Posts Tagged funny

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.

author

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

Three Important Life Lessons Only Learned from Insomnia

New Bed!

New Bed!

Well, it’s 3:18 a.m. and since sleeping still isn’t in the stars, I am writing…while in a yoga stretch unkinking my back. It’s been a rough week. I didn’t sleep for a week due to pain. We figured out the likeliest culprit (since both Hubby and I have had our backs scanned, X-rayed, massaged and chiropract-ed) was The Bed of DOOM, forged in Mordor in 1994! I had NO IDEA Hubby’s bed was that old. Probably a question us gals should ask before marriage O_o.

Hey, have any ex-girlfriends or wives buried under your porch? No? Cool. Btw, how old is your BED?

Use a polygraph if you must.

Hubby and I got married, bought two cars, a house, a bajillion diapers and we were going to get to the whole “replacing the bed thing” but this past week? Let’s say we hit “critical.” I know the bed is the problem, because I slept last night. In fact, I slept AWESOME.

Want Sleep? Ah, a “Kink” in The Plan

My back was still a mess so I went to take a nap at 11 a.m. this morning…yesterday morning? Sunday morning. The plan was to sleep two hours since The Spawn had me up just after 6:00 am. I’d sleep until around lunch, then we’d eat, I’d put dinner in the crockpot and Hubby and I could play video games all day.

Anyway, just as I drifted off, my mom calls me bawling and hysterical. Her washing machine overflowed in the middle of the night and her living room was in two inches of water. She couldn’t reach my brother and had no one else and was in a panic. Even though I knew my back was still screaming, Mom just had major hernia surgery and no business moving furniture at her age. So Hubby and I went and lifted all her furniture—heavy furniture—out of the water so it wouldn’t ruin.

Kill. Me. Now.

I love that I could help my mom, but right now my back is seriously pissed I love my mother more than it.

Thing is…

Unusual Suspects

Beds are the most likely culprit for insomnia or back pain, yet we tend to think of them last (probably because they are expensive and we shop for them every decade). I’ve spent the last two years doing Bikram yoga, focusing on my core (or lack thereof), going to chiropractors, taking herbs, Ibuprophen, Voo-Doo Chicken Wing Therapy all to gain little relief. I blamed it on my old back injury (broke it in 1995), changes in weather, age, and still? Never thought of my mattress until this week when nothing else had worked.

Went to the doctor. They did X-rays, MRIs. Not once, did they ask if my bed was bought when gas was $1.09 a gallon.

My bed was as old as the OJ SIMPSON case and as dead as Tonya Harding’s career after she had her loser boyfriend kneecap a fellow skater…in 1994! Don’t get me wrong, I figured the bed was old. I just never dreamed it was from the Clinton Administration. 

Yes, I am a little flabbergasted. I figured maybe it was eight or even ten years old, but almost TWENTY? Why do guys not mention this stuff? I “get” you don’t buy new underwear until nothing is left but an elastic waistband, but the mattress? Was I supposed to sleep it to the springs before we considered replacing?

What I’ve Learned About Being Up All Night

#1 DO NOT get on Web MD.

In fact, they should just not allow people to log into that site after midnight. It took me less than twenty minutes to diagnose myself with:

Prostate cancer? Wait, do I have a prostate?

DWARFISM! I KNEW IT! NO WONDER I CAN’T BUY PANTS THAT FIT!

And the holistic medicine sites aren’t any better. Took less than ten minutes to determine I needed to be dewormed. Should I do the cats at the same time? *scratches head* Crap! Do I have fleas?

#2 Social media friends ARE REAL friends.

I couldn’t have made it through this rough patch if kind people hadn’t kept me laughing and offered advice and even help. People I have never met in person. You guys have put up with my whining for a week and made me smile and that’s why I love my followers so much. I’ve met some of the best people, people on the other side of the world who I wouldn’t call “friend” if I hadn’t been up with back pain.

I SO apologize I am still whining :(. I totally didn’t see the “Moving Mom’s Furniture And Lifting It Out of Water Curve Ball.”

#3 We can’t control circumstances, only our attitude.

I am in terrible pain right now. In fact, if the Air Force hadn’t goofed up our insurance (found that out when I caved and tried to see a doctor Friday) I might be in an all-night-Doc-in-the-box instead of here. But, I take my mind off it. I laugh, have fun and know “This, too, shall pass.”

***And FYI, I’m very ADD, so Benadryl, alcohol, Tylenol PM and all the crap that normally knocks people out? WIRES ME FOR SOUND. I can’t take any pain medication known to Man because they all make me itch. I’ve taken Valerian, B Complex and D and been doing yoga since 1:00 a.m. and nothing is working.

Yeah, sometimes it seriously sux to be me.

But tomorrow is a new day on a new bed with new friends…

…wait that sounded wrong. Y’all know what I meant O_o.

