I feel the need

I feel the need

Friday, July 31, 2015

Five for Friday: Things you probably shouldn't say to an author who is trying to sell books.

Good afternoon!

Recently I ran across a really good list "Ten things you should never say to a writer."  Among them were such classics as, "I thought you were dead, " or "I wish I could just stay home and write all day and do nothing," or my favorite, "Why don't you write children's books?  There's lots of money in that."

Well, as many of you know I've been working some of the local Farmer's Markets this summer, getting my name out there, selling some of my books.  I've been sharing a booth with my mom, who does great framed art made out of costume jewelry.  You should check us out!

Anyway, in the weeks I've been sitting under a tent, trying to sell books among stalls off organic beets and home made soaps, I've heard a few not so fantastic reasons for people to not buy my books.

Let's be up front:  I get it.  Books can be expensive and if buying books or reading isn't your thing, I get that, too.  I'm not knocking your reasons for not buying my books at a Farmer's Market.  I'm knocking you for SAYING THEM OUT LOUD TO MY FACE.

I don't buy clothes every time I go to Kohls...okay maybe I do...and when I'm out and about I browse more than I buy.  I don't explain, I simply say, "Wow you have some lovely things. Thank you."  And I move on.

So I've narrowed it down to five things people have said to me that have made me laugh the hardest
or made me grumble the most.   Seriously, actual people have said this to my face and then walked away, never understanding the destruction they've just done.

5)  I don't...read.

Now like with most things it's not what these two separate women at two separate times said to me. It's how they said it. As if somehow reading was akin to selling drugs or prostitution.  These two women, again, two women who came up at different times, looked through my books, and said this, spoke with horror laced with condescension. And also, this attitude horrifies me as a former teacher, a parent, and human being.

4)  I'll wait until your book is in the library.

Okay, I love libraries.  As a person I love libraries.  As an independent writer who doesn't have a publisher to put my books everywhere, I don't care for libraries, second hand book stores, or yard sales. I don't make a dime off any of those.  And also, with the exception of the West Allis WI Public Library, I haven't been able to get my books in any place. I know not everyone buys books. I get that.  But telling me, the author, when I'm actively selling books right in front of your face that you're going to wait until they are free...well, why don't you just hit me with something large and pointy?

3) I'm writing a book too.  Here's the plot.

Most of the time the plot is terrible, involving family violence, space aliens, and some sort of time travel, medical emergencies, and oh yes, graphic sex.  

I really, really enjoy listening to you relate your graphic sex scenes to me in front of my booth at a Farmer's Market when there are lots of kids around.  Really helps my business when you're yelling things like, "HEAVING BREASTS" in front of the mom with eight year old twin boys.

2)  Wow, this is really great. I have some shopping to do and I'll come back.

This is just a lie.  Don't bother saying it.  We all know you're never coming back.

1)  Oh, so you're self published. How did you do that?  Can I do it?  Write the instructions down in detail.  For free.

I think I answered this several times before I realized something: Hey, I spent YEARS figuring out how to do this.  I went to classes. I went to conferences.  I paid many dollars to learn how to do it. I spent hours making mistakes and trying again.  I'm not saying I did it alone, I had help along the way and since I had help, yes I'm going to give you a couple websites to check out.  But don't sit there and spend an hour asking me how to publish your family-sex-space-alien-time-travel-medical-sex-drama because I'm not going to go into great detail. Unless you're a kid.  A serious kid, like the girl I met a couple weeks ago who is 13 and has finished two books.  I was that kid a hundred years ago, and I didn't know where to begin.  Kids I'll help out.  Adults, I'll tell you three things:  Smashwords, Amazon, and Createspace.

No go away, make room for serious customers!

Oh, by the way, if you're in the area, TOMORROW, Saturday, August 1, I will be at the City of Waukesha WI Farmer's Market from 8-12.  We between Madison and Barstow in the downtown area. come on over and say hi, and buy a book!  I can take credit cards now!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wounded fluffy pride.

Good morning!

Fluffy people are judged. It's a fact of life.  People are judged for being fluffy just as much as people of any sect in society, racial, religious, gender, all of that.  If you are fluffy, there are those who are going to make the following assumptions:

1)  You're lazy.
2) You're stupid.
3)  You're clearly suffering from a number of illnesses in addition to being fluffy.

Everyone knows a fluffy person and if you know them well you know none of those points above is true.  And, surprise, none of those three points is true about me.

But, my faithful readers, you deserve to know the thing that most fluffy people suffer from:

Wounded pride.

It's the number one thing we fluffy folk suffer from.  See,when a skinny person falls down, people make some gentle comment about being clumsy and they move on.  When a fluffy person falls down, it's a moment for everyone to laugh. Look, the fat person fell down. Way to go butterball!  Hey, maybe lay off the fried chicken and your legs will be able to hold you up!  Oh yeah, if you could see your feet maybe you'd stay upright.

