February 28, 2006

The B4 Winners, and Then a Too-Earnest Talk About ART, and THEN... A Flaming Pineapple Cocktail


First Place: Beach Treasure: Clubs
Second Place: You're my favorite: We Are LUPEC
Third Place: 3rd Cynical Optimism: Welcome to the club

I am totally joining LUPEC.

CONGRATS WINNERS -- The lovely Laume, she of first place, needs to send me a mailing address so I can have MJ send her the PRIZE, a signed first edition of The Delilah Complex, the second in her internationally best selling suspense novels about sex Therapist Dr. Morgan Snow. ALSO..

MEGAN needs to send me an address so I can mail her HER Find the Straretto contest prizes!


Scott made a good comment about the SPACE CAT versus BLUE HAT CHICK smackdown that is raging in the comments. I started to answer him in comments and it turned into a BIG LONG THING, so I decided to move the whole thread up HERE.

Scott Sagt (and I am fixing his typos--cut the boy some slack he posted this from work in 30 seconds)
"I do like space cat. Truly I do, but for those that didn't take to blue hat lady, I have to say this:

At first I didn't like blue hat lady much either. We were looking at two paintings and I was staunchly for the non-blue hat painting. Joshilyn had to run back to her room and while I waited I sat down and looked at BHL for a long while. I was struck by the power of the planes that are established in this work. The flat plane of the painting, the plane as BHL looks directly out at you, the plane of the cats gaze at the bird and the plane of the birds gaze at the little tree. I saw that the [depth and dimension of the composition was perfect] and when Joshilyn got back I told her we had to buy it.

At a glance, BHL isn't as catching as Space Cat, but after looking at it for a while I might actually like that one better. It's a tough call. I love them both for different reasons, but they are both fabulous.

Let me chime in on this -- you can see POP UP Images of BOTH paintings under discussion in the previous entry, by the way.

Now...I LOVE Blue Hat Chick. The depths in that picture created by the GAZES....Scott has pegged it. I saw it and immediately had to have it, loved it best, etc, but he originally was much more taken by these elongated horses coming out of a mountainous ampitheatre in FREAKED OUT CREEPY NEO-ROME. and we both were somewhat intrigued by another painting that clearly should have been titled Space Cat's Boat Meets Venus in the Garden of Eyeball Flowers. Scott was torn ---We both love almost all of Van Den Neste's work, but I loved Blue Hat Chick best. Immediately. Forever. She's my favorite.

And yes, I like her a a small amount BETTER than Space Cat, but my issue was with which painting went into the more public room, not which to buy. If we could only have had one, I would have lobbied for BHC, but cheerfully taken Space Cat if Scott's heart was set. The ROOM choice was strictly a matter of NOT wanting to defend my tastes every time a cable guy came in to repair the den TV.

Blue Hat Chick is more... unobtrusive. Some folks do not even notice her (though with the way I have her LIT I can't imagine HOW) and most that DO notice her think "Oh. Pretty." or "Wow. Big Hat." Either way, most people who notice her either ENJOY her or AT LEAST are not disturbed by her enough to wrinkle up their noses and ask what I was thinking. BHC is more conventional-living-room-painting looking, and I never have to stand in my den and explain why she is great as I have to do with Space Cat with over half the people who see him --- He IS an odd looking thing, and people want me to explain him. Why does the ship have boobs?? WTH is that melted half-kitten on the prow???

I DO NOT KNOW. I only know that I LIKE SPACE CAT. I like the amazing DEPTH of the landscape, the richness of the muted colors, how the universe goes on eternally behind him, and Space Cat's phlegmatic peace with his odd journey...I love the slow grace of the MOVEMENT you can feel in that picture.

I loved BOTH paintings enough to spend what was for us a large number of dollars to have them forever, and both continue to provide me with extreme pleasure every time I look at them, both make me think, both make me feel things, both entertain me. And that's what art is for. Thats' why we buy it, instead of letting all artists and writers and musicians go be actually useful and grow crops or hammer nails to make barns. Art is for pleasure and entertainment and to keep the brain alive and churning---it;s worth something.

Here is the website if you want to see more amazing Van Den Neste, and WHY WOULDN'T YOU, and PS, forget signed limited editions... this original work right here is what I would buy if I had 25K lolling about on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing. Or maybe this. Choice two is more practical, but would give me in the long run considerably less pleasure.

Flaming Pineapple Cocktail TOMORROW. Swearsies.

Posted by joshilyn at 9:57 AM | Comments (8)

February 27, 2006

In Which I am OLD. Dernit.

Today is my birthday. Yarg. Whose idea was THAT?

I am ignoring it. My thirties are grinding inexorably away, and I am not interested. I have a friend who says I am not old, but she is cheerful, and perky, and only 33, so she needs to shut up.

Me, Morosely: I am getting perilously close to 40. Scott is now ONE YEAR from 40, and I am only 1 or 2 years behind him, depending on how you count.
Cheerful Perky Friend: Isn't his birthday two days before yours?
Me: I SAID it depends on how you count. One or two years older, give or take 363 days...
Cheerful Perky Friend: You know, they say that what with all the strides in nutrition and health and whatnot, 40 is like the new 30.
Me: What's the new 25? I want to be THAT.
Cheerful Perky Friend: I betcha 41 is the new 25! Look what you have to look FORWARD to!
Me: BLAH! Maybe with a big heaping helping of Plastic Surgery and a personal trainer 41 is the new 25....What's 42?
Cheerful Perky Friend: Oh, never you mind. Someone will have drowned you for sulking LONG before you hit 42!

I am not celebrating today. I am POUTING. I LIKED 37. It was a GREAT year and I feel I deserve ONE day to mourn it---Try not to drown me.

I WILL celebrate though, I promise, once I get over myself. Which could happen ANY SECOND (Provided I stop reading that Anne Rivers Siddons blurb aloud at bedtime and then hugging myself).

Later in the week I am slated to go eat WAY too much really good Cajun food (this place has crabcakes as BIG AS MY HEAD!) and have one too many pink drinks with my writing group. Some other friends are taking me out on Friday, and I will finish up on March 10th when I go with Karen to drool like a pervert over---no wait. Allow me to rephrase. I mean, when I go to gaze bedazzled while committing at least one and maybe two of the seven deadly sins---no wait. Let me rephrase again. While I go to sit decorously and feel intellectually stimulated by the fine acting of Mr. J. Depp in The Libertine.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE COMMERCIALS???? All HOLLOW EYED he looks, with pounds of hair, telling me in a snide accent that I am NOT going to like him. Oh, Johnny. As if.

ALSO! My parents and mother-in-law gave me checks, and I am going to blow ALL MY BIRTHDAY moo on extravagant LAMPS for my redone OFFICE which, with the exception of having my grandmother's creaky brass table lamp squatting like a homeless dog in the middle of my floor (as the ONLY light source, might I add, unless you count the SUN) has been completely redecorated to revolve around and highlight my RENE VAN DEN NESTE painting SPACE CAT GOES AIR BOATING IN THE WASTELANDS that NO ONE BUT ME AND SCOTT cares for. As opposed to the Rene Van Den Neste Chick in a Ginormous Blue Hat (holding bonus iconical SPACE CAT TWIN!) painting that everyone likes.

Blue Hat Chick is currently gussying up my Schubert-stromped, toy strewn, public living room. I was going to do the office around Blue Hat Chick, but I decided I don't want to have to explain my love for SPACE CAT to anyone who comes in my living room. In my office, I can love Space Cat all unmolested and with my taste unchallenged. Also, say what you want, but putting Space Cat in my office makes him TAX DEDUCTABLE. And he cost more than BHC. Go, Space Cat, go!

