book groups, phone calls, and other bits and pieces

A few weeks ago I did a conference call visit with a book group in Pennsylvania to discuss Pajama Girls. It was arranged by Wanda (who stops by here once in a while), who also hosted the group that evening. Everybody came in pajamas. Even Sue F., who is 71. We had a great discussion; they asked a lot of good questions and were very polite when I rambled off into subsidiary topics. All in all, a great cyber-meetng.

I have two more book group meetings this month, one cyber and one in person. Please keep this in mind — if you have a book group that is reading something of mine, I am happy to visit. Technology makes these things possible. My only requirement is that the group actually read someting of mine. Just drop me an email and we’ll get organized.

Via the glowingly radiant Robyn Bender, this link to a really interesting post about the similarities between writing and mothering..

Filed under ‘better late than never’ I am jumping on this meme I first saw at HelenKay Dimon’s weblog: ten signs a novel was written by me.

10. There are letters, phone messages, newspaper advertisements and/ or other odd ways of passing along information to readers.

9. Nary a werewolf in sight; nor will you find vampires, elves, fairies, talking animals, or magical to-doing of any kind.

8. Ghosts (human or canine), the green man, and other slightly less than normal beings wander in and out again without much fanfare.

7. The biggest stumbling block for any romantic relationship is going to have something to do with trust and the resolution of troubled family relationships. I don’t do secret babies, but I usually have a difficult mother tucked into one corner or another.

6. I will never, ever tell you how big the main female character’s breasts are.

5. I will never, ever tell you how bit the main male character’s — well, you get the idea.

4. If I open the bedroom door while characters are having sex, the guy is always going to be talking. A lot.

3. The characters I like the best have dogs.

….

I am going to leave two spaces open in case you would like to make a suggestion. Every writer has fixations, and most writers know some (but not all) of them. So, go ahead, enlighten me.

pardon me while I… whooopeee!

We are now on the new server, and things are looking good. That is a great relief, no? Also good news… but first, a question:

Do you get tired of me talking about what’s going on with Pajama Girls? It occurs to me that maybe I’m overestimating your interest. But there is something I want to share (good news) so here it is:

Woman’s Day Magazine (with a circulation of about oh, 43 gazillion) has a list out in its new issue (and on its website) called Ten New Must Read Books and the first one on the list is, yes, Pajama Girls. Below is a screenshot from the website slide show of all ten titles. It’s too small to read, but click on it to go to the actual webpage.

Did I say this is good news?

Later this evening (in case you were wondering) I’ll post about the status of the pajamarama contest, and also about the upcoming meme.

Woman's Day Magazine February 2008

PBWs 4x meme

Four jobs I’ve had or currently have in my life:

1. secretary
2. nursing assistant
3. fourth grade teacher
4. director of graduate studies

Four countries I’ve been to:

1. Liechtenstein
2. Italy
3. France
4. Mexico

Four places I’d rather be right now:
(but only if I can have my family and the dogs with me)

1. Italy
2. Lake George
3. Devon
4. Chicago

Four foods I like to eat:

1. chicken piccata
2. tyroler knoedel mit sauerkraut
3. cheese fondue
4. the blue plate special at Pepper Sisters

Four personal heroes, past or present:

1. Eleanor Roosevelt
2. Ghandi
3. Margaret Sanger
4. Noam Chomsky

Four books you’ve read or are currently reading:

1. The Guide to Lodging in Italy’s Monasteries
2. Seducing the demon : writing for my life / Erica Jong
3. The Chrysalids /John Wyndham
4. Mr. Clarinet /Nick Stone

Four words or phrases you would like to see used more often:

1. How does it feel to hit the NYT bestseller list?
2. Did you hear that Gore announced he’s running?
3. Boy was I wrong to vote for Bush. I am truly sorry.
4. Thank you.

Four reasons for ending a friendship:

I can’t maintain a friendship with anybody who is knowingly cruel (to anybody, or any animal). Manipulative people, disingenuous people, selfish people… and of course, love me, love my dog.

Four smells that make you feel good about the world:

1. ripe tomatoes in the sun
2. a sweaty Mathematician
3. the air after a thunderstorm
4. lavender

Four favorite things you did as a kid:

1. The Lincoln Avenue Library
2. Visiting the great aunts in the country
3. Going to the restaurant with my father
4. Summer nights, watching fireflies

My question:

Four songs that, when you hear them, stick in your head for weeks:

1. Downbound Train (Springsteen)
2. Red Dirt Girl (EmmyLou)
3. You Don’t Know Me (Ray Charles)
4. New York State of Mind (Billy Joel)

The Community Story Machine: Getting Started

Note: we start on Wednesday! Please don’t submit before I put the official starting post up, okay?

I had an idea, and it kept scurrying around my brain like a mouse. Just when I thought it was going to leave me alone it would start scurrying again.

Far be it from me to override the wishes of the mouse, so here it is. I’m going to start something, and see where it goes.

There are many bloggers out there who run weekly memes. The writerly ones often have to post some piece of work every week. This is hard on most people. You tend to be a shy lot, and less than eager to throw your work out there into the black hole we call the internet where it may be chewed to bits by mean people with grudges and chips on shoulders and all that. Notice I’m not naming names here. Nope, not me.

So here’s an idea that won’t involve you writing anything but which should be fun.

Rules: Continue reading “The Community Story Machine: Getting Started”