Word Association

Clearly, I’ve been a bit AWOL– swept up in a few real-life issues and neglecting my poor little blog.

I’ve been singing all day about buying a Corolla. I have no actual intention of doing so. And, no, it’s not a jingle.

In the words of Adrian Monk, here’s what happened:

A couple of weeks ago, my family met at a restaurant to celebrate my mother’s birthday. A Mexicanesque place called “Uncle Julio’s”

Which led to a discussion between my mother’s first cousin and my own first cousin. My mother’s cousin had “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard” stuck in her head, due to the restaurant name. My cousin, being a young thing, had never heard of the song.

Turns out, neither had my husband.

The conversation went on long enough that on our way home, my husband demanded I sing the song for him. He loves it. And ever since, he’s been asking me to sing it, he’s been humming it often, trying to sing it himself.

Here’s the problem with that… he doesn’t remember the words.

Unstymied, he makes up his own as he goes along.

Which is why, as the song lodges itself in my noggin, instead of
“Goodbye to Ro-o-o-o-osie-e-e, the Queen of Corona,”
I’m finding myself singing,
“Going to buy me-e-e-e-e-e, a brand-new Corolla.”

I love my goofy husband. null

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Yeah, That Looks About Right: Illinois Solutions for the State Budget Crisis

Looks like Illinois is finally coming up with creative solutions for the state budget crisis, but I’m not sure they’ll be successful.

I was driving my husband home from an appointment yesterday, and we passed one of those big old billboards announcing the lottery jackpot amount.

It looked a bit like this (*Note– this photo is just a women’s fiction author’s rendition. The AMA and Mr. Kiddoc both highly recommend against taking photos while driving at highway speeds.):

No kidding. The first placeholder (for the occasions where the jackpot amount reaches triple digits) was sporting what appeared to be a negative sign.

Now… if they can just get 20 or so “winners” to cough up 44 million dollars each over the next 10 months, we’ll just about break even for 2010.

If I Were Scripting the DVD Commentary for Half-Blood Prince…

So, I saw Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince shortly after it came out. I have mixed feelings about the film, as I found plenty to both love and hate about it.

I figure the movie has been out long enough now to safely post details, but if you haven’t seen it and are spoilerphobic, you might want to bugger off about now.

And for the rest of you, I present my own version of DVD film commentary… you know the sort. The film executives and cast talk through the whole movie while you watch it. These can be kind of cool or uber annoying. Or both. But then again, that’s how I felt about the movie in the first place. 😉

Producers: Hello and welcome to Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. We’d like you to pay special attention to this first scene where we blow our entire special effects budget exploding a bridge. Please bear that in mind for later.

Harry: I’ve always been a bit reckless, so I’m sure you’ll understand why I’m hanging at the local café, hitting on waitresses as I read my moving-picture, magical-headlined Daily Prophet in plain sight of a zillion muggles. And don’t ask where I got money for restaurant meals, either, cuz I haven’t got a clue.

Dumbledore: I’ve been working this gig for four movies now and I’m actually starting to understand my character a bit. Yay, me! Let’s get our new potions master and get back to Hogwarts.

Hermione: For all you book-obsessed detail-freaks, please notice that my hair has returned to its bushy state for potions class and potions class only. You’re welcome.

Draco: Finally… a chance to show all of y’all how awesome an actor I really am. Perhaps this will console me as toddlers burst into tears when they see me on the street.

Producers: We’re taking great pains here to represent the teen angst well, and we really think we did a bang-up job with it. Bear that in mind when you’re wondering what happened to most of the plot.

Voldemort: No fair! I got totally gypped! Half Blood Prince is supposed to be all about ME! The tragic family history that created the DARKEST MOST POWERFUL WIZARD EVER!!  And you give me two puny scenes that explain NOTHING? Don’t you realize who you’re messing with? I could kill you all right now, but that’s not really my style. So I’m off to formulate an elaborate plot where I exact my revenge against you sniveling imbeciles!

Producers: *clearing throats nervously* You may have noticed by now that the movie is more than half over, and we haven’t actually shown much about Voldemort at all. Sorry about that. Please let us make it up to you with a random and gratuitous scene where a dozen Death Eaters show up at the Burrow and chase everybody around a cornfield for a while.

Harry: HA! Told you I was reckless. Watch me take off alone after the lot of them.

