Two MicroPoems about Two Wasted Girls at a Concert

Saw two things at a concert last weekend that were poem-worthy.  1) Really skinny girl (like drugged-out skinny) dancing spastically (like drugged-out dancing) fall on her face.  2) Middle-aged woman bend over, put her hands on the ground, and shake her (huge) butt in the air, then stand up and proceed to smack her own (huge) butt repeatedly.

Thank you, substance abusers, for the inspiration.  Now, please go get some counseling while I write these poems in your honor.

 

Messed up rock concert girl,
Spin-art eyes awash with chemical bliss;
Spastic, writhing dance,
Releasing demons to the beat.

by Edie Montgomery-Pool

 

Liquid denial.
Each sip washes a year from her memory but not her body.
Her sexy drunken dance now just a
Drunken dance.

by Edie Montgomery-Pool

Zoo Sex Spammers – Maybe You Should Re-Think Your Business Plan

I just got 67 spam messages for:

  • animal sex
  • horse sex
  • zoo sex

Somebody went to a lot of trouble to set up sites for these subjects and send out thousands of messages all across the web.  So, what I’m wondering is…is there really that big of a market for this that it’s even worth it???

Free business advice for sicko porn peddlers:  I’m not going to visit your site either way, but I suggest you stick to housewives, college girls, and twins.  It doesn’t take a marketing genius to figure out that’s probably where the money is.

Romance Author, Nicola Marsh

Today I’m shining the author spotlight on romance writer, Nicola Marsh.  Nicola currently writes for Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance and Modern Heat/Presents series, and has published 20 books and sold over a million copies worldwide.  Nicola is a full-time mommy, as well as a full-time writer.  She says on her website, nicolamarsh.com:

In the ideal world, I would write the whole day (what bliss!) Instead, I have a family to raise so my work day starts at 8.30 pm when the little ones are down for the night. I write for a few hours, longer if I’m on a roll or facing a deadline. Sleep is a distant memory.

You can find out more about this talented and prolific author at the website above, or read this author interview in the Sue’s Clues section of the website, Romance Readers at Heart.  See a list of available romance novels by Nicola Marsh at amazon.com.

I rarely read traditional romance, but after reading a description at cataromance.com of Two Weeks in the Magnate’s Bed, I’m very interested in getting this book!

Nicola Marsh also twitters at twitter.com/NicolaMarsh.

Best Blog Ever (Besides Mine of Course)

I think I have possibly found the best blog ever:  Be More Fancy.  I love the style the blog is done in, with crazy photos throughout each post that serve to emphasize whatever subject matter is being discussed.  The writing style, too, is wonderful.  See for yourself:

I woke up last night to a bad dream. Well, I guess I went to bed with it. It was hovering, I recognized it knocking on me and could not pin it down or Jedi mind trick it away.

The previous is from a post called I am so stressed! Venting!  Be More Fancy is written by “Ms Smart.”  A peek at Ms Smart’s profile gives us a clue as to why her blog is also quite smart (and fancy).  Ms Smart is a Director in Adverstising in L.A.  Ahhh…good job Ms Smart.  Love love love the blog.

Ms Smart also twitters at twitter.com/MsSmart.

Twitter Addicts – Why Your Brain is Forcing You to Tweet

I once heard a news story about some sports star who was caught doing crack cocaine.  He told reporters he became addicted the very first time he did the drug.  I remember thinking, “Wow!  That’s powerful stuff.”

And now that same thing has happened to me. Except not with crack cocaine, but with something much more powerful. I’m addicted to Twitter. And I was from the very first time I used it.

I’ve been on Twitter for 5 days.  And when I say I’ve been on it for 5 days, I mean I’ve been on it non-stop for 5 days!  I’ve posted 66 tweets, followed over 200 people (people whose tweets I read), and about 60 of them have followed me back.  I’ve ignored stuff I really needed to be doing so that I could devote as much as my time as possible to Twitter.

I know one of the key steps in facing your addiction is to take responsibility, but really it’s not my fault.  Scientific studies done at the Washington State University and the University of Michigan back me up.  A recent article on these and similar studies on slate.com called Seeking, How the Brain Hard-wires Us to Love Google, Twitter, and Texting explains…

…in some addictions the brain becomes sensitized to the wanting cycle of a particular reward. So addicts become obsessively driven to seek the reward, even as the reward itself becomes progressively less rewarding once obtained.

