Saturday, October 31, 2009

Writers beware: Author 101 rip-off

Yesterday I attended the first day of a two-day Author 101 conference. I was looking forward to it, not only because it would get me out of a day of work, but because the focus was supposed to be on marketing, which naturally appealed to me.

What a rip-off. Instead of offering strategies that would be helpful to authors, the whole focus was on how to write a book in 30 days (imagine the quality?) and then sell that piece of crap through the Internet using the get-rich-quick techniques they’ll tell us if we enroll in their very expensive future seminar. (And, of course, there was plenty of “Enroll today and get…” bullshit.) With the exception of one speaker named David Hancock, who actually seemed to know a little about the writing world, it was essentially a day-long infomercial; the author’s equivalent of sitting through a timeshare presentation.

I’ve been around the writing circles long enough to know there are plenty of people out there preying on writers, and every writer should research Predators and Editors before querying agents, signing contracts with publishers, or enlisting the services needed to self-publish. So I ended up walking out during one of the afternoon speaker’s pitches for blah, blah, blah… and the guy at the registration desk could tell I’m a bitch on wheels, so I supposedly will get a refund. I’d better. But even though I’ll get my $179 (!) back, I’m still pissed as hell.

You can’t rip people off in this economy. You just can’t—it’s immoral. And I’ll tell you what really burned my ass (to use my mother’s expression) was that one of the offenders was Mark Victor Hansen, the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He spoke for about 45 minutes, 44 of which was a pitch for a $2000 workshop he’s offering next month. He told us all about what we’d be learning… next month. But hello, guess what? We all paid good money to learn something TODAY.

On top of that, every two seconds he’d tell us to do something, like “Touch your heart and say, ‘I can do it!’” and “If you agree say, ‘Yeah!’” like goddamn Simon Says. I’m not kidding, that guy annoyed the crap out of me. I really felt he was totally full of bullshit, even when he was speaking about all the charity work his organization does, and don’t even get me going about how he’d pepper his infomercial with spiritual overtones and abundance-speak. Really, the nerve of him spouting that shit while he’s ripping people off.

In contrast David Hancock, the one good speaker I heard, talked about how authors must be at the service of their readers and encourage personal contact. It’s important to develop a relationship, he said, and to give readers much more than they expect. Mark Victor Hansen was obviously there to serve himself and I sure as hell didn’t expect a 44 minute pitch session. My opinion: there's something sleazy about this guy. Just my opinion.

I did learn from him, though—what not to do. Violating your readers’ trust is unconscionable, and I want my readers to trust that whatever I have to offer is of the highest quality I can possibly produce. Okay, some of my blog posts are total vile, crude and tasteless shit, but you're not paying for this and I can tell you with all my heart that my book is funny, poignant, and well written. And if you don’t agree with me, send it back and I will be happy to refund your money.

I’m a Chicken Soup contributor, you know.

I feel kinda dirty.

... and Happy Halloween!

I snagged this picture from my sister Lori's facebook page. This is not me, it's MY MOTHER on her way to a Halloween party circa 1985.

No, that's not her real hair; it's a Halloween wig. HA-HA-HA!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

GREAT book launch party!

OMG you guys, I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I had at my book launch party! Everything went so smoothly—like all the planets were in perfect alignment. If only life could go like that all the time!

I had a great turnout—I counted 57 people, but there could have been more that I just don’t remember. Mom and Stepdaddy came down from Idaho, my high school friend Kevin Bacon and his wife were there, lots of my friends from work, friends from previous jobs, friends from the Henderson Writers Group, the facilitator from the divorce support group I joined when I first got here, Mike, my old boyfriend Tim, my old boyfriend Dr. Jim (yeah, I know--all in one room)… it was so totally all about me, at one point I felt like I was at my own wake—except good news!—I didn’t have to die or anything. Awesome!

Those of you who read my book will recall a scene at the DMV where I make a new friend who looks like Jerry Garcia’s younger brother. Look! I haven’t seen him in like five years, but even he showed up! I was so psyched.

We started off in the lounge area, where everyone socialized while I signed books, and then at 7:00 we moved into the showroom that my comic friend Joe Lowers so graciously offered to me for the night. My blogging buddy Hurricane Mikey and I did a hysterical Spinal Tap re-enactment in the backstage area trying to find the right doors and curtains that led to the stage. Did I tell you I have no sense of direction? It was pretty funny.

Once we got oriented, Mikey went out first and gave me a wonderful introduction—thank you, Mikey!

Thank God it was one of those times when I was totally in the zone. As you know, stage fright has always been a problem for me (believe it or not), but the first hour in the lounge was so busy, I didn’t have a chance to let the anxiety build—all of sudden it was time to get up there.

After a little stand-up schitck, I read a few pages taken from here and there from my book, with some anecdotes and general b.s. thrown in as well.

Often when I'm on stage I have an underlying feeling that I can't wait for the experience to end. But that night, I was actually enjoying myself up there. Maybe because I knew that everything I said is the God's honest truth--it's always so much easier that way, in the spotlight and especially in real life.

Afterward, we all went back to the lounge for drinks and boy, was I happy to see not one, but two Guinnesses in front of me (I never drink before I go on stage), courtesy my wonderful friends. By 9:00 almost everyone was on their way, but the hardcores stayed for Joe Lowers' comedy show. Great fun! (And picture me sitting at a table between Mike and Tim... It's all good!)

Joe's a doll--I can't thank him enough for letting me use his showroom--and if you've read my book, you know that from day one here in Las Vegas he's always been so helpful to me, my comedy mentor. The next morning I got an email from him with the subject title "Wow."