Posted by joshilyn at 11:52 AM | Comments (22)

February 24, 2006

In Which I Am Repulsive...

Another blurb came in for Between, Georgia, and I have to tell you, it has made me COMPLETELY repulsive. I keep calling my editor and asking her to read it to me v.e.r.y. s.l.o.w.l.y.

LET'S LOOK AT IT, SHALL WE? Lord knows I haven't stopped looking at it since it arrived....

“BETWEEN, GEORGIA is a small miracle, and Nonny Frett is the most engaging woman who ever lived in the pages of a book. Joshilyn Jackson is an enormously talented writer.”
Anne Rivers Siddons, New York Times bestselling author of SWEETWATER CREEK

Can I tell you that when that arrived I burst into tears? I have been a full-on Anne Rivers Siddons fan for more than twenty years --- ever since I read Heartbreak Hotel.

The day the blurb arrived, I was FOUL! I got this SOCK PUPPET of my daughter's...he is named Socky, but I put it on and named it Mrs. Rivers Siddons and I kept asking it OBNOXIOUS questions.
Puppet: "HMMMMM...yes very engagaing...but.... I prefer Nonny!"
Me: Okay but---what about, say, Lily Bart? How could any fictional creature be more engaging than---

I have to tell you, READERS are quite simply the coolest part of this whole "being a novelist" thing I seem to be doing. I love hearing from total strangers in, say, DES MOINES who have read my stuff and it has in some way been meaningful and entertaining for them to the point that they feel compelled to take a minute to tell me about it. And even though asking for blurbs is nervewracking, having other novelists I have long read and admired read MY stuff and ACTUALLY LIKE IT... Oh my Lord. Think about it. Anne Rivers Siddons read MY LITTLE BOOK. Come on, how COOL is that? You can forgive me the sock puppet, can't you? I mean, COME ON! ANNE RIVERS SIDDONS REALLY LIKED MY BOOK!

In other news, sorry I have been silent this week, but reading the audiobook is kicking my butt. It makes me so SLEEPY! I have been fast asleep before nine every night this week. Weird, huh? I sit in a box for 7 hours, and then come home, eat a pork chop or some shrimps, and pass out.

Now that I am past the mortal terror, I have to tell you, it's SO FREAKIN' FUN. It's REALLY making me miss acting---I am currently reading some (very fine, very smart, very layered) Quinn Dalton short stories as I am too freakin' PHYSICALLY TIRED to keep up with a novel, and I find myself reading the shorts aloud, making acting choices, and enjoying the CRAP out of it. I hope the external product (the audiobook) makes me feel half as pleased as the internal process of reading it does...

And SPEAKING of internal processes, you will be pleased to know that IN SPITE of my foolishly ordering EXTREMELY spicy Cajun food for lunch, I have remained (gastro-intestinally speaking) blameless...although we did have to do some line rereads for stomach gurgling noises when we waited too long to order lunch. ONE MORE DAY and I will be out clean.

YES I KNOW THIS IS TMI, but 'fess up! You WERE wondering.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:33 AM | Comments (19)

February 22, 2006

The Quality of Silence

They had to tape a minute of silence yesterday in the studio where I read the first 105 pages of Between. Why, I wanted to know. To fill in or create holes, they said. To put in pauses that are silent where right now you are putting in pauses where you breathe or pauses where you move or pauses where your stomach makes an odd gurgling noise that yes, we out here in the studio DO all hear, and PS thanks for not farting. You are least fartiest reader we have ever had.

But it has to be silence from that room? I asked.
Yes, they assured me. Silence is a fingerprint.

No other silence sounds like the silence in the small space I spent more than six hours yesterday. Any other silence, even silence from another studio, wouldn't sound like the silence in that one room in this small space of time.

Now, look, I've been doing this WRITING thing for quite some time, and I BETCHA that if
1) I had a soul and
2) if I wasn't gearing up for 6 - 7 more hours of sitting in box ASSIDUOUSLY NOT PASSING GAS, I could come up with a way to make that an interesting metaphor about, you know, life, and how the quality of silence being as individual as snowflakes and etc etc but Lordy, I am JUST not up for it. You make a metaphor for me, okay, and please let it be less cheesey than the sample one. I REALLY want to make one, but I'm too dern tired. This party is strictly BYOM.

For the record, I have not passed gas. EVEN ONCE. Furthermore, if I do? You will know by process of deductive reasoning. If, for example, you hear that I have driven off a cliff to my death tomorrow afternoon, you will know that I have failed in my objective. Why this matters to me so much, I have no clue. But I have weird ideas about propriety. I am violently uncomfortable right now telling you that I DID NOT pass gas, as it seems the WHOLE subject ought to be somehow taboo.

And yet I laugh like a crazed loon everytime a dog, in my presence, does the universal "pass gas and then turn their whole bodies to stare in a puzzled and accusing manner at their own back end" thing. I think it's the GAS IN GENERAL, GAS IN PERSONAL thing. Dog tooting or therotical fart-joke tooting is amusing. Someone's personal actual intestinal tract...their own individual private tooting, I feel they should keep that to themselves. I don't need details, and if I DO hear them, I get terrible sympathetic embarrassment and want to die FOR the tooter. So.

I sent Scott out two days before we began to buy both Beano and Gas-X to pre-emptively medicate myself to safety. He feels the cashier looked at him in a manner both pitying and snide. She is probably tellign all the other cashiers about Gas Guy. He came home sour and said, "You need me to go buy Midol? I'll go buy Midol. THIS was a bit much." Without missing a beat I said, "Can you run back out and get me some Depends?"

I. Am. So. Tired.

The producer said I am doing a very good job. I said REALLY? He said yes really. I said, NO BUT REALLY? He said, Yes. Really. And I said REALLYREALLYREALLYFORTRUEREALLY? And he said, No, I was lying to make you feel good, and I said, REALLY? and he said, NO. You are an excellent reader and I said REALLY and he said DEAR GOD YES YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB I NEVER EXPECTED TO BE THIS FAR INTO IT I LOVE THE CHARACTER CHOICES YOU ARE MAKING YOU HAVE GREAT ENERGY AND ARE LIVELY AND IT'S GOING EXTREMELY WELL, DAMMIT. I said...Really? And he picked up my own discarded shoe and beat me to death with it.

Except for that one beating to death part, he is a joy to work with and he has SWORN he will not let me read the character of Henry as if he were Elvis, which is the ONE thing I fear more that passing gas in that tiny box where Max, the sound board guy, had to adjust the mike so they wouldn't pick up MY HEART BEAT.

Henry is the problem. Because he is probably my favorite male character, and I get scared trying to make him be all I see in him. So far I have read two of Henry's lines, and one was "Me Neither" and one was "It's terrible to be robbed, of course." NOT LONG LINES. But I have read both those lines OVER AND OVER 15 times each with new Bobly instructions each time, telling me NOT sound like Elvis, to NOT sound like Dennis Quaid in the Big Easy, to NOT sound like a muppet on crack. I don't know what Henry sounds like, but at least he doesn't sound like THOSE things.

