Oh dudes, my dudes. I have so freakin' much to tell you my head is going to pop off, but I have been holed up with my friend Tog-wiss, and he is COMPLETE!!!!. INDEEDY, he is WHOLE and has a beginning, a middle AND now an END, even. Three days ago I tippy tapped out the sentence have been waiting to write since I typed out the first one---I always know how my novels will begin and end, it's the GETTING from one to the other that present the PROBLEMS. VERY satisfying moment. BUT!
My editor has this GREAT idea (and by "great" I mean, "pass the Jack Daniel's") that I should send her Tog-wiss before I leave on tour so she can see where I am going with this new book, and so I have entered a state of permanent gibbering fear. I called her up a few days ago, before I was done, but I was CLOSE, you know, and when she said HELLO I shrieked, BUT YOU KNOW IT'S A ROUGH DRAFT RIGHT YOU GET THAT IT'S NOT COMPLETE BUT REALLY A DRAFT? A ROUGH ONE??? And she said patient soothing sane editor-type things about how she may have seen a rough draft or two in her day and promising faithfully not to look at Tog-wiss' more awkward chunks and say "Wow. I thought this girl could write, but I see now I need psychotropic drugs."
Then AFTER that conversation, I have thought of SEVERAL extended metaphors, about one a day, to explain that Tog-wiss is a rough draft, and then I have these almost uncontrollable desires to call her up and extend those metaphors for her, extend them ALL THE WAY, beyond the limits of sane extending, until they snap. Like, yesterday (or the day before, it's all running together) I had to call her and explain how a plot point had to be PURCHASED by the imagery and previous plot points in the first half, but that I had made discoveries in the second half, and would not have time to go back to the first half and REVISE THE MONEY IN to PURCHASE all of the later plot points, so it was like parts of the second half read as SHOPLIFTED AND UNCONNECTED but I DID KNOW WHAT THEY COST and I SWORE AND SWORE and I would I WOULD go back and PAY FOR THEM.
Her: So, what you mean is, this is a rough draft?
Me: Yes! Yes! It's a rough draft!
Today I am already fighting urges to call her up and say, "You have to understand that Tog-wiss has morning breath and tufts of unruly hair sticking up and is standing around a dirty kitchen in his underpants, scratching his hairy belly. AND TRUST me these are not, like, FANCY Armani boxer briefs. These are the threadbare tighty-whiteys he still has left over from college. NOT. PRETTY. SO I am trying to knit the Togster a tatty robe to throw over himself before I mail him off to you, and I WILL get the robe on, okay, before I mail it, but HE IS NOT GOING TO BE DRESSED NICE YOU GOT IT?"
She will say: So, what you mean is, this is a rough draft?
I will say: Yes! Yes! It's a rough draft!
Tomorrow's metaphor is going to involve possums and how they can't get across a road but if I had time to revise they would not be POSSUMS anymore but SPEEDY UNSMASHED BUNNIES.
Let's all take a moment to reflect back on what the word GREAT meant in the second paragraph, shall we? Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh, Jack. It isn't JUST for breakfast anymore.
Here is ONE thing I have to tell you, and then I have to get to KNITTING THAT ROBE.
YESTERDAY I went to a press lunch for
The Decatur Book Festival And I had a VERY good time except I was so PUKE-LEVEL nervous I am sure I came off like the world's hugest goober. I am usually good with the public speaking, enjoy it, the more chatty and intimate the better, but
Michael Connelly and Emily Saliers were there. Yeah. I was not funny. I was not smart. I was breathless and blushful and made Mr. Connelly sign and embarrassing number of hardbacks of his that I purchased on the way because I do not OWN any of his hardbacks because he is my VERY! FAVORITE! AUTHOR! to listen to in audio format so I save him up for car trips and in fact I have THE NARROWS on CD right now to take on tour as there are several driving legs and I cannot wait because OMG but I loved THE POET and NOW HARRY BOSCH will go after The Poet OH OH OH!!!! etc etc---maybe you think this was my internal monolog, and WOULD TO GOD that it had BEEN internal, but no. I FELT THE NEED TO EXPLAIN TO HIM. And then I explained exactly what actors do the best job on his audio books (Len Cariou FOREVER!!!!!) and how I had to read his earlier books with MY ACTUAL EYES, said it like this was a HARDSHIP, God help me, because they FOOLISHLY only did abridged and I HATE to listen to abridgments and then, mercifully, one of the organizers darted me and dragged me off to tag my ear before Connelly called the cops.
Honestly? He was very nice. And he kept being DRY and FUNNY like a PERSON. Very disconcerting, for him to be a person. One does not expect it of one's idols. Of my three favorite MANLY GUNPLAY WRITERS, I have now met two, (Lee Child is t'other one I met) and BOTH have been people. All I need to do is a drive by meet and greet or even a drink (before the war) with Dennis Lehane and have him be nice to have a PERFECT manly gunplay trifecta.
It did NOT help that Emily Saliers was there. If you've ever dug into my essay section and read
How to get killed and/or lose your sense of identity in Atlanta then you know I have been an Indigo Girls fan since the WAY back back. I used to drive all over Georgia, Athens to Atlanta and back again, to see them play in various bars twenty years ago, before anyone knew who they were. SO. Yeah. It was like that. I have been her fan SO LONG I was mercifully UNABLE to babble directly at her. I could hardly speak at ALL. BUT I stood by her in the group picture and she put her arm around me and I am going to crop out everyone else and blow it up and put it on my wall and draw hearts and sparkles and diamonds all around the frame and stencil in letters that say JOSHILYN AND EMILY! BFF!!!
I'm just cool like that.
SO I am in IM with my friend....let's call her BELINDA, because that is emphatically not her name. She and I went to college together. I have not seen "BELINDA" in A GOOD 15 years, okay? And now she's pregnant with her first child. We are catching up, talking good books we have read, whatnot....and then I see something.
Here is our chat. IM names have been changed to protect the... uninhibited.
joshilyn: Wait... is that a picture of you in a BRA??
joshilyn: your profile!
HappyPuppy: Um, here's hoping NO
joshilyn: on this chat is a picture of a girl who look slike you in a red bra making a sessy pose
HappyPuppy: Ok, not on MY profile it does not...
joshilyn: yes...on this chat window where the pic of you goes is a naked sex pot picture hehehehe
joshilyn: well not naked
joshilyn: a BRA'd sexpot picture
HappyPuppy: Ok, seriously.... I'm going to DIE of intense embarasement right now
HappyPuppy: I did tell you that I dated my husband long distance and we IM'd alot....
joshilyn: did you not know that pic showed? HAHAHHAHAHAHHA
joshilyn: dude. nice rack though. LOL
HappyPuppy: But, um... I've talked with OTHER PEOPLE ON HERE. HUNDREDS of them. and all I see is a little cheerleader thingy....
HappyPuppy: OH MY GOSH THERE I AM
joshilyn: I am DYING
joshilyn: I may wet myself
HappyPuppy: YOU are dying? YOU?
joshilyn: yes of laugh and charm
HappyPuppy: Oh my gosh I'm going to go INTO LABOR right now
joshilyn: LOL you need to change that pic somehow
HappyPuppy: ok... refresh or something...
joshilyn:: it is gone a blank white slate now
HappyPuppy: The terrible thing is I have been married for years. Years and years. I wonder how many people were seeing me in my bra while I sat there thinking I had a cartoon cheerleader?
joshilyn: oh please oh please can I please blog this. I am literally DYING.
HappyPuppy: Oh why not...
HappyPuppy: heheheheh cool
HappyPuppy: as long as you don't need to USE THE PICTURE
joshilyn: HAHAHAHHHA deal!
This is a nervous-making and exciting and weird time---gods in Alabama went out in paperback on the thirteenth, and my second book is toddling out on unsteady legs in hardback, SUPPOSEDLY on the 3rd of July, but it seems to be out already in at least a few stores. Watching reports of BETWEEN sightings come in, I feel like I have kicked out Something Big-Eyed, a blinking thing that is still damp with amniotic fluid, and yup, I've tossed it right into the wild while calling, "GOOD LUCK THERE WITH ALL THAT! HOPE THERE'S NO LIONS!" in a cheerful, warbling voice.
Because I have a new book, see, and Between isn't mine anymore. It's yours, if you want it.
I'm not saying the good stuff flows over me and la la, I am indifferent -- I am celebrating the great green foaming heck out of the good stuff. But you know, somewhere, out there, right now, some person who clearly has no soul is reading Between and not liking it. And I can't help that. I can only be more solidly grateful for the other ones, the ones who read it and the story speaks to them the way it spoke to me, and they speak back and reading becomes a conversation between them and the book. That's about the coolest thing in the universe.
gods in Alabama, now out in 500 formats is even LESS mine. I got a REALLY MAD e-mail last week, some distressed lady felt SO strongly about gods in Alabama that she had a need to search me out on the internet ---- OH! she'd been so mightily offended! Nothing would do but that she come poo in my flowerbox.
Here's her e-mail:
"This was, bar none, the most offensive book that I have ever read. The language and things she did. Shame on you!"
