Archive for category Humor
tax season spring! May is crammed with holidays, birthdays and weddings. Hint: Mother’s Day, which is bizarrely close to Cinco de Mayo when even white people drink tequila to celebrate something…um, regarding Mexico. I’ve been running a million miles an hour to prepare for DFWWWCon this weekend and after a week beating up the poor flashbacks, I figured it was time for something fun. And nothing lightens the mood like death :D.
I’ve recently hit 40, which means most of my mail consists of flyers for AARP, discounts on hearing aids and prepaid funerals. Yay. Nothing to make a woman still feel young and sexy like a prepaid FUNERAL.
My family is pretty strange when it comes to the subject of “death.” And not like anyone is, per se, “normal” about death, but my family takes weird clean OFF “The Munster Family Scale” and lands us somewhere into the domain of a cross between Rob Zombie and Monty Python.
“The Zombie-Python Scale”?
Likely, this laissez faire attitude stems from a number of primary causes (beyond the obvious answer “mental illness”). One? Occupational. Mom was a nurse and came from a medical/military family. Dad? All soldiers and farmers.
Yeah, talk about gallows humor.
The second factor? Genetic. I come from Vikings, and science has “proven” there is a genome embedded in our DNA that demands that, upon expiration, our bodies must be placed on a wooden ship in the middle of an All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet, then piled in gold, pushed out on the water and set on fire.
Fire, fire, heh heh. Heh heh. Fire.
Sadly, I have yet to find a local government official who will grant me a permit to be set afloat in my cousin Randy’s bass boat into Benbrook Lake then shot with leftover fireworks. Just kidding. Not about the permit, but the leftover fireworks part.
We’re TEXANS and there NO SUCH THING as “leftover fireworks.”
Anyway, when I was in the fifth grade, my teacher died, which really sucked, not just because my teacher died, but that it was the WRONG teacher. MY teacher, Mrs. Emmet, was awesome. The Demonic Embodiment of Science Education I had to spend an hour a day with, however, DID NOT die. I think it was because she was feasting slowly on the souls of fifth-grade children…
…and the guinea pigs near her desk that kept dying under strange circumstances (which were never fully investigated).
No, Demon Teacher lived, and is probably still alive today because she likely possesses a painting that ages in her stead. AWESOME Teacher is the one who had the heart attack (and DEMON Teacher looked strangely younger the next day).
But I digress…
The school, being confused and benevolent, brought in a grief counselor. Though, looking back, I think the grief counselor was the same dude wielding a leaf-blower earlier that school year. Grief Counselor told us to go home and discuss the subject of death with our parents then write a paper.
THANKS. Thank you for scarring me even further for LIFE.
So, I go home and ask my mom how she wants us to handle her passing on. Her answer? Taxidermy. She wanted to be made into something useful, like a lamp. She was even gracious enough to allow my brother and I to share her. I could take Creepy-Mom-Lamp for six months and brother could have her the other six months.
Yeah, right on that, Mom.
My Dad? He wanted to be cremated then his ashes strapped to a rocket and spread in space, an idea which everyone thought was sheer lunacy until Gene Roddenberry made it “cool.”
And I imagine the only reason CPS wasn’t called when I turned in my paper was because it WAS the 1980s. This was back in a time when it was permissible to banish your kids who wouldn’t stop running through KMart to go sit in a 110-degree station wagon and fight over a single Slurpee.
Fast-forward to 1999 and my father passes away. Since NASA and I weren’t exactly close and their security people already knew what I looked like, the rocket idea was out of the question. This meant Dad’s ashes went on a high shelf in my closet until I could make another plan. Then one day, years later, I’m all cleaning out my closet.
WTH is that blue box? I don’t remember putting that….*reaches and box falls*
OH HOLY HELL!
Yes, it was my father. In…my…shoes.
You CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP, PEOPLE!
I had to vacuum up my father, and he’s now laid to rest with cremated flip-slops, cat fur, dust bunnies one of my favorite earrings, and I hope that makes him happy after being a smart@$$ about that “being blown up in space” crap.
And it is now 2014 and Mom is still intent on the whole “taxidermy” idea, though I’ve informed her that I’m going to have her stuffed in the squatting position so she can water my front garden. Strangely, that threat hasn’t bothered her enough to deviate from Taxidermy Funeral Course.
I’m happy I’ve broken the Cycle of Weird, though. My husband is Clean-Cut-Boy-Scout-Air-Force-Military and he wants to be buried in a graveyard with a tombstone where we can go talk to him and bring flowers and chocolate offerings like NORMAL PEOPLE.