The producer said: Why is Henry so hard -- Jonno sounds great, so you can do men. Why are you balking at Henry?
Me: I don't know.
Bob: The uncle sounded good, this is just another man.
Me: I want to do him right.
Bob: So you are intimidated because you LIKE him.
Me: I MORE than like him. I want to have sex with him. And I want to read him so well that YOU want to have sex with him, too.
Long pause.
Bob: Well, we have a ways to go, then, don't we. Try the line again.
Me to Max: Um, were you taping when I said that 'I want to have sex with Henry' part?
Max: You betcha.
Me: (muttering) At least I haven't farted yet.
Max: PS, I am STILL rolling...

Posted by joshilyn at 6:17 AM | Comments (15)

February 20, 2006


Okay, you know how your life is really busy, and there are never enough hours in the day and you feel like you are tilted forward and you have to keep RUNNING so as not to tump over and smash your face in and look like a Persian cat for the rest of your life? NO? Then come back tomorrow, because you are probably organized, and I probably hate you today.

If you do know what I mean THEN SIT BY ME. Now, imagine you are running in this tilty panicked manner, just like regular, and THEN you are sick for 2 weeks and do exactly NONE of the things you need to do and your inbox fills up with 386 unanswered emails and you get NO writing done and the ONE PERSON in the world that can answer a research question you MUST have answered before you can rewrite Chapter Ten REFUSES TO CALL YOU back even when you CALL AND CALL and ask nicely, and call again and ask nicely with an explanation of why you need this info and call again and say can anyone else give me this info please please and then get told no and then ask for just four minutes, and no one calls back, and then basically beg and grovel and lick toes and none of your work gets done NONE and you have WE|EKS of shirked responsibilities on your CHEST pressing you down until you can't freakin BREATHE....yeah. That's where I am right now.

Luckily, I get to start taping an audiobook tomorrow, so the crushing WHAT WAS I THINKING! I AM GOING TO MAKE A TOTAL FOOL OUT OF MYSELF!! panic is currently supressing the regular panic. See, I am not ready. I was being so careful with my throat because of the Lungus that I haven't worked hard enough OUT LOUD on my character voices because I have to conserve MY voice. I am freakin. right. the. heck. out.

Another part of me says, you know, even if you had prepared every day for 8 hours with the ghost of Laurence Olivier as your acting coach you would still be freakin. right. the. heck. out, because frankly, my dear, That's what you do. That is who I am. Or, to be funkolicious about it, as the Black Eyed Peas and I assured each other JUST this morning (as some of us were working out and lypsyncing and others of us were, oh I don't know, maybe passed out in the backseat of a limo entwined with a supermodel? Just a guess...) anyway, as they sang and I synced, "That's what we do, that's who we be." Of course, I also joined with the Peas in proclaiming, "Eff Are Ee Ess Aitch, We fresh!" while sweating like a pig on my aerobic step. So. Maybe the Black Eyed Peas make me say things that aren't specifically true. ALSO, maybe The Black Eyed, Peas are not the ones to turn to in time of spiritual crisis.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, they DID tell me to, "Shake it girl, shake it girl, make sure you don't break it girl," which has been my philosophy with my throat---I've tried to shake the voices around in my head while not breaking my physical voice. SO. THANKS! THANKS, WISE PEAS! HEY PEAS, CAN YOU DO MY TAXES?

Somebody needs to, God knows -- that's another thing I've let slip.

AH well, can't think about taxes now, I have a lot of "huddling in a terrified mass under my quilt and not sleeping" to do.

Posted by joshilyn at 5:48 PM | Comments (10)

February 18, 2006

Proof (80 proof, actually) and the B4B Finalists

The Lungus is lingering. A lingering Lungus. I have to do the audiotape version of Between, Georgia next week, so I am being so gentle with myself. I wouldn't say I am SICK, but I am not 100%. So. I am coddling myself because I CANNOT relapse next week. The whole coddling process is beginning to smell like SPOILING, it is vile, you would tut and tut to see how I am LAZING about watching Netflixed TV by the complete season and slurping up soup.

BUT HEY. It isn't all tea cakes and princess-y basking. I am also grunt-pumping this HORRIBLE tea that is supposed to seriously soothe the throat membranes and make you a good audio book reader. The packaging (and a professional audio book reader) says this tea is made from medicinal organic herbs that "promote throat health." Judging by the taste, these herbs include cave mold and essence of rat butt.

IN OTHER NEWS -- the guy who threw the INFAMOUS straretto Party took the Straretto to work, set the bottle ON the Xerox machine, and hit COPY. He them mailed me the page. IT WAS NOT DE KUYPER'S so this may be why I could not find it. At any rate, I am NOT hallucinating alcoholic beverages, so don't you ALL feel ASHAMED for secretly thinking that I was? You KNOW you were. You KNOW you were thinking, "She's finally snapped..." As punishment, you have to come over and drink some of this tea.


In final news before I go back to lolling about saying, "Scott....I've felt better...and I begin TAPING on TUESDAY....do you perhaps think you can bring me a piping hot mug of Basil Tomato Bisque? And put in the third DVD from DARK ANGEL SEASON 2?" I want to tell you that Betsy from My WHim Is Law has chosen the 5 finlists for B4B, and those URLS have been forwarded to M.J. Rose so she can pick the winner of a signed copy of her international bestseller, The Delilah Complex.

The finilists in no particular order:

Cynical Optimism: Welcome to the club

through these glasses: Sugarbee's World

Red Shoe Rambling: The Blonde Tanya Club

Beach Treasure: Clubs

You're my favorite: We Are LUPEC

Posted by joshilyn at 4:46 PM | Comments (9)

February 16, 2006

In Which Ducks Are Bad

ALAS! We have only 8 entries for Blogging 4 Books this time. It seemed hateful to cut down to seven from that, so Special Guest Blogger Betsy is going to pick a FINAL FIVE that will go to internationally bestselling guest author M.J. Rose I should have the finalists up tomorrow.

I need to get more proactive about getting the word out that B4B is coming up. I was also thinking I should do a B4B section on my links page where I perma-link to Winnahs and Special Guest Everythings. I'll think on it. I hate updating links, and although it may LOOK like I am maintaining my faith that one day my beloved CHEZ MISCARRIAGE will return by a blanket refusal to take it off my links, it is possible that it's laziness. Maybe a combo. I DID love that blog.

I HATE that she took her stinking archives down just because one or two VERY MENTALLY ILL people were posting her old entries as their own entries. HOW WEIRD IS THAT? I kept imagining a couple of sweaty old porn addicts crouched together in a basement with their hairy bellies peeking out of too-short wife-beater T-shirts, eating cold chinese out of the carton and having an Inappropriately Sexual Reaction as they pretended to be a female infertile Jewish feminist cat-lover who has a passionate connection to sweatpants and makes the kind of truly hilarious sideways smartipants pop-culture references you usually only get on the PRIME season 2 - 4 of Gilmore Girls... Getupgrrl took the archives down because of these two losers, ruining the fun of both basement pervos AND about a million less psychotic readers. That's like removing ducks from the earth just because some evil cannibal serial killer glues feathers to himself and quacks while he slaughters the innocent.

ALTHOUGH total duck annihilation.... that might not be a bad idea. Atlanta ducks are mean and they persecute toddlers. I once witnessed a terrible Atlanta duck come charging up to a little boy, three or so, and bite him on the penis. The duck just ran up, HONK! and then turned and ran away while the little boy stood there looking Very Surprised Indeed for a good three seconds before dropping sideways like a felled tree. Poor thing. And on an entirely separate occaision, I witnessed an Atlanta duck,(a different duck, but at the SAME park, mind you) STEAL a small child's piece of Church's fried chicken. It was a biggish piece, like a thigh, and the duck came up and RIPPED it out of the child's hands and went high-speed-waddling off with it. There was a minor duck-on-duck squabble for possession of the purloined thigh, and then the winning duck SAT. THERE. AND. ATE. IT. while glaring around to frighten off Hopeful Interlopfuls. That duck ate it down to the BONE.

