February 28, 2010

Mysterious Doings

So the other night I am sitting at my computer feeling so. super. sorry. for myself. Which, to be brutally honest, has become so common a description for my state of being that it is almost redundant to say it out loud. It's like clocking an autonomic function... SO I was pulling oxygen-laced air into my lungs and then chemically changing the oxygen to carbon dioxide and releasing it... like that.

The only more constantly true thing I could say right now would be, “So I am sitting in bed watching another Netflixed installment of Harper’s Island (I wish it was 130 episodes instead of 13 at this point, I truly do, so sad it is about to be over...) and feeling so. super. Etc etc...” You get the picture. This morbid bathing in a self pity pond is because I have been ENDLESSLY SICK, see entry below for the snot-filled fevered details.

SO there I sit staring at a screen, dull and listless and WAH-filled, and meanwhile, sneaking up behind me, comes my birthday in on little cat feet. I had no solid plans, but there have been many Mysterious Doings and hints and portents of surprises. My husband, MONTHS ago, told me not to PLAN anything for the three days surrounding my birthday. No book club calls, no service work, no lunches with friends. NADA. I thought to myself, SELF I thought, we are maybe going away for the weekend. But I try several times to conversationally trap my mother into admitting she is coming to babysit, and my mother gambols safely, feckless as a lambkin, through my conversational minefields.

I begin weaseling at Scott for clues and snooping perniciously about, dawdling in doorways when he is on the phone, feely-feeling all over packages that come to him with my feely-fingers, doing some mild shaking. Perhaps I even SNIFFED them. (Not recommended: The outsides of packages mostly smell like the insides of UPS trucks, and UPS trucks mostly smell like motor oil laced with eu de foot with aftersmells of dog poo-crumbs and loam.)

As the weeks unfold, it becomes clear that whatever it is *I* am doing for my birthday, Scott is not doing all of it with me. I begin to suspect spa days, except he KNOWS I hate for strangers to touch me anywhere below my forehead or above my knees,, and the only spa treatments I actively enjoy involve my hair and my feet, and what can someone POSSIBLY do to my feet for three days running that is legal in the state of Georgia?

I call all my friends and make them wrack their brains with me, and my friend Sara figures it out: I have LONG wanted to get certified to dive. You can actually do this in three days. I start hunting around to make sure my most utilitarian bathing suit is unfrayed and practicing making scuba noise-breathing. I become secretly irked that Scott is not getting certified WITH me so we can scuba at Beach Week this summer. I am pretty convinced, is all I am saying.

Then, on Birthday-Eve, I am sitting at my computer, feeling so. super. sorry. for myself, wondering if my lingering pound of lung-mucus will ruin my chances at certification, when lo! there is a knock at the door. I assume it is another foot-smelling UPS package. It’s about UPS o’clock. I glance at the door as Maisy runs to get it, and through the side window, I see the delivery guy in the porch looks a LOT like my friend Sara, who lives a good three states away. And the delivery guy has a puffy Hallmark-style adhesive bow stuck to his forehead. And is grinning like the very devil at me. Hmmm, I think. Weird. I turn back disconsolately to my screen.

Then Sara says I did a take SO double it can't be called a double take. It was like a take SQUARED. I run to the door and let her in, and we leap around, LAR LAR LAR, so happy. She tells me that, ALAS, Karen was flying in from NYC but as I know, Bob, NYC is full of blizzards and no flights have gotten out for 24 hours and they are SO backed up that she MAY or MAY NOT be able to get out on a flight in the next day or so. Sara blinks sadly at me, and I blink sadly back, DUMB AS A CUD CHEWING GOAT WHO NEVER PAYS ATTENTION TO THE WEATHER CHANNEL.

And of course, 90 minutes later, while Sara and I are sitting on the high bar stools of my kitchen, sipping foamy pink pom-tinis and gossiping 90 miles a minute, Karen comes stomping through as if she has been in my house the whole time saying, “Oh MAN, I can’t believe you vodka hogs didn't pour me one."

So far it has been truly a superior birthday.

