my blog often; only when the occasion calls for it. I believe this is one such occasion.

My brother's birthday is on September 8th, and in 2001, when I was sixteen, my mother decided to celebrate by taking the family to Disney World. I honestly can't remember all we did the 8th-10th. I know I rode Space Mountain, that we went to the castle, and rode around in Epcot. I know we had fun.

We were supposed to fly out on September 11, after spending the last day in the Animal Kingdom. While dining in the Rainforest Café, our server stopped by the table and told us planes had crashed into the White House and the Empire State Building. We finished breakfast, unsure whether or not to believe him, and left feeling what he said was impossible, and likely a very unfunny joke.

Once outside, my mother whipped out her cell phone and called my grandparents. They confirmed planes had struck the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon, and America was under attack. We panicked. We were supposed to fly out that day. We immediately rushed back to the hotel, and since it was so early and only a handful of the guests knew what had happened, we were extremely fortunate in securing the last rental car via the receptionist at the hotel.

The taxi ride to the airport was excruciating. We sat dumbfounded for a little over an hour, listening to coverage of something we couldn't comprehend. When we got to the airport, it was on the television, but we couldn't stop to watch. We were getting out of town, out of Florida, and back home as soon as possible.

We drove forever. On the radio, we heard that Disney World had been closed, as officials feared it might be a terror-target. We listened to coverage for hours. I remember feeling numb, detached, on the verge of tears every second, quite sure that life would never be the same. Obviously, as we live in Missouri, we couldn't drive straight home. I think we stopped in Alabama. Then, for the first time, after listening to the ghastly details all day, we saw what radio correspondents were talking about.

To this day, I have never been able to accurately describe how strange that was. Hours upon hours of listening to people describe something one can’t grasp, and then seeing it clear as day. I know the Ground Zero footage was surreal for the global community, but I’ve always mentally likened it to being told extraterrestrials have landed, and then seeing a spacecraft firsthand. Something completely out of this world, beyond understanding or any semblance of reality.

I don't really remember the second day of driving as well as I do the first, only that I was tired and wanted to get home. I wanted to phone my friend, Matt, as his cynical little-bothers-me view on the world was exactly what I needed to feel normal. He didn't disappoint, and while I felt anything but normal, it was good to hear his voice. The next day at school, I talked with my friend Nikki London, who explained how she and those at school had learned what had happened. Had I been home, I would have learned alongside Nikki in orchestra class. A student who normally skipped orchestra came in and told the class planes had hit the Towers. The instructor had assumed the student was joking as a means of explaining his tardiness, and they went on with class. Finally, the instructor caved after the kid wouldn't relent, and when they saw it was true, class halted. I'm guessing everything halted. I can't imagine being at school and hearing that news.

Granted, up until it happened, I couldn't imagine being in Disney World, either.

Everyone remembers the days that followed. The sense of patriotism and courage, and the determination to strike back at the entity that had torn us apart. Even though I wasn’t one of Bush’s fans—being all of sixteen at the time—I remember feeling, for the first time, fully behind my president. I remember feeling proud when I saw him at Ground Zero, and I remember the dead certainty with which I reflected the enemy’s demise.

After a while, the enemy had a name. Osama bin Laden.

Nothing happened the way we thought. The patriotism that united us in the days following 9/11 was short-lived, and 9/11 itself became a political tool, something about which I am still bitter. After a while, I, like so many, consigned myself to the reality that bin Laden had more friends than we did, and “smoking him out” was a task easier said than done.

Last night, nearly ten years after my first and only trip to Disney World, a good friend sent me a late night text message. “Osama bin Laden is dead, body in US custody.” My initial response was shock, and I expect that sentiment carries across the world. Aaron and I hurried downstairs to watch the presidential address, and even after a sleepless night, understanding what happened seems miles away.

Nikki London and I drive to work together every morning. She summed it up for me. Our generation was shaped by 9/11. It was our moment of reckoning. We were in high school when the Towers went down, and our adolescence and maturation into adulthood was molded and influenced by living in a post-9/11 world. A part of me remains conflicted over the rest, which yearns to celebrate a man’s death. The pundits last night toted this as Obama’s crowning achievement. I don’t know why, but it seems odd to regard the president’s largest achievement as getting a man killed. It also feels strange feeling glad a man is dead, but I won’t apologize.

Whatever else, last night marked a milestone in a war that defined my upbringing and reminded me, despite my country’s flaws (and they are aplenty), how proud I am to be an American.

The war on terror is far from over. I doubt it will ever be over. Still, the part of me that remains that timid sixteen year old feels at peace, and I hope the sentiment lasts a long, long time.