Do it wrong the first time

brain A brief anatomy lesson: I have a hard time finding a hat that fits, because I was cursed with a freakishly large melon head. Honestly, my neck has to put in overtime to keep my head from sinking down to my shoulders. People only use about 10% of their brains. If my head is bigger, my brain is bigger, ergo, my 10% is bigger than the average homo sapien’s. I should think that I would have a leg up on delicate-framed super models who have to shop for their hats in the children’s section.

It also means that I have more brain cells to devote to self-doubt, fear, and why some people wear their pajamas to Uber-Mart. (You know who you are.) That’s why I’m especially grateful for people who take the time to write reviews for my books.

Objectivity for a writer is about as rare as snakes on a plane. (Don’t believe everything you see at the movies.) Humor is anything but objective. By the time you edit the hell out of your manuscript and re-read it until your eyes bleed, the jokes seem pretty lame. It’s such a relief to get a confirmation from someone other than your mother. I’d like to share a very nice review I received yesterday from Grady Harp, one of the top reviewers at Amazon.

I NEVER DROVE A BULLDOZER: THERE’S A HOLE IN MY BUCKET LIST is not only incredibly hilarious, it also touches on the issues of those of us who are somewhere between declining gonadal function and trying to remember which retirement home has a sale on for the Golden Years.

A good review is a two-edged sword. A nice pat on the back, and the expectation that the next book will win the Pulitzer prize (or at least not suck). When soul-crushing self-doubt has me dragging my feet, I have to keep telling myself that the first draft is supposed to be wrong. Otherwise my brain cells will spontaneously combust with the effort of thinking up excuses not to write that next book.

I don’t think there’s any writer who has never felt insecure about their books. The good news: I won’t be getting the big head anytime soon, or have to invest in a three-man dome tent next time I go hat shopping.

P.S. Take a moment to check out the cool book trailer I made for Box of Rocks on the sidebar (with the butterfly). The plot is a little thin, but the special effects are amazing. I’m thinking Oscar.

No news is bad news

OK, so getting the tomato soup stains out of my white blouse may not be newsworthy, but they were as resistant as mutant super cockroaches (film at 11:00). Nevertheless, I spent the weekend perusing the help menu at Mail Chimp – a site for sending out email campaigns.

Look at any marketing websites, and they’ll tell you flat out that if you don’t have a mailing list, your career will fade into obscurity faster than that of The Turtles. (A sixties band whose only big hit was “So Happy Together.” Their other claim to fame was having the only top 100 song to find a rhyme for et cetera.) I’d just like to get my career out of obscurity, and find a rhyme for orange.

Spurred on by my need to start pimping the hell out of let people know about my new book, I went through my list of website subscribers and weeded out roughly 100 email addresses from spammers like I spent the rest of my weekend dragging, dropping, cutting, and pasting my way to fame.

Unfortunately, Mail Chimp likes to bombard new subscribers with initial emails:

  • Confirm your subscription
  • Confirmation of your confirmation
  • Thank you for subscribing
  • Welcome new subscriber
  • Confirmation of your restraining order

They have all the elements I need, but navigating around their website is like running through the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disneyland 47 times. Consequently, I’m very proud of my forms, my newsletter, and my self-restraint for not beating my computer with a garden rake, setting it on fire, and tossing it in the lake.

mail chimp sign up form banner

If you want to subscribe to my newsletter, you can either put your email in the subscribe box at the top of the side bar on the right (updates on new posts and newsletters), or click here for newsletters only. New subscribers will receive an uncensored excerpt from my book, I Never Drove a Bulldozer, complete with a picture of me in the shower. Best of all, if you don’t want to take out a restraining order, there’s an unsubscribe button too. Turns out I’m easier to get rid of than mutant cockroaches.

Bring it!


As we completed our filing on Turbo Tax this weekend, a very colorful graphic came up. It was a scale to measure the likelihood of an audit. We rang the bell on the red danger zone. Normally, something like this would send me into a catatonic state. This time, it hardly elicited an eye twitch.

Do you hear that, Mr. IRS man? I’m not afraid of you. I have a very well paid CPA on speed dial to attest to the fact that I suck at being a small business owner. I’d rather pay taxes on money I’ve earned over the year, but if I just get taxes back for money I’ve lost, I can live with that.

I can sleep well on the knowledge that I stimulated the hell out of the economy last year-all in the name of doing business. I replaced my geriatric diesel-powered computer, paid for advertising, stayed at a very ritzy hotel for a conference, and generally threw money around like I was told that I only had one week to live. Uncle Sam owes me.

I saw an article about an Oregon man who claims that his female IRS agent seduced him, then didn’t even help him with his audit. While this may make me question the integrity of an IRS agent, who clearly should have cut him some slack (unless he was a real loser in bed), it still doesn’t make me fear a possible audit.

