Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ten Ways Writers Are Like Zombies

Zombie bearing flower - how sweet!
from steevithak at Flickr

I've struggled to figure out the zombie mystique, though reading Sommer Marsden (Big Bad, We Kill Dead Things) helped greatly.  Finally it dawned on me, how much writers and zombies have in common.  We're brothers and sisters under the skin. (Well, if zombies had skin.)

Ten Ways Writers Are Like Zombies
  1. Zombies stumble around seeking brains.
    Writers stumble around seeking coffee (or in my case, Mt.  Dew).

  2. There is no real logic as to why zombies exist.  They just have this overwhelming need to be zombies.
    There is no real logic as to why people write.  Whether they never sell a single book, or sell millions, they just have this overwhelming need to write.

  3. Zombies are often incoherent and impossible to understand.
    Writers... yep.  Especially pre-caffeine.

  4. Zombies roam the world, leaving mangled corpses and fragments of flesh in their wake.
    Writers roam the Internet, leaving mangled prose and sentence fragments in their wake.

  5. Zombies movies are often so bad they cross the line to hilarious entertainment.
    Books, poetry and scripts are often so bad they cross the line to hilarious entertainment.

  6. Zombies smell disgusting and wear ragged clothing full of holes and stains.
    Writers in the middle of a writing/editing jag smell... Wait, is that just me?

  7. Zombies lack a steady source of income, yet somehow, they survive.
    Writers always lack a steady source of income, yet somehow...

  8. Zombies may be entertaining from a distance, but you wouldn't want your sister to marry one.
    You wouldn't want your sister to... well, unless your sister already did.  Or unless your sister is the writer.

    Oh dear.  This is awkward.

  9. Zombies don't have a lot of friends.
    Writers who consistently insult other writers *looking at sky and whistling* don't keep a lot of friends.

    Countless people love dressing up as zombies at Halloween.
    Countless people love dressing up as writ.

  10. Zombies are misunderstood, tortured creatures who just need a little love.  (And brains.)
    Writers are misunderstood, tortured creatures who just need a little love.  (And sometimes, brains.)
Got some zombie (or writer) love?
Share it in the comments, below - and if you blog, don't forget to use CommentLuv, 
 so the zombies other readers know where to find you.


P.S. Speaking of writer love - you can still get in on the Jeremy Robinson Kindle Give-Away - provided you sign up by the end of October.  And tell him Beverly sent ya.

Friday, October 21, 2011

We Need to See Less of Each Other

Every writer struggles with the same issue - too much to do, not enough time.

Plus there are so many pretty, shiny distractions.

Like blogging.  I do enjoy blogging.  I like writing posts, I love looking for cools pics or videos to include, I love visiting other blogs and posting comments.

But lately, I feel like a man cheating on his wife.  Because the MS I finished last month is sitting forlornly in a corner, waiting for me to really buckle down and edit it.

Now.  I did need to take a little breather, right after I finished it.  At first, I was on such a high, I thought it was perfect, not a period misplaced, not a single word poorly chosen.  The writer's equivalent of beer goggles.

Then I looked at it again, and ye gods, was it hideous.  How did I ever think I could be a writer?  I should just put the whole thing in the trash. Prolly should reformat my hard drive to erase any traces that it ever existed.  *sobbing*

Lately, I've been able to take a more clear-eyed look at it - and I think it's pretty good.  But... there are some holes in the roof, there, some furniture that needs to be moved all around, maybe some windows replaced.  That accent wall - not working.  The carpeting's kind of scraggly, too.

Still, it's got potential.  It'll be a sweet little novel someday, once I fix'er up.

But how do I make time for editing when I am so busy and my mind is so engaged with blogging?

I can't.  This post was intended to be a cute piece that tied the Romantic Friday Writers' prompt, Whispers, in to this week's GBE 2 theme, Safe Haven.  If I invested 4-5-7 hours into sitting at the 'puter, I'm sure I  could do a decent enough job, if not some marvelous piece that goes viral.

Or, I could take a couple hours to write this post, and have several hours left of time and creative "juice" to work on my edits.

So, here's my new plan.  I will continue to blog - but not three times a week.  Maybe not even twice, depending on if the spirit moves me.  I will still participate in GBE2 and Romantic Friday Writers - if the prompt really grabs me and I can write something quickly and easily.

I will still visit blogs and leave comments - but not as many, nor as frequently.  (So, please don't take it personally if I don't visit you as often.  It's me, not you.  Your content is still fabulous, I swear.)

I need to devote the lion's share of my time and creative energy to my wife, er, my manuscript.

She deserves it.

Have you ever had to make similar choices?
Thoughts, comments?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Setting My Minimum Dating Requirements
A Guy's Gotta Have...?

I've been in the very odd position of writing erotic love scenes while being sworn off men.  (Not that I haven't had offers, but... I've been decompressing.)

I have female friends who are on the dating scene, while I cheer and spectate from the sidelines.  Problem: While there may be plenty of fish in the sea, it seems like too many of them, at least in the ponds my friends are fishing, are those toxic-chemical-deformed fish that seem to be swimming sideways.

In all fairness, I understand many of the women in DatingLand make Alex (Glenn Close) from Fatal Attraction look like Girlfriend of the Year.  But I'm not looking to date a hot-but-crazy lady, however thrilling I've heard it can be.

I've heard so many dating horror stories, that I feel skittish about getting back into it in a few months.  Because online (and even in person), people are not always the way they represent themselves.

Am I too picky?  Another accusation that floats around, that "women are so picky."  As I re-enter DatingLand, am I looking for a Brad Paisley, while I could be perfectly happy with a tubby little tuba player?  (Not that I would kick BP out of bed for playing country music.)

Here's what's on my list of Minimum Dating Requirements, so far:

Liars Need Not Apply.  Everybody bends the truth a little, maybe wants to believe that with the right partner, they could be thinner/wealthier/healthier/smarter/better-looking.  But what I get from my girlfriends (and some of my own past experiences) is that the truth isn't simply being stretched a little, it's getting murdered, stuffed in a trunk and left in a ditch.  Lies will be found out - so why waste the time?

