Love Thy Neighbour…..& ALWAYS attend the party!

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To quote a cheesy theme song: “Everybody needs good neighbours.” The song ends: “Neighbours… should be there for one another….that’s when good neighbours become good friends.” I beg to differ….. When the wine gets flowing, THAT is when good neighbours become the BEST of friends.

I have always liked my neighbours – all four sets (it’s a long story that has to do with a few pan handles). We have tea, our kids have play dates, and we try not to annoy each other in so far as possible. We borrow eggs, stock cubes, and the occasional bottle of wine, and all in all, we live in a mutually beneficial, peaceful suburbia. Until just recently… when one little party took us from Stepford to Wisteria Lane, faster than you could fall over a fence. Fortunately, photographic evidence emerged that enabled us all to piece together the fragments of what we could remember.

To give you a little idea of how this party evolved, here is a brief, step-by-step reconstruction:

1979556_10201759984589203_903463994_n Exhibit A: 8 pm.

Cute, isn’t it. That’s me and my beloved, sharing a sweet moment in the Photo Booth. Notice how our heads are inclined toward one another in the last image – this body language shows that we are made for one another, and considerate of each others feelings. Neither one of us plays a dominant role, but rather we are a mutually exclusive, happy couple who operate on a basis of equality and acceptance.

1970748_10201759990949362_499547283_n  Exhibit B: 9.30 pm

This is me and my neighbour, having fun with the camera. It was cute and playful, and cemented a burgeoning friendship. Like a small sapling, with enough love and a liberal sprinkling of water (that’s a metaphor for working hard at the friendship and appreciating all our special times!) this would likely become a life-long camaraderie.

10150772_10201760013269920_987186192_n  Exhibit C: Some ungodly hour

That is NOT my husband.

What the hell is on my head?

WTF????

So, at around this time, the wheels fell off.

I have to say, that this Photo Booth was the highlight of the evening. No wait, that would be a lie. It may have been the Jukebox. Either way, I cancelled my ENT check up for the following week, due to the flaring up of “the nodules” (I have blogged about these before, in case you missed it) I couldn’t face him, I just couldn’t.

The evening culminated in most of us jumping into the swimming pool fully clothed. I think I performed the most spectacular pirouette over the swimming pool net, but that may have been wishful thinking. (This little adventure also cost one x iphone and one x Samsung S4, neither mine, thank goodness)

The point, I am making, however is that THAT party, changed everything. My neighbours ROCK. The evening started out a bit stilted, naturally. One tends to always put one’s best foot forward in these situations. Early conversations were along the lines of:

“I love what you’ve done with the wallpaper in the entrance hall.”

“Oh thank you, I’m not sure about the colour, though.”

and:

“When are you sending your little one to school?”

“I’m not sure that she’s ready, possibly in a few months.”

And then, later:

“How many scones in the airconditioning?”

“Purple.”

“I eat feathers.”

“Snakes and peanut butter.”

“Every nose!”

“In my left shoe.”

And it all made perfect sense, you know….

Just to be clear, we are all perfectly normal, fully-functional, mature adults. We’re good parents, we have respectable jobs, and contrary to what you may be thinking, there is not an alcoholic amongst us. But when neighbours are good, good times are sure to go bad!

Here is a montage of a few choice moments:

10155770_10201760013469925_905381986_n1962761_10201760006149742_1622830352_n1379711_10201760017070015_1837233065_n1743561_10201759997149517_2068829319_n1070085_10201760012069890_671390587_n1619092_10201759993229419_1383539339_n1148912_10201760012629904_1906956743_n

Happy Thursday, everyone!

xxx

Originally posted on Melissa’s blog.

Predictive Text

AAARGH!!!!!!

Predictive text makes me want to break stuff. And when activated on a touch screen, there is no limit to what can go wrong.

This evening I told my bestie that she needs to move back home so that we can see each other all the urine. All the urine? WTF?

