Archive for category Free for All Friday

You Know You’re a Writer When…

The Spawn and his minion Lazr Cat.

The Spawn and his minion Lazr Cat.

We’ve been talking about some heavy stuff the past several posts, so I figured it was time for a bit of levity. We writers are different *eye twitches* for sure, but the world would be SO boring without us.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve learned that regular people are cute, and no longer get offended with this conversation.

Regular Person: What do you do?

Writer: I’m a writer.

Regular Person: No, I mean, what’s your real job?

You’ve come to understand that writers are a lot like unicorns. Everyone knows about them, they’ve simply never seen a REAL ONE.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

The NSA, CIA and FBI no longer bother with you. Likely, they know you by name and now outsource to the creepy ice cream truck to just make a few passes and check to make sure you’re still at your computer.

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You Know You’re a Writer When…

When it comes to revisions, you actually contemplate hanging one of those cheap pine tree air fresheners around your neck because bathing or showering or eating or changing clothes will interrupt your mojo.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’re on such a roll with the WIP that you’ve forgotten a “real” world exists (including laundry). You’re down to wearing your husband’s socks and he’s either going commando or is forced to wear that thong given to him on his 40th birthday as a joke gift. The kids? Hell, they went feral a week ago.

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You Know You’re a Writer When…

You take a break from writing to go to the store and, on the way, begin untangling a plot problem. You finally realize you’re in the next state and have no idea how you got there. But good news is, you now know which poison is best to kill off the character modeled after that cheerleader who bullied you through high school. It’s the poison that will make her fat and wrinkly before she dies slowly from terminal acne.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You appreciate that if Febreeze is good enough for the couch, why not hose the preschooler? Hey, you spent extra for the anti-microbial one. It kills germs *rolls eyes*. Now your tot smells like a Hawaiian Breeze and his cooties can’t hurt others. You should get a freaking MEDAL for this kind of creativity.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve been diagnosed with Tourette’s, Multiple-Personality Disorder or both. It’s tough to explain you were simply working out dialogue when strapped to a gurney. But the upside is when they sedate you, it’s the only vacation you’ve had in months and insurance might even cover it. SCORE!

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’re no longer invited to family events because they can’t take the incessant correction of their grammar.

Chickens are done, people are FINISHED.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’re automatically safe from any episode of Hoarders because when you get enough books? Others naturally assume you’re a LIBRARY. Hey, maybe you can apply for government funding. Scratch that. Then, you’d have to let people borrow your books.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You willingly suffer frostbite hiding in a grocery freezer eavesdropping a couple’s fight, because dialogue that epic is worth a losing pinkie toe. Your coffee table’s already tried to assassinate it 342 times anyway.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve been mistaken for Gollum multiple times, because strangers found you in a dark corner whispering “My precious….” and it was just you and your Kindle.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You plow over the entire Kardashian family, because OMG there’s DEAN KOONTZ!

You Know You’re a Writer When…

Your idea of fun is reading the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, talking to your friends at the Coroner’s office or reading/writing Amazon reviews of the Bic Pen for Her or the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.

You Know You’re a Writer When…

Speaking of the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, you actually bought one, not only to support the greatest comedic writing in human history, but also to screw with the TSA. Can you get it through airport security without a full-body search? Hide it near your shoulders and FREE NECK MASSAGE!

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You’ve made it onto the Mormon and Jehova’s Witness DO NOT CALL LIST because you will only promise to convert with purchase of YOUR BOOKS (and favorable 5-star reviews).

You Know You’re a Writer When…

You watch the reality show Oddities and recognize your friends and a few members of your critique group. “Hey, are they buying that used straight-jacket and shrunken head for me? Awww, how thoughtful…”

You Know You’re a Writer When…

Every time some overblown Third World dictator threatens to destabilize the world, all you can think is, “Pfft. Amateur.”

Have any to add? I know you do. So, “You Know You’re a Writer When….”

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less)

I hope you guys will check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World and get prepared for 2014!!!!

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204 Comments

Insomnia, Wizard Vans, and Why Modern Women Read “50 Shades of Grey”

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Benjamin Watson.

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of Benjamin Watson.

We’ve been rather serious this week discussing the business side of the writing business. Today, we’re going to take off on a bizarre tangent another topic, namely because I haven’t slept in days and why put all this insomnia to waste?

I feel a lot like That 70s Show, the episode when the group decided to record all the “brilliant” ideas they got when they were stoned in the basement. Ideas that later…?

…yeah.

Some of my ideas (concocted at 4:00 a.m.) seemed sheer genius at the time when I was held fast in the grip of sleep-deprivation. Then later? Upon reflection, they were completely asinine didn’t make the cut. Namely my idea for a 24 hour manicure-pedicure spa, for people like me who COULDN’T GET TO SLEEP.

At least we could get our toes done :D.

Then, I decided that when I made it big, the car of my dreams would be a WIZARD VAN. Hey, mobile bookstore and a guaranteed way to keep The Spawn from dating until he’s over thirty.

You know you’ve hit a new low when you’re shopping for a panel van with a Star Wars mural at three in the morning.

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Yet, 24 Hour Mani-Pedi Spas and panel vans aside, I did take some time to think through the whole E.L. James 50 Shades thing, putting my sleep-addled brain to unraveling one of the greatest mysteries of our times.

I have a couple confessions. First, as an author and recovered editor, every time I hear the buzz about 50 Shades of Grey being a runaway success, I want to throw myself in traffic. All the craft classes, the conferences, the research and people really want to read books about THIS? My second confession is I haven’t actually read 50 Shades of Grey. Hey, only so much time in the day and my job requires a lot of reading and research, and this genre?

“Not my beer,” as the Dutch like to say.

Yet, it didn’t stop me from wondering, why are these books so popular, especially with modern women? Why is there a virtual explosion in a genre that involves advanced skills in knot-tying and requires a leather-cleaning kit? What makes college-educated modern women who are taking the world by storm gravitate to wanting to be “enslaved”?

Why isn’t there enough NyQuil to get me to SLEEP?

Sorry, got off-topic there.

Prepare to play armchair psychiatrist. I am not a real psychiatrist, but I do play one on the Internet. My credentials? 1) Being a modern woman 2) possessing empathy 3) I once took a Feminist Politics class in college.

Reason #1—The Culture Shift

I think it’s fairly common knowledge that the individuals who gravitate to wanting to be dominated are often the powerful. Judges, politicians, doctors, lawyers, CEOs, etc. have a lot of responsibility. When we’re boss, everyone comes to us for answers and looks to us to be in charge. Thing is? While being in charge is great, it can also be exhausting.

I’ve been through two agents, and both times I waited far too long to part ways. Why? I was tired of thinking and being in charge *whiiiiiine* I wanted someone to order me around and tell me what to do.