Actually Single.  Not somebody who just broke up with his ex, like, last week, and thinks they're probably not going to get back together.  Not "I've been separated for XX many years, but we haven't filed for divorce yet because of the insurance," nor "Yeah, she used to be my girlfriend and we're still sharing a house but we're more roommates than anything else," nor "I've been seeing this woman and she thinks she's my girlfriend, and she wants me to move in with her and I don't want to but I'm trying to let her down easy because she seems to be mentally unstable."  Oh, yeah, like I want a piece of that situation.

Actually.  Single.  Why do I hear this eliminates 70% of the men doing online dating?

Kids - been there, done that, got the team baseball jerseys.  While I would not totally rule out dating a (single!) man with young children, I am not seeking to raise more kids.   As far as starting one from scratch - oh, hells no!  Look elsewhere for your baby mama.

Not Currently Incarcerated, or on Parole.  I'm even willing to consider somebody who's done time in the Gray Bar Hotel, provided: 1) It was not for a violent crime against another human being such as rape, murder, or assault, and 2) See Liars, above.  I don't want to hear that he spent time in jail for protesting the Iraq War, for example, if it turns out that his form of "protest" was going into a mini-mart with a gun to rip off some terrified Middle Eastern night clerk.

Not Currently Bat-shit Crazy.  I have the deepest respect and admiration for the courageous souls who battle mental illness, from Schizophrenia to BiPolar Disorder to PTSD to clinical depression.  That said, I've been there, done that, got the NAMI T-shirt.  Unless a man is actively combating whatever his diagnosed mental disorder might be, with every possible tool at his disposal, including ongoing therapy, exercise, and medication if recommended - not gonna go there.  And no BS about how "I used to have XX, but I don't need treatment for it anymore."  

Actually Has a Decent Job and/or is Financially Comfortable  I know there's a recession, but come on.  Decent Job = not someone who cleans the restrooms at McDonald's or Walmart with pipe dreams of getting promoted to cashier, someday.  Financially Comfortable =  A nest egg of one's own, from savings and investments and royalties, not "My mom lets me use her credit card and live in her basement" or "when I finish designing this video game/write this script it's gonna make me a zillion bucks" fantasies.

I considered the "Would I date somebody who is laid off?" scenario, what with there being a recession and all.  I've decided, not.  If a man (or woman) is laid off, I think 100% of their energy should be invested in getting a new job.  If he has his own business and it's slow, he should be focused on building it up.  Not trolling DatingLand and looking to start a new romantic relationship.

Speaking of pipe dreams - No alkies, no potheads, no coke fiends, no prescription junkies.  I'm not willing to take the #2 slot, after the next drink/hit/score.

About the Money, Honey - I want a reasonable attitude about money.  I don't want to see a $20 tip left for two coffees, nor do I want to date a man who agonizes over each quarter as if he's sacrificing a piece of his very soul.  Cheaters - people who glory in cheating on their taxes, racing out of a store when a clerk mistakenly undercharges them, or who bail on their child support obligations by getting paid under the table - you people are a$$holes.  There's a huge difference between between being frugal and responsible, and being a thief.

Reasonable Age.  I'd prefer a man around my own age, but realize most of them are currently chasing 20-somethings.  No more than 15 years older than me, or more than 15 years younger (unless he's really hot).  "Baby" should be a term of endearment, not a biological possibility.

Height:  I am tall (5'9") for a woman.  While I prefer men my height or taller, I don't mind dating a man who's a little shorter than me. (Provided he doesn't have a 'tude about it.  Sadly, many guys do.)  But if a guy has proclaimed on his dating profile he is my height or taller, I'm in flats, and I have to look down to meet his eyes - trust me, I'm gonna notice.  (See Liars.)

Shape: Some of the best lovers I've ever had were on the pudgy side, and I'm no slender reed, myself.  I've also met some incredible men with serious health issues or who were differently-abled.  I wouldn't rule out dating such a person.  However - no lies.  If a man can't walk across a room because of MS or a gimpy knee, I don't want to hear that he loves to hike. Really?  In his imagination?  Because I picture hikes taking place... outside.  

Health: I see my doctors regularly for a lube & oil change and screening for STD's.  Even the nicest, cleanest people can pick up an STD, but if a guy isn't willing to get himself tested, condoms or no condoms, the risk isn't worth it to me.

Politics.  We need to be at least in the same book, if not on the same page.  If a man truly thinks Sarah Palin was the best qualified person to be POTUS, and he's disappointed she's not running because he wanted to vote for her; he's violating my standards for either Intelligence or Not Currently Bat-Shit Crazy.  Or both.

Religion - If a man is sure he knows what The Truth is, and is eager and ready to convert the world - never mind.  Bill Maher or Billy Graham, same difference; I need an open mind.  Somebody who considers himself on a spiritual path, open to learning and growing.

Add to  list: breath better than ammonia
Literate & Intelligent.  A writer would be a plus, a good writer would be huge, but at the very least, somebody who knows the difference between you're and your, there their and they're.  Somebody who actually reads books.  Someone who just doesn't think he's intelligent (and endlessly pontificates to demonstrate it), but actually is.  

Sense of Humor -  Men who Take Themselves and the World Too Seriously, bore me.   Like they say, if you can't laugh at yourself, you leave the job to others.  Playfulness, joy, fun...

Chemistry, aka, sexual attraction.  Yes, this is important to me, too.  If I'm not going to get me some good kissin' (and what may follow it), what's the point of dating?  Believe it or not, there are men out there who treat sex like going to the bathroom: do it when you must, clean yourself thoroughly afterwards, and get on with your day as quickly as possible.  Not appealing to me.

What else am I missing?  Am I truly setting the bar unreasonably high?  Or, too low?

What kind of dating horror stories have you heard (or experienced)?
Any recommendations for services or places to meet nice guys who might fit my "picky" standards?

Monday, October 17, 2011

#Boobs for Sale - Boob Whisperer Stories for #BCA & Cancer Survivors

Got boobs, or merely love them, we all have a story to tell.  Guest post today by P.S. (aka, Princess) Jones,  aka The Boob Whisperer, telling about Boob Stories.