Great job! I thought what you did on stage was great. I love how it worked and I think you should think about a one-women show around your book. I know where you could do it!!!
Encouragement to put together a one-woman show with an offer of a room to do it in? That's certainly worth consideration. One more thing for my To-Do list...

It was simply a fantastic, perfect night and I thank everyone who came to support me from the bottom of my heart. And of course, thanks to all of you beloved readers from all over the world who've sent kind sentiments of support.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tonight’s the big night!

Bastard Husband: A Love Story launch party
Tonight at 6 p.m.
Alexis Park Resort
375 E Harmon, across from the Hard Rock

If you're in Vegas, you're invited!

OMG you guys, I have a million freakin’ things to do to prepare for tonight’s book launch party at Alexis Park Resort. I heard from almost 60 people who’ve said they’re planning on coming—very exciting! The adrenaline’s flowing, in a good way, but don’t think for one minute that this isn’t just a tiny bit out of my comfort zone. You know me—I like the spotlight, but stage fright has always been a problem for me and I’m starting to blotch up a bit.

I have to remind myself of the advice I’ve given people over the years about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone now and then, even if it scares the crap out of you. You may have to push yourself to do it—or have me as a friend who’ll nag you to no end—but the reality is, once you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone, you’ll realize three things: 1) It wasn’t that scary after all, 2) You feel really, really good about yourself, and 3) Now your comfort zone is even bigger, which means you can do more and more with ease. That's growth.

Remember on my birthday I asked what you to think about what you do better than almost every other person on this earth? Have you given any more thought to how you're going to present that talent to the rest of the world? Wouldn’t today be a great day to do something to unfold the talent you’ve identified, even if it scares the crap out of you? Come on—let’s step outside our comfort zones together!

P.S. Here’s a technique I use to gain confidence. I keep a file of all the encouraging emails I get and read them before I venture into uncomfortable territory. Here are some emails I've received from readers about my book. I’ll be keeping these in mind tonight before I go on stage:

"Ok, first night and I read 82 pages. Need to save the rest for the flight. Looks like I'm buying Christmas gifts from you!"

“I can’t put it down!”

“I thought I would give you a few first reactions to your book. I just finished Part I. Hilarious. Sad. Extremely well-written. (you DO have a real gift)”

“I read your entire book on the plane and loved it! I got teary when Lola died and laughed out loud several times at other parts which were hysterical! You are so funny and strong yet willing to show what is hurtful to you as well. I simply loved it. When is the next book coming out!!”

“The book came yesterday and I made the mistake of starting to read it at 830pm.....lets just say I could not put it down!! But it is all your fault that I am more grumpy than usual today at work!!! GREAT BOOK”

“It's 2 am and it's been years since I've stayed up this late to finish a book. I just couldn't stop reading. Can't understand, with all the crap that is showing up in the book stores, why an agent didn't pick this up… Linda, this is a wonderful book and what I consider very well written. I hope it's noticed by a big publisher and moves on and into the spot light. There a lessons here for everyone... Thanks for writing this.”

“LL...only a few pages into BH and loving it. Its fantastic. You inspire the fuck out of me.”

Thanks, all! Wish me luck, and I'll do the same for you.

(What? You haven't bought my book yet? What the heck are you waiting for???)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another rated R for language, but tell me if you don't agree

There are three little words I very rarely say, but when I do, you can bet I mean the sentiment behind them. If used too often, these three little words lose their impact and so I save them for special occasions.

“I love you”? Not quite.

As I said yesterday they didn’t accept my offer on the condo, and boy, am I pissed. Screeching halt! You and I both know my heart is not into buying any kind of property right now, so WTF, Linda, right?

Well, I’ll tell you. The reason I didn’t get the condo is because condos are being snatched up here in Las Vegas by investors who are paying for them with cash. So whose offer is going to be accepted—the buyer who can pay with cash or the buyer who has to go through the whole mortgage process, possibly FHA and all their requirements? (And P.S., my offer was submitted with a pre-qual letter for almost twice the asking price.)

That, people, is what’s pissing me off. What if I really, really wanted that condo? What if having a piece of the American dream and “pride of ownership” were actually important to me? What if (gulp) I’d been foregoing my expensive dark beer for the cheap stuff for months on end—saving every cent toward a down payment—for nothing?

There’s something wrong here.

You know I hardly ever talk about politics or current events in this blog, but economically this country is messed up, and Las Vegas is at the high end of the scale.

This condo project here in Green Valley went belly up a few years ago. How long do we have to look at this thing, and at some point won’t the elements deteriorate it to the point of no return? It's an eyesore, a huge one.

Signs like this are all over the place.

And then there are signs of another type:

Murder-suicides here are at a record high… The woman who owned the franchise of the coffee house where I wrote most of my book went bankrupt… My work friends and I used to go to the lunch buffet at the Silverton casino. No more—the buffet’s open only for dinner and brunch on the weekend… The bartender at the PT’s pub across the street from my office says the owner’s pressuring her to bring in business. From where? The nearby businesses don't employ the number of people they used to.

A woman approached me after the author’s panel last week and asked if my book was in library. She said she really wanted to read it, but she’s unemployed and can’t afford it right now and after she walked away I realized I should have just given her a copy. I'm KICKING myself for not.

The unemployment rate is almost 14 percent in Las Vegas. The company my friend’s father works for imposed mandatory overtime with no pay—take it or leave it, folks. Those fucking bastards. They know people are scared shitless of losing their jobs, but I can guarantee you the owners of the company haven’t cut back on their lifestyle one goddamn bit. They’re probably out there snatching up condos.

The rich get richer and the hardworking people in the middle are fucked.

And don’t even get me going on the banks and credit cards. Those mother fucking assholes are raising people’s interest rates to obscene levels, making it nearly impossible to pay off, and they're reducing credit limits (which impacts consumers’ credit scores) for no good reason. Pay your bills every month on time? They don’t give a shit—you’re fucked.

