Thursday, July 30, 2009


"Wait, wait! Who wrote this crap? Surely not me!"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

CONTEST! Reviews Needed!

In a effort to rack up a few more Amazon reviews for SAY THE WORD, I'm having a contest:

1. If you post a review on Amazon before September 1st you'll be entered in a drawing for a signed copy. Fear not: currently posted reviews of STW are automatically entered!

2. To increase your chances of winning, you can post your review on Goodreads, too.

3. Also, any new reviews of BEFORE, AFTER, AND SOMEBODY IN BETWEEN posted on Amazon between now and September 1st will further up your chances of winning a copy of STW.

4. When you post your review, simply e-mail me at jjgarsee at aol dot com and include the link(s).


C'mon! You know you want to! :)


Apparently some pro-adoption groups believe that if prospective adoptive parents see ORPHAN they might think twice about adopting an older child.

What part of FICTION do these people not understand? Note that the studio agreed to remove an "offensive line" from the ad: "It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own."

I can see why this line may upset some viewers sensitive to the subject. Adopted kids, for instance, who may not be secure enough in their new family. However, why aren't there isn't there some child advocacy group out their protesting all the sex-oriented TV ads. I mean seriously, there's nothing like having your child ask you right in the middle of a bite of pizza: "Mommy, what's erectile dysfunction?" I may even start my own group protesting all these "Boo-hoo, the IRS took my last forty bucks!" commercials. Hey, I pay my taxes--what's wrong with you, you pathetic deadbeat loser?

I'm so ticked off by yet another group dictating their beliefs to those in the entertainment business (and this includes writers, people) that I'll definitely be seeing this movie. Maybe twice. Even if it sucks.

LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR didn't keep me out of nightclubs. That's where I met my husband.


POST OFFICE DRAMA (I'll take it where I can get it)

I'm standing in a long line at the post office (I'm next, thank goodness) and listening to another customer argue with the lady at the desk. The customer, a well-dressed, attractive woman with THE most incredible air of entitlement, is picking up a package for someone else. They want her to sign for the package.

She does not want to sign. She hauls out 80 pieces of ID to prove who she is, but the person who asked her to pick up the package specifically told her not to sign for it. How fascinating. So she argues with the lady behind the counter who says several times it is against their policy to relinquish this particular package without a signature. By then, of course, I'm dying to know what's in it.

This goes on for a couple minutes and the clerk finally tells her to get her skinny self important ass out of the way to please step aside. Customer refuses and asks for the supervisor. Clerk says she will call the superivisor but to please step aside.

Customer: "I'm not stepping aside. I said I want to talk to your supervisor!"


Customer's jaw drops. It's hysterical! I burst out laughing, and people behind me--after a moment of shock--start laughing, too.

Oh, don't you wish you could be that clerk just once in your life?

P.S. The supervisor tells her to SIGN FOR THE PACKAGE!

Friday, July 17, 2009


1. I've been having a TERRIBLE time with this ghost story revision. Somethng wasn't jelling, it drove me nuts, and I honestly didn't know how to fix it.Then, in a 7-hour writing marathon yesterday (after meeting another_wip at Joseph Beth for coffee and writerly talk, I fixed it. I fixed it! Still, this is clearly the worst first draft I've ever slogged through and I still have a buttload of cutting.The good news it, it'll soon be ready to be read by my trusted betas. :)

2. Not to bring my favorite subject up again, but Elijah barfed up an inch-long hunk of Busy Bone last night, so that's what I was doing at 2 a.m.--washing the cover to his pillow and scrubbing out his crate. Yes, they're digestable but you have to chew them, you dumb dog! Then he was up at 5 a.m. tfor breakfast. Needless to say I'm still not getting much sleep.