Fluffy people falling down...we dread it.  Because it's never just, "oh she fell down I hope she's okay."  It's almost always, "Oh dude, the fat chick fell down and made a splat sound."

Most fluffy people jump on those jokes and make them themselves before anyone else can.  It's a defense mechanism.

Which brings me to what happened last night. (and yes, this is the funny part and I hope you totally laugh.)

We have those hanging swing chairs in our front yard. Hubby and I LOVE them.  We sit in those chairs every day. We read, we watch traffic, we wave at neighbors, we comment on cyclists riding by. We pet dogs.

Last night we were doing just that. We were talking about our days while enjoying a lovely breeze.

And then I was on the ground.

Just like that. Boom. On the ground. Swing under me, except for the wooden cross bar, which was lying on top of my head.

I was stunned.  I had no idea what happened.  I mean, one second I'm sitting in a swing, the next minute I'm on the ground.

Hubby helped me up, because yes, fluffy people do have trouble getting up from a flat on your back position. We just do. Like turtles upside down.  All part of the fluffy experience.

Now, when a little kid falls down, they bounce back up and commence playing. When an adult falls down we look around to see if anyone noticed because that's embarrassing.

When a fluffy girl falls because the chain on her tree swing rusted and broke, she knows the neighbors are coming out onto their porches to watch.  And they're staring, like there was a fire truck in my front yard.  And they're talking to other neighbors, people they only talk to when there's a quasi disaster happening on the block.

Yep, I saw you, people who live across the street from me.  Love you, but that prolonged stare did nothing for my self esteem.

Meanwhile, our next door neighbor, a lovely single man with whom we are good friends, happened to walk out of the house.  My husband says, "You will not believe what just happened."

First thing out of his mouth to our neighbor.  I couldn't even beat him to it, which I would have preferred.

So there I'm standing, fluffy girl, broken chain, swing on the ground. Yep, another statistic for obesity.

To their credit, hubby and neighbor searched for all the pieces of broken chain (you know, so hubby doesn't hit it with the lawn mower.)  and hubby did ask if I was okay.

I'm not sure I am.  I mean, I clearly injured my neck muscles because now I can't sit up or turn my head without pain, and I do have a headache in the back of my head.  But worst of all...worst of all my injuries...my wounded pride.

The headache will go away, the neck muscles will ease, and  I'll make a couple jokes about it later, once the swing is fixed with super military grain titanium chains, and all will be well.

That's how fluffy people heal.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I was told there would be food...I should have stuck with just that.

Good afternoon!

So as many of you know I work at home now, and my afternoons are pretty free if I'm not writing or watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy.  (Which is my summer homework.) Yes, I love my life.

Yesterday Hubby, who also works from home, but isn't usually home because he's usually on the road for work, was home, but had to go on the road to Janesville, WI, which is roughly an hour from us.  he suggested that I come along and he promised me lunch.  Sure, it would be a late lunch, but it would be lunch. It would be food.  It would be food I would haven't to clean up after.

I was in.

We drove the hour and pulled up to a fairly shady looking car repair shop. This is sort of my husband's life. He drives around to shady car repair shops and takes pictures of cars that have been destroyed in accidents.

While he was doing that, I sat in the car, and watched an old coot (and here I'm not being rude, but seriously, he looked like the old guy from the throw back Mountain Dew bottles)  running a GARAGE SALE. Now I point out that his signs all said "GARAGE SALE" and that's interesting because he was in a PARKING LOT...and the closest GARAGE was the car repair place where I was sitting, a full city block away.  Garage sale?  

Anyway, OC (Old Coot) was selling a lot of bikes and some lamps and a few China dolls in glass cabinets...yep it was a real "all for one and one for all" sort of sale.

Hubby finished his business about the time I was bored watching OC sit there haggling over one of the China dolls with a ten year old boy on a bike.  Not sure what the wheeling and dealing was about, and I didn't care since I was hungry and #Iwastoldtherewouldbefood.   We started looking around downtown Janesville. 

If you've never been to downtown Janesville, you've missed the glory days.  There used to be an auto plant in that town and things were booming.  Now, much of what's left are empty buildings, second hand bookstores (well, used books and tools, according to the sign) and second hand furniture and clothing stores.  Basically, the downtown is one big garage sale.  OC was just an open air sales guy, I guess.

Anyway, we found an Irish pub that looked promising. I like Irish food and I like pubs and I like lunch.  And by the time we were there it was almost 3:30 and I was starving.

Of course, the minute we opened the door I lost my appetite. 

