Friday, November 24, 2006

Lets Get Stoned....

It wasn't enough that I wrote one fun but drafty 64000 word book during Nanowrimo. It seems that my Muse still isn't satisfied. So I rolled from my bed this morning and began another, tentatively titled "Stoner". Could be fun, though. I need something to keep me off the streets during the holidays. :)


Fate is so unfair.

Medusa's two Gorgon sisters got to be immortals. But not Medusa. Turned out she was quite mortal. Worse, every time she almost got lucky, the man of her desires didn't just get a hard on. He turned completely to stone. Then Medusa completely lost her head over Perseus. That little faux pas landed her in Hades for all Eternity. And as a virgin, too.

Hades cannot face the idea of spending an eternity listening to Medusa whine about her ill-conceived fate. So he makes a deal with Medusa that she can't refuse. Sure she can go back to earth and seek true love. She will get three chances to win a man's heart. If she can manage to do this without turning him to stone, she will not only get laid, she'll earn immortality. But if she fails, she'll spend her eternity as a mannequin in the Peoria Saks Fifth Avenue Factory Outlet, decked out in last season's seventy-five percent off designer seconds.

Either way, Hades wins.

Next thing Medusa knows she's standing buck naked in a dark alley where a group of down on their luck stoners make their homes. At the urging the troubled, but once infamous top-model/crack addict Athena Sebastian, Medusa finds herself spilling her troubles at a narc-anon meeting. "Hi. I'm Medusa. I'm a s-stoner. And I've hit rock bottom...."

Under the tutelage her new support group, Medusa turns her life over to a higher power and embarks full throttle on her twelve step program in hopes of curing herself of her stoner lifestyle once and for all. But Medusa's friend Athena has her own past life ax to grind, and Medusa is the ticket for revenge she's waited an eternity for.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Good grief

Yes, Miss Snark, I can believe that I finally understand your angst.

I can't help but wonder how many Nano-books will clog your email box on Dec. 1.

The reason I can't help but wonder is because I can't believe that people are asking me if I'm going to actually going to send my newly "completed" novel out to unsuspecting agents and publishers on Dec. 1.

My answer? Not if I expect to publish in this lifetime!

Granted, I have proven my Nano-point. It is very possible to exercise my constitutional rights, and write 50,000 words of utter garbage in 30 days. In between the sixty-some thousand words of alphabet barf I regurgitated in the last twenty-two days, I have witnessed glimpes of a story that I truly want to pursue.

I have proven the Nano-point. In order to become a writer, one must write. One must risk writing badly, even.

In order to become an author, however, I'm inclined to think one must know that good writing is born in flashes of brilliance between page after nauseating page of crapola. That, and a good dose of timing and luck. Reaching this moment of enlightment requires writing, and lots of it.

Honest, I'd tell you what my book is about, but I'm too busy praying to the sacred Oracle so that she may choose to enlighten me as to the deep literary message embedded in my meaningless drivel.

I'm sure the brilliance is there.

I wrote therefore I am a writer. But before I submit it to Snarkarina, or anyone else that matter, I have to revise. I have to kill someone on page one and insert a cameo of George Clooney. Quite naked.

Then I can submit it with confidence.

Or not.

Of course the "or not" scenario requires admitting that some people should just stop writing altogether.

P.S. Do you think I can get a million dollar advance in hand before the holidays?

P.P.S Click here for an (unedited, its Nanowrimo folks) excerpt of said novel. Then you can decide for yourself whether I should go on writing or not. :)

P.P.P.S. Of course, I didn't say I'd listen to you.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


You know, when you've spun out some 22 thousand words of crap in seven days time, you wonder if you'll ever find your way through the rest of the month.

This morning, I logged on to Nanowrimo to find out that I had some nanomails. YAY! I like mail. But this wasn't just any old mail. It was....gasp...nanoFANmail! WOW! What a feeling.

There are actually people--real live readers--out there who like me. OK, not really writing. Which is good enough for me.

