Ah…Stanley Pearl. He’s Free.

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I don’t remember how Stanley’s story came to me or why I even started to write it, but I have an email I sent to my sister on April 8, 2015 where I made this comment: “When you have time, would you read this please.  It’s the first chapter of a completely new story – you know – that Stanley Pearl guy who showed up yesterday and demanded I write about him.”

Interestingly enough, April 7 is Rich’s and my wedding anniversary. Stanley showed up on that day and demanded I write his story. Hmmm.

The book was fun to write, and even though I kept putting it on the back burner in order to write in my current series, it was never too long before I was adding words to the story.

Stanley Pearl hit the market in June with little to no fanfare, and because I didn’t have a way to know how well the book would be received, I opted to apply for a Readers’ Favorite review.

That review came in today with a 5-star rating. Here’s the takeaway:

“Stanley Pearl is a fun and fast-paced darkly humorous story about an accountant and single dad’s sudden immersion into a life of intrigue, danger and even soul-shattering romance. Cochere’s plot is sly and masterful as she parallels her hero’s life with that of his fictional character. Stanley’s tale is part delayed coming of age, part mid-life crisis, and seeing him develop from an otherworldly and somewhat reclusive accountant into a suave man of action is entertaining indeed. The author’s characters are credible and real, and her story delivers on a number of levels. Stanley Pearl is most highly recommended.”

The review was given by a man! It was so nice to get feedback from a man that I wrote Stanley’s character as credible and real.

It’s been a while since I’ve given away any free books, so let’s give Stanley away!

Please note that Stanley Pearl is a bit racier than I usually write but would still garner a PG-13 rating at the movie theater.

Here is a code for a free ebook at Smashwords. This code is good through the end of the month and expires on August 1stYL58R. Simply go to the book page on Smashwords and enter the code at checkout.

If you would prefer to have a free ebook through Amazon, please let me know through the comments section below and I’ll email a redemption link from Amazon to you. You’ll then simply have to click the link to download your free copy.

If you choose to read the book, I hope you enjoy Stanley’s story!

Bathroom Humor and a Free Book

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My mother is a good sport. I’ve used and abused her in my books but always with a loving heart and with her knowledge and support.

My mother and father were the inspiration behind Susan Hunter’s mother and father. When physically describing Susan’s father, and her close relationship with him, I may as well have been talking about my own late father. Susan’s mother doesn’t resemble my mother in appearance, but many of her characteristics and her love of laughter do. Mom loved reading my Susan Hunter books, and I know she enjoyed knowing so much of her personality went into Susan’s mother.

My mother is now eighty-five years old. A few years back, she proclaimed she didn’t care what people thought any longer. She said she’s lived long enough to say and do what she wants. That made it easy to base Mama in my “Two Sisters and a Journalist” series on my own mother in her later years.

I grew up with three brothers who thought they were comedians. I can’t tell you how many whoopee cushions, fart machines, farts recorded on cassettes, belching contests, and just about any other manner of PG-13-rated potty humor went on in our house. I won’t say which brother, but one of them had so much gas one summer, he kept a notebook and logged each one as it passed.

My mother laughed at those boys until she cried. We all did.

If you don’t know by now, my “Two Sisters and a Journalist” books have bathroom humor in them. With the popularity of Melissa McCarthy and over-the-top humor in movies, I decided to go this route with the series. Where Susan Hunter wouldn’t pass gas in front of herself, Jo Ravens and her family are less couth. There are a few incidences of minor swear words (four in my new book), but they are used as humor rather than as angry swearing.

In Murder Under Construction, Jo laments the fact that her mother passes gas while shopping and then walks away, allowing Jo to come around the corner and walk into the gas cloud. Anyone coming near Jo would assume she was the offender. True story. I told my mother if she didn’t quit doing that to me, I wasn’t taking her shopping any more.

My sister called one day to tell me she picked Mom up to take her to the grocery store, and as Mom walked across the back porch, every step produced a puff of smoke. Upon further inspection, she realized Mom had put foot powder in her sandals. She was laughing so hard, she could barely tell me about it. In Murder Welcomes You to Buxley, Mama has an incident with baby powder in her shoes at the bowling alley.

One of my nieces read Murder Under Construction and asked her mother, “Has Grandma read this? Does she know she’s in here?” The false teeth incident gave it away for her.

