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Or possibly spell check

First let me point out that the character flaw of mine I’m about to describe is a universal concept.

I think we all, as humans, enjoy finding things about other people that make you feel better about yourself.

The Germans even have a word for it: Schadenfreude. It means finding enjoyment from the troubles of others. While this doesn’t exactly describe my condition, it’s darn close.

The faithful among you know that I’m seeking to be published – I’m looking for the brass ring which we describe as New York although at this point, I have definitely broadened my definition. The climate in the publishing industry is bad. I might go so far as to describe it as Defcon 3 kind of bad.

It’s bad.

So while I tap away on my keyboard, writing more stories that my Sisters love and my agent loves and tons of editors in New York “love” but aren’t willing to risk their jobs to contact on, I do feel better about myself when I drop in to one of my favorite blogs,

In publishing, the slush pile is the huge pile of unsolicited manuscripts or queries asking for representation – although these days they are a virtual pile. The blogger at SlushPileHell is an agent who posts his most cringe worthy queries with snarky comments to go with them.

This was posted March 26th.

Hello, I am A Christian woman that recently has been lead by the Lord to write books for little childrens and teensagers. I beleive these are blessings from above and I am convinced the Lord will will lead me to the write agent/pupblisher/illustrator.

And then his response.

I’m no theologian, but I wonder if the Lord should first lead you to a dictionary.


Why book dealers are nothing like the cable company

I ordered some books from Barnes & Noble last night. They’re research books which is always a gamble on the internet. As I’m sure you can imagine, I love buying books and the best part of buying them is the shopping part. I really love sitting on the floor in a book store surrounded with piles of books and sorting through them till I find the one or seven I’m looking for. With the internet, even with the Look Inside feature, you can’t leaf through the pages, check out the pictures, or really dig around in there to make sure it’s what you need.

The books I need happened to be used and really cheap so I gambled. They came from some of B&Ns vendors, the used book dealers that contract with them. I got about 500 emails from the two different vendors basically telling me the received my order, they found my order in their warehouse, they’d put it on the work table to pack, and then that they’d packed the book in a box with styrofoam peanuts. After all this excessive communication I finally got the message I was really waiting for. The book had been shipped.

I should “expect delivery in 5-21 business days”. 5 to 21 days? Really? Is this just the most extreme example of under promise, over deliver or what? Jeez if it goes the entire 21 days, I’ll have long forgotten what I ordered. Maybe the book dealers are taking cues from the cable company for their times of arrival to work on your Internet.

Alright, Mrs. Bright, we’ll be there sometime between Tuesday at 8am to Thursday at 5pm. Someone must be present at the house or we’ll never come back and you’ll be Internetless for all time. Bwa ha ha ha ha. Don’t try to run to the store or even spend an excessive amount of time in the bathroom while you wait for us.  And then the cable people twirl their little mustaches and sneer at you.

So, you guys wanna start a betting pool on when my books will arrive? I put $5 on eight days. Who’s in?


Maybe we’ll try the carwash next

I made a tactical error. The Bandit didn’t want to take a bath or shower. He’s six years old so it’s not like his reaction was unexpected. That, however, does not matter. He’s smelly and dirty and looks like a ragamuffin. The boy needs to bathe.

Just like most six-year-old boys I have to supervise hand washing, teeth brushing, and face cleaning. He seems to think waving your hands in the general direction of the sink is sufficient.

It’s not.

We’ve already had the conversation where I assured him that spritzing Daddy’s cologne was not a substitute for a shower. Just the other day he appeared in the kitchen and declared himself ready for school. I knew he was coming because I could smell Farenheit at fifty paces.

His shower time seems to consist mostly of streaking bare-ass naked through the house. When I finally get him into the shower – with the water running – his primary activity becomes splashing water out onto the floor. Once I went in there to find out how things were coming along and found the ceiling dripping. I have no idea how he managed that since he’s about three feet too short to touch the shower head. He professed having no knowledge of how the water got up there. Of course he didn’t.

“Get in the shower,” I told him for what seemed the ten thousandth time.

He trotted off in the general direction of the bathroom. I wasn’t fooled. There are a lot of things that can side track a six-year-old boy on the way to the bathroom. Come to think of it there is a lot of things in the actual bathroom that can distract a six-year-old boy. There are rolls of toilet paper to be unrolled. Bottles of Momma’s expensive lotions to sample and mysterious substances to smear on the mirror. Don’t forget there’s a scale in there to pile things on top of.