Ducks should not eat chicken. PERIOD. I was SO creeped. It's would be a little like Jessica Simpson having a big old piece of fried Ashlee. Or wait, that's not a good simile because duck on chicken is more COUSINLY CANNIBALISM than SIBLING. So it was more like watching, say, the Fonz eat Chachi.

CAN YOU TELL I FEEL BETTER? You can, I am sure. By the number of completely made up words ALONE you can tell. Day three of the Z pack, and the score so far is Zithromax: A BUNCH, Lung Fungus: ZERO. I LOVE modern medicine. I love Dr. Reese. I love the fact that my friend Julie coined the completely repulsive word "LUNGUS" to refer to any sort of ongoing mucalagey malady. I love everything, because I FEEL BETTER.

OH I should tell you that TRUE PROOF OF STRARETTO exists -- I wrote the college prof that had hosted the infamous party, and HE STILL HAS THE BOTTLE! I am SO pleased. I will post a picture of the label as soon as it arrives. Meanwhile, since google failed us all, I picked a winner from among those who at least ATTEMPTED to track the wily and elusive STRARETTO. Thank you so much -- I genuinely thought I was having a Baby Jane meets Gaslight moment...WINNER = MEGAN, because she cares enough to forge the very best.


Posted by joshilyn at 8:36 AM | Comments (14)

February 14, 2006

The Cocktails of Truth (and a contest!)

SO! It appears I am going to change the focus of this blog... It is going to become a cocktail blog. Or rather, POMtail blog. Since cocktails seem to equal blog entries, I better get serious about drinking them with, like, breakfast, and then I can blog about my ha ha so funny drinking all the time, ah ha ha, laughing right up until my liver goes leaping out my throat and tries to crawl away. It's all good fun until someone loses a liver.

Please do not stage an intervention just yet --- I can't even drink right now because my wretched LUNG FUNGUS has put me off everything but nourishing soups and toast points, AND I swear I'll get a new topic any second, I just have to tell you one more string of cocktail-themed stories from the On The Brink conference because there is something IN IT for you if you can help me. And ANYWAY, I can stop talking about cocktails anytime. I just don't CHOOSE to stop talking about cocktails yet.

BUT before we get to the CONTEST, I meant to tell you that one of the conference organizers had a DIFFERENT POMtail recipe, in case you don't care for Vodka but still want your cocktail to double as an antioxidant superpower. It's called a Blueberry Smash and it is from GOURMET magazine or something like that. I did not try it, because it is my feeling that those who switch cocktails midstream end up sorrysorrysorry later, but those who went with it SWORE that they could feel the tingle of renewed delicious youth way way down deep in their gnarled old toe-sies. I do not know the proportions, but I watched the guy mix it, and it went a little something like this.

Some POM Blueberry-Pomegranate Wonderful
Some Makers Mark
A Little Clover Honey
Some Ice.

I do have to confess that when the Blueberry Smashers were lipsmacking and vigorously BLOOMING with health, the POMtini contingent was feeling tiny jealous twinges about the new cocktail's pedigree of FANCINESS. Honey stirred up in there? Recipe from Gourmet Magazine? Alas! We could find no maraschino cherries on pink plastic swords to console ourselves with. SO I started digging around in the mixers trying to see how we could gussy up our rawther plain VandP's.

That's when I saw it....The bottle was kinda shaped like a DEKUYPER'S Amaretto bottle, brown like that, but on closer inspection, I saw the label read, STRARETTO.
"Um, what?" you say.
And I say, YOU HEARD ME.

If you say it three times fast you sound like a cat horking up a gobbet of mouse parts.

It was some sort of strawberry amaretto BLENDED LIQUEUR, and I adopted it as my especial pet freakish object. EVERYONE needs an especial pet freakish object to tote around at a cocktail party, and another author had already laid claim to the old fashioned A-OOOOO!-GA Klaxon-y clown horn thing. So. I went around to the POMtini people offering to freshen up (or possibly ruin) their cocktails by the addition of a little dollop of STRARETTO, and I even put a modest dash in my POMtini (it was...interesting) and it became this whole big thing. At the end of the night, the bottle was close to empty, and I was VERY TEMPTED TO STEAL IT, but 1)That would have been WRONG. 2) It would have been bad manners, considering what a lovely man our host was and also, 3) (and this was truly compelling) The spirit may have been willing, but the jacket pockets were small. *grin*


I got home and I was telling Karen (She is MINNA in the comments) about the horrors of STRARETTO, and she tried to GOOGLE IT and... she said there was no such thing. We googled it it 75 ways from Sunday, and then we YAHOO'd it, and then we asked Jeeves. Nothing but strawberry amaretto cheesecake recipes.

My Hypothesis: HOLY GODS this liqueur was SO horrifying that it was only made from 1968 to 1972 and was the greatest factor in MANY fabulous trends from the 70's including keys-in-the-fishbowl wife swapping and these pants. AND this guy, our host, had bought a bottle in about 1970 and accidentally forgotten it existed for 36 years and then some party guest dug it out of the very very very way-most back of the pantry and put it out and I DRANK SOME OF IT and my internal organs are slowly liquifying and I will be dead by Thursday.

It is not a good or cheerful hypothesis, but it is a BETTER hypothesis than EITHER of KAREN's impugning and cruel ones which are:

2) I was so CHARGED UP with antioxidants that I HALLUCINATED Straretto, and believed so FIRMLY in it that I made other people see it too OR they did not see it but just thought I was weird. After all, these people had been afflicted with the knowledge of what I once did to lipgloss. SO. They were expecting me to be weird.

AND SHE CONTINUES TO MOCK ME WITH THE NON-GOOGLE-ABILITY of this liqueur that I SWEAR on the grave of my grandma's dead poodle Suzette EXISTED. I DRANK some. I SAW it.

I went to the DEKUYPER's website and tried to send them a letter asking them to CONFIRM straretto, but their "send us a comment" function is broken and sends me to an error page. SO I sent them a snail mail letter, but that will take WEEKS.

LISTEN -- if ANY OF YOU can find proof of STRARETTO'S EXISTENCE before I hear from DEKUYPER's you will get a prize. Mind you, it must be evidence that KAREN WILL ACCEPT, like a picture of the bottle on the web, anything concrete---Karen will NOT accept a sworn statement where you say, "Um yeah, I once took a bunch of heroin and saw some Straretto. It had long pink legs like a flamingo and was singing 'Marsy Dotes.' Totally exists."

ANYWAY, prove I am not crazy or a BIG LIAR, and I will send you a SECRET BETWEEN LOOT, and either an audio version of gods in Alabama OR a signed first ed, your pick.