Posted by joshilyn at 10:03 AM | Comments (26)

February 26, 2010

Letters from Bed

FTK has been dark all week, and I am beginning to get messages from Facebook friends plaintively asking if I am dead. Which, thank you for that. It’s good to be checked on. My answer is a tentative, "Not yet." I have this ongoing and scutiating boring medical drama, and on top of that, two of my favorite boys in the whole world, Scott and Sam, last week took it upon themselves to become giant hives of feverish virus-soaked mucus, and I sat between them like the fingers of some poor little Madge-victim, soaking in it.THEY bounced back in 48 hours each. My boring ongoing medical drama has borked my immune system, and I am not doing any bouncing.

I've been sick all week. Today I actually got out of bed, my fever is gone, and I have one working nostril, so I am declaring myself WELL ENOUGH. I have been SO FREAKIN' BORED that I have been reduced to watching HARPER'S ISLAND on my Netflix Instant Q, which, Beloveds, that is very very desperate. Harper’s Island is a miniseries starring Engaging Girl With A Cute Nose, and it is about a bunch of incredibly stupid people at a destination wedding who drink A LOT and who do not notice that every time someone trots off for a pee or a swim they get horridly murdered and never come back.

The island is small enough that your wedding party can do a walking scavenger hunt that takes them to all four corners of the island in a single, booze-fueled afternoon, but large enough that you can build a pit trap and barbecue a VERY LOUD bridesmaid alive without anyone hearing. Also a crazy woodman with half a face can live in the bracken, raising attack dogs and setting up attack logs (this is not a typo. He makes LOG TRAPS and a HUGE log comes down and throws the bride and her dad down a cliff. THEN Half-a-face sics a leopard level stealthy German Shepherd on them and after they KILL THE DOG with a broken bottle and stagger back to the wedding, scratched up and filthy and covered in dog blood, they say to the groom, "Oh, we had a little accident." No mention of crazy Half-face, or attack dogs or being nearly killed by a log. And the groom says, OKAY, WELL HELP ME CHOOSE NAPKIN RINGS FOR THE RECEPTION! while everyone else has another round.

I think we are 9 murders in and NO ONE NOTICED ANYONE MISSING until five minutes ago when a cop discovered chunks of the priest floating in a bog. Also, a surprise axe trap went off during the rehearsal slicing someone into 2 tidy pieces in front of the WHOLE wedding party, which may cause a couple of them to notice that Something Bad is Happening. Maybe. Who knows. They have already ALL been drinking. OH TO BE THEM, but without the axe traps and priest chunks.

I am am going to declare myself WELL, or at least well enough, and go out to dinner with my kid tonight for his birthday. He likes the hibachi table thing, and although I have hibachi'd enough to know how to refuse trying to catch a rice ball with my mouth with such a gimlet eye that even the wackiest of fillet-knife armed hibachi chefs moves it right on along and I never, never, jump when the red string comes out of the ketchup bottle....my kids love the onion volcano and the leaping flames of death. And I like the salmon. So.

I haven't blogged both because I have been too brain dead to string words together ---even nearly nonsensical ones (SEE ABOVE), and on top of that, nothing has happened. My blog entries would have had to take place from my bed, where possible fascinating topics included, and were, yes, pretty much limited to:

1) What happened on Harper’s Island. (SEE ABOVE)

2) Brown animal wars. In direct opposition to proper Biblical imagery, my brown animals (Schubert the obese one-eyed pirate cat) and Bagel (my charming dog who, in lieu of a brain, keeps a single-celled organism floating in prune juice in his skull cavity) have been a war to see who can lay pressed up against my left side. No animal wants to lay by my RIGHT side. Left is BETTER, you understand. (I hope. I myself do not understand.) But while I lay sweating it out with a fever of 102 my answer to the endless queries of, WHICH BOILING HOT MAMMAL GETS TO PRESS SWEATILY AGAINST YOUR LEFT SIDE was "Please go away, I am busy trying to die peacefully." No one liked that answer. It led to the festival of shoving (me), and hiss noises (Shubert), and puzzled, wounded looks (Guess).

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3) The fascinating, 'what tissue is better' debate. I bought Trader Joe's tissue, a little bit because it is all recycled and good for the EARTH, but, let's be honest, mostly for the box. Look, every side has little letters to you from your tissue. Very charming and the illustrations are very turn of the former century. I have that in the guest bathroom, Puffs in my bathroom, and Kleenex with Lotion by the bed from when Scott had this vile disease and lay there infecting me. Kleenex with Lotion kinda creeps me out. It feels ever so slighly....pre-sneezed in. And as for Tader Joe's? My letter back would read something like this:

Dear Tissue,
While I am glad you are made of entirely recycled materials, I wish that those materials did not include sandpaper and bone splinters.
Love, MY NOSE IS SORE

Verdict: A nose in need deserves Puffs indeed.

