January 31, 2008

Things I Have Seen with My Eyes

I AM STILL DEAD OF FLU. I am apparently never going to be well again and will soon resort to wearing enormous feathered hats and setting my mouth in grim lines while being wheeled about in a bath chair.

I did not think of the bath chair myself. Yesterday a friend sent me the picture below and said, I THINK THIS IS YOU NOW, YOU BIG INVALID.

invalidjoss.jpg

This is what you get in lieu of get well cards when you hang out with novelists. I should hang out with SCIENTISTS. I hear THEY send Harry and David Pear Baskets. I get pictures of angry, sick old women. But I am certain that I feel worse than that lady feels. Perhaps my friend meant she thinks I am the sour looking dog. That dog looks like it wants to use its laser eyeballs to flame-destroy the ENTIRE earth because only then it might be rid of the headache that has plagued it for nine years.

I think I am neither the lady or the dog. I have transcended them both and have become an entire cottage industry. I produce hives and mucus.

I HAVE tried to go to the doctor. I had a 10:30 appointment. I went out to my van at a few minutes before ten am, and turned the key and ABSOLUTELY nothing happened. The van was as dead as I feel. Scott was not home and could not get home in time to get me there. SO! I have a new appointment for Friday. I will try to hang on til then…she said in a faint and pitiful voice, pressing a moistened lace hanky to her fevered eyes. (I chose lace so I can still see things with my eyes by peeking through it.)

Because I have been so unable to get well, I have seen a lot of things with my eyes. I see them mostly on a screen, from a bed or sofa. It is not a very productive life, I must tell you. I am certainly, for example, not writing any books. And yes, Virginia, I need a good ‘nother 20K words done on this book before I leave on tour, and YES, VIRGINIA, I leave on tour in about a month, and YES, VIRGINIA YOU OVER-INQUISITIVE PRAT, I WOULD be totally freaking out and panicking if ONLY I could get up from the sofa and leap about. PS THERE IS NO SANTA. But it is hard to have a truly good panic attack from a supine position. Also, I suspect I will perish before I miss my deadline, and last I checked, perishment is a valid excuse for not finishing your WIP.

One thing I saw with my eyes was MICHAEL CLAYTON. You should see it with YOUR eyes, too. It is a THRILLER..I know because they say so right on the official website, and many reviewers have also said so, but it is a STRANGE thriller. There are no guns. There are no car chases. No one is naked. The violence in it is efficient and understated. In fact, almost no one YELLS in it. Everyone talks quietly and calmly and moves about deliberately in lovely suits. And yet I think my heart slammed along at 150 beats a minute through most of the movie. I was, quite franky, thrilled out of my GOURD. It is more than thrilling---It was RIVETING. They should call it A RIVETER. I could not look AWAY with my eyes, not for even a moment.

Also, speaking of eyes, George Clooney is very EASY on them. Just sayin’.

Another thing I saw with my eyes was TERMINATOR, The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I REALLY wanted to like it. First of all, it has SUMMER GLAU in it. Summer Glau played River Tam in FIRELY and SERENITY, and we heart us some Summer Glau around here. And I loved the Terminator movies and the boy playing John Conner is good and they have RICHARD T JONES who ROCKS OUT playing an FBI agent and the premise is good and whatnot.

The thing is Linda Hamilton is …not there. DO you REMEMBER Terminator 2? DO YOU REMEMBER THE PULLUPS? The BANGS? The TOTAL CRAZY EYEBALL? I looked at her crazy eyeball and absolutely believed that this woman was capable of ANYTHING at any second. She was fervent! FERVENT! And dedicated and alert and crazycrazycrazy. She was the mother-bear-from-hell, every second, and if you LOOKED at her kid in a way that made her think you MIGHT be a robot, she would put a pen through your eye into your brain and scribble OH NO I DO NOT THINK SO on your cerebral cortex. I would have liked that movie no matter what because, well, I like robots, and I like for things to blow up, but I LOVED it because of Linda Hamilton.

The TV Sarah Connor seems…nice. She makes worried eyebrows that let me know she is faintly concerned that robots might kill her son. She is very rational about it. Perhaps she has been gently moistened by a faint mist of crazy-protective, but she toweled it away and made it to the PTA meeting. And maybe it is a deliberate choice because WHO can SUSTAIN Linda Hamilton level FERVOR for a series, and they have to go live in a suburb and have episodes all the time but…welllllll. I wish they would TRY. I do not think they are even ASKING her for crazy. I need to see crazy peeking out a little, you know? Maybe not OVERT EYEBALL BANGS crazy, but the possibility of her going TOTAL BATCRAP should BE there, all the time.

When she says, “It’s gonna be one helluva dogfight” I kinda think she intends to serve COOKIES at it. I want more amped up crazy. This is LENA HEADLEY for the love of Pete. She was GORGO in 300 and she was awesome. She is very talented and capable…I want her to BRING it, and I want the scripts and the director to LET her bring it. She has it to bring, but she feels so LEASHED in this.

AH well, I am going to watch more of it with my eyeballs because I am going to be LYING DOWN in my bath chair producing hives and mucus for the foreseeable future. So. We’ll see. There is not much else ON because of the strike and Richard T. Jones is full of win and I HEART Summer Glau and I think on the whole I give the show an up-thumb.