Tonight I just couldn’t get the boy under the water. “Dude,” I told him with my hands on my hips. “You’re gonna get washed tonight one way or the other. If you don’t get in that damn shower I’m taking you out to the back yard and hosing you down with dishwashing soap.”

“Yeah! Let’s do that!” He took of at a run, headed for the back door in all his naked glory.

Oh shit.

I managed to catch up to him before he made it outside, but now he’s pissed because I took that offer off the table.

March 2

So how are you all doing out there? We never hear from you. You never write. Dashing off a little hello once in a while keeps your dedicated blogger from crying into their frosting every long, lonely night. As busy as it is, you wouldn’t think the internet was such a lonely place. We have amassed five amusing things for you to comment on just to prove to us that you care. Ready, set, go….

  1. Elephants. There has been quite a dust up in town about the
    Mabu & Lungile – the new neighbors

    elephant situation at the zoo. We don’t want to get into that – murky waters and all – but we are excited because the new herd of elephants are starting to arrive. With babies! Oh dear, we really hate to fall in love with some other baby animal we’re going to want to “liberate” and keep in our back yards. Unfortunately, Amylynn is totally ahead of the curve here. We suspect kidnapping a baby elephant and getting it on an airplane may be slightly more difficult than our plans for the panda bear. We’re going to try a different route with the elephant. Dear Tanzania, Please send 1 extra small baby elephant for us to love and cuddle

    “…itty, bitty living space”

    and name Betty. Sincerely, The Quill Sisters.

  2. Genie Wishes. This has long been a game with the Sisters. If you found a genie lamp and an actual genie popped out to give you three wishes, what would you wish for? Amylynn wants a bottomless wallet and the health and body she had when she was 22. Ava wants to write like a world class author. Kelli would probably waste at least one of her wishes on camping or some icky outdoor bullshit like that. There is one thing for sure, though, and that is whatever you wish for you better be specific. Wish wisely, people. One thing we’ve learned from The Twilight Zone and Saturday morning Scooby-Doo cartoons, you don’t want to leave the genie any loopholes. And they say we wasted our youth with television. **Snort**
  3. Leap year. You know what the best thing is about leap year? The absolutely insanely complicated math involved. It’s not so simple as every four years, you know. Don’t be ridiculous. It’s every year divisible by four but not by 100 unless it’s divisibly by 400. And any year where the moon sits at longitude 77 degrees 30’W for 12 hours or there are more than four high tides in February. Alright so we made that last part up, but still, it’s a fun day.
  4. Crazy people. We do love us some crazies. Well, we love them so long as they stay back 500 feet as required by the restraining order and we only have to notice their craziness via the newspaper. This is exactly the case with Sheriff Apaio in Maricopa County. That man is a lunatic. His latest desperate bid for attention had him dredging up that birth certificate business with Barack again. Sigh. He and some fool from his “Cold Case Posse” (! – how wild west, right?) are being careful not to implicate the actual president at least not until, “we find out who may have committed these alleged crimes.” You know, it’s never dull around here with him and our nutso governor.
  5. Stupid people.  So this guy Eric King shoved a 19″ flat screen down his pants and attempted to steal it. Additionally, he had a remote control, power cords, a bottle of brake fluid and two Xanax stuffed in there. We’ll bet you’re anticipating that we think Mr. King is the stupid person, aren’t you? Nope. The stupid person here is the jackass security guard who didn’t notice anything was amiss until Mr. King dropped a box of candy. How strangely must our perpetrator have been walking to successfully keep that much stuff down his pants? We imagine it was a pretty strange walk indeed. Waddle waddle waddle. Shrug.  

The anthem will be to the tune of Teddy Bears Picnic

Alright. Enough is enough. Today I am blogging in outrage.

One of the Canadian pandas

Just exactly what the hell do the Quill Sisters need to do to get a damn panda bear or two or three? I mean besides ask nicely which we haven’t actually done yet.

The Chinese government seems to be happy enough to just give them away to any old people. First the Canadians get two and now the French get their pair. How is this fair? Then when doing research for this post, I discovered the Scotts got some for the Endinburgh zoo back in December. What the hell?

Bambou avec du beurre, s'il vous plaît

There is no way the Canadians or the French are going to take better care of or love their pandas more than we will. Besides the French will just make it fat with all that butter and the Canadian ones will end up with that odd accent. Then when the bears go back to China they’ll get made fun of for

Alright, this is funny. We'll give 'em that.

saying all those weird “o” words like toaster. To make matters worse, the Scots met the poor bears at the airport with bagpipers. I’m certain that scared the hell out of them.