“Yes, Master Agent, I will rewrite that chapter. I’m a BAD, BAD WRITER!”

***Clearly, both agents made lousy “Tops”.

I imagine if we had a time-machine and zoomed back to 1950, no one would drop by the house and wonder why a man’s wife didn’t have a job.

“What? Your little woman’s baking pies, changing diapers, and ironing your shirts? Why doesn’t she have a REAL job?”

We gals were in charge of house, kids, cooking, and laundry. We were on the PTA and baked cookies and made costumes for school plays. In 1952, women were accustomed to thousands of years of being ordered around, so safe to say we wouldn’t have wanted more of that in the bedroom. Yet, as the glass ceiling shattered and more women took on traditionally male roles? We began to see a shift.

“I can open my OWN door, thank you.”

***Subtext—But feel free to tie me up me later.****

Many women are in charge of pretty much EVERYTHING, whether we want to be or not. Even though most women work full-time, we’re still largely responsible for child-rearing and household duties. Trust me, (and maybe it’s because I AM in Texas), if someone comes over to the house and notices it’s so filthy the CDC needs to do a drop-by? My tail is on the line. NO ONE is going to look to my husband and ask why he didn’t help do more chores.

My toddler attends nursery school and the school still asks ME to hand-make costumes for plays for a three-year-old. Really. Sure, let me fit that into my meetings, deadlines, blogs, books and traveling. Yet, when my kid shows up for the play wearing a Batman shirt instead of dressed as a caterpillar? Nobody asks Hubby why he didn’t break out the sewing machine and hot glue gun.

No, it isn’t fair, but fair is a weather condition.

Reason #2—The Whole “Less Thinking Thing”

No, I don’t read erotica, but I am guilty of having an addiction to celebrity magazines. Modern women are using their brains more than ever, and sure that sounds insulting, but  bear with me.

Just Host wants my website to have a password with two uppercase letters, a symbol, punctuation, a number and a clever emoticon embedded within. I have to reset my password almost every time I log in. My brain is exhausted.

WHY?

Because EVERYONE wants us to do this crap. I have passwords for my passwords and no idea what I did with the electric bill and why is the toddler suddenly quiet and am I wearing my bra on the outside of my shirt?

Sometimes the “grey” matter just needs a break.

Why do you think I’m blogging about this stuff?

Reason #3—It’s Just Too Hard to Kick Your Own @$$

I think a lot of modern women (especially those who happen to be moms) live in a state of perpetual guilt. For instance, my toddler knows his colors, his numbers and can even read…but potty training? I might as well be trying to teach him Advanced Particle Physics. I vacillate between, “Hey, not too bad. He’s pretty smart” and “OH DEAR GOD I SO SUCK AND MY CHILD MIGHT BE RETARDED.”

Yes, I am a #1 best-selling author, but the closets are a DISASTER and the dust bunnies have started a Hippie Commune in the garage and I swear I OWN scissors. I’ve bought 54 pairs! Where the hell have they all gone?

***My husband loses NO sleep over these things, btw.

Inside I know I’m a failure, but maybe it would just be cathartic and allow me to move forward if I could be handcuffed and told, “You’ve been bad. I saw inside your fridge and know you didn’t finish the laundry. Tell me you’re a bad wife!”

Didn't I just WASH these? BAD WIFE!

Didn’t I just WASH these? BAD WIFE!

Me: “I’m a BAD, BAD GIRL! I know! I haven’t sorted baby toys from the toddler toys! Yes, there are newborn clothes still in my child’s closet! I’M A BAD MOM! PUNISH ME!”

Then I can cry, confess and move on.

See? 50 Shades demystified! And y’all thought women were complicated (ok we are O_o).

What are your thoughts? Ever been in the clutches of insomnia and bombarded with “brilliant” ideas? Are you a modern woman riddled with nonsensical guilt? A modern dad? Am I on to something, that maybe we just want someone else to make a decision or…20?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of August, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS: I have a class coming up August 21st, I am running a Your First Five Pages webinar. Bronze is $40 and Gold is $55 (I look at your first five pages) and use WANA15 for 15% off.

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98 Comments

Writing, Babies, Breast Cancer—What it Means to Be a WANA

Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all...

Susie Lindau, the bravest WANA of all…

Many people run across the #MyWANA on Twitter or WANA on Facebook and ask, “What is WANA?” Boy, that is a BIG question to answer. It all began with a simple book to help writers understand social media. I recall talking about potential titles with my editor Jen Talty (at WDW Publishing, now Cool Gus Publishing).

WANA the Book

I’d been wracking my brain trying to think of a title that encapsulated the message I wanted others to hear, what I wanted them to feel. Then Jen asked an important question that changed everything, “Kristen, what do you want others to feel when they read your book?”

I replied, “I want them to know they are not alone.”

So much about writing is solitary, and many of us experience alienation and even outright animosity from those closest. I recall my early writing journey being very, very lonely and it was easy to become overwhelmed and depressed and consider giving up.

When I realized social media would be a game-changer, I wondered, “How can one writer  do ALL that is necessary?” Then I realized we couldn’t. We needed a family, a community of support.

WANA the Community

I wish I’d been smart enough to see what WANA would eventually become, but I wasn’t responsible for taking WANA to the next level. Writers started referring to themselves as WANAs. They met in person in their cities. They sought out conferences where they could meet and spend time with these digital friends they’d come to love.

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Piper Bayard and I are WINNING at DWFWWCon…

I know that most of the friends I love would never have been in my life had it not been for WANA. Why? Because writers need more than writing tips and marketing, and promotion. They need emotional support. They need help when times were hard, or when they have to pull away from social media for revisions.

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More WANA Cowbell in SoCal…

WANAs can be spotted. We are where the FUN is!

WANAs can be spotted. We are where the FUN is!

WANAs at Huntington Beach...

WANAs at Huntington Beach…

Soon, WANAs started trading help. When one had a deadline and couldn’t blog, other WANAs stepped in and offered guest posts to keep the writer’s blog living and thriving.

WANA the Family

Then we had a WANA, author Myndi Schafer who was VERY pregnant when she took one of my blogging classes. Her due date was closing and guess what? The WANAs were there. They took over her blog, tweeted for her, kept up with her, checked on her and let her know she was not alone.

Myndi and first WANA Baby

Myndi and first WANA Baby

Later, another WANA started an on-line business. Just about the time it was taking off, she was broad-sided by an eighteen-wheeler and hospitalized for quite some time. One day I got a message. She was ecstatic. When she finally returned home, she expected all she’d built to be in ruins, but while she was recovering, other WANAs had risen to the occasion to help and not let her platform wither away.

WANA Tasha Turner.

WANA Tasha Turner.

WANAs have cheered for each other’s successes, celebrated births and anniversaries. We have been there to support WANAs who had critically ill family members. Hey, is there anything I can do? Can I help you? Just here to let you know you are loved. You are not alone.