4) I have weird, backwards drug reactions. DAYquil makes me pass out and NYquil makes me hyper. Does this mean I have ADD? Discuss.

Posted by joshilyn at 7:42 AM | Comments (31)

February 20, 2010

Firework-Shaped Firings of Random Neurons (and contest winners)

-----REALLY, Crayola? Scented markers? Watching Maisy snorking away at these things this morning in class made me distinctly uncomfortable. It’s like I’ve registered my kid for “Huffing 101, Intro to Huffing.” What next? Apple Pie Scented Airplane Glue? “Get that RIGHT up your nostrils and deep, deep into your vulnerable brain tissues, there, kids. The first whiff is free.HEY! This can of aerosol Pledge smells like LEMONS! Let’s sniff THAT!” *sigh*

---Dear Orange Wasp in a Daisy,
I love you. You know I do. But alas! My friend, you are looking dated. Your stinger seems dull, and my eyes are tired of yellow. Most of all, I do not see room for four covers up there in your green stripy parts. Change is coming. Pack.
Love, Joshilyn

----Now, before everyone who hates Project Runway is excused, we must to business. The RNG felt that a moderately early bird should get wormed up, and thus chose Comment 12:

I'm going to keep trying, even if I never win. Because you know such wonderful authors who write such wonderful books! And who knows, maybe someday... Posted by Julie G at February 15, 2010 11:58 AM

Maybe today, Julie G. Also a middle-ish bird got some wormly lovin’ – Comment 34.

Taking off my hat and tossing it in (avert your gaze, you do not want to see the writer's hair!)Posted by PattiH at February 15, 2010 7:23 PM

You guys shoot me an e-mail with your snail addies and I will see about getting your prizes out.

----Everyone still here must be DYING (as I am) to discuss the NEW season of Pro Ro, the one Reality show that blasts through my I-Have-Never-Seen-A-Single-EP-of-American-Idol-And-This-Pleases-Me snobbery and rivets me to my elliptical for 45 solid minutes. I have to say, week one? I violently loathed Seth Aaron. I was calling him things like Wiggetty-Wonk and Sean Douglas (after the world’s MOST IRRITATING soap opera character ever invented) and saying the sooner he and his black nail polish and skinny jeans AUF’ed themselves, the better.

And yet! OH how he has won me over. Every season, Lydia and Karen and I pick which designer to pretend to be. (Plus Karen and I choose a pretty one to be Sara and Lydia makes her husband be whatever character she feels has no prayer. This year, obviously, he was Ping.) We have usually selected our Fashion-Avatars after week three, and yeah. I am the once-loathed Seth Aaron. He is now my complete favorite.

Part of it was his refusal to sell out his partner to the judges on the runway during the team challenge. He was given a PERFECT opening to just SHAFT his team leader, hard, and he just....graciously ducked past it. Classy-like. Wiggetty-Wonk seems to have a modicum of Human Decency----maybe even integrity--- so rare a commodity on reality television that I gasped and stopped paddling to see it. And I like how he galloped all over and rolled on the floor in his manic search for a black and white herringbone. I like that he does not seem to care that he is balding. He makes no concessions and wonks his hair up into Epic Flock of Seagulls foam-puffs. And the CLOTHES. OH! SUCH FUN CLOTHES! I would immediately buy his little girl look for Maisy if I saw it out. She would LOVE this, and I like the Mom-pants:

ProRoSethAaron.jpg

Seth Aaron is about the only one whose name I can remember, and I only remember it because I hate for men to have two names you have to say all the time. Yes, weird, I know. It is an unnatural prejudice. I will look the names up...So far, the shiniest non SA contenders are the two women we are calling Old Bangs (Mila) and Young Bangs (Maya). I am getting tired of Old Bangses relentless color blocking ways, though, and Young Bangs seems stuck in the middle even though I often think her clothes are the most interesting. I enjoy the antics (but seldom the garments) of Flamboyant Southern Fella (Anthony) and am intrigued by the outfits of the sadly antics-free Hair Thatch Man (Jay) and feel warmly toward the aesthetics of Pretty Girl With Pierced Lip (Amy---She is the one we chose for Sara).

