Daily Word Prompt: Caper

This is totally off-base, so just go with me for a minute. Remember, Imma weird one.

Each morning when I get online, I always click the Reader section of my blog. Why? Because everyone else is far more interesting than me!

Anyway, today on the daily word prompt page the word was caper and my eyes about bugged out. Memories of summer camp, yes, hot, sticky, terrible food summer camp filled my mind.

Why? Because when I went to camp after every meal, each of the cabins had chores. Clean the dining hall, clean the bathrooms, pick up trash, sweep the breezeway, wash dishes, etc, etc.  While the meal was being brought out and put on a buffet table so all of us pigs could run to the trough, the camp director would go up on this little platform and say, “It’s time for capers.”  Then he’d read off a chore and a cabin number, and that cabin would have the shout and cheer like maniacs about the privilege to be the ones to go clean the toilets after they ate.

The cabin who cheered the loudest for whoever chore they had would get to go through the meal line first.

I grew up thinking that “caper” was just a nicer way to say chore. I didn’t realize until I looked it up in the dictionary that it means to leap or skip about in a sprightly manner;prance; frisk; gambol.

Oh, what a misguided childhood I led. 😀

via Daily Prompt: Caper

The Joy Thief

I have this relation who I secretly refer to as the Joy Thief. Why? Because anytime anything good comes my way, she has to cop an attitude for why it didn’t happen to her.

Example: one day one of my novels hit the USA Today Bestsellers list. I shared the news (this was the last time I shared such news with her) and her response, “Oh, that’s nice. It must be nice to have a job you get paid for even when you don’t work.” She was referencing my receiving royalties after the book is released. Uh, excuse me? I worked my ass off to write said book and to market said book to get that many copies sold. It didn’t just happen.

She isn’t a writer so she really doesn’t understand how much time and even money goes into writing a book. Yet, every chance she gets she remarks how jealous she is of me for not having to have a real job. Again, 25 books didn’t just write, publish and market themselves. If she wants to be a writer and collect royalties, then shut up and write a book…or two dozen.

Another circumstance, I got food poisoning from eating at a restaurant with my ex-mother-in-law (a mere coincidence? I’m not sure….). Anyway, I had to cancel my plans to help her move some lawn furniture because I was camped out in the bathroom, calling Huey on the big white phone. Instead of a “Oh no, I hope you’re okay. Is there anything I can bring you?” She texts: “Lucky you. I wish I could have gone to eat at XXXXXXX.”

Really? She really wants to play that card? She goes out to dinner probably 5-6 times per week and only a week ago, she was bitching to me about it because it was making her fat. She’d moved up two bra sizes in the past three months because her husband had been taking her out to eat every night. I eat all my meals at home except two days a week I’ll eat lunch out because I have to travel two hours from home for some medical stuff that takes a few hours before I have to drive two hours back home. Then this particular night I went to a $9/plate large-chain Mexican restaurant because my ex-mother-in-law was in town for one of her two yearly visits and get deathly sick and she’s bitching that she’s never gotten to eat there?! Next time she can take my spot. I don’t know what was more uncomfortable sitting at the table with all my ex-inlaws (my ex-husband wouldn’t take my kids, so I had to and got roped into staying) OR driving home and feeling like three pounds of crushed glass was working its way through my intestines. I’ve never clenched my cheeks so tight in my entire life. I prayed my asshole wouldn’t fail me on the way home.

Thankfully, it didn’t.

The examples could go on and on:

She came with me once to a craft fair. I paid for everything I purchased with cash, she used her credit card for most of hers. She commented how lucky I was to just have money to blow. I spent $75 total (admission, lunch for both of us and a few nicknacks) because that was all I had in my pocket. She came with only $20 in cash used it at the first booth, then fished out her credit card for 3-4 other shops where she bought so much crap we couldn’t carry it all. I’m not lucky, I came prepared and stopped when I reached my limit.

She got in my car once and saw I had a DQ Blizzard cup in my cup holder. “I wish I could have gone with you to Dairy Queen.” I didn’t even eat the damn Blizzard one of my kids did.

I helped her move stuff all day and when we were done I said I was going home. “You’re so lucky you get to go home. I have to stay up all night and unpack.” Well…I did just use my back and my gas to move you. Not to mention it took longer than it was supposed to because she was running late so I had to ask another friend to pick up my kids from school Now I need to get home to my house full of kids and cook dinner and do homework.

I wore a dress to church that I bought from the clearance rack at Dillards three years ago. “Oh, I love your dress. Where did you find it?”  I inwardly cringed. “Dillards.” “It must be nice to go to the mall so much. I buy all of my dresses at yard sales.” That’s an outright lie and I know it. I’ve seen her plunk down $150 for a dress at a department store and at the fair and at a boutique. She also swears flip flops that are at least $40-50 a pair. Who the hell pays that for flip flops??? I clearly got into the wrong business if that’s what people pay for flip flops. I can string you up a pair for that! I honestly don’t care how much her dresses cost compared to mine. I don’t care where she gets hers or where I get mine. I shouldn’t have to justify wearing a department store dress to anyone. Period.

She gets her feelings hurt if someone buys her a greeting card priced below the $3 mark. It’s a freaking piece of paper. In my family, we do The Nana. Meaning we send the wrong cards for different holidays.  Then we just keep them and re-circulate them. It’s great.

If I’ve had a bad day, hers is worse. If someone compliments me on something I bring to a potluck, she has to tell everyone about when she made that same dish and what she uses so I could improve. When I wear anything she hasn’t seen before, she says it’s cute and asks when I went shopping.