Who'd have known this effort in really bad, really prolific writing, would turn me into a fan mail whore. Now I'm going to have to keep writing. For my adoring fans, of course. As God (and the nano word counter) is my witness, they shall never go excerptless again.

At least not until writers block rears its ugly head.

Which, with my track record, should hit in about....well.....three hundred words.

Oh well, fame ruled while it lasted. :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Pinking Down of America?

Pink, pink, everywhere. And not a blemish in sight.

There was a whole new level of elite to aspire to at Harmony High. Like the A-list, only prettier.

Trust me on this. Goth was the only place left to hide. Until we found a cure. Which was going to be hard because nobody who was "in the pink" believed they were sick.

After all, they had perfect lives, perfect boyfriends, and complexions to die for…

But at what expense? That was the question nobody dared to ask. So for now, it was just us, the Goths, against them, the Beau-toxics.

It's (so not) A Barbie World was inspired by the real life Barbie clone, Cindy Jackson. The article below tells of Cindy's obsession with making herself look as much like Barbie as humanly possible. When a friend of mine developed body dysmorphic disorder during a similar quest, I couldn't help but wonder what message this type of insatiable yearning for plastic perfection was sending to girls my daughter's age.

While I'm not necessarily anti-cosmetic surgery--I once gave in to pressure from my husband to have my navel pierced and my lips done--I am anti-doing anything to your body that you're not doing for solely to please yourself.

When I gave in to my flirtation with cosmetic surgery, I didn't do it for me. I did it because I was afraid of losing him. That freaking hurt, both mentally and physically, and I've been sorry I did it every day since.
I sent my daughter a terrible message.

Months ago, I began to fantasize about what might happen to a jaded young lady who'd been burned by the A-list more than once came home to find that her uber-cool mom had experienced a bizarre accident which left her believing she was Barbie incarnate.

This book in progress is the sometimes snarkish, sometimes heartbreaking and often rollicking result of that exploration. I went into the book expecting a light and frothy beach read. But the actual writing is proving this book to be the anti-thesis of the pinking down of America. My inspiration article below:

For millions of little girls, the Barbie doll has been the pinnacle of plastic perfection for more than 40 years. “I think a lot of little 6-year-old girls or younger even now are looking at that doll and thinking, ‘I want to be her.’ And it’s something they grow out of,” says Cindy Jackson, 48, who admits that she never outgrew her obsession with becoming Barbie. “I looked at a Barbie doll when I was 6 and said, ‘This is what I want to look like.’” Cindy wasn’t born with good looks. She bought them. And along the way, she’s bought a lot of attention to her odd goal of becoming a living doll. Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports.

“This is who I’d like to be,” says Cindy. “This is glamorous.” Cindy grew up a farm girl in Fremont, Ohio. “I wasn’t that good looking. And my sister was really, really a pretty girl,” recalls Cindy. “She was breathtaking. And everyone used to talk to her more and smile at her more and notice her first.” But Cindy says she had a lot going for her, even with her old looks: “I was recognized as being highly intelligent when I was a child. I was never shy. I was never lazy. And I was never lacking in ambition.” At 21, Cindy packed up her things and moved to London, where she went through a lot of changes – including a short career as a punk rocker. Finally, at 33, she began the grand transformation. “I just wanted to look better,” says Cindy. “Barbie was the blank canvas I filled in all those years ago. It was still my role model.”

Cindy didn’t have any of Barbie’s looks, but she did have some money, which she inherited. It was enough to begin the surgeries that made her as plastic as her role model. “I had laser surgery on my forehead,” says Cindy. “I’ve had upper eyes done, lower eyes done twice. Cheek implants, nose job – two nose jobs.” She also had four facelifts, a chin reduction, several chemical peels, and more. “My upper lift has been cut and rolled upwards to shorten the gap between my nose and mouth,” adds Cindy. “My eyebrows, eyeliner and lip liner and the full lipstick is tattooed on.” It took 31 operations and 14 years, but Cindy’s strange passion for plastic surgery got her a new look -- and a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. How much did all that surgery cost? “About $100,000,” says Cindy. “But I did get quality discounts.” And that doesn’t include maintenance. For instance, her lips will not permanently stay pouty. They’ll have to be re-inflated every few months. “How much of the problem with your old looks do you think was a perception problem in yourself,” Schlesinger asks Cindy. “Absolutely zero,” says Cindy. “It’s not that deep. It’s not that psychological.”

