Editing Blows!

Butter my big butt and call me a biscuit, I’m actually editing a real life manuscript—one that I finally duct taped myself to a chair to write found the discipline and endurance to complete. Finishing a novel, even a 35,000 word middle grade one, is a huge deal for me since I have the attention span of a small gnat tend to miss the mark when it comes to finishing anything but a bag of Oreos larger projects.

However, my stomach flips with dread at how far from finished I am with this book. I still have to edit the damn thing. For instance, the first ten pages hold important information, but they bore the dog shit out of me. My mom and Mr. Jenn agree, but find themselves hooked later on. Mr. Jenn, who hates to read, has just admitted that he can’t put the thing down—once he got past the first part. This is not good, y’all.

As I try to focus on the editing process, I realize that by rearranging the first ten pages, I’ve actually backed myself into another plot-hole that will result in a complete revision of the initial third of the book. Damn this “world-building” crap—I should have written some realistic fiction story that’s just straight forward. Anyway, Mr. Jenn says I should be writing stories for grown-ups replete with kink. But who wants to buy/read another book about rope and cable ties? besides me

Why can’t we writers just be done when we type the last words of the first draft? Please lead me back to the sadistic turd who invented editing so I can whip his ass. Why didn’t I just do this right the first time? Thank God my bestie gave me a bottle of Malibu for my birthday; now I see why so many writers are alcoholics. CRIPES!    

A Needle and a Prayer

I woke up yesterday with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I had to take Lil’ P. and Lil’ K. to the pediatrician for shots that afternoon, and I dreaded it. Besides, I had just downloaded Fifty Shades Freed, and I wanted to finish it. Who wants to restrain their screaming kids so someone can poke needles in their arms? Who wants to deal with the potential consequences of NOT giving those shots?

I know that some of you are pro-vaccine, and some of you might be against them; I’m not cashing in on the debate today. I just want to hide behind my horny books. I’m just dealing with my own personal fall-out from terrifying my children for their own good yesterday.

I didn’t tell Lil’ K. about the afternoon plans until I absolutely had to; Lil’ P. is too young to get it yet, although after yesterday, he probably has a good idea of what’s going to happen to him when we pull up to a particular white building in the future. We carried on with picking blackberries and swimming lessons as we would on any other day.  I thought about keeping quiet about the whole doctor thing until I hit office parking lot, but I decided against it.

“Mama, why can’t we swim a little longer?” asked Lil’ K. when her lesson was over. “I wanted to show you what I learned today.”

“We have to do something now,” I said vaguely, feeling like an asshole.

“Not extra swimming today?” asked our swim teacher raising her eyebrows at me. We hang around in the pool for a while every day.

“We have to go to the D-O-C-T-O-R,” I spelled grimly.

“Oooooooh,” she said with a knowing nod.

I nodded back, Lil’ K. looked up just in time to catch our exchange.

“I don’t want to go to the O-C-T-D-Q-Z,” she told me, eyes widening.

“Where is that?” I said, grinning at her. “I don’t know what the O-C-T-D-whatever is.”

“I don’t want to go. I don’t like it,” she told me. “Where are we going?”

I thought about holding her off. I considered lying, but my kid can read me like a book. I knew I was in for a major meltdown in the pool locker room, but her trust in me trumped the annoyance of a few tears.

“We’re going to see the doctor,” I told her. She covered her mouth with both hands and gasped as if I’d just told her we’d decided to take away her birthday for the upcoming year.

“Do I have to get a shot?” she asked from behind her hands.

I could have said that she didn’t. I could have said I didn’t know. I could have been evasive. But I did know.

“Yes,” I answered. “You have to have them so you can start preschool next year.”

The wailing ensued. Everyone was staring, probably wondering why I hadn’t lied. What a stupid mama, they were probably thinking. Now we have to listen to this kid screaming like she’s getting the shot now.

I consoled her as I dressed her. I promised to give her some quarters toward the Dream Light she’s working for this summer if she would be a brave girl and stop crying. I may as well have tried to stop an 18-wheeler by standing in front of it.

I thought about this some more as I was putting Lil’ P.’s clothes on. Why should she stop crying? She’s about to get stuck by a needle four times. I wanted to cry too. Lil’ P. saw her concern and began screaming in concert. I dragged them both out of there as quickly as I could. I longed to go hide somewhere with my Kindle and a dirty book.