Me? I want to be cremated and made into a diamond so my son has a ready-made engagement ring for his beloved. How could a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law be ANY closer? THAT is family (and being frugal—Hey, “waste not, want, not”). It’s also a great excuse to gain some extra weight. A skinny dead mother-in-law is good for little more than a tacky nose ring, which might impress some young Waffle House waitress from the trailer park, but not a gal suitable for MY boy.
But a mom-in-law with some MEAT? I might make a nice 2 carat solitaire. Not large enough to catch a Kardashian gold-digger, but big enough to impress a young lady with more than a G.E.D.
So, yes, I want to be made into a diamond (princess cut, of course), but NOT before my consciousness is uploaded into a microchip and implanted in Hubby’s head…so I can keep annoying him for eternity.
You know, *rolls eyes* NORMAL :D.
Okay, yes maybe I’ve gone off the reservation with this post (not the first or last time), but the whole “made into a gemstone” idea seems better than taking up space in a grave…that is later claimed by imminent domain and then the city builds something super-depressing over you like a Baby Gap.
***This is why all Baby Gaps are haunted, btw. It’s “science.” Don’t argue***
Then there is the made into a tree thing, which is a close second choice, but in Texas? With OUR weather? That’s just DELAYED CREMATION.
What are your thoughts? Well, maybe you don’t want to share those, unless you have some cooler ideas. Not “cooler” ideas, though cryogenics holds promise *rubs chin contemplatively*.
I LOVE hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of MAY, 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 novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
I will announce April’s winner after waking from the conference coma early next week.
If you want more help with plot problems, antagonists, structure, beginnings, then I have a FANTASTIC class coming up to help you!
CLASS COMES WITH HANDOUTS AND FREE RECORDING.
Understanding the Antagonist
If you are struggling with plot or have a book that seems to be in the Never-Ending Hole of Chasing Your Tail or maybe you’d like to learn how to plot a series, I am also teaching my ever-popular Understanding the Antagonist Class on May 10th from NOON to 2:00 P.M. (A SATURDAY). This is a fabulous class for understanding all the different types of antagonists and how to use them to maintain and increase story tension.
Remember, a story is only as strong as its problem ;) . This is a GREAT class for streamlining a story and making it pitch-ready.
Additionally, why pay thousands for an editor or hundreds for a book doctor? This is a VERY affordable way to make sure your entire story is clear and interesting. Also, it will help you learn to plot far faster and cleaner in the future.
Again, use WANA10 for $10 off.
I’ll be running the First Five Pages again at the end of May, so stay tuned.
And, if you need help building a brand, social media platform, please check out my latest best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.
By Jay Donovan
Yes, it’s me again, Kristen’s Tech Guy. Kristen has family issues hitting her hard and has been nursing a loved one back to health. We’ll have to wait for a future blog post to learn if Nurse Kristen is more Florence Nightingale or Nurse Ratchet.
You’d have thought she’d have learned after I hijacked her site last time. Then again, knowing Kristen, she’s aware that I ‘sampled’ a couple glasses of wine while TechGirl and I made lasagna. Kristen’s call for help at an ungodly late hour is most likely a ploy Sun Tzu would be proud of.
Regardless, challenge accepted!
Actually, this is a fantastic chance to catch everyone up on the goings on in WANAville.
First off, thanks to everyone who joined us for the October WANACon Writers Conference. We appreciate your trust in us and hope you had as good a time as we did. For those who couldn’t join us, the session recordings are available for On Demand viewing here.
The next WANACon will be Friday February 21st and Saturday February 22nd, (hopefully) far enough from the chaos of the holidays that a conference track on what to do next with your NaNoWriMo creation makes sense, and close enough to Valentine’s Day for one on writing romance.
We’re not moving away from live classes, but with busy WANAs all over the globe, we’re structuring classes to be more flexible for those who can’t attend live.
And a shameless plug…
Book Tours in Your PJs
On Friday, my company, TechSurgeons is adding an new Author Service – Virtual Book Tours. They’ll use the same tech WANA uses for WANACon and live classes. At an introductory price of $50, you can rent a virtual room for 6 hours for you and up to 10 others at a time. You’ll be able talk to your readers, share web cams, instant message with the shy ones, display PDFs of sample chapters, extras, and ‘out takes’ or whatever creative ideas you have. Contact me for more details.