And every time I go for dinner in Westville, my babysitter hears I’m heading to Nashville. Yeah, cause that Taylor Swift needs all the competition she can get!

Then there was the time I was sending a friend my famous brownie recipe and told her she would need eggs, flour and Mike. Mike? really. What kind of brownies are these… tall, dark and naked???

Another favourite is when I said “I’ll see you in web minutes”.  Apparently I, unlike everyone else out there, operate on Spiderman time.

Spiderman web

Sent the hubby a romantic text… “You are my one and oyster.” Um…….

Oysters

Predictive touch screen text can literally destroy relationships, be warned.

After a few glasses of wine, I was trying to compliment a recently divorced special lady who was feeling a bit down and doubting her ability to snare a new man, let alone one who would be good to her kids. I told her she was looking sexy and would find another……. She never responded. Turns out what I really said was: You’re looking sixty, you’ll find neither.

My friend got really sick once and she messaged me all about how awful she was feeling. I sent her kisses, except instead of xxx, it read zzz… we’re not really talking anymore.

zzz

Unfortunately in today’s fast paced world, we rarely have time to check, and re-read every short message we send. But maybe I should. Or send them to my editor for proofreading, because I must be the world’s worst.

And I’m not even going to mention the time I told that woman to suck off…..

Happy Wednesday everyone, here’s to gearing down for the weekend!

Originally published on Melissa’s blog.

 

Dear Bad Reviewers…

As writers, we have to accept that bad reviews are inevitable. No one book can appeal to everyone. Bad reviews are an occupational hazard.

As writers, we are also not entirely unintelligent, and we understand that reviews are for readers, not for authors. Therefore, authors need to accept that whether good or bad, reviews are a valuable tool for other readers to discern whether a particular book is worthwhile or rubbish. In fact, we like the odd bad review, because statistics show that these validate the good ones that have been submitted. As a result, we appreciate every review – constructive criticism included. A negative review can influence an author’s future projects, and help them to grow and develop as a writer, producing work of a finer quality as they learn from their mistakes.

For example: A constructive criticism pointing out that using British English for a novel set in America is distracting, is something a writer can learn from. Similarly, if a reader feels that a story “felt rushed” toward the final chapters, an author can address this and make an informed decision with regards to improving this shortcoming. Character development and plot lagging are very real concerns and bringing these to an author’s attention will not only NOT offend the writer, but will be taken to heart and appreciated.

While I wholeheartedly agree with an honest review policy, there are a few key points I think reviewers should keep in mind before tearing a book to shreds. Writer’s work hard, make no mistake about that. And when we receive a review that is just plain MEAN, it grinds us. One liners such as: “Worst book ever” or “That’s four days of my life I’ll never get back” are kind of pointless. WHY? Explain yourself, so that we and other readers can UNDERSTAND.

Do you not suppose, given that this is what we DO, that we couldn’t best you in a war of words? Really? Of course we could. But we don’t. Because it is inadvisable to do so and because, to quote George Carlin: “Never argue with an idiot – they will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” As George is, amongst other things, a writer, I can only assume that he was referring to stupid critics that spend more time trying to insult an author than in writing an honest review.

And so, writers simply shrug off these harsh, utterly pointless reviews and proceed with what they love to do: write. But let me let you in on a little secret. A writer ALWAYS has something to say. Not replying in print takes every ounce of our self-control, but you can bet your ass that in our heads, we have a whole lot to say in return.

This blog post is pretty much what we would say, if we could:

*******

Dearest (Bad) Reviewer, 

Firstly, I must congratulate you on your extraordinary ability to remain sour for extended periods of time. I am sure that this must take some effort on your part, maintaining the delicate balance between perpetual bitterness and scathing sarcasm, and for this, you must be duly applauded. 

There are a few points I feel I must mention in order that you “up your game” and grow as a reviewer. (YES, dimwit, I AM reviewing your reviews…stings a little, doesn’t it?) 