Another friend of mine, who filed for bankruptcy a while back, is now getting credit card offers to help “rebuild” her credit. The interest rate on purchases is 31 percent, and if you check out the tiny print on the back, you'll see there's no grace period for purchases made. That means the second the transaction goes through, they start collecting interest. At 31 percent. Oh, there’s also a $100 application fee, which is immediately charged to the account, so they’re getting that 31 percent right off the bat. And oh, yeah—there’s a $75 annual fee. I’m sure those are terms and conditions people recovering from bankruptcy don’t mind at all. Preditors! Fucking preditors.

The banks and credit card companies are RAPING consumers and on top of that, they expect the country to bail them out. To them, I offer my three little special occasion words, words I haven't spoken since my rant about cancer:


Thursday, October 22, 2009

I totally know my shit when I talk about writing, but off the page I'm a friggin' mess

I’m a bit surprised and incredibly flattered that I have so many readers in their 30s, 20s, and even younger. (Like you, Classic Rock Girl.) In real life, meaning outside the blogosphere, I also have a lot of young friends—some even younger than my son and daughter—and I can’t tell you how much I cherish their friendship. I know that many of them consider me a role model of sorts, which scares the crap out of me. For the love of God, kids, aim higher! (And I beg of you, learn from my mistakes.)

Anyway, earlier this week Mandy, of Mandy’s Life After 30, asked for my insight on some questions about writing and since a lot of blog readers are also writers, or have writing aspirations, I thought I’d answer sweet Mandy’s questions here in a post.

How do your ideas come and flow? Topics to write about just come to me; I observe things that happen around me and think, hey, that’s interesting. Observation is like a muscle to a writer; over time you develop the skill of observing to the point where it becomes a sort of sixth sense. And ideas can come at any time; that’s why I never, never go anywhere without a pen and something to scribble on if I have to. Don’t think, yeah, I’ll remember this the next time I sit down to write. Nope, it won’t happen. “The faintest ink is better than the sharpest memory.”

How do you write? The only time I write in longhand is when I’m capturing observations and elaborating on them as they’re happening. Otherwise, I compose at my laptop. I wrote most of Bastard Husband in coffee shops, just to get out of my apartment.

Do your characters come to you first, or your story? I write only nonfiction, so the they both happen together.

How do you stay focused on your writing? Do you set yourself time limits or set aside writing time each day? Many of my writer friends don’t have a day job, and I think this question is more for them. To those of us with one foot in the corporate world, I’d say we grab the time when we can—usually evenings and weekends—and because we have so little time to grab, it’s easy to stay focused. We know that if we succumb to distractions like television or the Internet, our writing simply won’t get done.

Did you recognize your peak writing times, if you have them? I write whenever I can, but I’m at peak when I’m most inspired. This is usually when I’ve observed something I think is really funny or something that could be helpful to a reader.

Do you ever worry if you’re writing a story similar to those you like to read and love? How do you keep your ideas fresh and original? Okay, this is a great question. Everything I write is in the first person--observations from my own perspective, which in theory, should be unique and original, right? I mean, they come from my head. By nature humor works because you’re making observations that your readers can identify with. However, with the Internet and so many media outlets, it’s very likely that someone else not only had that same observation, but has already gotten it out there in some form so the chances are greater than ever before that someone has already heard your “original” observation. I’ve written stand-up material that I’ve seen on the Internet because people have common observations. As a result, I think now that the style in which you write—your unique voice—becomes more important than ever. Same goes for stand-up; I think your delivery and your unique persona is what’s going to set you apart.

And for those of you who happen to have children, how the hell do you find time to write when you have a kid demanding your attention most of the time? Another good question. I knew I was a decent writer in my early 30s when I won first place in a writing contest in grad school for a creative piece I’d written about my grandmother in the hospice program. But I didn’t start writing seriously until I was in my 40s, after my kids were grown and after (my second husband) BH and I got divorced. I finally had time to myself. There’s a reason why most of the people in my writing group are over 40 and more than half many are retired. Hats off to those of you trying to raise a family and get some writing done!

The beauty of writing is that unlike gymnastics, you’re not past peak at 16. No, you get better at it as you get older; your observation muscle gets stronger. Thoughts have been bubbling within for years, and finally the time is right to release them. One of the many benefits that come with age.

Jeez, I feel so smart and together when I talk about writing. So let’s talk about the condo… I haven’t heard whether they’ve accepted my offer, and thank you so much for all your comments and advice. I’m going to breathe a sigh of relief if they reject my offer, and even if they accept, I can’t say for sure I’m going to take it.

I shouldn’t be left to make decisions by myself.

Let’s talk about writing again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If I was normal, I bet I wouldn't be so neurotic

Hey, Saturday afternoon I was getting off the 215 at the Green Valley Ranch exit and I pulled up at the red light right next to a good looking guy about my age in a black Mercedes convertible. So I give him a side glance and flirty smile and then realize, LINDA, YOU'RE SITTING IN A 14-YEAR-OLD SATURN WITH A DENT IN THE ROOF.

Sometimes I forget.

Goddamn it I have so much to do--all good stuff so I can't complain--but I'm behind on my blog reading and I'm way behind on my Albany obituary reading. Obituaries--the Irish sports page, right? I always know somebody in there, an old neighbor from Lincoln Avenue or a former classmate's father or, now at this age, my former classmates themselves. God knows what I'm missing.

So in the middle of all this busy-ness, what did I do yesterday but make an offer on a condo. I feel this sense of obligation to get in on the $8000 tax credit, plus I know, I know, it's crazy to spend so much on rent. But I love, love, love my apartment and I'm not horribly motivated to move. Look at the view out my kitchen window. That's the Strip in the background. It's kind of hard to see, but it's there.