Take it away, Ms. Jones!

Even as a completely heterosexual woman, I have to tell you that I am obsessed with breasts. Big ones, small ones, round ones, flat ones--boobs are amazing. They symbolize womanhood, motherhood, and the feminine mystique. I can’t think of another body part that gets so much attention.

They’re a lot of work, though. They have their own underwear category. You have to know when to show them and know when to downplay them. They can hurt your back if you’ve got the big ones. If you’re breast feeding, you deal with cracks, pains and leaks. And, what about those times that your boobs totally upstage you? As awesome as they are, nobody wants to pause from an intense conversation to find that the other person is staring at her chest and not her mouth.

Boobs can kill you, too.

The absolute worst part about boobs is has to be boob cancer breast cancer. Every year nearly 300,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 1 in 35 will die from it. But, this is just a small number of people hurt by the disease. These women are mothers, sisters, daughters and lovers, and the disease affects the people they love.

These thoughts were on my mind when I came up with the idea for Boob Stories. I was having a conversation with a few friends on Twitter about how every woman has a few stories about what happens inside her bra. Suddenly, I had a plan to ask women to donate stories about their boobs, put it together in a book form and sell it to benefit charity.

Boob Stories is on sale now. It features 15 stories about boobs from some very talented writers--including your very own Beverly Diehl. The stories range from inspiration to funny to interesting.  Boob Stories costs $5 to download and every penny of the proceeds goes to charity. If you love boobs and you hate breast cancer, it’s the best way to spend your $5 today.

P.S. Jones is a professional copywriter by day and a boob whisperer for charity in her spare time. Her latest project is Boob Stories, a collection of breast inspired anecdotes collected and sold to benefit breast cancer patients and survivors. For more information on the project, go to[Note - -this was the WRONG link, earlier.  I have fixed - sorry for any of you who went to the wrong site!]

IMO, what follows is the best breast cancer PSA evah!  Just because you deserve a treat.  (Watch through to the very end, you'll love the credits!) 

(P.S. if you play for the other team, so to speak, I will be happy to post any
equally entertaining vids featuring ladies rather than gents, just send me a link.)

Are you checking yourself, right now?  Ordering Boob Stories?
Got a comment to share?

Friday, October 14, 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters - First Love, First Hayride

First Love... don't those two words give you a warm, melty sensation?  Even if s/he turned out to be a big mistake later on, first love always has a special kind of magic.  (If only I could remember who mine was...)

For the rest of the RFW poems & stories, by writers who always bring a smile to my face, go here.

Denise (aka L'Aussie) & Francine, thank you so very much for starting this group, doing all the work to keep it going, and giving us such challenging prompts. This week, Challenge #23, is First Love.

Doing something different - since it's First Love, I thought I'd write outside my comfort zone and try for MG (Middle Grade) level.  And - choose your own ending.

First Love, First Hayride - Word Count: 398; FCA (Full Critique Acceptable - and requested, thank you!)


For years - well, two years, anyway, Tessa had studied the older kids at HarvestFest.  The geeks walked around by themselves, or with a friend.  The cool kids partnered up, boyfriend and girlfriend.

They’d walk around the booths together, sharing pizza and cotton candy.  He’d throw baseballs at milk bottles.  Even if he didn’t win a prize, she’d be all googly eyes at him for trying.

Then they’d turn in the tickets for a hayride.  Rumors of kissing and more on those hayrides circulated throughout the school.

photo via MollyWrites
There was a boy in her class who kind of liked her, Steve.  He wasn’t gross or anything, but...  Tessa really liked Adam.  The tall, dark-haired boy lived in the next building at the apartments.  Already in junior high.  And so cute.  If she showed up at HarvestFest with Adam she would be dead cool for the rest of the year.  And the thought of kissing him, in the hayride...

Every time Tessa saw him, she tried to go ask him, and froze.

“Janelle, you ask for me,” she begged her best friend.

I can’t just go talk to him.  I'm shy, too.”


Every day for a week, Tessa bugged Janelle, and watched Adam around the apartments.  Probably with googly eyes.  She thought he liked her.  He smiled like he liked her.

HarvestFest.  Dad had given Tessa money - enough for two people, but Adam was nowhere around.  Janelle’s mom said on the phone she was on her way to the festival.

Crushed, she held her head high as she walked over.  I won’t let anyone see it bugs me, being the only sixth-grade girl without a date.  And Steve was there, at the gate, asking, “Do you want to go around HarvestFest with me?”

“Okay.” Tessa felt glad at being rescued, and a little mad that Steve hadn’t asked her before.

They got some cotton candy, and walked around.  Steve bored her. Talked about school.  Hello, we’re in the same class!  A little shorter than her, which was awkward.  He didn’t offer to do the baseball and milk bottle game either, which was kind of insulting.

Getting in line for the hayride, Tessa wasn’t sure if she wanted to kiss him or not.

“There you are!”  Janelle.  And standing right behind her, Adam.

“I thought you wanted to go around the festival with me,” his eyes flickered to Steve.

What does Tessa do next?  She could:

Dump Steve.  After all, she always liked Adam better, and she did ask him, first.  (Sort of.)  And Janelle is giving her these looks like she'd be really mad at her if she dumped Adam after she finally got up the courage to invite him for Tessa.

Apologize to Adam and stay with Steve, even though he bores her.

Work out something so that both boys go around the festival with her for the rest of the night.

Apologize to both of them and go home and cry.

Or...?  How would you end this story?


The Romantic Friday Writers weekly blogfest is open to all writers of romantic fiction. Wanna join the party? Click here for submission info.

Your thoughts?


Coming on Monday - Boob Stories, the collection.  Come back & find out how to pick up a set.

Did you see my Wednesday guest is giving away Kindles?  Click back to my Jeremy Robinson post and find out how - open through the end of October 2011.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jeremy Robinson - Great Kindle Giveaway & Blog Tour
Horror, YA, Fantasy & Chesspocalypse

If you're still naked, rubbing the sleep out of your crusty eyes, pick out something orange to wear today, Unity Day, as a statement that you, too, stand against bullying.  Consider how many of today's popular people - authors, actors, entrepreneurs - were geeky outcasts in middle or high school.  And support PACER's National Bullying Prevention Month.

