Down “Write” Funny – My Cheaterpants Link of the Week

I’m going to cheat this week, because I am a lazy, lazy cheaterpants who needs to be working on taxes and judging contest entries and edit/polishing my manuscript, and I just don’t have the damn time already to come up with some new brainflash to spew at you.

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of The Hero’s Journey or The Writer’s Journey (and if you haven’t, then crawl out from under that rock, bub, and find a copy to enrich your writing life). Our friends at have written a wonderful pair of posts to compare our own personal journeys toward publication that you should check out. Here are the links:

Posted in cheaterpants, Down Write Funny, funny, humor, querytracker, The hero's journey, the writer's journey, writing | Leave a comment

Down “Write” Funny – RETREAT!


Ever have one of those months?

Your spawn. Your spouse. The necessary evil of your day job. The whole lot pulling at you like you were Stretch Armstrong on a bender.

Because the holidays will do that and then they snowball into tax season. And then, it becomes one of those months.

Responsibility sucks the big bag sometimes.

Especially when all I really want to do is finish my damn edits so I can get my manuscript out the door already. Waiting agent won’t wait forever.

So I did what any (slightly) normal writer who is fed up with the hamster wheel of life would do.


That’s right. I packed my flappies, laptop and chocolate and waved goodbye to the Needful Things (as my bestie for life nicknamed spawn and spouse) tainting my creative space with their lengthy but-mom-you-gotta-do agendas.

You’re thinking I forgot something, aren’t you? Not to worry. We hit the liquor store on the way to the hotel.

Thank the credit card powers that be who have bestowed upon me ginormous amounts of Hilton Honors points good for king whirlpool suites equipped with state of the art ergonomic writing chairs and desks. Throw in a mini-kitchen and free wi-fi, and we’ve got ourselves a Writer’s Retreat.

So BFF and I embarked on a Needful Thing free weekend and wrote/edited/drank our patookies off. We got so much done! It’s amazing how much writing you can accomplish during hours upon hours of unfettered isolation.

As an added bonus, we also solved all the world’s problems, but since no one else but us was listening, and neither of us can coherently recall most of the conversations, alas, the world still suffers.

We emerged from our retreat refreshed and reenergized and deeply satisfied at the progress that was made on our novels. We renewed our own creativity. Life could be faced once more.


I’m not advocating abandoning your families and livelihood and throwing your fate to the winds just so you can hole up like a Barrymore and puke your guts onto the page.

No. My point is just slightly to the left of that. I’m saying, every once in a while, a writer needs to escape real life in order to visit the places we struggle so valiantly to create with our words.

To quote an overused marketing cliché, my point is that sometimes you need to think outside the box.

The box being the everyday time-to-make-the-donuts never ending life loop. You need to think outside – literally – of your humdrum brain-dead box, i.e. ditch the home front and find a place you can completely dedicate yourself to your writing world. Preferably with a friend, because, hey, it’s not healthy to drink alone. (Oops, said that out loud, didn’t I?)

Can’t take a whole weekend? Okay, excuse maker, how about a mini-retreat on a Saturday afternoon? Or a Wednesday night? Replace the liquor with coffee, because you still have to drive home, but hey… (I’m talking aloud again, aren’t I? Damn it.)

Next time you find yourself stumbling zombie-like on the treadmill of day-to-day and your writing is suffering, acknowledge that you may need a retreat to spur your brain cells back into action. Check your calendar, hit up a few buddies, and plan your retreat. Go. Write/edit/drink your patookies off. Recharge the batteries.

Your Needful Things will thank you.

What? You thought they didn’t need a break from your sorry ass, too?

Posted in author, Brainstormers, Down Write Funny, funny, Goals, hilton, humor, Little Goals, motivation, needful things, patookies, publishing, spawn, stretch armstrong, Suck, writing | Leave a comment

2013 is THE Year!

Happy New Year!!!

Let’s hope you all managed to survive it. If not, hair of the dog, yanno. Cheers!