And this is from my balcony.

This is how it looks in the morning when I get up to go to friggin' work

Okay, the condo has a view, too. Of the Strip, and it's a lot closer. It's actually very nice--it's in a nice section of town, it's a nice complex. It's just what I wanted: an upstairs unit with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a balcony with a view, right near the pool... and all night I've been praying that my offer is refused.

Why? There aren't as many windows as my apartment has, the view isn't as expansive, it doesn't come with appliances so I'd have to go buy a fridge and washer and dryer, and yeah, I guess a stove since everyone seems to have one. (This is stuff I can't get at Ross, you know? Did I ever tell you I hate shopping?) It's in Seven Hills, which is not as convenient to the highways like where I am now... blah, blah, blah.

I don't know what's wrong with me. Well, yes, I do--I'm full of fear. I'm afraid I won't like it and wish I were back in my apartment. I'm afraid I'll feel stuck, life I have to live there forever. Did I ever tell you about my fear of commitment? Why do you think I prefer contract and consulting jobs to "permanent" employment? I can't even commit to a shopping cart in the grocery store! Why do you think a good looking gal like me is single? (Don't answer that.)

On top of being nutzo, I'm a Libra. I can't make a friggin' decision. Paper or plastic? I don't know--is one better than the other? How do I know what I'm gonna like next week?

When I walked in the condo yesterday, I said, "This is perfect!" and now I'm like ready to cry. I imagine the universe is throwing its hands up in frustration, going "Linda! WTF??? I'm giving you everything you've asked for--you're makin' me crazy!"

But the universe unfolds in divine order, as you've heard me say ad nauseum. So we'll see. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.

But what if I have a neighbor who plays rap music?

Please tell me you get mental sometimes, too. Huh?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Staying with the free shipping

Remember I said I was going to offer free shipping for my book until October 15? Well, as some of you noticed, I never got around to changing my PayPal button. Usually when I procrastinate on something it means I really don't want to do it, and I realize I really don't want to charge my blog readers for postage. I just don't. You people have been with me and have been a major source of encouragement for over a year now and sales are going really, really well. I'll make the change on my site, but not here.

Still on my To Do list is figuring out international sales. Not procrastinating... just have a lot on that list. I'll get to the bottom of that this week. I'm learning a lot.

Thank you for all your kind words in comments, email messages and on my Facebook wall. Very, very much appreciated!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Book release party on October 27!

Mark your calendars and join me for the release party for my book, Bastard Husband: A Love Story!

Tuesday, October 27 from 6 - 8 p.m.
Alexis Park Resort
375 E. Harmon (across from the Hard Rock)

The first hour will be for schmoozing and book signing, and then at 7:00 I'll be doing a reading from my book and will even weave in some stand-up.

My friend and comedy mentor Joe Lowers has graciously offered his showroom for this event--it's really a wonderful space. We have the room until 8:00, and then Joe's Las Vegas Comedy Show starts at 9:00. He's offered a $4.95 special for my friends, so stay and hang out!

If you're here in Vegas, I hope you can come. And spread the word--the more, the merrier!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where I drag my guests who come to Las Vegas to, whether they want to go there or not

As a twist on an old adage, I often say Vegas is a great place to live but I wouldn't want to visit it.

You know I love living here, but I don't gamble (except in the race and sports book during Saratoga season, and that's a $20 maximum) (which I make up in free drinks) and like most locals, I have a love/hate relationship with the Strip. I avoid it at all costs, but I like knowing it's there if I want it. The beauty of living in Las Vegas is that there's so much to do, we don't have to go to the Strip. In fact, when guests come, it might be days before they see the Strip, other than out the window of my apartment.

One of my readers, Mikey's Other Julie, emailed me last week and asked for suggestions for what to do on her next visit to Vegas. I'm happy to oblige. Here are the places I like to drag my guests to, and yep, a couple are even on the Strip.

Linda's best places to have a drink:

1. Ellis Island. Don't miss this place, especially if money is tight. For full details, read my Living-Las-Vegas article.

2. The bar at the top of the Stratosphere. Tell the security people at the bottom that you're going up to the bar and you not only bypass the line of tourists, but avoid the admission charge.

3. The Fireside Lounge at the Peppermill. Love, love, love it! It's on the Strip, just north of Convention Center Drive. A great place for a romantic date. Don't be surprised when you walk in--you'll think you're in Denny's. But in the back, you'll find an old-style Vegas lounge.

4. The Yard House in Town Square. If you haven't been to Town Square yet, you must check it out! Lots of shops, bars, restaurants... one of the few places in Vegas besides the Strip where you can actually park and walk around. The Yard House has about 200 beers on tap, included my beloved Young's Chocolate Stout, and the music is always good old classic rock--need I say more? I wouldn't eat there, though--not the best value for the buck. (In my opinion.)

5. ghostbar at the Palms. Cliche, I know, and there are other rooftop bars that are a lot less touristy and less expensive. But everybody has to go to ghostbar at least once.

Want live music? Here are some bands/venues to check out.

1. The Michael Grimm Band. They play at the Ovation Lounge in Green Valley Ranch every Friday and Saturday at 7:00. Don't miss them. I wrote about them in my "dancing with myself" post a while back. I dragged Hurricane Mikey there last week--read his write-up here.

2. Yellow Brick Road. This band rotates through the Station Casinos' showrooms, including the Ovation Lounge. I recently heard from a reader who saw YBR on my advice and he agreed--it's the best classic rock tribute band you're likely to see. I'll send you to another Living-Las-Vegas article for more.

