bed eek rock her

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bed eek rock her

betty crocker cake mixes did not sell well when they were first released, even though focus groups – still a new idea – were full of women who said they would be open to the idea of saving time when baking their daily butter-caramel-bacon-grease cakes. betty asked one of the social science experts that had popped up after freud released his books in america. he told her to add instructions on the box telling the pearl-necklaced honey to include a superfluous egg. he said that 1. having a few simple steps would alleviate medically-methed-housewife-guilt about being lazy and taking shortcuts and 2. would symbolize sacrificing their own eggs for their chain-smoking WWII vets. sales sailed through the glass ceiling.

if you click on this picture it will take you to an amazon page where you can buy my novel. just imagine eggs, or something.

more cover art

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i just got twenty bucks from my first months of sales. that is half a tank of gas that i never would have got if i had not written a novel! hurrah!

napoleon_dynamite is great

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if two or three of the right critics had not made a big deal about napoleon dynamite when it showed at sundance, then it would not have caught on and made a lot of money, and then i would watch it with a radically different viewpoint. even as it is, i love the wesandersontimburton-type framed shots and claustrophobic qualities of stylization; i adore the characters and their attempts at being grown up or becoming a child again; the graphic design for the cover and soundtrack, and the extremely keen sense of americana, etc. soooo soo many people have told me that they don’t like the movie because “it has no point,” or “a stupid story.” if you stop thinking of it as a comedy and allow yourself to imagine that it is art then you see wildly original characters playing on major social tropes in a lavish, impasto mural of middle class midwest culture. Napoleon Dynamite has more in common with shirley jackson and steinbeck than it does with carrot top or comedy central.

contests and queries

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i have entered, and usually lost, a few writing contests every year for a very long time. i have a love/hate relationship with them, as you can never rely on them to boost your ego. the actual logistics of entering contests blends together smoothly with sending query letters out to agents and publishers. local contests and grants, national foundations, get-rich-quick-writing-schemes, literary magazines, online literary magazines, and pretty soon you are washed out to sea.

 

when you lean in for a closer inspection, you start to notice that you don’t have nearly as many choices as you thought you did at first. it takes a few hours, but you can start to wade through contests that don’t apply to you, or agents who don’t represent your genre. some prizes are only for women, or people who live in philadelphia, or are given for essays that deal with LGBT issues. you pick a handful, almost but not quite at random, and then you have to start figuring out each person’s guidelines.

 

submitting manuscripts requires the same delicate approach as turning in a paper to a cranky professor. double space, don’t double space, never double space. font types, word count limits, what info to put in the header and footer. this stage seems to really shine with the old fashioned, slow, obstinate energy of the publishing industry. it is a publisher’s world, right now, and self-publishing is probably the champion who will dethrone the king. even if it is a pipe dream, i still like thinking that some day i might be able to write a story and then simply email it to a magazine without the fear that it would be rejected for having the wrong margins.

 

but, i digress. at least there is some sort of infrastructure to try to make a name for yourself as a creative writer. right at this moment i don’t look too kindly on the subject, since i have been getting piles of rejection letters from agents for the last novel i wrote. but let’s be honest; all it would take is one of the ten or twenty contests i enter to toss me a second place prize to make me as happy as a clam. 

wolf drawing

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i fixed a few grammar and formatting issues and re-uploaded my book, so if anyone is just dying to buy a copy it will be available again at a new link in a few days.

i suppose this blog is meant to be about the process of self-publishing, so here are the updates: i have been signing up for writing contests like crazy. submitted my novel to a few competitions, and also some short stories and such. i will let you know the second i become famous.

also, wes anderson movies; i just watched Moonrise Kingdom, and i’m not sure i was comfortable with all the sexuality of the underage actors. which feels weird for me to admit, since i thought i was a person who was basically beyond being offended by anything short of a personal insult. maybe that deserves a post, too? who can say?

i think this is my…fifth blog?

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it’s weird starting up another one. the first, as i recall, started when i was going back to college for my sophomore year. i thought that i could post stories every day and get followers and advertisers and thus money. and thus become a famous writer and rule the world. i think i wrote about three posts and then gave up.

i started another blog a year later, and hopefully managed to strike most of it from the internet. i’m sure some of it is hanging around in some dark, cob-webby corner of cyberspace, but i wouldn’t be interested in re-reading it. i was depressed, and it showed.

then i made another one the next year, and posted six or seven times, and then quit. that one is probably still out there, active on tumblr. 

so, assuming i made at least one other blog and forgot about it since, i will call this lucky number five.