Who are you and who should win???!

Posted by joshilyn at 2:00 PM | Comments (17)

February 18, 2010

Party Poopers

Once I again I completely spaced on telling you I would be at Five Full Plates on Tuesday. I am spacing on a lot of things these days. I am about to achieve cadet status. I hope cadet status comes with a cunning little hat.

SO, if you want to hear me say ethically questionable and possibly inflammatory things about my hate/hate relationship with medication, you can make the clickies here. The title of the entry was “Attack of the Creepy Night Puddings,” and I really thought I had the best title for the week until I saw the one on Jill’s post. She named hers, “Do You Poop Out at Parties.” I initially thought it was going to be a post about how some people can poop anywhere (even at parties!) and how some can only poop alone at home when all other residents are at least five miles away. Heh. I was quite relieved to see it was actually about energy loss and vitamin supplements.

My favorite PLATES moment so far happened today, when Kira posted this GREAT, SOLIDARITY, POWER NOW post about virtue and follow through and determination and doing things correctly and how the hard way is hard but works and is good in its good heart, and my Biffle from the way back back, Lydia, responded by saying, "You and your logic and reason! PSHAW! If I could drink a big cup of poison that would kill my frontal lobe, melt my liver into a fire truck, and cause me to forget my family, I would probably drink it! If it meant I didn’t have to slog through diet and exercise to get thin. Regrettable, but true."

HA! I JUST love her.

And as for that big old cup of poison? My only question is, does it come in fat free chocolate flavor?

Do not forget that you have bare minutes, only until MIDNIGHT TONIGHT to give yourself wholly over to the merciless attentions of the Random Number Generator to win Lori Lansens completely great book, THE WIFE'S TALE.

Posted by joshilyn at 3:53 PM | Comments (4)

February 15, 2010

3Q with Lori Lansens (Contest!)

Thank you guys so much for your fasci-freakin-ating responses to the query posed in my last blog. I’ve been on the phone almost constantly with Karen as new comments appeared. We’ve been reading them aloud to each other talking about this stuff while drinking too much wine I shouldn’t be having anyway. Oops. Stupid delicious red vibrant empty perfect calories.

Happy Presidents Day, and in honor of GW and the boys, I have a really superb and open and thoughtful interview with the amazing Lori Lansens. I am a big, big, big fan of hers----her second novel, THE GIRLS, rocked my little red boat back and forth all happy in the water, but I think I like the new one ever better. Her writing is just freakin’ luminous, and I loved Mary and was enthralled as she journeyed across North America, starving for an imagined life that never quite came to her. I found the experience of watching her shrink and at the same time grow into herself to be so gorgeous and ultimately so hopeful.

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If you want the THE WIFE’S TALE and you do, her publicist is ever so sweetly offering two. Yes, I see you quailing as it does, of course, mean you have to take your chances with that capricious buttmunch, Mister Random Number Generator over at Random.Org. You have until Thursday, February 18th at midnight EST to throw your hat into his slavering-crocodile-filled, random ring by leaving a comment. As always, the complete rules are stolen from Mir’s shoplicious bargain hunting site, Want Not

JJ: Your main character seems to be nothing like you. How do you inhabit shoes different from your own?

LL: The protagonist of my first novel RUSH HOME ROAD is an elderly black woman. In my second novel, THE GIRLS, the characters are conjoined twin sisters. Mary Gooch is the morbidly obese heroine of my latest, THE WIFE’S TALE. On the surface, the only thing I have in common with any of them is that I am, like Mary, in my forties but these disparate characters have given voice to my interests and preoccupations and defined different stages in my life. All three books are set in fictional Baldoon County inspired by the landscape where I was born and raised in southwestern Ontario near the border to Detroit, Michigan. In the first book I drew on the rich history of the place – a hunting and fishing ground for the neutral Indians, a terminus on the underground railroad, a hotspot for bootlegging during prohibition – to tell the story of Addy Shadd, a descendant of fugitive slaves who helped settle the area.