Since Cindy re-invented herself, she has made some snapshot friendships with Ivana Trump, Michael Jackson and Sarah Ferguson. She’s also written a book, which she sells on her own Web site. She now makes a living becoming a kind of celebrity. But just like a surgeon needs a scalpel, or a tummy needs a tuck, a Barbie needs a Ken. And Cindy got hers soon enough.

Tim Whitfield Line, 36, was a web designer who lived north of London. He saw Cindy on television, and all of a sudden had a new goal in life. “I wanted to be a male version of her,” says Line. It didn’t take long. About one year and $50 thousand later, he’s now Miles Kendall -- new name, new face. “People call me shallow. But I call society shallow. Because they treat me differently now,” says Miles. “…I mean I wanted to look better anyway. I did. Who doesn’t? People like me or Cindy Jackson go a bit further. A lot.” They’re just perfect, and delighted – and just friends. But whatever went on between Barbie and Ken is not going on here.

But as Barbie and Ken, Cindy and Miles credit their new faces for their new lives. Cindy helped Miles open his new bar, and it’s a goal he says he reached with the help of plastic surgery. “The point is I’m content inside. I don’t worry about my looks anymore,” says Miles. “I want to concentrate on more important things in my life, which I’m doing now.” And Cindy, at 48, is also content to be the poster girl for plastic surgery, a plastic image she’s dreamt about becoming since she was 6 years old.

“The surgery was a means to an end. That’s all,” says Cindy. “There are so many people who are being held back by their looks, and if that can help give them a better quality of life and make them happier – what else is more important in life?” © MMIV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.

NanoWrimo Ate my Brain

You know Nanowrimo ate your brain when you start dreaming in word counts.

Swear to God. I did this last night.

There has to be a twelve step program for this syndrome, right? I mean--de-programming must be included. Surely. The Nano-folks wouldn't leave me here to write twenty pages a day for the rest of my life--just because I can?

Yes, folks, I'm up in the wee hours. Nano-ing. I can't call it writing anymore because to do so would be an insult to real writers everywhere.

But I sure can count me some words. Toss me your grocery list. I'll prove it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Help, Send Bifocals!

Oh sheesh.

You know, its never the known evils that bring you down. I expected word-count induced panic attacks. I anticipated carpal tunnel attackes. I planned for the inevitable 25000 word case of writer's block. I plotted. I diagrammed. I interviewed and researched--all of this before November. (I know, you're asking me how much research could possibly go into a book about a woman who thinks she's Barbie. Well let me tell you. That bitch gets around!)

So it's not the word count that's killing me. THAT I'm on schedule for in spite of the fact that I got run over by the cold from Hell on Day one of Nanowrimo. But hey, I reasoned, what better excuse for staying in bed with the old laptop than an utter inability to breathe. Turning those lemons into lemonade....oh yeah. Got out of cooking, too. That was good for an extra thousane nano-words.

But today, after four-thousand plus words have ticked by on this old screen--I am realizing that I need an arm extension. Or, according to my husband, I need bifocals. Word to the wise. Do not rob the cradle. Just as chidlren grow up too soon, those cute little embroyo boys that looked so cute and cut when we dragged them home from the bar--turn into full-grown man types. With opinions of their own.

How dare that man suggest that....old age might be creeping up on me? Pish posh. Of course not!
So, next year--Dear God, did i just say NEXT year?--I'll get the old eyes checked in October. Stock up on Visine. Do a lot of arm yoga. Or, in a real pinch, get magnifying screen aka bifocals for my monitor.

Because lets face it. Bifocals make everything look bigger.

That goes for toy boys and word counts.

