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Joan Collins, bacon, sexy people, etc...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Do you like Lady Gaga? Do you like bacon? Well, then, you'll love my new Tumblr page of rando pictures. There are no words! Literally.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You know what's the best?

Realizing halfway through the day your bra shows through your shirt.

Just kidding. It's not the best.

What happens after the agent?

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's as if the universe knows I have an agent shopping a book. The universe revolves around me, and only me. Doesn't it revolve around you? Speaking of that, I'D REALLY LIKE A CAPPUCCINO, UNIVERSE.

Anyway, I was recently lamenting the lack of blogs offering advice once you get past the agent stage. And believe me, I get why that there imbalance exists. Finding a great agent is about as much fun as searing off each one of your eyelashes with boric acid. Those of us who get past that obstacle are very lucky, and I'm indeed very, very lucky.  But we're still crazy and obsessive and doomsday-ish, y'all. That doesn't ever go away.

Last week, these two blogs came out of the ether. Ok, one is from a couple years ago, but Nathan Bransford kindly reposted it for me (see above, world, revolving, me). The other from Pimp My Novel is a sobering account of how many books actually make it to the stage where someone who is not your mom glues the pages together. At any rate, the second blog both terrified me and made me feel great. It's sort of a theme with this process.

1. How Long It Takes to Sell a Novel

2. Rotten Rejections

Some helpful information on staph infections

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm both amazed and concerned how many people stumble on this blog, affectionately known as "Steph Infection," when they are clearly trying to get information about a "staph infection." Most recently, as the stats reveal, someone was concerned their "steph infection" was making them sleep excessively, which led them to my post about sleeping in the Target parking lot and other downward spiraling/salmon smuggling.

I feel obliged to help the massive population currently suffering from bacterial infections in silence. Herewith, some tips:

1. This is a blog about writing, editing, rejection, misery, jubilation, wine preferences and sandwiches. Sometimes, we discuss my embarrassing taste in music, my dog, grilled cheese, shiny cupcake dresses, people who look at porn in Borders, and the open sores on Bradley Cooper. I rant about the sad state of airline nuts in our society. Occasionally, we explore my cramps and subsequent chocolate consumption. I have no medical expertise, unless you count the aforementioned chocolate consumption as medical expertise. For the record, I DO.

2. The title of this blog is a jaunty play on words!

3. Staph infection, also called Cellulitis or sometimes MRSA, is bad. The only thing I know about it is that I joke about picking up MRSA on the floor at various filling station bathrooms. For more information, I've provided this handy and informative link to the Mayo Clinic! Go there! For less journalistically sound information, here is Wikipedia. Anyone can edit that shiz, so you're best off seeing a doctor. Which leads me to my next point...


5. Let's review. Steph (with cheese fry):


6. Now that we've "cleared" that up (HAR HAR), we return to our regularly scheduled programming. Videos of John Stamos!

A better writer's block song

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So, today was better than yesterday, and as I muddled through my breathing, drooling story beast, one of my colleagues was on the phone interviewing Natasha Bedingfield (I know, our jobs are cool, right?). Since we all sit within negative three feet of each other, I heard him ask her about writer's block. A lot of her songs touch on it. I never really thought about it before my vigorous eavesdropping today, but it's true. That one from the Hills where she's staring at the blank page before her? Bet she didn't think that would become the theme song for kids in California staring blankly at caprese salads and fizzy water.

Anyway, I don't know what her answer was yet re: writer's block, because my hearing is not that acute, and also I am not that creepy. Close, but not quite.

Still, it reminded me of this song, which is a better writer's block ditty than the thinly veiled drug tribute posted yesterday. So, take it away, lady who was on the other end of the phone a few cubes down!

Writer's block is eating my brain

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces. - Bridget Jones.

Ok, that's entirely too dramatic for my sitch. In that instance, Bridge begins a stunning affair of the loins with Daniel Cleaver, while simultaneously, her mother leaves her father for an orange television presenter named Julian. I'm not going through anything like that, THANK YOU LORD.

