Fiction begets reality

So often I joked about changing my name to Paige Turner that when I was trying to think of a tag line for this blog, that's what popped into my head. I've even jokingly conferred Paige Turner awards on my web site in the past. Now I hear thriller writer James Patterson has come up with something called--drum roll please--the James Patterson PageTurner Awards.

You can use that link to visit the site and make a nomination for a person, company, school, or other institution who has spread the excitement of books and reading. And, readers, this is a biggie. $25,000.00 grand prize all the way down to a thousand bucks. Plus free books donated to children in the winners' selected cities. Sounds like a great concept. Official rules on the web site.

Will my Paige Turner awards have to be renamed? Hmmm. Will have to think on this though there's no danger of mistaking my very tongue-in-cheek awards for Mr. Patterson's. While he can easily offer twenty-five grand, my pockets are deep enough to award only twenty-five cents. And that's on a good day.

Feel free to talk among yourselves and pass on this info.

New blog in town

Authors Natalie Collins and Jennifer Apodaca have started a new blog Stalking Kelly Ripa that promises to be amusing. There's more than a grain of sincerity in their plea for Kelly to revive her book club which featured solidly plotted, entertaining books that gave the reader a feel-good experience.

How many of you prefer books like that over the kind that make you feel ready to stick your head in the oven and turn on the gas? Why not email Kelly and let her know you'd like the book club segments to return to Live With Regis and Kelly?

Today is Monday and I'm chilling with the new Kelly Clarkson CD Breakaway." I particularly like the title cut "Breakaway." Good lyrics.

Hooked on dancing

Okay. I'll confess. I'm thoroughly hooked on the new Dancing With The Stars show on ABC. I guess I'm not alone since the propaganda--I mean the advertisements--say that it's the number one show this summer.

I'm voting for John O'Hurley and his partner Charlotte. Why? Well, they seem to be the only ones actually doing ballroom dancing instead of a choreographed routine that, while pleasing, looks more like a Vegas stage show at best and a cheerleader routine at worst.

Then there are the non-dancing reasons. O'Hurley is just plain appealing. He's got that Cary Grant thing going on, with a touch of Fred Astaire thrown in. Most of all, he's funny with a great sense of humor which I find enormously attractive.

Several years ago DH and I took ballroom dancing. It was fun, but a real wake up call as to how arduous the sport, yes, I said, sport, really is. So for this ballroom junky, the new show is fab.

Shall we dance?

Sling Words Award for Best Humor Title

Today is a slow news day here at Sling Words. Actually, my back hurts a little too much to sit in front of the computer today--if you read the previous entry "Deconstructing My Office," you know why. So I'm going to take the Alpha Smart to DH's recliner so I can meet my page quota today on the WIP.

In lieu of an insightful riveting article for your edification and entertainment, I think I'll just do what some of my favorite bloggers do and give a list of something.

What to list? When I was working in the garden the other day, my husband made a ribald comment about a certain part of my anatomy that was plainly visible as I bent over to pull some nut grass from among the yellow iris encampment. (Encampment is the correct word since Louisiana iris in this climate is like an invading army in a forced march to conquer all the hostile natives and take over the yard.)

I laughed at what DH said and retorted with: "Yeah, don't bend over in the garden, you know them taters got eyes."

So that's the inspiration for today's contribution--funny titles.

The Sling Words Award for Best Humor Title goes to Lewis Grizzard.

Anyone remember Lewis Grizzard? (Yes, I call him by his first name because, even though we never met, I like to think we'd have been friends.)

Unfortunately, the talented humor author who was a long-time columnist for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, died way too young. Lewis McDonald Grizzard Jr. was only 47 when he passed away in 1994. He was the label he coined: a SAWB. that's Smart Ass White Boy for those who don't know. Since I've pretty much been a SAWG all my life, I appreciated his humor immensely.

Lewis is often quoted, and these are some of his best lines:

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house."

"The only way that I could figure they could improve upon Coca-Cola, one of life's most delightful elixirs, which studies prove will heal the sick and occasionally raise the dead, is to put rum or bourbon in it."

"Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes."

"If soccer was an American soft drink, it would be Diet Pepsi."

Here are the top Sling Word Award titles--though not all his titles.

1. Chili Dawgs Always Bark At Night

2. Don't Bend Over In The Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes

3. If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet To The Ground

4. Shoot Low, Boys--They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies

5. I Took A Lickin' And Kept On Tickin' (And Now I Believe In Miracles)

6. They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat

7. If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About a Quart Low

8. Elvis Is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself

9. My Daddy Was a Pistol and I'm a Son of a Gun

10. I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962, and Other Nekkid Truths

Lewis Grizzard, gone, but not forgotten.

Deconstructing my office

Greetings from Bedlam!