But I want more crazy.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:09 AM | Comments (23)

January 29, 2008

All the Many Ways in Which I Suffer

I am STILL. FREAKING. SICK. I was SO sick for so long that I actually BROKE down and went to the doctor to get an anti-viral, and then I had a huge allergic reaction to it and broke out in HIVES. Where are the hives, you ask? OH. JUST MY FACE.

Why couldn’t I have SHOULDER hives, I ask you? Or FOOT hives? I look like Maisy was right, like I am actually suffering from leprosy. I also still have a snot filled nose, droopy-weep eyes, malaise, vague joint pain, and a sour attitude. I have washed my hands so much in an attempt to NOT give this horror-flu to my children that under my wedding/engagement rings, my finger has swollen and cracked with dryness. So now I can’t wear my rings.

I am going back to the doctor today, because GOOD LORD I am falling apart…BUT! AFTER! As soon as ever I get home, I am throwing myself an ENORMOUS pity-party. You are invited. It is fancy dress, though I myself will be wearing a haz-mat suit to avoid infecting you all. Perhaps we can take a BEDAZZLER to the suit to fancy it up.

At my pity party, I will have a champagne fountain and celebrity guests who will wave at me from across the room because if *I* was a celebrity guest, I wouldn’t hug my leprous, hive-coated host with the scabby finger and the tissue stuffed chronically up one nostril, even if she WAS in a haz-mat suit. Fame has its privileges, and since I am one hump and a bulgy eye away from being Disney's version of Quasimodo, if I TRULY want the celebrity guests to come, maybe I should host my party from inside a BUBBLE. OH! I also want an ice swan. After the party I can whack its head off with an axe and then wrap the head in a towel and hold its soothing coolness to my swollen face.

I have no appetite, but when I do eat, I am STILL eating Ham. We froze several HUGE portions of ham but there is still more ham. It is like a magic interdimensional Ham-copia. No matter how much ham you eat, there is more ham under that, and then MORE ham under that. Last night, I made a HAM PIE from an intriguing recipe sent in by Best Beloved Elizabeth.

She said in the cover letter that it would be an insult to call this Ham Pie a “quiche” and she is right. It deserves the title of Ham Pie---maybe even SIR Ham Pie of Awesomeville. I served it with fruit salad and broccoli because it was very rich and needed light sides, and everyone at the whole table ate it, even though we are all violently tired of ham. Everyone includes MAISY, who gobbled down 75% of her portion in spite of the fact that it had “creepy FWAPS” in it. Creepy fwaps, for the uninitiated, are bits of onion.

Here is the recipe if you want to try it – we substituted REAL grits for quick cook ones because quick cook grits are a tool of the devil and I don’t keep them in the house:

1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 cup chopped ham (I use Smithfield)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 9-inch deep dish pie shell, unbaked
1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup hot cooked quick grits
1 tbls chopped parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard

Preheat over to 375
Sprinkle cheese, ham, onion in bottom of pie shell
Beat remaining ingredients together and pour into shell
Bake 45-50 minutes (or until your center is set)

Elizabeth said she could even eat it when she had MORNING SICKNESS. Perhaps we should call it LORD Ham Pie of Awesomeville.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:42 AM | Comments (11)

January 25, 2008

*Snorfle*

I am still not 100% well. Still shaky and snotty and yicketty. FLU! FLU! How it lingers. No fever anymore, but I m still sluggish and poo-headed. My mom and I have a girl-getaway this weekend, and I am GOING because I have been looking forward to it for SO long, but I SHOULD go to bed. My doc says I am not contagious, so. I AM GOING.

Just a couple of vaguely amusing things to tell you before I go back to LANGUISHING and packing.

We had our parent-teacher conferences yesterday at the small Christian school my kids attend. I did not go as OF COURSE the ONLY time my doctor could fit me in was the exact time of the conferences. And I have been sick long enough for even ME to give in and go get some help-slash-drugs, plus I wanted to make sure I was not infectious.

Scott apologized for my absence and explained I was ill and at the doctor’s office. Maisy’s teacher said, “Yes. I knew Joshilyn must be under the weather. All week long, during morning prayer, Maisy has asked God to heal her mother of leprosy.”

There was a brief pause and Scott said, “My wife tends to speak in hyperbole. It is actually FLU.”

And Maisy’s teacher said, “We figured.”

If I HAD actual leprosy, I bet they would have made me a card. They are nice like that.

Last Sunday, we were SUPPOSED to have our Sunday School’s Christmas party. We always do it in January so everyone can come. It’s covered dish and we play a VICIOUS and CUT THROAT game of White Elephant, and I LOVE that party. We also all put in for a HONEYBAKED HAM. This year, one swchool had a fundraiser involving Honeybaked Coupons, and I ended up with about 35 bucks worth of free ham. SO! I said, “No need to take up a collection, we will DONATE the ham.”

Lats Saturday, we went and bought the biggest ham they had, like 70 bucks worth, and then, not TWO hours later we get a note from church saying services and ALL activities are cancelled because this is Atlanta and four drops of snow touched the earth.

Since Saturday, we have eaten ham sandwiches, Ham omelets, ham and biscuits, ham crepes, ham with corn muffins, ham and cabbage, ham ham ham ham and ham with ham sauce, hammitty hamroll, ham casserole, ham with ham, cereal and ham, ham snacks, ham and crackers, and chicken cordon bleu (you know, that chicken you make by wrapping thin boneless breast around around cheese and … HAM?)

INSULT TO INJURY: We went to a dinner on Wednesday, and GUESS WHAT THEY SERVED? Did you guess HAM? Because it was HAM.