With my second novel, THE GIRLS, I explored the nature of identity, inspired by the birth of my two children with whom I felt an inextricable physical and emotional bond. In my most recent book, THE WIFE’S TALE, I wanted to examine the struggle of a morbidly obese woman approaching her middle ages, not because I’m morbidly obese, but because I understand hunger and the feeling of being out of control.

The overweight female character has been with me since I began to write decades ago. I’m not overweight but I feel keenly the struggle of my fellows. It’s impossible to ignore the epidemic of obesity and where twenty or even ten years ago a woman weighing three-hundred pounds (as Mary Gooch does) would have been rare we see her now with increasing frequency. We work with her. She’s our Aunt, our cousin.

I joke that I’m a method writer, meaning that I inhabit the characters that I write about. Or do they inhabit me? It’s a way to describe empathy. When I was writing RUSH HOME ROAD I had the sense that old Addy Shadd had taken over the keyboard and was writing the story down like it was a memory instead of a creation. With the conjoined twin sisters I had to leave one’s fictional reality in order to find the voice of the other. Mary Gooch and I had some junk food binges together. I lost my appetite when she did and suffered heart palpitations (did hers come first or did mine?) for the duration of the writing process.

JJ: How important is the setting?

LL: Baldoon County serves as a character in RUSH HOME ROAD. Addy Shadd’s response to her journey, which included a perilous boat trip to America then back to Canada, was dependant on the setting. I’d been writing that book in my head for many years before I wrote the first sentence and so much of it was inspired by history and the memories of my youth.

In THE GIRLS I stayed in Baldoon County, a small town called Leaford, because I wanted to find the humanity in the conjoined sister’s situation and didn’t want to present them as freaks, or for them to perceive themselves that way. In small town Leaford where they live and work they’re just THE GIRLS. Had they lived in a large city they would have seen themselves mirrored in the eyes of strangers everyday and I believe they would have grown up very differently. The rural setting was important because the twins, for all their restrictions, find freedom and peace and beauty in the fields surrounding their rundown farmhouse and rely on nature for their spirituality.

I resisted the lure of Baldoon County when I set off to write THE WIFE’S TALE but it kept pulling me back. I was most interested in writing an extreme character – so overweight, and so sheltered, her life so small while she so large, that the small town setting was all that felt right. I considered creating a neighboring town but the fact was that I first saw Mary in my fragmented writer’s imagination, waving from a window in a farmhouse near where THE GIRLS used to sit together on a bridge over a creek. Leaford was the place where Mary and I both felt most comfortable, which heightened the drama of eventually having to leave.


JJ: Describe your journey as a writer.

LL: I started writing in my early twenties and published my first short story – a love story between an obese young woman and an elderly man – in The Wascana Review. The eleven dollars I received as payment for the story bought my young husband and I a six pack of beer and the sweetest victory either of us can remember. I received only an impressive stack of rejection letters for the next six stories I sent out and decided to shift my focus to writing for the stage. I wrote some terrible plays, veered off into acting for a year or so, returned to my typewriter and wrote my first screenplay, South of Wawa, which was made into a film by a Canadian company. More screenplays followed, dozens in fact, most of which were never made into films. For a few years my husband and I made films together but I found writing screenplays unsatisfying and craved a more direct connection with the audience. I tried my hand at being a film auteur and together with my husband attempted to produce a movie based on my original screenplay that I would also direct. Years of frustration followed, a number of false starts, deals that went sour. When finally it was time to let the film go my husband suggested I sit down to write the novel I’d been talking about for years. That novel was my first, RUSH HOME ROAD.

I worked on the story for a year and a half, most of that time while I was pregnant with my first child and without telling a soul what I was writing about. I didn’t know what to do with it when I finished the 500 page tome. I had no connections in the book world and learned from a reference book at the library that I should first look for an agent. I didn’t read the part about most unsolicited manuscripts being sent back and only learned what a slush pile was when a prominent agent called me to say that she had retrieved the ms from the top of hers and invited me in to meet. That begins the charmed part of my journey as a writer although I don’t discount the years of struggle and uncertainty. The book was sold at auction in Canada and the US and made foreign sales before there was an edited manuscript. My second novel, THE GIRLS, was chosen by the Richard and Judy Book Club in the UK, Britain’s version of Oprah. I’ve been tremendously fortunate.