I would call my guest author, Jeremy Robinson, a geek or nerd, but he's laughing all the way to the bank.  Besides, what do you call somebody who started as a self-published author and parlayed that into best-selling books and mainstream publishing contracts?  I'd say, a success.

Welcome to Jeremy Robinson’s Great Kindle Giveaway and Blog Tour

“Hurray for free Kindles!” you say, but who the hell is Jeremy Robinson? Allow me to introduce myself. I’m the author of eleven mixed genre novels, published in ten languages, including the popular fantasy YA series, THE LAST HUNTER, and the fast-paced Jack Sigler series (also known as Chess Team—not nearly as nerdy as it sounds), PULSE, INSTINCT and THRESHOLD from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press. I’m the co-author of an expanding series of novellas deemed the Chesspocalypse, which take place in the Chess Team universe. If that doesn’t wet your whistle, I’m also known as Jeremy Bishop, the #1 horror author of THE SENTINEL and the controversial novel, TORMENT. For more about me, or my books, visit

I have watched for years as my fellow authors held online events called blog tours. Some would visit ten blogs. Others, as many as ninety. And every day they would bring something different, waxing eloquent about a multitude of topics. When I finally decided to have a blog tour of my own, and settled on doing each and every weekday in October, my first thought was, “This will be cool,” which was immediately followed up by, “Holy crap, I can’t think of something interesting to say twenty times in one month!” I can barely think of something worthwhile for my own blog just once a month. The solution is what follows; each blog participating in the tour could ask me ANY three questions. That means, if the subject matter bores you, I’m not to blame! Huzzah!

But fear not. There are other rewards for sloughing through the questions and answers. I’ll be giving away two Kindles to two randomly selected readers who sign up for my newsletter. Details on the giveaway can be found below. On to the Q&A!

1) We all know people who criticize certain books or genres simply because they have differing tastes – or perhaps enjoy bitching.  What is the biggest or most frequently voiced criticism of your work that you consider justified – and what are you doing to address it?

Actually, it’s that I’m a fundamentalist hater trying to convert the reader to conservative Christianity. This is typically a response to any mention of anything in my stories that relates to the Bible. It’s true that I have, on occasion, used events recorded in the Bible, or strange creatures described in the Bible as the basis of a story. I even have a character that’s a young Earth creationist. BUT, I also have characters who are evolutionists, atheists, etc, who are just as heroic and convincing as the creationist. I base stories and creatures on Greek, Norse mythology, Buddhist and Jewish beliefs, and gobs of non-creationist science. The point is, everything is fair game. I’ll tap any religion or belief system if it helps the story. More than that, the Biblical stuff in many of my novels is twisted so much that I tend to offend Christians as well as non-Christians. I can’t win!

Perhaps the most controversial of all my novels is TORMENT, written under the Jeremy Bishop pen name, which sends the occasional reader into an anti-fundamentalist Christian tizzy-fit. Granted, the story does involve hell, but there is nothing Biblical or Christian about my presentation of that concept, AND I drop the F-bomb 34 times. What kind of fundamentalist Christian propaganda curses like a drunken sailor? The story really asks the question, “Are you ready to die?” I think the angry people just came up with an answer they didn’t like. [Okay, so he kinda answered a different question than I asked - but it was still interesting, yes?  Yes.]

2) You’ve pointed out that unappealing covers and amateurish book trailers probably damage sales of self-published books more than help them.  If an author is planning a self-published e-book only, do you still consider an attractive, professional-appearing cover a must, or do you think they can get away with an "okay" cover and perhaps a cheesy book trailer?

It’s possible that covers of a lesser quality aren’t quite as important as those on print books, because they’re never going to be seen very big, or in high quality. While I have seen some successful e-books with awful covers, I personally wouldn’t risk it. Covers not only grab the attention of book buyers, but they also help brand the author, or an author’s series. They make it easier to quickly glance at a book and without reading any text, think, “Oh, there’s a new James Patterson (or whoever) novel!” Crappy covers don’t make for a good long run brand. If you look at my Chesspocalypse books, it’s very easy to see that they go together. Same with the Origins Editions of my first five novels. And THE LAST HUNTER series. They’re branded, and that takes design skills and forethought. Besides, I like making posters out of my covers and with crappy covers, that just wouldn’t be any fun.

As for the book trailers, they’re not watched in great numbers. Even those by big name bestsellers don’t get tons of watches. With the audience so limited, I would much rather make a stellar impression, or not have a trailer at all. A cheesy book trailer will also likely hurt sales. When I see a bad book trailer I immediately think the book is equally bad. It’s all about first impressions. If a trailer or cover is bad, most people assume the same poor quality can be found within the book. Traditionally published authors get to blame bad covers on the publisher, but with self-publishing that responsibility rests with the author, and no one else.

3) I know how very hard you’ve worked for your “overnight success,” and want to offer you a softball question – what question have you always wanted to answer, but nobody asked?  (And what’s your answer?)

Hmmm. That’s actually a tough question. Let’s go with: All of your novels have been original stories and properties developed by you. Are there any non-Jeremy Robinson properties you would like to write for?

YES! There are, in fact, two. I would love to do a novelization of the upcoming Godzilla movie. I’ve been a fan of Godzilla since I was a kid, have a near complete collection of the movies, and more than a few of the toys in my office. No other author knows Godzilla better than me. More than that, writing a Godzilla novel has been on my list of things to do before I die, so the timing is right. Now I just need to get Legendary Pictures’ attention. The second is actually Thundarr the Barbarian. I would love to write a novel, or screenplay for Thundarr. Make it serious and gritty. I love to write post-apocalypse stories. I kill nearly everyone on Earth whenever possible. And I think some of that comes from watching, and loving, Thundarr as a kid. I watch it with my kids now, and the combination of post-apocalypse landscape with twisted science and fantasy is just awesome. Either would be a dream come true.

