Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chores are lame and Top Ten list ...

'Tis Sunday. I am feeling fearless. And caffeinated. As such, I am wearing THIS, thanks to my darling friend Heather Hildenbrand, who delighted me with a marvelous and unexpected package a few weeks back:

Honey badger's gonna strip your skin and dine on your flesh. Notice my very sweet tattoos.
Yesterday was Saturday. Saturday is chore day. Long-time habit that I have carried forward like a bad debt into this modern life. I friggin' hate chores. I throw temper tantrums. I storm around the house. I harrumph and whine and snivel and complain about stupid, nasty chores like Gollum on a bender (at which time I am reminded by the Voice in My Head that I am just lucky to have a house to clean when there are so many who do not. BLAH BLAH BLAH.) Suck it.

When I was a tween and teen, Mother Dear had very strict rules about chores. Hell, daily dishes took two people an hour each to do (beyond washing the dishes, we had to clean the fronts of the cupboards, wash down the appliances and stove hood, clean the inside of the fridge and microwave, sweep and mop the floor, garbage out, recycling sorted, every single night -- it took forever. You're playing your pity violin for me now, aren't you ... ). There were so many things to do, she wrote them on cue cards and had them secured safe and sound in a little wooden recipe box that we were to consult, and then wipe down, every night. Lame.

Told you it was lame.

Anyway, like I said, chores suck, which is contradictory to my love of clean. Clean feet, clean hands, clean floors, clean everything. My body parts have memory. Touch a dirty handle, a debit PIN pad, or the gas pump, my hands remember until I get can get them Purell'd. Walk around without socks, my feet remember every speck of slop until I can get them washed. (In sock-free months, I wash my feet multiple times in a day. Maybe I was Hindu in my last life.) 

However, I do like chores when I find fun things, like missing cell phone chargers, pencils with fresh erasers (awesome), money (even more awesome), my only belt that's been missing for weeks (hence my dragging pants), unmatched socks ... Yesterday, there was a bonus in the pile: I found a list of possible topics for blog posts that I made a few years ago. I think I may have written it while drunk because I found it funny sober. And yes, you Judgey McJudgers, I have cleaned more than once in the last few years -- EVERY SATURDAY, REMEMBER? This list just happened to be stuffed in the pages of a journal that is perpetually untouched--I have a therapist; why do I need a journal?--under the leaning tower of books on my nightstand. You guys have those, too, right? Stacks of books that you're GOING to read when you get a spare few years? I had three such stacks in my room. They were toppling. Time to cut the cord and add them to the shelves in the living room. I promise I won't forget to read you, books ... Don't be sad. Mommy still loves you.

This sideways pile is on my desk, but there are others. Everywhere.
For one of these topics on the list, I actually wrote down more than just the idea. Bullet points, actually. (Again, likely drunk.) I will now share these with you as you might find them helpful. And I want nothing more in this life than to say that I helped someone, even if it means they have to lie through their teeth and steal money from their kids' piggy banks. I give you the tools; you design the execution. 

But I should preface this list, Top Ten Ways to Rid Yourself of Company, In No Particular Order with a little honesty: we never have company. It's been a long time. I guess no one likes us. Which is fine. I get very antsy when folks are in my space. I can't check e-mail obsessively or create genius when there are folks wanting to talk about the failed Canucks season or if it's ever going to warm up. (No, it's never going to warm up. We live in BC. Deal.)

So without further ado, I give you, Top Ten Ways, etc., inspired by true-life events.

10. "Don't mind the roaches. Just leave the light on. They hate light."

9. "I've got this weird rash. The doctor said the smear was positive, but he's pretty sure it's not the flesh-eating variety."

8. "That noise? That's just the teen gangs at the juvenile hall dance tonight. Don't worry -- they only slash tires on street-parked cars on Fridays."

7. "That's the neighbor with the massive crossbow collection. Don't make eye contact!"

6. "You thought we had running water? No, I said we had water running through the yard! It's from the septic. Backed up again."

5. "You want to see our cat skull collection?"