Anyway, so I focus on the good stuff because life is all a choice in perspective. It’s now 4:15 a.m. Hmmm. Maybe I should check back with Web M.D. I’m seeing glowing spots. Wait. Whew! False alarm. That’s the modem.

Going to try the “sleep thing” again and forgive any typos. I’ll fix them later. Got ice and a heating pad. In the meantime, check your mattress and see if maybe it’s the problem. Don’t wait like I did, because now I am paying for it. What are your thoughts? Mattress horror stories? Do you just find your bliss when you can’t sleep or do you discover your “previously undiagnosed” case of Malaria per advice from Web MD? :D Have you met any cool people on social media you might not know otherwise if you hadn’t been up all night?

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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68 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.

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 4.54.49 PM

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

A New Era in Fashion—How Abercrombie & Fitch Saves Needless Suffering

Screen Shot 2013-05-14 at 11.16.29 AM

Image from Flikr Creative Commons courtesy of FaceMePls

Last Friday, I wrote a post about how Abercrombie & Fitch’s CEO Michael Jeffreys’ message hurts us all, no matter how fat or thin, pretty or ugly, rich or poor, popular or unpopular. Yet, upon closer inspection, I am compelled to retract my statement. In fact, I think Jeffreys’ should be given serious consideration for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Bear with me.

The Birth of Fashion

At one time, early in human history, clothing served to protect humans from the elements and keep them warm. But, what many of you might NOT know was that everyone looked the same, running around in somewhat smelly saber-tooth outerwear.

It was really Ug who came up with the first line of saber-tooth necklaces to accessorize these early, boring designs. Ug later inspired Og to use the teeth of a boar as bracelets. Not only could one look smashing day OR night, but boar-tooth bangles gave the wearer the opportunity to brag and take credit for killing said object of accessory.

Og, being  brilliant entrepreneur, soon realized men of the tribe could also give gifts of HATS made of feathers to their mates for more nookie.

This was the beginning of fashion status, because any dude who could find a basket of clamshells and heaping handful of shiny rocks to trade Og for a feather-hat had a happy mate (and, of course, more nookie). Wifey could look better than all the other females while chewing on mammoth hide to make blankets…and maybe even some more fashion.

Og noticed that deerskin dresses were NOT exactly slimming, so the invention of the “belt” soon followed. The “belt” was just what human males needed to tell which of the tribe’s women had the best birthing hips.

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Original image via Cliff1066 Flikr Creative Commons

Fashion For the Ugly

As centuries passed, fashion was a privilege of the wealthy and helped distinguish between classes. BUT—and this is WAY more important—fashion was made to make ugly people pretty. See, the “blue-bloods” (royalty) believed it was best to keep everything in the family  *wink, wink* and, within a few incestuous generations, the royal families looked like they needed a banjo and some moonshine to go with the crown and scepter.

How else could the King Charles II of Spain distract from his face long enough to make more ugly royal babies? FASHION.

Boy, I hope she looks at this big red bow instead of my FACE.

Boy, I hope she looks at this big red bow instead. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Fashion Evolves into Art

As time went on, fashion still had the purpose of distinguishing social status and that hasn’t changed. It also had the purpose of making ugly people, regular people, pretty people and even gorgeous people look WAY BETTER. Why be pretty if you could be STUNNING?

In fact, the mark of a real designer is the clothes can make anyone look good.

But some fashion designers decided that the use of lampshades, mousetraps and Slinkies in clothing design was under appreciated. These designers couldn’t use models who looked like Marilyn Monroe or Sophia Loren to wear these designs, because we’d be too distracted by these models’ beautiful faces and curvy bodies and wouldn’t see the strategically placed Vita-Mix in their hats.

Thus we see models evolve into poofy-lipped coat hangars. We wouldn’t be looking at the 6’3″, 110 pound model and so we’ll appreciate the use of tin foil and paperclips as a skirt as art.

Ice Bag Hats are All the Rage

Ice Bag Hats are All the Rage

Thus far we can see fashion has had numerous purposes:

Shelter from the Elements

Status

Beauty Enhancement

Art

And this is Why Jeffries is One of the Brilliant Minds of Our Times

Jefferies has used his company Abercrombie & Fitch for an entirely new purpose, previously unexplored in fashion (more on that in a moment). First, let’s see how A&F stacks up on the “Fashion Litmus Test.”

Protection From The Elements

Since all clothing protects from the elements (even the hat made with a pipe wrench, Saran Wrap and deer antlers) A&F fits this purpose. Wear an A&F hoodie to keep warm or an A&F hat to keep from burning your nose at the beach. Fair enough.

Status

Okay, with their ridiculous prices, it does limit the demographic of people who can purchase said items to those with money (or to those willing to lose their hearing to purchase a tank top). Thus, it’s safe to assume that A&F fits the second purpose of fashion. Being better than other people.

Ah, but the third….

Beauty Enhancement

By his own admission, Jeffries’ admits their designs have no power to make average people look better. He contends that A&F seeks only beautiful people to wear A&F clothes, that he wants “models” in their “fashion.” Plain, ugly, boring, unpopular, fat, shy, individualistic, or poor people need not apply.