To abbreviate this long story, we made it through the appointment. It took the nurse forever to draw up all the shots. Each kid had a tray of four. FOUR! I had to restrain their screaming little selves for four!!!!! We made it through. I took my sniffling, trembling, little children next door to the 7-11 and bought them cookies and doughnuts. I know, I know—nothing like creating a food addiction, right?

As I drove home, I realized how lucky I am that pain is so alien to my kids that they scream at the sight of shots. What if they were so sick that they didn’t care anymore who prodded them? What if they had had so many needle sticks that they barely noticed when another invaded their skin?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a church-going woman—the floor could open up if I walked in. BUT I pray regularly, like ALL day long. I sent up many prayers of thanks at that moment. I also drove along in humble reverence and respect for the mothers and fathers who watch, restrain, and wipe the tears of their children who must endure this life-saving medical crap every day of their lives. I also thought about the looks on the faces of both my pediatrician and the nurse as they made my kids cry. I’m so thankful they have the strength, day in and day out, to administer good health to screaming kids in whatever form necessary.

“You know, Mama,” Lil’ K. began, her mouth full of cookie, “these Band-Aids are pretty sparkly and cool.”

“Dis,” added Lil’ P. I could see him spewing crumbs, as he touched his own silver bandage.

“I love you, Mama,” said Lil’ K.

“Luya,” added Lil’ P.

“I love you guys, too,” I told them. And they know everything I say is true.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

The Bug-Out Truck

The world could end sometime this Tuesday because I considered washing my truck, the bane of my husband’s existence. Had I actually completed this chore, a solar storm would have fricasseed us by now. At least we all have until the beginning of the week to prepare for the inevitability of the shit and the fan as those prepper types say.

I thought about scrubbing my truck when I left a July Fourth celebration and saw the passenger window, door, and mirror covered with bird poop.

“Aren’t you embarrassed?” Mr. Jenn asked.

“Not particularly,” I answered.

The next day, I turned the water hose on the crap. I didn’t have enough water pressure or motivation to scrub it off. My energy waned even more when I looked inside. I’m just compulsive enough that if I choose to wash the outside, I should clean out the interior, too. Snicker.

Since the Mayans said the world could end, I realized I drive the premier bug-out vehicle and that cleaning it out would prove erroneous. Inside, I saw a diaper bag stocked with diapers, wipes, spare kids’ clothes, one of my bathing suits, Lil’ K.’s video game, extra batteries, and applesauce. I found the equivalent of an order of fries and some chicken nugget chunks in and between the car seats. The floorboards in the backseat sported a book of hidden pictures, a pink pony, underwear, potty training pants, four little cars, Spiderman, a ball, and a raccoon. I also noted the double stroller, a dozen water bottles, more underwear, a dog collar and leash, and a potty chair in the back. All I needed was my Kindle stocked with my semi-pornographic novels so I could be happily horny at the point of my final expiration.

To make a long story less than 333 words, I choose to spend my remaining hours on earth lounging in the kiddie pool with the kids in smug celebration of my preparedness, faded bird poop, and complete lack of embarrassment.

Kitties Need Love, Too!

Since I’ve been on a 50 Shades of Gray and herpetological porn kick lately, I thought I would maintain the momentum with a little story about the feline gigolo that showed up at our house a few years back.

I was out on the back deck doing yoga when I caught a slight movement out of the corner of my eye. I twisted myself out of a stiff downward facing dog to behold a skinny, but poised, black cat sitting at the top of the deck steps. His nose and ears looked runny—clearly, this animal had seen better days, but there was something about him. Even though we were complete strangers, this cat clearly had no fear of me. He stood from his sitting position, stretched majestically, and proceeded to strut around my deck with his tail in the air.

Clearly, he wanted me to see that he was ALL boy. As he oozed himself all around, I swear I heard “Wakka Chicka Wakka Chicka” music playing from somewhere. The only thing this cat needed to complete his image was a lime green leisure suit. Whether I liked it or not, this beast clearly had moved in. I went in to get him a bowl of milk, and he lapped it up greedily before strutting around some more. I then went in to get him a can of tuna. Again, he ate as if his tail were on fire. He had another female under this spell, helplessly doing his bidding.

Mr. Jenn rolled his eyes when he saw “Giggy-Lo,” as I named our newest family member. Giggy tried his seductive tactics on my husband, to no avail.

“If there’s a kitty clap, that thing probably has it,” Mr. Jenn noted.

The Gigster hung around for about a year. I guess if I had taken him to the vet to have all his problems, um, fixed, this creature would have become a permanent fixture.