The article goes on to state:

…all our electronic communication devices—e-mail, Facebook feeds, texts, Twitter—are feeding the same drive as our searches. Since we’re restless, easily bored creatures, our gadgets give us in abundance qualities the seeking/wanting system finds particularly exciting.

If you’re a Twitter addict (or blogging or other computer addict), click the link above to read the article.  As for me, I’m headed over to twitter.com.

(P.S. I found the link to the above-mentioned article on Twitter.) 😉

Funny Short Story About What Happens to Displaced CEOs

The latest edition of the literary journal, Word Riot, is out, and it includes a short-story/flash-fiction piece called CEO by Billy Middleton.  I thought this was cleverly written…

“I adopted a corporate CEO from the local shelter. He was let out on the street after his company folded, was picked up rooting through dumpsters, running through busy intersections. The volunteer at the shelter told me he was unfriendly…”

To read the rest of the story or hear the story read to you by the author, go here.

Twitter…I’ve Been Assimilated

So when Twitter first came out, I was like, “Yeah!  I have to get on that.”  Then everyone started tweeting, and I was like, “Nah, I don’t want to do it now that everyone is doing it.” 

But then the peer pressure got to me.  So, what I’m trying to say is that I’m now on Twitter.  In my usual semi-literary/semi-literate style, I’ve signed up under the name MeWriteWords.  Feel free to cyberstalk me.

Tooty Nolan’s Unique Fiction Now Available in E-books!

You might remember Tooty Nolan from my previous post, Hamster Fiction — The Next Big Thing?  This author’s books are now available for download for under two dollars.  If you’ve ever read his innovative and often bawdy and humorous work, you’ll know that’s a bargain.

If you haven’t read his work, check out the author’s new blog, Oh Look – It’s Tooty Nolan Again!, where you’ll find selected chapters from all of his books, including the brand new story, The Psychic Historian.  (Purchase the e-book here, or read extracts from The Psychic Historian here).  Tooty Nolan warns in his book description:

Warning: Contains Ribald material. Not suitable for younger children or prudes.

Support this struggling author and buy a book.  Or, if you can’t spare the cash right now but you like his stories, leave a comment on his blog and let him know.  Authors need cash, love, and feedback.  Do what you can.

Wade’s Writing Women

Wade RouseWade’s Writing Women
by Wade Rouse

 

I have two women to blame for my lot in life: Erma Bombeck and my mother.

Both conspired, it seems, to make me not only a writer but a damn humorist. (And if you think art and books are subjective, try humor.)

As a kid, I used to write about everything going on around me in my tiny Ozarks town: Whether I was forced to go cowtippin’ with the country boys or watch my mom the nurse make dinner in her bloody scrubs, it seemed to be only the only way I could make sense of the world.

For a while when I was young, I called my mom “Digit,” because she became infamous in our little town for being the go-to gal whenever a local cut off a toe with a lawnmower, or whacked off a finger with a chainsaw.

My mother would answer our giant red, rotary phone, the kind presidents use in comedy skits when they are about to launch a nuclear bomb, and calmly say, “Do you have your big toe? Well, can you locate it? Good!”

And then she would rush out of the house, often barefoot, in a nightgown, with a little Igloo cooler filled with ice. She would retrieve the detached digit, and personally rush the injured idiot to the ER of the neighboring hospital where she worked.

She, of course, eventually found my journal entries about her, and ended up – one morning when I was inhaling a bowl of Quisp for breakfast – shoving the daily paper in front of my nose.

“You need to read Erma,” she sighed.

I immediately adored her.

From that point on, I was devoted to Erma Bombeck’s column, “At Wit’s End,” in our small-town newspaper, and even clipped a few of my favorites to adorn my corkboard wall.

Though I was very young, maybe 11 or 12 at the time, Erma connected deeply with me.

She was a humorist and human who made the mundane memorable.

She wrote about family and food, laundry and life.

She wrote about everyday stuff with which I could relate.

For instance, “The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank” was funny, yes, like its title, but it was also deeper: Along with daily suburban family issues, Erma tackled diet and self-image in this book.

And for a chubby little gay boy in the middle of nowhere who had a fondness for ascots and dreams of being a writer, I found a role model in a middle-aged mother who seemed to be dealing with just as many self-esteem issues as I was.

Actually, make that two middle-aged mothers.

From that day my mom led me to Erma, I wrote and journaled more earnestly about my life, yet I always tried to do it with humor, just like she did. I found laughter softened the pain, made life seem so much more bearable, even through incredible tragedy.

