Writing a Bio: A Conversation with the Better-Half

I don’t like talking about myself.  Okay, I don’t like talking about myself in a serious way.  I’m much more the self-deprecating type.  So when it comes time to present myself in a professional manner, I’m sadly at a loss.  Good thing I have The Joe to keep me in line.

Me: I have to write a bio for a website that’s going to feature me as a writer.

Joe: Jennifer McClory is a writer who enjoys stabbing people.

Me: But I don’t actually stab people.  Besides, that’s only when I go to Wal-Mart.

Joe: Jennifer McClory is a writer who would enjoy stabbing people if she weren’t so scared of doing time in prison.

Me: Yes.  That’s it.  Thank you.

Joe: You’re welcome.

He’s a gem, that one.

Take Your Son to Work Day: An Interview with The Peeshwank

By the time our adventure ended tonight, The Peeshwank was in no mood to write his guest blog post, he was also up to his elbows in pumpkin pie.  So we opted for another aspect of being an author.  The interview.

So, tell us what you did today.

Well, I ate pumpkin pie.  We went to Sam’s.  Oh, and I started to write a book.

[I’m assuming these were in order from least important to most.]

Did you learn anything?

Yeah.  That stupid people were driving on the roads today.

[I swear I don’t have road rage.  Much.]

Anything else?

The so-called “sausage guy” is totally fake.

[This was the first time I’ve ever been to Sam’s that the yelling sausage guy wasn’t there.  Swear.]

What was the hardest part of “your job” today?

Brainstorming and getting through traffic.

[Word.]

Was it a rewarding experience?

I guess so.  I got to miss school.

[All about priorities, that kid.]

Tell us about the book you started writing today.

It’s about the zombie apocalypse.  Kevin is the main character.

[Zombies.  His favorite subject.]

What inspired it?

A video game I was playing on my tablet, but then you started nagging me to get off the tablet.

[I don’t know who this “you” is he’s talking about.]

What did you like most about being an author for the day?

I liked getting to wear my robe all day.

[I made him get dressed to go shopping.]

Thanks for taking the time to sit down for this interview, now go brush your teeth and get to bed.

We actually did get a lot done today.  We outlined his book:

Three story arcs that come together for the climax. He even added an epilogue. Not too shabby for a middle-schooler.

He wrote the first two scenes.  (We knew he wouldn’t be able to write the entire thing in one day, so we moved on to other aspects of the publishing process.)

He designed a cover for the book:

We talked about sales/marketing/things.  I’m no expert, but I play one on TV, so it was all good, and I’m sure he went to bed totally convinced that I’m a sales & marketing genius.  Ha.

All in all it was a fun day.  Who knows, maybe this will have sparked a love of storytelling in The Peeshwank…

At least I convinced him that I don’t just sit around playing Black Ops all day.  Yeah, right.  I’m totally more of the Plants vs. Zombies type of gal.

Take-Your-Kid-to-Work Day: A Conversation

The Peeshwank jumped in the car at the bus stop.  I could tell he was excited despite the absence of my purse in the passenger’s seat.  (The purse means we are going to Sonic for Happy Hour drinks.  No purse = No Sonic, which usually elicits extreme grumpiness from the end of the street to the house.)

Me: So, what’s up, P?

Peeshwank: Can I stay home tomorrow?

Me: Why?

Peeshwank: Because it’s Take Your Kid to Work Day and you work at home.

Oh crap.

I guess it was bound to happen eventually, but still.  Remember when it was just Take Your DAUGHTER to Work Day?  Yeah, those were good times.  I could send my little man off to school under the whole “Sorry-you’re-not-a-girl” guise.  Now what do I do?

So I told him he could stay home as long as he writes when I write.  When we’re done, we’d edit, revise, and rewrite.  Then we could track sales on our dashboard, do some Twittering to other authors, check out Publisher’s Weekly to make sure our work is still on trend in the market, and send off our entries to all the Spring writing contests.

He scoffed and said, “Never. Mind.”

Over dinner, we went into negotiations.  He agreed to chronicle his day shadowing me which will be featured as a guest blog here tomorrow.  Possibly.  If it’s not too incriminating.  If it is worthy of being read by the masses.

So, I’m going through my daily routine to see how I can make it an enriching experience for The Peeshwank and I think I’m going to have to rearrange things a bit.  You see, my current schedule looks like this:

6:00 – 6:21: Check Facebook/Email

6:21: Put boy on bus

6:25 – 7:00: Nap Write

7:00ish – 8:00ish: Run on treadmill while watching Sportscenter

8:00 – 8:30: Shower, dishes, laundry

8:30 – 11:00: Drink a pot of coffee while reading

11:00: Eat some wheat thins while reading

Noon: go to Sam’s/Wal-Mart and get irritated with all of humanity

2:00: Read some more while dozing off occasionally

3:30: Wine time

Drunk-thirty: LOTS OF WRITING

You see my dilemma?  I know, I know.  Taking the kid to Sam’s is like the LEAST enriching thing I could do tomorrow.

And now for the airing of grievances…

Yes, kids, we’re celebrating Festivus early this year and as you know, everyone’s favorite Festivus tradition is the airing of grievances.  As I have just returned home from my Thursday afternoon shopping trip for the week, I’m airing mine now.