My response more than a year ago when gods first came out would probably have been to cry and write her a four page explanation of WHY the language is the way it is and WHY she did the things she did and say, PS that was a fragment, and ANYWAY I KNOW MY MOM IS PROUD OF ME, and then I would stew over it when she didn't write back, converted, and apologize for saying mean things about my best beloved.
My response now? Here in whatever month this is in a year I suspect of being 2006? I was going to say I deleted it, because that version makes me sound emotionally stable and mature, but let's be DEADLY honest here. In truth, I IMMEDIATELY hit reply, typed out, "I am so sorry. Perhaps you might like a sweet little book that my friend James wrote better. You can pick it up just about anywhere. It's called Deliverance." and then hovered, hand on mouse, cursor on send button, for a good 8 seconds while the still small voice of the Lord told me, DO NOT BE A SNOTBUCKET. THEN I deleted my reply and moved her e-mail to my BLOG THIS file, and I felt an emotion that can best be described as....meh. She didn't like the book. Oh well. My emotional reaction bobulator needle BARELY twitched. I don't think it got above "Vague Pique."
Which really, that needle shoots all the way Screaming Hysteria if my bare foot comes in contact with a Cat Present (aka Enormous Hairy Chunk of Dead Centipede.) So. Step In Bug Parts now rates higher than Have My Darling Book Spat Upon By Philistines.
Weird how that happens.
Meanwhile, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING (fondly referred to around here as TGWSS, which is pronounced "Tog-wiss") is MINE, and me and Tog-wiss, we like each other and we paddle around in each other's duck ponds and at lunch I give Tog-wiss half my bologna for half his tuna salad on pita. I am hugely proprietal about Tog-Wiss, so much so that I have not yet mailed chunks of him off to even my mother. Tog-wiss and me, we are busy doing things, and if you say ONE bad thing about him, I will send mean people to hurt you. See? It's like that.
(AN ASIDE TO THE DEAR PEOPLE IN MY WRITING GROUP: You are the exceptions to this rule and may speak of Tog-wiss' flaws and foibles so that he might be made more beautiful and shiny. I will not send people to hurt YOU. Much.)
My first publicist, Jennifer, told me this would happen, although at the time, dewey and terrified and aching with longing for RELEASE DAY when my book would enter the world and OH! GEPPETTO I would be a REAL BOY!!! to come, I didn't understand her. Here is what she said: "You put the book out, and then the reader speaks. You have to shut up then."
She was right. Tiny little brunette, that Jennifer, but she had the great big brains. She's not my publicist anymore because someone noticed the brains and promoted her to be grand empress of all publicists, or some equally odd title.
DIGRESSION: LORD but they have NONSENSICAL titles in publishing. LIKE a publisher is not JUST the one who publishes your book or the even the HOUSE that publishes your book, but also a highly advanced breed of editor. I think the titles are code, and you can't follow them unless you speak publishing. My editor got a nice promotion recently, from something like heart sparkle diamond editor to theresaholeinmybucketdearlizadearliza editor. SO CONGRATS to her and stuff, but I NEVER would have realized she had gotten a promotion at all if my agent hadn't pointed out the new title and explained what it meant. He, thank the angels, speaks publishing.
ANYWAY, back on point, we were on Jennifer, former publicist, big smarts, "The reader speaks." Now here I am on BOOK TWO, and I feel GOOD about that. Almost like a REAL writer. I surprise myself sometimes with all the real writer things I do in the most off hand and casual of contexts.
For ecxample, I was STUDIOUSLY SLAVING AWAY ON MY WORK IN PROGRESS LAST NIGHT (and here those who speak publishing will immediately understand that STUDIOUSLY SLAVING AWAY ON MY WORK IN PROGRESS is code for PLAYING AN ONLINE COMPUTER GAME WITH MY FRIEND JILL) and one of my fellow, um, "studiously slaving slavers" (aka GAMERS) asked in the voice chat what I do for a living. Without thinking, SERIOUSLY with NO THOUGHT at all, I said, all casual-like, "I'm a novelist."
IMMEDIATELY I got a Private Message from Jill saying "HAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA YOU DORK! YOU SAID THAT SO COOL! LIKE YOU JUST TROT AROUND BEING BEING A NOVELIST! OH! I'M A NOVELIST! I muted my mic so the other gamers couldn't hear me giggling like a fiend, and to Jill I typed, DUDE, LIKE, I KNOW, RIGHT?!!!????!1 111 one
On book two, I am finally kinda getting half a handle on what it means to put the book out there, and then the reader speaks, and I shut up. I am MAYBE 5K from a completed draft of TGWSS? And then it's the YUMMY CAKE part, right? AHHH DELICIOUS REVISIONS! I hate drafting. LOVE revisions. So I look forward to luxurious months of doing the part of the job I like best. But then, eventually, I'll sign off on some galleys, and Tog-wiss won't be mine anymore. To prep myself for that UNIMAGINABLE yet rapidly approaching someday, I already am cooking up the thing I am going to love best NEXT. It's a defense mechanism. After I am finished loving Tog-wiss in this proprietal and ownerly way, I am going to love a book that will have a title too secret and new to say yet out loud (we are at the FLIRTING stage, this book and I, we are ATTRACTED but we haven't met yet, and I do not want to jinx it) But I will say this. The title will probably be abbreviated in one of these ways: TRR (to be pronounced as "Tisterrrrrrrr") or R,BAN (which will be prounounced as URBAN or as "a dyslexic's colon aid" should I be feeling all clever and ironical.)
Between, Georgia is out there. Reviews are coming in. Amazon is shipping orders. The tangible book itself is appearing on shelves in more stores every day. Best of all, several of you adorable people have, my sources tell me, pushed that big yellow button on my sidebar to get signed copies from the Alabama Booksmith. My response to all this is two fold:
My job is spooky.
Dear Lord, but I love my job.
We have to discuss an adult theme today, because I am being driven barking INSANE by the marketing for the KY Spritzing Pervert Mist or whatever that stuff is. I violently hate this ad campaign with great scoops of lava red abhorrence and revilement. If my feelings about this ad campaign were a movie, it would be rated NC-17 --- STRICTLY for violence because NO ONE would be taking their clothes off. Ever. In fact, IF everyone felt as strongly about this commercial as I do, and IF an alien over-race wanted to cleanse the earth of humanity and let the bees have a shot at evolving into something nicer than us, all they would have to do is run a giant version of this commercial in a continuous loop up in the night sky, thus permanently rendering thinking human beings EVERYWHERE incapable of any sort of arousal. The human race would peacefully die out in a single generation.
I find the ad campaign to be SO physically repulsive on a basic and visceral level, that when it comes on, my husband leaps up and stands in front of the TV yelling LA LA LA LA LA until it passes. He is a merciful man, my husband. Also, he would probably like the opportunity to make out again sometime before his death, and these commercials are....quelling.
I ALREADY was thoroughly sick of the UNENDING COYNESS of the KY Warming Massage Crap couple, you know, the one where the cute little redheaded woman likes to read packaging of her personal lubricant OUT LOUD to her husband as foreplay. And yeah. Okay. We all have our little ticks and foibles. They are consenting adults, so if this is what works for them, that's nice and they should close the bedroom doors and go for it. When the KY packaging text becomes stale and fails to titillate, she can go into the bathroom and find plenty of other products to tempt him with, "Aim," she can read seductively, "Is accepted by the American Dental Association." He would like that, I bet. Don't you bet?
I mean, she has CLEARLY found her match because whenever she starts reading packaging, her husband comes peeking coyly out from behind his newspaper like a curious but easily spooked howler monkey, and then they both quirk their eyebrows back and forth at each other suggestively, quirkitty quirk quirk go the eyebrows, quirking with such REPETITIVE VIGOR that I cant help but think this too, is an integral part of their somewhat disturbing sex life. AND I DO NOT MIND THAT EITHER. I repeat, if it TRULY makes their little red boat bob up and down all happy in the water, then they should go for it, BUT, and I think I speak for all of America here, I BEG them abjectly to please not film it.
But they are NOTHING compared to the KY Spritzing Pervert Mist commercial. I WISH I could find a streaming video of it so I could link you to it. I think it would be helpful to you, especially if you are the Duggar Family. Also, then you would see exactly what I'm talking about. Alas, the streaming video LINKS that pop up when I try to Google this stuff are...disturbing, and would NEVER be run in PRIME TIME, as this ad so consistently is. ANYWAY, it goes like this:
An excruciatingly gorgeous rich lady stands on the balcony that overlooks her lofted great room and calls her husband on her GPS enhanced computer/video camera/cell phone. Her husband, who is sitting on the SOFA in the VERY ROOM she is standing above, answers his phone. She reads him some packaging, and, as is apparently common in most marital relations these days, his response to ad copy is immediate arousal and eyebrow quirking. He comes bounding up the stairs to see if she is now willing to read him hot stuff from the back of her shampoo bottle. But all I can think about is the CHK CHK noise that those kind of bottles make, a CHK CHK noise I associate VERY strongly with chiggers, as my favorite bug repellent and sunscreen combo comes in a bottle JUST like that. CHK! CHK! CHIGGERS! I think to myself, and the ONE thought that NEVER follows CHK! CHK! CHIGGERS! is, "SEXY!" Then she looks COYLY into the camera and says, "That worked!" Um. Yeah.