Spelling: If you, as a reviewer, cannot spell for shit, then perhaps you should not comment. It makes you look like an idiot. Authors use spell check – if you want to compete on an even playing field, perhaps you should do the same. 

Criticising other reviewers: Starting your review with: “I can’t believe how many 5 stars this book received because it is so dreadful” is hypocrisy. If you feel that your review is honest and your opinion matters, then it goes without saying that this rule applies to your positive counterparts. Do not judge them, and we will not judge you. 

Abbreviations: Peppering your bad review with OMG’s and WTF’s does not make you clever or funny. It makes you stupid. If we can type out 100,000 words, surely you can manage three or four. 

Freebies: If you are too cheap to pay for books and insist on only EVER downloading freebies, then you should never leave a crappy review, because while the book may have been bad, you are cheap. And cheap trumps bad, every time. 

Using the word Hate: Hate is a very strong word. It should not be applied to an object. If you order a steak and it is not to your liking, you simply “don’t like” it. You don’t HATE it. This is dramatic and far too emotive for something as simple as an innocent book. Save your hatred for rhino poachers and serial killers. They deserve it far more than any book. 

Do your research: Read the blurb before the book. Possibly a few other reviews, seeing as you are so quick to post your own. This will tell you whether a book is sad, funny, suspenseful, etc. If forty seven reviewers have claimed that a particular book reduced them to snotty, blubbering mess, then the chances are this book won’t have a happily ever after. 

Sex: I’m terribly sorry that sex scenes bore you. Sadly, EL James’s “anal-fisting” is a hard act to follow. After 50 Shades of Grey, sex will seem boring. While I am sure when you were hanging from the chandeliers last night while your husband burnt himself with cigarettes and did unmentionable things to you that us mere mortals can only dream about – sadly, writing about sex is harder than doing it. As an exercise… have sex. Then write about it in intimate detail and let ten of your friends read it. I bet they won’t have the same earth-shattering orgasm you did. 

And finally, I am truly devastated that you will not be purchasing another of my books in future. I did so look forward to another review from you that would make me want to slit my wrists. 

Regards 

Author 

*****

Now, obviously this letter will never be published and will be forever only in my head. But seriously – the next time you write a review, try and be objective – and bear in mind that for every crappy, scathing, utterly unhelpful review that is written, there is an author out there, taking the moral high ground.

Now that that’s out, I have to say that in researching this blog I read a whole bunch of 1 star reviews on Amazon & GoodReads and I am impressed with the effort that some of these reviewers put in! I haven’t laughed so much since that time my kid got stuck in the toilet. To give you an idea, here’s a link to a creative 1 star review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340740106?book_show_action=true&page=1

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Melissa

xoxox

Originally published on Melissa’s blog.

 

Why you should never judge a mother. Like, Ever.

So, as we all know I have 3 children. Hang on, quick head count.. .1, 2… yes, there are definitely still 3. (Yay me!) Sometimes it feels like a million. Most days I feel like this: 

I’m a pretty good mom – my children are my life – and yet I’ve had my fair share of judgement. I’m the first to admit I don’t always get it right and most of the time I’m pretty open to any friendly parental advice. Note, I said FRIENDLY & PARENTAL. Implying be nice and be a PARENT. If you have kids and you have tricks – I want them. What I don’t care for, not even a little bit, is someone without children offering me sage, textbook advice & judging. You have NO IDEA what its like – how hard it is, being a mom. And it will come back to bite you in the previously skinny ass haunt you.

Nothing will irritate a mother so much as the non-mom. You know the one I am talking about. That rare breed of insufferable know-it-all who advises every mother how they should be raising their child. She will eyeball your child as it climbs all over the glass coffee table, then “discreetly” raise her perfectly mascaraed eyes at her own husband. What she’s saying is that you suck and you are not doing your job, with a little bit of “I could do this so much better” thrown in.

Her sentences generally begin with the words “My child will never…” Yes, yes, we KNOW. Your child will never be given sweets on demand when in an insanely long queue at Woolworths, even if he or she screams and performs for 45 minutes, raising the blood pressure of thirty two innocent bystanders who just happened to need cheese on a Saturday morning.

