Passing the Torch!

I am such a HUGE fan of the book Girl Unmoored I wrote to the amazing author, Jennifer Gooch Hummer, who WROTE ME BACK! I was not surprised that the creator of such a good book was so cool, but there is a special place in my library for books that shine with the harmony of an author’s words and spirit. I’m honored she is passing the torch to me for this awesome blog hop on the writing process. (You can check Jennifer’s out, here!)images-1

1. What am I working on?

’Tis the season to be . . . worrying about thinking about fitting into bathing suits and deciding that yes, now is the time for all good women to consider shaving their legs. However, I am writing Ginger Krinkles, “a holiday tale of heart-breaking humor” (that’s what it says in the blurb) (that I wrote). Fa la la la la la la la la. It is a novella and will be about 100 pages long, conveniently sized for a holiday movie.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I love to read chick lit because it laughs at the sadness of life. I love to write chick lit, because it can entertain on so many levels, from magical realism, to romance, to philosophy, to using humor to help polish the edges of life. My favorite review I’ve ever received was, “You have to be a little weird and have a sense of humor to enjoy this book.”

3. Why do I write what I do?

See that review right up there? I’m looking for friends in Category: Weird, Niche: Humor, Sub-genre: Fun, to come and read with me. (Why is Garth Brooks’ song, Friends in Low Places, earworming me now?) 

4. How does my writing process work?

Please slap me if I start talking about my “craft” without adding macaroni and cheese! I was a TV writer and producer with daily deadlines which gave me the audacious idea that maybe one day I could write a book. I write every day unless I don’t. Sometimes I take a break to mop the floor for inspiration. (Oh, who am I kidding? I sweep the room with a glance.) Sometimes a writerly friend (I’m looking at you, Jackie Bouchard and Rescue Me, Maybe!) will invite me to practice my craft with her! Mmm cheesier.imgres-1

Stay tuned! Instead of torch passing, I’m naming names … of groovy authors whose spirits just ooze into their books: Carol K. Carr and India Black, Jess Riley and Mandatory Release and Terry Ambrose and Con Game!

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Shut Your “Skoal Hole!”

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A book about a smartass guy in a wheelchair who works in a prison isn’t my usual cup of tea, but the smartassedy-ness of author Jess Riley always is.

You don’t have to be from the Midwest to thoroughly enjoy this novel (though it helps!) (and it’s not often we get to flash that badge of honor).

“Had everyone developed brain damage from hearing Urkel’s catchphrase one too many times? Did the mirror industry bottom out between 1990 and 1995? It’s amazing the birth rate didn’t drop completely off the charts back then, because I can’t imagine anyone fucking a guy with Billy Ray Cyrus hair and a tendency to call his friends ‘fartknockers.’ Yet it happened. And often, if Generation Y is to be explained.”

. . . From our man, Graham, so why don’t you just shut your “Skoal hole” and go read this.

Not Enough Midol In The World!

The amazing (and very, very funny) author Jess Riley invited me over, today! For some reason, she wanted to know about my teenage years. (Nothing to write home about.) (Move along.) (Not enough Midol in the world!) MidolIn any case, please mark your calendar for July 16th so you can be sure to read her new novel, Mandatory Release! (Thanks, Jess!)

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All The Lonely People

Reprinted with permission from the fabulous-always-fascinating Writer Unboxed Newsletter.  Please click HERE right now to join the fun!

imagesReader Unboxed Book Review:

All The Lonely People — Jess Riley

Where do they all come from? In All The Lonely People, main character Jaime, who has lost her mother to cancer, realizes she and her siblings do not like each other: “We weren’t that family. We didn’t organize rummage sales together, we didn’t send one another birthday cards . . . We carried entire bowls of chips on our shoulders, with dip.”

Even her sweet husband gets the short end of the stick: “There will come a day when the idea of having sex feels like going to the gym—you know you should do it even when you don’t feel like it, you’re usually glad you did afterwards.”

A classic fight at Thanksgiving dinner leads Jaime to take drastic measures. She takes out an ad on Craigslist for a new family for Christmas, creating a list of demands for ideal relatives. Number seven? “Please be funny and don’t take yourself seriously.”

Set in Wisconsin, all the lonely people who answer the ad first meet for Christmas dinner, bringing their own hurts and hearts to the table. Jaime creates a new bond with this ragtag group of outsiders, as she realizes she is not blameless in manufacturing disappointment. As the story plays out over Jaime’s least favorite time of year, “. . .that frozen, dreary long night that lasts from January to March . . .” all the lonely people try to figure out where they all belong.

Author Jess Riley pulls off a refreshing look at the vulnerability of family dynamics, with all the charm and fierceness of a Midwesterner “shut in during a three-day howler piling snowdrifts against the front door.” Underneath the very funny dialogue that reveals the human absurdities of the loneliness and dysfunction hiding in families, Jamie gets a chance to look for tribal connections through her niece Hannah, the superglue of the family. Quirky characters with insights about life and love make me wish for more MidwestLit!

Bonus: Cool author alert! The virtual Jess Riley is as charming as you would suspect by reading her book.

Up next: July 16th, Mandatory Release (mandatory read!).Mandatory+Release+amazon+cover