Me? I spent NYE crippled and useless from tramping through one too many Disney parks. I have sent hubby and spawn on their own today – be gone! Vacation is for peace and quiet, not for rubbing elbows with smelly, cranky strangers all bent on kidney-punching their way to the next attraction.

I am blissfully alone this New Year’s Day in our lovely timeshare enjoying balmy Florida weather while working on polishing my novel.  I do this because…… <drum roll> my brainstorm friends and I have declared 2013 to be THE year!!!

Yes, that’s right. We intend to kick ass and take names in 2013. You heard it first here, folks.

Our small B&N Brainstorming community has been meeting regularly for just over a year now. We each have a nearly-finished project to launch trebuchet-style into the publishing world with grand hopes of making a ginormous splat of success against one of the walls of the big six (or whatever number it is now that some houses have combined into ridiculous mash-up names).

Our collective goal is to aggressively market our novels and hook ourselves an agent and/or book contract. To this, I solemnly vow.

I know, I know. Book contracts are not something we can personally control unless we self-publish. I know this. But I also know, that you can’t get one simply by sitting on your hopes and thumbs wishing you had one, either.

You need to take action. You need to: Write. Finish. Polish. Polish AGAIN (and again, and again, ad nauseum until it’s your absolutely best work). Then, you must SUBMIT. Yes, submit. Submit to the whims of the publishing world. Trebuchet your baby out there! Be free! Best wishes! Good luck!

And hope that someone cares enough to catch it.

That is the ACTION. That is what we can CONTROL. Only you can write your story. Only you can research the market and try to get it into the hands of the right agents and editors you know will love it. After that, it’s all luck and circumstance, baby.

And then you fuhggeddaboudit and begin work on your next novel.

There are a couple of agents waiting with their nets poised that I intend to aim at. I am poised and ready, because 2013 is THE year I want to make my goal of acquiring representation happen. That’s my Action. That’s me taking Control.

TREBUCHET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  FLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What do you intend to make happen in 2013?

Posted in 2013 is THE year, Brainstormers, funny, Goals, happy new year, humor, motivation, publishing, spawn, Uncategorized, writing | 8 Comments

This was a fun post I found and thought I’d share with the rest of you from the “Just Scribbling” blog entitled The Write Before Christmas. Enjoy!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Down “Write” Funny – It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Yesterday, my lawn was green. And just like that, one snowfall equals the grand arrival of winter and Christmas and all the mud and crap we’d previously sludged through is now bright, shiny and new!

The same can be said for selling your first book.

Writers spend years in the trenches, newbie green, envy green, green with fear, sick-to-flippin’-death of the whole business green… And just like that, one contract and you’ve finally arrived as an Author and your world is bright, shiny and new!

But is it really?

Over the past few months, several of my writing friends have made their first major sales. I performed the requisite and sincere yippity-skippity river dancing for them. As a long-time mentor, I genuinely celebrate every benchmark my fellow writers achieve in their process toward the holy grail of first sale. We must, right? Because each baby step leads us toward the end goal of becoming a bright, shiny new Author.

But snow melts and contracts get fulfilled. And so we plant our faces against the pane and wait for the next one to happen.

Because now we start over again. How different is a writer jumping from the query trenches to the deals section in a Publishers Marketplace announcement, really? (Besides their bank account, perhaps…)

Has their writing process changed? No. Has their need for critique feedback from their fellow writing partners changed? No. Has their need to complete a compelling story changed? No. Are they guaranteed another contract? HELL no.

Because without these crucial elements (and let’s face, it a dollop of good old fashioned right-place, right-time, right-story LUCK), they wouldn’t have made the sale in the first place, nor will they sell again without them. So, suffice it to say, after that first book contract melts into past tense, a writer is right back to being green again.

The torture of newbie green, envy green, green with fear and sick to death green does not stop with the almighty contract. It just hikes it up a notch. Now you’re a newbie author and you don’t know the marketing tricks all the cool kids have mastered to sell a gazillion books. Once your sale has been announced, you’re old news because another newbie landed a bigger contract and twice your advance, loser. The editorial letter arrived asking you to rewrite EVERYTHING and you’re skid-marking your panties because you haven’t a clue what to do so you hide it in the freezer. And finally, your book hits the shelves, but the critics are eviscerating your hackneyed skills and saying so-and-so is a way better writer and eyebrows raise because you got paid WHAT for this dreck?