Your child will never pull the puppy around the house by the tail and feed it sour worms until it is violently ill all over the Persian rug you spent a fortune on before you had children.

Your child will never throw a tantrum.   (ha bloody ha.)

Your child will never pee on the grass when swimming on a hot summer’s day and will most certainly never pick its nose in public and then eat it.

Your child will not say “No!” when you ask it to thank your oldest remaining relative for the hand-made embroidered pillow case.

Your child will never watch too much TV, will never own a Playstation and will never leave the table unless all of its supper is devoured and a huge gesture of appreciation delivered, followed by a “No jelly for me, mom, it’s very bad for my teeth, perhaps just a small glass of carrot juice to fill the gap”.

Yeah, good luck with that. You don’t scare us – mom’s are fearless.

The reason that moms dislike these non-moms is twofold:

Firstly, never judge a mother. Never. Not even if that mother is seen beating her four year old back side of the head while she wipes her two years olds running nose with the same wet-wipe she just used to clean the baby’s bum. In the world of moms that is known as multi-tasking. Write it down. You cannot judge a mother, particularly if you are not one. Before having my daughter I told everyone else how to do it. After I had her, I kept Valium in my handbag and wholeheartedly praised another mother for doing a fabulous job if she wasn’t peeling herself off the ceiling every night.

The second reason moms dislike non-moms is that non-moms have great bodies and get to enjoy copious amounts of guilt-free red-wine. But really there’s no need to embellish upon this reason.

A word from the wise: Take it from a mom who knows and heed my words before you do something you regret. Nothing pleases a mom more than watching judgemental non-moms become mothers. Your child will do all of the above and you will be powerless to stop it. Kids are funny like that – they are not robots. And the more you have used the words: “my child will never”, the more us moms will laugh and snigger behind your back and gossip about your troubles.

Your confidence will most probably not be able to stand this as gone are the days of perfect hair, perfect make-up and perfect body – those daily visits to the gym are history sister! And all those marvellous ideas like baking cookies and rainbow-coloured spaghetti aren’t going to work either. More likely you will forget the spaghetti on the stove, resulting in a congealed sticky mess. In my house we call this “mould your own supper night.”

We will believe you truly deserving of every moment and will smirk quietly into our drinks while you run around after your child, scream at your husband for his not helping you and basically flog yourself to death in front of an audience. At a moment’s notice any one of us could intervene and use one of many tricks that real moms have learnt through continuous trial and error, however in all likelihood, we won’t, because we want you to suffer.

That’s right.  We.want.you.to.suffer.

Behind your back we will encourage your child’s naughty behaviour and laugh at your inability to deal with it. Moms are sadistic and very protective of their children. If you have judged a mother and her child, you may as well have kicked a sexually-deprived starving Rottweiler in the balls while eating a burger. She will not forget.  You.will.suffer.

For the real moms out there - this one’s for you, with all my respect & sympathy:

You know you a mom when……….
1. Instead of running from projectile vomit, you run towards it.
2. You do more in seven minutes than most people do all day.
3. Happy hour has become the 60 minutes between your kids going to bed and you going to bed.
4. A night of drinking requires more recovery time than minor surgery.
5. A glass o…f wine counts as a serving of fruit.
6. You have mini-therapy sessions all day long with anyone who will listen.
7. Going to the grocery store by yourself is a vacation.
8. You can experience heaven and hell at the same time.
9. You think of physical pain on three levels: pain, excruciating pain and stepping on a Lego.
10. You have the ability to hear a sneeze through closed doors in the middle of the night, two bedrooms away, while your SO snores next to you.
11. You’d rather have a 103 degree fever than watch one of your kids suffer with it.
12. You’d rather go to sleep than have sex.
13. A 15-minute shower with the door locked feels like a day at the spa.
14. Peeing with an audience is part of the daily routine.
15. You use baby wipes to clean up random spills and the dash of your car.
16. You lock yourself in the bathroom and pretend to have diarrhea just to get a break.
17. You love Moms’ Night Out and Date Night with the Hubs.
18. You have a secret chocolate stash because frankly, you’re sick of sharing.
19. You’ve been washing the same load of laundry for three days because you forgot to dry it.