The following are people who are still alive and in one piece solely because I strictly adhere to the Judeo-Christian ethic of “Thou Shalt Not Kill”:

  • The Brand Ambassador who kept yelling at me to try his sausage.  Every week it’s the same thing with you, isn’t it?  Stop yelling at me!
  • The couple who didn’t pay for something in their cart and were trying to leave with it, and thus started arguing with the receipt-checker which led to a huge line of people waiting to get their receipts checked at the door at the wholesale club.
  • The people who work at the wholesale club who were standing up front watching the rest of us trying to leave and did nothing to help get us out of there.  You’re lucky we didn’t stage a revolt.  We outnumbered you by 18. Yes, I counted.  I had plenty of free time while I stood there waiting.
  • The cart cowboy who sighed loudly and stared at me as I put all my now defrosted frozen goods in the car.  Just take the rest of the damned carts back and leave me alone.  They’re my groceries.  And I am particular about how I stack them in the car.  I refuse to just throw them in haphazardly.  I’m a Virgo, after all.
  • The person(s) who decided that NW Arkansas would be a fantastic place to hold the country’s second largest bike rally.  “They bring money into the economy, it’s fun, blah, blah, blah…”  Bite me.  Unless you can make some of them understand that the laws of the roadway still apply to them.
  • Dear bikers, the parking lot of the grocery store?  Not a meeting place for you guys to get together and gossip and smoke and basically block the entrance to said store.  Go down the road to the bike dealership.  They have parking and loitering areas there specifically set up for this event.
  • The FIVE women working in the deli department who completely ignored me for I don’t even know how long.  All I needed was cole slaw and potato salad because I’m too lazy to make my own to go with the brisket we’re barbecuing tonight.  Thank you to the Hispanic man that yelled at them that they had customers waiting.  You rock, sir.  Welcome to the Brotherhood of Disgruntled Shoppers.  We’re revolting at some point in time which will most likely be directly related to my hormones and inversely proportional to the amount of intelligence found around us.
  • The mom of the boy who was swinging the cart around knocking crap off shelves.  Ignoring it will not make it go away.  But can I suggest some fast-acting chewable Benadryl?  In the pharmacy aisle.  You’re welcome.
  • The lady that rolled up behind me and sighed and tapped her feet impatiently while I was checking out my groceries in the self-checkout lane.  There were THREE other self-checkouts opened and ready to serve you, you heifer.
  • The cars who inevitably block the intersection I have to cross to get back to where the wine is home.  I shall run you over one of these days.  Probably the same day the revolt happens.
  • The lady that tailgated me all the way through our subdivision and shook her head when I came to a complete stop at the only stop sign in the whole area.  Sorry, I know how many kids live in our neighborhood and I’m not trying to run over one of them so you can get somewhere two seconds faster.

For real, yo.

Is it because I’m driving Joe’s Texas A&M decorated car the week we’re playing them?  Is that it?  Because I wore an Arkansas t-shirt to balance things out.  I promise.  I’d be driving my own Arkansas adorned car, but it’s in the shop, because that’s what Lincolns do best: sit in the shop.

Anyway, years ago I talked to this psychiatrist and he told me that writing down all the things that were stressing me out would help me get it out of my system.  That was when I was 19.  When I turned 21 I could buy wine.  Wine is cheaper than therapy, but I find the list-making helps a little too.  Thanks Doc!

For my fans who also like that OTHER series… you know the one with all the sparkling and such

So, I’m cruising through the market the other day and an old lady eyeballs my trolley and gives me the stink-eye.  I look down and the first three items I had picked up are: a virtual mountain of wine (about 8 bottles worth), birth control, and garlic pills.

“I have a date with a vampire later.”  And I walked on.

Now I’ve written about vampires.  Happy?

Indeed, Louie. Indeed.

Brand Ambassador Placement Test

I’m sure you’ve all seen them before.  The taste-tester/sample people at warehouse clubs, grocery stores, and markets.  They get you to try a product in hopes that you will purchase it.  They used to only be at our local warehouse club on Saturdays and Sundays.  And for this reason, I shopped on Thursdays.  Now, they’ve invaded every day of the week and they never fail to amaze me.

Here is my version of the interview questionnaire for the position:

1.When describing tea made with pomegranate and mango, what would you tell a customer:

A. This tea is made of exotic ingredients, such as pomegranate and mango. It is cool and refreshing.

B. This tea is totally erotic. It’s made of all these erotic ingredients. It’ll totally make you feel erotic.

C. Drink this, bitches.

2. When selling a gluten-free item to customers, what would you say to them?

A. These sausages are gluten free, on top of being really tasty. Here, try one.

B. These sausages are gluten-free. That means they don’t have any fat at all. Isn’t that amazing?!  Because you know glutens is just a fancy way of saying “fat grams”.

C. Eat this, bitches.

3. How would you approach a customer?

A. I would politely ask them if they are interested in sampling the item I am advertising.

B. I would yell loudly, so that everyone in the entire club could hear me. The louder the better!

C. Try this, bitches.

If you answered B to all of the above, congratulations, you are hired!

If you answered C, we’re going to keep you on our call list – you’re our type of people!

And If you answered A, you are obviously too educated to work here, or are a spy planted here by Costco to gain insider information.

Yes, I heard all of the B choices on ONE trip to Sam’s Club. If you’re frightened, just put yourself in the Easy Spirits of the little old retired couple who kept getting harassed by the “erotic” tea girl. Seriously, y’all. She followed them an aisle over telling them about the “erotic” tea. They were horrified.  (And incidentally, I checked and the sausages in question had 10 grams of fat per serving.)

I wish I were making this up.

Which brings me to my question.  If I should ever do a book signing at a warehouse club, what should I say to shoppers?

A. Hi there, are you a reader?  Do you enjoy contemporary women’s literature?  Come on over and take a look at these books!

B. THESE BOOKS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIVES, Y’ALL!!!!

C. Read this, bitches.

Yeah, I’m thinking C too.