INSULT TO INJURY 2: We got an e-mail saying the party was rescheduled for THIS Sunday, and assuring everyone that yes, HAM will be provided. Which means Scott gets to go get ANOTHER HAM, this time with no coupons. Heh.

AND INSULT TO INJURY 3: I will be out of town and MISS the party which is SUPER FUN EVERY YEAR. Oh well. I comfort myself with the thought that the dinner this weekend cannot POSSIBLY be Ham. Can it?

Posted by joshilyn at 12:07 PM | Comments (16)

January 22, 2008

THE VIRTUAL SIGNING

You BB’s who have been here since the beginning know that every time a book releases, I hope I’ll get to meet some of you. The tour schedule is here, and I hope to see you at an event.AND as always, if you can’t make it, I have a long term relationship with an independent bookstore called THE ALABAMA BOOKSMITH ---one of my favorites, in fact---and they throw those of us who met here a virtual signing.

We are absolutely doing that again for THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING.

It’s easy to participate… You use the order page HERE which sends email directly to THEM or you call in your order to THE ALABAMA BOOKSMITH at (205) 870-4242. On MARCH 7, I sign the book at the physical event, and the Gang at Booksmith sends it right out to you.

Now, here’s where it get cool. You know my Fic-Facts?

If yes, you know that for THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING I had a Canadian Folk Artist whose work I have LONG admired make the actual Bride Quilt that my fictional quilter, Laurel, constructs over the course of the book. You can see the bride quilt here. You can also see more of Pamela Allen’s award winning work on her web page.

The Bride is going on tour with me, but I also wanted to do something special for ya’ll here at FTK. You guys have pressed my books into the hands of your parents, your best friends, your siblings, and your spouses and said, “You have to read this.” You have ninja’d around in bookstores to turn my books face out. You’ve come to my readings and signings to support me, and when I stupidly never came to a town near you, you participated in the Virtual Signings. You have given me salty margarita cookies and pink purses and kind words. You’ve written e mails and physical letters in actual pen and commented, and linked to me from your blogs, and formed a community, and you are awesome. You are in the acknowledgements for TGWSS because you are my Best Beloveds, and I wish I could get each one of YOU a quilt, too. But I can’t.

I could only get you guys a couple.

These are postcard quilts by the same artist who created the Bride Quilt. This one is called LAUREL WARRIOR SEAMSTRESS. (Like Xena Warrior Princess, only with SPOOLS.)

laurelwarriorseamstress.jpeg


This one is called BET IN EDEN.

betineden.jpeg

I think of both as companion pieces to the book. The book’s title is hidden in each and once you have read the book, I think you will see other ways in which they relate.

Anyway, on March seventh, at the ALABAMA BOOKSMITH we’ll get a hat and the orders and draw two names, and the winners each get one of these.

Never fear. If you have ALREADY pre-ordered the book elsewhere, or if I AM coming to a town near you and you plan to attend an actual event (bless your heart! You are my FAVORITE!) then you can still enter for the drawing.

Send a postcard with your name and address on it to

Joshilyn Jackson/Postcard Quilts
3705 New Macland Road, Suite 200-111
Powder Springs, GA 30127

You can order THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING ANY TIME up until the actual event, but you need to mail postcards by February 15th to make sure I get ‘em before I leave on tour.
And yes, I know some of you have already ordered from the BOOKSMITH. You are pretty. And yes, it counts.

Posted by joshilyn at 6:33 AM | Comments (25)

January 20, 2008

Urg

SO Sick.

I was going to tell you about the furniture saving products, but instead I got ‘flu, REAL alive actual ‘flu, with a fever that topped 103 on the worst day. I am still trembly and weak and spooning up little tastes of soup and sipping feebly at juice-water. You do not have to feel sorry for me, though. I feel PLENTY sorry enough for myself.

ANYWAY, The way Sara has four cats and INTACT chairs is, she uses Soft Paws (Also called Soft Claws)

I got the soft claws in a dramatic shade of black which I thought might look PUNKED OUT and groovy and SPIKE-FROM-BUFFY-ish, plus it would be easy to see when one came off as Schubert has on white ankle socks and Yellow is yellow all over. I put them on the little yellow kitten, and he keeps picking them off, and I keep putting them back on, and we shall go on like that INDEFINITELY because he is an amiable little booger and his will bends to mine like a reed in a strong breeze. And then…there is Schubert.

We do not call Schubert The Pirate because he has one eye. We do not call him The Pirate because he says “ARGH, me hearties.” He is, in fact, a cat and as such he is limited to saying things like “meow” and “hiss” and “purr.” Or so I thought. Until I tried to put the soft paws on him. THEN I discovered he could say WARRRRR WARRR WARRRR WARRRR WARRRROOOOOOOOOOOO, and he says this WAR cry from the bowels of himself, and he MEANS it, and I tell you truly, the reason I am alive to tell this tale is that I took my little tube of glue and my latex nail caps and I Backed. Slowly. Away.

At the vet it says BAC on the corner of his chart. I've written about him before, and one of the Best Beloveds told me to look for it, and sure enough, last time he needed shots, I peeked at his folder, and there it was. It stands for “Bad Ass Cat.” And oh. But he IS. He IS! And that’s why we call him the pirate---because he has a black and cankerous inside filled with meaty violence.