I think what the Sisters need to do at this point is declare ourselves a sovereign nation. We can make a pretty Tiffany blue flag and have an official state flower – the iris.

The more I think about this, the more I’m certain this is the way to go. Having our very own country would really solve a lot of our problems. Then all we do is apply to the US for foreign aid and we’re set for life.

I’m gonna get to work right now on the lyrics for our national anthem.

A new take on Macbeth’s Weird Sisters

I was driving to work today on my usual route which takes me through a residential area as a short cut. There is a house I particularly like so I always look at it as I pass. This morning I noticed a poinsettia in the kitchen window for the first time. Inexplicably, this irritated the hell out of me. I felt that hot rush of ire bloom in my belly before I took a mental step back and wondered why this bothered me so much. It’s a stupid plant. Who cares?

I think it had to do with the holiday season. Poinsettias are Christmas flowers. Much like lights on the front porch, poinsettias need to be out of sight well before March 1st.

I’m adding this infraction to the things that just drive me crazy.

  • People with their Christmas lights out all year.
  • People who try to keep the poinsettia all year.
  • People who stop two car lengths behind the person in front of them at traffic lights. If your depth perception is this bad, for the love of Zeus, get you and your rolling death machine off the road.
  • The idiots that own the weird antique mall by my house that have a collection of giant metal animals in the parking lot. They keep painting them weird colors. Some people think it’s whimsical. It annoys the crap out of me. When the life-sized giraffe showed up painted red and blue I almost burst a gasket. I have no idea why this bothers me as much as it does.
  • Strangers who talk to you when you’re reading.
  • Idiots who can’t figure out how to use the drop off lane at the elementary school.
  • Morons who can’t count to 15 in the express lane at the grocery store. 21 Yoplait yogurts do not count as one item just because they’re the same thing.
  • The newspaper delivery person who can’t even get the paper into my yard. I think he literally drops it out the car window because I usually find it on the curb.

Really, the problem is that I hate other people. Ava, Kelli and I often discuss dropping out of society all together. We are perfect candidates for hermithood. If we were hermits living alone in a nicely appointed cave (read: air-conditioned with wall to wall carpet and feather beds) we wouldn’t be forced to tolerate those jackasses who leave countless spam comments, in gibberish or Russian no less, on this blog.

Bubble, bubble toil and trouble, indeed.

I Smell Crazy Bacon

Sometimes, the Quill Sisters will kick around the idea that we might be slightly nuts.  This conversation usually starts with one of us doing something . . . nutty.  Because of this, we really appreciate it when we find out there are crazier folks in the world who have us beat.    

Here he is - Mr. Bacon!

Here’s today’s example: Mr. Bacon.  Mr. Bacon is 5.625 inches tall and has bendable arms and legs.   I tried to find out what would possess anyone to make a bacon figurine and was unable to locate the reason.  And here I thought you could find anything on the internet.  I did find a bunch of websites that sell him. 

I also found a website called “BT Bacon Today”.  Yup, a website devoted entirely to bacon.  Entirely.  Their tag line is “Daily News on the World of Sweet, Sweet Bacon”.  We had no idea that bacon had daily news. 

They sell some nifty little items here – a bouquet of bacon roses, rainbow bacon, etc.  The bacon bouquet got me thinking that Ed doesn’t really love me – if he did, I’ve have gotten a dozen of these little beauties by now. 


The rainbow bacon is a little scary but, what the hell, I’d try it, after all it is BACON.  Say that last word like the dog treat commercial says it.  BACON!

You can make your burgers look like TURTLES!

February 10

Well, here we are again. Another Friday. This means that we’ve all survived Monday through Thursday again. That’s saying something since the kid’s grades came out this week, Amylynn caught some sort of Typhoid/Legionnaires/Tuberculosis hybrid, and the Republicans are still making complete asses of themselves. Let’s hope the third week in February is less exciting shall we? It’s probably a futile hope, but we should still make an effort. Even though there wasn’t a lot to recommend this week, there was still some funny stuff.

