Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Midwest Book Review on Twisted: Tales to Rot Your Brain: "very much recommended"

I sent Twisted: Tales to Rot Your Brain Vol. 1 out to reviewers back in January, and at the time I was thinking getting a review from The Midwest Book Review looked kind of promising. Turns out I was right.

Not every book that gets sent to TMBR actually gets a review, so just the fact that they did review mine makes me terribly happy. Here's what they had to say:

"Life doesn't make a whole lot of sense, so sometimes we need some stories to match the madness. Twisted Tales to Rot Your Brain Vol. 1 presents unusual stories of flash fiction, meant to bring readers into a dizzying spin of problems and how those losing it may deal with it in all the wrong ways.  Twisted Tales to Rot Your Brain is a humorous and intriguing delve into flash fiction, very much recommended."

Did you catch that? "Very much recommended." (!) So not only did they review the book, they also liked it!

I've updated the book's listings on Amazon to include the review, but I'm still working on updating the Barnes & Noble listing. I'm also brainstorming all the ways I need to use the review in promotional materials: business cards, Facebook, Twitter, blog (duh), newsletters, sites, book stickers, and on and on. Looks like even more late nights are in order.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

This just in: Root canals may be good for your creativity

I'm starting to believe root canals have their benefits if maybe you're a creative person. I'm starting to believe this because I'm trying to find a bright side. Over the last couple of weeks I've endured yet another one, and it got me thinking about pain and what in this world I can do about it.

A little over a year ago I had the root canal that gives root canals a bad name. It started a few years earlier than that with a "root canal" that I had with a different dentist that had been done very incompletely. He didn't bother digging into the root that was curved (he didn't want to bother, I guess) and he didn't dig all the way to the end of one of the roots where he did bother (he must have been thinking along the lines of "good enough"). The only reason we discovered the problem was because the cap that he put on fell off one day while I was eating a salad.

A very good argument against eating more salads, I'm thinking.

My regular dentist thought the root canal I needed would be better off being done by a root canal specialist. Cause, you know, it was going to be a tough one. I didn't even realize those people actually existed.

My zombie tooth
I went in with a positive attitude. They projected the image of my injured tooth right on the screen in front of me, and I took a picture of it when they were out of the room. I called it my zombie tooth.

The rubber mouth thingy

When it came time for the actual root canal, the first thing that got me going was the rubber contraption they attached in my mouth. I'm not sure if claustrophobic would be the feeling, but I never, ever want to have one of those in my mouth again. Ever. I spent the hour of the first visit while he was working on my tooth trying to convince myself that I could still swallow and he really wasn't trying to suffocate me. Yeah. A little panicky. Then I spent the hour of my second visit doing the same thing. Then I figured out that stress excites my bladder and before I left the dentist's office (on both visits), I had the longest bathroom break of my entire life. I'm not kidding.

As it turns out, the actual root canal was just the beginning.

Twenty-four hours later, almost to the minute, the pain kicked in. The prescription for pain killers did next to nothing. Also, my face swelled up like somebody beat me up. And really, they did.

Here's the thing, though. The pain was pretty much unbearable, but look at where it took me: zombies, claustrophobia, suffocation and headaches. So I sat down and wrote, and I let my imagination take the story where it wanted to go. I wrote about how it felt like something was trying to break out of my head. I wrote from the perspective of the thing trying to break out. I combined the two and edited and rewrote.

Then I included the story in the Twisted book. It's called "Headache," and it made me feel better after I wrote it. And it all started with a common dental procedure.

The zombie part didn't make it in to the story. Maybe Vol. 2.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pennsylvania Academic Standards

One of the things I wanted to put an effort into once I got the book printed was organizing school visits to talk about it. I decided that before I started trying to put a school visit schedule together, it would be a good idea to give schools a reason to have me there.

Yeah, that would be a really good idea.

I know they are on tight budgets these days and aren't able to bring in entertainment like they used to do when I was in school (back in the day). They need their programs to fit their curriculum or they won't be able to justify the expense. So I'm saying hello to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards.

I wanted to do as much work ahead of time for the schools as possible, so my next step is downloading and pouring over lots of pages of academic standards. I've decided to concentrate on my home state to get started (Pennsylvania, duh), and I've downloaded the English and Art academic standards from the state's Web site. (The pdf for the Arts and Humanities standards is "pdfarts.pdf" by the way. Made me giggle.)

I'm not looking forward to trying to decipher and then figure out how to apply some of this stuff, but you know what helps in situations like these? When your husband was an art education professor for 35 years and offers to help. Mine was. And he did. Yep. That's a big help.