Its a Bouncing Baby Nano-ite!

That's right. Nanowrimo is a family affair for us this year. My thirteen-year old daughter dared me to join with her this year. You can read about that little challenge here--you'll see that we've been planning this for a looooong time, and why I felt it so very necessary for my daughter and I to participate in this challenge together.

Gina chose to write a combination graphic novel/extra-terrestrial chick lit. So her chapters begin and end in a graphic novel format. If you think Gina's writing is beyond her years....dude, you should see her artwork! I'll scan one of those in as soon as this techno-challenged parent can figure out where the on button is. :)

Because I'm way impressed with the witty and wonderful words my little one is spinning out during her nano-challenge--I'm going to be the first to publish her. On my blog, but hey...when you're thirteen? Print is print! And I'm a great believer in the power of the publish button to inspire a reluctant muse.

Please cheer for Gina---and enjoy an excerpt from her zany WIP, (working title) Podicle 23--set on the rogue planet where the meaning of life may well come gleaned in the pursuit of good hair days and the quest to produce the ultimate spiking gel...

“Click clack, clickity clack”,went the staccato sound of Zelenka's nails as her they tapped across the keyboard. She sighed, looking over her work. Only one more page, and then she would be all done! She leaned back in her egg chair and sighed.

The report on the results for the new product formula would be ready to turn in by six. Grinning she thought, Surly all this hard work warrants a reward… Gummy time! Zelenka grabbed a bag of gummy space pirates and stuck her hand in. But what was this? Her gummies were gone!

“My gummies!” She could have sworn she had at least seven gummies left in that bag! No gummies, why… that was madness! Someone must have stolen them! She stood up in her chair and looked into one of the podicles next to her, where her friend Suzika had two windows open on her holo-screen computer, one with an unfinished document that was probably due in less than thirty minutes, and another where she was playing Space Demons 5.

“Suzi, have you seen my space pirate gummies?”

“Grrr… Huh? No, I haven’t- TAKE THAT, SPACE ZOMBIE!” she shrieked, jabbing the space bar repeatedly, after which the screen scrolled large letters reading “LEVEL 78 COMPLETED”.

“WHOO! I am Suzika, destroyer of demons!” she shrieked, jumping up in her chair and then falling face first on her computer’s keyboard, causing both of the windows to close before she could save her game or write down her high score.

Deciding not to stick around for one of Suzika’s tantrums, she decided to try the other podicle. She saw two of her male co-workers; Lucas and Uriel. They were both notorious for goofing off every single day, blackmailing others into doing their work for them, and just being big lazy (cute, claimed some of the girls in the office) jerks in general.

She wondered what they were doing; most likely doing something that involved sticking things in their nostrils or having fights with their pens.

“Whoa, dude! That was sick, Lucas. Do it again!”

“Hehe, alright!” He replied, pulling a green gummy out of a space pirate gummies bag, and then snorting it up his nasal cavity.

That bag… why, that was hers! She was the only person in the office who scrawled a smiley face in marker on their snack containers so they would recognize it should it become lost.

“M-my precious gummies!” Zelenka squealed, losing her balance and falling on top of Uriel.

“What the heck?!” he shouted, pushing the girl off him. They both stared wide-eyed at the girl sitting on the floor, until Lucas broke the silence.

“Uriel! That chick just fell from the ceiling!” he said loudly, pointing one of his fingers at her.

“Whoa, how’d she get up there?”

“Idiots…” she mumbled, standing up and dusting off her black suit. It had yellow stripes running down the sides. This was the standard uniform for the people working in the corporate section of PRIDE Hair and Cosmetics, though the colors sometimes differed depending on the employee’s tastes.

“Hey, she’s got an attitude!” Uriel chuckled, prodding the side of her shoulder playfully. This warranted a sneer from Zelenka, as she pushed him away from her.

“Don’t touch me. You,” she said, turning her head to Lucas, “Gummies. Now.” She ordered, holding out her hands expectantly. Smirking, he pushed her hands aside.