PS Thanks to susanwritesfor the bully stick idea, thought at $5.00 + apiece these are definitely reserved for a special treat (or to get his slobbery face out of my hair for a bit) ---beside which, I'm sure they're equal to a human consuming a dozen Krispy Kremes

3. My current TBR list includes:

NEED by Carrie Jones (now moved to the top)
BLOOM by Elizabeth Scott
PERFECT YOU by Elizabeth Scott
CASHAY by Margaret McMullan

4. I did a masochostic thing yesterday but I can't discuss it. No, it didn't include include pain. Yet.

5. I forgot to post about the Billy Joel/Elton John concert. Well, of course it was awesome even with our $100 nosebleed seats--although when Billy first walked onstage I didn't recognized him, and thought "What the heck is George Carlin doing here? Isn't he dead?"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Why is it nobody can believe this is my new favorite song???
*Explicit lyrics*

Go figure.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


AOL had a List of the 20 Most Worthless Items in Your House:

20. rice cooker (amen)
19. massaging insoles (no clue)
18. Polaroid camera (bummer!)
17. iron (I just threw mine out last month)
16. hobby kits (bad gift)
15. tie rack (I disagree--what else do you do with them? Stuff 'em in a drawer?)
14. giveaway flash drives (disagree; you can never have too many)
13. trade show freebies (yep)
12. bargain DVDs (although as the atricle says they make handy coasters)
11. ear candles (wtf are these?)
9. home theater sound systems (all you do is trip over the wires and dust the speakers--and then, like me, there's always a chance a critter might make a nest in it)
8. ice cream makers and bread machines (amen, esp the ice cream maker)
7. VCRPlus gizmos (yep)
6. ionic breeze (whatever)
5. single slot piggy bank (unless you collect antiques)
4. Ab rollers (I knew that without ever trying one out)
3. radar detectors (don't go there)
2. wipe warmers (??? what are we wiping here that it has to be warmed?)
1. Happy Meal toys (crap)

Yes. AOL in all its brilliance listed BOOKS IN A KINDLE WORLD as the 10th most worthless item in your home.

"Given his love of the printed word, it's probably strange that this blogger is eager to see the Amazon Kindle take over. On one level, the little plastic reader signals the death of an industry: more convenient and potentially less expensive than traditional books, it seems quite possible that they will end up squeezing out many publishers, printers and booksellers. On the other hand, Kindles could also prove the salvation of reading. With their cheap downloads, small size, and light weight, they are far more convenient than traditional books."

If I see one more article abut how Kindle is going to be the death of the publishing business, I think I'll barf.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I just wrote this loooong post about how I gained so much weight since I started in psych (partly because I'm not burning calories by schlepping fat people in and out of bed) and how nothing I own fits, and how I was harangued yesterday by SUSAN and ELAINE to step on the scale only to learn I'm at my all-time high, that I didn't weigh nearly this much when, two decades ago, I was screaming in labor. Quite a witty post, if I say so myself. I typed it all down while gobbling my fat-free cottage cheese, and then:

I hit the wrong key. POOF! My whole post disappeared.

This is a SIGN that I'm not supposed to obsess over this--particularly since *I* am the one who complains about people who whine, whine, whine about how faaaat they are *sob-sniffle-reach-for-the-Krispy-Kremes* instead of either




Sigh. I'm going for number two unless I want to run out and buy another wardrobe a full 3 sizes larger than I wore last year. Either that or go back to a medical floor where I'll be moving more than my mouth.

Ah, no.

Friday, July 10, 2009


One of the nicest things I've heard from a young reviewer at TV and Book Addict (FYI, spoilers in the full review):

"After reading it I was left with this feeling. I don't know how to explain it. It's just so great and satisfying. Once you read it, I hope you feel it too."

The icing on the cake of a very productive day. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I just heard Mariah Carey sing "I'll Be There" at Michael Jackson's memorial service, and realized for the first time the influence he had on my life. Although I liked his music, I've never been what you'd call a die-hard fan, meaning I don't own any of his albums, nor would I camp out for 3 days in L.A. for a glimpse of his hearse--and yet I feel the loss.

And I feel strangely sad. I hope Michael's remembered for his music, not for the controversy. His talent was such an incredible gift to this world.

"Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter--
Togetherness, well that's all I'm after.
Whenever you need me, I'll be there..."

How Do YOU Name Your Characters?

--and how many names did they have? Did you change them as you were writing, or are you still searching for the perfect name? How do you choose them?

SAY THE WORD: Shawna was originally Jena Gallagher. Then I wanted a female derivative of a male name so she could be named after her father. I changed it to Erica (and made her father an Eric). She was Erica Gallagher for a couple hundred pages before I changed it to Shawna and turned Dr. Eric Gallagher into a John.

