L’Chaim!

Wes and I had the pleasure of celebrating Rosh Hashanah with some very good friends last night and it was one of the most uproarious dinners I’ve ever personally attended. The reason? Embarrassing stories.

If blogging has taught me anything, it’s the value of an embarrassing story. It takes a special kind of courage to tell a story about yourself that’s so humiliating it sets an entire table to laughing, and it’s this same courage that enables bloggers to write posts and share pictures that aren’t flattering so much as they’re freaking hilarious.

And you know what? It’s totally worth it. I’d much rather make people laugh than pretend I’ve never fallen down a flight of stairs or danced drunk in an effort to convince someone I was totally fit to go clubbing (hint: I so wasn’t). Lucky for us, almost everyone at the table shared that mentality.

And even if I celebrated the Jewish New Year by making a fool of myself, at least we all rang in the new year with laughter. And some frigging amazing food. And transliterated Hebrew blessings I can never pronounce properly.

Ambitious Creative Undertow

It feels like the older I get, the slower I get (at revising, that is). I’m hammering my way through revisions to Enemy Accountant so I can send it off to the nice agents who asked me to send it to them, all in the vain hopes of having a few days off before NaNoWriMo starts in November and I have yet another big huge giant project to work on.

In the meantime, I’m back at the gym three times a week (I’d go more but I now have to share early morning gym custody with my husband), my brother and his wife are moving up here in a couple weeks, I have a thrillion social commitments, and a toddler who occasionally enjoys my company.

That said, because I am horrible at managing my time and setting realistic goals, posting might be a tad light while I revise like a crazy person. And then again when NaNoWriMo starts in November.

If we’re lucky, things will settle down soon and I’ll be back to regular posting. If we’re really lucky, I’ll finish revising Enemy Accountant and agents will go crazy for it and want to sell it to all sorts of giant publishers. If we’re really, really lucky, I’ll finish revising Enemy Accountant and actually have a chance to sleep in a few times before NaNoWriMo starts and I’m sucked into an ambitious creative undertow of my own creation.

How to Write a Good Craigslist Ad

This might be boasting, but sometimes something is true and also boasting. The fact that something is boasting does not always negate the necessity of it being said.

That said, here’s the boast: I am really good at writing Craigslist ads. If I were dressed all in black and kind of sneaky while I did it, I could even be considered a Craigslist ad-writing ninja.

For example, Wes tried to sell his old office chair for six months, posting and re-posting ad nauseum. I took over the task and got the chair sold in 24 hours.

Maybe this just indicates that Wes is terrible at Craigslist ads, but I don’t think so. I think I have skills. Skills I will now share with you, because I was an excellent kindergarten student and got a gold star in sharing.

  1. Write a keyword rich title. Think of what you’re selling, and imagine what words you would use to search for that exact thing. It’s okay if your title is kind of boring, it’s more important for it to attract the right shoppers than for it to be pithy. For example, “Black leather office chair” is a lot more helpful than “Super comfy office chair.”
  2. Be descriptive and a little funny with the listing. Once you have your title, you can have a little more fun. The best Craigslist ads have a little personality. Keep the punctuation correct (people notice, believe me) and be as descriptive as you can. Take measurements, list little details about what you’re selling, and remember always that you are selling something. Make it sound good! If you don’t care about it, no one else will either.
  3. Take good pictures. A dark grainy shot of your dining room table covered in old electronics equipment isn’t going to attract anyone’s eye. Make sure the lighting is good, the item for sale is alone in the shot, and include additional detailed pictures as needed. It takes a little extra effort, but buyers will appreciate it and be more likely to feel comfortable coming to pick it up if they’re reasonably certain of what they’ll see when they get to your house.
  4. Price it well. Before you decide on a price for your item, shop around Craigslist and get an idea of what similar stuff is selling for. You’ll get absolutely no interest in your item if you’re asking for way more money than anyone else. This will also save you from losing out on potential money by inadvertently offering someone the deal of a lifetime.
  5. Choose your words carefully. Think about how your adjectives might be perceived, and how they’re generally used on Craigslist. Words like, “Comfy” have a connotation of something that’s not much to look at but comfortable to sit on. Does your couch have a tiny rip or is it torn? Does your DVD player work or does it run perfectly? Be judicious, but don’t lie. Never lie. That’s mean.
There you have it. My five tips for writing Craigslist ads like a pro. Feel free to chime in with your tips in the comments section!

It’s Here! It’s Here! It’s FINALLY HERE!!!

Great googly moogly, my book is finally available in print! It took me three months and countless proofs, but it’s done! As in, orderable. As in, you could actually be holding my book in your hands in a week or so if you ordered it today!

I can’t believe it. You guys, the way I feel when I see my name on the cover of this book is outrageous. I feel like challenging a tiger to a fistfight and adopting a million orphans and then running a marathon.

I can’t promise it’ll have the same effect on you, though. Fair warning.

You can order it in two places. If you order it from Createspace, the company that prints the books, I make more money. If you order it from Amazon, though, well, you can use your saved shopping data and sometimes convenience is more important.

Wherever you choose to buy it (if you choose to buy it), please know you’ll have my undying gratitude and thanks. I promise if I make it big as an author I’ll totally buy you a beer or something.

Anyway, you can now order PWNED in print from either of these two places:

And, of course, if you want to buy it as an e-book for your e-reader you can do that on Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble.

 

Feast or Famine

When Wes and I first got married, I was committed to being a good cook. I had this vague idea of the kind of wife I wanted to be, one who went to school all day and then came home and made a fantastic dinner for her husband. When asked what was for dinner, I would wipe my hands with a kitchen towel and straighten my apron and reply, “Chicken Bouillabaise with saffron rice and a market berry compote for dessert.”

I’d be all poised and unruffled, producing meal after glorious meal in a spotless kitchen while my adoring husband looked on and sipped a martini and thought about how happy he was to have married me.

Part of this rosy little fantasy came true. Even though Wes never did pick up a taste for martinis, I did become a pretty decent cook. I’m adventurous, and will attempt to cook anything once. This led to some epic successes with just enough failures thrown in there to keep me humble.

It also led to Wes and I both gaining around 20 pounds our first year of marriage, but that’s another post entirely.

When I graduated and got a job, I had a lot less time to spend on cooking meals. The more time I spent at the office, the less time I spent in the kitchen. Our fare got simpler.

Then, we got poor and so did our food quality. Did you know that you can feed two adults two meals a day for four days in a row with just one pound of ground beef, a can of olives, a box of pasta noodles, and a jar of pasta sauce? And that they will get heartily sick of eating the same freaking thing over and over and OVER?!

Then, I got pregnant. And stopped cooking. Because food (and especially food SMELLS) are abhorrent when you’re pregnant. Wes took over the cooking, and we discovered he’s a dynamite chef in his own right.

When Aidan was born, we were all optimistic I’d get back in the kitchen like a good housewife. That…Didn’t happen. Did you know it’s hard to cook when you’ve got a baby to care for? Babies are no respecters of menus. Neither are toddlers, now that I think about it.

I’ve recently ventured back to cooking. It all started with homemade chicken noodle soup and then…I couldn’t stop. Eggplant parmesan, borscht, roasted chicken…I’m living in my frigging kitchen and I’m exhausted. And well fed. And happy. But so frigging tired of chopping vegetables!

But that’s just how I roll. Feast or famine. Couch potato or gym rat. Writing novels or not at all.

Sometimes I feel like I need a moderator for my past-times. Then again, let’s be honest. I’d probably never listen to him/her anyway.