Screen Shot 2013-05-10 at 11.00.09 AM

Straight from the horse’s….mouth. Yeah, mouth. (Meme from FB)

Art

I think we can all agree that A&F is not going to give Chanel, Prada, Versace, or Bulgari any real competition.

A&F and Its “Models”

First of all, Mr. Jeffries’, in case you are unaware of this fact, models are supposed to be PAID to wear the clothing for a designer. Thus, freeloading off the beautiful people is just in poor taste. For the beautiful, popular people out there, I sincerely hope you will see how you’re being used (and at least demand a discount).

And…make sure I have this correct.

Since A&F clothing can’t make regular people look better, and Jeffries’ doesn’t want over 67% of the United States wearing them, essentially what Jeffries’ wants is for gorgeous people with six-pack abs and killer bodies…to PAY exorbitant prices TO HIS COMPANY to model for them for FREE.

Man, that is pretty sharp. And to think, all these other designers have been actually paying models all these years. Wow, I sure hope the other designers don’t catch on to this indentured servitude business model.

No, Really, Jeffries IS a GENIUS

Aside from figuring out a way for beautiful, popular people to pay his company to model for free, Jeffries has given a new purpose to fashion…one never properly used before.

Fashion As WARNING Label

Hey, we have warnings on cigarettes, alcohol, and even food. There are warnings on medications and even a warning not to blow dry our hair while showering. Yet, to this day, we’ve had no proper way to label narcissistic jerks with the emotional depth of a sea cucumber.

A&F is here to help humanity.

Think of all the time and money we will save!

A&F Fashions will Revolutionize Dating

Guys, you won’t have to waste time taking a gal to a $100 dinner to watch her treat the staff like they’re dirt on her feet. Her A&F blouse was an easy warning label to take her for a quick $4 Starbucks coffee instead…until you can pretend your dog died and get the hell out of there.

Gals, no more wasting weeks or months to see if a guy is kind and has a good heart, thus boyfriend material. If he’s still sporting A&F after all this? Probably going to be a tough relationship. There won’t be enough room in the front seat of his car for him, his artificially inflated ego, and you.

So prepare to move on and date other good-looking popular guys who refuse to be used as free models. OR…get used to riding in the back seat…and walking three steps behind…and sharing all the mirrors. And if a huntsman knocks on your door holding a box and a knife? Your date’s realized ur prettier than him and it’s his way of “breaking up.”

RUN.

Abercrombie & Fitch Making Life Simpler for Us All

Think how easy it will be to spot the mean girls in high schools, the jerks at sporting events, the bullies in bars? Since the attitude of A&F is clearly, “We wear this because we are better than you” we won’t have to waste any time or emotional energy dealing with self-deluded @$$hats.

Three Cheers to Abercrombie & Fitch!!!

Thank you for making our lives SO much easier. We are so busy these days and so much is expected with balancing work and school and family. It really does take a lot of emotional energy to weed out the narcissistic @$$clowns in our lives, but you….you *sniff*…you have saved us.

If we now date some guy or gal with a wardrobe from Abercrombie & Fitch, we are no longer going in blindly. Thank you for your contribution to humanity. Sure, we could give a Nobel to someone who cured CANCER, but Jeffries’ figured out how to properly label jerks.

Tough choice, I know.

CAUTION:

Use of this clothing has been known to cause extreme swelling of the head, an unusual paranoia about gaining weight or being seen without makeup. Wearing these designs can cause bullying and a consuming need to feel better than everyone else. A&F designs are merely articles of clothing and are not meant to fulfill emptiness in your soul. If you choose to wear A&F clothing and experience any of these symptoms—mocking of fat people, picking on poor people, over-obsession with level of popularity—please stop wearing immediately and consult a friend or acquaintance who wears Wal Mart clothes for a reality check.

All right, I am finished picking on Jeffries’. At least this has been good for important lessons in life and a good laugh. We all can use more laughter.

I always liked A&F clothes, but this stinky attitude that’s now been attached to them? BOO! HISS! We can want to look beautiful without throwing others under the bus. Beauty is all around us, and hopefully more companies will start seeing that.

What are your thoughts? For the pretty people, do you think you should at least get a DISCOUNT instead of being used as free models? For those of you who previously liked Abercrombie & Fitch, does Jeffries’ attitude make you want to donate your A&F clothes…but then you’d feel sorry for whoever bought them?

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81 Comments

The Parental Paradox & Caterpillar Conundrum—How I Grew Up to Be THAT Mom

Yes, The Spawn is really BAT-THOR.

Yes, The Spawn is really BAT-THOR.