1. Rachel Gibson.We just got an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of her latest book, Rescue Me. It’s a May release so we read it three months early (You’re totally jealous!). For all you Rachel Gibson fans out there, it’s really good, chock full of her trademark wit and superior storytelling. Amylynn especially loves Rachel’s current series because the heroes have focused on the fictional Seattle Chinooks Hockey team – although this latest one only has the barest glimpse of hockey, it does carry over a character from the most recent book. However, because this one is still on the fringes of Amylynn’s favorite sport, she did actually squeal when Rachel mentioned her favorite hockey team, the Phoenix Coyotes. One player was mentioned by name as a favorite of the character in the book – Ed Jovanovski. Unfortunately, Jovi was traded back to Florida in 2011. Rachel picked the wrong player. Shane Doan is the preferred player on the team and always will be. We like him best even if Jovi was still around. If that panda bear smuggling operation turns out alright, Mr.

This isn't the actual cake. We didn't want you to get any crazy ideas...

Doan is next.

2. White cake. The Sisters have found the place of the finest white cake in all of cake making history. We’re not telling you where it is. We told you about the red velvet cupcakes and look how that turned out. You people aren’t to be trusted. If, however, you’re exceedingly nice to us (read: you don’t aggravate the crap out of us on a regular basis) we’ll bring you a piece. Oh, how we love this cake. It comes in pieces about 2×4 inches and all the sides are covered with fabulous white sprinkles and butter crème frosting. Really it’s like having a piece of wedding cake without having to attend a hideous wedding where you have to pretend that drunken aunts doing the chicken dance is cute.

3. Bunny racing.Did you know that there is such a thing as bunny racing? Amylynn saw it on The Amazing Race last season and it was adorable. The WSJ

We're going to get one just like this one and name him Hector

reported on it again today. Fuzzy bunnies are trained to run obstacle courses with steeples to jump. You’ve never seen anything so cute as floppy-eared bunnies hopping down a lane and popping over little hurdles and stiles. It seems that this “sport” originated in Sweden were apparently all the best bunnies live, and now the activity is catching on in England. We are so in. It seems like bunnies would be more fun to cuddle and cost a lot less than horses. When asked how to pick the perfect bunny, a preeminent bunny trainer suggests, “ You want [a bunny with] a cool, positive attitude.” You can tell the cool bunnies cause they’re off smoking behind the hutch and talking about cars.

4. The Dowager. We love Maggie Smith in any project she takes on. Most recently, Ms. Smith is one of the stars of Downton Abbey, the hugely popular PBS series about the inner workings and lives of a titled English family during World War 1. Kelli is a huge fan of the show and, one of these days, Amylynn and Ava are going to take the time to watch the first season. Maggie Smith plays the Dowager and, because of her station in life, pretty much gets to say whatever she wants. We read the following quote, “I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose” and decided she was brilliant. We’re going to have t-shirts made.

5. Map Guy. Amylynn and Ava took the opportunity at lunch today to torture the employees at a map store. Ava’s latest work in progress required that she find a topographical map in order to get a real handle on one of the major premises of the plot. It’s not like when create our wants and needs we intend them to be impossible on purpose, it just works out that way. If ever you find the need for a map, we suggest you try our guy. Not only was he really patient and helpful, he was also kind of funny. Kind of funny trumps a lot of other concerns. Concerns like: #1 why could we hear chirping birds INSIDE the store and #2 why did it smell like they were ironing in there. We never did find out the answers to those questions, but Map Guy did find what Ava was looking for – mostly – for a miserly $11.95, which fits nicely within the austerity guidelines Ed has set for Ava. Map Guy probably had to go lie down after we left, but we thought he was lovely.

Things I think on a Sunday

So Kelli fixed the blog as you can see because there were pictures on Friday. Apparently we might have been hacked. Kelli called and, with a great deal of excitement and emphasis, told me the diagnosis but it was in computer speak. I tried to match her enthusiasm cause it was really important, but I didn’t understand any of it.

I promised pictures so here we go.

This was the picture that was to accompany Winifred the Wonder Mutt.  As you can see from the mangled pillows and the jacked up curtains that she is exhausted from terrorizing the couch. This is the way she always sleeps, completely committed to the process.

This is the picture I had to go with the Groundhog Day posts. Look at this face. It’s really hard to hate somebody this cute even if the little bastard did see his shadow. To be fair though, if you were a cute little groundhog, snuggled in your grassy nest, safe from the frigid February temperatures, dreaming about pretty little girl groundhogs and all of a sudden some foreign hand reaches in and yanks you out into to the freezing Pennsylvania morning you’d probably be hard pressed to come up with a nice prediction for those people either.