“Don’t you dare spend any money on that animal,” said Mr. Jenn firmly. “Besides, it would be a shame to do that to him.”

Mr. Jenn believes in free love and feral cats apparently. Every now and then I’ll see a black cat wandering around in the woods and wonder about the poor female Giggy-Lo seduced. I can guarantee you this, though: she didn’t go open him a can of tuna!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Why Couldn’t It Have Been A Stick?

My favorite time to jog is just after the sun dips behind the trees and just before the stars pepper the darkness. Peace and joy fill me to brimming at this point in the day. Apparently, the venomous snakes in the area feel the same way.

The other night as I returned home from my jiggle down the tractor path through the neighboring soybean field, I noticed a strange stick beside our driveway. It moved. Additionally, my “stick” sported an alternating copper and brown pattern. I backed up faster than my colon at the mention of string cheese.

Since I found myself two-tenths of a mile away from my house, husband, cell phone and some snake shot, I had a problem to solve. Could I tiptoe around this poisonous critter? Since it was ambling across the path, I guessed that it would eventually get out of the way so I could pass.

As I prepared to execute my superhero leap over the snake, I swore viciously as yet another copperhead emerged from the weeds. Together, both snakes stretched the entire width of my driveway.  I picked up a stick and threw it at them, but neither animal seemed to notice. I tried a rock–no response. I jumped up and down screaming, but the snakes couldn’t have cared less. By this time, Hercules couldn’t have driven a ten-penny nail up my butt with a ball peen hammer. It wasn’t until I breathed my blood pressure into submission that I realized why these creatures found me so insignificant. The two snakes were laying pipe in my driveway.

I felt like I should avert my eyes. When the second snake had sufficiently coiled itself around the first snake, I decided I’d better make my move. I sped behind the happy couple at a rate guaranteed to reduce my ass by half if I could maintain the pace for the entire duration of the herpetological porno unfolding in my driveway.

I didn’t stop until I landed breathlessly in my living room. I’m still not sure if my feet ever touched the ground. Between gasps, I explained to my husband why I had an overwhelming urge to wash my eyes out with bleach.

Naturally, he howled.

“Now, maybe you’ll listen to me when I tell you to take your phone when you go do that shuffling thing you do up the driveway!” he managed to say between cackles.

Humph. I guess if I want “compassion,” I’ll have to look in the dictionary between “Chlamydia” and “copulation.”

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Questions About Domestication…and SEX!

This week, Stasha, at Northwest Mommy, posted a meme with interesting questions for us to answer. Enjoy!

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, and find line 4. What is it?

“He teases me with his fingers, my nipple growing hard and elongating under his skillful touch.” Fifty Shades Darker, by E.L. James.

Seems all I’ve read about lately is sex. I’ve finished the first two books in the hormonal Fifty-Shades-of-Cliché trilogy—I still haven’t downloaded the third because I have a family that would like some attention. Despite the repetitive phrases splashed all through it, I found myself chained to my Kindle until I’d finished these two well-lubricated, only moderately kinky romances. I’m not sure if that line is on page 23, but it’s at 23% on my Kindle.

2. How many times a day do you say Hi?

I say, “Hi” every five minutes or so because it’s my toddler’s new favorite word. Lil’ P. says it to me, the dog, his sister, and all the Little People littering the floor. He then runs away laughing his head off. The cuteness factor is off the charts, especially when he and his big sister, Lil’ K. wrestle in the floor. I love summer!

Since we live way back here in the country, it’s customary to wave at everyone we pass on the road to town, If you count waving at people as a “hi” of sorts, I probably “say” it twice more per day.

Since reading the naughty books above, I only greet my husband with clothespins and a canning jar lifter so he doesn’t count.

3. Have you ever worn a uniform?

I wore a uniform for the first nine years of my school career. One would think that a plaid jumper would sort of stifle a young lady’s individuality. Not so. It’s amazing what a pair of Madonna earrings and several lacy head bands tied together will do for a Peter Pan collared shirt.

4. What do you think about the most?

I contemplate writing, strong verbs, characters in humorous situations, and the relative fullness of diapers. And sex.

5. How many keys are on your keyring?

I have one truck key, and the keys I took as souvenirs from my classroom in the school the tornado destroyed. I guess you’re wondering where my house key is, right? For awhile, we didn’t lock our house, so a key wasn’t important. After a series of robberies took place a few miles up the road, we’ve upped security measures considerably. Unfortunately, I locked myself out on several occasions because I kept forgetting that we’d suddenly morphed into Fort Knox. I have the key hidden so that I don’t have to worry about standing in the rain or snow and waiting for someone to rescue me. We really don’t have anything that anyone would want to steal, except a TV with a really sticky remote.