It’s hard to say how many WANAs there are, because I seem to run into them everywhere and it is always an amazing and simultaneously humbling experience.

WANAs in The Big Apple

WANAs in The Big Apple

Recently, I was having dinner with two WANAs in a small suburb of Denver. We were sitting outside enjoying gluten-free pasta (I swear all WANAs are GF, LOL) and my voice tends to carry.

Okay, I am loud naturally. Comes from being half-deaf :D.

Out of nowhere a woman walking by with two children stops at our table, and says, “OMG! I’m a WANA. It’s Julie Hedlund!”

What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)

What a WANA Coincidence! (Susie Lindau, Moi, Julie Hedlund, Piper Bayard)

WANA the Warriors

Today, I want to call the WANAs together for an amazing and special woman (a WANA), Susie Lindau. The thing about WANA is you meet people who make you better than you ever imagined you could be. WANA is about love, community and service above self, so I find it attracts the most beautiful, thoughtful people. You will meet people who are always smiling, even in the face of fear. They will love you even if they’ve never met you and fight for you when they have to.

Susie Lindau is facing breast cancer and she is one of the funniest, most incredible people I’ve been honored to know. She is a true WANA. She’s using her battle as a message to let women facing this disease to know they are not alone. So please check out her blog The Boob Report. She’s having surgery today, and will be going through a radical double mastectomy. If you have a moment and use Twitter, please tweet her some WANA love and well-wishes at #SusieStrong.

Oh, by the way, I wasn’t smart enough to think of that either. Other WANAs got together and made a plan to let Susie know how much we love her and I am just the messenger. They e-mailed me their plan to support Susie, which is why they ROCK.

This is the thing WANAs do and it is why I am so proud of them every day (and yes I am crying as I write this).

Alone is Hell

In 2003 I was misdiagnosed with epilepsy. The medications gave me pneumonia and I was so weak I couldn’t get off the couch. I had no close family and since I’d worked three years on the road, I had no friends. Not able to breathe or move, I withered down to where I wore children’s clothing which I didn’t have the strength to change often. I recall laying in the dark and wanting to die because the crushing feeling of being alone was worse than the illnesses I was fighting.

My mom finally pushed her way in and wouldn’t leave my side. It took months to recover and I doubt I would have had she not stuck to me like a burr.

The WANA World

I only tell you this story because it was my motive behind the type of world I wanted to create. I wanted to create a way that no one would have to be alone. Whether it was something as simple as encouragement to make word count, or a digital family that could be there to send love, prayers and support during sickness or tragedy, that was the community I wanted to be a part of.

The WANAs were there when I got the news my husband was being deployed to Afghanistan. They offered for me to come visit, or for them to come visit me. And the WANAs were there for me when my son was terribly injured. He had all his front teeth smashed into the maxilla and needed emergency surgery. (He is fine now, just looks like an adorable little bat).

Poor Spawn...

Poor Spawn…

I cannot tell you how overwhelming it is sometimes to have once been a person with no friends, to becoming a person who has more friends than she could have ever dreamed of, people of the highest quality. People better than me who make me better. This post does no justice to how much I love the WANAs. What started as a book title became so much more than I could have envisioned.

We’re a cult um, family :D

WANA Lynn Kelly, really is a superhero.

WANA Lynn Kelly, really is a superhero.

So please show Susie’s blog some love. Tweet some support at #SusieStrong. Anyone with love to share and spare can be a WANA. There is no official membership, just a very special mission. Love. Only a big heart required.

WE LOVE YOU, SUSIE. You are NOT alone!

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65 Comments

The Real Problem with Abercrombie & Fitch—How Jeffries’ Message Hurts Us ALL

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Meme from Facebook

I wasn’t going to blog at all this week. Have been taking a break and refueling. But when I came in from being away for a week, one of the first articles I saw was regarding Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jeffries’ “marketing campaign” for the preppy clothing line (quoted in the meme above).

Jeffries is being hailed by some marketing experts as a brilliant visionary, but I wonder how he would be perceived if he was excluding people of color or sexual orientation. What would people think if he only wanted “white kids” or “straight people” wearing his clothing line?

Don’t get me wrong, A&F has the right to define their demographic, but we as consumers have a right not to buy clothes from such an uncreative designer that has such a warped vision of beauty and a skewed sense that Skinny=Popular & Cool. Even Perez Hilton weighed in on this matter.

A&F’s marketing campaign is as deep as a puddle, so as a former copy writer, I thought that maybe I could offer some assistance:

We at Abercrombie & Fitch are seriously uncreative fashion designers. It takes true talent to make larger people look equally amazing, and we simply lack that skill and prefer to take the easy route. Hey, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to make a Size 00 woman look attractive, but to design clothes that make a size 14 woman look just as hot? Wow. We’d totally have to go back to school for that, and then we wouldn’t have time to spray our cologne all over the mall like a crop-duster.

I know this might seem strange, but I don’t think I am all that offended that they don’t carry larger sizes. A lot of stores don’t. But these other stores are at least smart enough not to use Mean Girls Marketing.

The Real Problem with Abercrombie and Fitch

What is troubling about A&F’s stance is that body size is somehow equivalent with beauty, a great attitude and popularity. If you are over a size 10, then clearly you can’t possess any of these qualities. Conversely, if you are so thin you disappear when you turn sideways, then you must be AWESOME and have it all together.

I think Jeffries’ stance hurts all kids on all ends of the size spectrum.

I was never a cool kid *shock face*. I know!

I was the geek who none of the A&F crowd noticed until they needed help with their Chemistry or Physics homework. High school was very hard for me. I owned three pairs of pants and four shirts and it didn’t take long for the A&F crowd to hone in on this. Many of them made it their life mission to point out I wasn’t like them and that I was not much better than gum on the bottom of their Cole Haan shoes.

In my experience, the people who wore these clothes weren’t popular because they were awesome people; they were popular because they ruled the school like Machiavelli. They were pretty on the outside, but mean to the core. Why?

Hurting people hurt people.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized their behavior stemmed from a profound brokenness. If they didn’t have the trendy clothes, if they were so FAT they had to wear a SIZE SIX, they had no identity. They had to purchase it. The labels promised what they had no power to deliver…meaning. Authentic identity.

While kids like me were having fun making our own bad Kung Fu movies and holding all-night Monty Python marathons with fellow members of the Chess Team, those “cool” kids were puking in the shower, drinking themselves into a stupor, or snorting cocaine so they wouldn’t get too fat for their designer clothes.

Yes, There is the Obvious

I know a lot of us are offended by Jeffries’ attitude toward those of us with a fair share of fluff. That’s easy to be angry about. We know this country is facing an obesity epidemic and we do have to get that under control.