As a member of the Fairer Sex, I admit that my experience of the INTERNAL MENTAL workings of the Sweatier Sex is limited, but it seems to me that instead of cell phones and the promise of a CHK CHK noise, that wife could, just, you know, show him her bra. Or, here's another thought, she could say, "Lawrence? Want to have some big sex with me?" Assuming her husband's name IS Lawrence, the almost universal male answer to the WANT TO HAVE BIG SEX question is "yes" --- especially if the one asking is your twenty year old wife who looks like a super model, as the KY Warming Pervert Mist chick is. If she is SOUTHERN and therefore INCAPABLE of directly expressing a need she has, then it is equally effective to droop around the living room and say, "Oh! How I wish I was having the big sex..." THAT will get her the attention she needs AND keep her passive aggressive manipulation skills (a staple of southern womanhood) honed and sharp. And no one will have to quirk anything or think about chiggers.
UPDATE: Scott says he would not find the commercial nearly so disturbing if it wasn't for the simultaneous promotion of the new SALAD MISTER dressing sprays. I say the ad campaign would be IMMEASUREABLY improved if they cross promoted these two products. They could make a series of commercials in which two chiggers find love and then run to the kitchen to make some more chiggers on a bed of lettuce.
MIR IS SO CLOSE TO HER GOAL! Please go tuck 10 dollars into her virtual bra as she takes a three day walk to fight breast cancer. If you don't have 10, slip her a 5 or a 1. Even a shiny Quarter. SHE IS SO CLOSE.
If you do slip her a ten, boldly say so in comments, IF FIVE OF YOU DROP A TEN SPOT, I will pony up a matching fifty. GO GO GO!
Sara Rosett is the author of Moving is Murder, the first in a series of Cosy Mysteries starring amateur sleuth and military wife Ellie Avery. Rosett is a military wife herself, so she has been murderously moved PLENTY. SADLY her husband got restationed and moved them out of Georgia RIGHT BEFORE she joined the GCC, so I won't get a chance to actually meet her. How boogery is that?
I've never read Sara before as this is a debut novel, but I'm interested in this book. I was born and bred an army brat, and I'd lived in I think seven states before I was nine and Daddy retired us to the Florida Panhandle where I squandered the rest of my ill-spent youth on beaches and pernicious orange eating. I plan to pick this book up while I am out on the road in July. I think I read something like 22 or 23 books on my last book tour, and the vast majority of them were mysteries and thrillers as I was tired and meanspirited and grumpy from the constant travel and loss of sleep and I wanted BIG DELICIOUS SCOOPINGS of murder.
I have good company on tour a lot of the time, I have to say, BUT one can only make booksellers sit and drink with you for so long... EVENTUALLY the booksellers' livers come leaping out of their nostrils to escape the next beer, and then the booksellers go home. Then there I am, having more insomnia and being grumpy and getting on airplanes with horrible people who take up the whole armrest and recline the seat right in front of you all the way back. People in airplanes so OFTEN make you want to commit murder yourself, especially if you are lonely for your family, so on tour I read mysteries like a madwoman, letting nice folks like Sara Rossett kill people by proxy, in lieu of me commiting actual mayhem. ANYWAY -- let's let her talk.
JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?
SR: I love the cover. I felt kind of guarded while I waited to see it. I’d heard so many stories about how authors absolutely hated their covers—they had nothing to do with the story, they gave away a key plot point, etc. So I wasn’t getting my hopes up. My editor asked for input and requested character descriptions and any ideas I had along with details of what covers I liked and didn’t like. Well. You should have seen the email I sent back—about three pages of covers I loved and hated along with lots of descriptions and ideas. My protagonist, Ellie, and her husband Mitch have bought their first house in what they mistakenly assume will be a neighborhood free of military influences. The house is very important to Ellie and central to the story, so I sent off pictures of houses that inspired Ellie’s house. I pictured the house, an Arts and Crafts bungalow, on the cover. Maybe a close-up of the front porch with the arched front door and the honey-colored bricks. After I sent my email lots of waiting followed, as is typical in publishing. I heard at one point it was going to be orange. Not my favorite color! My editor let me know they’d gotten the artist who did the Mitford series to do my cover and I immediately clicked over to Amazon to pour over those covers. The actual cover was a night scene, a deep blue starry sky with yellow letters, not a bit of orange in sight. No people either, but the house made it! And it incorporated some of my architectural details.
JJ: Your main character seems to have a lot in common with you. You’re both military spouses and mothers. How is she/he different from you?
SR: Ellie is organized. I’m not. I want to be organized, but I’m not. I can be organized in spurts, but I’m not really an organized person. Making her a professional organizer must be wish fulfillment on my part. I saw a feature on a news magazine about professional organizers several years ago and I thought the whole thing was so cool. Then when I was writing the first drafts of MOVING IS MURDER, I realized that making Ellie a professional organizer was perfect for an amateur sleuth because she’d have an entry into homes and she’d actually have a reason to snoop through their closets! Ellie is also very “Type A.” I’m more easy-going and I’m not confrontational at all. I’d never be able to ask questions and be as nosy as Ellie. She is also a bit of a perfectionist. I’ll admit I do have some of those tendencies, but only up to a point, and only in certain areas. Writing is one of the areas where my perfectionism comes out. Unfortunately for my family it doesn’t come out at all in my housekeeping.
JJ: Tell us about your most recent move.
SR: I’ve just completed a cross-country move from Georgia to California. My husband is still with the military, although in a civil service job in the Air Force Reserve that’s linked to his pilot job, but we might as well be active duty. Our move wasn’t as awful as Ellie’s—no dead bodies turning up in our new neighborhood or in our new squadron! We did have a glitch during the pack-out when the movers realized that they hadn’t reserved enough space on the moving van for our stuff—they forgot to include our garage and attic. That’s where most of our junk is!! I’ve already confessed that I’m not organized, so I can admit that we have tons of junk in our garage and attic. Anyway, they realized they didn’t have enough room on the moving van at about six pm. They had to split our shipment. That meant calling for another truck, unloading items, re-tagging them and re-inventorying them. They finished about 9:45. It was a long day! I have mantra for when military-related things go bad. I chant, “I’ll use this in a book someday,” and I usually feel better. Writing about the military is very cathartic, but my mantra didn’t help much that day.
Everything arrived fairly intact (broken refrigerator magnets and minor scratches on bookcases don’t count) and our second shipment even found it’s way to our new house. We drove 2,400 miles, visited family along the way, and I worked in a few drop-in book signings. Over-all, not a bad move. Now I’m in the middle of unpacking boxes and flatting packing paper—I swear that stuff breeds inside the boxes. There’s a scene in the book when Ellie surveys her house with boxes everywhere and nothing put away and she thinks, “It has to get worse before it gets better.” That’s kind of a succinct summary of a mystery plot, too. Not to mention it describes my house perfectly right now!
Good Thing: There is a movie called SNAKES ON A PLANE coming soon to to a theatre near you. If they change the title, I will seriously cry. It's the best title I have ever heard AND really CAPTURES the essence of a film that I IMMEDIATELY want to go and see. If I had to play guess the plot, AND I DO, I would say that probably there are these snakes, see, and they somehow get through security to board a plane. I hope one immediately bites the pilot. I hope one is a bulimic anaconda who eats and then pukes up a flight attendant to make room for MORE flight attendants.
The only explanation for this project getting greenlighted is that there is a special brigade of angels who live in or near Hollywood and their job is to MAKE ME HAPPY. THANKS, ANGEL BRIGADE! DO NOT LET THEM CHANGE THE TITLE! The only thing that could RUIN this experience for me is that Samuel L. Jackson is in the movie, so it might actually have some production values. BOO production values! I am comforted by the presence of actress "Crystal Love" whose name is actual Crystal LOWE but at first GLANCE I read it as LOVE and I am sticking with that impression because it sounds more FORMER PORN STARRISH and ups the likelyhood that the snakes will be a cross-section of cheesey national geographic stock footage and blindingly fake CGI. ohpleaseohpleaseohplease.
I am all atwitter with hope, although it may only be ONE angel, because a BRIGADE could have gotten "ROBOT SNAKES ON A PLANE" greenlighted, and come up with a plot device to get the metal snakes through the airport detectors. ("Just put your keys and that giant bag of perfectly harmless metal snakes in the bowl, sir, and pass through....") And Scott says, whether a single angel or a brigade, they only care about me and not him, or they would have gotten ROBOT SNAKES ON THE HOOTERS BIKINI PLANE greenlighted. Still, we must be grateful for what we DO have, which is snakes. On a plane.
Bad Thing: We took all but one of the baby gerbils to the pet store, and they KINDLY took daddy gerbil as well. We went from 10 gerbils to two gerbils --- the mother, Snickers, and a little grey girl-child gerbil we call Cosy Mole Mouse.