(By the by, the Bad Pants pop up is from Bad Fads dot com )

Posted by joshilyn at 9:32 AM | Comments (18)

February 13, 2006

On the Brink: Life's Too Short to Drink Bad 'Shine

So point me to the GOOD shine, please. Lord, but I am STILL a little sick. My mother came down with a murderous bacterial lung fungus, and I was supposed to go over there the weekend BEFORE going to the ON THE BRINK lit conference, so she asked the doctor if she was contagious, and he called her back and said, "Oh no honey, no one is going to get your mess. This is BRONCHITIS, not a COLD." So I came over and was seduced by her rich people's sheets into lying in her bed with her for five or six hours chatting and pretty much BASTING myself in her fungal dregs, and when I wasn't lounging around her bed with her, my dad was, and now both my dad and I HAVE LUNG FUNGUS, and she called her doctor back and said, "But you said it was not contagious" and he said, "Let me rephrase. It isn't contagious if you BREATHE all over people, but if you lie sick in a bed for days coating it with bacteria and people get in that bed and stay there soaking in it like it was palm olive, then...maybe you need to consider that those people may not be overly bright. Your family being kinda dim isn't the same thing as YOU being CONTAGIOUS."

SO I went to On The Brink assured that I, too, was not contagious, as long as I didn't spit into the punch bowl or invite anyone back to my room for 5 or 6 hours of snuggling. CHECK.

Anyway, since the lung fungus had me still a little off my game at the conference, I decided that even red wine, my usual belly-up-to-the-bar poison, should be avoided. I would, I decided, pretty much pick at fresh fruit and lean meats and drink tons of water, but then I got there and was seduced, SEDUCED I tell you, by the whole CONCEPT of the Pom-tini---Absolute Citron and POM. You know what POM is, right? The elixer of all good youth and delightful self-renewing health, or it BETTER be, at 4 bucks a snootful The POM-tini is that rare drink where the freakin' MIXER costs more than the Absolute. So, since I was still recovering from my lung fungus, and since POM is the pure essence of total wellness, I decided it was my DUTY to drink it by the bucketful. I mean, really, can you ever drink too much POM? I do not wish to explore the question of whether one can drink too much vodka.

I may have had a WEENTSY bit more Absolute than was strictly necesary for medicinal purposes, and that slight overindulgence may have fueled my POOR decision to reveal the true tale of what I did to my lip gloss in the fifth grade (DO. NOT. ASK.) that caused Frank Turner Hollon to look at me with a gimlet eye and say, "Jackson. You are a complete freak. You know this, right?" but I maintain that it was the SURGE of POWERFUL ANTIOXIDENTS that wrung that story from my never-to-be-glossy-again lips.

Appropos of NOTHING, Jacksonville has a store called GRUB-MART. I think that's a HORRIBLE name for a store. I called it Maggot-Land all weekend, but it didn't catch on.

Appropos of even less, my mother has these sheets that are like 3 million thread count Egyptian cotton, SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR A SET OF SHEETS hence the name "rich people's sheets" and even though the very THOUGHT of shelling out enough money for a pair of center orchestra Broadway tickets for SHEETS is enough to make my frugal teeth grind each other to horrified nubs, I HAVE to admit it is like sleeping in a pat of cool and lovely butter. If you felt these sheets, you would ignore the fact that they had been coated with The Creeping Death too, and you would get RIGHT in the bed with my hacking mother and watch the entire first season of Project Runway on DVD. You WOULD. As soon as I win the 120 million dollar Lotto, I am going right out and buying 50 or 60 sets of those sheets, three for me, and then a set for every bed down at the battered women's shelter because ONE NIGHT on these sheets and I swear the sleeper would wake up CONVINCED that a better life is possible.

I got some new books--well three. I am no longer allowed to go to lit conferences if I cannot promise to come home with NO MORE than three books. So. I got Frank Turner Hollon's latest...go get it. I do not read Southern when I am drafting, and this is set in south Alabama, but it isn't messing with me. I'm about half-way through, and it SO not about voice. It's about creeping me right the heck out. I say it's not about VOICE, but that's not strictly true. He's done something kind of interesting with voice, but it's so different from what I do with voice that it isn't bothering me as I try to stay within the rhythms of the book I'm writing. He's got this distant, slide-y omnicscent-ish POV and he slips around outside observing and then dips into any head he feels like dipping into, and it's seamless and a real MOOD setter. It's CHILLING, and the BOOK is chilling as all get out. I can't set the dern thing down. It's called Point of Fracture.

And then I got a book of short fiction I have not cracked yet. I rarely buy short fiction, but the guy's reading hooked me. I can't read it now, though---it IS the kind of Southern that will mess me up as I am drafting---I will report back on it in June when I have the draft complete. It's on the top of my TO READ pile. And THEN I bought POETRY. Um, yeah. I think I own 8 books of poetry--I like Auden and I like some of those male southern rogue poets who write about sheep children and kudzu and shooting rats at the Bibb County Dump--- because I read it even less than I read short fiction, but if you had been at Beth Anne Fennelly's reading you would have bought you some dern poetry, too. Her selections from Tender Hooks blew me away. Made me grin and snorfle and then weep. It was almost like, for one brief shining moment, I was a Real Boy, Gepetto! With a soul and EVERYTHING.

BY THE WAY. A bastardization of WHAT I DID TO MY LIPGLOSS just went into the new book this morning when I got up at 5 am realizing that if I completely changed the context I could get an image out of it that would make a very difficult character make sense... So, in two years or so, when that book comes out, if you read it and if you REMEMBER, you will be all IN THE KNOW. You'll be like, OH SHE DID NOT DO THAT....DID SHE? And then you will send me a little note via email saying, "Jackson, you ARE a complete freak." And I will write back and say, "Shut up and pass the POM-tinis."

REMINDER! You have until MIDNIGHT tonight to get your ENTRY in for BLOGGING FOR BOOKS. Winner shall take home M.J. Rose's latest, The Delilah Complex, SIGNED, natch....If you want to know a little about the book, you can watch the VID-LIT, which I maintain is pretty dern stinkin' cool.

Posted by joshilyn at 6:38 AM | Comments (14)

February 10, 2006

Ut-Slay (WARNING: Contains A Moderately Bad Word, Repeated Many Times)

I have decided....to live. I admit I was fading. Then someone mailed me a newspaper article about gods, and it was GREAT article, except I realized I had accidentally indicated to the BOTH a reporter and a ROOM FULL OF 135 people who showed up to hear me talk that, HEY! I'm a slut! Yep. THAT got me out of bed. Nothing to pump a great big old SHOT of adrenaline right through old pink blood-pumper like realizing you told 135 of your dearest just-met friends that you are a trollop....

Oh dear. And sluts everywhere are falling out of their chairs laughing that I should dare to aspire to walk in their spike-heel thigh booted footsteps.

There's this story I tell about how I came to write Between, Georgia, and it came up during the post-chat Q and A, how I get my ideas. I realized that if I leave out this one little KEY PIECE of information, tthen the whole thing is VERY easily misinterperted, SO easily misinterpreted that I might as well write SLUT BAG on my Hi My Name Is...sticky tag.

The front of the story goes like this. I will indicate the KEY piece of information I left out at the appropriate time...

I lived in Athens as a very young woman---maybe 19. I very busy at that time, what with my full drinking and failing out of colleges schedule, and when I was NOT tied up with with that, I had to get all the way to the end of SUPER MARIO BROTHERS in a single tequila fueled run and fill out forms to stop my report cards from being mailed directly to my parents. I also discovered that this extremely full schedule and the irrational mood swings caused by not sleeping for 40 hours at a stretch meant I was a bad dater. Now, granted, I WON SUPER MARIO BROTHERS and accomplished many other similarly vital and great works in my insomniac sprees of busy-hood, but in the process, I broke hearts and had mine broken with mad abandon (important to note here, not in a SLUT BAG manner) and I got tired of being glared at by the heartbroken and glaring at the heart breakers on a campus that claimed to have thousands of millions of students, 99.99999999% of which I had NOT DATED, and yet, everywhere I went I found that fate would insta-cast me either as the glare-er or glare-ee, or in some schizophrenic situations...BOTH.


