It's out today, everywhere! Yes yes yes yes yes~

If you're still uncertain, here is a sample of how it looks with the pictures added.

Find the full book Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen here!

And I seem to be the star of Gocomics today, too! ("Frog Applause" rocks my world. Always.) Crazy times. 

Wednesdays with Wanda

A recipe from Wanda Gág, age fifteen(ish?):

Drowsy Pop-overs

Put One pound drowsiness in a cozy dish "Feather bed Brand." Add
one pound of delicious dreams and a generous pinch of delightful
stretches, and a very little bit of time, and fill with the following

Filling:-- One ounce of delicious plans, the most splendid kind of ideas
you can find, (Bright, Clever & Col. sell the best) 1 1/2 oz. Thoughts
(mixed). Mix thoroughly. Flavor with a few "It's time to get up's,"
and serve hot.

- (Growing Pains, p. 50)

Cat drawings by Wanda Gág

Music Monday: Wasted Wine

Press play.

Consider, if you will, me, aged twelve. I found a blank diary, and I am writing my first novel in it. The novel is called, Amanda's Paradise. The story is about Great-Aunt Amanda, a red-headed lady (I've never written anything without a red-headed lady) who lives in a fascinating mansion few of crazy relics, with a few of her best friends, creates great art, and has people come and go, people who entertain and amuse her. People who realize her power and secretly worship her.

I never figured out a plot to Amanda's Paradise, so there were a lot of descriptions, and then it abruptly ended after about thirty pages.

There was never a plot to that book, but if there were a sound track, it would be Wasted Wine. And the people in the book? They were the people in Wasted Wine. Never mind that I wrote the story thirty years ago. It's alive, now, in South Carolina. My aunt, Lou Buckingham seems to have actually become Amanda of Amanda's Paradise.  It's a whole lot of wonderful.

Don't take my word for it, though. I'm biased. Read what NPR has to say about them here.

Sorry about all the self promotion.

The road crew left all of this mulch for us. It was really nice of them. I need it to mulch the hops garden (the one full of golf clubs). But then, when they backed up into the driveway today, I ran out and screamed,

"NO MORE MULCH! It's okay! We're good!"

Because I was terrified they would leave MORE MULCH.

But it turned out that they just wanted a place to park their truck, while they ate lunch. So I said,

"Fine, you can park in our driveway while you eat lunch," 

And within five minutes, I had construction workers lying all over the hill with the jonquils planted but not up yet, just lying in the sunshine on the first beautiful day of spring. 

Big Z came home (shortened day, last minute, small town sports stuff, long story, but it was noon.)

"Who are all of these people on our lawn?" She asked. 

"Oh, they're construction workers, on their lunch break. They cool."

I tried to take their picture for you, the important blog reader, but it was impossible to do so without being obvious. 

Everyone I know is reading this book...

I accidentally published the book already! (I know what you're thinking, With your level of professionalism, Shoshanah, how could this happen?) The Kindle version of Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen is still set to be released on Amazon on March 27th, but at Createspace, they already have the paper copy for sale! And that's wonderful. "Why not?" I say. Why not.

I've already sold a few copies. (Maybe people noticed the sidebar there?) I got a copy myself, and I'm sure pleased with how it turned out.

It's actually quite pretty inside. If I were to try to be completely objective, (which is impossible) I would say that the story would have been mediocre, on its own, but once you add all of the illustrations, it becomes something much more special. And kind of messed up, actually. But in a good way? If that's possible. I've never seen anything quite like this book. I'm so glad that we have Createspace and Amazon, because this book really doesn't fit into any of the usual genres. I mean, I wouldn't send this to an old fashioned publisher. I would just assume they wouldn't take such risks. But now, hey! Here it is! And it's beautiful. Purchase your copy here. (Or preorder your Kindle version, coming out next week, which is quite a bit cheaper. [You all know you don't actually have to have a Kindle, right? You can read it on whatever you're reading this on. It's called the Kindle App, and it's free to download.])

To the Point

I noticed I got another five star review for Exhaust(ed)! Woo hoo! And then I read the text, and all it said was "good." So I read the rest of this person's reviews. And now I'm like, why do I spend so much time writing reviews? People only want to know if it's any good.

I'm thinking I'll have to read Mr. Mercedes.

Wednesdays with Wanda

There was once a woman named Wanda, Wanda Gág. She was a great artist. She won awards for her children's books. She is the only children's author of her time whose books are still in print. But, before she did all of her impressive stuff, she was a teenager, and then a young adult, and she was quite a bit like you or me. Except she was extraordinary in so many ways. And the best part about it  is that she kept a regular diary, and later she published her diaries, pretty much unedited. The result is this raw picture of developing genius and grief and poverty and trying to pay for college and philosophy and unrequited love and and finding yourself and being true to your muse and just plain old growing up stuff, from one hundred years ago. The diary is called, Growing Pains, and let me tell you, it is a good read.

That's a self portrait, on the cover.
I have so much to tell you about this book! So I'm making it a series, "Wednesdays with Wanda."

Like so many great things, the Professor introduced me to her. He even gave me the book! And what's really weird is, I wrote this before I saw this. Spooky, eh?

For now, suffice to say, Wanda is wonderful and I'll have millions of quotes for you every Wednesday.

Music Monday: Heckla Magnúsdóttir

Heckla Magnúsdóttir plays the theremin! So does Zgjenyue. I love the theremin. So bizarre.

In this video, Heckla describes her music as "a bit horrible. It's not nice sometimes. It's nice sometimes, but not always." Sort of like life, really.