It ain’t easy being green. And it’s a color we all wear in this biz from just starting out to multi-published. Writers are insane. We live in a hamster wheel and gleefully chug our little legs toward the next goal – get an agent, sell the book, sell another, get a bigger advance, a higher print run, make this list, make that one  – bigger better more run run run squeak squeak squeak.

No matter what, a writer will always be looking over their shoulder at other writers’ successes and waiting for the next snowstorm to happen to make their own success bright, shiny and new again.

A writer who will never be satisfied with the benchmarks and baby steps of success, will always be GREEN.

I say, to hell with being green. It’s not worth it. You can’t spend your time worrying about the things you have no power over. Sure, be jealous over a sale, a big advance, a bestseller – but be HAPPY first. Especially if it’s a writer you’ve spent time in the trenches with. Be genuinely yippity-skippity river dancing in celebration for them.

Then, get MOTIVATED. Let the success of others ignite the flame inside you to follow in their footsteps. Acknowledge that no matter what, there will always be other writers a step ahead of you – they sold first, got a higher advance, another contract, hit a list, WHATEVER. Their achievements don’t set the bar for YOUR milestones unless you let them. Celebrate each of your baby steps as you take them. You don’t have to be the leader, but you’re not destined to be the follower forever, either.

Make sense? Because what I’m saying is this: Your time will come.

Tell yourself this Every Single Day – Your Time Will Come. You Will Make It Happen. And you need to *believe* it, too. Because, if you don’t believe in your own ability to make things happen, no one else will, either. And if you don’t have enough confidence to believe, fake it.

Fake it until it’s real.

So, lose the green. Write the damn story. Your time will come.

And when it does, let me know, and I will genuinely yippity-skippity river dance for you!

Because I already know… MY time will come, too.

And you’d better flippin’ dance.

Posted in author, Down Write Funny, funny, Goals, green, humor, Little Goals, motivation, newbie, publishers marketplace, publishing, river dancing, writing, yippity skippity | 3 Comments



Thank you to Liz Steiner for sending this extremely-appropriate-for-me cartoon!
Cartoon Credit:

Posted in ADHD, Down Write Funny, funny, humor, Squirrel! | 6 Comments

Down “Write” Funny – The PT Perk

So my Gazelle Girl damaged one of her hooves. You may have heard about it on my Twitter feed during one of my many #proudmama braggart postings about my track/cross country scholarship-bound spawn. (I swear one of my little ingrates <cough> children needs to finally pony up, and since she’s the last of my trifecta gestations to create a roadmap of stretch marks and c-scars on my belabored body, then damn it, she’d better earn a full-ride SOMEWHERE! ANYWHERE! She’s my last hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi!)

But I digress. Squirrel!

So, we put her in an immobility boot due to the avulsion fracture on the back of her heel. Seems growing six inches in twelve months and running five miles daily combined with competitive marching band puts a weeeeee bit of stress on the Achilles tendon and something had to give.

Like, the BONE.

Yeah, the tendon actually pulled BONE off the back of her heel and formed a neat little splinter that rung up like dollar signs galore on the podiatrists’ x-ray screen. And, seven weeks of pirouetting on the <cough> ‘immobility’ boot and destroying my hardwood floors later, we then discussed casting the foot to actually make GG, yanno, IMMOBILE.  But we couldn’t do that without the all-powerful MRI (aka shitloads more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$) to check on the fracture.

Fracture? What fracture? Quoteth the MRI gurus. Too bad your dumbass podiatrist didn’t send the slides like he was supposed to so we could cross-check. We don’t see no freakin’ fracture.  Off you go, poser!

Needless to say, I am somewhat displeased with the (quack) podiatrist and let him know so in no uncertain terms in my usual gentile manner (coughcoughcough – Anyone got a Halls?)