I decided not to DATE anyone from Athens. So, I started dating exclusively in ATLANTA and would drive over there to date, and HERE IS THE IMPORTANT KEY PIECE I DID NOT SAY: I had a good friend over there, and went I went to Atlanta to go out and meet the potentially date-able, I would STAY AT HER APARTMENT. See what a difference that makes? I wasn't driving over to Atlanta and assuming I could, you know, find a place a sleep. I was going out with friends and meeting their friends and etc etc exactly like every other dating 19 year old NON-SLUTS, but one town over, in case of heartbreak.

Yeah, so when I said I dated in Atlanta, without CLARIFYING exactly where I was SLEEPING, 135 people and a reporter took that to mean "Hooking, Or maybe just had wild orgies with total strangers I met in bars where even the STOOLS are so thickly coated with venereal diseases that you need to put on a full haz-mat suit just to safely sit and drink a beer." NEAT!

And after I had gone to so much trouble to point out that gods in Alabama (especially Arlene's um....nametag) is NOT autobiographical, too.

Oh well, the crowd clapped for the slut and MANY OF THEM bought my slutty book and the article that came out of it is a VERY complimentary, very POSITIVE about my talk and my book, and it points out that I confessed to being a massive slut in the most cheerful and delicate and NONJUDGMENTAL language, and as long as I NEVER have to introduce anyone who was at that talk to my mother ("OH! You raised the slut! Well, at least she got a lot of good DIRTY RESEARCH out of it, but yish, Lady, I feel for ya!) and can hide the article in the BOTTOM of a SECRET box of memorabilia that my dad will not ever see or read it, I am going to chalk it up as a nice keepsake. Did I mention that I look wildly drunk and lascivious in the CANDID PHOTO? No? Well. I kinda do.

Maybe I better hide that box in, say, GUAM.

Posted by joshilyn at 12:28 PM | Comments (9)

February 9, 2006

Notes From my Bed of Pain (And 3 Questions with Melissa Senate)

Dear friends, *sniffle* as I wrote about taping Between the other day, I thought to myself, self, I thought, I hope I don't SICK while I am supposed to be taping and have grunty voice all thick with mucus, puncuated by a hacking death rattle. Immediately, my throat started to tickle, and by yesterday, I was in full blown raging flu. I AM SUFFERING.

Good news is, I will be well before the taping and my own voice back. Right now, I sound like if Jimmy Durante and "Froggy" from the Little Rascals had a baby, except possibly less sexy. ha CHA! Other good news, Santino did NOT get cut from Project Runway last night, so...in spite of the fact that I feel like a bobble-head doll (and am about that pretty), I have decided to live.

Since I am incapable of doing anything other than lying the bed making soft moaning noises and sucking feebly at juice box straws, I am going to let Melissa Senate talk. But, who is Melissa Senate, you ask. Well...her debut novel, See Jane Date launched the Red Dress Ink imprint in 2001, has been translated into over ten languages, is an answer to a question in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Trivial Pursuit, and was made into a television movie for ABC Family. Her fourth novel is called The Breakup Club, and BookPage magazine calls it "a delightful slice of life of the newly single trying to make it in Manhattan. A treat!"


I lifted my swollen eyelids and peered owlishly at her just long enough to hack out three questions...

JJ: Where did the idea for The Breakup Club come from?

MS: The inspiration was something a good friend said in passing: "Thank God I have my breakup club tonight or I'd spontaneously combust" (or something like that). She'd had the courage to leave a bad marriage and start over, and it turned out quite a few of her coworker friends, male and female, were also going through breakups. Their breakup club was formed, and so was mine! Theirs would get together for lunch, drinks, dinner, cigarette breaks in front of their office building to commiserate, cry, and cheer each other on. Mine was stuck working on a high-profile celebrity biography about perfect love, so they decided to talk personal lives instead of work.

JJ: Your first novel launched an imprint (!!!) and was made into a TV movie starring FREAKIN' Charisma Carpenter who I (geekily) adore (because she was CORDELIA on Buffy/Angel). ANYWAY, can you talk a little about the experience of watching a movie version of your book and was it close to how you imagined it and what did you think of the casting and, oh COME ON, share the dish.

MS: I LOVED the movie so much. I now can't even envision my Jane without seeing Charisma Carpenter, who I adore too. I thought everyone was perfectly cast, including my own personal heartthrob, Antonio Sabato Jr., whose Calvin Klein underwear poster graced my college dorm wall. The entire experience was great. I had nothing to do with any of it (wasn't even invited--sniff--to watch it being filmed), and a lot of the book was changed or omitted, but the screenwriter and director/producer completely captured the spirit of the book. Every time I watch the movie, and I've seen it at least ten times, I feel like I'm watching my book, watching my Jane. A fun p.s.: the movie will be shown Sunday, February 12th at 6pm on ABC Family.

JJ: We were JUST talking about writing good sex scenes here at FTK. How did you approach sex scenes in The Break Up Club?

MS: Hmmm...IS there a sex scene in the entire book? I don't even think there is! There's a scene in which one of the main characters is trying to seduce her husband (who she knows is going to leave her), but he's actually more interested in watching a Stupid Pet Tricks segment on Letterman than in her roaming hand, which clues her in that the marriage is ovah. My characters rarely have sex, but they talk a lot about it and spend a lot of time prepping for it, and if there IS a sex scene (and I just realized there is a mini-one), it always seems to be sex gone wrong! I'll have to ponder that.

Did you catch the thing about the movie being run on ABC family at 6PM this coming Sunday? If I live, I am watching it.

Ansd remember....Blogging for Books is aliver than I am----get your entries in befoer Monday at Midnight!

Posted by joshilyn at 8:46 AM | Comments (10)

February 7, 2006

The Gas Man Cometh

NOT that I was looking at Amazon's BETWEEN, GEORGIA page or anything because I AM WEANED off Amazon, remember? REMEMBER? Heh. BUT. If I HAD looked at Between's page on Amazon, I might have thought this was amusing:

Customers who viewed this book also viewed

* Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
* Diana Lively is Falling Down by Sheila Curran
* iRobot Roomba 4100/4300 Intelligent Floorvac Robotic Vacuum, Red Roomba
* The Garden Angel: A Novel by Mindy Friddle
* Maybe Baby (Warner Forever) by Lani Diane Rich

Um, did you note number THREE? Either people are following blog links OR, and I think this is FAR more likely, my book naturally attracts ROBOT LOVERS. I need to talk to someone at Warner about getting the words "FOR ROBOT LOVERS" emblazoned in Roomba Red on the front cover. I need some blurbs, too, in that vein....

"I was so glad I decided to only pet my robot with ONE hand for the time it took to read BETWEEN,GEORGIA. It was a circuit-warming and meticulously timed read, and just as soon as I get me a robot that holds books and turns pages, I am going to buy Ms. Jackson's first novel, too."
Terry, a Robot Lover in Michegan

TWO WEEKS from today, I start taping (or recording, or CDing or however you officially say it) the audio version of Between, and whatever made me think THAT was a good idea? No, really. I asked a guy I know to tell me all about the process to kind fo LIFT my anxiety, and he DID really demystify it and tell me exactly what would happen, but he also told me about how SENSITIVE the microphone was, and how once, during a reading, they picked up his STOMACH GURGLING. I had horrible HORRIBLE dreams about it last night. This should probably be filed under TMI (too much information) but since it's just me and YOU (and your robot, most likely) here, I am going to go ahead and tell you about it.