My mother has threatened my siblings on occasion. She’ll tell them not to tell me about something she did, because it will end up in one of my books. She’s right, but she always laughs when it does. I know she secretly loves it.

Just last week, I published book number six in the “Two Sisters and a Journalist” series: Murder – A Chummy Affair. Mama is her usual inappropriate and silly self, but her bowling crony Lucille, who was mentioned in a previous book, has a bigger role this time, and she has chronic flatulence.

My mother loved the book and thought Lucille was hilarious. Of course she did! My mother’s middle name is Lucille.

I’m in the mood to give books away today. If you would like a copy of Murder – A Chummy Affair, let me know in the comments section below, and I’ll send a book to you from Amazon. If you need a copy for a different format, I’ll send a code for a free book at Smashwords, and you can choose the file that’s right for your eReader. Just make sure you let me know which venue – Amazon or Smashwords. If you prefer to write and ask me personally, my email is on my About page.

Finally, I was going through old pictures for a family member last week, and I came across pictures of my mother and father. I forgot how attractive my dad was when he was young. He could have been in the movie Grease!

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Long Awkward Pause

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Christopher De Voss. Nice guy who writes some pretty cool stories and makes me laugh with his blog. I’m a fan since June of 2012.

Are you wondering why I’m mentioning him, when I’m supposed to be yammering about Adam Sendek? (Baseball bet. I lose. Talk about Adam for a week.)

Because Christopher started a new humor blog last July, and I want to highlight it today. It’s Long Awkward Pause, and it’s billed as a Humor Mag of Sorts…  “This is a humor magazine devoted to answering your questions or writing on the topics you, our dear readers would like to read.”

They have a very cool feature, TALK TO US HERE, where you can make requests (or leave comments or complaints or just say hi). Fill out the form, and voilà, one of their writers will cover your request in a post.

I was delighted to see that my favorite Imageadorable chimp who shaves his head, Monk Monkey, is also a contributor to the blog. He and I go way back to last year. We even send emails to each other. (Hello, you cute little primate!)

I know Mike Calahan a wee bit. He’s not a complete stranger to Imageme, but I must admit, I don’t know the other writers. I hope as I have more time in the coming year, I’ll be able to read their work and get to know them, too.

Oh wait.

I know one more person who contributes to Long Awkward Pause. Are you ready for this?

Adam Sendek. Yep! He’s a contributor, and Christopher recently mentioned he was instrumental in the new look of the website. Nice job, Adam!

I asked Adam to write a few words about Long Awkward Pause. So without further ado, here is Chowderhead himself:

ImageLAP is a collaborative comedy team put together by Chris “The Boss” De Voss.  If I were to create a simile for it, LAP is like a monster truck that is being recklessly driven around a mall parking lot on a busy shopping day, destroying mini vans and running over pedestrians walking small dogs.

It’s Chris’s brainchild. I only take orders.  After taking his orders, I usually request new ones, or else edit them until they barely resemble the original orders, and then I order Chris to carry out those orders.  In other words, Chris doesn’t really do much except take orders from me.

The Boss comes to me daily with these grandiose ideas, and then projectile spews them all over the place without really thinking about the cost and implementation end of any of it.  That’s where I come in.  I’m a staff writer first and foremost, but secondarily, I also serve as a consultant to the CEO.

To give you an idea of the typical dynamic, here’s an excerpt taken from a conversation we had last month:

Chris:  hey, I need to ask a favor.
Chowder:  Shoot.
Chris:  I just bought us a blimp, and I need you to call around town and find me a graphic artist that can draw our logo on it.
Chowder:  Whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute…you bought a what?
Chris:  A blimp.  You know, like a hot air balloon, but with propellers.
Chowder:  I know what a blimp is.  How much exactly did you pay for this thing?

Chris:  I bought it off of some guy on Craigslist for $250k.
Chowder:  *spits out coffee*  What!!!
Chris:  Every other blimp I found online started off at $300k.
Chowder:  Would you mind opening up that window?  I’m feeling extremely lightheaded at the moment.
Chris:  Sure.  *opens window*
Chowder:  We have to be a little bit more frugal about our spending.  We’re now officially $250k over budget, and it’s only the 2nd of the month.

Chris:  I saved 50k on it.  It was a steal!