Hope that was as good for you as it was for me. Now how about that kindle giveaway?
Here’s the deal: to be entered to win one of two free kindles all you have to do is visit my website:——and sign up for the newsletter. That’s it. The first kindle will go to a randomly chosen newsletter signup on October 31. For the second kindle, there’s a catch. The second giveaway will only be triggered if one of my kindle books hits the bestseller list (top 100). So pick up some books (most are just $2.99 a pop) and spread the word! If one of the books squeaks up to #100 for just a single hour, the second kindle will be given away to another randomly chosen newsletter sign up on October 31.

 *When you sign up for the newsletter, be sure to include the name of the blog that referred you in the field provided. I’ll be giving away two $50 gift certificates to the blog that refers the most sign-ups and another to the blog who referred the first kindle winner.

** I will announce winners via Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and newsletter (which you will be signed up for!) but I’ll also e-mail the winners directly—I’ll need to know where to ship those kindles!

Thanks for spending some time with me today. Hope you enjoyed the Q&A, and good luck with the kindle giveaway!

-- Jeremy Robinson

So are you clicking over to buy some books and sign up for the newsletter yet?
What's takin' you so long?

Coming on Monday - Boob Stories.  (Yes, you heard right.)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sorry, I'm Not Wearing That - but I'll try a Lois Lane

Swimsuit Available from Rusty Zipper
I'm sure it looks good on some women...
Am I the only one whose first instinct is to run screaming in the opposite direction when I hear the phrases "blog award" or "bathing suit"?

I'm glad other people enjoy them; I really, really appreciate people who have designated me to receive one, and I always feel honored, but for me, personally...  They involve so much friggin' work:  answer these questions, choose XX number of people to pass 'em onto, post the award, with link, do the hokey pokey and...  Plus, I'm pretty sure the look is not workin' for me.

Brenda from GrrlGuide offers this take on it:
Instead, I decided to create a new blog honor and coined it the Lois Lane, aka the 10/20 award.  I’ve noticed there are rules associated with awards, and as Michael–author of  Thinking  In My Head–knows, I dislike rules of any kind. Instead, think pirate’s code—more of a guideline really.  
List ten loves and ten hates, followed by a short piece, which includes the use of your loves and hates. Passing along the Lois is optional. Factors to consider, the honor will not go viral on the web and worse, Oprah will not discover you, if you do not pass on or participate. This is your decision to make, so let your conscience be your guide.
So here's my own stab at earning awesome reporter, Lois Lane GrrlGuide style award:


1.   Undertrained Yappy Little Dogs
2.   Sushi
3.   Country Music
4.   Married Men Who Flirt Like They're Single
5.   Forgotten Appointments
6.   Drivers who block intersections
7.   Filing
8.   Cat Puke
9.   Reality TV shows
10. Bathing Suits


1.   Warm sunny days at the beach
2.   Hot fudge
3.   The book genre formerly known as chick lit
4.   Two-hour massages
5.   Men who know how to kiss
6.   Cinnamon toast
7.   Bills that are lower than you thought they'd be
8.   People who like your writing
9.   Champagne
10. Falling in love

Once upon a time, there was a talented and beautiful novelist, writing in the book genre formerly known as chick lit.  Michelle wasn't rich, but she made a comfortable living.  Her heart was filled with snarkiness lovingkindness, joy and understanding, always, and wherever she went, even to the bathroom, the air sparkled with fairy dust and smelled of lilacs. 

Oddly enough, Michelle's ginormous cat looks exactly like
my ginormous cat, Metaphor, aka, Stinky

She should be followed around by little suburban creatures and bugs, like in Enchanted, only that would be really creepy, so instead she only has one ginormous cat.

One misty October morning, Michelle slept gloriously late, having dreamed the night away with a multitude of gorgeous men who really knew how to kiss.  She transitioned to the reality of the cold, cruel world with the help and comfort of cinnamon toast, fed the cat, then opened a pile of bills.  True, they were still bills, not stacks of currency, but they were all much lower than she thought they’d be.  Yes!

Settling down with a mug of coffee in front of the computer, her muse stirred her towards completion of her latest novel.  Dialogue flowed like hot fudge sauce over French vanilla ice cream, the plot sparkled and intoxicated her senses like fine champagne...

Michelle took short breaks from the yumminess only to stretch and respond to the lovely, lovely people who e-mailed her and commented on her blog about how much they liked her writing.

Then the phone butted in.  "This is Doctor Shinysmile's office.  We're calling to confirm your cleaning appointment today at 1:00 pm."

Gosh darn it!  Why was it that forgotten appointments were always for worthy and inconvenient things like dental hygiene and car maintenance?  Why were they never for two-hour massages?

So Michelle blew a kiss and a promise to her manuscript and headed across town, determined to keep her joyful, productive mood intact, despite the really irritating sadly distracted drivers who blocked the intersections during her green lights.  These selfish cunts well-groomed matrons often drove a luxury car with one of their undertrained, yappy little dogs beloved canine companions on their laps.

Michelle's unevolved, childish desire was to roll down the window and scream, "I know you're in desperate need of your next Botox fix, but other people have places to go, too.  Hang up the phone, move the dog away from the steering wheel, and drive, you stupid cow!"

This would not be projecting the kind, loving energies Michelle hoped the universe would return to her, so she smiled and thought sunshiny thoughts about her wonderful manuscript.  And two-hour massages.  And handsome men who knew how to kiss.

Alas, seated next to Michelle in the dentists’ waiting room was a very generously-sized man with white hair and black bushy eyebrows and mustache who’d obviously had sushi for lunch - and not bothered to brush his teeth afterwards.  He also wore a shirt with a matching white-and-black pattern, which was not a good look for him.  As Shamu leered at her cleavage, and his fish breath wafted into her face, Michelle's rainbow mood couldn't help dimming, just a smidge.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
However, on Michelle's other, non-Shamu side, sat an extremely Cute Guy with come-hither eyes and sexy dimples, who began madly flirting with her.  She flirted back, gave Cute Guy one of her latest bookmarks, and entertained pleasantly naughty thoughts.  Until the dental assistant opened the door to the waiting room and exclaimed, “Why, Greg, your wife was here just this morning!”