The thing that I struggle with most as a writer is the thing that challenges all working mothers – balance. It’s important to me to be the one who takes my children to and from school and the one who ferries them to sporting events but all of that cuts in to an already short writing day short. I’ve missed field trips for deadlines and deadlines for field trips and I frequently worry that I’ve shortchanged either my children or my work. I know I’ve shortchanged my husband and friends. The focus and obsession that it takes to commit to a character and story for a year, or years, causes deficits in other areas. I know one writer who finds it difficult to be in public during the novel writing phase. She says she walks around with a blank stare she calls “writer’s face” and can’t hear people talk for all the white noise of her characters shuffling around in her brain. I think I have writer’s face too. I know I have writer’s hair. Still, how lucky I am to have the opportunity to sit alone in a room all day making up stories to share, even if I do have to set my alarm so that my children aren’t left at school.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:11 AM | Comments (85)

February 11, 2010

Hello! My Name Is...

This week, I have been recording BACKSEAT SAINTS on audio---insert parenthetical whee!---and I am so loopy tired from it that I forgot to remind you that Tuesday was Tuesday and that I would be over on Five Full Plates. It’s weird how sitting on your butt in the studio pretending to run all the way across the country while shooting things and doing it tires you out----without the actual fun of running across the country while shooting things and doing it.

Anyway, a rather interesting discussion has popped up on a writer’s list I belong to, and I was wondering if you wanted to chime in. A woman on that list read a book, loved it, was planning to read the next book in the series, then went to the author’s website and found no contact onformation. She said, “I am wondering now if I want to “waste” my time
reading any more books by an author who doesn’t want to hear from fans.” WOW. That floored me. In a few short years, The internet sure has changed the way we live and think...

Working conferences and touring, I have met quite a few of the authors now whose books I ADORE, and I have learned that if I like someone’s book, it does not automatically mean I will them as a person. Jerks and philistines can be talented and successful, too, apparently. Thanks, God. Also I have learned that wonderful people I adore may write books that bore me.

I keep that really separate now, because I don’t wish to screw myself out of the pleasure of a superlative read just because the writer is a buttmunch. And I don’t; want to slog through a book that isn’t really my kind of thing just because the author is a peach. Of course, *cough* I tend to get the buttmunch’s book used and sometimes I buy the peach’s book new to give to a friend or relative who likes that genre more than I do.

I think her point was that in this facey-space tweeting world of instant access to fictional characters you like---you can get TWEETS from TV characters these days, good LORD, an author should be available to hear from fans.

And it is TRUE that almost EVERYONE likes hearing from fans. Almost. There are some under-rock dwelling loons in this business who get blinky and weird in direct sunlight....writers are not generally elected President of their local Sane Folks club, you know. But I think the problem is, contact info up means you hear from EVERYBODY, fans or not. Most of the mail I get is positive, but LORD...

I have gotten QUITE a few SHAME ON YOU emails –reaming me out for the language I choose to use, and sometimes these are mean hateful letters that one doesn’t forget. One person objected to how I presented the poverty in DeLop (as if DeLop is representative of The South, good grief!!!! Way to misread!!!) and told me all my books should be burned or thrown into kudzu heaps and I should do the world a favor and stop writing. That stuff HURTS.

Any writer who says it doesn’t has a thicker skin than a rhino or, more likely, is lying. I put my whole heart and a year and a half to two years of my life into every book—I love them all --- to have someone, a stranger, come to me PERSONALLY and disparage that and tear at me...is not the same thing as a review. It’s PERSONAL. It comes into my HOUSE, and I did not invite it.

The worst part? Authors with contact info up get some SPOOOOOOKY SPOOOOOKY stuff. This author may have an “overenthusiastic” fan or a lunatic “critic” who thinks the guys eyes should be put out and is telling him so. I know authors with contact info up who had received death threats, rape threats, threats of being “sent to hell” and I have been told in a memorable “fan mail” that someone should “beat some cuss cuss sense into me” or at least break all my fingers so I could not continue to “type filth.”