Being too overweight creates all kinds of health problems, but there are plenty of amazing, beautiful, intelligent, kind, wonderful people who can’t fit into A&F clothes.

Yet, I don’t think this is the most insidious part of the A&F message.

Labels Lie and People Die

For years, I was naive (like Jeffries). In high school and college, I wanted so much to be like those “cool” kids. Yet, years later, I was astonished how many of the “popular kids” were dead. Some were homeless because of hopeless drug addiction. Others were in and out of rehab and mental facilities.

So many of the kids I assumed to be the “All-American kid with a great attitude and lots of friends” committed suicide because death was the only way they could see to end their inner suffering so cleverly disguised by distressed denim.

Why did these kids choose to end their own life?

No designer label could give them what they so desperately needed—love, meaning, and genuine connection.

I was guilty. I’d bought into the marketing lie—that these kids with these clothes have everything. Now, being older and wiser, I am deeply saddened. What if I’d had the courage to cross the A&F line and realize that “cool guy” was hurting? Would he still be alive?

His Name was Matt

I cry every time I think of him (crying now as I write this). I had such a crush on him, but I didn’t have the right (clothes) to talk to him. I didn’t have enough money to be his friend, or the right “look” to be his girlfriend.

And Matt committed suicide and I’m angry. I will never be able to tell Matt how awesome I really thought he was. I couldn’t see beyond his clothes to notice his drinking and drug problem. I was blinded by the glare of his designer label, the glare that hid the growing darkness that was consuming him. I took his A&F clothes at face value. They became a barrier I couldn’t cross.

Hey, he’s wearing Abercrombie and Fitch, so everything in HIS world is FABULOUS.

Her Name was Adrian

She was a cheerleader, and I was afraid to talk to her. She died because she drank so much alcohol, she asphyxiated in her sleep. She drank to numb the pain hiding behind her trendy clothes; pain none of us saw.

This Crisis Runs Far Deeper than a Box of Krispy Kremes

I believe we are a country in crisis, not only because we struggle with our weight. We are in crisis because we are too easily drawn into the lie. Thin and beautiful people hurt, struggle and are lonely, too. An $80 t-shirt can’t fill the void. Just go to author and former fashion model August McLaughlin’s blog and she talks about this very issue.

I believe Abercrombie & Fitch has every right to limit their market. They have the right to believe their clothes are only for the pretty people. BUT, they do not have the right to define our humanity.

To all of my Fellow Fluffies…

Y’all are awesome and Jeffries is an @$$clown. You are beautiful and every one of you have something special to offer this world. Ignore idiots. Don’t buy the lie that you aren’t special because you can’t wear their clothes.

BUT, don’t buy the lie that those who sport the A&F line are okay. Some of them are profoundly wounded. The designer label could be their way to hide the hurting and broken person below.

To all of the Beautiful People

Yes, we love looking at pictures of you. Being beautiful and thin on the outside is a gift and one you can be proud of. I hope you will be as saddened by Jeffries’ stance as I am. You are more than your Size 2 jeans.

Many of you are artistic, creative, intelligent, kind and good and that should matter. You are awesome on your own without A&F’s help. For Jeffries to assume his clothes make you YOU should just be insulting.

Dare to Cross the A&F Line

I end with this this letter to Abercrombie & Fitch, which says it all. I know that the good life, the rich life is discovered when we look for beauty everywhere. The world is filled with it, and often it isn’t wearing a pair of overpriced capris. I challenge each and every one of us to be brave enough to cross that A&F line—either defect from it, or reach out in spite of it.

What are your thoughts? Were you as upset and saddened by Jeffries’ message as I was? To the popular crowd, are you insulted that Jeffries assumes his clothes is what makes you worthwhile?

Were you the geek who struggled to fit in? What are your thoughts about this growing narcissism we’re seeing? The rise of body dysmorphia? What do you think is dangerous about this consumer culture? To the parents out there, what does this make you feel in regards to your children?

Or, am I out of line? Am I reading too much into this. Hey, I AM a writer. We over-think almost EVERYTHING :D. Feel free to disagree, I just ask you do it respectfully.

I love hearing from you!

And yes, comments count for my contest, but I am not mentioning my books here because this issue is not to market me, but rather to talk about a growing problem we all need to address.

We are not alone.

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206 Comments

The Top 5 TSA-Friendly Zombie-Killing Weapons for the Apocalypse

Kristen Lamb, Author Kristen Lamb, zombie

Walking Dead? Wait for the end of November, LOL

Whenever I travel, I have a number of fears.

1) The ONE time I don’t leave my home clean enough to perform open heart surgery will, of course, be the trip where I die in a fiery crash. Thus, as a good luck talisman of sorts, I have this compulsive need to make sure every stitch of dirty laundry is clean and put away. It’s my psychotic-and-pretty-much-fully-delusional-insurance against plane crashes.

2) If I wear cute, impractical shoes, the plane will have to make an emergency landing in some desert and then I will have to hump it out of Death Valley in those Betsey Johnson Iron-Maidens-for-the-Feet. In my mind I die not because I didn’t have a way out, but because I foolishly chose fashion over function. We miss dear Kristen, but she left this world looking ADORABLE!

3) The Zombie Apocalypse will strike when I am away.

Every single trip, I have the same fear (I blame this on being a Gen-Xer). All I can think is, Gee, I hope the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t start when I’m in CA and away from Hubby, Spawn and all the guns. I know normal people don’t think things like this, but you guys are writers, so you totally understand.

And I know some of you went through this with me right before the NYC trip, but it’s HALLOWEEN! Zombies are a totally appropriate topic, and everyone should be prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse anyway. You can laugh now, but if a horde of brainless freaks hit the streets of your town, you will be thinking, I didn’t know the presidential campaign was coming HERE.

Ooops. Inside words stay inside. Zombies don’t like politicians anyway. They’re empty calories.

Where was I? Oh, yes. You will be thankful that weirdos people like me thought this stuff through.

Today I am frantically trying to get as much work done as humanly possible before I leave for the LaJolla Writer’s Conference. I hope some of you, if you’re in the area, can make it. I’m super excited because I get to see one of my fave peeps in the world, James Rollins. AND I get to go all fangirl on Tess Gerritsen. Squeeeeeeeeee! James Rollins and Tess Gerritsen in the SAME PLACE?

I think I have the schmeltz *fans self.*

But of course, it is impossible for me to travel without thinking of the Doomsday Zombie Separated from Home Scenario.

Yes, this is me.

Come on! If the zombies strike LaJolla, then I have to make it cross country, and who knows if the outbreak is contained to just the west coast? And then I have to figure out how to ride a dirt bike and we all know how well that went last time. Then I have to find gluten-free-dairy-free food (I am SO screwed) and stay alive long enough to make it all the way home to TEXAS to rendezvous with Hubby because he is NOT doing this without me!