Michelle was tempted to go snatch the bookmark out of his hand, but the door had already closed behind his cheatin' eyes and dimples.

She clung with toe and fingernails to the last remnants of her joyful mood, as the hygienist scraped and dug and tortured her professionally and painlessly cleaned her teeth, while the speakers in the ceiling played country music.  Country music, really?  Since when did a dental office play country music?  Wasn’t the whine of the drill bad enough?

They were using the drill a lot, Michelle noticed.  In the room Greg was in.

"Don't smile!" her hygienist scolded.

Michelle decided on the drive home, to forget about married flirts and selfish drivers, and to concentrate on her precious novel, gleaming and beckoning like an emerald in a dark cave like in Romancing the Stone.  Or whatever movie had the gems in the cave.

She was well rewarded for her positive thoughts, as her cat greeted her the moment she walked in the door with loud purrs and meows, rubbing her ankles, clearly delighted to see her cat-mommy.

Then she (the cat, not Michelle) proceeded to puke.

Michelle found it impossible to put a positive spin on cat puke.  In fact, the only thing she hated more than cleaning up cat puke, was stepping on cat puke, when the cat, bless her passive-aggressive little kitty heart, had covertly puke-bombed the carpet.  Beige on beige, never a color cue.

She cleaned it up.  Not feeling the rainbows or emeralds anymore.  Headed back to her computer, but the muse was gone.  Off watching a reality TV show, no doubt, the lazy, stupid bitch.  Michelle cued up the novel to where she'd left off.  Perhaps if it was staring at her onscreen, the magic would grab her again, all the beautiful ideas flow out.

Nothing.  She did some filing - might as well, the rest of the day was shot.  Cleaned the desk some more.  Checked the weather forecast.  Hot and sunny tomorrow.  A beautiful day for the beach... if only she didn't have to write.

"Oh, you're taking us to the beach tomorrow," her muse informed her.

I have to work.  I have to write.

"No, Miss Gloomypants, you have to take us to the beach."

I would have to wear a bathing suit.  I don't want to wear a bathing suit.  Like, ever again.

"Cowboy up, you wuss. If you take us to the beach, I promise your characters and I will be lovely for the rest of the week.  And who knows, you might even meet a Cute Guy there.  An unmarried one."

I have a sneaking suspicion you're filling my head with rainbows and sunshiny dreams, and then you're going to bail on me again.

"We'll keep talking to you.  I promise."

So Michelle did go to the beach, and it was as lovely and sunny and beautiful as forecast. (She does, after all , live in SoCal where there are often wonderful beach days, even in fall or winter.)  Her characters all shared plenty of secrets, enough for to finish that book and start another.

While she was enjoying her warm sunny day at the beach, Michelle fell in love.  With a man?  With her story?  With herself?  That's a tale for another time.

And she wrote happily ever after.


Okay - this is a train wreck of a story.  If you want to critique it, feel free.  Not ever intending to seek publication for this snarky rainbowy cat pukey thing, just wanted to have some fun.  I know it's too long, and doesn't really have a point, but I wrote it to use my special words, not the other way around.

And I wanted to cleverly tie it to my post about the important happenings in October, in this case, Dental Hygiene and Car Maintenance.

On another note - I have another author coming on the blog, mark your calendars to be back here on Wednesday, and get on his newsletter list (please tell him I sent ya)  as he is giving away two, count 'em, TWO Kindles on this blog tour.

He is also a shooting star of a writer.  I first knew Jeremy as a writer of screenplays (unpublished), then an author/co-author of a couple non-fiction books.  I've since watched with awe and amazement as he's gone from self-pubbing to traditional, currently with a foot in both worlds, in a very short frame of time.

JEREMY ROBINSON is the author of numerous novels including PULSE, INSTINCT, and THRESHOLD the first three books in his exciting Jack Sigler series, which is also the focus of and expanding series of co-authored novellas deemed the Chesspocalypse. Robinson is also known as the #1 horror writer, Jeremy Bishop, author of THE SENTINEL and the controversial novel, TORMENT. His novels have been translated into ten languages. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and three children.

So, if you are also looking to be a successful writer, following his blog tour and getting the newsletter is a great way to learn from somebody who's done it.

Happy writing or reading or beach-going today.

Friday, October 7, 2011

#RomanticFridayWriters - Rock Candy -
The CandyMan - Betty & Jack

How can a man pick up the nickname The CandyMan?  Skilled hands are a good first step...

For the rest of the RFW poems & stories, by writers who always bring a smile to my face, go here.

Denise (aka L'Aussie) & Francine, thank you so very much for starting this group, doing all the work to keep it going, and giving us such challenging prompts. This week, Challenge #22, is Rock Candy.

UK seaside rock candy is a stick of sweet hard candy with lettering throughout. The lettering usually has the name of the seaside resort, i.e,  Weymouth, Black Pool, Brighton (rock) etc.

If you're wondering how (English) rock candy is made with the lettering inside, here's a cool clip.

Now, on with the story.  The CandyMan - Word Count: 388; FCA (Full Critique Acceptable - and requested, thank you!)

She began calling him The CandyMan, after one lazy morning in bed, when they’d watched the “How It’s Made” series on rock candy with the cute little designs in the middle.  CandyMan fit because he heated her blood to boiling, stirred her senses, touched and worked her with skilled hands (and other parts), stretching out her pleasure unbelievably...  Finally leaving her with lingering tastes of sweetness that could last all day.

He did always leave his socks on the floor though.
Betty stared at the blinking cursor.  And stared, and stared.

Jack came into the room, kissed the top of her head.  “Good stuff,” he said, reading the screen.  “Z’at about me?  Hey, I’m getting better at getting my socks into the hamper.”

She burst into tears.  “I can’t do this, Jack, I can’t, I can’t!”

“Sssh, sssh, honey,” he coaxed her away from the computer, led her over to the big, secondhand rocking chair they'd bought.  Sitting down in it, he cuddled her against his broad, warm chest.  “You don’t have to rush back into this.  Maybe it’s too soon.”