6. What was the last thing you bought?

I downloaded the song “Hell on Heels” by the Pistol Annies. One can wish, right?

7. Are you growing anything these days?

Mr. Jenn planted us a massive garden with tomatoes, green and banana peppers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, onions, radishes, and snaps (green beans to y’all city folks). I’ve canned ten quarts of snaps and six pints of squash relish. I started a batch of 13 day pickles yesterday. I love preserving food from my garden. And then there are the canning jar lifters…

8. What is under your bed?

I’m afraid to look—probably more children.

9. What is most important in life?

My marriage, children, and family are most important—in that order.

10. What is the strangest word you used this week?

We had a “derecho” over the weekend, which is a windstorm that travels over 240 miles. There were gusts of wind of over 100 miles per hour. Basically, it was like being in a hurricane for about five minutes. We had limbs down, but much less damage than other areas. Big cities are just getting power back as we had storms all weekend that hindered restoration. I’ve seen hurricanes, a major tornado, an earthquake, and now a “derecho” in a place that occasionally had a somewhat wicked thunderstorm. Were the Mayans right?

50 Shades of Hell Yeah!

Well, wrap ME up in black leather and handcuffs—I just read 50 Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.  I finished my middle grade novel manuscript, and I decided I deserved to a little treat. My Kindle began to tremble in anticipation as I downloaded the first book in the supposed raunchy trilogy.

I’ll have to admit that I laughed my ass off through the first third of the book. I’ve never been peppered with so many clichés in my entire life. E.L. James actually describes the college-aged female protagonist, Ana, “putting the pedal to the metal” as she drives her VW bug around town. The only reason our college-aged daughter would ever make that statement is if she were making fun of her father or me because we are obviously older than dinosaur shit.

I stopped laughing when James’s characters started “making the beast with two backs,” as Christian Grey says at one point. The sex scenes had me chained to my Kindle. Occasionally James would throw a zinger cliché right in the middle of some amazing boom-boom, and it would frustrate the hell out of me.  Additionally, James had her characters do the same things over and over. I got so tired of Ana biting her lip, and Christian telling her NOT to bite her damn lip because it made him insanely horny that I wanted to punch them both. He also kept setting his lips in a hard line, then braiding Ana’s hair and pulling it.

Even so, the overall throbbing hotness of the story shone through for me. Either I need to read more erotica or dig out my old copy of The Story of O, because I couldn’t put these damn books down. The romance Website Smart Bitches, Trashy Books describes books like this trilogy as having literary “crack” between the covers; I’d call Fifty a twenty-rock.

I’ve tried to figure out why I liked the book so much. At first I thought the sex scenes had me hooked, but by the end of the second book, I found myself flipping through them. Rabbits around the world keeled over dead at the very thought of screwing as much as these two characters do. I think it boiled right down to the dope obviously embedded within the lines of the well-lubricated story, and the fact that I just had to freakin’ know what happened to these characters. It’s that simple.

I’ve read the blog posts and reviews that have endeavored to pinpoint why this trilogy is such a best seller. Some writers claim that we mommy types gnash our teeth over this crap because we all fantasize about having some rich man like this Christian Grey take care of us. Any woman with three grains of sense knows, like Dr. Phil once said on his show, that if you marry a man for his money alone, he’ll make you pay for it every day of your life. Ana Steele, the would-be sex slave, even realizes this and bitches about all the money he spends on her. He even buys her an Audi after only knowing her a couple of weeks. I would be pissed if my dominator bought me some fancy little sports car—I prefer four-wheel drive trucks. Besides, Christian Grey may be obscenely rich, but he can’t find his way around a grocery store, and he can’t even cut up vegetables. You know he can’t bait a hook. So what if he can hire someone—he’ll be pretty useless when the shit hits the fan on December 21 of this year. Personally, I like a man who can fix his own truck.

The feminist reviewers claim that by finding the kinky sex described in these books as arousing, I’m  peeing all over the work of the women’s rights advocates who fought so hard for female equality. Bullshit! Get out of my bedroom, bitches! Those women’s dedication to our cause gave me the right to fantasize and copulate any damn way I please. I would let you ask Mr. Jenn about all this, but he’s been tied up this week.

So, bottom line—these books have editing issues, but read it anyway. Just clear your calendar and make sure you have someone to do nothing to do before you begin!

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