Good(ish) thing: Snickers responded to the much less crowded living conditions by promptly delivering a whole ANOTHER litter of BRAND NEW GERBILS. They look like pink beans right now, and the faint birdishy chirpings are one again filling the family room and making it cheerful. Gerbils can have one to eight babies, and this is the SECOND time Snickers has maxed out her baby-making potential. heh. We are back up to ten gerbils. It is VERY sweet, however, to watch Cosy Mole Mouse be all HELPY and kind, doing the job the Daddy gerbil last time. Cosy Mole helps build and rebuild the nest and lies on the little bean babies to keep them warm when Snickers needs a break to eat or run in the wheel. As an added Bonus, Cosy Mole skipped the one part of the Daddy job we didn't really need repeated, namely the IMMEDIATE RE-IMPREGNATION part, so. I am happy-sad that this litter SHOULD be our last.
Creepy Thing: Do you know gerbils can HOLD their litters? Snickers was pregnant again within 15 minutes of delivering the last baby in litter one, but the cage was so crowded that she just....HELD the new babies until things cleared out. Kangaroos can do it, too. *shudder*
Typical Pathethic Thing with a Good Ending: Yesterday, when I picked up Sam from basketball camp, I somehow threw my keys down a rain gutter. I SO wish I was kidding. I was walking along, tra la la, having buckled in Maisy, and as I swung my arm forward, my fingers spasmed and RELEASED the keys and they went zooming through the air ten feet and bounced RIGHT down a big gutter. I went back in and IMMEDIATELY all the basketball coaches came out and stood around in a manly manner deciding how to fix it. They poopoo'ed my first suggestion (sit by the hole and cry) and my second suggestion (call Scott to come with his keys and give mine up for lost) and my third suggestion (Gum? On a string???) in favor of the far more sportly plan of yanking up the giant heavy metal plate and tossing it lightly aside and sending the skinniest man leaping straight down into the dank hole to grab the keys and then reaching for his arms to do the fireman wrist grab and hauling him straight up and out.
Moral Thing: Men can be EXASPERATING THINGS what with the inability to express their feelings and the barking at sports teams and the public ball adjusting and all, but OH! they are SO good to have around when you hurl your keys into a storm drain. And, too, I bet in the Hollywood marketing studies, the target demographic for SNAKES ON A PLANE reads like this: "Men, and Joshilyn Jackson." SO, in closing, let me say...
THANKS FOR EXISTING, MEN! Without YOU I would have no keys, and while there would still be snakes and also probably planes, those two things would not be likely to come together in technicolor with Dolby surround sound.
UPDATE I: If you look on the page I originally linked to, you will find that THERE IS A TRAILER!!! THERE IS A TRAILER!!! I WATCHED IT!!|!| THERE IS A STEWARDESS WITH AN AX! A SURPRISE BRA SNAKE POPS OUT OF A LADY'S BLOUSE! A CAT IS IN JEOPARDY! SAMUEL L. JACKSON WHIPS A MAN IN THE HEAD WITH A SNAKE!!!! And then he says "Enough is enough. I have had it with these snakes." It's the only line in the WHOLE trailer except for "AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!" and "HELPPPPPPP!"
I am SO Happy.
Here is an interview with Samuel L. Jackson about Snakes on a Plane and why the title is so vital to the health and happiness of America. Please note the mention of the 350 pound BERMESE PYTHON who will, I prayerfully hope, take on the role of the stewardess vomiting anaconda...
Edgy Mama linked to SNAKES ON A BLOG a blog all about and only about snakes on a plane...with bacon.
Feminism suffered a sharp blow to the head this morning when my daughter crept sleepily up into my bed and whispered, "Mommy, when I grow up to be tall, I am going to put on a marry dress and go right out and find a boy!" THANKS, DISNEY PRINCESSES! Would it have killed you to let the little mermaid complete her MFA in music before she traded her voice for a nice set of gams? I'M JUST SAYING.
May I also say that this was a VERY competitive month for B4B I think---maybe the strongest line-up YET. Here is Shanna:
This was HAAAARRD! (you'll have to imagine the whining tone. Think
"teenager.") I hate having to chose "best" and "favorite" things when I like
And 1st place and the signed copy of Once Upon Stilettos (and Enchanted, Incif the winner hasn't read the first
one) goes to: Her Green Figs and This Magic Moment (gave me shivers -- and
it's the kind of thing that often happens to me, and to some of my
Now I think I may need to acquire cute kids to have more fun stuff to blog
about. They really do seem to liven things up.
I think Shanna livens things up oon her own just FINE --- I asked her to send me this picture of her a writer's convention, dressed up as the chick from her cover. I would be lying if I said I didn't kinda want to bop her on the head and make off with those SHOES...
Shanna would like to add...
Here's the pic, courtesy of my agent, Kristin Nelson, who took it, complete
with very sad little fairy wings that I made in my hotel room that
And, for the record, I was dressed like that for the Fairy Ball, where
costumes were encouraged. I wasn't just wandering around dressed as my book
cover for grins.
Suuuuuuure, you weren't. THANK YOU, SHANNA!
NEXT MONTH, I'm going to be your special guest author in honor of BETWEEN'S launch, and there will be some SPESHUL PRIZES and foo-fa-rol, and while I can't PROMISE I will wander through a meadow in butterfly wings ala BETWEEN'S cover, I also am not exactly saying that I won't.. so in July, you need to B4B or B square.
I have a dental procedure today, so, here are some snippets of things I wanted to tell you, in honor of me being disjointed and sedated. I will post b4b results by Sunday PM or at latest, Monday AM.
Jill: Did you see this? Tim Burton is going to make SWEENEY TODD, and guess who will be playing the demon barber of Fleet Street? ....JOHNNY DEPP!!!
Me: Ooooooooooooooh. I wonder if Johnny can sing?
Jill: Um, Doofus. Who CARES????
My new favorite swear: Great Fancy Moses!
The other day I ran out of shower gel, so I picked up Scott's soap from the little soap dish thing and...it felt weird. It had little RICEY grains in it and was all ROUGH like it was made out of cat tongue. We have a lot of weird soap because when I stay at a hotel, the first thing I do is steal all the extra soaps. The little bottles of shampoo irritate me, and how many sewing kits and shower caps does a girl need, really? But the soaps....I take 'em in positive HERDS, I tell you. If I am in a place more than one day, I load the extra soaps into my suitcase EVERY MORNING, so the maid will put out all NEW soaps. Espcially if the soap is Aveda.
And a lot of times it IS Aveda, but this wasn't. It was some homeopthic loofah grained ricey soap. Warner has put me up in some pretty swanky pads, and what have we learned? RICH PEOPLE LIKE WEIRD SOAP. Me? I like FREE soap. I was an Ivory girl until Dove started the campaign for real beauty, using models that are, like, normal human sized and pretty in the way real, regular pretty people in the MALL are pretty, so we support Dove in thehopes that MAYBE my daughter won't get an eating disorder from comparing herself to all the six foot tall 110 pound pouty lipped glossy haired airbrushed to perfection 17 year olds with preternatural cheekbones that sell every OTHER kind of soap.
I use the stolen hotel soaps for by the sinks in the bathrooms, and if we run out of Dove soap, we pirate the hotel soap stash for the shower until I go to Kroger. ANYWAY, I pick up this weird soap and lather it up and...start to SMELL something. It's not a BAD something, really, in fact it is rather pleasant. It's just out of place in a shower. And it is hauntingly familiar. I keep using the soap, sniffing, sniffing, trying to identify it. Finally, it comes to me: This soap smells like....bacon.
Now, I am a HUGE Bacon fan. Bacon is one of those things I can't have in the house because I will eat the bacon and eat the bacon until there is no more bacon. I ESPECIALLY like taking bacon and a half a pound of butter and putting them into some GRITS with really a lot of salt. I also like bacon all by itself, or with some eggs, or on a biscuit, or in cornbread dressing, or crumbled onto salads, and if you are standing on the corner holding some bacon I might try to lick it as we pass by. You know that DOG NOSE on TV that runs around going BACON BACON BACON BACON? Yeah, I auditioned for the role of that dog nose, and the director said they wanted a male voice, but that MY performance had certainly had the most CONVICTION. HUGE bacon fan here. HUGE....
But. It's disconcerting, to say the least, to bathe in sudsy bacon, no matter how much you like it.
I also started to question my marriage. Maybe this wasn't stolen HOTEL soap after all. Maybe this was Scott's SECRET BACON SOAP, and the key to my unending adoration of him. Lo these 12 lovely years ago, had we made the transition to red hot lovahs (after SEVEN YEARS of platonic best friendship) because he started smelling like delicious breakfast meats? Troubling...Troubling...
Ah well, we have two kids now and a mortgage and I STILL think he is the cutest guy on legs, so baby, if that's the key, I guess you should keep on using the soap.
That Buffy-Lovin' Groove Thang we like to call Our Special! Guest! Blogger! Angel!
has come through with b4b finalists in a month that was jam-packed with entries. Trala.
Remember, the winner will receive the adoration of the masses™, a link from my site, the right to be a Special! Guest! Blogger! and, last but MOST, autographed copes of BOTH of Shanna Swendson's MAGICAL novels, Enchanted, Inc and the sequel, Once Upon Stilettos.
Hi Joshilyn! There were THIRTY entries; I guess there was something magical about this topic ;)
Here are my top 7—I’m just glad the tropical storm didn’t come too close and hamper my judging duties. This was so incredibly difficult to narrow down!
THANKS, ANGEL. I see some returning finalists on this list, as well as a blog that is sneakily trying to weasel its way into being one of my daily reads...this is going to be tough for Shanna.