The x-ray clearly showed a sliver of BONE no longer attached to the heel that the MRI did not pick up on. But maybe, despite the acrobatics GG so constantly performed in my presence and was too fast for me to strangle her, a MIRACLE occurred and voila! She’s HEALED!

Uh, not quite.

MRI still showed lots of the technical terms for ‘swollen and damn-girl-you-walk-funny.’

Cue physical therapy. And yes, that would mean MO’ MONEY!!!

Have I mentioned GG had better earn herself a full-ride scholarship? Not to mention, go pro and support us FOREVER? Especially after all the cash we’ve shoveled at medical professionals at warp speed to fix her Achilles heel?

But that’s not the point of this rambling post. The bitch-fest precluding the point I’m about to make is to bring you non-Twitter-follower slackers up to speed. Ahem.

MY POINT is I am now stuck three times a week with ninety minute chunks of useless, money-sucking downtime while GG works with her physical therapist.

What to do? What to do?

Hey kids, remember that post awhile back about muscle memory and writing?

There’s a Caribou Coffee half a block away from GG’s PT clinic, and while it’s not my beloved Starbucks, it does have the requisite overpriced caffeine and not-my-house elements to trigger my system to go into writer mode.

I will be *forced* to be productive. Even moreso than when my Brainstorm Crew accompanies me, because I’ll be surrounded by strangers who don’t love me and I’m sure won’t be so tolerant of my ranting and raving before I can suckle on a peppermint mocha to calm me down enough to put hands to keyboard. I will be alone. And people frown when you talk to yourself, so I will need to keep my flapping maw SHUT for a change.

Instead, words will flow merrily from my fingertips and I can focus my sarcasm into my blogs and manuscripts!  Curses that we didn’t kick the quack podiatrist to the curb weeks ago and start her PT during NaNo! (Which I miserably failed. Again.  You may begin the public mocking now, but wait and I will post about it to give you the proper platform of my shame.)

My writer incarceration will prompt me to set new goals for the holiday season. Certain projects *will* finally be completed to my satisfaction and come January (if there even IS going to be a January, since we’re not expected to last beyond our expiration date…. but let’s not think on that) said project will land on a certain agent’s desk with grand hopes.

When your spawn hands you lemons, make lemonade! Tra-la!

What forced downtime in your life can you use to your advantage?

Posted in #proudmama, Brainstormers, Down Write Funny, funny, gestation, humor, illness, labor, marching band, Muscle Memory, NaNoWriMo, parenting, spawn, Squirrel!, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Iron Uterus – Introduction

*Author’s note: The Iron Uterus is a defunct blog I briefly began and then abandoned in its infancy. I’d like to restart it here to address the ‘mother’ part of my blog. Reader beware – these posts involve the rearing of children and teens and all their fluids and foibles.
Rated M for Mom.

I have an alter ego. It surfaced the day some redneck monster truck sporting a bright blue metallic scrotum hung from his rear axle went screaming past and cut me off.

Since I’ve lived in farm-country Wisconsin my entire life, I’ve borne witness to many of these testosterone fueled displays. It’s bad enough when a pair of tennis balls is strung to resemble the all-important male ego, but now they’ve actually created a lifelike replica of the man-sack to hang from the collective vehicles of the Nascar and mid-life crisis hive mind.

Seriously?  Where exactly does one purchase truck-sized balls? What would be the significance of painting them blue? Because the a-hole driving the truck will never get a little action again ever if he forces the little woman to ride shotgun?  Yeah. That would be correct.

Nothing but joy comes from the male jigglybits when the creation of life is concerned. So of course they brag about it. But here’s a clue: You’re naught but a donor, Joe-Bob. Women do the heavy lifting of gestation long after your contribution.

The rage I felt at this redneck’s display of testosterone sent my own estrogen rampaging. I roared up on his rear-end and passed the SOB with more horse power than his shriveled brain bucket could ever imagine while I gave him the one-finger salute. Eat my dust, truck boy.

Because I don’t drive a truck with balls, and I don’t drive a mini-van.

Nope. I drive… The Iron Uterus.