Ginny: Lucky for Harry, I’m such a badass witch that I keep my wand with me even in the shower, just in case I have to scamper off in my bathrobe to save my cutie patootie.

Greyback: Look! Look!! There I am! Right THERE!! No lines, of course, or anything to conclusively identify me at all… but I got a full 2 seconds of screen time, and that’s something.

Death Eaters: Having surrounded the majority of the Order of the Phoenix and Voldemort’s arch enemy, we’ll ignore our strategic advantage and go home now. But not before we accomplish the *much* more important task of setting fire to the Burrow!

OOP & Weasleys: Oh noes! Our house is on fire! If only we were witches and wizards who could DO something besides clutch each other and shake our heads sadly.

Harry: Hermione! I’m glad to be back at school. Some crazy weird stuff went down at the Burrow over the break.

Hermione: You’re lucky you weren’t killed. But I’m strangely disinterested. Probably cuz I’m still upset about Ron.

Ginny: Ron and Lavender stole my meet-cute, so I have to kiss Harry in a cluttered magical closet and then run away instead. That kind of sucks, but at least I get to kiss him.

Harry: And that’s not the only way I get lucky in this film. I’m about to do an amazing acting job right here as I collect the missing memory from Slughorn with the felix felicis potion.

Producers: Yes, everyone. Be sure you enjoy that scene, cuz you’re going to be furious with us in a few minutes.

Dumbledore: Excellent work, Harry! Now we have proof Voldemort was making Horcruxes. Of course, since we’ve eliminated all the other memories of  Voldemort’s past from the film, it will be practically impossible for anyone to find them, but I never said this was supposed to be easy. Now, Harry, if you’ll just follow me into this cave which we have neglected to explain is personally significant to Voldemort.

Harry: I’ll follow you anywhere with no questions asked, even though you haven’t explained a bit about why this necklace is important. Or how you know it’s a horcrux. Or how I might be able to find the others. Here’s that potion you asked for.

Dumbledore: I may be deathly ill from the poison here, because I desperately need water. But despite the fact Harry wasn’t actually able to get me any, I’m about to spontaneously recover enough to kick some serious ass.

Producers: Don’t the Inferi look cool? Everyone please remember that later on.

Dumbledore: Well, contrary to the oft-repeated unbreakable rule, we’re going to go ahead and just apparate right onto the Hogwarts grounds. And I somehow I know that Draco’s coming to bump me off any minute. You might expect me to paralyze Harry or something, but instead I’m going to just tell him to hang out a floor below. That will be extremely helpful.

Draco: I have acted my butt off all movie, and now it’s my big moment. Any last words, Dumbledore?

Dumbledore: Since I’m not busy casting silent spells on Harry, there’s really no reason I shouldn’t be able to disarm a naughty school boy, but for some reason I won’t bother to do that.

Harry: The Death Eaters have turned up. I can see everyone, but for some mysterious reason, none of them can see me. And I’ve completely changed character and  will stand here like a stump until Snape shows up and snuffs Dumbledore. How’s THAT for reckless?

Producers: Hey… remember how cool the bridge looked when it blew up? And those Inferi? Weren’t they awesome? Yeah… they were the best… So… anyway… no final battle scene. Sorry.

Death Eaters: Woot! We’ve killed Dumbledore! And we’ve met with no resistance whatsoever! Let’s smash things!

Harry: Pay no attention to the fact that, with no confusion of a big battle, it’s pretty hard to believe that no one bothers me as I chase after Snape all alone.

Snape: I’m uber emo, so I do sort of enjoy flipping my hair and shouting “I AM the Half Blood Prince!” But I still think I was better in the book.

Producers: So, er… we know you all were really looking forward to the emotional wallop of Dumbledore’s funeral. But… um… instead we’re just going to have everybody raise their lighted wands sort of like lighters at a rock concert. But, hey… the Inferi were way cool, right? KThxBai!

Well… That’s a Little Freaky, Frankly.

So, I had to coordinate a series of interviews today for a new doctor in my department. I offered to take her to lunch afterward, but she needed to leave for an afternoon shift. Which left me all ready to go to lunch, but completely on my own.

This doesn’t happen often. Due to the nature of my work schedule and home life, I am *never* left to my own devices but free to go out to lunch. So I decided to have sushi.

I heart sushi, but I rarely get to eat it as my husband has decided it’s a) overpriced and b) liable to give you worms. He will not listen to reason on either of these points. Never mind that I’m a doctor. He’s convinced. And he never sees any sense in giving up a good theory just because it isn’t true.