Hubby and I are way to excited about this…

Be prepared….

You shall not pass, Zombie FREAK!

Am I wrong to be a little freaked out about leaving home? In Texas, I HAVE a plan. We have weapons, ammo, a fallback point and lots of GF food. We can also raid the burned out shells of Central Market, Sprouts and Trader Joe’s as we flee to the ranch. But to leave out of town? I can’t bring nail clippers on a plane, so this presents a new challenge.

This is what always happens in the movies. The protagonist leaves for some innocuous business trip, and that is precisely the moment that some corporation trying to create a new kind of permanent Botox screws up. Then the protagonist is in for a cross-country zombie-fest with only the hope of being reunited with loved ones to cling to.

YES, I do have an overactive imagination. It is why it was better I become a writer than an accountant.

I am a really odd duck. Yes, that’s a nice “shocked face.” Thank you for being polite. No, seriously. I think these things through. I am the person who gives SAS Survival Guides as Christmas gifts and made a note to pick up a copy of Bob’s new survival book once it comes out.

But I am in a bit of a conundrum since the terrorists ruined travel FOREVER. What can I pack in case of the Zombie Apocalypse?

The people in the movies are never prepared, which is why I am then required to shout expletives at the screen to make-believe people who can’t even hear me.

Anyway, since my life is not a movie…yet :D…I’ve had to get creative. Here are my Top 5 TSA-Friendly Zombie-Killing Weapons. Make it through airport security and rest assured that you will be prepared should the Zombie Apocalypse strike when you are on vacation or business travel, because you just know that an apocalypse never strikes at a convenient time *rolls eyes*. I think AAA and the airlines should give these kinds of travel tips, stuff we can actually use.

Top Five TSA-Friendly Zombie-Killing Weapons for the Apocalypse 

1. Justin Bieber CDs

Being attacked by a horde of brainless freaks? Play some Justin Bieber and they are guaranteed to start dancing and crying and believing that Justin like seriously like looked right at them! SQUEEEEEEE! This method is guaranteed not only to distract the zombies, but it might even attract some Justin Bieber fans to give the zombies a snack so they aren’t busy chasing you.

The TSA isn’t crazy about Justin Bieber CDs, but they aren’t yet officially listed as weapons of terror.

Yet.

2. Cheap Hairspray

I would go for the industrial size can if you check a bag, but also at least 40 bottles of the travel size. They are under 2.5 ounces, so the TSA can’t exactly stop you, and if you wear big Texas hair they might not even bat an eye.

Hairspray, of course, is easy to make into a flamethrower, and also to do your hair. Duh.

Everyone has camera phones these days so it is a pretty safe bet that people will be taking pictures of the Zombie Apocalypse. And on any footage captured? Naturally, you want to be looking your best.

3. Bubble Wrap

To the TSA, bubble wrap just looks like you are OCD about packing your stuff and making sure it doesn’t get jacked up. What they don’t realize is bubble wrap can serve as a Zombie Early Warning System. Scaling fences and cars running from mindless monsters can be tiring, so you need to get your rest. Just use the bubble wrap to form a perimeter. When they step on it? The noise can wake you up and then, when they are distracted playing with the bubble wrap–because, seriously who can resist freaking BUBBLE WRAP?—you can bust  cap in their @$$. Not exactly a weapon, but the zombies end up dead–er, so who cares? Close enough.

4. Lady Gaga Meat Dress

It’s like a Ghillie Suit for slaying zombies. Just make sure you wrap this in the bubble wrap to keep it from leaking on your other stuff. And I might advise freezing your meat dress.

Not only will freezing your meat dress keep it fresh for the flight, but wearing freezing cold meat can a) help you stay cool while running for your life b) serve as a cold compress for any injuries you might sustain c) makes excellent body armor d) will keep anyone of the opposite sex from remotely hitting on you, thus preventing the sexual distraction that normally comes before a zombie rips your skull open e) can be used as food until it get’s that greenish slimy look f) but once it does get green, slimy and stinky, you will fit right in with the zombies, thus the Lady GaGa meat dress becomes the perfect zombie camouflage. The downside is the zombies might not eat you, but you could die of e-coli, so make sure to fully cook your meat dress before consumption

The TSA might be iffy on this one. I know we can’t transport produce across state lines, but no one at the airlines would answer my questions about the meat dress. And now my phone is clicking. I think it’s been tapped.

5. A Bag Full of Legos

Need to trip up a pursuer? Toss a bag of Legos on the stairs and listen for the scream. To the TSA agent, you look like a loving family member bringing a child a toy, but little do they know Legos have a dark side and sharp edges.

The Spawn claims it isn’t a mess, it’s preparation.

Well, those are the Top Five TSA-Friendly Zombie-Killing Weapons.

For me? Back to packing and finding my Spanx. Haven’t worn those since NYC!

Any TSA friendly weapons you would like to add? I have to pack for the potential Zombie Apocalypse LaJolla Writer’s Conference and right now, to be honest, I can’t think much past great shoes for running and hair utensils that can be sharpened to kill. I’d love some additional suggestions to add to the bag.

Do you have weird travel rituals? Do you have a fear of dying and loved ones finding your house a mess? Why would we care anyway?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of November, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of November I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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30 Comments

Friday Fun, Change and Writers Behaving Badly

Every mother’s fear when she goes to pee…

Happy Friday! Today, I have a small announcement. After I finish my structure series (which should be Monday), I am going to drop blogging to only one day a week. I will be blogging Wednesdays and keeping Fridays for any guest posts. Here is a warning. I might blog more than just one day a week because I dig checking in, chatting, and I’m always learning cool stuff that I love sharing here for your benefit.

Yet, here is the deal.

Not only am I working on a new WANA book, but I am also teaching classes then traveling to teach and speak. I am in LaJolla, California next weekend, then Boise, Idaho the weekend after that, then New Orleans, Louisiana the weekend after that…and then I plan on collapsing into a coma the weekend after that.

Yeah, he’s not happy…

This past year my travel schedule has taken off at warp speed, which is AWESOME. I LOVE getting to meet you guys in person, and it is my joy to teach you how to be successful. I love the invitations, but I am lacking a cloning device and there is only so much of ME.

…which probably why God won’t let me have a cloning device. The world is ready for only so much Kristen Lamb.

I’m doing a lot of flying, which means I need to be at the airport 7 hours early to prove my shoes won’t detonate and that my facial cleanser isn’t radioactive ebola. Thus, when you have to leave the house at 5:00 a.m. on the Friday you are posting and then you get home at 2:00 a.m. on the Monday you are posting, this is a one-way ticket to Crazy Town.

I strive for consistency, so I will consistently post on Wednesdays. Anything other than this is just extra. I have tried doing shorter posts….

…yeah, we all know how THAT went. Anyway, I think this might be a good change in that I can spend more time on my posts and also put a lot of this information into books so that you have the lessons handy where you can read, highlight and study.