At the same time, you know, you get those letters from people who really GOT what you were trying to do and who feel a personal connection to the book. That makes it worth it --- FOR ME. Maybe not for others. For me, the good outweighs the bad, but I own a big dog and a gun. So. If an author does not have contact info – they may be more thin skinned than I am, or not as good a shot. *grin*

Does it matter to you? Are you more likely to buy a book by an author whose work you enjoyed before if that author has a link to an email addy, or is your facebook friend, or tweets? Do you think if an author has contact info up they don’t get to whine if people send mean things to ‘em? It’s a very interesting question to me, because it never occurred to me to do it any other way. One of the best parts about being published is having readers who have met my imaginary friends and who will gossip with me about them...but there is a pretty big downside...I’d be interested in hearing your opinions.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:17 AM | Comments (60)

February 7, 2010

The Tanya Roberts Boobly Retrospective

SO last night we wanted to watch a family movie. My birthday is approaching, and I have asked for some sort of ROKU or BLUE RAY that can pipe Netflix directly into my brain from space, but as of yet I have no such technology. Alas.

Digression: Last night I was burning up with this FURNACE of a dog on one side and a roaring inferno of a husband on the other and not one but two fatty lumps of hot feline coal on my feet, and I whined until Scott went and turned the thermostat down to some ridiculous low number that Polar Bears might like, and two hours later I woke up freezing and stomped around layering on pajamas and finding quilts, and then two hours later was hurling all the layers and blankets onto the floor.

Scott kinda cracked an eye at me and sat up and said, "Really?" I wrestled him down and sat on him (he may have let me, some, but I do not know. I am pretty mighty when I am irascible and my dial seems turned to PERMA irascible recently) and I made up a little night time song and I sang it to him and it went like this:

It's so fun, to be forty-one.
I'm hot, then I'm cold,
It's because I'm super old.
But It's so fun, to be forty one,
That I refoooooose
to become Forty-twos.

I sang it til he went and put the thermostat down more, so it is a good and effective song. I have not copyrighted it. You may use it for free if you like. You have to say the OOOOOOO in refoooooose really LONG though. /digression.

SO with no immediate Netflix and no desire to put on actual pants (I was wearing Fantasy Pants, remember them? If you do you are SO old school here on FTK!) and go to Blockbuster. We went down in the basement, where DVDs go to die, and dug aroud until we found a five million year old copy of BEASTMASTER that I think we got (along with several other CLASSIC films like CLASH OF THE TITANS and NIGHT OF THE WOLF) by trading a nice pizza stone and cutter from Crate and Barrel at this Christmas party in MAJOR white elephant skunk-out. And yes, we were and are geeky enough to think we won that trade.

BEASTMASTER stars Marc Singer as a man in fringed leather panties who makes friends with a hawk, some marmotty weasels, and a tiger who has been inexplicably dyed black, I suppose because the script called for someone to play the role of "Panther who is shaped just like a tiger and whose stripes keep showing through the cheap dye."

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Scott: Hey I bet the kids would LOVE this.

Me: Better keep looking. I think Tanya Roberts shows her boobs.

Scott: Oh, no, I am sure I would remember that. She has very nice boobs.

Me: How sure? Because I do not want to be in a room with my adolescent male son and the boobs of Tanya Roberts. I mean, I get that Sam would probably enjoy seeing them, sometime, on his OWN, but maybe not with his MOTHER In the room. So. Not. Comfortable.

Him: *flips over box* No, honey, look it is rated PG.

Me: Oh! Hrm. I must be thinking of another movie where Tanya Roberts shows her boobs.

Scott: *dryly* Yes. I suspect it is not a small genre.

SO we all gathered around and got various bowls of popcorn and whatnot, settled the dog, and maybe FIVE SCENES into the movie a raaaaather shapely young lady came GALLOPING along like a Charlie’s Angel and a passing horseman ripped her top right off . She bounded endlessly toward the camera while this kind of horrified MY MOM IS IN THE ROOM AND THERE ARE BOOBS hush fell upon my children. Later on, a blonde with no lines (neither spoken nor tan) decided to take a bath in a stream while wearing her pants. JUST her pants. Tanya Roberts seemed to think this was a great idea, to take a bath in pants. Together they toplessly frolicked about having a bouncy little water fight.

Not. Comfortable. I made it through the two boobs of running girl, but four boobs was a boob too many. I said to Scott FAST FORWARD. NOW. And he did while Maisy protested mightily saying, MOM I AM A GIRL I CAN SEE NAKED GIRLS JUST MAKE DADDY AND SAM CLOSE THEIR EYES IT IS STILL MODEST IF ONLY GIRLS LOOK. Everyone over 10 years of age died a little inside.