I am going to quietly under the B4B foo-fa-rol whisper two of the other good newses I got because some of y'all asked in comments, and if I act as SMUG as a cat with a buttered canary feather still stuck to his lips, then blame Diane and Angel and DebR and Martha and Dara and Dee and Liz. I will try to sprinkle the last one in unobtrusively over the next week..
AOL's Book Maven, Bethanne Patrick, is currently touring the country giving her recommended summer reads, INCLUDING BETWEEN, GEORGIA (!!!) to television stations all across the nation. She read gods in Alabama right when it came out and really liked it and did an interview with me and stuff, so I was SO hoping she woudl like Between, too...here is what she said:
By Joshilyn Jackson
Jackson's 2005 'gods in Alabama' (the small "g" is on purpose) seemed like another sunny-side-up Southern-fried novel -- only it wasn't. Same here -- eccentric and family-bound characters are where Jackson's similarities with others ends. Here, the story of the conflicted yet determined Nonny Frett will charm and disturb in equal measures.
I love that part about "charm and disturb in equal measures." I feel like she GETS me. *grin* If you want to see Bethanne's OTHER recs, you can go here or just sit down now and start channel surfing until you find her on her TV tour . And you should because CLEARLY she has EXQUISITE taste in novels. *cough*
ALSO, as desi and Susan pointed out in Comments, I was on Atlanta and Company, Co-hosted by Ryan Cameron and HOLLY! FIRFER! who lights up my mornings on Dave FM with this funny guy named Barnes that I secretly think has a sexy voice and did I say the quiet part out loud again? I don't really like SONGS, (you know, I am dead inside, etc etc) but Dave is my default kid-free radio station as they play mostly songs I know all the words to, and I like words. ANYWAY. Holly Firfer's book club read gods in Alabama, and she was all SPONTANEOUSLY talking about it on her TV show, LIKE THREE TIMES she brought up my book, saying how some months she didn't finish her book club's selections but how with gods in Alabama, she couldn't put it down. Can we pause here? I have to step away from the computer and do a speck of unendurable preening...
Ahem. I'm back. ANYWAY. A friend who works there heard her talking about my book and gave me both a heads up and the producer's phone number, SO, I boldly called the producer and said, "HEY! Holly Firfer was JUST talking about how she liked my book and PS did you know I am local and coming out in paperback in a MONTH and then I have a NEW book in July and I would LOVE to come on if you want to have me." The producer, Mary, was SO NICE! And BOOKED ME!
IF YOU MUST, you can see the interview here, but I hope you don't go watch it because I am SPOOKY. If you DO go watch it, just keep your eyes on Holly, who is certified adorable. I think I will go watch it myself though, because NOTHING stops my unendurable preening like being reminded that I look like a googly-eyed insane monster on television. Seriously. Every time I see me on TV, I want to spoon feed me liquid lithium or maybe dart me and tag my ear and release me to the island Where the Wild Things Are.
TOMORROW I will post the B4B finalists. Angel is SUPAH SPEEDY!
You know how on author websites sometimes they have a NEWS section where they tell you whatever thing is happening with the books and all? It is always the GOOD stuff, of course, because who puts their saddest days forward on their own website...
Can you imagine visiting your favorite author's website, and in his NEWS section seeing that he has posted, "Today, the New York Times said, "Dear Lord who keeps publishing the priapic prose of this overblown writing weiner-head!" Not two hours later, my Bookscan numbers have plummeted so low that no pulse of sales or even....sale...really... can be detected! I shall be in the bathtub working out an extended metaphor wherein the shiny narrow loveliness of a razor's edge is compared to the tongue of a dark Jessica Alba-esque angel licking seductively at my carotid artery. Should you need to reach me as I soak in the bubbley waters, fear not! I'll be answering email via my plugged in electrical laptop. I sure hope I don't drop my plugged in electrical laptop into the tub with me as I answer the consoling e-mails of 500 of my closest colleagues (and ex-wives) who are not sure if I have seen the Times yet and who have cut and pasted a few choice lines for me because they "feel so bad for me, and don't want me to hear about it from someone who loves me less," jovial ha ha! Here's hoping I don't drop this toaster in, either!"
Yeah. Me neither. We don't do that. If the NYT says the harshest thing in the universe about you, you REMEMBER IT, forever, and the last thing you want is to write it down on your OWN homepage to remind you into perpetuity every time you go to update. There are plenty of people out there dying to tear you down...why help, you know?
My friend Lynn was recently coaching an aspiring writer who had a GREAT day --- she got an offer of representation from a DARN GOOD agent. She told her writing group, and was stunned when a member got up and left in a huff. Another friend of mine here in Georgia was offered her first book contract last month. A woman we both know---a good writer in her own right, quite frankly ---- looked her right in the eye and said, "This is unfair. I write circles around you. You're just lucky, That's all it is. Luck."
Well, yeah, luck. Luck is ALWAYS a factor in a competitive industry, but you can;t use it to dimiss the ten years my friend spent selling short fiction to DARN good and competitive lit mags, learning her craft, and writing a first novel that didn't sell.
I understand the jealousy, too. It's such a difficult industry to break into, and I spent a good seven years watching writers around me get tapped while I was writing books I felt were as good as anything out there. I had to REALLY struggle to not get "slotty." You know "slotty thinking?" It's where you feel like there is one slot, and it is morally and rightfully yours, and every time you see another writer succeed, that was possibly YOUR slot they took, so you slow burn inside with bitter embers, and it makes you do and say ugly, hurtful things, and since we are what we do, eventually you become ugly and hurtful.
I've watched other writers get eaten up that way and I didn't want to become that person. I've learned to approach this business like a Scrabble game. When I play Scrabble, I play the board. I don't care if I win or lose, which is unusual for me, I am very competitive. But with Scrabble, for some reason, all I care about is the numbers. If I don't break 200 I am SO MAD. If I break 250 I am pleased and charmed and feel I have won. If I break 300, I am going to the Olympics and dance around and cheer. This allows me to be happy for the other person if they do well, too. Not that I hand them any triple word squares on a platter, but my winning (breaking 250), can happen even if they also win.
I try to be the same way about writing. There are no “slots.” There is only the best book I can write, and the work, and doing all I can for it. It lets me be happy for other people while still trying my hardest and not losing my edge and my will to succeed. When you run into SLOTTY folks (and you will, no matter what business you are in) the best thing you can do to think of them with kindness, because I have stood on the edges of that way of playing the game, and it is an awful place. No one can be happy there.
I think I don't have a news section because I don't want to activate the slumbering slottiness in the breast of another. Sometimes I keep good stuff to myself, stuff I am REALLY happy about, because I feel awkward tooting my own horn...LIKE, 4 really good things have happened that I wanted to tell you, but I sat on them because IT SEEMED LIKE A LOT OF THINGS TO HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE, and I don't want to turn this blog into an exclamation point studded THE WIONDERFULNESS OF ME perkfest just because I have a really good week.
SO I want to tell you ONE though, because, well, this one kinda means a LOT to me. With Between, Georgia being tapped as the number one BookSense pick for July, you know a large percent of my having a career at ALL has come from the awesome support and word of mouth and handselling I get from independent bookstores. Well, SIBA is the Southern Independent Booksellers Association, my homegrown cotton-infested fried green tomato indies, and they have awards they give out every year, and gods was nominated for best fiction. So were 40 or so other dern good books, and then they went to the initial vote to narrow the catagory down to the shortlist, AND ....AND PEEP THIS, oh my peeps I'm VERY pleased to be shortlisted with two other amazingly fine books, and winners will be announced June 19th, so I am sitting here with my fingers crossed praying REALLY REALLY hard that I will not not not fall into the trap of being slotty if I lose and also avoid the OTHER trap of being an unendurably pleased butthead if the heavens open and the angels come down and by some miracle or another I happen to win. Cross your fingers with me?
Before we talk to Deborah LeBlanc, I have to just take a quick second and tell you, DO NOT CLICK THIS LINK. It will take you to Want Not Dot Net, a site all about living better for less, and I went, and if I had not gone, I wouldn't have known about the sale going on at Hanna Andersson, and I wouldn't have accidentally whipped out my Amex spent a bunch of money there. Of course, I got two Hanna Andersson dresses for about what one usually costs, and can you IMAGINE the blinding adorableness of Maisy in this thing?
No. You can't imagine it. The oceanic depths of her adorableness in this is not fathomable by the human imagination. I can't find my digicam, but even if I COULD...I don't think it could capture her ridiculous DELIGHT to be wearing this thing she picked out HER OWN SELF. It is called HER MAGIC PURPLE DRESS and Maisy calls it that, keeping the her, as in, "I want to wear my her magic purple dress!" I am DYING of it. THANKS Want Not!
Meanwhile, in less cute news, Deborah LeBlanc freakin' sees dead people. She's a Louisiana horror writer with a huge cult following, and her latest is called A House Divided. You know what -- I'm not going to tell you what it is about. Go watch the TRAILER! I'm always so INTERESTED in these, and this one is different from the other BOOK TRAILERS I've linked to in the past. It's not animated or an excerpt read aloud with still shot images to go with, nor is it like a music video. It's live action, with actors doing actual scenes from the book. GO SEE IT!