When he got some mats in his long fur and I went to have them cut out, they had to put him under GENERAL ANESTHESIA to cut his fur. Because he absolutely would have killed them all and then set off to destroy their families down unto the seventh generation if they had not. So, he has decided that he should be allowed to shred things with impunity. I STILL do not want him to shred things, but I ALSO want to keep my skin intact.

Come Tuesday, I am going to call the vet and see if they can give me some sort of feline VALIUM or better yet A MELLOW MUSHROOMY POPPYSEED COVERED RIDE THE DRAGON KITTY STYLE OPIATE, something that will make him lie back and fix his one-eyed blank and baleful stare on his friend Lucy as she cavorts across the sky with a bunch of diamonds, and I can slip on the soft claws without him noticing that he even HAS feet. And without me losing a limb.

Come Tuesday, I shall ALSO have the JPGS ready, and I will post about the VIRTUAL BOOKSIGNING and the PRIZES. YAY! But for today, I am going to go lie down and suffer and watch with my fever-glazed eyes as Schubert rips the new chair into bite-size chunks.

Posted by joshilyn at 1:30 PM | Comments (17)

January 17, 2008

Near Misses

I am back from Florida --- a minor insomnia-induced tragedy occurred. On the way in, Karen and I saw billboards advertising THE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT MUSEUM , and we SWORE we would GO on the way home. I LOVE out of the way museums of narrow focus, and I wanted to have my picture taken in OLD SPARKY. Karen wanted to see their chain gang memorabilia and antique PHOTO collection---she writes narrative non-fiction and that stuff always calls her.

While in Florida, I went to bed after midnight both nights and woke up at 4 am, relentlessly chipper. SO on the way home, I FELL ASLEEP and drooled gently away in the passenger seat. (Karen says she has never seen such a ladylike drooler. Um. Thanks.) Karen did not realize I had not set the GPS for the museum, but was just planning to watch manually for the exit.

When I woke up, we already 30 miles past it, in the little Georgia town that has the giant peach that does NOT look like a butt stuck up on a pole overlooking the highway. This is not to be confused with the small Georgia town that has the giant peach that DOES look like a butt stuck up on a pole and mooning the highway. Which is not to be confused with the simply enormous South Carolina water tower peach that also looks exactly like a butt, but is not in Georgia.

I love the South.

I also love Sara Gruen, but she has some sort of weird power over animals that cannot be understood by mortal man. If you do not believe me, allow me to now present mathematical proof.

Number of dogs she owns: 2
Number of cats she owns: 4
Number of shredded/eaten/disemboweled chairs she owns: 0

At 2 cats and 1 dog, I have exactly HALF her feline/canine population. And still, I have MULTIPLE chairs that look like they have been attacked by Huns.

Well recently we bordello’d up the bedroom, and we went to IKEA to get for CHEAPS some furniture to fill the hole the pets ATE in my living room. Here is the new corner of the den now with IKEA recliner, 10 buck IKEA throw, and particle board cheapy bookshelf board certified to be 100% dog-edible. Sorry the pic stinks, it was taken via crapulent cell-phone camera 13 seconds ago.

chair.jpeg

OH CRUD – Have to run the kids to school. IT SNOWED here last night you know. YES! Actual SNOW! It touched the EARTH and STUCK here in Georgia within the last 24 hours. School should RIGHTFULLY be closed, and indeed, most schools are, even though the snow is already gone. That’s how we roll, here, except OUR school did nto get the memo. Philistines! I must DASH! DASH! I will tell you about the League of Mighty Chair Protection Products I am assembling tomorrow.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:25 AM | Comments (14)

January 14, 2008

Three Things

1) I have to leap in the car and go to Florida with KAREN! ABBOTT! YAY! Who is briefly back from New York--- frostbitten and remorseful for having abandoned me, one assumes --- and we are road tripping to Tallahassee, Florida. For some reason, possibly my sieve-like brain, this never made it onto the TOUR PAGE, but Karen and I ARE delighted to be SEASON 4’s INAGURAL YAPPERS at an FSU English Departments sponsored reading series.

It will be up as a podcast LATER so I will link to it for those of you who live in Not-Tallahassee. If you DO live Tallahassee, however, you might as well not wait for the podcast. We are going to have a good time!

Join us at 8 PM on the 15th

We will be at a speakeasy/pool hall/arts haven called
THE WAREHOUSE
706 W. Gaines
Tallahasee, FLorida


2) The new FIC-FACTS section of the website is up. Go to the website (as opposed to the blog, which has no MENU other than the sidebar.) The links in the sidebar will take you to a page with the full drop down menu. In the main site’s menu, in the pull down under EXTRAS, you will find a new CATEGORY called FIC-FACTS.

WHEW. I feel like the above instructions will require a trail of breadcrumbs and the eventual deployment of rescue dogs. NEVER MIND. Let’s do it EZ mode.

Make Clicky Here.

PLEASE go browse through because I am DYING to hear what you think of Pamela Allen’s AMAZING WORK on the Fic-Fact for THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. Also it is related to the fact that…

As multiple Clever Commenters have pointed out, I have not yet made the announcement for the VIRTUAL SIGNING I do every book launch at THE ALABAMA BOOKSMITH. That because I was waiting for the FIC-FACTS portion of the site to be up. Because there is going to be a prize drawing that is RELATED to FIC-FACTS. I will tell you about that this week, as soon as the images are ready.

AND NO!!!! You can’t have the OBJECT Allen made for me. That’s going on tour with me and then it is hanging on a wall in my new lush bordello-bedroom.