SO to spare you such moments, I have some information for you. PG in 1982 did not mean what PG means NOW. In 1982 they had not invented PG-13, and you could show boobs and get a PG rating as long as no one was TOUCHING the boobs or engaging in any sexualish behavior near them. Free range boobs were perfectly okay, apparently, whole herds of them.

You are welcome. Right about now, someone topless should come out and sing the NBC public service song thing...THE MORE YOU KNOW....

Posted by joshilyn at 6:04 PM | Comments (27)

February 4, 2010

Go Red on February Fifth

I am off to California to talk with some folks about BACKSEAT SAINTS. Did I ever tell you the original title was TEXAS ROSE RED? Sad, I know, but that is as close to a segue as I can get at butt-thirty in the black morning while hurling myself full tilt toward the airport to catch an early flight. See, it KINDA works, because the book used to have the word RED in the title, and now I am telling you why I want tosupport the AHA’s campaign to raise awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. You can, too, by wearing red on Friday.

Best reason? Girls who go red get more play. Because we live longer.

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Posted by joshilyn at 4:37 AM | Comments (12)

February 3, 2010

More Bad Ideas

1) A local day spa wanted to name itself “Therapy Salon,” but alas, they found that name was already in use. So. They decided to replace the Y on the end of the first word with an E. Gah. I just saw their bumper sticker and it says... Therape Salon. Really? No one caught this?

2) I have a photo shoot today for a magazine article, and I realized this morning I haven’t cut, colored, or even really LOOKED at my hair since September of 2009. I may have brushed it a couple-three times. But looking at the bushy animal squatting dankly on my head, I kind of doubt even that got done. I think I put it into a ponytail in October and then kinda forgot I was a mammal. Nothing good is happening up there. Nothing.

3) This black-n-white stripey Oreo of a kitty has decided to live on my front porch. He is sleek and collared---clearly a pet---and he goes home to somewhere at night, but most daylight hours are spent basking unconcernedly on my porch. Meanwhile, this side of the door, right outside my office, are the dulcet, feline sounds of a one-eyed pirate and a yellow droplet of serial-killer level evil trying to hammer their way through the walls and rend him in twain. I think black-n-white cookie cat KNOWS this. I think he LIKES the sound of great furry bodies hurling themselves repeatedly into glass while releasing gut-wrenching Dante-esque yowlings of the damned. Makes him feel powerful.

These noises are NOT conducive to reworking the HUGE pile of raw, messy material I generated on this retreat. These noises are not conducive to ANYTHING actually, except generating my OWN fantasies of cat-rending, as I am close to rising up and smiting all three of them. AND YET...

4) ...and here we come to the MOTHER of bad ideas, instead of revising, I am surfing ADOPTABLE ANIMAL pR0n. Yes. While ACTIVELY wanting to murder my current cats and a stranger cat, I am skating around looking for YET ANOTHER BOX-POOPING DEMONSEED who needs a good home. Because my cats are so CLEARLY amenable to making new friends. I can tell by the way the windows by the door are awash in nose prints and enraged spittle.

I am going to SHUT DOWN PETFINDER before I end up bringing this fellow home simply because I am charmed by the idea of naming a cat who looks like this “Mister Boogernose.” I shall head over to THERAPE SALON to see if they can do something that isn’t a violent felony to my hair.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:50 AM | Comments (14)

February 2, 2010

In Which I am not Killed by Yetis

Hello! Did you miss me? I missed you. Let’s hug it out.

If you are wondering where I have been, no, I did not fall off the earth. OH WAIT, YES I DID! I drove up a mountain to an isolated cabin and literally fell right off the earth into a mountainous snowhole and couldn’t get the car out of it while an enormous blizzard swooped down from the Rockies and buried the house.

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Upside: We brought liquor.
More upside: I got about 18,000 words of my new novel drafted.
More upside: We were not killed by yetis.

It is Tuesday, so even though not being killed by yetis is not actually about fitness, I blogged the retreat events inarticulately and in tandem with Lydia over at Five Full Plates. Lydia says the word “yoga.” I say the word, “roll.” (MMMM, ROLLS.) So that seems topical enough.

Posted by joshilyn at 8:07 AM | Comments (11)