3. Thursday night Boulder Blues. Great scene, a different national blues act each week. In the Railhead in Boulder Station on the east side of town.

4. The Lon Bronson Band. I haven't seen them in a couple of years, but they're fabulous. Right now they're at Ovation Lounge on Thursday nights. I gotta get my ass there, but usually if I go out on a Thursday night, I'm up at the Railhead. So much music, so little time...

In short if you love good music or, I should say, if you share my superior taste in music (ha), I recommend you check out the Stations Casino website and see where these bands are playing. You can also find out what's going on by visiting the website for the Las Vegas Blues Society--they won't steer you wrong, either.

As far as food goes...

You're on your own people. I'm not a big eater (remember this pic of my fridge?)

Here is my idea of a perfect dinner:

When I have guests, I take my peeps to Baja Fresh, Chipotle, Metro Pizza, and of course, In-and-Out. It doesn't get any better than that!

Yeah, I couldn't care less about the fine dining experience. Food is just future shit to me--terrible, huh? Hey, speaking of shit, I lost two followers after my last post with the picture of my fake dog Stiff's fake "accident." Can you imagine?

One more thing while we're on the topic of shit. (Sorry.) If you're looking for clean bathroom in Vegas, check out my new blogging buddy Vegas Flea's post. We gotta talk this guy into posting more frequently. Funny stuff there.

So there's a start. Anybody have any questions?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My dog, Stiff

Author’s note: To get the full effect of this post, every time you see the word “dog,” please read it as I would say it: “dawg.” Remember, I grew up in Awl-benny, New York.
I can’t believe I never told you about my dog, Stiff. I got Stiff from Beautiful Aunt Joyce two years ago for my fiftieth birthday and it was the best present ever.

Screeching halt, you must be thinking. I know—how many times have I told you I don’t like animals? (Don’t hate me. I just don’t connect with the animal world; I’m still a lovely person.)

Anyway, Stiff is awesome and he’s the perfect pet for me because he’s not real. I mean, it’s not like he’s imaginary or anything, he’s just… fake. Like, stuffed. Why do you think he’s called “Stiff?”

Cute, huh?

And because Stiff was a gift from BAJ, he’s super special. Like if I came home from work and my apartment was on fire, I would totally run in to save him. Or, more likely, I’d yell for the firemen to save him. They’d probably be pissed to have risked their lives for a dog that’s not actually living and breathing, but I wouldn’t tell them until after the fact.

I love Stiff! He’s no maintenance whatsoever and I never have to feed him or take him out for a walk or to the vet for shots. However, one night I was out kind of late and this is what I came home to.

I was like, “Stiff! How could you?” but I stayed cool and didn’t rub his nose in it or anything. I mean, everybody shits on the floor sometimes, right?

Reminder: Last day for free shipping

OMG, thanks so much to all of you who've ordered my book right out of the gate! If you haven't ordered yours yet, do it today and the shipping's on me. I wish I could extend this offer, but man, the postage adds up--more than $200 in just six days! The good news is, that's a lot of books going out. Again, thank you!

I look forward to your feedback on my story--feel free to become a Facebook fan and start a discussion thread. God knows you'll probably have some questions--ha!

When I started this blog over a year ago, I had no idea how much joy it would bring me. Can I say one more time--THANK YOU?

Thank you. For everything.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Author panel tonight

For those of you here in Las Vegas, I’ll be participating in an author’s panel (and selling my book) tonight at 6:30 at the Clark County Library, 1401 E Flamingo. The topic is “Writing Your Second Book.” Second book? Who said anything about a second book? Yep, I actually have one in mind.

Just a reminder—free postage ends tomorrow, so if you haven’t ordered your copy of Bastard Husband: A Love Story, well, what are you waiting for? I’m still figuring out how to do international orders; please bear with me. If you’ve already placed an order, your book will be arriving soon.

Hey, I got my first feedback from a reader who emailed me yesterday:
It's 2 am and it's been years since I've stayed up this late to finish a book. I just couldn't stop reading. Can't understand, with all the crap that is showing up in the book stores, why an agent didn't pick this up.

Linda, this is a wonderful book and what I consider very well written. I hope it's noticed by a big publisher and moves on and into the spotlight. There a lessons here for everyone…. Thanks for writing this.
And I didn’t even pay her to say that!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ten things that bore the hell out of me but I have to do them, like it or not

Yet another post that’s nothing to be proud of. This is kind of embarrassing, though not as embarrassing as when I walked out of the bathroom and halfway down the hall when I worked at GE with the back of my dress tucked into my underwear.

Here’s my list of 10 things that bore the hell out of me but I have to do them, like it or not:

1. Pumping gas. Boring as hell. There’s nothing to do but stand there like an idiot, right? I get 41 miles to the gallon with my little Saturn, but I’d love my car even more if it had a 200-gallon gas tank.

2. Flossing. I have a pretty good track record when it comes to flossing, but again, it is boring as hell. When I complained to my dental hygienist, she told me to floss while watching TV. I was like, “Excuse me? Do you give that advice to all your patients?” Because I don’t want to go to somebody’s house and wonder if the coffee table I just set my beer down on had a disgusting string of tooth garbage on it minutes before I got there. Pull-eeze.

3. Putting a new roll of toilet paper on the holder. I don’t know why this bores me, and it doesn’t even take much time to do, but I know for a fact that I’m not alone on this because people at work will just set the new roll on top of the cardboard toilet paper skeleton instead of putting it on the holder. Or worse, they'll set it on the floor. Eew-uh! I live by myself and I still put the new roll on the holder. Just because, you know?

4. Waiting for the microwave. Really, how lazy can I get? The microwave is a freakin’ miracle appliance, but without fail I open the door with just 8 seconds to go because suddenly those are the longest 8 seconds of my life and I can’t wait. I just can’t wait.