When we’re young, we all have this fantastical vision of what we’ll be like when we grow up, including what kind of parent we’ll one day be. I know my ideals were largely affected by my own growing up years. My parents (like me and my husband) were small business owners. After the oil crash, they started a custom furniture business. Dad was always distracted and running to Dallas for tools. I’m unsure to this day whether or not my mother owned any clothes that didn’t have paint splatters or smell of furniture finish.

The Parental Pariah Paradigm

I remember being mortified when my mom would come get me at school. She was always in work clothes and never looked like the perfectly coiffed stay-at-home moms who came for my friends.

Dad picked me up in a work truck, not a Volvo. My brother and I would ride in the back, down the highway, amusing ourselves among the lumber and tools by tossing soda cans out the back and watching them bounce down the freeway (until we got a sound swatting on the side of I-20).

The School Project Paradox

School projects were a particular nightmare. My fifth grade teacher was a sadist who hated me no matter how hard I tried to please her.

Mt. St. Mortification

One time we had to make a volcano that erupted using baking soda. My parents were not only busy running a business, but they believed I needed to do my own projects, that it was good for my “character”…(code for “We have NO time for this, kid. You’re on your own!).

I recall my cute little lump of dirt I’d concocted from backyard mud and painted, how proud of it I was…until I saw the other kids’ projects.

One boy had this massive volcano that had to be carried in by adults. It was intricately painted, complete with little ferns and trees and a small village at the base of the mountain to be destroyed upon eruption.

I wanted to die.

I was up against THIS kid.

I was up against THIS kid.

Image via About.Com Chemistry’s Science Fair Volcano. If only my parents had the Internet.

The Insect Disintegration

Another project involved collecting insects local to the area, anesthetizing them with cotton balls of something that’s probably now illegal, then gluing them on a display of nails.

My little brother and I scoured for days searching for bugs, and, after days of work, all we had to show was a Folger’s can full of dead doodlebugs, some fire ants and a cricket or two…all of which had pretty much disintegrated to dust by the time my project was due.

My parents weren’t about to let a 6 and 10 year old loose with Superglue and NAILS. I settled for a shoebox and Scotch tape.

The other kids? They had these beautiful wooden displays of all kinds of colorful beetles and butterflies, perfectly preserved and each positioned beautifully on a display board. I was 26 years old before I realized the other kids’ parents had likely just ordered the bug displays from the local university’s Entomology Department.

The Entomological/Volcanic Sequester

I remember feeling like such a failure, and Mrs. E didn’t help. She’d sneer down her nose at me like I hadn’t tried. The others all got A+++++ and I counted myself lucky to pass. The other kids’ projects were displayed in the cafeteria because they were “true representatives of a fifth-grader’s ingenuity and talent.”

All I had to offer was a pile of painted mud and a shoebox of crispy bugs. My projects were left in the “Hall of Shame” (back in the classroom).

The Temporal Introspection

So here it is, almost thirty years later. My husband and I work super long days with our fledgling business, as I mentioned in last week’s post about the Author CEO.

Granted, what I failed to mention in that post is my “work” days are so long not because I am some Author Gordon Gekko, rather because I’m interrupted with 47 sword fights a day (at least Spawn lets me wear the Captain America mask), 22 tickle fights, and more than a few races through the house as I sing the “Baby Shark” song and hunt The Spawn down while he squeals and tries to hide.

Hubby and I are like Sheldon (Hubby) and a Sheldon-Howard-Penny (Me) from Big Bang Theory had a child.

The Entrepreneurial Enigma

“Work” includes stopping to help The Spawn through a level of Star Wars Angry Birds and refilling his sippy-cup every 20 minutes. It’s hard, and tiring. It makes long “work” days, but we love it. We love being a entrepreneurs so we can be home with The Spawn. We love that we made the decision to sacrifice so Daddy could be home. My husband takes him to the park so they can fight with light sabers and I can write.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 9.18.48 AM

Spawn uses “The Force” to help me with revisions.

Then Yesterday…

The Caterpillar Conundrum

The nursery school he attends a few hours a day has sent home a request that we provide a butterfly or caterpillar costume. While dressing my son as a butterfly holds great promise, namely embarrassing pictures that can help ensure he won’t date until after he’s thirty, I think we’re going to try caterpillar. Yet, like my parents, we have little money and time and far less creativity.

The Mom Mimesis

I never thought I would be THAT mom, tho one who never wears makeup and lives in work clothes. I thought I’d be more Martha Stewart-ish. I’d drive a Saab and have perfect hair and wear clothes from Talbots…not the same yoga pants I wore through ten months of pregnancy and my favorite Green Lantern shirt.

Need some adverbs taken out?

My “work” clothes.

The Mom-petition Matrix

At Valentines, the other moms had cute hand-decorated bags full of thoughtful items for my son’s class like pencils, stickers and Cookie Monster socks. Spawn? He had a bag of pre-made Valentines.

Easter? The other kids brought intricate little baskets and eggs. My son? A bag of plastic eggs already sealed and stuffed with candy.