Susan was an Olivia, and Devon was something else, too, but I forgot already (Pam/Holly/Char: do you remember?)

LeeLee was always LeeLee, which is my niece's nickname. I took her last name from Jane Velez Mitchell. Her real name, Ophelia, is the name of friend's mother. I also had an Ophelia in Before/After which I eventually cut out entirely. Guess I missed her.

Penny was always Penny, though I had to hit a baby name book to come up with her given name, Sonia. Sorenson was a classmate from high school. Fran was always Fran, and I took Goodman from one of my favoite childhood books. I had to ask for suggestions from a friend to come up with Nabil.

Shawna's father's girlfriend, Julie, had about a dozen names (she started out as a Mary) till I found one that fit.

Arye and Schmule had those names from the beginning (although Arye was originally the little one--till I decided I couldn't picture Shawna sucking face with a "Schmule" ha-ha). I knocked the final H off "Aryeh" because my crit group harassed me.

I have a friend named Charles. Hence the dog. :)

There's a Dr. Felker, named after a wonderful doctor I used to know. He died in an accident, so I immortalized him.

Jonas Dunn is a name very close to the name of my first crush.

BEFORE/AFTER: Martha was a Martha from the start; I was following the Michael Skakel/Martha Moxley trial when I first started writing it which shows you how frigging long it took me. I wanted a plain, old-fashioned, not-too-popular name. Agnes, Blanche, and Beulah were OUT.

Chardonnay was always Chardonnay (it's one of those names that just "come to you') but her best friend Shavonne started out as Sharnelle. Then I decided Char(donnay) and Shar(nelle) were too close, so I changed it to Shavonne (I was watching Ryan's Hope reruns at the time and changed the spelling from "Siobhan") because I couldn't have a Shavonne and a Yvonne, which was Aunt Gloria's original name.

Jerome was always Jerome. His cousin Anthony started out as Andre, but I changed it when I decided Bubby's real name should be De'Andre (Bubby told me this himself, so who was I to argue?).

I took the names Mario and Zelda from my kids' favorite video games.

I named Wayne after a total CREEP I met in real life. In fact, he was a composite of several creeps I knew.

Nikki and Rachel Brinkman started out as Melissa and Hanna, and Richard was a George, but Claudia and Danny named themselves, too.

Professor Moscowitz was named after someone I once knew. Well, the last name, anyway. I never knew a "Leopold."

(I use names of real people, too, e.g. Danielle WALSH and Jerome LINDSEY, named after coworkers; GALLAGHER is a relative's maiden name; Mr. TWOHIG, after a teacher--he was originally a Cruickshank (after a patient) but my agent wondered if that was a reference to Harry Potter; the answer was "no" b/c I never read HP or saw the films, but I changed it anyway. Likewise, Schmule's headmaster Mr. DICKERHOOF was named after a patient ( I swear).

I'm sure there are others, but this is off the top of my head.

OK, your turn. Play along! Give examples!

Next: Killing off characters

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Thursday, July 2, 2009


You know how it is when you fall in love? You're dying to spend every moment with that person. You think about him nonstop every waking moment and resent every little thing that keeps you apart. You count the hours till you can see each other again. He's all you can think about when you're not together.

You dream. You fantasize. You count every minute.

*Insert Tchaichovsky's Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet*

That's me and writing.

Seventeen more hours...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Today's my fifth day of a 5-day work stretch. I scheduled this on purpose so I could have 5 days off in a row to work on these revisions--although with the holiday it'll only be 3.

This is killing me. Yes, the "not-revising" part, but especially this 5-day stretch. For those of you who normally work 5 straight days, I better not hear you say: "Awww, poor you!" I usually work 2 or 3 days at a time and my poor fat disgusting body's not used to this kind of abuse. My days are hectic: 8 endless hours dealing with an extremely high noise level, non-stop psychotic babbling, breaking up altercations, and periodic rounds up and down the hall to make sure nobody's engaged in any illicit know, sex, drugs, trying to off themselves, etc. It's freakin' exhausting after a single shift, let alone five; by tonight I'll be ready to check my own self in.