5. Emptying the dishwasher. Yeah, it’s not like I have to slave over a steaming hot sink in Playtex Living Gloves or anything. Just how hard is it to put the beer glasses and ice cream bowls and cereal bowls away in the cupboard? I'm pathetic.

6. Dying my hair. I find this terribly boring, even though it takes like 5 minutes and then I can go back to watching Family Guy reruns on the couch while I wait for the color to sink into each hair shaft. But talk about a necessity. If I ever go in a coma for more than 3 weeks, I can guarantee you my sister Lori will be there slathering Golden Chestnut 4G all over my head or there will be hell. to. pay. when I wake up.

7. Waiting at the photocopier. Friggin' boring. Maybe it’s because I miss the purple smell of mimeograph (anything for a buzz).

8. Taking laundry out of the dryer. Yeah, life could be much worse--I could be hanging clothes out on the line for all my neighbors to see, or scrubbing them on a washboard down at the creek. But when I hear the dryer stop, I’m like, “Shit. Now I gotta get up and put those damn clothes away,” even though they’re nice and warm and April fresh. Okay, truth be told, if it’s a hot wash with just sheets, towels and underwear, I’ll let it sit in the dryer till I’m damn good and ready to fetch it. Which could be days. But I do have to tend to my collection of Ross Dress-for-Less tops and jeans right away or they’ll need ironing. Which leads me to #9.

9. Ironing. Yes, I know in the olden days my mother used to have to iron sheets and pillowcases and my father’s handkerchiefs, but at least she could do that while watching Guiding Light. Usually when I have to iron it’s because it’s 6:15 a.m. and I have to wear something to work and there’s nothing else clean so I’m in my emergency wrinkled stash. Oh, to stay home and watch soaps all day. Oh, Guiding Light--R.I.P.

10. The whole beautification process. What’s 40 minutes times every goddamn day of my life? The same thing: shampoo, conditioner, razor, contacts, moisturizer, mousse, hairdryer, hairspray, eyeliner, eye shadow, mascara, blush, lipstick, earrings, blah, blah, blah, blah, freakin’ blah. That, people, is why I love shower holidays.

So what bores you? DON’T SAY READING MY BLOG!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Books are in and they even got Hurricane Mikey’s seal of approval

Okay, first let me say that this blog is not gonna be “My book, my book, my book” forever. I’m going to try to keep the book talk out of my regularly scheduled Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday posts and put up additional posts as needed about Bastard Husband: A Love Story-now-available-order-yours-before-10/15-and-I’ll-pick-up-the-shipping. But for today, bear with me—this is all new and exciting. Well, to me.

Last night I met Vegas blogger extraordinaire Hurricane Mikey at the Ovation lounge in Green Valley Ranch. I had to give him his copy of my book and thank him again for his blurb of endorsement, and man, was I relieved to see him look so impressed with my creation. Those of you who’ve met Mikey know he’s a straight shooter, and if something sucks, he’ll tell you. But “he likes it—hey, Mikey!” (For the youngsters, that’s a reference to a 1970s cereal commercial.)

Mikey’s an avid reader, so his seal of approval means a lot. Of course, I had to point out the imperfections I see, like how some page numbers are a sixteenth of an inch higher or lower than others.

“Is that unacceptable?” I asked. “Should I send them back or am I just being neurotic?”

Mikey rolled his eyes like “duh, you’re always neurotic” and told me it was nothing to worry about. But I still will.

Always looking for imperfections. That is so not good. I try not to project that onto other people and I think I do a pretty good job of limiting the search for flaws to myself. Like I can look in the mirror and identify 10 things that are wrong and no matter how many times people say, “No, Linda, one eye is not bigger than the other,” I never truly believe them.

You will never be happy. I forget which boyfriend or husband told me that. Maybe it was all of them.

I’m not sure a glossy finish on a black book cover was a good idea. It really shows fingerprints.

Okay, I’ll stop.

But you know what? Yes, there are some aspects of the printed book that I’m not 100 percent happy with and I’m probably being a little too picky, but I can say with 100 percent certainty that the story inside is well crafted. It’s well written and well structured and it’s funny and sad and just plain well done. Yep, that I can say.

And you know what else? Even with the imperfections, I actually think I’m pretty decent looking. And maybe if I sell enough books, I can do something about that sagging jaw line.

Did I tell you the shipping's on me until 10/15?

I love you guys. Really.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Golden Rule for the Prevention of Nagging

I am not a bitch. I admit, sometimes I can be a total asshole, but I’m not a bitch. There’s a difference, you know. And I’m not a nag, either.

I do, however, have an occasional vocal inflection that my kids used to call my “snotty voice.” It comes out when I’m frustrated and I can’t believe people are so f*cking stupid and I want to rip their heads off.

The other night I was talking to the president of the company that’s printing my book and, sad to say, I had to use my snotty voice. I always feel bad when my snotty voice comes out because I know I’m much nicer than that, but I reach a certain point where I can’t help it. If someone says they’re going to check on something and call me back tomorrow and then tomorrow comes and I never hear anything and then I have to call them back… well, don’t be surprised if my snotty voice seeps through. Because part of the frustration of my snotty voice is that now you’re making me sound like nag. And I'm not a nag.

Remember Hurricane Mikey’s post where he answered all my questions about the male perspective? His commenters made it clear that they hate it when women nag. So you want to know how to absolutely prevent nagging?

Do what you said you’ll do, at the time you said you’d do it.
It’s as simple as that.

Here’s a little quiz for the gals out there to find out whether you’re a nag or not. (Guys, make sure you pay attention, too.)