The “School Play” Parsimony

We’ve been though this. I feel the pressure. I’ve seen the handmade costumes, but I just don’t have it. I can’t battle Thor and be hit with lightning 572 times a day while writing and picking cereal off every surface of my home…AND make a costume. I also can’t afford a fancy caterpillar costume off-line.

The Bat-Thor-WARS Variable

And there is the added challenge that Spawn refuses to wear anything that doesn’t have Thor, Batman or Star Wars on it. He will scream and strip, (which my husband and I count as parental “winning”, but we’re warped).

We’ve been though this with the 2011 Christmas play, the 2012 Spring Play and the 2012 Christmas play. Not only am I THAT mom, but I apparently I’m the mother of THAT kid.

***Note: The teachers love him and think he’s a joy. I am the only one feeling the pressure.

And Spawn TOTALLY rocks because he loves Star Wars, books and his mom and dad. His first words were “I love you” “please” and “thank you,” and that is proof we’ve done a lot of things right.

batman

The Temporal Circumlocution

All things come full circle. It’s funny how life shows you things, how we see our parents differently when we’re suddenly in their shoes. I’m now proud of my lump of mud and my dried doodlebugs because I did those projects myself (okay, with help from my 6 year old brother).

One day, I hope The Spawn forgives me for the caterpillar costume, because at this point it looks like he might get safety-pinned in a bed-sheet. Apparently the State of Texas frowns on parents using duct tape on their kids, so I’m all out of ideas.

There is NO way he will keep anything but a Thor helmet on his head. Headband with antennae? *clutches sides laughing*

Any suggestions would be helpful, but my main concern is unless he is glued into this costume or is somehow made into a rare breed of caterpillar with R2-D2 in its markings, he’ll strip and run.

The Awesome Algorithm

But, you know what? I’d rather my son be an AWESOME nerd than some Stepford Craft Kid to help my ego. Yeah, his mom isn’t Martha Stewart, she’s a Social Media Jedi ;).

And yes *twitches* we are a little different :P.

What are your thoughts? Were you THAT kid? The one with the embarrassing costume or school project? Did you eventually understand your parents better? Do you think school projects are evil? What was your worst school play experience? Worst school project? Or did you have an awesome crafty mom? What was it like?

I love hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of April, 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 April I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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74 Comments

What to Do When Your Christmas Tree Wants a Bass Boat

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My Valentines Day Tree. It’s a tradition…in Finland…ok the insane asylum.

Yesterday, I did an author interview (here is the link if you care to show this sweet new writer some blog love) and one of the questions was:

Kristen, I have four children and a full time job to juggle alongside my writing, so I can understand how busy life gets, but you, you are a business woman, a wife, a mother, a role model to all of us. How do you find time to juggle all of this and still stay sane? 

My first response is, “Who ever said I was sane?” Yes, I work hard, but this idea that we are going to work a day job, write books, blog, build a platform, be the perfect mother, spouse and have a Martha Stewart home is absurd. Yes, I confess. It is now Valentines Day and my Christmas Valentines Tree still proudly stands in my dining room.

Exactly how long can one leave up a Christmas tree before you are officially white trash?

I know that, technically, an artificial Christmas tree isn’t a living thing, thus shouldn’t evolve, but yesterday I heard Willie Nelson coming from the dining room, and, when I looked closely at the tree? I saw it had sprouted THESE:

Stop standing there like a GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE and get me a BEER!

Stop standing there like a GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE and get me a BEER!

To keep my tree from shooting in the air and playing banjo, I had to come up with a plan.

Take down the tree.

*clutches sides laughing*

Are you kidding? I have writing to do!

So I distracted the tree with Bud Light and some glittery nail polish from Wal Mart and took it to Pic Monkey for a Makeover:

Evolution of the Christmas Tree...

Evolution of the Christmas Tree…

And now my Valentines Tree allows me to happily live in denial. It also no longer swats me in the @$$ and asks me to cosign for a bass boat.

I think the Easter Tree will be AWESOME.

And the whole “I am a role model to all of you” part? I think it gets clearer by the day why I wasn’t allowed to play with the other neighborhood kids.

So what about you? What is the longest you have ever left up your Christmas tree? Did it like to sing Stand By Your Man and watch fishing shows? I figure if I drag this out long enough I won’t look like a slacker. By the end of October I will be a role model! :D

Confess! Tell us about the Christmas lights still on your house or the plastic reindeer still munching your grass. Oh, and Happy Valentines Day! You know I love each and every one of you and THANK YOU for blessing me by coming to my blog.

I LOVE hearing from you…

To prove it and show my love, for the month of February, 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 February 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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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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Top Ten Reasons to Become a Writer

Today is Free-for-All-Friday, and thus is my choice. I was skimming through some earlier posts and came across this one…that cracks me up even now. So, I thought I would post again for the benefit of the newbies and to give my loyal followers a good laugh. Come on, you know this still makes you laugh. “Easily amused” falls in the writer job description, right?