3) I have to tell you, Since I foolishly spent ALL of yesterdays blog PRAISING THE WONDER OF SCOTTNESS, that he became SASSY! GRRR!

I went upstairs after church and changed into a gray slouchy maternity shirt from when I was pregnant with Sam, so it’s ten years old, stain-riddled, and ENORMOUS. And with it, I wore my fantasy pants (those outsize Indian print drawstring pants I like to write in) and I scraped my hair into a tail and completed my ensemble with the Monkey Slippers my children gave me for Christmas. They look a LOT like this, only FURRIER, with long shaggy hair, as if the slipper pictured below had been made out of 70’s brown shag carpet:

monkeyslipper.jpeg
As I was coming downstairs, I heard Scott in the kitchen so I yelled, “HONEY? Are you READY for me to come down? I do not think you are, because I am bringing SEXY BACK! I am BRINGING! SEXY! BACK!”

Then I enterted the room. He regarded me for a moment and then said, in a faintly puzzled tone, “Are you bringing sexy back…from rehab?”

Posted by joshilyn at 8:22 AM | Comments (13)

January 13, 2008

He Who I Wear My Hair For

MY HUSBAND IS HOME! I am so happy, I can feel myself about to use WAY too many exclamation points in this entry. HEH. You should press play now, and set the mood for a big fat sappy festival of justly earned adoration of all things Scottly:

For two days now, we have been working hard together to get the website updated. It’s LONG overdue. He’s been out of town for five days, going to logistics meeting after logistics meeting in California, and he comes home to a to-do list longer than a ZZ TOP guys’ beard, and he sits down at his desk, and he starts DOING the to-do things. I’m sorry, but that’s just….hot.

Watching him code and revise and upload, I had a tune running in my head, doodle-doodly do, and I am not the world’s most musical person, so I couldn’t QUITE catch it, but I woke up this morning and knew what it was. If you pressed play, you know, too.

Here are SOME of the things he did.

Updated the appearances page.

One of my Quilt Maverick homies, Laume, pointed out there were a few ERRORS. For example, I had scheduled a stop at one bookstore with an address that read, “San Francisco, Illinois.” Er….oops.

ALSO, stuff got added to the tour, including a stop at SEATTLE MYSTERY BOOKSHOP LA LA LA, where works our own Fran-of-the-comments, and where BOTH gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia made the top 25 bestsellers for the YEAR list because they are righteous handsellers who deserve to be feted with delicate candy dipped violets. So please check because if I am now coming to your personal favorite bookstore, then you should come, too.

Then Scott Remade the crappy splash page I borked up so it is actually legible now!

Ever since we went to the new WASP-IN-A-GERBER site (which I still love! LOVE! Thank you JILL JAMES!) The MAIN page has simply forwarded to my bio as I had no splash image.

SO I finally almost a year later made one out of review quotes, INCLUDING A PULL QUOTE FROM THE NEW BOOKLIST REVIEW of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING. I particularly like that one, so much, in fact, that I have developed a revolting habit of checking the caller I.D. and if the caller is Karen or Scott I answer the phone by saying “A veritable Southern Gothic…Fluid, Masterful,” instead of tired old “Hello.” ANYWAY! My splash image looked like cat yak because the Paint Shop Pro, she is a fickle tart and I hate her and she hates me. SHE LOVES SCOTT THOUGH, as any right thinking anthropomorphized-to-be-female computer program would, and he FIXED it!

If you have surfed the site before, you may not see the changes because of the CACHES. For those un-computer savvy sadsacks who are not in the know, “Caches” is a New Orleans gutter French word that means “push the refresh button, and then you will see the changes.” Those savvy Cajuns sure can pack a lot of meaning in a single word!

Psst! If the song is over, you can continue our SCOTT-ROCKS soundtrack by pressing play again here:

Pssst! If you haven't seen Enchanted yet, run before it leaves the theatre. It is so darling and blessedly irony free.

If you go to ANY of the sites main pages, including the tour page and the new splash, be sure to tale a gander at the image above the menu, you can see that Scott also removed the old Between hardcover image and put the PIPING FRESH HOT NEW TGWISS COVER in. Once again, I say to you in my impeccable New Orleans Gutter French Accent, “CACHES! Refresh! Refresh!”

ALSO he got the TGWSS magnets designed and ordered. Trala!

ALSO we got about half the pre-work on a NEW section of the website that will go up I HOPE this week. It’s called Fic-Facts, which is short for Fictional Factuals, and you have to say Fic-Facts really fast so it rhymes with Tic Tacs. It has some cool photos and content I can’t wait for you to see, including an explanation of WTH a Fictional Factual IS. Hint: Not pink socks.

We ALSO worked on the stuff for the VIRTUAL SIGNING I do every time a book releases at the ALABAMA BOOKSMITH, and this time there will be a prize drawing you will LIKE if you have even a SCRAP of TRUE ART in the pink-most bottom corner of your cynical American soul. And you do. I KNOW you do, Best Beloveds.

Things we didn’t get to, but that we are going to get to:

--Fix the link to Mir’s Toybox Mama blog. Heh. It’s only been borked for, what, 15 months now?

--Make a final e-mail decision and dam the flow of the river of pen!s enlargement spams that are written in SUCH poor English I half the time think they may actually be only the nice weiners at Ball Park Franks dropping by to remind me that they plump-when-u-cook-em. Favorite line so far: “Blondes used to whizgiggle and fellows too in the Federal W.C.”