I dreamed that I was in this tiny, hot, claustrophobic COFFIN of a sound booth, and I had headphones on, and was trying to read Between into a microphone except I had no manuscript, I was supposed to just REMEMBER it, word for EXACT word, and this disembodied voice kept interrupting and correcting my sentences and saying, #&$^@#, YOU #&*(@#^, YOU WROTE THIS HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW IT BETTER THAN THIS? I finally got into a scene where he wasn't BERATING me, and then suddenly he said, "We are getting AMBIENT NOISE! AMBIENT NOISE! JOSHILYN? WHAT IS THAT?"

I had no idea. I was just trying to do a good job and ignore all the shrieking in the headphones. Finally there was a pause and I said three or four more sentences, and then...

Voice in Earphones: Joshilyn? Are you...farting?
Me: UM, NO.
ViE: Well, someone in that booth is.
ViE: Look around. Who else is in the booth?
Me: Just me.
ViE: And your GAS.
Me: I AM NOT. And anyway, can't you filter that out somehow? If I was? WHICH I AM NOT.
ViE: No. We will just have to have the the guy at the front who says the Title and your name make a disclaimer and apologize for your inability to stop that noisome flatulance. That sounds professional....he can say it just like that. "We apologize for Ms. Jackson's Noisome Flatulance."
Another Voice, Female: We have those red "WARNING: READER FARTS" stickers left over from when we hired that astonishingly gaseous monster to read IN COLD BLOOD. Remember that?
ViE: HA! Right! I bet that guy is dead of irritable bowel syndrome now.
AV,F: I Hope so.

Long Pause.

Me: I am NOT Farting.
ViE: Keep going, please.

I woke up in a lather of panic and vowed to go buy BEANO and eat it on everything, and I mean everything, even PUDDING, in the week before and during the taping. If I was cocktail recipe, I would be two parts nervous and one part sosososo excited with a cherry garnish. And I would NOT be carbonated. Thanks.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:49 AM | Comments (17)

February 6, 2006

Blogging 4 Books is the Opposite of Dead....

aka, LIVE!

We remember with fondness The Zero Boss, because he made it up, and the link should route you to his new venture, Blogging Baby.

How to play: You blog on a chosen topic. You post a link to your blog entry in the comments below this entry. B4B closes at MIDNIGHT your time next Monday.

If you have no blog, you write the essay and cut and paste it (no attachments please) into an email to Ann Fitten (the Bloggess behind Edgy Mama) and ask her sweetly to host it for you.

Your special guest blogger this month is Betsy, a single parent in Portland whose optimistic and amusing blog is calledMy Whim is Law. She will narrow the entries down to seven.

If you are one of the seven finalists, your entry will be read by author M.J. Rose. You remember her VID LIT, right? We just watched it a week or two ago. If you missed it, you can give it a peep by clicking this link. She will pick first, second and third place. First place gets a signed first edition of her new book, The Delilah Complex the second in her Internationally bestselling suspense series starring sex therapist Dr. Morgan Snow.


And now, THE TOPIC! As usual your topic relates to the book...

The Deliah Complex features The Scarlet Society, a secret club of twelve powerful and sexually adventurous women. But when a photograph of the body of one of the men they're recruited to dominate -- strapped to a gurney, the number 1 inked on the sole of his foot -- is sent to the New York Times, they are shocked and frightened. Unable to cope with the tragedy, the women turn to Dr. Morgan Snow. But what starts out as grief counseling quickly becomes a murder investigation...

So, This months topics is CLUBS. Take that any way you like it. Every been a member of one? Ever wanted to be a member of one and not? Every gone dancing in one and discovered pink martinis are delicious and around four AM found yourself slurring out your life story to some guy named "DJ E.Q." who is a great dancer AND doesn't try to get you to go home with him, not that you would, but it's just nice not to be PRESSURED, you know, and maybe this is a REALLY NICE GUY like your mom said you would NEVER meet in a club, and all his nice friends stop by for a sec to say HI and stuff, so he's all POPULAR and CHARMING, and then suddenly you realize this is because he is a drug dealer and probably you should never be allowed out of your dorm without serious supervision? Oh wait, was that my twenties riding by? Um, to get back on track, Ever played clubs-the-card-game? Bet on the Queen of? Ever hit a baby seal with one?

The topic is...CLUBS! GO!

Posted by joshilyn at 9:55 AM | Comments (10)

February 3, 2006

Good Sex (PG 16)

SORRY I have been a SUCKY BLOGGER this week. In my defense, I had a HUGE novel revelation, had to cut almost three entire chapters and then rewrote them and a bonus one, so it has been a grand week progress-wise with the new novel and I am as sleepy and pleased as a cream-filled cat.

Meanwhile, here on Kudzu, how do you like the TITLE of this entry? PING! PING! the pR0n seeking Googlers come a-rollin' on in! HEHEHEHE. Betcha my hit counter gives itself vertigo flipping around today....I should give every entry such a name. Alas! It would be gratuitous to give a long prattling spiel about, say, recipes a name like "Oh Baby, YES, WOO! WOO!," so I will have to wait until days when I actually AM writing about good sex. Like, say, today. As the by-the-hour hookers in Vegas say, "Let's get to it, shall we?"

Old School Kudzu Regular DAVID wrote in and asked, "Do you remember making a reference during a discussion with another author recently, wherein you (I think) referenced some book in which the love scene was said (by one of the conversants) to be " ...the most realistic and emotionally moving I've ever read." or some such? Title was short, maybe two or three words. Possibly it was a proper name. I'm hoping your memory is better than mine."

My answer: Um....no? A lot of things come out of my mouth. I don't generally LISTEN to them.... *grin*

DOES THIS RING A BELL WITH ANY OF YOU? I can't remember a specific book or find it in the archives. I read a LOT. If you know what David is referencing can you kindly leave it in the comments?

David is a fellow writer, so I suspect he is asking because he is probably struggling along through the miserable process of trying to WRITE a dern sex scene. I personally have bright red cheeks the whole time I am trying to draft or revise sex scenes....and I have spent a fair amount of time on it for the last two books because the images and language used in the sex scene have been, for both gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia, key in making some underlying (HA! Everything sounds so NAUGHTY when you talk about writing sex) thematic connections.

WARNING: If you have not read gods in Alabama yet, I have heard you CAN be sent to Hell for that. No, hehehehe KIDDING! You go to Purgatory. For several million years...NO NO, I meant to say, If you have not read gods yet, here are a few mild spoilers about who has sex with whom and how the sex WORKS thematically in that book to be found in the following paragraph. If you hate to be even MILDLY spoiled, = SKIP down to where it says SPOILERS OVER in big bold font, OR, better yet, trot out, buy a copy of gods, read it, and then come back and pick up HERE:


I wanted Arlene to grow into an understanding of unconditional love and take the first step toward becoming a person who could have a good marriage in all ways, including a healthy, happy sex life. Given her, um, colorful past, that was a BIG FAT STEP. I knew there would have to be...sex. YARP! Now, I like to write BAD sex scenes. Bad sex can be horridly funny and train wreck un-look-a-way-able. BUT! I hate to write GOOD sex between people who love each other because I feel so EMBARRASSED. Like I owe my characters a closed door and an hour of alone time. Plus, the GOOD SEX scenes were almost impossible to write in gods because, given Arlene's past, there was NO WAY to have a from Here to Eternity type encounter with romantical imagery and purple vocabulary and have it be anything but laughable tripe. Can you even imagine Arlene trying to sell that???