            - Source Unknown

Originally posted on Melissa’s blog.

 

 

 

Why you should never watch the Oscar Trial when working on a novel…

As a writer, you are heavily influenced by what is happening in your life at the time of writing your story. Other fiction novels, television shows, stories you hear from friends… they can all become adapted and integrated into your plot, sometimes without you even realising it.

Case in point: The day I watched the Oscar Trial Channel while working on The LegendOscar versus Legend

I really have not followed the trial closely up until this point, but I was very intrigued to watch Oscar himself take the stand, so I had the trial playing softly on the TV in the background. Obviously I must have been more engrossed than I originally gave myself credit for. Here’s what happened:

*Excerpt from The Legend written on 10th April 2014*  -  Note: Deleted same day

“You kissed Aidan, didn’t you?” Reed demands. I have never seen him so angry and I choose my words carefully.

“What if I put it to you that Aidan kissed me?” This brings him up short.

“Did he?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Did you kiss him?” he echoes his earlier question.

“No I did not.”

“So he kissed you?” he removes his spectacles and eyes me questioningly, trying to intimidate a confession from my lips.

“No,” I speak slowly, “I was cold and he was trying to keep me warm.”

“But you had a blanket.”

“Yes, but someone threw it on the floor!” I dissolve into silent sobs.

“Rebecca,” he probes more gently, “you’re not making any sense.”

“I won’t admit to something that isn’t true!” My sobs increase in volume.

“Aren’t you even going to apologise?” he asks, sounding disappointed, but I shake my head resolutely.

“Not until everybody else gets here. It will have more impact and induce public sympathy.” I collapse onto a nearby chair and settle down to wait.

“So that’s it then? Surely you must have something to say?” I give this a moment’s consideration.

“This is all Kwan’s fault!” I blurt out.

“Kwan?” he shakes his head, incredulous, “Rebecca, Kwan is your oldest friend.”

“I thought so too! But then I spoke to Barry Roux and now I’m not so sure.”

“Just tell me the truth,” his startling green eyes are very close to mine, almost hypnotic. “Did you or did you not kiss Aidan.”

“I didn’t!” I wrack my shoulders and give a few dry heaves to emphasise my distress.

“Morgan says you did.”

“She’s lying!”

“Michael also says you did,” he points out.

“He’s lying!”

“So you’re saying they’re both lying?”

“I’m not saying that! I’m just saying that I didn’t do it.” When will he cease his endless questioning?

“But you admit you were with him in the pool house?”

“I don’t remember. I’m just so tired. I hardly got any sleep last night.”

“You were snoring like a freight train last night,” he counters. “You know what I think Rebecca, I think you are adapting your story. You’re adapting and editing the truth.”

“Reed, I swear you better back off. I’ll shoot you in the arse if you don’t just back off!” A pregnant pause follows this outburst and then he narrows his eyes.

“There are no guns in the Rebeldom, Rebecca.”

As you can imagine, this text does not really move my narrative forward at all, so I deleted it, switched off the TV and got down to work. Some sacrifices have to be made.

So, that’s me done. No more typing while watching Channel 199…it’s hazardous to my storyline ;)

In other news….the Trial of the Century continues without me. I’m sure I’ll hear the verdict, regardless.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

xoxox

Originally posted on Melissa’s blog.