I still remember the day I told my family I was leaving corporate sales to become a writer. I think what they heard was something akin to, “Leaving any feasible way to make a living and feed myself. Joining a cult. Kool-Aid.” Or something close to that.

If you are a writer, then you know we share this collective pain.

People ask, “So what do you do for a living?”

“I’m a writer.”

“No, I mean what do you really do? What’s your job?”

Sigh.

So, to repay you for your pain, here’s a laugh at our collective expense.

Top Ten Reasons to Become a Writer

10. Therapy is getting too expensive

When you become a writer, the first thing that becomes clear is that if you are at all interesting enough to be able to write good fiction, then you are seriously screwed up. As in years of expensive therapy screwed up. Writers are not normal.

So why not take all those notebooks filled with letters to your Inner Child and turn those babies into cold hard cash? I say, it is time for us to demand Inner Child Labor. Instead of letting that ungrateful punk float around in our limbic brain, it is high time we make the little twerp pull his weight.

Have anger issues coupled with violent fantasies? You are a born horror author.

Attend sex therapy to deal with a porn addiction? Erotica author.

Have “Mommy” issues? Memoir author.

9. Revenge, Duh

What better way to get back at that jerk who stood you up for the big dance? Or the toad who slept with your best friend? You got it. Become a writer. Surely you can think of a story that is in need of a pathetic cross-dressing hermaphrodite who gets killed by an inflatable doll. Slap the ex’s name on him. Just change the first letter of his last name. Heck, use your newfound power to help out your friends. Surely they can give you lists. Find a need for a character who has a tragically small penis or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Become a writer and no one will cross you again lest they be found wearing hot pants while soliciting prostitution from sheep at the petting zoo in your next story. And hey, with the Internet, EVERYONE can be published.

8. High School Reunion Coming Up

So maybe you have done nothing with your life in the past 20 years. Who cares? All you have to do is find some out of print author and borrow his name for a bit. Hey, not like he is using it. Just tell those jerks you wanted to impress that you write under a pseudonym, and now you are “in between books.” Think of it this way, you can hold your head high that “you” accomplished something they never did, and, since you won’t have to see those jerks for another 5-10 years, no one will be the wiser. If you do get found out, it is just free publicity for the struggling dope you impersonated.

7. You drink a lot and it was either become a writer or attend AA

Enough said…

6. Can hang out with our friends somewhere other than the Renaissance festival

Renaissance festivals and Trekkie conventions can get expensive, especially when you work at the last Barnes and Noble left in your city. And while living with Mom does help off-set the cost of rent, World of Warcraft isn’t exactly free. Form a critique group with your pals and all vow to become famous writers. Hey, you still get to hang out and talk about elves and wizards and what you would do if you were a vampire, only now it is considered “work.”

5. Because what other job comes with a dress code of thrift store jeans and juvenile T-shirts?

Do you just love Superman, Mickey Mouse, or even Mr. T? I pity the fool! Feel like expressing yourself on 100% pre-shrunk cotton? Hey, if you were a 37 year old accountant or airline pilot, others might think that an entire wardrobe comprised of Xena, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica T-Shirts meant you were emotionally immature or “touched in the head.” Now that you’re a writer, you can be…eccentric. Hell, throw in a beret just to be extra annoying.

4. Because “writer” sounds so much more glamorous than “unemployed” or “Starbucks Hot Beverage Consultant”

Refer to Number 8.

3. Because it is the next best thing to having your own reality show.

Have a whacked out family or embarrassing habit? Write about it. The great thing is that now EVERYTHING is a tax write-off. Have an insatiable coffee, book and movie addiction? Then you are writer material. So go ahead and collect action figures, souvenir shot glasses and rare comic books. Do a “Tour of Pubs” and get plastered as you sample every beer under the sun. Or take that trip to Texas and ride the mechanical bull at Billy Bob’s. Just make sure you write about it, and then it is all deductable “research”…and the pictures your so-called friends post on their Facebook page of you being hauled away for Drunk and Disorderly Conduct are less “mortally embarrassing” and more “priceless promotion.” Just make sure you ask Denny’s for a receipt before they throw you out.

2. Because your family told you that you should be a doctor.

Don’t get along with your parents? Hey, go big or go home. What better way to insure your status as black sheep of the family than announce that you are giving up everything to become a writer? Short of announcing that you just converted to Scientology or that you sold all your stuff and are moving to a commune in New Mexico, telling the folks that you want to be a writer is guaranteed to make you the definitive pariah. And the plus side is that there is no studying chemistry or staying up all night to memorize Kreb’s Cycle. Just think of it this way, they will forgive you once you’re published anyway.

1. Because you can be….GOD!

Yeah, now you get a glimpse of how it feels to be the Big Guy. What other job, short of an IRS agent or a meter maid gives the raw power of being able to make or destroy lives with ….a pen?

Did I miss something? Do you guys have a reason you would like to add? Put it in the comments! Just think of this as group therapy without the privacy :D. What’s your favorite of the top ten posted? Can you relate? Share and we promise to laugh at yo-….um, be compassionate and supportive.