There will be a quiz.

Okay, kidding about the quiz.

….maybe.

Anyway, enjoy your weekend. Here is a laugh to celebrate your Friday…

Have you run into authors behaving badly? What do you think of writers writing their own reviews? Have you actually seen this happen?

I love hearing from you! (Contest details below)

Quick Announcement: Have trouble putting down and enforcing boundaries with yourself? With family? Always putting everyone else ahead of yourself? I am teaching a new class called Good Fences–The Writer’s Guide to Setting Boundaries and it is only $15 so I hope you will take advantage. This class is perfect for those who want to do Nanowrimo. I’ll help you learn the Art of the Loving NO.

***Class fee does not apply to meth-addicted howler monkey with a sidearm to guard your office door.

To prove it and show my love, for the month of October, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of October I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

62 Comments

…And Then I was Attacked by a Chupacabra

Ever get kind of a cool injury, but the story is so lame you can barely stand it the first time, let alone the 20th? I’ve always had a thing with coffee tables. Several have tried to kill me. My theory? There exists a dark underground network of low furniture, baby toys, and steps-of-odd-height seeking my destruction. Seriously. To this day I refuse to have a coffee table, namely for all the lame injuries I had to explain; the broken toes, sprained ankles and twisted knees.

Now, in my youth, let’s just say I burned the candle at both ends. Was there any lane OTHER than the FAST lane?

I was wild. I was known to go up “down”-escalators, tear tags OFF the mattress, and even only shampoo ONCE, people! Oh, I know danger. I’ve looked it in the eye. I have even…run with scissors, and do you think I EVER got injured doing ANYTHING remotely cool? Nope.

Fell over the coffee table.

Tripped over the cat.

Ran into the door.

Stumbled into a nest of Leggos.

Was ambushed by the garden hose.

What really stinks is when you get an injury that kind of cripples you, even a little—a bandaged ankle, a bandaged foot, a set of crutches—then you not only have to hobble around, but every person you meet wants to know. “What happened?” Because you didn’t feel like near big enough of a dumb@$$ when you went running for your cell phone, fell over the Tickle-Me-Elmo, then tumbled down the stairs and nearly strangled in your own shoelaces.

Uncool. Now my story.

So it was the 4th of July. When I awoke that morning, I felt an eerie sense that there might be trouble brewing, namely because Hubby was home and not at work. Being the AWESOME wife I am, I went to the store to pick up some treats for the holiday, namely Hubby’s favorite fancy vanilla soda made with cane sugar. On my way back, I selflessly fed some orphans and rescued a couple puppies and kittens, unaware of the dangers ahead.

I asked Hubby to put away the groceries while I tidied the kitchen. I’d been making from scratch homemade gluten-free pasta salad. Hubby “innocently” sits down in the living room and, I can only assume, waits for the scream. As I was putting away the pasta to cool, I opened the door. My hands were full and all I could do was watch the glass bottle spiral down in slow-motion and then BOOM!

…the bottle exploded and my foot was hit by Hank’s Gourmet Vanilla Soda shrapnel.

The super yummy weapon forged against me….

See my problem here?

NO WAY I TELL THIS STORY IS REMOTELY COOL!

Kristen Lamb

We have blood spatter….

The bottle explodes and cuts my foot. I have to remove said vanilla gourmet soda shrapnel from my own flesh, wrap my foot in what I can find to stem the bleeding (a dried-out baby wipe), and start cleaning the floor like the good Scandinavian woman I am. I bled as I mopped just like my Viking foremothers….

I know, you’re like “How did she mop with THAT injury?”

ACTUAL CONVERSATION WITH HUBBY:

HUBBY: What is all this blood?

ME: I CUT myself on YOUR cream soda booby trap!

HUBBY: My what?

ME: If you are going to try and kill me, could you use the cheap soda, please?

HUBBY: I wasn’t trying to kill you and why are you mopping?

ME: Oh, so not KILL me just MAIM me. Did you have to break cream soda all over the clean floor? Why can’t you booby-trap the fridge before I mop?

HUBBY: I didn’t booby-trap the fridge and YOU ARE GETTING BLOOD ALL OVER THE PLACE.

ME: I have to get the floor clean!

HUBBY: No, you need to go bandage your foot.

ME: But you don’t mop the floor properly!

HUBBY: *stern face* Don’t make me burrito you.

Hubby knows the trigger word to pull me out of the crazy-spin. He first used this term “burrito you” when, after 93 hours of labor and no sleep for a week I came home with The Spawn and started cleaning house and doing laundry even though I was so tired I was hallucinating…

This is what Hubby means by the term “burrito you”…

ANYWAY, hobbling in my blood-soaked baby wipe, I CLEANED EVERY LAST BIT OF THAT FLOOR before tending to my own injury. Oma Johanna would be so proud.

Yeah, still sounds really lame which is why, now, when people ask about the 1/8″ scar I just KNOW I am going to get, THIS is the story I am going to tell…

On my way home from buying cream soda and helping orphans, NINJAS came out of nowhere, and I was in a high-speed chase across the Target parking lot and barely made it home. When I was unloading the car, I forgot that nitrate-free, no-preservative hot dogs, while good for your family and more nutritious, are the favorite food of the Chupacabra. And I know what you are thinking.

Aren’t Chupacabras nocturnal?

Yes, they are. Everyone knows that, but I can only assume the fireworks and general nocturnal asshattery that goes with the 4th of July must have kept the beast awake all night…making it especially hungry for nitrate-free hot dogs.

I don’t remember much. The foul creature must have gotten my foot before I pulled the recycling on top of it (because when I am not helping orphans I am saving the planet). Hubby followed the blood until he found me…

Crime Scene Photo of the Chupacabra Attack…..

Doesn’t this picture look WAY cooler in black and white?

ANYWAY, my cut wasn’t that big for all the blood. Sad Face :(. Hubby just told me I was being dramatic…and to buy him some more cream soda since I broke one.

Have you guys ever had a really lame accident and you had to tell the same lame story over and over? What cool story do you wish it could have been? Tell it here! A sprained ankle caused by Sasquatch? Mosquito bites that were really the suction marks from alien probing? Get creative and have fun!

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of July, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

***Changing the contest.

It is a lot of work to pick the winners each week. Not that you guys aren’t totally worth it, but with the launch of WANA International and WANATribe I need to streamline. So I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners will now have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

Winner of TWENTY PAGES OF SLAYING…um, critique is Karen Cunningham! Please send your 5000 word WORD document to kristen@wanaintl.com. You have until the END OF JULY (JULY 31) to submit your pages.

At the end of July I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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80 Comments

What the #@$% Do You Wear to a High School Reunion?