There's a thirty second version and a long one---I'd love to hear what you think, especially if you've watched the other kinds before.
Deborah agreed to play three questions, so I'll let her talk now.
JJ: Who did you dedicate this book to and why?
DL: I dedicated A House Divided to my dad. Ever since I can remember, he's been an inspiration to me, teaching me that all things are possible if I believe, work hard, and stay committed to a daily course of action that takes me closer to my goal. His wisdom and the open-minded way in which he approaches most things in life taught me how to fearlessly face the unknown. To give you an idea of what he's like, here’s a little conversation we had after Christmas dinner last year...
“Dad, where did 2005 go? I swear it’s like I went to bed on Christmas night, 2004 and woke to Christmas day 2005. I don’t know where all the days in between went.”
He nods, smiles, and watches my three-year-old nephew run by with a Christmas bow on his head.
“I mean nothing is slow anymore. Why is that? Is the earth moving faster now or something? What about all our so-called technological advancements? Weren’t they supposed to save us time? It seems like the more ‘advanced’ we get, the faster time flies by. Why is that?”
He sips his coffee. There’s a twinkle in his eye.
“Think about, Dad. Right now you can look back and remember easier, slower times, so can I. Hell, even my kids can. But what will slower times look like for my grandkids? For my great-grandkids? Can you imagine what the world will be like when they have to look back at today, 2005, and say this was their slower time?”
Dad waits a beat before putting a weather-beaten hand over mine on the table. “Close your eyes,” he says.
“Just close ‘em.”
“Remember when William ran by here a minute ago?”
“What color was the bow on his head?”
“It was red.”
“What kind of shoes did he have on?”
Frown deepening. “Sneakers.”
“He was barefoot.”
I open my eyes and look around for William. Sure enough, he’s pattering around the kitchen without shoes.
“There were twenty-four hours in a day when I was twenty,” Dad says. “And now that I’m ninety, there are still twenty-four hours in a day. Time hasn’t changed, Punkin’, we have. It only seems to be moving faster because we’re not paying attention to the ‘slow’ things anymore.”
***How right he was.
JJ: Do you think of yourself as a Southern writer, and what does that MEAN to you?
DL: Although I was born, raised, and still live in the South, I’m Cajun by heritage. Our culture is a bit different than most Southerners’. So are our traditions. I try to incorporate that uniqueness into my writing so the rest of the world will know what being a Cajun truly means. The largess of the people, their strength and determination to survive against all odds, their joie de vivre and belief in family—this and so much more is what gives me a heritage larger than life. To leave it out of my writing would be like clipping the wings off an eagle, then still expecting her to fly.
JJ: Tell us about your own experience with a haunted house and how that relates to your book.
DL: The story for AHD came to me while visiting with a friend who claimed to have lived in a haunted house, not too far from my own home, when he was a kid. Always fascinated with a good ghost story, I was even more thrilled knowing the house was nearby. He took me to see it, and while visiting the small, abandoned home, I found out the structure was only half of a larger home.
As the story goes, an oil company who purchased the property the home was originally built upon years ago gave a local contractor the home. The contractor, knowing he would not be able to get the rent he needed for such a large house, decided to cut the house in half, remodel the halves, then rent each structure separately. He accomplished his goal, for both halves were rented the moment the remodeling was complete. However, strange things began to happen to the families who moved into each structure. According to my friend, cabinet doors opened and closed on their own, utensil drawers flew open, lights in the kitchen turned on and off, the sound of children and a woman crying late at night. Chairs rocking on their own.
I didn't see or feel anything in the abandoned home of my friend and took his accountings of the paranormal events with a grain of salt. Still curious, however, I searched out the other half of the home, found it across town, and had the opportunity to speak to the single mother who lived there with her three children. When I told her why I was there, she actually seemed relieved and invited me inside. For over an hour, she recounted all the weird things that had been happening in the house since she'd moved in a year ago. Many of those events mirrored the ones my friend had told me about.
Although I didn't experience any phenomenon in either half of the house first hand, the stories generated enough fuel to set my imagination in motion, which eventually led to my latest novel.
Me: *gleeful and frenetic*I PINCH!
Him: *resigned and bored* I ... get pinched.
It is my new favorite conversation. I am not done having it.
BY THE WAY --- B4B CLOSES on Monday, so the time to enter is now. Or tomorrow. Or Monday. But I think now is better.
By the OTHER way, did you notice the Divine Miss Swendson has upped the anti? The winner will get not ONLY her latest book, but the first book in her now two book series, Enchanted, Inc.
Dude, it's a twofer.
I went to B and N but they had not put up the diplay with the gods in Alabama paperback in it yet. GAH! I hope when they do they leave it up the full two weeks from when they put it UP, not two weeks from the release date, because then I will have already MISSED over half the time at my Hometown B and N. It just went up YESTERDAY at the B and N by my mom. LOOK FOR IT AND TELL ME IF YOU SEE IT -- I SO want a picture of this thing!
The good news is, I met a VERY cool bookseller named Todd who was like, "Oh yeah, gods in Alabama....and your new book comes out in July -- looking forward to it." That warmed the cockles of my shrivelled heartlike raisiny chest object! The other good news is I got a Lite Caramel Frozen Frappacino Treat. Zen Yummmmm.
LAST! But NOT least! Sweden bought gods in Alabama when I wasn't looking, and WOW but I LOVE the cover -- what do you think of that Arlene? She seems to be saying "Beating in heads with a tequila bottle makes me feel all vulnerable and POUTY."
I apologize for the wild enthusiasm of this entire entry. Maybe it was the Frappucino, or perhaps there was a sale on exclamation points at Zappos.
Late last night, I was staring blankly at the television, just putting the old brain into a peaceful alpha wave state, Scott ALMOST asleep beside me, when a commercial I really like came on. There have been some commercials recently that seem better that the SHOWS I am watching----Mac and PC, I still have big love for Mac and PC, but my favorite commercial is the the one where the Honda Element meets the crab on the beach, and the crab tells the Element, "I pinch." Here is the long version.
Well what came on last night was an edited version, with no tongs, no backwards walking away. It's just the Element, telling the crab all the things he can do, how he takes the surfers around, and they change inside him, and he can carry their boards, and how whatever his kind of flooring is, you can get the sand out easily... No matter what he says, the crab says, "I pinch."
I don't want to say I had an epiphany. That may be overstating. Let's just say that I was Gobsmacked by Truthiness. I AM THAT CRAB! I AM THAT CRAB AND THAT CRAB IS ME! I PINCH!
Of course I had to wake Scott up immediately and tell him. He was less than pleased.
Me: I am the crab who pinches, that's me, that's me!
Him: *Mumbles* You are the crab who needs lithium.
Me: I PINCH! *pinching*
Him: AH! *wakes up* I WAS the crab who was sleeping.
Me: NO, YOU ARE THE HONDA ELEMENT!
Me: Because the Honda Element does all this STUFF, see, thing after thing after thing. The Honda Element can do ANYTHING.
Him: Well then. We should get a Honda Element.
Me: NO! THAT IS SO NOT THE POINT!
Him: I think HONDA would say that was the point.
Me: Well, then, I want an orange one. But SCOTT, the key thing here we are realizing together is that YOU ARE THE ELEMENT WHO DOES EVERYTHING AND I AM THE CRAB. I PINCH.
It is true! I AM the crab. I DO pinch. And that's ALL I do. I am a one thing person.
Scott can do ANYTHING. I don't just say this because I'm head over toes for the boy, I say it because HE CAN. He can learn how to do ANYTHING he sets his mind to, and learn to do it competently to boot. He's never going to go to the Olympics for any ONE thing, but he is Jack of any trade he chooses. Now me, I am basically incompetent at every area of life---I get so focused on the one thing I CAN do that whole MONTHS pass without me looking up, I am in constant danger of wandering into traffic, I trip over dust motes, I cannot find the vacuum or my own underpants and I have no sense of time or decorum, I live 90% of my life in my head, telling myself stories and trying hard to find the exact right words to tell them to other people...That's pretty much my day, and it is so like the day before it and the one after that I can't tell them apart.
I LOVE my days, don't get me wrong, life is sugar on my tongue most times, and I have seen people on TV who literally can't do ANYTHING, not ONE thing, so they have to go on Big Brother or The Bachelor instead of getting on Project Runway, or, you know, having a job. I should be GRATEFUL, both that I have this one thing I can do, and that I coincidentally I LOVE to do it.
But. Come the revolution, Scott is going to be a lot more useful to have around. Scott will have the electricity back up and running and will have organized a squad to check our stores of vital medicines and weaponry while I am still walking thoughtlessly around, banging into walls and wondering if any useful Scottlike person is going to get a printing press running any time soon, and that and eating up all the dark chocolate cherries will be my contribution right up until the time I go trit-trotting haplessly into a minefield and explode myself.
Me, I am not terribly useful.
SO. My new theory is...there are two kinds of people in this world, crabs and Elements. I'm a crab. Scott is an Element. I think Elements are better. I can't see a case for Crabs, although maybe that is just my natural and balancing self-loathing, which we all agree is a wonderful thing for me to have, lest I become thoroughly unendurable. Remember the sock puppet? Yeah. So.