The Sounds of Silence

** Not suitable for sensitive viewers**

As anyone who knows me personally can attest, there is something I love to do even more than writing. TALKING. To be honest, I just don’t shut up… as a result I have the 3 loudest children in.the.world. The only way to be heard above them is to shout even louder. Then they go. Then me. It’s a vicious circle. #truestory

SO, for the past month I have had this sore throat, and my voice has taken on a husky timbre that would do Amy Winehouse (RIP) proud. I briefly considered becoming a voice over for uber-sexy TV commercials, but the pain being too much I instead made an appointment to see a local GP *Note: this is not my actual GP, who is on maternity leave, but a stand-in.

I was prescribed an antibiotic. Note: at no point could the aforementioned, not-my-usual-GP actually tell me what was wrong with me, but she happily rang up my R440 bill and told me that should I not feel better in a week I should rather see an ENT. I paid her with polite smile firmly in place and resisted the urge to tell her to piss off for being useless.

Needless to say, the antibiotic didn’t work. (And no, they will not refund you for being wrong – trust me, I tried) I soldiered on for another week but today I just couldn’t bear it any longer and off I went to see the dreaded ENT.

A brief summary of my visit:

ENT:     “Where exactly is the pain?

ME:        “Well, this may sound strange, but it feels like its coming from my voice box.

ENT:       “Have you strained your voice recently?

ME:         *Silence*  Oh fuck, I can’t tell him, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I’m 33 years old FFS!   “Um, not that I can recall.”

ENT:        (Suspicious look)  “I need to look in your throat.”

ME:          (sticking out my tongue)Aaaaaaaah

ENT:       “No, with a telescope. First I’m going to need to numb your nose and throat. This may feel strange, as if you can’t breathe, or swallow, but you can.

ME:          (in a small, frightened voice)  “What if I can’t?”

ENT:        (more sternly)  “No, but you can.”

ME:          “How far are we from the ICU?”

ENT:        “No need to panic. Now, this will sting just for a few seconds.”

At this point, he sprayed liberal amounts of some evil designed-by-sadists solution down my throat and up my nose, and just for a second I thought he was exaggerating. And then…the burn. Holy hell, I thought, this must be what they throw on women’s faces in those awful places where torture is still legal. The pain was excruciating – my eyes watered, my nostrils flared, and I thought about all the things I hadn’t done in my life yet… ridden an elephant, had a hot-air balloon ride, met Ian Somerhalder…

To be fair, it really only stung for about 3 seconds. Maybe less, it’s all a bit blurred.

At this stage the ENT looked slightly alarmed, but ever the professional, he continued.

And then it happened. He stuck a tube up my nose, which went down my throat. Repeated the process with a metal prong down my throat. #utterlyviolated  I didn’t think things could possibly get any worse, and then he asked me to take a seat. Oh God, I’m dying. I sat.

ENT:       “You have nodules on your vocal chords.”

My brain whirred, faster than NASA’s fastest high-tech computer. Nodules, nodules… I hit a blank. WTF are nodules?? I cleared my throat.

ENT:       “Don’t do that, it will make it worse. Here, let me show you the scan.”

The next ten minutes were spent looking down my own throat and trying not to gag**

He shuffled some papers around and then looked straight at me. Almost through me. His beady eyes narrowed and I swear I heard ‘The Good, The Bad & The Ugly’ Showdown theme song playing in my head. I couldn’t look away.

ENT:        “Are you sure you haven’t strained your voice recently?”

I didn’t answer. I’m not going to break. Not even if he starts pulling out my fingernails, or strapping electrodes to my chest. NO.WAY.

ENT:        (in a persuasive voice) “Possibly you watched the Sharks game last weekend?”

Oh hell no! I am so not going down like that. I had to come clean. I cast my mind back to 5 weeks before, and the excitement as the package finally arrived on my desk. How could I possibly have known it would end this way?

ME:         “I bought the GLEE Soundtrack.” (I resisted the urge to add, “There! Are you happy now? Do you feel good about yourself, breaking others down like this?!)

ENT:       “Pardon?

ME:         “Um, well, it’s a music soundtrack.

ENT:       “And how did this… Aaaah.” (Unnatural silence)   “You’ve been singing then, I presume?