“Whoa, whoa, calm down there, little girl! I’ll give you your gummies… If you do something for me.” he said suavely, leaning against the wall of the podicle.

Oh, she could see RIGHT through this one. He stole her space pirate gummies, and now he wanted her to go on a date with him? What in the universe was his idea of the definition of the word “charming”?

“Oh yes, of course. I’d definitely go on a date with you. What else do I have better to do than waste brain cells pursuing some degenerate hooligan like you?” she said in a gruff tone. Of course, these big, long words were much too much for Lucas and Uriel to take in and understand, besides the first two sentences.

“Great, see you at eight.” He said, waggling his eyebrows. His buddy gave him a thumbs-up and they both snickered, waiting for her to leave. Zelenka’s brow furrowed, and she frowned. I should have known better...

“Since you two can’t seem to comprehend proper English, why don’t I put this in a way you two can understand?” she suggested, giving her best smile. Promptly after, she grabbed a soda that happened to be set on the messy desk area, took the lid off, and splashed the drink all over them.>

“I don’t like you.”

While they both stood with their mouths agape, she grabbed her gummies out of Lucas’ hand, and popped an orange one in her mouth...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Its Nanovember At Trashionista

Ah, Day 3 of Nanowrimo, and I'm still on schedule to make goal by Thanksgiving. But, the newness wears off, doesn't it? In spite of months of plotting, planning, developing storylines....nothing, absolutely nothing, is going to put those words to the page for me. Every word that flies off my keyboard for the next three days is going to put me that much closer to....SAGGING MIDDLE SYNDROME!

No, I'm not talking about my gut. I'm talking about that writerly affliction when the newness of the rosy beginning wears off, and we're left with the reality that we have to carry these characters and their problems all the way to the finish line. EEK! Scary....

If you're anything like me, you probably have to stop writing now and again to crack your knuckles and bolster your muse up with a word or two of inspiration. Check out Nanovember at

Authors who have managed to see their Nano entries published are speaking out. One of them even saw her nano-book produced into a movie by Goldie Hawn.

You'll also hear from other writers who have set sail into that vast, unknowable realm that will lead some of us to 50 K in 30 days.

Or not! But how wild the ride on this merry voyage of insanity! :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nanowrimo. It's not as hard as it sounds....

Perhaps I can thank my summer of "training" with an eye towards increasing my daily word counts, but popping out 1667 words (the Nanowrimo daily minimum) went by quickly. So quickly that by 3 am. last night I had over 2300 words. Then I slept for a while, got up, and spun out another 1678 words.

Normally, writing doesn't come this easily for me.

Then again, given the short time frame in which the nano powers that be give their participants to reach 50,000 words, I did something that, given more leisurely circumstances, you couldn't pay me to do.

I. Wrote. An. Outline. (gulp. gasp! shhhhhh!)

And it was good. I am re-thinking my life as a seat of the pants writer. So if that's all this month of living by the almighty word count accomplishes for me--how to weave a compelling story--then I've already won.

Good luck everyone. It's really not as hard as it sounds.

Then again, ask me how I feel about this post mid-month!

Excerpt...And we're off! Nanowrimo Has Begun....

After my mom finished icing the nasty lump on her forehead, she came into my room to look over my (way amazing) report card.I had already kicked my feet up onto my desk and leaned back in my chair, figuring that this one should be worth at least fifty bucks.

I got six a's and one b-.When mom gasped--probably overwhelmed with joy--I extended my open hand toward her, ready to receive my accolades and my cold, hard cash.

Those gothalicious ankle boots I've had my eye are so mine, I thought.

Mom's brows knit together in a (faux) blonde slash of ire. "Kathi Jo Roberts, I thought I'd taught you better than this."

My chair fell backwards onto the carpet, taking me with it. "What? Whaddid I do? And did you just call me Kathi?"

Mom breathed so deeply that her shoulders rattled with the effort. "It's obvious, by the looks of these grades that we still have a lot of work to do."My mother's index finger wagged before my nose. "Your head is clearly not in the right place, young lady.