Scott of course, defends me and my fellow crabs by extension anyway, and says that most crabs want to be Elements because they ARE crabs, like curly haired girls want straight hair, while straight haired girls get perms.
Today in comments I am taking a crab v/s Element poll.
Which are you?
If Crab, what is your skill? (Example: I pinch)
Which would you rather be?
I have one. (If you are asking, "One what?" then see above.) I HAVE one, and it is sneaking around, mythologically (and craftily) EATING my life and disjuncting my relationship to time. Not that time and I were ever, like, really, really, really tight. But still. I have a metaphorical monkey on my back, and I think he stole my watch.
In Lee Child's Reacher novels, the main character has this uncanny ability to set an inner clock, and his military training and internal clockiness allow him to doze for, say, an exact hour and then wake up just in time to slaughter bad guys and make fierce rompy, dog-man love with one of Child's signature competant female characters who has already rescued herself, thanks, but now needs help to go back in and eviscerate evil. (I like those books a LOT, can you tell?) But I myself am the anti-Reacher. I have the uncanny ability to not realize it is March for WEEKS. Some years I don't realize it is Monday until long after a completely different Monday than the one I think it should be has rolled around, and I am now smack in the middle of the following Wednesday. (I'm also not like Reacher in that I don't know 56 ways to kill a man with my bare hands. I only know 9.)
I say all this to try to explain this freaky thing that's happening: I'm losing time.
Let me rephrase. I'm losing much more time than is normal for me. I VERY OFTEN lose a minuet to blank staring, or misplace an hour or two, forget a day maybe here or there, every now and I again I space out and drop a week. Now I am losing whole MONTHS. Seriously. Did you know it's June? Well, you are one up on me, buddy.
If you watch too many Law and Order reruns on USA and BRAVO (and I do, Lord KNOWS I do), you might begin to believe that the ONLY logical explanation is that I have Multiple Personality Disorder. I woke up feeling full this morning, which either means I ate too many baked Cheetos while watching the UNSTOPPABLE GRINDING DEATH METAL TRAIN WRECK that is the Janice Dickerson Modeling Agency Show on Lifetime or Oh! or some channel that REALLY ought to know better, OR, and this seems far more likely, the spooky serial killer personailty I keep stored in my occipital lobe (along with the frigid librarian and the innocent child and the promiscuous snakey man-ho) manifested at five am, and I spent a coupla hours next door, paddling about in a kiddy pool filled with blood and grilling myself of tasty steak-of-neighbor with family dog sauce.
When they come to arrest me, I hope they send Vincent Donofrio. Because, Yum.
ANYWAY, for those of you who are equally afflicted by Space-Time-Contumium-Disaffected-Disorder, I have a Newsflash: It's JUNE.
On the THIRD of the month that it now is, gods in Alabama came out in paperback. And I MISSED it. I did not go to my local bookstore to look at it. I did not even KNOW. I am still back in MAY, hoping it will do well when it comes out, hoping my launch into the word of having a paperback goes well. Yeah, well, already happened. I was in some sort of cosmic bathroom, powdering my nose for daysanddaysanddays. I missed the thrill of seeing the display on the first fresh day, but on the bright side, I also missed FOUR days of frantically pacing around, hoping my baby is faring well and, if not flying off the shelves, at the very least leaving them at a brisk trot.
PAPERBACK! OUT! NOW! GAHHHHHHHHHH! I'm going to go look this afternoon and buy a celebration Iced Caramel Coffee Drink. As for you, this would be a good time to go buy one for everyone you ever met.
BLOGGING FOR BOOKS may not know what color its eyes are, but its hair is long and brown, and it is late to the dance this Monday. You see it posting in now, wearing its older sister's prom dress, but it doesn't QUITE have its sister's mighty rack to hold the bodice up. We need to stuff its Maidenform and lend it some red lipstick, because we want B4B to be as popular as a prom queen. OH YES WE DO.
Otherwise, I'll execute the trollop.
If you blog, I BEG you to remind your reading/blogging audience that it is B4B time, and ask other bloggers who read your blog to blog it, and then you can be a part of the campaign that will win B4B that tinsel coated crown. And the campaign isn't just for bloggers anymore. If you list serve, or if you belong to a writers group on yahoo or google or whatEVAH, PLEASE help get the word out.
I've committed to two more months of B4B, lined up guest authors and such, so let's make it hard on them by giving them a slew of hella superlative entries.
BY THE WAY, if your wondering why the traditonal B4B HYPER-EXTENDO METAPHOR is about PROM, I'm clearly obsessing about my 20'th reunion coming up...
And as always, we lift a glass in honor of the Zero Boss, because he made it up.
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 next Monday when the comments close on this entry, EXACTLY seven days from the very second this posted. <----note the slight rule change.``````````
Your special guest blogger this month is Angel of Give Me Something to Sing About She won last month and so, alas, she can never enter again, but she is eligible to judge. AND JUDGE SHE WILL. We know she is cool, because her blog title references a song by Joss Whedon. She will narrow the entries down to seven.
If you are one of the seven finalists, your entry will be read by author Shanna Swendson, author of Enchanted, Inc. and its sequel Once Upon Stilettos. Booklist says this "smart, snappy novel will delight fans that loved the first installment, and win over new readers, too."
Shanna was ALSO class of 1986. She dropped by and said in Comments, "It's my 20th reunion year, too (gee, class of 86 must have been truly brilliant). Fortunately, our reunion isn't until the fall. I cheated a bit and sent my professionally retouched author photo to the reunion web site as my "now" photo, and as a result, I'm the only person in the class who actually looks younger now than in the senior portrait posted alongside it. I was very old for my age as a teen, but I guess I've got a few months now to look into dermabrasion and maybe Botox before the reunion so I can be recognized from my "now" photo. Or else I'll have to invent a book tour that will keep me away from the reuinion."
HA! My book tour is sending me TO my reunion -- want to go in halfsies on the Botox?
Shanna will choose first, second and third place, and she shall send the winner a copy of her new book, signed of course. The winner will ALSO go up on the new B4B links section and will become eligible to be a special guest blogger and choose finalists.
And now, THE TOPIC! As usual your topic relates to the book...
Once Upon Stilettos tells the story of Katie Chandler, an executive assistant at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc. A mere Manhattan mortal, Katie is no wizard, but she’s a wiz at exposing “hokum” pocus, cloaked lies, and deceptive enchantments. And she’s fallen under the all-too-human spell of attraction to Owen, a hunky wizard and coworker. Owen, however, is preoccupied. Someone has broken into his office and disrupted top-secret files, and it reeks of an inside job. CEO Merlin (yes, the Merlin) and taps Katie and her special ability to uncover the magical mole.
Keeping her feelings in check while sleuthing alongside Owen, Katie is shocked to discover that her immunity to magic is waning, putting her in grave danger. Soon she’s surrendering to the charms and enchantments of everyone and everything around her, including a killer pair of red stilettos. Katie must now conjure up her natural instincts to get to the bottom of the break-in, regain her power, and win the wizard of her dreams.
So this time, write about MAGIC. In any context. There are so many ways to approach this one that I am all atwitter to see what rabbitses will come bouncing from your hatses, oh my preshus....
Day 17 of Gerbil life is GET EYES day, and all 8 of our inbred little products of brotherly love have now opened peepers. In celebration, here are some pictures of things that our formerly eyeless gerbils could not see, starting with each other:
The two whie ones were the last to open their eyes. This is the BOY white one, and behind him is our only gray, a little girl that Maisy named Cosy Mole Mouse. We are KEEPING Cosy Mole Mouse, who runs up my wrist, wanting to come play whenever I put my hand in the cage. Cosy, an eyeball prodigy, was the first to open one eye, doing so a full day early. Then all five black ones opened their eyes.
BY THE WAY, Baby gerbils nursing sound like faint birds. Far away birds. Birds in France. We are ten days from weaning, which means ten days from the great baby gerbil give away festival. Everyone who is friends with me is trying to plan a vacation so as not to be in town when I come around like the Stork-god of rodent-kind, delivering shoeboxes full of baby gerbils to good and loving homes...
ALAS, The very next day, baby gerbils were sadly blinded by my favorite shoes. I love these shoes. Woe betide me on the day the wedge heeled sandal goes back OUT:
AND LASTLY, in the MIDDLE of my tour for Between, my 20th high school reunion happens. LORDY! I REALLY wanted to go, so my publicist scheduled my Pensacola stop for the day after. An old friend, Jennifer, sent me this picture which she found and scanned in:
Jennifer and I are all in white for graduation day. I am the one on the right who is trying desperately to make a sex-pot face with no good concept of what a sex-pot face IS. AH the dovelike innocence and whimsy of 1986, when we thought the mullet was a good haircut. We were ripe and ready to accept Parachute Pants as delightful statements of fashion-savvy. And I got a piece of paper, and was released into the wilds of college. Good times. Bad hair, but good times....