Since I was eating alone, I thought I’d bring a book in with me. Cuz, well… I like books. And cuz you never look pathetic eating alone if you have something to do.

As it happens, I was between books and ready to start something new. Next on the TBR deck? The Time-Traveler’s Wife. Yes, I know I’m a bit behind. 🙂

So I’m sitting, slurping miso soup and snarfing sushi, reading the opening of TTTW. And a thought pops into my head… I am channeling moonrat.

I finished the prologue and the first chapter between pieces of maki. Then I drained my green tea mug and made for the door.

I had only begun pulling out of the parking lot, when I was struck by a powerful urge for a Dairy Queen cone. And since I was already being decadent with the sushi-for-one, I decided to roll with that urge. I can’t remember the last time I had one.

I seriously considered tweeting moonrat to ask if she had a thing for soft serve, but I restrained myself.

A few hours later, while I waited for dinner to cook, I picked up the novel where I had left off… where Henry meets Clare for the first time (for her).

And I read this:

“Well, they have to eat each other; they can’t go to Dairy Queen and get a large vanilla cone with sprinkles, can they?” This is Clare’s favorite thing to eat in the whole wide world (as a child. As an adult Clare’s favorite food is sushi…)

Now, okay, fine… I went with a large chocolate cone, but it’s still a bit deja vu-ish, don’tcha think?

Who Doesn’t Enjoy a Makeover Once in a While?

I heart my wordpress blog. Seriously.

I love the post editor here. I love that I can have as many pages as I want and keep everything neat and organized. I love the threaded comments and the stat reports.

I love WordPress more than the other blog sites, and I can say that fairly objectively. You may not realize that I maintain blogs on both Blogger and Livejournal. And, if anything, I am generally biased in favor of Google products.

I happened to start blogging here mostly by pure fluke, and I’m glad I did… I’m not the least bit regretful I didn’t start out on blogger.

Well, maybe “the least bit.”

The only things I envy on Blogger are the ability to get all up in the code (so you can put your own widgety things in) and the Google followers concept, which is all kinds of cool.

Now Google’s no fool, so when I Follow folks on their blogger blogs, my profile and comments link back to my Blogger blog, instead of this one. And recently a few people who found me that way left comments for me there (or even “Followed” my Blogger blog, which takes some initiative on their part, as I have no follower widget since I rarely update there).

This inspired me to update my poor neglected Blogger site, which up until recently sported an ancient template and not-the-most-visually-appealing-color-scheme. So I did a makeover.

And, in case WordPress got jealous, I made this site over, too.

On Blogger, the change is hands-down an improvement. I am less certain about this one. What do y’all think?

Under Cover

Kate Schafer Testerman posted this little activity over on KT Literary. You can read the full rules on her site, but in a nutshell: the task was to design a book cover using a randomly generated author name, book title, and cover image.

So I decided to play along (It’s the least I can do after I made her the unwitting star in a Broadway-style musical.)

It should be quite obvious that my random name was “Tricia Forbes” and my random title was the verb “Fold”:

I think it turned out quite well. =)

Another Mystery Solved!

My husband, affectionately known around these parts as “Mr. Kiddoc,” has baffled me for years.

He can make things disappear without a trace. Give him a set of keys or a remote control or a scrap of paper with a phone number on it and– in under a minute– it will be gone. He won’t even need to leave his chair.

Many times I’ve marveled at his ability to lose things. He can be holding his wallet one minute and asking for help finding it the next. And he has a bad leg… it’s not like he can speed in and out of my line of sight.

I’ve often told him the CIA should hire him to make things disappear.

Well, recently it happened again. He was sitting in the family room. I handed him the phone and a refrigerator magnet with the phone number of our local pizza joint so he could order our dinner. I then returned to the kitchen. Mr. Kiddoc never moved from the sofa. I could see the top of his head through our pass through.

And yet, by the time he hung up the phone, the magnet was missing.

We dug deep into the sofa cushions, but no dice. The magnet was gone.

A few hours later, I stumbled across it. About 15 feet away from where he was sitting, on the hearth of our fireplace.

I should add that the magnet is shaped like a slice of pizza and therefore disinclined to roll.

My BFF and I finally put it together. There is only one possible explanation.

My husband can create wormholes.