ME:          “There’s a…um… Journey song… it’s called “Don’t stop believing…

ENT:        “I believe I know it.

ME:           “Well, there are a lot of um…. “da da da’s” in the opening.”

ENT:        (looks thoughtful and taps foot as though playing song in head) “Yes, there are actually.

ME:          “I may have played it a few times.” (Note: I played it about 672 times and sang along LOUDLY each and every time)

ENT:         “Well, there’s your problem. You strained the vocal chords and developed nodules, which are preventing you from projecting your voice and causing  the considerable pain.

ME:           “In my defence, I also shout at my children a lot.

ENT:         (suspicious look back in place) “Well, there’s that too, then.

ME:           “I mean, I’m not a bad mom or anything, but there are 3 of them, and they don’t really listen if I use the calm Supernanny voice.

ENT:         “The what voice?

ME:           “Supernanny – she’s on the telly.

ENT:         “I don’t think I’ve seen that show.

ME:           “Don’t bother. I mean, she’s all about going down to their level – which, by the way, generally results in one or all of them leaping onto your back and WWF-ing your ass to the floor. And as for the naughty corner, that’s a right joke. I mean, they just don’t stay there… how does she even get them to stay there? It’s not normal.

ENT:         (alarmed look back in place) “Yes, well about your nodules…

ME:           (narrow eyed) “I’m a good mom.

ENT:        “I’m sure you are… Now, you’ll need some Prednisone.

ME:           “Ooh, my hubby takes that. For his gout.

ENT:         “Does he get gout often?

ME:           “All the time… whenever he drinks.

ENT:         (Eyebrows shooting up into his hairline) “Is that so?

ME:           “He’s a good dad.

Honestly, I mean, I can practically see him dialling child welfare the minute I walk out the room. I need to get out of here.

ME:         “So, what do I do?” I ask briskly, then, lowering my voice conspiratorially, “about the nodules?

ENT:         “Right, right. We’ll need them to heal, or you might need surgery. The first thing you need to do is see a vocal coach.

ME:           “My husband would agree with you.

ENT:         (Snort of laughter covered by very obvious throat clearing) “Actually, it’s more like a speech therapist, just to train you to speak properly, as the nodules will affect your speech and it’s important not to develop bad habits.

ME:             “Right, vocal therapist. What else?

ENT:           “You need to rest your voice.

ME:             “I beg your pardon?

ENT:           “You need to be very quiet. No singing, no yelling at the kids, very little talking.

ME:              “My husband called you, didn’t he?

So here I am… speechless. I’ve been signing to my kids all afternoon, they think it’s hysterical, but I know the novelty will wear off. They can sense my fear, they’re like bloodhounds… they smell it.

I have to go back in 4-6 weeks and if there’s no improvement he’s going to have to cut those pesky nodules out.

I’ll keep you posted, and in the meantime, if anyone wants to come over to mine and yell at some kids… give me a holler :) 

**The inside of your throat looks like a va-jay-jay

Seriously – Google it: Nodules on vocal chords. It’s gross.

 

Originally posted on Melissa’s blog.

 

My first bad review

It finally happened. That moment every writer dreads. THE.BAD.REVIEW.

Bad

This is the first time, so it stung a little. I read it with my heart in my throat and a cold, sickening dread in the pit of my stomach. She didn’t like my book… how could she not like my book? *sob*

Initial reaction: Ask Bad reviewer if she’s ever written a book. Spent hours and days and months slaving over this labour of love, which you then send out into the universe, like your first born child. In my head, I dressed her down, making her see the error of her ways. In my head, this conversation ended with her on her knees, begging for my forgiveness. BEST.DREAM.EVER (oh, except for that one I had about Ian Somerhalder).