4. Look at your company and ask: "What's for dinner? I could make hamburgers, but I told you about that rash ..."

3. "Check out this porn site -- it's free! And all those animals are legal. They have a rep from the ASPCA on set."

2. "Ever made a snuff film?"

1. "Your timing is perfect. My Star Trek club meets here in half an hour!"

And a bonus, just in case these don't work: "You guys swing, right?"

You. Are. Welcome.

Xs and Os ...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

WENDIG! In which I review AND interview ... is this real life?

Morning, lovelies.

Yes, yes, I know. Two posts in under a week. I AM ON A ROLL. (Speaking of rolls, wanna go for donuts ...? I'm freakin' starving. What -- donuts and rolls are related. Right? Hell, in my world, everything's related to donuts.)

So, YEAH -- about a year ago, I stumbled upon a blog that is an equal ratio of awesome and paint thinner, and I became a rabid-bordering-on-stalkerish follower of everything the blog's owner had to say. As you may or may not know, I occasionally review books for, a fine site for all things bookish. I'd review more books, but book reviews take a lot out of me. Like, a lot. I can't eat the donuts fast enough or maintain my coffee-to-blood quotient, even with a straw, to compensate for the energy I lose when I write a book review. 

"But, Jenn, that's so lame -- I write a book review every single day on my blog."

Well, that's because you're better at it than me. Or at the very least, faster. Because my book reviews are pretty awesome, I must say. (Aaaaaaand I think I just pulled a muscle patting myself on the back. Just put a donut on it. Maple eases cramps. Ahhhhh, perfect, thanks.)

No, what I mean is, I try to review awesome books. I've read a lot of books in the last few years that I never mentioned another word about. Why? 'Cuz they sucked. I'm a hypocrite, I know -- a reviewer is supposed to provide positive AND negative feedback so that book buyers know what to grab and what to slide past. But ... I'm also a writer, and I don't need to piss off other writers by coming out and saying, "Well, yeah, this and that and this other thing really sucked about this book." Can you imagine the lynching? It's bad enough that I've made such fun of a certain writer of sparkling vampires. (Dude, I totally can't help it.) Maybe when I have a real career behind me, I can rip and shred without impunity. But for now, I provide what are more aptly called "recommendations" as I don't want you to waste time nor pennies on suckage. Life's too short. Pennies are too hard to come by. And I am super hard to please. I just am. I was born that way.

THE POINT IS (God, this used to piss my ex-husband off, how I ramble circuitously -- of course, the fact that he didn't know what the word "circuitous" meant is one of the reasons we're divorced. Well, that and the fact that he cheated on me ... oopsie!), is that the Amazing Blog Dude I mentioned above wrote a BOOK, and his publicist sent LitStack a review copy with the option of an interview on the side. Then my editor, a charmer named Tee, e-mailed and said, "Hey, who wants this?" And I jumped up and down in my chair, arm almost reaching the cobwebs on the ceiling light fixture (I have long arms), bouncing so hard one of the screws fell out of the bottom of said chair and I tumbled to the ground and chipped a tooth and impaled my cheek on the dislodged screw. But it didn't MATTER because I wanted Tee to pick ME.

And she did! Yay, me!

So, CHUCK WENDIG wrote a book, called Blackbirds. Here's the summary from his publisher Angry Robot

Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.

But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.

No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

And in response to this book, I wrote a REVIEW, found on 

When you're done with the review, done with sprinting to Amazon to buy the book, then you can read the INTERVIEW. Why? Because I ask really important, mind-blowing questions and Chuck is, well, fabulous. (Although, I must admit, the guy from LitReactor did a better job with his interview. GAWD! SUCKS! I NEED CHAPSTICK! Aaaaand, scene. Thank you, Napoleon Dynamite!)