Heckla is Icelandic. This is a promotional video for her, which I found entertaining and musically peaceful.

You can find Heckla's music here. 

Thanks to Professor Batty for turning me on the Heckla. Professor Batty has seen her live and has considerably more to say about her here.


No more news about "Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen" today.

I remembered, though, that I forgot to show you this lovely needlepoint I did for my imaginary friend Zgjenyue:

I actually didn't do the needlepoint- the tree and the grass, I mean. I found it at a thrift store, and I added the quote from Werner Herzog, "I believe that the common denominator of the universe is not harmony, but chaos, hostility, and murder."

I imagine she really liked it. (You know that part in the book about the demon leaving her finally? I may have exaggerated that part a bit.)

Breaking News!

It just warmed up.

We inexplicably don't have school here today, and my daughter has her friend over to play. As soon as she got here, my daughter and her friend went running in the fields. I made them wear long pants and sweaters, because it's only thirty-five degrees (f) out. It still feels so warm, though, by comparison, that they both came back with their sweaters tied around their wastes. It's hot out there, I guess! The creek is melted, and they were disappointed that I didn't let them go wading in it- because, you know, it's thirty-five (I think that's one or two celsius). So warm!

And I just realized-- what day is it? I just noticed that I left this reindeer out on the lawn. You know, from Christmas.

I'd better take him inside! The poor thing is going to burn up in this thirty-five degree weather. 

Starring In Pink Flamingos

My tsū account is here.  You can probably be my friend, assuming we don't have an icky past starring in seedy John Waters movies together. 

Rapping Salmonella Man

Now that we've eaten part of the cake, it looks like some sort of superhero emblem.

I guess it would be more of a villain. The comic that never was:

He's rapping right now about how we can't get married.
Because we have salmonella.
He's real happy about that.
(You can tell he's rapping by the hands.)

It didn't sell very well.

(Character from Public Domain Superheros.)

Happy Salmonella Day!

Sixteen years ago today, we wanted to get married, but couldn't stand up, either of us, because we had Salmonella, and the wedding was cancelled! And then rescheduled for the next day, so tomorrow is our anniversary. Every year since, I like to celebrate Salmonella Day with a cake. We've had some nice cakes in the past, too. 

This year, we're having a lemon cake with creamed cheese frosting. (When life gives you lemons, make lemon cake.)

I made it myself. (Bet you couldn't even tell!) The eggs are cooked very, very well in the salmonella cake, as always.


Music Monday

Ladies and gentlemen: Killdozer.

Chickens Line Dancing

So sunny and above freezing! Let's do a dance. Line up. Face away. 
Now form a circle.
Dosey do!
Okay, let's take it from the top, girls!

And a turn table played big band tunes.

The town closest to where I live is in something of a time warp. I find that comforting.
I got the Norwegian meatballs. They tasted decidedly American.

Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen is Almost Done!!!!!!!

I'm finishing up this week. I did create a new cover image. I really loved the old one, but I was reading up on the elements of a good cover, and I realized the old one was too detailed. Most people, when they first see a cover on Amazon, see only the thumbnail, and on many devices, the thumbnail is actually the size of your thumbnail. Looking at it smaller, you can't see the goofy eyeballs or the quote, and the colors make it look like a serious book:

So, even though I really liked the old one, and I appreciated your feedback and the small change Professor Batty made, I made something new, with one bold image and big letters:

It looks weird because it's a weird book. 

I think I may have been subliminally influenced by Christina McMullen's cover art, especially the lettering.

And then I had to write the dreaded blurb. It's difficult to describe your own work. I resorted to a list. Lists are fun. Here is the "blurb":

This book contains:  

1. People with weird names. 
2. Drawings of the people with weird names. 
3. No fewer than 117 sexual propositions.  
4. An explanation of the nightly moving of the Eiffel Tower. 
5. One reference to Joseph Campbell.  
6. A scary part in a tunnel with bones.  
7. Over 130 original works of “art.” 
8. One good painting. 
9. A friendship. 
10. An un-friendship. 
11. French hippies.  
12. A demon. 
13. Hunger.  
14. An argument over a sandwich. 
15. An unnecessarily long description of The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault (see number 8).  
16. A trite (but bittersweet and heartfelt) ending that says something like, “We’ll always have Paris.”

You might notice that I'm including The Raft of the Medusa. I didn't include it originally, because I was wondering about copyright laws, but it seems to be perfectly legal. Of course, me being me, it isn't exactly The Raft of the Medusa. Here's a close up of part of it:

March 27th, everyone. March 27th is the day. I have made many new illustrations and done some heavy editing, and I hope you all find it spec-tac-u-lar. 

Nice Spread: The Phone Booth

Things I love about this property:

1. The phone booth.
2. The shiny metal camper.
3. The wall of south facing windows for passive solar heat.
4. The deer fence implies a giant garden in summer.
5. The phone booth.

It gives me the feeling that an American Dr. Who is visiting. Where can I get one? I needs me a phone booth.

Blog of the Month Award for March: Pearl, Why You Little...

This month's blog of the month award goes to Pearl Why You Little... Sometimes funny, and sometimes sweet, Pearl is always good entertainment, in short, bloggy doses, just like you like it. I am a new subscriber to Pearl, why you little... but I am quite taken with it. I have to check every day and see what the latest story is. I haven't read her books yet, but I'm sure they will be highly entertaining. This one has a lovely photo on the cover:

I think we've all been to this trailer park, at one time or another. 

For personal stories and humor, Pearl is marvelous, and that's why I declare Pearl Why You Little to be this month's blog of the month.