And that would be a fortuitous lesson. The summer my older brother graduated from high school, he was killed. That was followed in subsequent years by the deaths of my mom’s father and sister.

When my mother seemed no longer able to laugh, to dream, I made it my sole goal to bring her back to life. I read to her from Erma. I read to her from my journals. I held her hand. We became more than mother-son, we became friends.

I vividly remember the New Year’s Day in 2005 when I stood in front of my city mailbox clutching a fistful of query letters after I’d spent two years completing my first memoir, AMERICA’S BOY. It was cold, and I was shivering, but not because of the temperature. I was nearly 40. I hated my job. And my mom was tired, after having lost a son too early, of her only remaining child being unhappy, unfulfilled, not living his dream.

“Here’s to rejection!” I said, waving my query letters.

“Here’s to dreams coming true!” my mom had said.

She forced my hand into the mailbox, made me drop the letters, and then promptly slammed the slot on my fingers.

“Thanks, Digit!” I told my mom. “I’m glad you’re here, so you can save my fingers, or I’d just be all nubs and unable to type the letters H, J, M, N, U or Y, forever knocking words like ‘hominy’ and ‘yum,’ from my vocabulary.”

“This is meant to be,” she said, laughing. “And, I’m retired now anyway. Really, how many times are you ever going to write, ‘I love hominy. Yum!’”

Two weeks later, I had three formal offers of representation from literary agents, and a few months later – when I went to visit my agent for the very first time in New York – I was overwhelmed by what greeted me when I entered her office: Knee-high stacks of manuscripts and packages swallowed the lobby.

“This is what you were picked from,” I was told. “The slush pile.”

But, oddly, that didn’t overwhelm me; it emboldened me. It made me realize that if I – an odd Midwestern boy with zero connections in the publishing and literary world – could get his foot in the door, then anyone with talent, drive, thick skin, and a gut-wrenching desire simply to write, could do the same.

“People are going to read about you now, mom,” I told my mom after I returned from New York. “And some of it’s not pretty.”

“Good!” she told me. “Life isn’t pretty, sweetie. It’s life. That’s why you better have a damn good sense of humor.”

My mother passed away this June, but only after seeing my current memoir, AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM, featured on NBC’s Today Show as a Summer Must-Read Selection.

“To dreams!” she had said from her hospital bed. “And laughter.”

Though my mom and Erma are both now gone from my life much too soon, they remain with me: They continue to make me laugh, think, dream, and appreciate the fragility and foibles of people and life.

Because those are things that are most beautiful: The imperfections in each of us.

And that’s what I still try and remember every day, focus on in each and every memoir: I write about everyday life from a unique perspective – with a whopping dose of humor and cynicism – touching upon those themes that touch us all, be it unconditional love, loss, family, sex, relationships, jobs, self-esteem, neuroses, dreams. I believe that the very best books force us to hold a mirror up to our collective faces and take a good long hard look at what’s reflected back.

And that image always looks so much better if we somehow manage to smile, even through all those damn tears.

***

Wade Rouse is the author of three, critically-acclaimed memoirs, including America’s Boy, Confessions of A Prep School Mommy Handler, and his latest, At Least in the City Somone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life, about two neurotic urbanites that quit their jobs, and leave the city, cable and consumerism behind in order to move to the Michigan woods and recreate a modern-day Walden. At Least in the City Somone Would Hear Me Scream has already been named a Summer Must-Read by the Today Show, Detroit Free-Press, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Out Magazine, Chicago Magazine, St. Louis Magazine, Frontiers Magazine and bestselling memoirist Jen Lancaster’s “Jennsylvania” blog.  For more information about this author, visit Wade Rouse’s official author website at waderouse.com or read Wade Rouse’s blog.

Publishing Her First Novel, An Interview with Maureen Lipinski

Maureen Lipinski is the author of A Bump in the Road: From Happy Hour to Baby Shower.  The story follows Clare, a mildly famous blogger and newlywed, who discovers she’s pregnant after a getaway in Vegas.  Even though I have no desire to ever get pregnant (thank you very much), this book looks like it would be great for me or anyone looking for a fun read, as Clare deals with things we all deal with in daily life, like crazy friends, crazier in-laws, and a stressful job to top it all off.