Guys, DISCLAIMER (if you need more warning than what the review provides for you): Chuck Wendig sees the world through a rather twisted lens, and his comedy is not for those of you who blush and say, "Oh my, that boy is so rude" whilst cooling yourself with your Delta Burke-inspired, Georgia-peach, articulated fan. That is why I think he is my long-lost brother and I am his long-forgotten, not-nearly-as-funny, slightly-older sister who was left at the Orphanage of Funny-looking Babies. Hey, we all have idols, right? Even though it's against God's law? Admit it. You want your ass to look as good as Beyonce's, your wife to look at you like I look at Mark Strong, your words to flow like [insert favorite author here]. IDOLS. YOU'VE GOT THEM. You're stronger for confessing. Here, have a donut.

So, yeah ... there you have it. PROOF that I do indeed work. There is other proof, but I can't show it to you yet because a proper girl never shares her secrets. You're just going to have to take my word for it.

Xs and Os ...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New novel by comrade Heather Hildenbrand: WHISPER

Howdy, friends ... 

So I don't ordinarily do this, simply because I don't have time and I don't think of it until it's too late and 'cuz mostly I just don't like to pimp books on the blog as not all my friends are book junkies.

HOWEVER: My dear, darling friend Heather has a new book out. It's called Whisper, and it's a very special story about a girl named, uh, Whisper, who is learning to live again in the face of overwhelming, life-altering tragedy. It's sad, but heartfelt and real.

"But, Jenn, there are lots of stories like that. If I want to read something that will make me cry, I'll pick up The Notebook or any other sapfest by Nicholas Sparks. Besides, crying is overrated. It makes mascara run and noses swell and turn red."

Sometimes it's necessary, though. My girl Heather--she's cool. We met online last year when I started out with Sleight, and became fast friends. We're a threesome--Heather Hildenbrand, Angeline Kace, and me--who've become buddies, dare I say "book sisters," and they're the first gals I turn to when I'm in between therapy appointments. Yes, they're that lovely.

Last year, Heather announced she was pregnant, due in December. Naturally Ang and I were thrilled for Heather and her family, and for the duration of 2011, we eagerly awaited updates from prenatal visits and news of a kicking baby and photos of Heather's swollen feet and the nursery preparations and even received an invite to the baby shower, though it was held in Virginia, a long ways from me.

In December Heather was scheduled for a C-section. We were ecstatic as the days closed in on Herman's birthday ... and then it was upon us. We waited for news, stalked Facebook and Twitter, e-mailed back and forth: "Have you heard anything?" "No. Have you?" "Not yet." After hours of no news, Ang and I started to get nervous.

And then we found out why.

Known as Herman throughout the pregnancy, Tyler was born chubby and with a head full of black hair and the sweetest face ... and a massive heart problem.

He died five days later.

Heather has not been shy about this tragedy. She has handled it with grace and aplomb and the biggest balls I have ever seen on a woman who just lost her child. She has good days and bad days, but the most impressive thing is, she makes it through every single one of them and is stronger at the other end, even on days when she's not. It's truly remarkable that she is able to put one foot in front of the other, that she has not caved to her despair, that she cries when she's sad and yells when she's mad and hugs her kids and makes dinner and writes BOOKS ... all for Tyler. Because, as she says so eloquently on her blog, she wants to be the mom that Tyler would've wanted her to be.

In the few months since Tyler passed, Heather has been writing. Call it her salvation, if you want. I think she might be so bold as to refer to it as such. The product is Whisper, and it is unique in its depth and the very real way that the character deals with her own tragedy. It is a story for young adults--it's clean, i.e., no excessive swearing, no drinking/drugs/issues. It has supernatural elements, a genre that Heather is best known for, but underneath the magic and the legend is a girl who is in pain, who finds her way out of the shadows so that she may once again find peace. Boil this down, and the sugar left in the bottom of the pot is about moving forward. Just as Heather is doing every single day. Not forgetting, but adapting. Being the best Heather she can be.

We could all be so smart.

Whisper goes on sale April 19 for your e-reading devices. Heather's blog is HERE, or you can grab a copy via Amazon US or Amazon UK. Barnes & Noble is taking a little longer but I will add an edit at the bottom of this post when that link is available.

ADDENDUM: Barnes & Noble buyers can get Whisper HERE. Thank you!!!