I have come to learn not to say anything other than how the weather is. Otherwise, I cannot enjoy a treat. I can’t talk about writing or she’ll bring up how lucky I am not to have a “real job”. I don’t tell her when I’m going anywhere fun or when I’ve done anything fun because she has to suck the fun and joy and life right out of it! And she wonders why she doesn’t have any friends except me…

I’ve bitched for about a 1,000 words to say this, if you’re a fun-sucker and do this crap, stop! You seriously won’t have any friends left. If you have (or had) a friend like this, advice please!!!

May your day be merry and your friends treat you right,

Imma B.

My #1 tip to authors–new, seasoned or ready to flip

Let me preface this with a little of my background. I’m a writer. I’m a published author of upward of 20 books–I honestly can’t remember how many, I’d have to go look because they all start running together after so many. But, I stopped writing sickening sweet love stories in order to be snarky and snappy and use taboo words like “crap, butt crack or asshat” without scandalizing the prim and proper ladies who read my tales. Or in other words, I went through the world’s longest most ridiculous divorce, I now hate romance and since it’s just me and the guys, there’s no reason for me to be a lady. So….while I’m currently not promoting any of my sappy claptrap, I can’t get away from wanting to write. Thus, I created this blog where I can be as bitter and cynical as I want.

And since I’m no longer writing/publishing tangled, silken webs of deceit I can share all my secrets!

Now, for my biggest secret. Oh, and yes, I know, if I truly wanted a bigger blog following I’d spend weeks or years even feeding everyone little pieces of inconsequential advise and build up to my biggest piece. However, my biggest is actually the most basic piece of common sense, and yet, so many don’t understand it. So, here goes:

DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY!!!

If your book hits the NYT or USA Today or Wall Street Journal, you can be certain it’ll also be hit by the heavy fire of the one-star review machine gun. It’s a fact. Hell, you don’t even have to make a big list. You can sell just one copy and be shot in the heart with one of those nastygrams. It’s just part of being an author and putting your work out there. Accept it. But accept it quietly.

Do not under any circumstances engage the enemy–or in this case the negative reviewer or commenter or emailer or whatever. If someone says something nasty about your book, look the other way.

It’s a natural gut reaction to want to defend ourselves or our masterpiece, but you can’t. Well, you can. Nobody is stopping you, but I wouldn’t suggest it.

Why? Because without a doubt, YOU the author, not the nasty reviewer, will end up looking like an asshat. I can’t tell you why, even if the reviewer/commenter is totally ugly or even reviews the wrong book, they still come out smelling like a rose while you smell like a steaming pile of dog crap. True story. I’ve seen the careers of more authors than I can count go up in flames over something so petty.

So my biggest piece of advice: DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

And don’t ask your friends to do it for you. I always cringed when someone defended my books under a negative review. I didn’t ask anyone to, but sometimes someone will come along and stick their neck out. I honestly wish that Amazon would close their comment on review section and leave the discussion to their discussion boards or to Goodreads. I think this leads to a lot of trouble and temptation for authors and some reviewers.

Here’s some free advice for the following places where reviews are posted:

Amazon reviews–stay the hell away!!! (It’s possible someone will buy a book based on a negative review. Weird, I know, but it happens. I’ve seen it: 1-star–“This book was too bland no sex…it all ended in a HUG. Yes, a HUG!!!!” Along comes a commenter. “Thank you. Your review was so helpful I’m so tired of having to bleach my eyes out after reading other books where so many disgusting details are given. I, myself, am an asexual creature and conceived my children myself (with the help of a turkey baster…).

Goodreads–sure sign up and “claim” your books, but don’t ever go back! It’s a dark, dark place over there for authors.

Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo I don’t even think allow comments under reviews.

Yes, some people take pleasure in tearing a book to shreds and making authors cry. There are truly sickos out there. Some people are simply being honest and the book wasn’t for them. Some of the sickos will go so far as to make sure YOU see their writing because they had to endure yours–i.e. sharing their review on FB or Twitter and tagging you in it. Yeah, it happens. A lot. Either ignore completely or if they go this far as to tag you on social media, just shoot back a simple. “Thank you for taking time to read and review. 🙂 ) Then grit your teeth and cuss them out with your mouth, not your fingers!! Do NOT comment back. Ever.

I had someone tell me once that she always commented under reviews–good and bad. She thanked the good reviewers and left the negative reviewers an apology for “not connecting” with her story and offered them the next book in the series…

My “YOU’RE INSANE” radar started screeching when she told me this. She was nuts. This only lasted maybe two books.

Folks, authors are meant to write books. Readers, read and review. Authors who are more focused on reading the review sections of their current books rather than writing their next are going to A. get discouraged very quickly; B. be more and more tempted to respond and possibly shoot themselves in the foot.

As is the theme of my song today: DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

For comments NOT left in the review section. Again, DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

  • Ugly comments left on your blog–delete ’em, ignore them or smile and say thank you for visiting your blog.
  • An ugly email telling you that you suck as an author–ignore and delete. Don’t respond. You have no idea what they’re going to do with that response.
  • Ugly statements made about you on Facebook or tweeted out into the twitterverse–ignore.

If it’s not easy for you to ignore and move on (although I’ve already told you to stay away from reviews so you must enjoy being miserable) then find a friend and vent in private. Don’t have one? E-mail me. Tell me all the ugly things that meanie head said, then get back to work!  DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

Imma B.