Bars and places that serve food should smell, I don't know, like maybe food is available.  They should NOT smell like the inside of a cedar chest that's been inhabited by wet wool and moth balls for the last five years.


Undeterred, mostly because we were super hungry, we went in.  There was one woman behind the bar, talking to two people sitting at the bar. The rest of the place was empty.

"Hey," says the lady behind the bar, "you coming in to eat?"

"Are you serving food?" asks Hubby, who isn't normally snarky, and I don't think he meant to be here, but hey, the place smelled not at all like food and there was no one eating.  It was a valid question.

"Oh yeah, we're here until 10."

I had to wonder, did anyone in town know that?

She gave us waters and a menu and I checked out the drink menu.  It was pushing 4 PM and I thought, hey, a little day drinkin' might be fun.  So I checked out the menu, while singing the Little Big Town song in my head, and found something that sounded odd and a little dangerous.  

It was called the Four Leaf Clover Martini.  Now, I know that some places name stuff to sort of keep in the spirit of the theme of their bar.  And since I'm sure no one would buy anything called a "smells like mothballs tini" they had to call their drinks something, so the used Irish words and phrases.

Their idea of a "four leaf clover" martini involved the following alcohols:  Vodka, Kahlua, Irish Cream, Jameson's whisky, and something call Frangelico.  

And nothing else.

Maybe they called it the four leaf clover because if you ordered it, you'd be lucky to have a liver strong enough to drink it.

But hey, I was interested in what all these liquors piled together might taste like.

So she brought it to me.

Should a drink like that have layers?

Something wasn't quite mixed right or it was separating or something. It was a layered drink. Something clear on top and everything else murky brown beneath.

And it smelled like the rest of the bar.

Hubby said, "You'd better drink that before the Irish cream curdles."

I took a swig.  Yeah, I'm thinking we were too late for that.

I'll say this. The sandwiches we ordered were good. Not adventurous, but good.  And the waffle fries were awesome.  But I wasn't going to leave that martini. I paid for it, I was going to to drink it.

And almost immediately, I regretted it.

Now I'm not positive was the martini, but I spent the rest of the evening feeling awful. Nausea, chills, sweats, muscle weakness, headache, eye ache, body aches.  All I'm saying is I felt fine before the martini and not fine after.

So what did we learn?

We learned if a place smells like wet wool and mothballs when you walk in, stick with the grilled cheese and the waffle fries and leave the alcohol alone.

And maybe don't drink anything before 5 Pm. Maybe that's just a really good rule.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Well it's just like riding a...you know the rest.

Good afternoon!

I walked past a back to school display at a store the other day and realized that neither child was going to need school supplies this year.  I got a little teary at the thought of never getting to buy another Disney or Pokemon themed back pack or never spending $1.50 on the Jonas Brothers folders because they were so much cooler than the normal ones...for $0.15.

And then I got over it.

Since I was very small I've had a love affair with bicycles.  Okay, since I was very small I've loved horses and I managed to pretend my bike was a horse.  I remember the first NEW bike I got, one that wasn't a hand me down from my older cousins.  I was nine and I got it for Christmas.  It was a brown three speed Huffy Sundowner with a leather seat.  I remember the model name because that became my horses' name and I'd yell "WHOA SUNDOWNER" when I'd come to a short and dramatic stop.

I rode that bike from the time I was nine until I graduated from college and moved to Michigan to teach and bought a non descript mountain bike at K-mart because mountain bikes were what everyone was riding in 1989.  That mountain bike was sort of a piece of crap that rusted out in the first rainstorm (since I lived in a second story apartment, my roommate and I kept our bikes on the balcony.)  I kept that black and red mountain bike for a long time, probably too long, but I stopped riding it.

It wasn't Sundowner.

Sundowner and I rode all over my tiny home town of Montello, Wisconsin when I was in grade school.  I got into a fantastic crash on that horse...I mean bike...when I smacked into the back of a parked car while watching a one armed man build a house.  (Don't know that story?  Check my archives, it's there.)  I delivered newspapers on that bike, I rode to all my 4-H meetings on that bike and I explored the four corners of that tiny little town on the back of that bike.  

Then we moved, I entered high school, and my bike became a serious mode of transportation.  Since my parents only had one car and for some reason my mother needed it, my father and I rode our bikes to my high school every day.  Two and a half miles one way, every day, except in the very coldest of cold.  Rain, heat, snow, I rode in it all, and 2 days a week I rode in a dress because my mother had a rule:  I had to wear a dress two days a week.  (Oh yeah, I was super cool in high school.)

I rode my bike to work at the mall, and later at the restaurant, until my hours got to be too late or too early in the day to ride and then I took the bus.

I was even pulled over by the Manitowoc police on that bike.  I had an expired license plate.  Yep, on my bike.