I watch TV commercials where people pretty much admit that they’ve cheated on their taxes for ten years and now owe the government $300,000. They go to a tax consultant who is able to lower their debt to the price of a tall mocha latte (no cinnamon). Don’t they know that they’re robbing the government of the money that it needs to declare August National Toe Fungus Awareness Month? How can our elected officials afford to establish wild squirrel preserves in Utah? These people have no shame.

If the IRS can’t shake down Mr. Mocha Latte for the money he owes, they don’t have a prayer of getting past my airtight alibi: that I really am just that bad at running a small business. So bring your calculators and rubber hoses – I can take it. And if you’re reading this, Mr. IRS agent, I’m pretty good in bed.

Fish or chicken?

I’ve been through a lot of buffet lines in my lifetime. The offerings may vary, but there is one universal constant. Someone ahead of me in line will look thoughtfully into a chaffing dish and ask, “Is this fish or chicken?”

They seem to take an inordinate amount of time pondering the nature of said mystery dish, before poking it experimentally as if they expect the meat to leap out and attach itself to their face. I should point out that this is a guy thing. When faced with the choice of fight or flight, most guys opt instead for poking.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

In their defense, some buffet items do bear an uncanny resemblance to creatures you’d find in a Dean Koontz book. You might ask, “Why should this matter to me?” Don’t make me come over there and smack you. Do you really want to bite into a nice juicy steak, only to find out it’s last week’s catch of the day?

More and more, the food service industry must cater to a growing demographic of people whose arteries will clog up from just looking at gravy. Caterers are forced to serve meat that is gray, skinless, boneless, and flavorless.

Let’s break it down for those of you with the culinary IQ of the average kidney bean.

  • Is it coated with a thick layer of bread crumbs? Fish
  • Is it slightly watery when you lift it out of the dish? Fish
  • Is there a bowl of lemon wedges sitting next to the tray? Fish
  • Does it look like a giant squid? Alien creature

Everything else is either chicken or cocktail weenies. Differentiating between the two is beyond the scope of this course.

Next time you’re in the buffet line, you can confidently assure your fellow diners that they are not eating liver, tripe, or road kill. Just be sure to keep the tongs handy in case you see something that looks like squid.

The joke’s on you

I actually went to Wikipedia to look up the origins of April Fool’s Day. I know, right? Me, doing research for a blog? One story of how the “holiday” started came from The Canterbury Tales. The day is set “Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two.” That Chaucer couldn’t fpell for beanf, which is probably why I never read thif fnooze feft. Continue reading

You’re invited!

book launch small

I’m very excited to announce the launch of my first ever humor book, I Never Drove a Bulldozer / There’s a Hole in my Bucket List. We’ll be partying down at my Telega Tales Facebook site.

Set aside Thursday evening, April 11, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm EDT for a chance to have some fun, learn more about my book, give me a pat on the back (not required, but strongly suggested), and win some cool prizes (no, there will not be a pony). You can come and go as you wish during that time. I’ll be sending out Facebook invitations, but I’d love to see you, even if you don’t get one. Just show up – bring your friends!

Hope to see you all there!

Social insecurity

Editor’s note: I had my daughter read this before posting, and her response was, “Meh, whatever.” I take that as permission to heartlessly exploit her.

facebook My daughter is staying with me while she’s looking for a new job – one that pays well enough so she doesn’t have to live in a tent with a steady diet of road kill and pop tarts (strawberry – unfrosted). She doesn’t have enough money to go out and party, so this means we’re together A LOT! Desperate for a pastime that doesn’t include helping her mother fold laundry, clip coupons, or pluck nose hairs, she finally considered social networking. Continue reading

ask David is featuring Box of Rocks today!

I’m so excited about this advertising venue. Even if you’ve read the book, please take a moment to click the link and go see the majestic feature. For my author friends, this is an awesome advertising opportunity – and it’s free.

Looking for a fun, fast-moving mystery? Go to ask David and check out Box of Rocks (A Maggie Gorski Mystery)

Dromedaries gone wild

I’ve never been on the cutting edge of fashion. My normal winter attire consists of jeans, sweatshirts, rag socks, and a truly hideous fuzzy bathrobe. After menopause, my weight shot up 20 pounds, and I did what most women do: I kept a crowbar in the closet to pry myself into my jeans for as long as I could before giving up and buying a larger size.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I freely admit to sporting camel toes and muffin tops in the meantime. I’m not proud of it. Recently I’ve managed to lose five pounds, which equates to one bag of flour and a little shame. My jeans no longer feel like instruments of torture. (I’d sing like a canary if anyone so much as threatened me with the rack, scraping their fingernails on a blackboard, or liver and onions.)

My daughter told me about a friend who had to explain to her 80 year-old mother what camel toes are. I can only imagine the conversation.

Continue reading