“I have to, though, I have to go back to writing again.  I can’t just sit around, all I do is think of our baby.  I feel so empty.”

Betty felt her husband’s tears splash down to join hers.  “I miss him too,” he said. “What kind of father am I?  I couldn’t save him, or you, I feel so fucking helpless...” Jack began sobbing harder, the big, hiccoughing kind of crying that shook his whole body, and Betty joined in.

They rocked and wailed, wailed and rocked, until their sobs tapered away and the light dimmed in the room.  Betty was left with the soothing rhythm of Jack’s breathing against her body, his large, strong hand rubbing her back, the comfort of his cheek laid on top of her head.

A loud gurgle echoed in the room.  Betty giggled.  “Was that your tummy, or mine?”
“That had to be yours.  My stomach has better manners,” he teased.  “I guess I should go make us some dinner.”

“I will.”

“No, honey, you go back to your writing for a little while.  I’ll make dinner tonight.”

Betty sat in front of the screen again.  She typed:
CandyMan was also sweet in other ways.  Showing his affection, making dinner...

National Share Group on FaceBook
October is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. Almost certainly someone you love,  someone you work with, or you yourself, have lost a baby, either in utero or shortly after birth.  Yet until recently, there has been little public awareness and support for parents suffering such a loss.

Mostly people, including the grieving parents, have simply pretended it never happened.  We're realizing now, this is not particularly helpful or healing, but since we weren't brought up to talk about this, how do we support such losses?

from National Share Office
Say “I’m Sorry”
If you can’t find the right words, it is better to say, “I’m sorry,” than nothing at all.

Avoid Clichés
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“Thank goodness you are young, you can still have more children.”
“There must have been something wrong with the baby.”
“I understand how you feel.” (unless you have an experience to share)
“It was meant to be.”
“You have an angel in heaven.”
“At least you didn’t get to know the baby.”
“You are so strong, I could never handle this.”
“I guess it’s good it happened now.”
“At least you have children at home.”
“God would never give you more than you could handle.”

What may seem comforting to you may be very hurtful to others.  Clichés tend to minimize the loss and the emotions a parent has toward their baby.

Say “I Don’t Know What to Say”
If you are unaware of what to say, simply say, “I don’t know what to say.”  Honesty can be more comforting than words with less meaning. 
Silence Can Be Okay
Sometimes there is just nothing to say.  Just be quiet, be with them, hold their hand, touch their shoulder, or give them a hug.

Apologize for Hurtful Comments
If you do say something insensitive, acknowledge it and apologize.  These comments can cause hurt and future resentment.

For more information on how to support someone who has lost a baby or a pregnancy, National Share Office.

If you have lost a baby or pregnancy, whether you are a father or mother, don't feel you have to "be brave" or "battle through."  Tell loved ones when you are feeling down or need help.  Join support groups, either locally or online.  You are not alone, and it is normal to grieve your loss.


 I hope you found the story above entertaining, romantic and hopeful.  My goal, besides writing to the prompt of Rock Candy, is to show that although sadly, those who have a lost a baby can "turn" on each other and lose the relationship too, that the shared loss can bring them closer together.

Please feel free to offer and and all feedback, and let me know if you found the story too preachy.  (I promise, not all my RFW stories will carry an awareness message!)

The Romantic Friday Writers weekly blogfest is open to all writers of romantic fiction. Wanna join the party? Click here for submission info.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Downloading A New Vocab

funny gifs

One of the most delicious facets of the English language, IMO, is how it is continually changing and evolving.

Some people hate it, especially slang and trends like the subversion of nouns into verbs: breakfast, parent, contact, medal.  I think it's sexy to think of corrupting words, teaching them to do something new, naughty, and slightly forbidden.

My pet peeve is the way they (you know, the ubiquitous They) are turning everything into an Event.  Stores don't have Sales anymore, they have Sales Events; there are Birthday Party Events, and Weather Events.  Really?  Can't we just have sales and parties and weather?  <sighing>

OMG, I sound like a Word Nazi.  Time for an attitude adjustment.  (Not the wrestling one though.)

Ever since English became its own (bastard) language, we've been borrowing bits from here and there, sawing off pieces we don't like, tacking on others, changing the meanings, and adding new words and phrases.  Shakespeare did it all the time, because that's how he rolled.

Basically, English is a slut.  (I mean that in the nicest way - you should know how much I love sluts, being a proud slut myself.)

Anybody remember Valleygirlspeak?  Language and dress (not to mention our current toys) can speak volumes about the period in which any piece of writing is set.  Like, fer shure.

As I've mentioned before, one of the things I love about paranormal romance author Lisa Hendrix is that she gets it right re: vocabulary for her historical novels.

So, since I'm writing contemporary fiction, one of my fav places to do research on the freshest phrases is Urban Dictionary.  People submit phrases they've overheard, or perhaps do some word mixing, and people can then vote them up or down.  Regardless of voting popularity, some may (or may not) catch on and become part of our current English lexicon.  No matter how craptastic they are, dude.