Last Friday, I decided to buy new office furniture. Nothing wrong with that decision except:

I have to get rid of old office furniture which means

I have to empty all furniture and find some place to store all the junk that comes out of furniture--CD blanks, software, paper, envelopes, boxes of labels, hanging files, etc.

then I have to disconnect computer and find some new place to reconnect computer.

Then of course I decided that since I had to do all that, I might as well do something I'd been wanting to do for a year--paint the office. Right now, my office is a color called Rosemary Green. Sounds nice and when I first painted it, I found the color different and energizing. For the last year though, I look at the walls--what little of wall surface can be seen above a bank of file cabinets, computer furniture, framed book covers, and such--and find them to be the exact shade of split pea soup. Now, that green is not the color of renewal. It just looks tired and vaguely weird. What was I thinking?

So I tackled the project last Friday, was without computer through the weekend, and now have the computer reconnected on a folding table in the office. Supplies and other junk are in cardboard boxes stacked under the folding table.

The truly depressing part of this little tale is that I can't get the office put back together with newly painted walls and new furniture until I finish the manuscript I'm writing. I promised DH I wouldn't paint until I finished writing. He's tired of hearing me talk about this story and the characters, and he knows he'll have no peace until I get it finished and out of my system. Then I can go back to being a normal person. For a while until the next story seduces me.

So paint comes after writing is finished. By that time, the new furniture should have arrived since it's on order.

I wish I could be the recipient of one of those makeover shows where a crew of forty comes in, moves everything out, transforms my office to something worthy of being seen on television, gives me all new everything, including a plasma TV the size of Portugal, then gives me a check for a hundred grand to cover my expenses until I get a publishing contract that would put me on EZ street.

Oh, well, a girl (writer) can dream, can't she?

Men who write romance

You've got to check out Paperback Writer today. She talks about two fascinating web sites. The first of these is Whatever Happened To. If one of your favorite authors has been missing in action, you may be able to find out what happened to them by visiting that site. You can also post a query about someone who hasn't been listed yet.

The other site I found educational and, well, just a lot of fun. It's devoted to revealing men who write romance novels, sometimes under psedonyms and sometimes under their real names. Outting Men was a hoot because I found my old buddy
Tom Townsend
listed under his Tammie Lee moniker.

Tom published a Leather & Lace Romance in the early eighties. At the Outting Men site there are even links to book stores where used copies of said book are available. At the time his romance novel was published, Tom was a mercenary in a far away jungle. If I correctly recall the story he told, he was photographed for a famous news magazine as he walked, M16 on his shoulder, through the jungle. The caption accompanying the photograph said: "Romance author Tammie Lee."

Tom went on to a successful career as a juvenile fiction author with several children's book award nominations. Occasionally he wrote a general fiction novel and struck gold with one called Panzer Spirit. The book has been under continuous movie option since its publication in the early 90s. Tom, with his collection of military vehicles, started a company that supplies military equipment and drivers, sometimes stunt people, to the movies. He's worked with many different productions but the only one that comes to mind is the Meg Ryan/Denzel movie "Courage Under Fire."

If you go to his web site, you can find out more about his Toyland Combat company and his books. He sells copies of Panzer Spirit and its sequel Reichbahn 6-9, both paranormal thrillers. Trust me, these books are worth ordering--from him, of course. (We authors are all a starving lot so we need all the help we can get.) He writes a different kind of story. You won't be disappointed. Tell him Joan sent you!

Market news

In case you didn't know, Cindi Myers maintains an email newsletter for market news. Today, she had some good info about a couple of small presses, one wanting mystery fiction and one wanting Christian, that represent new markets (traditional print I believe) for writers. It's easy to subscribe. Just send a blank email to:

and you too can get the latest news.

The day after yesterday

Remember that scene in the movie Sideways where Paul Giamatti playing a frustrated, unpublished, struggling writer tells Virginia Madsen the title of his book. She looks puzzled then says, "Today? You mean today?"

I don't know why, but that just cracks me up--almost as much as the scene in Office Space where our dubious hero says: "You know, I never liked work. I'm not going to go any more."

Girl asks: "What about bills? How are you going to pay them?"

Hero says: "I never liked them much either. I'm not going to do that any more."

OHHHH! I love that. How many times have we all wanted to repeat the hero's words?

Okay, brothers and sisters who labor, unite! Don a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, and sunglasses. Take your chain saw to work and cut that cubicle down. Then tell whichever one of your bosses (my daughter has 8!) you can find that you never liked work, and you're just not going to do it any more! (You could practice singing Johnny Paycheck's song "Take This Job And Shove It" if you can carry a tune and sing with a twang.)

The day after yesterday is the first day of the rest of your life!

Today's music obsession

Pardon me while I rave about the new album I bought during a midnight shopping spree at Wally World. (Hey, late night in Smalltown, Texas, that equals excitement!)