Kristen Lamb, Social Media Jedi, Age 18

Okay, so a couple weeks ago I was on the fence, trying to decide whether or not to go to my 20 year high school reunion. I’m lying. I was on the roof drinking straight from the margarita machine, and y’all were talking me down. Well, most of you. A handful called me a sissy and dared me to jump because you’re sick that way and it’s probably why we’re friends. Anyway, after much deliberation and candy bribes, I decided to go. What the hell? What’s the worst that can happen that I can’t blame half of you in my comments section for, right?

This is the kind of accountability America was founded on, people.

So to make matters even MORE WEIRD, because high school wasn’t freaking awkward enough, my husband has totally bailed on going with me. Something about the military arresting him if he chooses me over drill weekend with the Air Force. He can be a total baby like that. Can’t even spend a couple days in jail to be there with his wife at her high school reunion. I figure he just really wanted me to have the authentic high school experience where no one asked me to the dance, but since I already had tickets, I had to bribe some last-minute friend or random homeless person to go with me.

Ingrid decided to take a bullet for me go with me, because she is kind and sweet and it was either go to the high school reunion with me or smother me with a pillow to stop the whining. Ingrid isn’t into murder….yet. But I suspect I might have been pushing that boundary. She will probably do like my mother and come to a rolling stop and shove me out with my backpack and yell something about a neighbor taking me home.

Anyway, I am having a small panic attack because what the hell do you wear to a high school reunion? On the invite? No clues. No pictures and frankly, I only have the movies to go off of here.

Too Formal?

Too formal?

So I am guessing my wedding dress is a tad on the “too formal” side, but then I think all I have left is yoga pants and smart@$$ t-shirts. And yes, I am inserting my wedding pictures in here because I am going stag to my own reunion. Here is PROOF that Stockholm syndrome works and can land you a husband.

Only took 4 months of captivity for him to agree….

Yeah, so any of the high school people who don’t believe I really have a husband, here is proof that I am really married…or really good at Photoshop, which is probably more likely for them to believe.

Too Redneck?

Too Redneck?

For some reason this look could freak people out at the reunion, and that’s all I need is for security to get involved…again.

Too June Cleaver?

Wash off your dish, or I will hunt you like a dog….

Actually, the outfit above is likely the dressiest one I wear. My “dress apron,” reserved for special occasions like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, twice on Saturday, and Sunday. Okay, I seriously live in an apron.

I feel like the maid! Can’t this place stay clean for five SECONDS?

I have no idea what to wear since I live in Dr. Seuss pajama pants and a Batman shirt. I’m a writer! This is why I love my job! Anything I choose, frankly feels like a Lady Gaga meat dress. So I am opening up my comments for suggestions, and you know you’ve hit a special low-point in life when you are asking a bunch of writers for fashion advice, so if I attend wearing my favorite Sponge Bob t-shirt it’s just proof I am powerless in the face of peer pressure. But lay it on me! I don’t want to be too formal, but I don’t want to be too casual, either.

Help me Obi-Wan…you’re my only hope.

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of June, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

***Changing the contest.

It is a lot of work to pick the winners each week. Not that you guys aren’t totally worth it, but with the launch of WANA International and WANATribe I need to streamline. So I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners will now have one business week  (5 days) to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

There are a couple people I found in the spam folder yesterday, so will be getting edits back to Patricia Morris, Rachel Sullivan, Pauline Jones, and Jennette Mbewe. You are not forgotten. Chad Carver? Send your pages to kristen @ wana intl dot com because I still can’t find your pages.

At the end of June I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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99 Comments

Pina Colada Pedicures & Gunpowder Body Lotion–The Difference Between the Sexes

So this past weekend I finally carved out the time to go and get a pedicure, which I used to do once every week and a half, pre-marriage-baby-being-a-serious-writer. Serious as in I write every day, not serious as in I am above Star Wars references and quoting Monty Python.

What you guys likely don’t know is that I have like the World’s Skinniest Feet. I wear a 9.5 AAA, which means nothing comes in my size…ever. It also means that I am condemned to living in flip-flops all year, clogs for the handful of really cold days in Texas. This means my feet are almost a perpetual train wreck of callous, which used to not be too bad before I got married and started valuing sleep over having a flower painted on my big toe nail.

Thus, this past weekend I drew the line and decided it was time to get a pedicure, and I really felt sorry for…Tina, because she had her work cut out for her (I am an excellent tipper).

So Tina hands me this menu so I can pick out what “flavor” I want. Now I know there are words that are easy to confuse and lose in translation. I once asked a Swiss woman if she was cooking dog for dinner and then later announced at dinner that I was sexually aroused.

Ich bin heiss apparently means you’re feeling randy and it’s Ich habe heiss if you mean that you are feeling hot, not HOT. “I am hot,” not “I am HOT.

…I’ll shut about that because you guys get the point.

Anyway on the pedicure “menu” I can choose such flavors as Chocolate Mint, Pina Colada, or Strawberry Margarita….like “dipping my toes in a margarita.”

WTH? I would honestly hope my husband loves me enough to cut me off before I stuck my feet in my cocktail.

But this made me think of an interesting point. Why do so many female products come in “flavors?” I can see how a foreigner could get confused when you see Strawberries and Cream Skintimate or chocolate body lotions or cucumber melon body scrub or cotton candy bubble bath.

Men don’t do this. Seriously…they don’t.

We don’t see body sprays that smell like barbecue or deodorants that smells like beer or a Philly cheese-steak. No bacon moisturizer or Cola Slurpee athlete’s foot powder.

Ew….might have gone too far with that last one.

Of course, after I noticed this, I had to mentally work out various hypotheses to explain this differences between the sexes.

And my third grade teacher said I didn’t use time wisely. *rolls eyes*

Theory #1

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, are we just lathering ourselves with man-bait? Sort of like spraying on deer urine to attract a 12-point buck.

This seemed like the best explanation, but upon further rigors of the Scientific Method the hypothesis fell apart. I know! Seemed solid to me, too. Then, I realized that most of the “flavors” are foods women like. Chocolate aside, I will never get my husband to eat a cucumber unless I grind it into his burger, and the melon better be garnish on an ice cream cone. If we ever see a man order any drink that comes with an umbrella, he is likely batting for the other side and apparently using the wrong deer urine because coconut attracts chicks.

Theory #2

Girls buy products that smell like all the stuff we’d love to eat if we weren’t trying to fit into something other than pregnancy pants.

This theory held up a bit better, but the cucumber is still the weird outlier. Although, granted, if one happens to be a Hollywood starlet I guess that anything with more calories than air might be seen as “forbidden.” And again this doesn’t account for the lack of a Cheese Enchilada body lotion or Movie Popcorn with Extra Butter shaving cream.

Theory #3

Proctor & Gamble has not yet realized the “deer urine aspect” of their products.