Here's a few that gave me a ladyboner a tingle of delight, and an urge to find a story to place them in:
  • Chicks before Dicks; Bros before Hoes - a colorful way of expressing that friendships should come before sex/hookups.
  • Mind over Bladder - the power to be able to suppress urination needs regardless of urgency and/or pain.  I am in awe of those who possess this power - but I ain't one of them.  (TMI?  Sorry!)
  • Sexercism - A non-religious, therapeutic exercise.  Having sex with someone new to get over your last partner and cut those emotional ties.  
  • Fart and Dart - pretty self explanatory, pass gas & flee the scene, leaving others to ?enjoy the fumes.
  • Spending Amnesia - trying to remember where you could possibly have spent your money when it is mysteriously all gone. 
  • Epic Fail - complete and total failure when success should have been easy
  • Regret Ceiling - the point at which one stops feeling guilty or remorseful regarding a thought, comment, or action. I've certainly reached this, especially when I've apologized roughly a billion times and the person is still snippy about it, weeks later.
  • Package Stalking - when one constantly presses the refresh button on an online tracking website to get up to the minute info on the package delivery 
  • Get an Inbox - derived from the expression "get a room."  When couples (or friends) constantly leave romantic, mushy, suggestive, or affectionate messages on each other's FaceBook wall or public Tweetstream for everyone else to see, someone may tell them to "get an inbox."
  • Free Balding - when a bald or balding man who normally wears a cap or hat, goes out in public without it.  I found it amusing to note that in the voting, this was one of the few that had more thumbs down than thumbs up.  Sensitive, guys?
  • Gate Massage - a TSA patdown.
  • Bag Texting - a trick to make people with whom you are having dinner, movies, etc., believe you are not rudely texting  while sitting with them, by appearing to be searching for something in your purse.
  • Money Hugger - opposite of tree hugger.  Unscrupulous, money hungry, money collecting individual or company willing to do anything and destroy anything on this planet to get their fix - more money.
  • Maintenance Texts - sending text messages to people you'd like to date "someday" to attempt to maintain a connection without actually making a commitment.
  • Last Chance Undies - the old ugly pair of underwear kept in your drawer which you may wear if all others are dirty.  Women also have period panties - no explanation necessary.
I may be a Word Nerd (if not The Word Nerd, celebrated blogger), but I adore the English language, in all its sloppy beauty!

Brief promotional plug - don't skip, there's something in it for YOU - I have another awesome author coming on the blog.  Mark your calendars to be back here next Wednesday, Oct 12, and get on his newsletter list (you have to tell him tell him I sent ya to be eligible) as he is giving away two, count 'em, TWO Kindles on this blog tour.

He is also a shooting star of a writer.  I first knew Jeremy as a writer of screenplays (unpublished), then an author/co-author of a couple non-fiction books.  I've since watched with awe and amazement as he's gone from self-pubbing to traditional, currently with a foot in both worlds, in a very short frame of time.

JEREMY ROBINSON is the author of numerous novels including PULSE, INSTINCT, and THRESHOLD the first three books in his exciting Jack Sigler series, which is also the focus of and expanding series of co-authored novellas deemed the Chesspocalypse. Robinson is also known as the #1 horror writer, Jeremy Bishop, author of THE SENTINEL and the controversial novel, TORMENT. His novels have been translated into ten languages. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and three children.

So, if you are also looking to be a successful writer, following his blog tour and getting the newsletter is a great way to learn from somebody who's done it.


Back on point - What do you think of the ever-evolving English language?
What's your pet peeve?
Which new phrase or word gives you warm tingles?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ten Lessons the Universe Keeps Trying to Teach Me
But I'm Too Slow to Learn

Sometimes the Universe comes to us and teaches us lessons.  Sometimes a horrific - or wonderful thing happens; perhaps it's some profound bit of wisdom a friend shares, or something we overhear in line at the grocery store.  Maybe it's some inspirational thing we see on Pinterest, for cryin' out loud.

At any rate, that lesson only happens once, yet it's embedded in our hearts and lives forever.

And sometimes the Universe tries to teach us, in fact, gives us the same lesson, over and over again, and we don't seem to catch on.  At least, I don't.  Here's ten lessons I can't seem to master:

  1. The plans I make for the weekend, all the writing, housecleaning, socializing, reading, blah blah, woof woof, I think I'm going to get done over the weekend?  I never get but a fraction of it done, and yet, every week, I live in hope, that this time...

  2. The spare battery for the camera is much more useful when carried on my person, along with the camera, rather than left at home in the charger.

  3. When possessed by crazy inspired to buy new eyeshadow at the drugstore, I should not get carried away and put it on in the car, right before meeting friends for lunch.  It always looks like it was applied by a laboratory chimp - and not one of the super-dextrous, smart ones, but one of the ones that they've been feeding lead paint chips to for all its life and it's had a stroke besides, poor thing. 

    After application and horrified realization that This is Not A Good Look for Me, said eyeshadow always turns out to be impossible to tone down, so I am faced with a) trying to make the other side equally atrocious, so at least I match, or, b) rubbing the side I've done so far in a futile attempt to remove said makeup, until eye area is red and swollen like I've lost a boxing match.

  4. Never presume a sandwich won't contain onions, even if every other item they add to said sandwich, right down to the parsley, is detailed on the menu, and there is no logical reason why the sandwich should contain onions.   I suspect there's an Onion Mafia, who makes sure that on every job, a certain number of their brethren get hired on, ya know whatta mean?

  5. No matter how many times I point the stereo remote control at the air conditioner, or vice versa, and click the on/off button, it's not gonna work.

  6. I always displace more water in the bathtub than I think I will.

  7. Cats are supremely indifferent to the rule that says we can sleep late on the weekend, and no amount of begging, pleading and reasoning will convince them to STFU.

  8. All ex-boyfriends are twenty times more charming, sexy, and kind in memory than they were in real life.  (Stop haunting my dreams, A-hole!)

  9. The dish that I thought about taking out of the freezer to defrost, but then got sidetracked and never did - that's what I'm always craving when dinner time rolls around.

  10. Much like the cat, no amount of pleading, whining, and begging will prevent Monday from intruding upon my life.
via Dieter Karner from Flickr
One great thing that happened last weekend, was I got to meet up with the brain trust (2/3 of it, anyway) behind SoCal Lady Bloggers.  If you blog, if you're in SoCal, and if your genitals are more flowery than otherwise (in other words, no boys allowed!) you can join, too.  While it's not prospecting in the Yukon, blogging can be a lonely and challenging existence, and being able to share face time with others who understand our struggles and can offer tips and support is invaluable.

These ladies are smart, beautiful, and all around awesome - and so was our server at Dukes, the lovely Ms. V who put up with an amazing amount of bullshit delightful banter and kept the drinks and the food flowing.

And we were at the beach, and it was BE-YOO-TIFUL, weather & temperature wise. (Note - the picture, top left, is not from Duke's, though it's similar to what the water and rocks looked like.  See point #2 about camera batteries.)

How about you?  
Does the Universe keep repeating certain lessons for you?
Or are you so smart you never forget any of them?