Is mom lecturing me?, I wondered. My mom? No way.

I scrambled to my feet and snatched my report card out of my mother's freshly manicured hand, thinking that Grets and I surely must have gotten our cards mixed up.

I don't get it, I thought as I scanned the grades. This was clearly my report card, and these were clearly my awesome grades.

"Mom? I made the Dean's List!" I cried, shoving the card back under her nose."

"I know, Kathi Jo. You certainly don't have to rub it in."

"It's Katya now, Mom. Or Kat. Anything but--brr--Kathi Jo!"

"Honey," Mom said as she reached out and clasped my hand into hers. " A new name is not going to solve your boy problems."

"Mom?" I said as I took in the blonde hair, the pink t-shirt, the maribou trimmed mules. Maybe we should call a doctor..."

My mother reached out to smooth my hair away from my face. "Let's not fret, now. It's not like being smart is a t-terminal disease. No doctor can fix this. We'll just have to b-buck up and work harder..."

I could see tears--actual honest to God tears--welling behind my mom's false lashes.

"What needs fixing, Mom? My good grades? My free ticket to Juilliard?"

"Sweetie, you'll never get a date to the prom with these grades."

"The prom?" I scanned my mother's face, looking for the evidence that one of those cackles that so often marked the punch lines to her jokes was about to erupt.

"The prom?" I repeated, unable to believe that my brilliant, bohemian, bizarre mother thought I'd even consider such an anti-goth rite of passage.

Not a single muscle quivered on my mother's face. She just looked pissed beyond reason. And sad---truly heartbroken. And really, really blonde.

Cold fingers of fear began to work their way through my gut as I backed away from my mother.
"No, mom. No prom. Not now. Not ever."

My mother's lower lip quivered as she backed up to my desk and picked up my Day Runner. "You'll thank me for this someday."

Thunk. My mom dumped my Day Runner into the trash.

My mouth fell open. My jaw hung slack. "You've gone completely emo."

Klunk. My calculator followed my Day runner.

"And just how do you propose to fix the fact that I have an IQ, mom? Are you going to throw my brain away, too?"

Mom picked the poetry and astrology books up off of my desk and dumped them one by one into the trash pail.

"Don't be silly! You're going to do what girls like us have done since the dawn of time."

"And that is?"

"You're going to fake it."

"Fake what?" I shouted as I dove to intercept the trash can before Mom could leave with it.

In spite of the frilly maribou trimmed mules that forced my mom to stand on her tiptoes, she pirouetted out of my reach with a ballerina's grace.

"You're going to fake being dumb."

Kaplonk. My slide rule and calculator followed the books.

One more time, I lunged for my stuff. My mom, the mega-klutz who once broke her nose by walking into a wall, danced out of my reach again. She executed a perfect split-leap to close the space in between me and the trash receptacle that overflowed with everything I needed to complete tonight's assignments.

"Mom? You can't throw my books out. I have homework."

Mom looked at me. Her blue contact clad eyes remained as wide and vacant as a high desert sky. "Trust me sweetie," she said as she picked up my trash can and hugged tight against her chest. "This is for the greater good."

As my mom backed slowly towards my bedroom door, she kept talking. "If only I'd taken more care back when I was your age.....well, I'd never have l-lost my chance with K-Ken.

A huge teardrop dangled pathetically on the thick crescent of my mom's lashes. "I had to settle for less, Kathi Jo."

My mom's wagging finger emphasised her clipped words. "No daughter of mine. Is going to grow old. Living on. If only's."

Then my mother turned on her pink kitten heel, her gleaming, blonde ponytail swishing behind her.

Obviously my mom had inhaled a good bit more up there in the attic than the dust that covered that old box of fashion dolls.

I picked up the Prom Queen Barbie that my mother had left lying in the lonely space that my books used to occupy.

"Where is my mom and what have you done with her?" I picked the plastic antithesis of everything I've worked so hard for by her bouffant skirt and hurled her across the room.