I tell ya, make a perfume that smells exactly like brisket? You’d have a line. Just sayin’.

Theory #4

Girls don’t mind smelling like Peaches and Cream, but we draw the line at Fried Chicken.

Hmmm. Plausible. But, if they’re single gals who want a man, they might want to up their game with some Cheese Coney hand cream. It’s a thought!

Theory #5

We are not above smelling like bacon, but we might attract more than men…like feral cats, raccoons, neighborhood dogs or potheads with the munchies.

Could end badly.

A Glaring Hole in the Marketplace

Yet, the fact remains that there remains a wide-open gap in the marketplace. Clearly P&G could get some competition if an up-and-coming entrepreneur wished to exploit said weakness. While P&G focuses on making women smell like Berries & Cream, a start-up company could develop some body sprays and bath oils that might work better as man-bait. I found an image with some great suggestions. My favorites are Rattlesnake and Panther, though Freedom was a close third.

Photo via Manoverse.com

I now see why it took me to age 35 to find a husband (weirdness and possible insanity aside). We women have been doing this wrong. We didn’t need Raspberry body wash, we needed “Gun,” “Duct Tape” or “Shrapnel.”

So what are your thoughts? Any suggestions for manly fragrances? Any other hypotheses about the reason for this clear difference in the sexes and their toiletries? Or maybe my reasoning was flawed and you’d love to spend your precious time applying the Scientific Method to a random theory by a crazy blogger. If you are a writer, yes it counts as work.

I love hearing from you!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.

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56 Comments

I Miss Summer Vacation

 

First, an apology to those who commented on my Jujitsu post. Something got corrupted and…WordPress ate it. So we are going to switch topics. Hey, gotta love technology.

Ah, summer vacation. I miss it. I remember how the last three weeks leading up to school getting out were sheer torture. The poor teachers probably felt like prison guards trying to keep the inmates calm…only they didn’t have stun guns and a high-pressure hose (those were for the inner city elementary schools :D). Though, now that I think about it, slap a sprinkler on the end of that high-pressure hose and we would have likely loved that.

Did you guys end your year with Field Day? Sorry. I hated Field Day. I think Field Day was invented by the same sadists who thought up Dodge Ball. Every year I spent my last two days of school getting my butt kicked in every sport imaginable. Good thing I was too focused on summer vacation to care. All I had left to do is clean out the 900 pounds of crap I had somehow fit into my desk and locker.

Oh, there’s that protractor thingie that was on the school supply list. What DOES that thing do, anyway?

That final bell would ring and it was over. I would spend the next two and a half months loaded with sugar and wrinkled from water. My grandparents had a swimming pool and when we weren’t there, we were wearing a hole in my parent’s lawn with a Slip and Slide. Remember those things? Good thing I grew up in the days before everyone went lawsuit happy.

Really? You dove head-first off the station wagon onto a piece of plastic and sprained both your wrists??? Well, you won’t do that again, will ya? Stop crying before I give you something to cry about.

Yeah, NOTHING was childproof. All the playground equipment was heavy-duty industrial steel. And back then little girls actually wore dresses, so the first sucker kid down the slide usually suffered second degree burns down the backs of her thighs. So we would put the water hose on the slide and make our own water park. Between that, the dancing in the sprinkler and the Slip and Slide, I have no idea how my parents didn’t have a $600 water bill. Maybe they did, but it was well worth the money to keep the screaming hoard of wild Indians locked beyond the sliding glass door….which, by the way, was actually LOCKED. When cartoons were over at 8:30? Out the door we went.

Need water? Go lap some off the Slip and Slide. See, like the dog. Just drink upstream from him. Go! Before I put you to work cleaning bathrooms.

Gotta pee? Man used bushes for thousands of years. Just don’t let the Robinsons see you.

The neighbors want to take you to Jewish Camp? Okay, but this time, don’t convert. You cannot have a Bat-mitsvah, and you’re going to Baptist Camp next week. The Lutherans have dibs on you after that.

My brother and I had the COOLEST gym set out back. Nowadays it would be considered an Al Qaeda training facility. It was 20 feet tall, had uneven bars, parallel bars, climbing bars, a rope to climb, and iron rings. It was the glorious centerpiece of the neighborhood. ALL the kids wanted to be at my house playing Red Dawn, also known as Kill the Russians.

Oh, we were politically incorrect back then, too.

Those Russians were always taking Cabbage Patch Kids hostage. We knew they had a plan to brainwash them then reinsert them as Cabbage Patch Sleeper Cells that would kill us in our sleep…

…IF we ever slept. No we stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG. It was SUMMER!

Last night I stayed up until TWO THIRTY! Tonight I’m gonna stay up until FOUR. One day, when I’m bigger, I’m gonna stay up TWENTY ELEVEN HOURS! And when I grow up, I’m gonna have a Trans-Am and NEVER SLEEP EVER!!!!

Okay, yeah. We only stayed up that late when we went to my cousin’s house. They were…teenagers. We did all kinds of things we weren’t supposed to. We put on makeup, watched MTV (back when it actually had music) and watched scary movies and played Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary…

Eh, she never did show, but that didn’t stop us from nagging her every Friday night.

My cousins are responsible for my current aquaphobia. If it ain’t chlorinated, I ain’t swimming in it. Jaws ruined me for salt water and Friday the 13th pretty much ruined fresh water. But it was okay, they had a pool too….and a DIVING BOARD.

Are those things even still legal to have now? We would spend all day long inventing new dives.

Oh, yeah, well I will raise your Cannon Ball a Bazooka Loaded with Banned Nuclear Warheads. TOP THAT, SUCKAH!

The first six weeks of summer were magic. We’d swim and play and go to Six Flags and stay up late so we could walk to that small wooden health hazard shack that served as a snow cone stand for five months out of the year. We’d play in the streets until the street lamps flickered on and beckoned us home. Then we’d beg our parents to let us at least play in the front yard so we could catch frogs and fireflies.

Ah, but then that six weeks would be over, and we’d have the Seventh Week Itch. In Texas it is so hot by July that everything, including the kids, start to wilt. We were rested and ready for a new school year. Our parents started having to play warden and make us go to bed by nine so we could get our body clocks reset for school.

BED????? But it’s still LIGHT outside!!!!

As adults, what would we give to have three months to just play? Maybe that’s the secret to world peace. Maybe all of us are just stressed out and we need to have time to scream and yell and ride bikes up a ramp made out of a door someone threw away.

Maybe if the U.N. would just get all the world leaders together for the LONGEST SLIP AND SLIDE EVER!!!!! (Just tape all of Dad’s lawn bags to the end until you run out of space on the White House lawn). Maybe if everyone got a chance to play together and run off all the excess energy, maybe then we’d be too tired and happy to be stressed.

I miss summer vacation. How about you? What do you remember? What summer rituals did you have?

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59 Comments

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