Um…what?

In closing, Scott is awesome, and if all the above was not enough, let me tell you, he brought me a PRESENT. I am a crazy food person, remember, and he brought me home a new cereal that is called VIVE! A PROBIOTIC DIGESTIVE WELLNESS CEREAL. I love it so much I let the box sleep at the foot of my bed last night. It makes my OLD crazy cat-food-looking cereal seem like Lucky Freakin’ Charms. PROBIOTIC! WELLNESS! Oh ya!

NOW! Apropos of nothing, let’s have a pop quiz, hotshots:
WHO LEARNED HOW TO EMBED YOU TUBE VIDEOS? WHO?? WHO???

Posted by joshilyn at 4:56 AM | Comments (18)

January 10, 2008

Eyedrum and Between

YO Local Beloveds---looking for something different to do here on a slow Thursday in Lovely kinda-northishy Georgia.

Tonight is the party for the winner’s of Creative Loafing’s 7th Annual Fiction contest. The theme was “Scratch,” the winners rocked it, and I was one of the judges. There is going to be cake. And live music by Duet for Theramin and Lap Steel. And the righteous Indie Bookstore folks from Bound to be Read Books will be on hand, and the winners will be reading. I am going to be there with David Fulmer and Fiona Zedde (the other two judges) and I plan to say at least two funny things about cats from hell. Not MY cats. Actual hell spawned cats owned by Satan. SO. There’s that. You should come.

EYEDRUM
Suite 8, 290 MLK Jr. Drive SE,
Atlanta
404.522.0655

This year, I was part of an arts program that sends writers to local high schools, and I talked about Between, Georgia At both schools, they asked if I had ever been to the REAL Between, Georgia, and I said, “No. And I don’t want to go.” At both schools, this was a point of interest in the discussion. They wanted to know why I would set an entire book in a town, and then not go there, even though I have been within ten minutes of Between about nine times since the book’s release.

My standard answer is, “I suspect they didn’t do it right.” And that’s true. Between, in my head, has a miniature town square, like a doll house version of Monroeville or Marietta. There is a junkyard teeming with sleek black dogs who move in a school like pirhana. There is a diner and the owner, Trude, takes the dried up turkey that didn’t sell in yesterday’s Open Faced Sammich special and recycles it into something called Turketti. Turketti is that universal gellid gray color all casseroles take on when they are mostly made of pasta and cream of mushroom soup, and Trude figures if she puts enough Velveeta on top, people will eat it. That is what Between is like. And if you want to tell me it is not lIKE that, you find I have my fingers in my ears and am saying LA LA LA! CONNECT THE DOTS! LA LA LA!

One of my favorite reader mails remains a missive from an older gentleman, irate with me for doing such shoddy research when I wrote his town’s history. “There is only one church in town, and that is just about the only thing you got right,” he berated me. “And even so, it is a METHODIST church, not a BAPTIST one!”

WHOOPSY, SIR! My bad!

Anyway, one of the students -- (Her name is Starlett--- did she win NAME LOTTO, or what?) has relatives in Loganville. Here is Starlett posing with her cousin by the sign.
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She CLAIMS that that is just about the busiest street in BETWEEN behind her, and says, “There's a "nursery" - the kind with plants - Between Grocery, a church, and an auto store, and that's it.”

Kids today! They’ll say ANYTHING. I am sure the town square is just out of sight to the right.

Connect the dots! LA LA LA!

Posted by joshilyn at 7:21 AM | Comments (17)

January 7, 2008

With Friends With Names Like These, Karen Seems Suddenly Vanilla

Comments are closed on my bedroom and the Colleen interview, as the SPIDERS found those entries. I just spent half an hour removing comments from two people whose cruel or perhaps clueless parents named them “Lesbian” and “Porn Video.” THANKS FOR THINKING MY SIGHT IS COOL, LESBIAN! Did you really need to tell me 750 times on a single entry? THANKS FOR ALL THOSE LINKS TO MEGA ****, PORN VIDEO! Hey! Wait a second…Are you trying to TELL me something?

I am sure they meant no harm…with such subtext laden names, I betcha they had a hard time in middle school, and emerged scarred and uncertain of themselves, and perhaps they now seek approval by telling me my site is cool OVER AND OVER until I notice that they are not merely their labels, but REAL LIVE…spam spiders who work for MEGA****.

Not to be judgemental here, but I DID just lose a half our of my life to removing all this, so forgive me, but I have to ask, WHY WOULD ANY THINKING PENIS ENLARGEMENT FIRM HIRE SOMEONE NAMED “LESBIAN” AS A SPOKES-SPAMMER??? It seems…counter-intuitive.

I am sure comments will be closed on THIS entry relatively soon as well. I am SO tired of this. SO tired. Spam-nology has caught up with MT again, it seems, and my e-mail is wrecked by the SAME spammers and my husband, who fixes these things, has to leave town for 5 days. SO. Since comments are likely going to get CLOSED EARLY and not work properly again for a SOLID WEEK, feel free to send me an email I won’t get instead! *weak smile*

And now for soemthign completely different; Here is a darling story about Maisy at Christmas:

My brother planned the Christmas service at his church. Which meant that he picked all the songs and such, and so of course they were all the songs I loved best from childhood. It was a perfect Christmas service, quite frankly, even more so because my brother did the children’s sermon.