I’m not talking some sissy Sienna or paltry Caravan. I drive a full-sized Ford Econoline tricked-out conversion van with eight cylinders. When I wheel into a parking lot, people get out of my way. Semi-trucks blink their lights to give me the okay to switch lanes. I have street cred galore, sans truck nuts.

Think about what the average mom drives and what we utilize those vehicles for. Mini-vans are inherently made to emulate the labor of childbirth as we spew spawn out their sliding doors to and from school and sporting events. Each day, we schlep a team full of kids. Each day we give birth many times, desperately trying to kick them out only to have them climb back in again and again. The birthing process never ceases.

It was the same with our mothers. The mini-vans of today were yesterday’s wood-paneled station wagons. Women have been saddled with the job of child transport from conception. The car industry has our numbers pegged. We are all Iron Uteruses in one form or another.

So screw your truck balls! I hope when my Iron Uterus rear-ends your pick-up, those blue balls jam deep into your soft underbelly where they belong you pitiful excuse for a man. You couldn’t carry my c-section scar, much less handle the birthing load I drive around each day. Sack up and run, ball boy.

The Iron Uterus is coming for you.

Posted in alter ego, blue balls, conversion van, country, econoline, farm, Ford, funny, gestation, humor, Iron Uterus, labor, man-sack, minivan, nascar, parenting, spawn, truck, truck balls, wisconsin | 2 Comments

Down “Write” Funny – Elvis Isn’t The Only Character in Vegas

We recently vacationed to Vegas with another couple. Young Elvis took the flight over with us. Our first Elvis sighting. Our friends had never been to Vegas, so I’d eagerly been preparing them to see Elvis in all his headlining incarnations, and I’m happy to say that we did! We saw Jailhouse Rock Elvis, Asian Elvis, Black Elvis, Little Person Elvis, and Fat Vegas Jumpsuit Elvis sitting on a curb with a Foster’s pint in hand. The Elvi were in bloom all up and down the Strip! Uh-uh-HUH!

But! Where there had a few years before only been a series of Elvi wanting to be your hunka-hunka burning love and peddle a few bucks from your wallet, now there was an entire Halloween menagerie of costumed panhandlers populating the Strip. We saw Jack Sparrow, Hello Kitty, Spiderman, Batman, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, SpongeBob, Zombie Guy, Zach Galifianakis (dead ringer in Hangover garb), KISS band members, Spartans from 300, Showgirls, Transformers, you name it! All of them willing to pose for $10 photo ops.

Characters. Vegas is bloated with them. See through, one-dimensional costumed characters. What you see is what you get. But they are a poor representation of real people and the believable characters we, as writers, must create.

I am a detail-oriented person. This makes life difficult for me to simply sit back and enjoy the pedestrian big-picture world view most people employ. I nitpick. I not only listen to what people say and how they say it, but to what they’re not saying. I balk at inconsistencies. I pay close attention to the undertow of story and conversation. I catch the nuances and slips that would rather stay hidden. I pick at scabs.

Basically, this OCD behavior drives my friends and family nuts. My constant running-commentary analysis of movies, TV, books, people and conversations spoils their fun. Because I never, ever accept ANYTHING at face value. There is always something buried underneath the surface of a person or a story that will work itself out like a splinter if you fuss at it enough. And more often than not, I figure out the reveal before the general populace of friends and family, and it pisses them off.

People come with baggage. The choices they make are motivated by deep seated fears and experience. When a seemingly normal person refuses to eat or drink something her own spawn has already consumed part of, there has GOT to be a root source to her issue. Like, oh, maybe, because when her oldest spawn was a toddler, he once pointed a shit-laden finger full of food in Mommy’s face and declared it “So yummy, Mommy must try!” which prompted Mommy to screech up a lung and jet-propel ass-finger boy into the bathroom to scrub him skinless. Hence, Mommy is now scarred for life and cannot stomach second-hand food, most especially if tiny hands have touched it. Her experience created the baggage that compels her odd behavior.

Or is that just me? Okay. Fine.

But you get the idea, right? Action – reaction molds our psyche, and accumulates the 8-piece matching pleather luggage set, complete with cosmetic case, that we will drag around with us for life.