Remember WANATribe, -the- private social media site by authors for authors.
We have Tribes for all genres and interests. And if you don’t see the one you want, you can create it. Joining and using WANATribe is free.
As a thank you prize for
reading putting up with my post, here’s a video of (I believe) George Clooney and Brad Pitt dueling with a flamethrower and fire extinguisher. Inside sources claimed this was filmed just before they went to their respective makeup artists.
Okay, that was mean. Here’s an amazingly cool video of the Ohio State band performing their “Hollywood Blockbuster” Show.
Jay Donovan is the official WANA Tech Guy and takes care of all WANA’s technology needs. He’s writing an “Expansion Pack” on the proper use of pen names to supplement Kristen’s “Rise of the Machines” and should be working on it instead of hijacking blogs and talking about himself in third person, but where’s the fun in that?
By Jay Donovan
Poor Kristen fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous of which is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but a couple steps down is this: “Never leave your Tech Guy in charge of your blog.”
Kristen called me Saturday to see if I could approve comments for a couple more days and said it would be easy since she didn’t have anything to post for the first time in a long while. Being a kind soul, of course I agreed.
Five minutes later, an epiphany…
So I called her, got voice mail, and left this message: “Hi Kristen, it’s Jay. I just thought of a blog post to put up for you.” And I’m not proud about my loss of control, but I couldn’t help myself—I ended the call with an honest to God *maniacal laugh*.
You’d think she’d know better than to allow me to get used to having so much power. Especially since I used up all my willpower by not filtering last week’s posts through the ValSpeak filter.
You don’t believe me? I find your lack of faith disturbing.
It think it is time we demonstrated the full power of this filter.
Set your course for Kristen’s last post: Learning to Drop the Donkey.
All of us want to do a good job. We want to put our best foot forward. We all say that we want feedback and critique, but deep down, if we are real honest, we want people to love everything we say and do.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the reality. We can’t please everyone, and it is easy to fall into a people-pleasing trap that will steal our passion, our art, and our very identity.
Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational blog-messer-upper:
All of us want to totally do a bitchin’ job. Us guys want to totally put our best foot forward. Us guys all say that we want feedback and critique, man, but deep down, oh, baby, if we are real honest, like, wow, we want guys to totally love everythin’ we say and do.
Unfortunately, fer shure, this isn’t thuh reality. Us guys can’t please everyone, like, and it is easy to fall into a guys-pleasin’ trap that will steal our passion, oh, baby, our art, fer shure, and our super identity.
See what I could have done. Yet I resisted. But Kristen has to further tempt me with an idle blog, and her unable to see her site, let alone stop me. *Maniacal Laugh* Sorry, #20 of the Evil Overlord list gets me every time.
Um, now what? Anyone have a suggestion? Bueller?
“I’ve got one. The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do,’ the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?'”
Good thought Ferris, how about a Kristen roast?
“That’s a righteous idea.”
Post your favorite Kristen story in the comments. I want good ones. Sweet ones about Kristen pulling you back from the ledge. Funny ones about Kristen’s top #KlutzClub moments. The goal here is not just to make her ears burn, but to make to make her blush the entire time she’s in places the Verizon guy fears to go.
Here are the rules; I like my roasts medium-rare. Comments which are too mean will be nuked and replaced with that photo with you and your Aunt Gertrude from when you were 11. Yeah, the one taken a split-second after her dog barfed down your shirt. It doesn’t matter how I got a copy of it. Worry instead about it being the next big meme. *Maniacal Laugh* Did it again. Damn!
Jay Donovan is the official WANA Tech Guy and is writing an “Expansion Pack” on the proper use of pen names to supplement Kristen’s “Rise of the Machines”. He should be working on it instead of hijacking blogs and talking about himself in third person, but where’s the fun in that?
Just made it in from a whirlwind week in NYC at Thrillerfest. I am so tired I want to DIE, yet my stupid biological clock still has me up at dawn despite how exhausted I am. Of all places, though, NYC seems to be the favorite place for moviemakers to destroy or infect. That and LA. Though I will mention the aliens never land in Texas.
Probably because the movie would be 15 minutes long :D.
One of my close friends, Piper Bayard, wrote a fabulous book, Firelands which deals with a post-apocalyptic world where religious fanatics now rule a world in ruin and use food to control the masses. In the spirit of her book, I wanted to discuss the apocalypse. That and I just spent a week in NYC walking through “mystery puddles”…which makes me wonder….