They are, evidently, quite weak, allowing only the transfer of small objects a few feet in any direction. But perhaps now that he knows, he’ll be able to hone his skills.

We can only hope he will use his powers for good. *snort*

Shh… It’s Vewy Vewy Quiet. And CakeWrecks Rocks.

If you’re a regular reader here, you may have noticed I’ve been uncharacteristically quiet lately. There are a number of reasons for that, some of which I hope to share soon.

But in the meanwhile, one of my favorite non-publishing blogs, Cake Wrecks, had done a special Sunday Sweets Edition on books!

You must check it out the Reading Rocks post on Cake Wrecks. Like, right this minute would be good.

Everything is coming together! *snort*

And you’re welcome. 🙂

Today, In a Nutshell… or Pages and Pages

Today has been an uberwacky sort of day. Here’s a little rundown of the highlights:

  1. Woke up. Late. (cuz I was up late coughing. It’s the end of a stinky virus)
  2. Scuzzled around like a madwoman and lead-footed it to work.
  3. Arrived to big banner announcing that the hospital is switching pager service providers, which means the stinging sensation deep in the ample belly of the gluteus maximus muscle will reach 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. Seriously… the task: every single pager used by every single person in the hospital needs to be collected and deactivated, and every single person must be issued a new pager, which must be programmed and updated in the paging system. All the while, making sure that everyone can be reached by SOME pager, since this is, you know, a hospital and sometimes sick people need stuff. As you might guess, this changeover is a recipe for disaster.
  4. Contemplated this process which made me cough until my head hurt.
  5. Entered the physician lounge, where lines were short, so I paged the doc I was about to take over for and suggested she come down to swap out her pager.
  6. Swapped out my pager and was given a shiny new one as they swiftly pulled the battery out of my old one, ripped the label off, and chucked it into a large box. I was told my long-range number had changed and would now be the hospital area code and pager prefix followed by “1123”
  7. Exclaimed, “I get the Fibonacci pager”
  8. Endured blank looks from pager swapper chicks.
  9. Marveled at my own geekiness.
  10. Was sent to another “station” to get my pager activated.
  11. Was told I was activated, received a test page, and congratulated myself on escaping the Great Pager Swap with minimal casualties.
  12. Flagged down the other doc when she arrived to switch out her pager. Bear in mind, she’d been working for over 24 hours. She gave the Pager Swapper Princesses the pediatric admit pager by mistake. (The pediatric admit pager is carried by the senior resident most of the time, but when the residents are unavailable because of lecture or rounds or whatever, we cover for pediatric admissions to the hospital.)
  13. Watched her eyes widen to improbable size when she realized her mistake, by which time the pediatric admit pager was de-batteried, stripped of all labels and chucked into the Big Box o’Pagers with no identifying marks.
  14. Assumed a cheery tone as I said, “No problem! All the pagers need to be swapped out anyway. So let’s just switch your old pager for a new peds admit pager.”
  15. Felt a steely burn as the Page Swapper Princess narrowed her eyes. “We can’t do that here. We can only accept physician pagers. All the other pagers are being swapped in a room in the basement.”
  16. Pointed out she had, in fact,  already accepted a non-physician pager. She was not swayed.
  17. Dragged the post-call doc into the basement (since pediatric hospitalists do not leave a fallen comrade on the field), on a quest for a room neither of us had ever heard of called “The Four Seasons”
  18. Exhausted practically every hallway and was preparing to check for Narnia-wardrobe type closets when we finally found the appropriate room.
  19. Explained the situation approximately 19 times and then waited while the Pager Swapper Queen and a swarm of drones attempted to sort out the pager perplexity.
  20. Finally got upstairs to our office about an hour behind schedule, where we ran into our education director with an interview candidate. He was glad to bump into us and informed us we couldn’t be paged. As in, AT ALL.
  21. Checked the system and, indeed, no pager listed.
  22. Called the operator for help. She tried to send me on another pilgrimage to the Pager Swapper Queen, but when I protested, she told me to hold on. After a few minutes of muffled murmurs, she came back on the line. “We did something,” she said. “Try it again.”
  23. Laughed until I coughed and then coughed until my head hurt.
  24. Practically fainted when Lo and behold and gloryosky, the pager worked.

In fact, it’s been going off merrily ever since.

So, um… Yay?

Back on the Chain Gang: Heart to Heart

This round of the blog chain has gone all creative-writing-assignment.