Writing three-dimensional, believable characters, means creating these life-altering tells that will affect their interactions with each other and their surroundings. Odd reactions that make the reader question and analyze why your character would behave or speak in a manner that veers from expectations. This takes your character beyond the one-dimensional costume of those found in Vegas. Every layer you add draws a reader deeper in, picks at their conscience to know more until the last reveal explains it all and gives them the A-HA! orgasm that they knew something was up all along!

What has happened in your past that affects your behavior today? Sometimes it takes a bit of self-analysis to connect the dots. Hubby figured out my ass-finger tell. I was oblivious to it. So, maybe you might need to ask your significant other to list your abnormal behaviors (Disclaimer: I am not responsible for the argument that follows.) so you can trace the origins to them. Your own quirks could be fodder for characterization.

To add dimensions and believability, what backstory trauma trick could you use to help make your characters’ off-behaviors authentic?

BTW, fair warning, the ass-finger horror is all mine.

Posted in ass-finger, backstory, Characterization, Characters, Down Write Funny, Elvis, funny, Halloween, humor, spawn, writing | 6 Comments

Down “Write” Funny – Why I Suck

Yup. You heard that right. I suck. Big ol’ Dyson-destroying-Hoover robo-vacuum-beat-down suckage of epic proportions.

Why, Betsy, why!

Because I opened my gigantic maw and got everyone riled up about NaNoWriMo and do the math and write every day you lazy POS’s or I will laugh and point and mock you when you fail – and then…. and then….

Well, the writing’s on the wall (or not), isn’t it? See that lame ass NaNo widget down there broadcasting my suckness? I’m not exactly racking up ninja points with my piddly word count, now am I?


Damn it! This happens every year! I get all fired up, yammer on about how I’m finally gonna beat this thing, and people believe me! And then I make you all think you can do it, too! Magic drops of golden hooey flowing from my lying lips – and you people believe it!

What’s wrong with you???

Nothing is wrong with you, actually. Because, let’s face it. I can be pretty conniving, I mean, convincing, when I want to be. Who wouldn’t be duped by some hyped up blogger’s drink-my-Kool-Aid-and-I-will-make-you-the-great-and-powerful-Oz talk? That is what we all need to hear sometimes to kick start our sluggish ways into overdrive, right?

And sometimes it works.

And sometimes it doesn’t. Especially, say, for the self-same rah-rah spewing writer tossing this shit at you to get your engines roaring.

Have they been roaring??

Because if they have, then great! My job here is done! There goes any further requirement on my part to face plant into my laptop and unhinge the contents of my brain into a text file. No 50k for me, thanks!

Hmmmm… but I’m thinking by the chaos of cursing and onion-eyed insults being hurled in my general internet direction, you’re not buying my bullshit, eh? I can’t one-two step out of here with my hide intact?

Bullies!  All of you!!

So, what to do, what to do… besides the tar and feathers. Okay, fine, reenergize, write, put on the big girl panties and practice what I preach. November isn’t even half over. Still plenty of time to upend all the vortex of suck my brain bucket contains onto the blank pages.

Which, by the way, the same also applies to the rest of you lazy POS’s.

Think I haven’t noticed? Think again. I had you all sign up to be my buddies so I could spy on your progress. Some of you are blowing me out of the water (Bully for you, nyah! Squirrel!), but some of your word counts just plain old suck. Yeah, I said it. You suck, too. What are you gonna do about it?


Oooooh yeah, that would chap my fanny, I’m telling you! You just go and WRITE, you big bad revenge-seeking missile of literary prowess!  You prove me wrong!  You say “No, Betsy, YOU suck!  I, however, still intend to write 50k words this month, therefore, I do NOT suck!”

Because, yanno, my insults and name-calling aren’t just another tactic in my Bag o’ Nano Tricks to get you (and me) writing. I have absolutely NO ulterior motives here.

Nope, not at all.

Posted in Down Write Funny, funny, Goals, humor, NaNoWriMo, Squirrel!, Suck, writing | 2 Comments