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.

Fame or fortune

Two years ago I quit my job before they could fire me. My bosses seemed to have a problem with an employee who couldn’t open a CD wrapper in less than two hours. (In my defense, they use industrial strength plastic and tape that could support a fully-grown walrus.)

Since then, I stubbornly give myself little tests to see if I’ve still got it. Yesterday, after watching a football mascot doing push-ups in the end zone, I decided to try for one push-up. I assumed the position, arms outstretched, back straight, but somehow the brakes on my elbows failed. I don’t remember gravity being so heavy.

Desperate for a source of income that didn’t involve deadlines, push-ups, or CD wrappers, I embarked on my writing career. Unlike my abilities in high finance, I’m an excellent writer. Unfortunately, in my daughter’s words, “Your promotion team sucks!” First off, I taught her not to smass her elders. Secondly, she makes a valid (if somewhat cruel) point.

Just once, I thought, I’d like to see my name in lights. That just goes to show that Christmas wishes can come true. Christmas Eve Day I went to a book signing at Swift Books in Orangeburg for Box of Rocks. The owners and staff were amazing, but the holiday shoppers were preoccupied with stupid stuff like rushing to get home to their families, so they averted their eyes and sprinted past me like a herd of gazelle. One woman, fully laden with gift bags hurtled the mall bench to cross to the opposite side. I bet she could do more than one push-up.

With holiday sales of Kindles, Nooks, and iThis-and-Thats through the roof this year, (and in the interest of getting my daughter off my back) I thought I’d share with you some nice things that people have recently said (without any coercion or money changing hands) about Box of Rocks, which is available for every electronic reader known to man.

Move over Janet Evanovich, Karla Telega’s new book surprises like an ACME anvil! … Box of Rocks is a fast-paced, smartly detailed, and gut-bustingly funny mystery, and I really hope there’s a sequel!

Allizabeth Collins of The Paperback Pursuer

If you love a mystery with a southern drawl, with characters that jump off the page, and dialogue that will keep you laughing then you’re going to love “Box Of Rocks.”

Brenda of The WV Stitcher

Author Karla Telega does an amazing job with the characters—not just with the personalities she creates but also in how she adeptly intertwines their lives. I was pleasantly surprised by Cher and Maggie. Although they are older women, they come across as very hip and modern. Most readers will think it would be fun to hang out with them.

Leslie Granier for Reader Views

And one of my favorite reviewers:

The book hinges on the quality of its characters, and particularly on the friendship and chemistry between Maggie and Cher, who are its greatest strength … Murder and danger drive the plot along, but she uses a healthy dose of humor along the way.

William Kendall of Speak of the Devil

Thanks to all those who took the time to read and review Box of Rocks. I can think of no better testimonial than the opinions of people who love to read. Thanks also to all of you readers. Your visits here make all the lying blogging worthwhile. I would like to wish you all health and happiness in the New Year.