Let’s say your husband or boyfriend or whatever says he’ll mow the lawn Sunday afternoon. On Saturday afternoon, you say,

“Honey, don’t forget to mow the lawn tomorrow.”
Are you nagging?

YES! It’s best to assume he’ll honor his promise. In this case, “reminding” is just a nice name for “nagging.”

Okay, let’s say you overhead him making plans with his friends for Sunday afternoon. You say,

“Darling, I see you have plans for tomorrow afternoon. Does that mean you’ll be mowing the lawn in the morning?”
Are you nagging?

NO! You are justified in fearing he’ll renege on his promise. In this case, he may need to be reminded of his commitment.

Now let’s say it’s five o’clock Sunday afternoon. He’s watching the game and is on his third beer and it doesn’t look like he’s getting off the couch anytime soon. You say,

“My love, are you still planning to mow the lawn this afternoon?”
Are you nagging?

NO! Because by that time of day you have reason to believe there's no freakin' way that lawn will be mowed. And if your snotty voice seeps through, you’re totally justified.

And now it’s Wednesday and you’re looking at the overgrown grass in the yard. You say,

“Jesus Christ, how many times do I have to ask you to mow the goddamn lawn?”
Are you nagging?

HELL, NO! Again, the Golden Rule for the Prevention of Nagging:

Do what you said you’ll do, at the time you said you’d do it.
It’s as simple as that.

(On a related note, can you believe I still haven't heard from Mike about our "relationship retainer"?)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thank you again and again!

Thank you, thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes. You sure know how to make somebody feel loved! Even Carol from freakin’ Perth, Australia, came out of lurkdom to wish me happy birthday—yay! In her honor, I watched Rabbit Proof Fence Sunday night. I actually saw that in the theater a few years ago with my Kiwi ex. It’s a good movie, but only if you have the IFC channel gene.

So I had a nice visit in Idaho, though I was a little concerned when I got on the plane. I mean nothing says, “We’re all gonna die” more than a woman in the emergency exit row with a Kate Gosselin haircut. I should talk; after struggling for like 20 minutes, I had to ask the guy next to me to open my peanuts. Freakin’ helpless.

It was gloomy and rainy all weekend in Boise, but I didn’t care; Mom took me to not one, but two Ross Dress-for-Lesses and bought me all kinds of stuff for my birthday, on top of baking me a cake and brownies and taking me out to dinner at an awesome place called Jakers. We also checked out an independent bookstore, Rediscovered Bookshop, and I hope to arrange a book signing there when I’m back in Boise next month.

As I’ve said before, Boise is a cool place with a funky downtown and an independent movie theater that sells microbrews. (Oh, Mom also had a six-pack of Moose Drool in her fridge for me—isn’t she the best?) Anyway, I think you’d be surprised at how nice Boise is, and I’ll tell you something else that’s surprising—it doesn’t get dark until much later than Las Vegas and it takes forever to get bright in the morning. I swear, I got up to pee thinking it was the middle of the night and it was 6:45 a.m. It was pitch black!

This was a short visit—I was back in my Vegas sunshine by 3:00 Sunday afternoon. October is beautiful in Las Vegas—it’s been in the 70s lately, which is actually a little below normal, but it will be in the 80s again by the end of the week. I’m telling you, people, Las Vegas is a fantastic place to live.

One last thing—thanks to all of you who’ve placed your orders for Bastard Husband. I am both amazed and overwhelmed with gratitude for your interest in my story. I heard from a couple of you asking how to buy more than one book; I adjusted the PayPal button so you can do that now. (I'm still working on figuring out international orders.)

Man, there’s so much to learn, and I’m pretty damn sick of learning stuff. I wanted to put together a WordPress site for, but I’m not kidding, I’ve had to learn so much lately about self-publishing that I’m like F it, I know Blogger, so I put together a total cob job of a website for my book in Blogger. Sometimes you just have to say “good enough,” you know? It’ll get better over time; I just have so much to do right now. Not that I’m complaining; I’m the luckiest girl in the world. Thank you all, again.

Hey, speaking of bastard husbands, how pissed must Letterman’s wife be these days? Yesterday I was talking to a co-worker about the whole “men with power” dynamic and we were wondering if women with power act out in a similar way. You never hear about it, if they do. Do you think powerful women are more monogamous? Or are they just more discreet?

Geez, Dave…

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My birthday wish -- for you

Today is my 52nd birthday. I know--holy shit, right? So here I am in Boise with Mom and Stepdaddy and let me tell you how happy I am to be 52 years old and still have my mother, and in good health. Well, physical health.

I woke up today to the hum of the mixer and there was Mom in the kitchen making my birthday cake. On the kitchen table was a big-ass plate of brownies.

Me: "You made brownies, too?" Yikes, is Mom going a bit overboard on the sweets or what?
Mom: "Oh, they were supposed to be your birthday cake. I knew something wasn't right when I was mixing it up. The boxes look alike, you know. Not that I'm gonna make anything from scratch--ha!"
At least the physical health is still intact. Poor Mom, though--imagine what it must be like to have a kid who's 52? I'm freaked out that my kids are 30 and 31.

Birthdays are traditionally a good time to assess where you are in life and how close you are to where you want to be. But I'm gonna say F that. Why? Because when you frame your birthday in that way, it's nothing but a perfect opportunity to make yourself feel inadequate. Like surely you should have accomplished more by this age.

So let's shake the Etch-a-Sketch and erase any notions of how your life "should" look at this point. Instead, think about how it still can be.

Over the past several months, I've been doing some editing for Rudy Ruettiger, the man behind the hit movie, Rudy. He lives here in Las Vegas. One of Rudy's favorite lines is,

"What would you do if you knew you could not fail?"
Most people don't dig deeply enough within themselves to truly consider and come up with an answer to this question. But if you really think about it, you're sure to uncover a true desire. And under that, I'll bet you anything, lies a true God-given talent.