The topic, chosen by Jessica Verday:

I’ve chosen to put all of you writers to the test and am throwing down the challenge to…WRITE! I want a short story. (Mine is 250 words. Feel free to write one hundred, three hundred, five hundred…whatever! words)

Mary Lindsey was before me and I’ll be the last link this round.

Now the last time I wrote a short story, was the last time I actually had a creative writing assignment. Read: high school. Short stories are not my medium, but here goes:

Shape of a Heart

Brice patted the lump in his jacket pocket as his eyes darted to the entry once more. Any minute now. A drizzle of cold perspiration crept down his right side. Maybe he should have rented a tux, but then Desiree would guess for sure and Brice would never live that down.

He threw back the rest of his gimlet and then sucked on an ice cube as he waved at the waiter for another drink. The waiter whisked the empty glass away just in time.

Desiree stood posed in the entryway, the slender straight-away of her long legs drawing his eyes to the gentle slope of her hips. She slid soundlessly across the room, her dark curls barely daring to bounce. At the table next to Brice’s, a man made a hollow sound and bent to rub his shin, revealing familiar daggers in the eyes of the woman who’d done the kicking. If Desiree hadn’t told Brice herself that he should propose, he would never have believed she’d say ‘yes’ to someone like him. But she did tell you, he reminded himself, so what are you so nervous about?

Brice leapt to his feet to pull back her chair as she wafted towards his table. “You look beautiful as always.” He kissed her cheek and adjusted the chair as she settled into place.

Her lips permitted a slight curve. “That hardly gives a woman cause to make special effort.”

He cringed as he slid into his own seat. “Now, honey, you know that’s not what I meant…”

“Especially when her boyfriend shows up in the same brown designer knock-off suit as every Friday night for the last six months.”

“I thought you liked this suit.” His collar had shrunk at least an inch. He wiped his hands on his pants.

Her large diamond pendant flashed candlelight in her cleavage as she leaned over to look through her lashes at him. “I said I liked you out of that suit.”

He smiled as he shifted in his seat. “Well, this is a nice restaurant. They require pants. So we’ll just have to wait until after dinner.”

“So let’s order.”

He exhaled as her eyes disappeared behind the menu. All he had to do now was keep her in a good mood until dessert.

*

Brice hardly touched his chicken piccata. Actually, he didn’t care for chicken; he’d just gotten used to ordering whatever was inexpensive. Desiree raised one dark eyebrow like the blade of a scythe as she wriggled her seafood fork deep in her lobster tail. She’d be ready for dessert soon. Slipping his hand into the lumpy pocket, he felt the soft heart-shaped velvet box roll into his palm. He perched his fist on his knee and his fingers clamped until his knuckles hurt. His tongue felt too big for his mouth and he took a gulping sip of his wine.

Desiree’s eyes settled on his loaded plate. “If there’s something wrong with your food you should send it back.”

“No, it’s fine.” Brice stabbed a large hunk of meat and packed it into his mouth. “It’s delicious.” He struggled to speak normally with his lips stretched tight over his full mouth. “Perfect,” he meant to say, but the meat lodging in his windpipe snuffed the sound. Not now! He forced a smile as he twisted his fingers into an “OK.”  No way was he coughing that thing out in front of Desiree… especially not with her engagement ring in his lap. He kept the ring out of sight as he shot to his feet and Desiree’s eyebrows rose almost as quickly. Fighting the burning tightness in his throat, he held one finger aloft and nodded towards the restrooms before walking away.

He could feel Desiree’s eyes searing the back of his head as he entered the men’s room. Deserted. His chest and belly spasmed as he gave in to the urge to cough. Silence. Setting the velvet heart on the counter, he caught his own wide eyes in the mirror as his shoulders shook in silent convulsions. His face was red as his tie. Balling his hands into fists, he plunged them into his belly, pushing up as hard as he could, but the chicken wouldn’t dislodge. He felt dizzy. His face blazed purple. He fingered the cell phone in his pocket, but how could he call when he couldn’t talk? His eyes darted to the door, still stubbornly closed. Didn’t anyone ever use the bathroom in this place?

He knew he should return to the dining room where someone could help him, but Desiree would never let him forget something like that. He had to find a way to get it out himself. His lungs were filling with sands and pin-pricks swarmed over his legs like fire ants. He couldn’t make it back to the dining room if he tried. The edges of his vision faded to black as his gaze tunneled on the heart-shaped box clamshelled open with the 4-carat ring inside.