Yeah, my butt, Arlene. If I read an actually well written version of that from ARLENE, of all people, I as a reader would assume she was lying...she does that sometimes. *grin* . At the same time, there had to be enough contrast between the earlier sex and sex with Burr to make it clear that huge progress is being made, that they will be able to to end up with a ROCKING married life... I chose to do it with language, with vocabulary, and excruciating DETAIL. SO. I braced myself and I allowed Arlene to be INCREDIBLY foul, frank, dismissive, droll, mocking, amused, graphic and above all clinical and dispassionate in the earlier sex scenes. Her somewhat brutal honesty probably cost me some readers and have forced me to open every speaking engagement by saying I PINKY SWEAR THIS BOOK IS NOT AT ALL AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL!!!!!... But it was the right choice. Because then all I had to do in the sex scenes with Burr was to let her talk in a straightforward, nonpejorative, understated and loving way. Less was SO MUCH more because of how far I'd taken the earlier scenes. Of course, I had to go into therapy when the book sold and I realized my MOTHER would READ those earlier scenes, but it was the right choice and I stand by it, pink cheeked but DERNIT SO (artistically speaking) in the right.


Anyway I think the KEY to making a sex scene work is to have the sex scene do MORE than just describe sex. I don't NEED a writer to describe sex for me. I have two kids, so it's a given I have had the experience myself at LEAST twice. AND I saw Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas in Original Sin, so I know possibly a little MORE about what sex LOOKS like than I strictly needed for scientific purposes. Or at least, I know what it looks like when two physically perfect specimens attempt to have it in an old fashioned wooden bathtub...

In a Romance novel where a hot sex scene is part of the point, or a Manly Gunplay book that I buy in the hopes that it WILL get a little bit deliciously gratuitous, you don't; have to justify your sex scenes. BUT! In literary fiction or book club commercial fiction, I think a sex scene needs to be doing at least two jobs or it should be cut. The first job is the job of EVERY scene, to move the book along from ONCE UPON A TIME to THE END. BUT, like every other sentence in the book, a sex scene should have at least one other job. Here are some possible jobs you can hire sex to do: 1) MAKE PLOT AKA the sex itself (not just the fact that they HAD sex) should move the plot forward in a real way. If the act itself moves the plot forward you can indicate they are about to have sex and then close the door. But if something happens DURING the sex that's key, by all means, leave that door cracked. 2) ENRICH CHARACTER, aka The sex should reveal something key about AT LEAST one of the people having it. 3) The imagery should connect to and enrich the book's theme.

If you can give sex four or five jobs and STILL have it evoke mood and not violate voice, then you are great, and I want to read your dirty, dirty book.

MEANWHILE, David is looking for GOOD SEX. In books, I mean. If you have read a book where the sex is doing a BUNCH of a jobs, PLEASE put the book's title (and author if you know it) in the comments for him. Not for ME, of course. I would MUCH prefer to read about lovely posies reproducing by pollen transfer or perhaps something pithy about deeply spiritual mystic men who sit alone on mountain tops and contemplate truth. That's more my bag than whatever sort of filth you try to induce David to poison his mind with. *glows with holy light*

If you, like David, want to read a good sex scene....Let me think. The best sex scene I have read recently is in a book I got in MS form to read for a blurb. It isn't out til May, dernit, but you can pre-order, and if you like the kind of fiction I try to write and the kind I spend most of my reading time devouring, then you should REALLY like this book. It was RIGHT up my alley: Plot heavy, twisty, and character driven enough to make excellent pleasure reading, but also the writing is fresh and interesting with an individual and unwavering voice, and the thematic layers are there if you want them. I think that's my favorite kind of read because I am such a rereader. I like a book to propel me along for the first go through, and then I like it to be layered enough to allow me to go back through and kinda soak in it. ANYWAY, this is book is ALL THAT, and as the bonus bag of chips, it has some heart-swellingly hot sex in it.

You can pre-order it from my friends at LOVELY POWELL'S and I am sure it will go up for Pre-order many other places any second now, just search for WATER FOR ELEHANTS at your fave online book buying spot. I'll remind you when it comes out for truly, in case you forget or your fave online store doesn't have it listed yet or you prefer to buy at a physical store.

I am right now, in honor of Philip Seymour Hoffman reading IN COLD BLOOD, a brilliant book, but not exactly famous for it's white-hot scenes of unbridled French kissing...so I am depending on comments to help David find something that has a little something-something in it right now....READY! SET! GO!

Posted by joshilyn at 10:55 AM | Comments (12)

February 1, 2006

File Under: Not

I have never drunk Clamato.

This is because the name led me to suspect there might be clams in it. CLAMato. Like clams + tomatoes. The name spooked me. I was actively AFRAID to drink Clamato, even though the very idea that there would be a beverage ACTUALLY made out of CLAMS and TOMATOES is so patently SILLY that fearing it is akin to fearing that the cedar chest where your husband stores his sweaters is chock full of murderous pirates.

It's not that I think about Clamato much, but last night, yacking with Mir on the phone, we were discussing new Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and why it is not as good as Diet Cherry Coke but still infinately superior to Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. See, to me, Coke is not really a flavor. Flavors COME from something in nature.

Lemon flavored things come from lemons, like that. But you don't find COKES growing in the wild and emitting coke flavor. Coke is as neutral as your favorite black loafers---goes with just about anything. Even peanuts go great in a coke. So if you want to put black cherry AND vanilla in coke, it's like red and yellow with black shoes----you are still fine. BUT, Dr. Pepper IS a flavor. In fact it is a blend of 23 different fruit flavors according to the The Highly Unofficial alt.fan.dr-pepper FAQ and when you add black Cherry and Vanilla to TWENTYFREAKINTHREE other flavors, it is one too many. I could have allowed the good Dr. to add Vanilla, or even just the cherry, but 25 flavors and your single soda is edging awfully close to territory that has already been righteously peed upon and claimed by Baskin-Robbins.

Mir and I whipped ourselves up into a hysterical frenzy over what flavors are actually in Dr. Pepper (you don't want to know, trust me, but one my FAVORITE of her guesses was "Thumbs"). Then I put forth my 25 is too many flavors theory, and she said, "Yeah, really! Why don't they go ahead and throw in some CLAMATO while they are at it." Which made me snort Diet Cherry Coke out my nose. (Helpful Aside: Diet Cherry Coke is the best soda in the unverse, but running it over your sinuses is not the most pleasant way to experience it.)

I was laughing myself sick. I said, "You know, I used to be afraid of Clamato because I thought it was made out of clam juice and tomatoes, HA HA HA! CLAM JUICE! AND TOMATOES! IMAGINE! HA!


Mir: Um, it IS made out of clam juice juice and tomatoes.
Me: Get real.
Mir: I always THOUGHT it was.
Me: Can't possibly be. It's just a bad name for off-brand V-8.
Mir: I know! Let's ask WIKIPEDIA!

Guess what? IT IS WORSE. It is tomatoes and DRIED RECONSTITUTED CLAM JUICE. GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Sick, I tell you, SICK. I'm befoozled and horrifed to the point that I think something in my cedar chest just said "Arrrrggghhh, Mateys!" Hand to God.

PS: Considering my mental illness number, I think I deserve a little pat for not naming this entry "You Say ClaMAYto, I Say ClaMAHto."

Posted by joshilyn at 4:42 PM | Comments (24)