Talent. I believe we've all been blessed with it. But for any number of reasons, this talent often gets suppressed. A while back, I heard from a reader who said she always wanted to write, but gave up that aspiration long ago when a teacher told her she was no good at it. And I'm telling you, the email she sent to me was beautifully written. Forgive that stupid teacher and shake the Etch-a-Sketch, sister. And start writing.

Finally, finally, I've come to realize that my God-given talent is my writing (though Mom could have told you that years ago). I'm 52 and finally have a book for sale, an outlet for my writing, my humor, and a way to motivate others to make the most of their own lives by looking at mine. I've said a million times, "Everything in its right time" and I do believe that--the universe unfolds in divine order. But we also have free will, so why not make "the right time" sooner rather than later?

So my birthday wish is for you to take some time today to consider

What is your God-given talent? What do you do better than almost every person on earth? How can you share your talent with the rest of the world?
These are not rhetorical questions. I'm really asking you; I expect answers (even if you answer in your own head). I want you to tell me what your talent is because by telling me, you're also proclaiming it to yourself.

Think about what makes you wonderful and have yourself an incredible day, knowing that in your own unique way, you kick ass. That, beloved readers, is my birthday wish for you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Okay, I’m all set for pre-orders

Well, I think I’m ready if you are. It’s still going to be another month or so before I’m good to go on Amazon, but I’m all set up with PayPal to start taking orders for Bastard Husband: A Love Story right here from my blog. The price is $15.95 (no tax) and for you, my dear readers, I’ll pick up the postage.

Another benefit of handling the shipping myself until I have the Amazon system up and running is that I can sign each book before it goes out. If you’d like yours signed to a particular person, just type the person’s name in the field under “Sign my copy ‘To:’” before you click the Buy Now button.

You don’t need a PayPal account to purchase through PayPal. You can pay with a regular ol’ credit card; all you have to do is click the Continue link on the line above the little credit card icons. As you go through the payment process, you’ll notice another link that says “Message to seller.” If you have any special instructions for me, you’ll see a field where you can type them in.

I should have books in hand next week at this time, and I’ll get them out to you the minute I receive them. At this point, I’m sorry to say, I’m equipped only for U.S. orders, but that will change as I refine the process.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Thanks to every single one of you for supporting this crazy hobby of mine. You mean the world to me. No shit.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bastard Husband winner (yay!) and why Courteney Cox needs to gain some damn weight

First, thank you all so much for entering the “Win a Copy of Bastard Husband: A Love Story” contest. It’s nice to see such an interesting cross-section of readers, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate your enthusiasm for this little book of mine. Well, at 260 pages, it’s not that little. (I know—can you imagine reading 260 pages of my voice???)

And the lucky winner is.... Hoopswife, age 40 from Ohio. Congratulations, Hoopswife! Please send your mailing address to and I’ll get that book out to you the minute it comes in. I talked to the printer on Tuesday and he assured me I’ll have books in hand by the end of next week. I'll be taking orders from this site very soon--I'm thinking by Saturday. Oh, I hope you like it!

I got an email from beloved BH in New Zealand yesterday; I said him I'd send him a book and he wrote back saying if I send him three, he'll sign two and mail them back to me. So there'll be another giveaway down the line. Just imagine how valuable a book signed by Bastard Husband himself could fetch you on eBay!

I'm just being an a-hole. As always.

So last night I was on my way to an event at the library— Screeching halt!!! Oh, for Christsake, can you believe I live in Las Vegas and I start a sentence like that? WTH? (That’s the rated PG version of WTF.) Anyway, I was walking through the library and my daughter, Courtney, called to say doesn’t Courteney Cox look like hell? (Yes, she calls just to tell me important stuff like that.)

“She looks plastic or something,” the Kim to my Kath said.

Court had just watched Cougar Town on the east coast and I when I got home from my very. exciting. event. I tuned in. I kind of thought it sucked last week, but sometimes shows take a while to kick in, which I’m hoping is the case with Family Guy’s spinoff, Cleveland, which debuted last Sunday night. Yes, I watch cartoons at age 52 on Saturday.

Anyway, I think Courteney Cox is beautiful, but she is too goddamn skinny and it shows in her looks. I wish to God I could remember which actress said that after a certain age, a woman has to choose between her ass and her face because they’re simply not going to both look good at the same time. I’ve told you before, I’m choosing my face and I’ll make that clear to any guy who’s interested in me, including the two who asked me out last week. (Yes, they were younger, but no, I’m still not a cougar.) (And oh, yeah. I never heard from Mike about my retainer idea.)

Anyway, they have C.C. wearing a million little outfits on the show and all I could think was how goddamn sick I am of these size 0 actresses who look like they’ve been vacationing at an internment camp. Courteney Cox is 45 years old—she needs a little meat on her. It’s a sitcom, not a CARE commercial. Who in Hollywood do I need to smack some sense into? And any guy will tell you that the bag-of-bones look is so not sexy.

Now, back to my Courtney. Look at this picture she sent me the other day. She said I could post it as long I tell you that she’s not wearing any make-up. Can you believe she’s only 3 months pregnant?

I was like, what are you, Octomom 2? Don't worry--yesterday’s ultrasound showed only one baby in there. So exciting…

I’ll tell you what else is exciting—I’m heading up to Boise tomorrow to see Mom minus her gall bladder and Stepdaddy. Mom’s already said she’ll make me a cake and I’m holding her to it, post-op or not. Maybe we’ll even get to go to the movie theater with the microbrews. Yup, life is good.

And again, congratulations, Hoopswife!