For those not familiar, in many churches (my brothers and my own included) at some point in the service the little kids all go up and sit down with the pastor or a parishioner who tells them a little homily or parable, and it is generally very sweet.

SO, all the kids ages 3 – 6 or so troop up and gather around my brother, who is, of course, speaking about Advent and how this is a joyful season where we are waiting for Christ and hope and renewal.

And Bobby is saying that God made the world perfect and lovely, and man borked it up, and how God loved us SO MUCH he could not stand to be separated from us by sin, and so he made a plan! Man had wrecked the world, my brother said, and brought in cruelty and misery, so what did the kids think God decided to do. Hint: THE ANSWER IS, SEND JESUS. Bobby has just covered with them that it is advent, right? This is clearly the answer. Everyone knows it is the answer.

Maisy raises her hand, ooh ooh Mistah Kottah style, just BURSTING to be the one to say it.

SO Bobby says, “Yes, Maisy, what did God do?”
And she says, in her pealing voice, “He FLOODED the ERF and STARTED OVER!”

That’s my girl! Go for the Wrathful Old Testament Answer!

After a morning spent with “Lesbian” and “Porn Video” I’m feeling a little like flooding the erf and starting over myself.

Posted by joshilyn at 6:18 AM | Comments (21)

January 4, 2008

If You Need Me, I Will Be Lolling in My Home Bordello

Okay so remember how I was all I AM GOING TO PAINT MY BEDROOM PURPLE AND DO NOT TRY TO STOP ME! HA! YOU CANNOT!

Apparently, you can. Well done, you.

Beth (and several others) cleverly pointed out that IF I painted my bedroom PURPLE and did not use the VERY (some might say OVERLY) co-ordinated valances (which I was morally opposed to on the grounds of Nina Garcia’s LIP CURL when she says things are too matchy-matchy) then the drapes would disappear into the wall and it would be a little like living inside Barney.

AND THEN SOME OTHER GENIUS (I cannot find your comment so PLEASE take credit in the comments for YOURSELF) said “WHY NOT HAVE NOT PURPLE BUT DO A FABRIC WALL!” I liked the idea but it seemed like I would have to learn a skill and pick fabric. SO!


What I ended up with was choosing a Ralph Lauren sandy gold paint called ISLAND SAND. It really is the color of beach sand. Then over it we put this GLAZE….GORGEOUS painting effect that you absolutely cannot see in our pictures – they did a better job at the Ralph Lauren site and then INSTEAD fo the fabric wall we hung an entire wall with the drapes!

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ANYWAY, just like PUMPKIN colored guest room looks NEON orange in our pics, the muted SANDY GOLD looks a LOT brighter and you can’t see the EFFECT. But you can get an idea. Imagine it looking less BRIGHT but more RICH.

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ALSO we have not hung our prints yet so it is SPARE looking.

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4 out of 5 one-eyed pirate cats agree, the new bedroom is too good for us, and should rightfully belong to felines.

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Posted by joshilyn at 5:12 PM | Comments (22)

January 3, 2008

3Q with Colleen Thompson

E-Mail Solutiond are still under advisement, THANK YOU so much for the helpful input so far. So, g-mail, huh? HOWEVER we go, I will have it fixed by next week. I hope. Probably.

My furniture is still not here. GAHHHH. TAPTAPTAP go my toes, and I am not dancing. The delivery guy has called twice, two hours apart, to say he is coming to my house next. What he didn’t say was that the house he had to go to FIRST was actually a cave in the Alps --- some Yeti or ‘nother needed a Chaise Lounge. APPARENTLY HE HAS A LITTLE BIT OF A DRIVE TO GET BACK HERE.

While I pace and stare out the window, let Colleen Thompson tell you the impetus behind her latest novel, THE SALT MAIDEN.

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Colleen: Some novels begin with a character, others start with a what-if question or a situation, but my sixth romantic thriller was inspired by a place I visited a few years back, a sunburned, sand-scoured desert community in the dead center of the least populated county in the U.S. With water too briny for human consumption and land too to support any but the hardiest of desert plants, it’s an eerily daunting landscape, one that made me wonder, What on earth would bring a person out here?

Apparently my subconscious took it as a challenge, and came up with a Houston veterinarian, Dana Vanover, in search of her troubled missing sister, the birth mother of a child in desperate need of a bone-marrow transplant. In spite of her ambivalence about her sister, Dana braves heat, rattlesnakes, and hostile locals — as well as her attraction to the handsome sheriff who wants her gone…

"Poetic use of language, intricate plotting and a wealth of fascinating details make Thompson's latest novel a masterful work of suspense. Readers will come for the action and stay for the three-dimensional characters and well-crafted narrative. This is a fabulous read!" Romantic Times BOOKreviews Top Pick, 2007 Reviewers Choice Nominee, Best Romantic Suspense

JJ: What do you think of your cover and how does it compare to the cover you imagined when you were writing the book?

CT: My editor and I brainstormed a cover art idea for THE SALT MAIDEN. We discussed the harsh, desolate setting, a cave that's important in the story, and the motif of dangerous, desert-dwelling creatures woven throughout. I suggested a desert scene with a rattlesnake, scorpion, or preferably a black widow spider in the corner. The final artwork is a desert viewed from the inside of a cave, through a web containing a big, black spider. It's perfect for the story, even better than I envisioned, and book buyers and readers have responded favorably. Except for an arachnophobe or two!

JJ: As a Southern writer, I think everything is about locationlocationlocation. How did living in Arizona and Texas influence your work?

