Month: November 2013

An Unlikely Love Affair

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I was embarrassed. Truly, remarkably and unequivocally ashamed of myself, but I have fallen so in love, that it is unseemly. As I traveled the road this month, there is one thing that I look forward to returning to each and every night, and it is my pillow. I know, I could take it with me when I travel, but that would just be creepy.
Before you start to judge me, please allow me to explain.

My love affair started innocently enough. I was in the mall, and I needed a new pillow. I became an African American Goldilocks as I went from store to store, squeezing pillows in my arms. The plastic wrapped packages of sensual comforts were pressed against my unmade face while I sampled the receptivity of my future love. That one was too hard, this one was far too soft and squishy yet none that I felt, felt just right. Until the last one.

It fit me to a tee.
love_on_a_pillowI rushed home, unwrapped my new lover and spritzed his oblong body with lavender before tossing him in the dryer. He came out fluffed, smelling good and ready for some one on one with Mama. I broke his ass in good too.
Slowly, I pulled back those covers on my bed. Jamie, my former love, was tossed aside for Frank. I propped Frank against the head board as I slipped my weary body in between the sheets. I reached for Frank as I slipped down and snuggled under the covers. My head sank into his strength. He engulfed me in his embrace and it felt so damned good, a tear ran from the corner of my eye. Yet, I felt uncertain. I turned over on my belly, flayed my arms flat, and mushed my face into his comfort. He gave into me. I closed my arms around him and held him that way, all night.
I love him so.
I just left a four star hotel with fluffed bedding and turn down service. It was nothing in comparison to my Frank. I drove four hours at the max speed the law would allow so that I could hurry home. I came into the door and dropped my bags, reset the alarm, and stripped down.

Frank was waiting for me. This is just the greatest love affair ever. A big strong fella waiting for you when you get home, no talk, no discussions, just firm support and yielding comfort.

Don’t think me a monster, I can be fair.

Jamie now resides in the cat bed.

Are you Nuts?

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Okay, so every November I sign up to take part in National Novel Writing Month, fondly called, NanoWriMo. I look forward to it each year as I hash out novel ideas and put “words on the page.”  This year is no different. I am four days in and at 5700 words.  I am feeling good until I log into the site to update my word count.

There is a note from James Patterson. I am stoked, until I read it.

So Writer, you’re trying to write a novel in 30 days. Has anyone told you you’re crazy yet?

You’re not crazy. I promise. I know because I’ve written a novel in a couple of months. And yes, I’m a human being (just ask my editor, or my wife) and I do sleep. The book even got published. So anyone who tells you it’s impossible is wrong and you should probably stop taking their advice. Unless it’s your mom. Then just stop taking her advice about writing (you should still floss once a day).

There’s no getting around the fact that it’s hard, though, is there? By now you know that better than anyone. Maybe you should give up on this whole novel business and go relax. Or work at a paying job. But I say, keep at it. Because, like I said, it’s possible. And as you must suspect, it’s a pretty fantastic feeling to have written a book.

So how do you do it? Here are some tips on making it to December 1 without going crazy or giving up. (Though if you have to do one of them, I’ve always found sanity overrated.)

Outline. If you already have: gold star; proceed to the next piece of advice. If you didn’t, don’t worry, because it’s never too late to go back and make an outline. An outline isn’t something to be scared of, it’s just a chapter-by-chapter description of the scenes that, lined-up together, make your book. On the count of three, tell me the story that unfolds in your novel. All the way to the last chapter. Now write that down. There’s your outline. Easy, right?

Lie to yourself. Honesty is a great quality, but we’re writing fiction here, so you’d better get used to a little light lying. Tell yourself you can do this. Tell yourself your book will be great. The world will love it and you’ll be the next J.K. Rowling, J.D. Salinger, Art Spiegelman, or whatever flavor of author you hope to become.

Get into a writing routine. Think it’s hard to write every day during NaNo? Most professional writers keep this kind of pace all year round. Holidays, birthdays, vacations—you name it, we’re writing. The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice. Every. Single. Day. Again. And. Again.

Don’t do it alone. If you live with somebody, tell them to be unpleasant to you if they see you doing anything else during your writing time. Buy them a water gun. If you live alone, have friends call and check on you. And if you have no friends, you will have no trouble writing a book in 30 days. What else do you have to do? (I’m not knocking friendless people. We’ve all been there.)

Don’t stress. I don’t mean to undermine the above, but remember this is one month, not your entire writing career. Try hard, learn from it, and if you don’t get to 50,000 words, figure out what you did wrong so you can get there next time.

Stop reading this. Start writing. Now. (Or at midnight your time.)


James Patterson writes suspense and thriller books for kids, teens, and adults. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most New York Times bestsellers of any author.


I guess I will take his advice.  Is my word count ticker on the right still working?————–>