I was especially interested to get Maureen’s feedback about the publishing industry since this is her debut novel and she’s new to the whole publishing process.  Here’s the interview…

 

1. Writing a novel is a huge investment of time with no guarantee of any publication or payoff. What was it that made you decide to go for it and write that first book?

Writing a book has always been a life-long dream of mine. My goal was always to have my first book published while I was in my twenties. So, when I was 25, I decided it was time to get cracking! But, seriously, my motivation was the dream I had since I was a little girl of seeing my name in print.

 

2. You have a 2-book deal (congratulations!) and yet are still looking to work full time while you write upcoming novels.  How lucrative or non-lucrative is the novel-writing business in your opinion?

To be frank, it can take a long, long time before writing brings in enough money to be a sole source of income. Consider that the average advance for a first-time writer is between $5,000 to $10,000 per book. Of course, there are a few debut writers who hit the publishing jackpot and get huge advances, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

Not to mention, advances usually get paid piecemeal, so that amount is spread out over a couple of years. And don’t forget to throw in taxes and 15% to your agent. It’s definitely nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not the kind of money where quitting a day job is usually feasible. Of course, there are royalties, but those don’t come until well after a book is published. From what I’ve heard, it usually takes a few books in print for an author to write full-time.

 

3. Did you submit to publishing houses yourself or did you get an agent first and how did you go about it?

After my mansucript was primped, polished and ready to be released upon the world, I started looking for an agent. I knew that agents are the gatekeepers to the publishing world, and could open so many more doors than I could myself. I first crafted a query letter–a pitch letter of sorts–to send to agents. Then, I compiled a list of agents I wanted to contact. I found querytracker.com and absolutewrite.com to be invaluable in my search. I was lucky; I only queried for a couple of weeks before I found my fabulous agent, Holly Root of the Waxman Agency.

 

4. Can you briefly describe the process of getting your work into print once it was accepted? Did you do a lot of meetings or did you mostly handle things by phone or online? What were the steps involved?

After the obligatory champagne popping once we received an offer, my agent set to work finalizing the contracts for the books. A couple of months later, I received my first editorial letter from my editor. It outlined big picture items like theme and also line-edits, which question word choice and smaller, “detail-oriented” items. We did one more round before it went to copyedits. I have nothing but the utmost respect for copyeditors–they catch the most miniscue errors! After that, I received pass pages–the copy laid out so it looked like a real book. There was much excitement at seeing my words look like a, well, book.

For the most part, the process was handled electronically.

 

5. What about the business of publishing surprised you the most? Was there anything about the way it works that was totally unexpected?

Good grief, the waiting! The pace of publishing is glacial! It’s like one long chapter of Waiting for Godot.

 

6. Besides your editor, how many people do you work with on a regular basis in connection with publishing and publicizing your books and what are their roles?

Besides my editor, the person I work most closely with is my publicist at St. Martin’s, Katy Hershberger. She’s fantastic! She handles all of the interviews, sending review copies out, writes the press releases and makes media contacts. She’s been a dream to work with and I really consider myself very lucky to have her in my corner.

 

7. What advice would you give to new authors about getting their foot in the door of the publishing world?

I would let them know that they don’t have to have a huge platform to get their foot in the door, for fiction at least. I had zero contacts in the publishing world when I was querying agents. If you write a great book with a good hook and have a solid query, you will get published. It’s that simple.

 

8. I know you are heavily involved in online promotion. What advice would you give to authors in regards to promoting their work on the internet?

I always say to just do what you enjoy and find rewarding. Too many writers get bogged down worrying about trying to do everything–facebook, myspace, twitter, blogging, etc. It can be overwhelming at times–not to mention very distracting. Just focus on what you find to be of value.

 

9. What is the craziest, weirdest, or funniest thing that has happened to you as a result of your writing career?

It might not seem that crazy, weird or funny to other people, but I’ll never forget the day when the finished copies of my book arrived on my doorstep. It was so surreal to open the box and see my little book, all shiny and pretty, sitting there. It was even more surreal when my two-year-old walked over, picked up a copy of the book, looked at my picture and said, “That’s Mama!” It was awesome.

 

10. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about your experiences?

I would just like to remind everyone to keep pursuing your goals–dreams really DO come true! One way to guarantee you won’t get published is to quit. So don’t.

 

To find out more about this author, you can visit Maureen Lipinski’s homepage or read Maureen Lipinski’s blog.  Lipinski also writes for the collaborative blog, The Novel Girls, which is run by an all-female group of novelists.