Why is the zombie apocalypse so fascinating to us?
Never Underestimate Zombies
One of the wonderful parts about being a writer is we are really well educated…too well educated. Any writer worth his or her salt reads…a lot. I recall (back in college) reading The Hot Zone, which is an absolutely terrifying book. Terrifying in its premise, sure. But also terrifying because it is based off real events.
For those who don’t know, Ebola actually made it to the United States in a shipment of infected monkeys back in the early 90s.
Ebola happens to be one of the most frightening diseases I’ve ever read about. Ebola Zaire, the most virulent of all the strains, essentially liquifies a victim within less than 12 days. The mass destruction it does to the body is the stuff of nightmares.
The virus does a number of nasty deeds to the body, but namely it attacks all the connective tissue from the inside out causing catastrophic internal hemmorhaging. This means the organs (including the brain) essentially turn to pudding because there is nothing left to hold everything together.
As a response, the body throws out all its clotting agents trying to keep the infected person alive…until it runs out of clotting agent and then the person just begins to bleed…from EVERYWHERE. Blood teeming with active virus begins to pour from the nose and mouth and eyes until the victim is rendered a puddle of infected blood, bone and tissue.
Um, cleanup on Aisle Five?
This is how the virus spreads—via blood contamination. The victim is literally dead before they die, their face sliding off the bones because nothing is left to maintain/support the facial architecture.
What makes Ebola especially horrific is that it’s only a few peptides and mutations from being something airborne. If something like Ebola spread like the flu? We’re toast. This is what The Hot Zone addresses. A version of Ebola (similar to Zaire in burn rate) really made it to the US…and it spread through the air like a cold.
I won’t say any more because this is a really fabulous book, but part of why it was so scary is IT FREAKING HAPPENED.
Ebola happens all the time in Africa and how do they deal with it? I call it the Three B’s—bleach, bury and burn. When a village has an outbreak, the authorities will cut down trees to block any roads leading to the village…and wait for everyone to die. Ebola Zaire has roughly a 99% kill rate. Almost no one ever survives. Authorities wait for everyone to be dead then torch the place.
Happy Monday! :D
The Scary Part About Viruses
Viruses are a lot like politicians and Kardashians. They are parasitic and they will adapt as much as needed to survive. If they burn through a species, they’ll change to be able to burn through another. If contamination via blood isn’t working? A virus is fully capable of changing tactics, like marrying Kanye West and naming it’s kid something seriously stupid like North West.
Sorry, forgot we were discussing Ebola.
As populations get larger in countries like Africa, China and South America (ideal virus petri dishes because of climate and population density) we are invading areas of rain forest no human has ever set foot in. A virus might be inert or less virulent because local wildlife has developed immunity over time, and then? Virus spots the equivalent of a Twinkie on two legs (people). NEW JUNK FOOD!
Viruses have no long-term planning capabilities. They suck at having an IRA or even going to college. They just want to consume no matter the expense to the host, much like deadbeat in-laws.
But Isn’t This Why the Zombie Fascination is So Strong?
I love vampires, wizards, werewolves and the like, but zombies hold a unique fascination. Why? Because I think deep in our collective subconscious, we realize this is something that could happen…which is why you need a plan (but that is totally another blog).
I was one of the
fortunate first people to get Swine Flu. Hey, I’m an early adopter. What can I say? I contracted Swine Flu a year before we had a pseudo-pandemic. I had 105 fever for almost 12 days, and not only did I want to die? I wanted to die, be cremated, then have someone shoot my ashes it was so bad.
We live in a scary world. Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Ebola, and the Kardashians.
Come on! The Kardashians already have a reality show and have invaded QVC. If they manage to marry and breed faster? We could be looking at a world filled with mindless people wearing too much lip gloss and trashy shoes and being permitted to name their own children *shivers*. If a Kardashian meets up with Ebola? They could spread through sneezes and unwashed hands. Next thing we know, we are filled with botox, unable to move our foreheads or articulate an intelligent thought.
Sounds like zombies to me.
What are your thoughts? Most of us aren’t afraid of a vampire invasion, but zombies? A lot of us still get that niggling, “What if?” Why do you think we do that? Is it because we think it might happen? Is it because we’ve spent too much time watching The Bachelor or Toddlers and Tiaras?
I know you guys are geeks and have thought this through, so I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!
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. 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 novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
NOTE: My prior two books are no longer for sale, but I am updating them and will re-release. My new book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE.
At the end of July I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!