Desiree had said three carats minimum. The same day she suggested he switch majors from music to business. His vision narrowed to a pinpoint on the flash of the diamond, the clearest diamond the jeweler had available. But even under the jewelry store lighting, the stone hadn’t sparkled like this and that’s how Brice knew he was dying. He grabbed at it like a toddler at a soap bubble. Each facet reflected images from the last few months: his guitar in a box for Goodwill, the look in Boomerang’s eyes when Brice left him at his brother’s.

Brice wondered how long it would be until they found him, dead on the marble floor with the ring in his fist. He pictured Desiree’s face smooth like powdered sugar when she saw him. “Such a shame,” she’d say as she reached for his hand. “This wasn’t what I wanted at all. The cut is all wrong.”

Enough! What am I thinking?

Pushing against the cold porcelain of the sink, he hoisted himself from his slump. He staggered towards the hazy charcoal lines that he knew must be the bathroom stalls, dropping the ring box at the base of the commode. The toilet seat seemed glued in place as he ripped it up and then belly flopped, driving the edge of the toilet seat into his diaphragm. He heard a slap and a plink as the ball of chicken bounced against the wall and landed in the toilet. Sucking in the sweet coolness of air, he leaned against the cold metal wall of the stall, panting. He pulled a few sheets of toilet paper from the roll and mopped his forehead. “That was close.” His voice scratched.

The wheeze of his cell phone echoed through the bathroom. Brice wiped his watering eyes with the heel of his hand and read the Caller ID: Dave.

“Hello?”

“So are you and your hottie girlfriend engaged yet, bro?”

“Nope.” Brice cleared his throat. “And I don’t think we’re going to be.”

“What happened? Chicken out again?”

Brice’s eyes darted from the box, its jaws open like a carnivorous plant, to the ball of meat in the toilet. “Yeah. I guess you could say that.” He grinned. “I chickened out.”

Brice chuckled quietly as he hung up. Then laughter shot out of him with more force than that stupid piece of chicken. Chicken out… it was ridiculous. He pounded his fist against the wall of the stall as his whoops bounced off the walls. When he finally managed to stop laughing, he smoothed his jacket and straightened his tie. Desiree would be ready to pitch a fit he’d kept her waiting so long. Reaching for the ring, he snapped the box closed and tucked it back into his pocket. He couldn’t wait to see what kind of fit she’d pitch when she found out he was leaving her.

Maybe he’d show her the ring first.

Gather ’round, Peeps! Tis the season…

The season to enjoy one of my all-time favorite websites, that is.

The Peeps Research site is deliciously entertaining evidence of what happens when awesomely funny medical students meet extreme boredom (with tasty marshmallow chickens).

The effects of smoking and drinking on Peeps cracks me up.

But my heart will always belong to the attempt to separate the conjoined Peep quintuplets.

You’re welcome. =)

The Doctor is In. In Deep Smit, that is…

Friday again. Yippee!

And this week I am deeply smitten with my awesome blog readers. As you probably know, I’ve been co-authoring the QueryTracker.net blog since December. I’ve recently started a feature there answering writers’ medical questions for their works of fiction.

It’s been a heck of a lot of fun, and the questions are now starting to roll in, which is very exciting.

So big thanks to everyone who’s already jumped in to get the ball rolling. And thanks to those of you who plan to send in your questions later, too.

An Open Market: Back on the Chain Gang

So someone needs to start off the next round for the blog chain gang.

So all of us on this blog chain gang have worked feverishly on what needs to be done before a novel gets published. Some of us are quite close to publication, including the next link in our chain, Jessica Verday whose debut novel The Hollow will be released later this year. But lately I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to the work that needs to be done during and after publication.

Besides writing new stuff, of course.

Specifically, I’ve been thinking about marketing.

Now, many aspiring authors I’ve encountered dread the idea of marketing. So you might think I’m getting ahead of myself, but I see this as sort of like wedding planning.

I mean, after all, I’m going to notify all my family and friends of the date when I’ll finally be able to walk down the aisle (of the bookstore) and hold my handsome love (whom I’ve been seriously involved with for a year or two) in my arms.

So why wait until I’m officially “engaged” to start planning?

But seriously, I don’t think it can possibly be too early to start thinking of ways to market your project. Although certainly a publisher might have different ideas and choose to go in another direction, but it can’t hurt to have your own plan developed and ready to go.