Kelli and our friend Vicky introduced me to my latest time waster, Plants vs Zombies. The name sounds stupid and so does the premise, but don’t all video games sound stupid in their conception? If you have a smart phone this is a really fun and funny game. It involves zombies trying to get into your house and you have to defend your yard with these nifty plants that shoot peas and other silly things. The sounds are what totally cracks me up. Braaaaaaaaaains.

Also, this weekend I was afraid I’d broken my ankle. No kidding. What was I doing that put my limbs at risk? Was I chasing down a robber? Was I out jogging in preparation for a 10k run? HA! No, I was not. I was delivering Girl Scout Cookies with Sassy and the Bandit to their Auntie. The kids jumped out of the car on the passenger side and disappeared into the house. I alit from the car and walked around the back to get the cookies. Well, that’s what I intended to do. What really happened was that I climbed out of the driver’s seat and immediately fell the inch or so off the driveway into the dirt. Yes, you read that correctly. An inch. Well an inch and A HALF. I landed hard too, a complete faceplant. By the end of Saturday I could hardly walk on it. It’s still really sore today, rotating the ankle is not on my agenda anytime soon. It’s not swollen (too badly) or bruised (too badly) and I’m not going to the emergency room. I’m telling you this just in case you thought I was a terrible mother. I might be, but not because I discriminate with hospital visits.

 Last but not least, I wanted to show you a story The Bandit wrote this weekend.

Once upon a time there was a dog and someone hurt him and that made the dog mad and then the dog bit the crap out of him. The End.

I’m very proud he spelled the word “crap” correctly.


Stephen King and I

Stephen and I have never had an easy relationship.  When I was much younger, I attempted to read “It”.  I don’t remember exactly why I didn’t finish the book but I do remember that I didn’t.  In all fairness to Mr. King, I was always heavily into historical romances and perhaps he was just not what I was interested in back then.

I felt fully vindicated in my ignoring him when I saw the film version of the book.  I do not like horror movies at all but not even I was frightened by IT

Recently, I was extremely annoyed with Stephen for condemning the writing skills of Stephanie Meyers.  Was that really something he needed to point out?  Thanks Captain Obvious!  For those of you who don’t know, Ms. Meyers is the author of the Twilight series.  Currently, it is very fashionable to bash these books and movies.  However, I don’t think he bashed her writing to appear fashionable – I think he was just being mean.

Don’t worry Stephanie.  My favorite author might be Christopher Hitchens but I have read every word of your stories and have seen all of the movies.  My eleven year old still makes us watch them on the weekends.  You have millions of fans and millions of dollars and you don’t need Stephen King!

Right about now you’re wondering why I even bring him up. Well, I’ll tell you – Amylynn loves Stephen King.  Every time

Mr. King in SOA

I admit I have no use for him; she says I would change my mind if I gave him another chance.  Just to shut her up, I said okay.  That and he was delightful on Sons of Anarchy. 

She loaned me a book of short stories and told me they were great.  Great – was the word she used.  Great.  The first story was Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.  Having seen the movie, I dove right in.  And you know what?  It was darn good.  Some might use the word GREAT.  I was starting to think that I’d been too hasty in my dislike, so I moved on to the second short story – Apt Pupil. 

I guess it’s been a number of years since Amylynn has read these stories because surely she would not have ever given me this particular book if she actually wanted me to ever like him.

The story starts out just as well written as the first story (Yes, Stephen, you are a brilliant writer and story teller) and you keep turning the pages even while you’re supposed to be in bed sleeping because you have work the next day. 

All of this comes to a grinding halt on page 200 of the edition I have.  For those of you who have never read this story – I am not making this up – one of the main characters puts a living cat in an oven at 500 degrees.  And then he describes


the cat’s suffering and death.

I am certain that Stephen is a crazy lunatic.  The paragraphs are sickening and clearly written by a deranged individual.  That’s some vivid imagination Mr. King has there, almost like he was writing from memory.

I have to admit something; I had no intention of ever reading another word written by Stephen again. Ever.  Not even if he came back to Entertainment Weekly after dropping us flat. 

After a few days, I kept wondering what happened at the end of the story.  I kept telling myself that it was just a story; I didn’t really need to know how it ended.  Another few days went by and I couldn’t stop myself.  I not only finished that story but started the third.

I hate you Stephen King, you are a sick bastard with genius writing skills.   


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