But I'm having an interesting moment. While my newest fiction work is going swimmingly, rolling off my fingers in little gleeful bursts, I've been struggling through a story at work. It's weird. It's not writer's block, per se, because the reporting is there. It's just sort of a frozen and consuming concern of how to frame things and handle a great ton of information. It makes me want to run screaming into the night. I made good progress this week, mostly because I spent time studying stories by people who are awesome, just to jostle the old wrinkled prune inside my skull. I'm feeling optimistic. I've been able to keep up a good balance of journalism and fiction for almost two years now, and I have no current plans to change that. So any excuse of over-extending my mojo needs to GTFO. I just need to get past it and stop going, "DURRRRRR, um... coffee!"

In keeping with the British theme of this post, here's a cheeky little song I found about the universal problem of HEAD VACANCY. It's called Writer's Block by a chap named Just Jack. Enjoy, brethren.

How to make a plot. Also, a sandwich.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Someone asked how I come up with a plot.

I'm not a gal who does a ton of outlining and notecarding, though I do envy those pulled-together freaks. Their bathrooms are probably also spotless. I'm more of a figure it out as you go person. I have a general idea of what I would like to happen, but that's about it.

The rest, I told my lunchmate, is like making a sandwich. A five dolla foot long, if you will. Or perhaps a tasty panini. Or a breakfast bagel. Sandwich category is a deeply personal choice every sandwich artist has to make for herself.

First, you have bread. Yum, bread!

Maybe you're in the mood for turkey. Nice, meaty, light. Oh, but cheese. Cheese, of course, needs to go on the bottom or else nothing will make sense.

But wouldn't it be even better if a little condiment came before the cheese? To soften the bread? A smattering of honey mustard, let's say. But honey mustard is predictable. Everyone's been doing honey mustard this year. Come on, you can do better than honey mustard.

Then it hits you.


So now you've got your bread, and your genius, industry-jarring HORSERADISH, and your cheese. But you can't just go straight to the turkey and finish the thing. Your sandwich will be thin, underwhelming, unsatisfying.

You need a twist, something to really grab the taste buds. You need... BACON. It's salty, it's crunchy, it turns the whole flavor profile of the sandwich on his head. It makes you fat, yes, but this is about the journey.

You add the bacon and you are renewed in spirit. This book, I MEAN SANDWICH, is really coming together.

Your excitement and tension builds. You roll the turkey into neatly portioned pieces, leaving no holes on your bread.

Now you just need a topping. Lettuce could work, but it's not really your thing and you have to stay true to yourself, or else, WHAT IS THIS SANDWICH EVEN FOR? You agonize over it, all the while the condiment soaks into the bread and gives you anxiety. This is going on too long.

Your friends all roll their eyes, like, "I'm bouncing to Chipotle. Peace." They're gone.

Friendless, you consider throwing the entire sammy in the trash and becoming a vegetarian. But at the crucial moment, the sandwich muse smiles down and graces you with your answer.

AVOCADO. It ties everything together. Why didn't you think of this before?

It clicks in no time at all. You slice that shit up, lay it on your turkey and close the sandwich with a satisfying top layer of bread.

You cry and laud your culinary genius, the sheer perfection of your hard-fought product. You bite into it, tears enmeshing with the whole wheat. It's... it's...

Hmm. Kind of weird, actually.

Not bad, but... needs work. Some oil and vinegar, maybe? Or maybe that horseradish is too tart. There's a reason everyone uses honey mustard. It's delicious.

So you tweak it again, and again, and again. And one day, friends, you have the perfect sandwich worth every ounce of sweat, oven toasting, veggie chopping, pepper shaking effort you expended. You've done it. You've made a whole sandwich, and of that you can be proud. Even if no one else likes it.


The moral of this story is, I could really go for a sandwich right now.