I love hearing from you! And 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. 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 every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of August I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

In the meantime, I 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 . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.

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90 Comments

Strange Addictions & Habits–Do They All Have to Have Meaning?

 

Sigmund Freud 

This past week I was sick with a cold, and, once I got to feeling better, I stripped all the bedding and went to Febreze the room and…I could not find my cans of Febreze. This might not seem all that eventful, except I have a habit; a weird, strange whacky habit that I have been trying to break. We’re gonna play armchair psychiatrist today. It’ll be fun :D.

I am addicted to Febreze. Stop laughing.

I think I have all of these.

I use “addicted” in a very loose sense. I am not spending my son’s college fund on Febreze, but I do seem to buy a lot of it. More than seems normal. In fact, I find myself going straight for the aisle of house cleaning supplies, eager to see if they have any new fragrances available, even though I still have at least a half a dozen cans at home yet to be used.

I know this sounds insane, but over the years it seems like I always have one strange addiction that, when I get rid of it…a new one takes it’s place. And none of my addictions are anything that will land me in jail or rehab, but they still makes me scratch my head and wonder, “WTH?”

Years ago, I was addicted to office supplies. It seemed I could not make a trip to the store that I didn’t at least purchase pens, notecards, highlighters or rubber bands.  I still cannot go to a Staples without a list and a will of iron. I think this addiction stemmed from childhood. My mother was the one who always made me bring extra school supplies for the kids who came from underprivileged families so they wouldn’t be embarrassed. My mother would stock my bag with extra boxes of Crayons and notebook paper that I could slip to the kids who didn’t have any. I was the “Go To Gal” for glue, rubber cement, colored pipe cleaners and googly-eyes of all sizes. Scissors? I could totally hook you up.

I am from a military family, and we believe that, “Three is two. Two is one, and one is none.” Translation? Be prepared….for everything.

One day, I realized that the office supply thing was getting out of hand, thus forbade myself to buy any office supplies until I was really, truly, genuinely OUT. My calculations put that date at November 13, 2024.

…so I started buying “Thank You” notes. “Thank You” notes of all varieties and sizes and shapes, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I ever remembered to send them. When I forbade myself to buy anymore “Thank You” notes? Cleaning supplies took over. When we moved into our new house almost two years ago, I swear I must have had enough cleaning supplies to shine the entire neighborhood. It took me a year to use up all the cleaning supplies I had stockpiled. I guess if the Zombie Apocalypse struck I wanted to have plenty of Swiffer refills just in case. *slaps forehead*

So you guys can guess what took the place of the cleaning supplies. You got it.

Febreze.

At one time I had at least two cans of it in every room. Febreze in every scent. Febreze in the new holiday scents. Limited time only fragrance? I am so there. New Zealand Springs? They had me at “New Zealand.” Ooooh…had to have it. Oh, and at Wal-Mart I can get the two pack for $5.00. At Target, I have to pay $2.53 each.

Yes, I am only saving .06 but that adds up when you have a habit like mine :D.

Oh, but this brings me to a weird habit. My husband makes fun of me because I have a compulsive need to add numbers in my head and then take it down to its root (if that root is a whole number). For instance, if I see the date April 28, 2011, I instinctively add 4 + 2 + 8 + 2 +0 +1 + 1=18…. 1+8 =9 and taken to its root is 3. I do this with addresses, dates, you name it. I actually am freakishly accurate tallying the grocery bill in line (tax included).

I have no idea why I do this or where it came from. Just like I really do not understand why I feel the need to have Febreze in every room of the house. Well, I DID have Febreze in every room of the house until I started noticing my Febreze addiction was getting a wee out of hand. Now I am down to one can…which I had taped behind the toilet tank :D.

But this makes me think how unique all of us are. We all have these strange habits, addictions, compulsions and tics. Some of them make sense and some just never will. These odd behaviors are what make us unique, whether it is collecting smarta$$ t-shirts or a compulsive need to touch the doorframe before we unlock the front door. Some of these habits have a story behind them, and others? Well, they just seemed to spring to life all on their own.

What are some weird habits and addictions you guys have?

I collect bodies under my house.

Kidding! *laughs awkwardly*

Let’s keep it light. Do any of you guys have odd hobbies or collections?  Maybe you collect shot glasses or bobble-head dolls? Cabbage Patch paraphenalia? Do you have any odd rituals? Do you think all habits and rituals have a root source? Or are some habits just spontaneous, with no psychological root? Come on! Let’s play armchair psychiatrist!

I love hearing from you! And to prove it and show my love, for the month of April, 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 every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of April I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

Note: I am keeping all the names for a final GRAND, GRAND PRIZE of 30 Pages (To be announced) OR a blog diagnostic. I look at your blog and give feedback to improve it. For now, I will draw weekly for 5 page edit, monthly for 15 page edit.