IT'S TIME by Michael Buble. I tend to get hooked on an album and play it endlessly. Right now, I've got "Feeling Good" from the above album on Repeat. Love that song--even after listening to it a dozen times in a row. The album also has a duet with Nelly Furtado, "Quando, Quado, Quando" and "Song For You" features Chris Botti.

In a word? Fabulous!

Corporate garbage speak

Thanks to Paperback Writer, one of my favorite stops in the AM, for my morning laugh. In her blog, she credits the link from author John Walkenbach)

If you're one of those people who laugh insanely at the garbage spewed by corporate talking heads, then Corporate Gibberish Generator is for you. Just insert your name or a company name, click, and it will create custom made, official sounding wordage just for you. Here's a sample.

"At Sling Words, we have come to know how to engage nano-strategically. The metrics for blog-based niches are more well-understood if they are not C2B2B. If all of this seems amazing to you, that's because it is! We pride ourselves not only on our 24/7/365, social-network-based feature set, but our newbie-proof administration and simple configuration."

Oh, my! What did I do in my spare time before discovering the distractions of the Internet? Oh, yeah, I did things like laundry, vacuuming, etc.

This is way more fun.

Sci Fi Monday

I have a confession to make. I'm hopelessly hooked on reruns of Stargate. Monday is a Stargate marathon. I find myself wondering why I like this show. The answer is no surprise--it's the personalities and relationships of the characters. Love the dry humor of Jack O'Neil and the way everyone on the team interacts.

So, in television and movies, it's the characters--just like it is in books--that make something believable and entertaining.

I don't feel so bad though because my DH likes it too!

Where there's a WILL....

DH and I have an appointment scheduled next week to write our wills. Actually, we wrote one years ago when we were first married--before our daughter was born. We kept intending to update the documents but never could find the time to do so.

Read something about inheritances in Texas last week that spurred me to action. Because my husband has three children (wonderful, loving kids I've helped raise as my own), if my husband died, his half of community property would go to the children meaning I would only own half of the property I've worked to accumulate. I could live in my house until I died, but it wouldn't really be mine. It would be half mine and half theirs.

Didn't seem right to me since we've sacrificed a lot and put the kids through college. They have great futures ahead of them in which they can amass their own assets, houses, etc.

So DH and I talked. I bit the bullet and made the appointment. Today I went through the house and asked our daughter to designate the items of furniture and art she specifically wanted. It was interesting to see what held value for her and why. Most of everything she wanted has sentimental rather than intrinsic worth. We discussed how we would like our "estate" disposed of and said she would be named executrix and held accountable for carrying out our wishes. It was certainly a sobering conversation for both of us.

Later, she came to me and stooped down (she's 5'9"; I'm 5'1"--go figure) and embraced me. Brokenly, she said, "I just wish you and Daddy could live forever."

Me too, Sweetie.

If I could be healthy and look good. (Who wants to look like a crone?)

But life doesn't work that way.

Another way to procrastinate

Learning software: a phrase peculiar to planet Earth dating from the 1990's, meaning to procrastinate.

Agghh! I finally figured out how to post pictures to the blog. Actually, I should say I figured it out again. Did it once to put the graphic in the profile then over the last 3 months, completely forgot how I did that.

I do believe my brain has reached its maximum storage capacity. I either need to move some of the data to an off-site storage medium or forget about learning new things.

As is usual, playing around with software to learn something led to wanting to learn something else--coding to put a footer on this page--which led to tinkering with the profile--which led to....well, you get the picture.

Enough of this crap! I'm woefully behind on my WIP since I've been away so much lately. So, I'm applying my lovely Choctaw-type nose (thanks to my great grandmother Morning Amanda) to the grind stone to get this comic novel Eat, Drink, and Kill Mary finished by the end of this month. There, I stated a goal. If I could figure out how to put one of those progress bars on the blog, I'd do it to hold myself accountable to that goal.

Oops, there I go again, starting to guess how the code for a progress bar would be written.

Off to write. Later!

Someone emailed me and asked what I really looked like since the black and white graphic in my profile is rather generic. So I decided to post a recent pic here for inquiring minds. Oh, and the crown is real--I am the Queen of Reeves World. Please, please, no bowing and scraping.Posted by Hello

Agapanthas--must look up the meaning or origin of this word. Posted by Hello

Gone, back, gone, back, blah, blah, blah

I've been popping in and out of home like some kind of demented jack-in-the-box, uh, joan -in-the-box toy. Haven't been home long enough to be consistent in the blog enterprise which demands consistency.

Oh, well.

So instead of captivating words about anything, here's a picture instead. These glorious blooms really are captivating. Take a gander at the elegant, tall agapanthas outside my office window.