I have a thing I have been DYING TO TELL you, and I haven't said, "I have a thing that I have been dying to tell you, but I can't tell you yet" because posts like that always prompt irate phone calls from Amy-Go, who is a redhead, and who YELLS things at me. Things like, YOU CANNOT SAY YOU HAVE SOMETHING EXCITING TO TELL AND THEN SAY THAT YOU AREN'T ALLOWED TO TELL YET AND THEN NOT TELL. YOU BIG BUTTHEAD.
But I do have/have had something exciting to tell, and alert COMMENT readers are one up and already know because Tammy came over from Seattle Mystery Bookshop and told, and that's how I knew it was NOW OKAY to tell.
GUESS what the NUMBER ONE BOOKSENSE PICK FOR JULY IS.
Go on, guess.
I have to say, when I heard, I burst into tears. I am SUCH a goober. Now I have to put on shoes and hitchhike to every store that had a bookseller who picked my galleys up out of the HEAPS and MOUNTAINS of good galleys they get every month and took the time to read it and then liked it enough to send a review of it to BookSense. I must leap into their stores flinging rose petals, seeking out the one who wrote the review, dragging them out from under the counter by their feet if need be, prying the phones from their 911 dialing fingers, and kiss them on the mouth. OH BOOKSELLERS! Hide now, because I am COMING, and when I get there, YOU ARE GETTING KISSED.
I will suck an altoid first, so as not to have hellacious coffee breath.
Kevin Guilfoile: I had a roommate in college named Fetus. He was called that because on the first night of our freshman year he said to us, "My friends in high school used to call me Fetus, but don't you guys call me that."
Me: HAHAHAHAHHAHA. Please excuse me. I cannot continue this conversation because I have to go call everyone I ever met and tell them that line about Fetus.
Kvin Guilfoile: By sophomore year even his girlfriend and his mother called him Fetus. To add a little class he started spelling it FOETUS.
Me: HEY!! CAN I BLOG FETUS????
Kevin Guilfoile: Sure. The Fetus would love that. And you might get mail from Notre Dame grads going, "I knew that guy!" Fete (as his close friends called him) had many misadventures. After school he became a Navy SEAL. Then after the Navy he became a fireman in Honolulu. He was like an Aaron Spelling show waiting to happen. He's also a crazy triathlete. He runs Ultramans, which are basically two ironman triathlons back to back. So day one is a 52 mile run. Day two is like a 250 mile bike, and day three is a six mile swim in the ocean. Fetus is awesome.
Me: *scribbles notes*
Kevin Guilfoile: Also, re: those Apple spots. (He is referring to the "I'm a MAC, I'm a PC" commercials that I FREAKIN' LOVE) The guy who plays the PC, which is to say the guy who is not Warren Cheswick, is also a friend (and to make things booklike, a former literary agent). He's now an occasional contributor to the Daily Show and the author of this extremely funny but basically indescribable book.
Me: That book does look CHARMING, but I think people should also go buy YOUR book now. Because it is great. And you are great. And it is SPOOKY, OH my LORD, and SMART, and has such obvious buckets of Panache that EVEN Michiko Kakutani said so in the FREAKIN' NEW YORK TIMES. And now is a good time, because it is now out fresh and hot in SUPAH BARGAIN DELICIOUS PAPERBACK, and you are fantastical and you let me blog Fetus.
Kevin Guilfoile: Yes. I am truly fantastical. I am practically a UNICORN. Hey! WAIT! Did you just quit reporting our actual conversation and begin using me as a sort of egomaniacal puppet to tell people how great I am and to go buy my book?
Kevin: Quit it.
Me: But you did say all the stuff about Fetus.
Kevin Guilfoile: Yes. I did. But I never said I was a Unicorn, and I am not saying this.
Me: You deny that you deny you are a unicorn?
Kevin Guilfoile: In real life, I am too smart to be confused by your obfuscatious faux-conversational machinations.
I belong to a Yahoo! group of mostly women, mostly mother writers --- I have been on this list for YEARS, actually. I love to hear the BING of an e-mail arrive when I am drafting because I can STOP for a moment go read it, so I belong to quite a few lists. (You can find the ones I think are good on my links ---not blinks, links---page.)
Anyway, this ONE I am on has AWARDS every year in various catagories, and everyone votes secretly and you can campaign for yourself and/or others and it's a huge HUGE list, bobbing up and down between one and two thousand members. We finished up the voting at the end of this month, and I was surprised to find I had won a couple. I took home “Most Likely to Become Famous” (and stop speaking to the rest of the list) Award and also "Most Outrageous" which is a sort of medicated second cousin to "The Funniest." I think it means "Funny, but Probably Mentally Ill." Thank you. I accept.
I was very very surprised to see that I had been nominated, much less won. WELL, that's not ENTIRELY true. I KNEW I would be nommed because I SHAMELESSLY nominated MY OWN SELF for Early Bird since I get up at 5 to write. Some chick that gets up at 4 beat me out. (Gratz Teena) But it was surprising that nominations not made BY ME FOR ME showed up --- I've been so quiet on that list lately. I was sure they had forgotten I exist. Lord knows I practically have forgotten. My slavering deadline, fanged and wearing tight pants, is stalking me. I am struggling to carve out enough writing time to get the book that is SO PERFECT here in my head out onto paper still recognizable as the lovely creature I IMAGINE it being. Story, moving from the head to the page, is the longest trip I know.
When they post the winners, they ALSO post ALL the nominees, which was cool because several of the people I nommed did not win, and yet they still got listed and recognized as cool, so. BUT! Perusing the nominations, I made the sad discovery that someone on that list SMOKES CRACK, positive BOATLOADS of crack, because I saw one person (and I can only assume it was ONE person) nommed me for "Most organized" After I stop laughing, I am going to have to schedule an intervention for that special lady. And here I pause to turn full face to the camera and say, "Whoever you are, if you are reading this blog entry, please step forward and let us help you. Crack kills, baby."
I am, in fact SO disorganized that I MISSED the annual CHAT where they announce the awards and stuff. I missed it because I forgot what day it was. I do not mean I forgot what day the CHAT was SCHEDULED --- I have been on that list for years, it's the same date every year. I mean, I forgot what the actual date was. I couldn't have told you if yesterday was Tuesday or Thursday (sources close to me have now informed me it was actually NEITHER), and I didn't realize we were even CLOSE to May's death and June's ascension.
I am SO disorganized that the SIGNED FIRST EDITION of Warren St. John's RAMMER JAMMER YELLOW HAMMER that I got for my dad for his upcoming birthday has been sitting in the middle of my office floor SINCE I got it at a lit conference that took place in the VERY beginning of May. It was sitting on the floor with about 15 other books in a veritable SNOWDRIFT of literature, and so for weeks now I have looked at that book on top of the snowdrift and thought, "If I don't get that thing off the floor, one day I will forget to put an appeasing sprinkle of food in the dieting-and-bitter-about-it cat's dish the minute I come down the stairs, and instead I will pour coffee and go to my office, and the cat will come roaring in after me, displeased, and ANNOUNCE I forgot the morning's kibble sprinkle in his usual manner, which is to say, he will take his mighty hooked claws and rend something on my office floor in twain, and since I don't have my favorite bone colored high heeled suede wedgie ankle strap sandals down here just now, he will choose a book, and even though there are at LEAST fifteen books there on the floor, only one of them is a signed first edition for my dad, and THAT will be the one. And then what will I do for my dad's birthday???"
I think I have had this chain of thought a solid TEN times over the last month...AND YET! I kept getting distracted by something SHINY in mid-bend-to-pick-up, and sure enough, this morning, I charged down the stairs with an epiphany I had just had about how to open Chapter 18, and I went directly to my office without passing Bowl or sprinkling 200 Kibbles, and as I was drafting, the cat came through like the wrath of the starving and long abandoned Aztec gods and SHREDDED the front cover of the one book in that book pile I REALLY wanted to preserve. GAHHHHHHHHHH!
AND MAY I SAY, Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer was sitting RIGHT BY the copy of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life I had ordered (USED) from Powell's on the same day I ordered Sloppy Firsts. (New copy, natch) Yeah, I wanted to read them side by side. PS Sloppy Firsts is a VERY sharp, smart, book--- strong voice and layered characters. Nails adolescence. Sticks the landing. ANYWAY, why couldn't the cat destroy the Opal Mehta book which was bought used and which, quite frankly, I am not ever going to give as a present?
Other things on the TOP of that 15 book drift in the middle of my office that went COMPLETELY unmolested:
Some falling apart galleys in bound MS page form
A National Geographic that Scott already devoured
A copy of gods in Alabama, which, as you can imagine, is not my ONLY copy of that particular work....
But no. Had to be the Rammer Jammer, did it?
Cat: *smug voice* Yes.
I HOPE I am organized enough to remember to go RESHOP for my dad before his birthday. Which is IFFY. Because last year, his birthday was in August, and that means it will probably be in August again THIS year, and what are the chances I can get organized enough to go shop and find and wrap before THAT deadline? Because I think it may be June today.
GAH I have now spent the tiny slice of life I had carved out to BLOG this morning babbling ON AND ON AND ON....GAH, I need to go jump back on Chapter 18, jump on it hard, jump RIGHT on it as if it were Johnny Depp in Full. Pirate. Regalia. ... Wait, what was I talkign about?
The Outrageous and soon to be Famous Ms Joshilyn "Oh no, now she got the Big Head" Jackson