When my parents retired and moved they sold or gave my Huffy Sundowner away and I was left with the rusty black and red mountain bike with the seat I hated.  I had kids and taught them how to ride and we went on some bike rides together, but eventually I hung up my bike and refused to ride anything with a seat that caused me that much pain.

Hubby solved that problem, as he often does with my issues.  He found me a bike a simple 7 speed bike (couldn't find a three speed I liked) with a lovely broad, soft seat.  I liked this bike and rode it quite a bit, promising that I would use my bike as my mode of transportation.

And then, five years ago, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my thumbs.  I've documented that journey here I don't need to go over that, except that one of the things I lost was the ability to ride a bike.  How did that happen?

Well, when you ride a bike you lean forward, you put a lot of pressure on your hands, on your wrists.  Once again, I couldn't bear the pain of riding.  

I started looking around and I saw bikes where the rider sat upright, used his/her hands only to steer.  Okay, truth be told, I watched "The Wizard of Oz" and some TV show set in the early 1900's, and the both of the riders were women and both of them were wearing those mutton sleeved dresses.  And
there was a big basket involved.  Not exactly Tour de France.

I had hubby adjust my seat  lower and make the handle bars more upright. It still wasn't right.  And another two years passed without me sitting on a bike pretending to be riding a horse.

Last weekend we were in a bicycle shop and I looked at a bike that was perfect. I mean it was exactly what I needed it to be to take the pressure off my wrists.  Except it was $400 and we don't exactly have that in the "let's just buy stuff" fund.  But the bike guy showed me another model and explained the features I was looking for. I don't care about the science I just want my wrists to stop hurting when I ride my bike.  Again he found me something perfect, except this one was $550.  But hubby took another shot at adjusting my bike and this time I felt comfortable.

Which is how, over the weekend, I was able to disprove the old adage, "It's just like riding a bike."  

We were on a very flat bike trail, (the same one where we went for a timed walk and hubby tried to confuse me with math and lie to me about how far we'd walked.)  I was very excited at the prospect of riding a bike again after more than two years.  

And then I got on the bike.

Okay first of all that whole thing about never forgetting how to ride?  Complete and utter crap.  I was shakey and nearly wiped out just trying to get on the thing.  

We rode for a while and I realized that while my hands didn't hurt as much,  my ego did. See, I was a good bike rider, or I used to be.  I could ride up hills, in a stinkin' DRESS and I could pedal like the wind. I rode over train tracks and bridges and on terrible sidewalks and dirt roads. I even used to be able to do this thing were I could make Sundowner...I mean, my bike, jump to the side, OVER someone's really deep sidewalk edging.  (We had a guy in our neighborhood who seriously dug a two inch MOAT along either side of the sidewalk. If your wheel got stuck in that, you'd flip forward. I could jump it...sometimes...not always, but I could side jump it.

Now, I'm sitting on my bike with the broad seat and high handle bars.  I don't feel like I'm riding a horse. I don't feel like I'm in the Tour de France like everyone else on the trail.  (oh yeah, it's bike season here in Wisconsin and everyone is in those tight spandex bike jerseys...even people who have
no business wearing them.)  The one thing going through my head is the music from "The Wizard of Oz" and I see images of the Wicked Witch of the West.

We rode 5.5 miles on Sunday. Not exactly a world record, but given how shakey I actually was on two wheels I think it's pretty good.  And we'll go out again soon I'm sure. I mean, hubby loves riding bikes, and I'll get there again.

It's like anything else though.  It's not as much fun when you're a grown up.  I used to ride bikes because all my friends rode. It's how we got around it's what we did with our long summer days (you know, before video games and cable TV and Netflix)  We raced, we jumped and sure, we crashed and we fell off.  But at the end of the day we were brown from the sun and filthy and we get in the bath and scrub up or, (since it was summer) we'd spend some time in someone's pool or running through the sprinkler and mother would deem us "Clean enough for bed." And we'd sink into bed, exhausted and ready to ride another day.

Now I'm sore, my butt is sore, and I realized biking is good for me because I need to lose weight and it's good to be outside. My legs are so pale they glow because tanning is bad for us now. I shower every day, I don't take baths, because 1) I don't have time for a bath and 2) I'm old and if I don't shower every day I start to smell...weird.

But, I'm not discouraged. It's part of growing up. Where once I used to get on my bike and just go without thinking about anything, I have to now think about everything, make sure it's all done, before I ride.  Still, it's better for me than not riding and, I'll admit it, I still love the feel of the wind through
my hair.

Oh, yeah, about helmets...nope, that's another post for another day. but it's a good story, I promise!

Fun Fact Friday: Now that it's dead, Sarah reveals a childhood dream.

Happy Friday all! What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question we ask little kids...and I haven't a clue why....