CT: Living in Southern Arizona taught me to appreciate the desert's stark, sometimes dangerous beauty. I spent some time there backpacking and came to appreciate the lengths to which the desert's plants and animals must go to ensure their survival. It's a hostile place to humans, yet it still draws people. The desert regions of West Texas I've found equally fascinating. The barren landscape serves as a metaphor for the most desolate stretches of a character's life and the lengths to which he/she must go to survive them. Those stories I've set in the desert, such as THE SALT MAIDEN and FATAL ERROR could take place nowhere else. Or if they did, they'd suffer a real loss of resonance.

JJ: What writers influenced your work and how and why?

CT: I've been influenced by a number of writers: Dennis Lehane, who incorporates setting so brilliantly that it seems like a character in his books; Frank Herbert, a world-builder of the first order, and Michael Connelly, whose plotting and characterization leave me in absolute awe. I'm also a big fan of Larry McMurtry, who "gets" Texas, past and present, like no one else. I'd be honored to someday be mentioned in the same breath with any of these talented authors.

Posted by joshilyn at 3:01 PM | Comments (7)

January 2, 2008

Madonna (naked and wrapped in a flag) Wants You to Vote

Something has to be done about my e-mail.

I LIKE having an address on my website. I like the fact that readers can contact me, that book clubs and libraries can easily find me. BUT.

You know who else likes it? Potential Russian Mail Order Brides. Foreign pharmacies that want to sell me recreational Cialis. Imaginary friends who want me to open “Hallmarks e-card!!!” or “Funny pictures!!!” that happen to be .exe files. And MOST of all, the P3n!s enlargement product peddlers, who DESERVE to be cheesily alliterated, and who WILL NOT leave me alone.

I used to get a hundred spam e-mails or so a day, and I would just hit delete. Then that doubled. Delete. Then that tripled. DELETE. For the last year, I have probably been spending 15- 20 minutes a day on spam deletion, because I can’t just hit DELETE DELETE DELETE on anything that LOOKS like spam. If it is a name I do not know and has a title like Thank you or Hello or Joshilyn, it is oftentimes mail from readers, and I try to answer every reader mail I get. Of course, e-mails titled Thank You and Hello and Joshilyn are, just as often, a close-up shot of someone’s ENORMOUS johnson and an ad for Mega-Peen. And if you think I want to SEE that, you need to drop down an entry and read some random musings on Pom Pons.

In late December, all at once, the Spam doubling went all exponential on my butt. The Spam is suddenly SO overwhelming that it is now unbearable. In fact, I now get SO MUCH SPAM that if I do not Download E-mail for more than 5 hours, my 10 MB mailbox FILLS UP WITH PENISES, and ALL mail, legit and spam alike, starts getting rejected. That means, every morning, if I have slept more than four or five hours, I wake to a message saying my mailbox space has been exceeded, and all mail is being returned to sender. In late December, this nifty problem caused me to miss three e-mails trying to set up a REALLY important interview. THANKS, SPAM!

I have had it. And do not say FILTER to me. I SPIT at filters! The Spam is smarter than every filtering method and filter setting I have tried. If READER mail can get through, then spam can get through.

SO! If you have mailed me since December 15th or so and have not heard back, you may be lost in the flood or you may have never come to me at all. Sorry!

I’m not paying for a larger mailbox just so I can fit MORE SPAM in before I have to download. A 10MB mailbox should be sufficient unto the day! ALSO, I tried an experiment. I DL’ed all my mail every two hours and let it pile in the box, and then went through it at the end of the day. It took more than hour to hand-sort one DAY’s worth of spam to find the real e-mails. I don’t have an hour a day to spend on that. NO ONE DOES. I am DONE DONE BAKED THROUGH. This WILL be changed or solved or fixed somehow, and it will happen in the next week.

Here are my possible solutions.

1) Get the e-mail addy OFF the site, close that email address, get a new secret address, and only give it to my mother. I find this solution to be hateful.

2) Leave the e-mail address UP on the site and put an AUTO title in, something like THIS IS READER MAIL, delete all mail from names I do not know that don’t have that title to cut down on SPAM MANAGEMENT TIME, and only check that address every few days to pick out the good ones that manage to get through before the mailbox fills up. Meanwhile, and get a new secret one for business and my mom. This way I do not MISS vital mom and editor and interview mails, but the mailbox filling thing means a lot of mail will get rejected. I find this solution to be also hateful.

3) GET THAT TOOTH-GRINDINGLY IRKSOME PROGRAM that requires anyone who wants to send me mail to enter a SPAM FILTER CODE, or the e-mail won’t be sent, even though I personally LOATHE it when I get e-mails from total strangers who then require me to APPLY for the privilege of RESPONDING to the e-mail THEY sent ME---it seems like if they send ME the initial e-mail, they should have a way to PRE-APPROVE me so I can respond, but apparently the programs do not work like that. EVEN THOUGH THEY SHOULD. I find this solution to be rock star obnoxious.

4) A fourth solution, that you are helpfully leaving in the comments. PLS leave it in the comments though as I am having a hard time getting EMAIL. Heh.

SO, here it is in POLL FORM

And if you think, best beloveds, that your input is not valuable, wait til you see what I ended up DOING TO MY BEDROOM based on your smartness and taste in the comments. The furniture arrives Thursday---I will post pics and such!

Posted by joshilyn at 7:54 AM | Comments (35)