Boob Food. And Other Things I Shouldn’t Talk About. 

This week Leah and I are on the road meeting freelancers in Dallas and Houston as part of our role as evangelists for the Texas Freelancing Association. I’ve also scripted a podcast, written 6 blog posts, launched a couple of websites, met with our favorite client and edited our monthly magazine. 

In short, just another week in paradise. Sleep is sporadic. My poor BMW is riddled with Starbucks cups. Also, I just took the opportunity to humble-brag about my car. Catch that? I know you did. 

The most fun part of road trips is the fact that we go hard. We stop only when my car says 3 miles until drop dead empty or we hit a Bucees. Leah is secretly horrified. We also barely stop for food. Since she’s diabetic and I’m gluten free we shoot for better choices. Like tacos. Lots and lots of tacos. 

But I digress. 

Oatmeal is a big favorite. Starbucks is pretty reliable. I also have a new oatmeal source apparently. My boobs. Since we are traveling I use my go-bag from travel industry days. Reusable outfits. Lots of black. You get the gist. I just swapped clothes for the next leg and found a treasure trove of blueberries between the sisters. Handy for the coming end of days. 

The best part is the reaction from the squad. 


Please note two things. Leah is very encouraging. Jackie is practical. What you don’t see is her final line, which sums up the hot mess that is life and writing at the moment. 

Zactly. 

Highs and Lows for the Week

Please consider giving to my new support group
Please consider giving to my new support group. No one wants this.

Remember when you were sitting around the dinner table with your family and you went around and said what your highs and lows were for the week?

Yeah, me neither. As a child, I was sitting in front of the TV watching Laverne and Shirley eating my Swanson’s meatloaf while my mom was working her second job. As a Mom, we were driving to volleyball practice. Welcome to parenthood in the modern age. No hate. We hustle hard, Moms.

Anyhoo. I thought it would be fun to do that with myself this week.

High: I made, and pretty much stuck to, my task calendar this week. I crossed a crap ton of stuff off. Yay, me. “Drink all the coffee” was a particularly well-completed task.

Low: I went to the doctor on Monday morning. Early. Like, ridiculously early. Like, I-didn’t-even-know-this-hour-of-the-day-existed early. My doctor is a super cheery person, and is always put together like she’s about to hit a Junior League luncheon. She’s too lovely inside and out for me to hate, so I just roll with it. She’s used to me by now. So, I show up, wet hair in a messy bun, looking the epitome of frazzled writer or bag lady, or whatever. No makeup (sorry, Mom) but, you know, showered and closer to presentable than, say, the Uni-bomber when they found him in the woods.

I was so organized that I brought a list of all the things that WebMD told me I was dying from. She told me to stop googling my symptoms. Psssh. Like THAT’S going to happen. I mean, Scurvy is still around. So, it could happen. She did tell me that I have high blood pressure. Duh. Election. She also told me I had high cholesterol. I told her to shut up. In my head. Really mean-like. She knew. She patted my hand anyway in that super comforting way she does.

Then I showed her my skin cancer. And do you know what she had the audacity to tell me?

I have BARNACLES OF AGING. It’s a thing. It’s a total thing.

I slapped her. In my head. She handed me a print-out. About barnacles.

Then she hugged me goodbye. I kicked her in the butt as she left. In my head. Off she went to her lovely luncheon, while I, of course, now had images of Pirates of the Caribbean in my head.

Then I left with my print-out and went to Starbucks so I could research support groups. Doesn’t seem to be any, so naturally I must start one. I’ll post the links later.

I don’t think I’ll do that whole high/low thing again. Didn’t seem particularly helpful.

Are you kidding me with this election?

timeoutIt’s like watching a horrific movie while you’re strapped to a chair. It’s like a drinking game gone off the rails. I am unable to even. 

I have never had high blood pressure before, but lately? I’m about to stroke out. People that I thought were sane have gone INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE. I’m not even talking about what candidate they’re voting for – I’m talking about the sheer quantity of posts designed to maim and kill. No one is trying to change opinions by having conversations – they’re shaming anyone that doesn’t agree with them. Bridges are burning. We are branding each other forever as red or blue.

And I’m not talking about one or two people – I’m talking about the whole country! Families are turning on one another. It’s madness. The whole world needs a time out. And a cookie. And maybe a nap.

What’s Your Book About? And Other Questions I Currently Hate.

6awpomtI think the most dreaded question asked of me right now is “what’s your book about?” which seems innocuous, but isn’t, and here’s why.

There’s this horrific little secret I’ve been harboring all summer.

Deep breath.

Hi. My name is Chelle and I like to read terrible books.

Lots of terrible books. 187 so far this summer, in fact. Calling them terrible might be a little unfair since the writers (probably… maybe?) took a great deal of time and effort crafting them, but nonetheless the genres are a little ridiculous. Here’s my current favorite:

The Alpha Werebear Billionaire Bad Boy’s Secret Baby, Book 147 of the Killer Flames Motorcycle Club Series.

I’ve changed a tiny bit of this to protect the actual genre, but this isn’t far from reality. Alpha Billionaires are big. Paranormal Romance is big. Bad Boys are big. Motorcycle Clubs are big. Smoosh them all together and throw in a secret baby? HELLLLLO! I’ve spent the summer reading this stuff, one 42 page disaster at a time. I would like to say that I read the sheer number of these gems as part of some antidote to all the high-brow books on my shelf and the obvious literary superiority I possess, but the truth is… not that.

I read them initially because they were mindless and some part of me found them endlessly entertaining. I read them because I have Kindle Unlimited and for $10 a month I have 400,000,000,000 books to choose from. I read them as I was trying to decide what to be when I grew up. I read them because of the horrified texts my daughters sent when looking at our shared Amazon queue. Texts from my girls with the facepalm emoji make me giggle, I don’t mind saying.

Once I got serious about compiling my writing into an actual novel I got a little more serious about reverse engineering how and why they sold. THAT became fascinating. I started to learn about writing to market, beats (as explained by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt), tropes and the art of indie publishing. I absorbed as much as I could and then started reading these offbeat books from a new perspective. What makes them tick? Why do they sell? What does their author actually look like? Do they have a fantastic website?

scarlett_oharaMy marketing brain flipped. Damn you, marketing brain. (dramatically shakes fist like Scarlett O’Hara)

Writing software became important. Book cover analysis became important. Analytics on what writers earn and from what sources became important. Readers’ motivations became important. Editing budgets became important. Website design, newsletter automation and author promotion tactics became important.

Which brings me back to the question at hand. What is my book about.

Glad you asked! <insert fake cheesy grin here>

It’s about a consultant. Who consults.

In all seriousness, I’m trying to decide. Do I go for something I can publish proudly? Something in a genre that won’t make my mother fly out from California to do a well-check? Something that my girls could post on Facebook? Yeah, probably that. Chances are it wouldn’t sell and the marketing brain hates that ROI.

Marketing brain wants me to write to market a little better than a series of 147 books and make a little money. Write for the market that’s going to read this, like I did at the beginning of the summer. Money would be nice. Literary Integrity? Meh.

But then there’s the whole threat idea of a “well-check” from my mother. And those never end well.