It is important to note that at this point a message popped up from Goodreads saying:

Ok, you got a bad review. Deep breath. It happens to every author eventually. Keep in mind that one negative review will not impact your book’s sales. In fact, studies have shown that negative reviews can actually help book sales, as they legitimize the positive reviews on your book’s page. We really, really (really!) don’t think you should comment on this review, even to thank the reviewer. If you think this review is against our Review Guidelines, please flag it to bring it to our attention. Keep in mind that if this is a review of the book, even one including factual errors, we generally will not remove it. For more on how to interact with readers, please see our Author Guidelines. If you still feel you must leave a comment, click “Accept and Continue” below to proceed (but again, we don’t recommend it).

At this I realised that Goodreads is comprised of bona fide Ninja’s. They know. They know what you are going to do before you even do it. Well played, Goodreads, well played.

So, I did what every writer in my shoes would do instead. I STALKED her. And here’s what I discovered:

* My Bad Reviewer likes horror stories. Okay, my book is a romance, so not really her cup of earl grey.

* My Bad Reviewer has an average rating of 3 stars (out of 5) – she gave me a 2, (translation: It was okay)

She said she didn’t even finish. DNF. I couldn’t believe it. My poor little e-book, just dumped out with the trash. Worse than that time I accidentally flushed 3 of my goldfish out with the water when cleaning their bowl.

Deep down I needed something. Something to make my heart hurt just a little bit less. So I went searching for 1 star reviews other (famous) authors have endured. And I read a bunch. Here are some excerpts of my favourites (I have edited out the names of the books to protect the innocent)

#1 Review on New York Times Bestseller, that I LOVED

Holy hell. Thankfully I took a day before writing this review otherwise I would be having a vitriolic rant about the questionable judgement of many readers on GR. I am a wee bit horrified by the taste level I’m coming across. But I digress.So what was wrong with TITLE? It would be easier to tell you what was right with it: nothing. Monotonous, repetitive, predictable, unoriginal, mindless, cliche…these are just a few of the words that come to mind.The writing is simply not good. It is monotonous and absolutely lacked a descriptive quality. When there were descriptions they were vague. And don’t get me started on how the author chose to treat sexual relations in the book. Every instance of sex was approached in a prudish manner which was just ridiculous. NAME’s biological clock was fucking annoying…..

(OMG she dropped the F-bomb!!)

#2: Review on one of the Greatest authors of our time:

Wow, truly, truly awful! This is a book I really wish I had never read. Admittedly, it is clearly written to appeal to the fairer sex, but even taking that into account, it’s just really, really bad. The plot is flimsy, the characters are weak and 2-dimensional, the writing is trite and sophomoric. There are all of these thrown-in sex scenes that are just so out of place and ugly and tacky and gross. And then, the epilogue happened, and … wow! That truly was the coup de grace. What a waste of my time. I can honestly say, I hated this book. It’s the worst book I have read in a very long time. So, reminder for myself – never again read a book by this author. His writing is definitely not for me.

Okay, I admit, after laughing my ass off, I had to look up the word “sophomoric” – it means pretentious or juvenile. Just in case you were wondering!

Then there was the reviewer who added a book to the following shelves:

Shelves: dropped-in-the-toilet, the-hate-it-burns, buddy-or-group-read, fat-kitty-judges-you, dafuq-did-i-just-read, is-it-just-me-goddammit, whiny-bitches, kill-it-with-fire, reviewed-2011, authors-i-want-to-stab, lust-at-first-sight, mary-sue, lit-for-the-chicks, romance-contemp, well-arent-you-mister-popularity, facepalm, blame-the-darksiders

I’ve gotta say, I admire the creativity. Makes my shelves: “Read”, “To Read” & “Currently Reading” look pretty dull by comparison!

Feeling slightly better, I decided maybe I should call off the P.I and scrap my meagre attempt at a voodoo doll. And then, I saw it. I heard an angel choir singing and the light of a thousand candles filled my room:

* My Bad Reviewer once gave James Patterson a 1 star review.

At this point I cracked open the champagne. I mean, how many authors can say they’re better than James Patterson ;)

Happy Friday Y’all!

Originally published on Melissa’s blog.