So, blog chain buddies…

What plans do YOU have to market your novel? How will you make sure the public finds your work?

(Pssst, gang… this would be an ideal time to show us your book trailer, if you have one)

Naturally, I plan to use the tried-and-true marketing methods (guest blogging, conferences, maximizing my online presence, bookmarks, etc.), but I also have a couple of ideas I’m very excited about that are specific to The Edge of Memory.

First of all, my novel features a silver charm bracelet, which my protagonist discovers with the hidden letter from her birth mother. For a contest prize, I would like to create a similar bracelet. I would also have some less pricey prizes available. To enter the contest, people would have to view my book trailer.

Speaking of book trailers, I already have a mock-up one:

When the time comes, however, I will produce a professional version. And I’m especially excited about that, as my diverse group of test readers includes photographers, actors, musicians, make-up artists/stylists, and an amazing videographer. They might even give me a discount. 🙂

But the idea I’m really excited about doesn’t involve flashy trailers or prizes. It involves a concept I think will help generate interest with a specific group of readers: book clubs.

Book clubs usually involve three main activities: reading the book, discussing the book, and EATING. So all the better if I can create a food connection to my novel, right?

My protagonist Beatrice cooks when she’s stressed… and I gave her a lot to stress about. So there are a few dialogue passages where she’s preparing a meal during the conversation.

A friend of mine runs a fabulous cooking blog (seriously amazing… more drool-worthy pictures than most mortals can handle) and has graciously agreed to some guest blogging with recipes for the meals my character prepares.

How much fun is that? I’m anxious to cook them myself.

Anyway, I’m excited to hear how the rest of the gang envisions themselves marketing their novels. And our next blog chainer will have extra cool insights, since marketing her debut novel is not just a fantasy for Jessica Verday.

QueryTracker.net Link Lottery Contest!

Over at the QueryTracker.net blog, we are delighted to announce the QueryTracker.net Link Lottery!

Very easy to enter and a great prize!

A Few of My Favorite Things (Back on the Chain Gang)

For the holidays, my blog chain gang decided to try something different… instead of each of us posting in turn on a topic chosen by one of us, we would each choose our own topic and post whenever  inspiration struck. Make sure to check out the Jingle Bell Blog Chain posts for Archetype and Abi.

Now settle in, gang, cuz I’m about to go all Oprah on you.

No, I’m not about to endorse any fake memoirs or lose/gain 20 pounds in 30 minutes. But I am going to mention a few of my favorite things.

(Almost) Every Friday, I feature something I love or am grateful for in my weekly In Deep Smit posting. These are generally things I discovered or rediscovered during the week before I post them.  But there are many other things I love… things I’m surprised to find other people don’t know.

So, I present a haphazard collection of obscure or underappreciated things that I love.

  1. They Might Be Giants— the sound of their music is certainly not for everyone but their clever, funny-yet-deep lyrics are beyond awesome. (And for me, music is mostly an appealing vehicle for conveying lyrics into my consciousness).  My personal favorite (though hard to choose) is Ana Ng, where the singer suggests that if there is, indeed, one perfect soul mate in the world for everyone, then (with his luck) that person would be on the opposite side of the world. If you’ve never enjoyed “Dinner Bell” or “I Palindrome I”, you can listen to some TMBG on my playlist on imeem (although sadly, Ana Ng is only on imeem as covered by Self).
  2. Diane Wakoski— I love many of the big poetry stars… Sylvia Plath, Alan Ginsberg, etc.  But my single favorite poem seems to be much less widely known, Blue Monday.
  3. The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread— One of my favorite books growing up and recently back in print. 9-year-old Morris Bird the Third decides to prove his self-worth by journeying across Cleveland to visit his best friend and arrives just in time for the Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion.
  4. The Cinnamon Bear— My father grew up listening to this holiday program on the radio every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It’s a bit sappy, and some of the songs are downright insipid, but it is nostalgic good fun, nonetheless.
  5. www.ereader.com — In the hoopla over readers like the Kindle and Sony Reader, it’s easy to forget that lots of other devices can allow you to read electronic books. On my palm pilot this very moment I have dozens of books, from the classics, to modern works, to manuscripts I’m critting for my writer buddies.

To everyone who’s joined me in this first year of blogging here on Trying to Do the Write Thing… I wish you a 2009 filled with health, good fortune and lots of your favorite things.