Important Announcements

Will post this week’s/ month’s winner later today. Check back, please.

May 9-13, 2011, I will be teaching an on-line Building Your Author Brand with Social Media Class for only $15 to support the wonderful Long Island Romance Writers.

Tomorrow!!!!!  I will be teaching TWO social media classes at the Books ‘n Authors and All that Jazz Conference this Saturday at Weatherford College in Weatherford, TX. The conference is FREE.

My new book, “Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer” will be out in less than a month!

Until next time….

In the meantime, if you don’t already own a copy, my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writers Guide to Social Media is recommended by literary agents and endorsed by NY Times best-selling authors. My method is free, fast, simple and leaves time to write more books.

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88 Comments

Halloween–Time to Take Out the (Trailer) Trash

October is one of my favorite months of the year. Texas is a lovely place to live…most of the time. For about three months it can feel like you are living on the surface of the sun—hotter than the hammered hinges of hell, as I like to say. Dig the alliteration.  For most of us Texans, we have this prolonged summer that often lasts until…October. And then right about Halloween time we start getting the really beautiful fall weather that lasts until January :D. The trees turn color and the air is crisp and the skies are blue and the neighborhoods are all decorated for Halloween which is just a magical holiday any way you look at it. Sure, this is the time for the ghouls and goblins and hauntings and scary movies, but it’s also the time for carving pumpkins and making candied apples.

One of my favorite Halloween memories was back in college. I was broke as usual. I attended a university where most of the students drove BMWs and Land Rovers. I walked to school so I didn’t have to put gas in the Geo Metro (picture a pregnant roller skate). So broke.

My college roommate and I still wanted to partake in the Halloween festivities despite our financial difficulties, so I concocted the idea to go as Trailer Trash. It was HYSTERICAL. We went to the local Goodwill (I think Goodwill is a theme for this week) and bought our “costumes.”

My roommate was taller than me so she would be my “wife.” We bought these stretchy pants in a pattern that could cause an epileptic seizure. Seriously, there are some designs that should never be used in clothing. Then we found a pregnancy T-shirt (which we stuffed to make her roughly 9 months along). We bought plastic house shoes and three packages of fantasy tattoos and covered her arms and neck in fairies, unicorns and more unicorns. Then we put pink foam rollers in her hair. She wore giant plastic hoop earrings and every necklace and ring she owned. I used makeup to give her quite an impressive and realistic-looking busted lip and black eye, which she covered with gaudy sunglasses. We topped it off with a baby bag full of tabloid magazines and beer bottles.

I went as her “husband.” I slicked my hair back with oil and wore a cheap Johnny Cash hat, shooting glasses, sweatpants and combat boots, a sleeveless Dallas Cowboys shirt from the 80s with a cammo Army vest and my security guard badge. I even had bubblegum in my cheek as dip. We found these giant fake tattoos of a dragon and a tiger…one for each of my forearms. And the piece de resistance?  Five women’s names on my right bicep….four crossed out.

We were deliciously horrid.

Oh but this wasn’t the end of it. I happened to be friends with two men who owned one of the top fine dining establishments in Fort Worth, the kind of place you have to get reservations. So my roomie and I decide to “go out for dinner.” We walk inside and the entire place just went silent. The maître de was in the back and I quickly told the partrons that we were in costume and asked that they not give us away. So Nick, the maître de comes around the corner and nearly loses his teeth when he sees us. I demand a table and want to know why they don’t play any good music like Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash.  Anyway, I throw a holy Trailer Trash fit. I call him a damn foreigner and demand to know if he’s a communist. I have a fit because there aren’t burgers on the menu and holler how I refuse to eat this commie food and want to know why they don’t serve good American food like Hooters. I scream at my roommate that we should have gone to Golden Corral because nothing says “class” like a buffet with all you can eat shrimp and steak. My roommate starts crying and howling how I don’t love her and how the psychic hotline told her that I would get drunk and ruin our date night…and I smack her in the back of the head and tell her to shut the hell up. We had a hoot. Nick turns white, the owner/chef comes flying out of the kitchen. He’s demanding we leave and I get louder and yell how my food stamps are just as good as real money and how I know people and I am going to turn him in as a communist.

Just about the time I know Anthony is going to call the cops and have us dragged off to jail…I tell him who we are.

The entire restaurant just erupts with laughter and after the urge to chicken-choke the two of us passes, Nick and Anthony laugh too.

And I will always remember that Halloween. Best fun I’ve ever had for under ten dollars.

What are some of your best Halloween memories? Or best pranks? What do you guys love about autumn? Share your thoughts.

I want to hear your comments, and to prove it…

Leave a comment and I will put your name in for a drawing, and you can win an autographed copy of my book We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. I’m going to gather all comments until Halloween and then the winner will be announced November 1st. Trackbacks count as an entry, so you can double your chances to win by leaving a comment and then linking to any of my blogs.

Happy writing!

Until next time…

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