March 16th, 2009

Lynda Barry is amazing

Last fall, I met Lynda Barry at a writers’ party at Wordstock. For me, it was like meeting a celebrity. I discovered her cartoons in college. They were shockingly funny in a naked, nearly painful way. They got cut out and stuck on refrigerators. They spawned catchphrases among my friends, like, “You must give yourself again to Ramone.”

At the party, we talked about the importance of Vitamin D. It was her idea, not mine, but I was willing to talk about anything if it meant I could talk to Lynda Barry.

Read this article in the Chicago Tribune and you’ll learn that:
- Her ex-boyfriend is Ira Glass.
- Her best friend is Matt Groenig (creator of The Simpsons)
- Next year they will release a 10-volume book of every comic strip she every produced.
- The Chicago Tribune writer doesn’t know the difference between “phased” and “fazed.”

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Hm, how is this going to work exactly?

In the next 21 hours I need to:

- haul my regular tires out of the basement
- put them in the car
- figure out how to back out of the extremely narrow 30-foot-long flaglot driveway that leads to the basement and has a three-foot drop off on one side (I cannot drive in reverse worth a damn)
- wait for the tires to be changed at Les Schwab
- reverse the whole process
- proof 213 pages
- input 287 pages of edits
- finish writing my response to the editorial letter
- hit the send key on the whole thing
- grocery shop
- go to the post office
- figure out how to both go to kickboxing class AND hear an expert in sociopaths (I accidentally double booked and am the ride to kickboxing for Teen and Teen's BFF)
- locate and remove the tiny piece of popcorn stuck in my molars
- etc.

And then tomorrow it's on to federal jury duty.

Has anyone been on a jury? Got any opinions on whether I should try to be foreman and how much extra work it is?

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Going Too Far

About the book
All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far… and almost doesn’t make it back.

John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge—and over…

About the author
Jennifer Echols has written two romantic comedies: Major Crush and The Boys Next Door. She currently lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

What others are saying
“Naughty in all the best ways, Echols’s Going Too Far is the perfect blend of romance, wit, and rebelliousness. I loved it!” - Niki Burnham, author of Royally Jacked and Sticky Fingers

“Jennifer Echols has crafted a brave and powerful story, searingly romantic and daring, yet also full of hilarious moments. Meg’s voice will stay in your head long after the intense conclusion.” - R. A. Nelson, author of Teach Me and Breathe My Name

“Echols is a tremendously talented writer with a real gift for developing relationships between her characters.” - Romantic Times Magazine

“A novel readers won’t want to put down.” - Teens Read Too

I asked, Jennifer answered
A. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened to you? Bonus question: have you used it, in any way, in a book?
J. I had a car accident and couldn’t remember parts of it later. I did use this in a book, but I’m not sure yet when it will be published.

A. Mystery writers often give their characters an unreasoning fear - and then make them face it. Do you have any phobias, like fear of spiders or enclosed spaces?
J. I definitely have claustrophobia like Meg, the heroine of GOING TOO FAR. That part of the book was very easy for me to write!

A. Do you have a favorite mystery book, author, or movie?
J. I love the old-school Mary Stewart romantic suspense novels.

A. At its heart, every story is a mystery. It asks why someone acts the way they did - or maybe what will happen next. What question does your book ask?
J. Why is Meg self-destructing?

A. Is there a mystery in life that you are still trying to figure out?
J. Yes—how to work the TV remote.

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I'm free! (Now what do I do?)

I have everything all planned out. What I would bring with me to federal jury duty, if I should lobby to be foreman, when I would leave the house, where I would park. I understand federal jury service tends to last longer, so I was prepared to serve as long as three weeks.

But I just checked with the automated jury system and I am off the hook! I can stop trying to madly cram the last pages of editing into today and let them slip to say, tomorrow.

And after that, I think I will treat myself by reading the new Jeffrey Deaver and eating chips!

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