Chowder:  How did you even pay for this thing, and where exactly do you plan on storing it?
Chris:  I took out a business loan, and my mom said I could keep it in her backyard until we can afford a hangar for it.
Chowder:  Does your mom live on a football field?
Chris:  Condo.
Chowder:  Jesus Christ.  Ok look, I’m gonna need you to call around town and find out if anybody wants to buy a blimp.

Chris:  Right.  You want another coffee while I’m out?
Chowder:  No, but pick up some Rum and a couple of cokes.  I think there’s a few bucks left in the petty cash jar.  And don’t tell Calahan that we have a petty cash jar.
Chris:  Great.  I’ll report back at lunch.
Chowder:  *shakes head*

*****
Long Awkward Pause is constantly evolving and expanding its concept and brand.  This month we’re excited to welcome in our brand new podcast team – Joe Jewett and Jack De Voss – and our newest staff writer, Aussa Lorens of the website Hacker Ninja Hooker Spy.

Here’s the current lineup under the current format:
BrainRants:  Rantology 101 – Rant Column
Blogdramedy:  That’s Entertainment!  – A Satirical look inside the Entertainment Industry
Mike Calahan:  From the Moderately Cluttered Desks of Mike Calahan – Spoof Journalism
Aussa Loren:  Hacker Ninja Hooker Spy – Espionage Parody
Chris De Voss:  On a Side Note – Funny, Satirical Interviews
Chowderhead:  On this Day in Pop Culture History – Insignificant Pop Culture Events
Justin Gawel:  Confessions of an Adult Child – What it sounds like
Omawarisan:  So Anyways – Random Funny Thoughts
Monk Monkey:  The Comedic Scriptures of a Funky Monk Monkey – Anecdotes by a Religious Monkey
Cordelia:  Culinary Clutz-Ups – Food that belongs on the “Ban List”
John Atkinson:  Original Web Comics
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For more Long Awkward Pause, visit us at www.longawkwardpause.wordpress.com

Putting My Best Face Forward

Have you ever heard of Ford Models? No, not the cars. The modeling agency. There was a ImageFord Modeling Agency about a mile from our home, and I signed up for classes when I was nineteen. I had no illusions of being a model in New York City; I was simply tired of being gawky.

For me, it was like acting. I loved learning about hair, fashion, and how to walk a runway, but most of all, I loved learning how to apply makeup.

I was reminded of this fun time in my life yesterday as I stood in front of the bathroom mirror applying full makeup. I wanted more coverage than that of the mineral powders everyone is pushing right now, so I went full-spackle with a foundation, followed by a light dusting of loose powder. Blush, three shades of brown shadow, false lash mascara, eyebrow pencil, lip liner, and an all day lipstick. I removed the hot rollers that were curling my hair, and I picked out a pretty maroon shirt with a nice detail and gold buttons.

Twenty minutes later I was having my picture taken as I renewed my driver’s license.

That’s right. I put on all that make-up for my driver’s license photo. For four years, I’ve had the driver’s license from hell. The lighting is terrible in the BMV, and my last picture had yellow hair. Not blonde, but bright yellow! Last week I chose to do my hair in a light auburn shade simply Imagebecause of the upcoming picture. There was no way they could turn auburn into yellow. Four years ago, I had chopped off most of my hair, and I don’t know if I tumbled out of bed just before I had the picture taken, but my hair looked like something styled by Moe of the Three Stooges. Every time I had to hand that license to someone (I still write a lot of checks), I wanted to die, or at least melt into the floor.

Yesterday, I was determined to get a good picture worthy of the next four years.

It was windy as I walked into the BMV. I was aware of my hair blowing around. Before I could even take a number and sit down, I was called to the counter. What are the odds of that happening? There wasn’t a spare second to run a brush through my hair before the woman wanted to take my picture. I told myself it would be ok; my windblown hair would give the picture a sexy look.

I looked down into the camera, because it wasn’t at eye level. I expected a “1-2-3” or at least a “ready?” from the woman, but the next thing I knew, she was telling me to have a seat. Five minutes later, I was walking out with my new license.

The picture is on the dark side. My makeup doesn’t show up whatsoever, and my hair is blonde, not auburn. It doesn’t look windblown and sexy; it looks like someone flattened it. There is no expression on my face, no smile, and as the picture was taken at an angle from under my chin, I look like a criminal.

The only good thing about the license – IT’S PINK! Image

I cry false advertising!!  Her picture is well lit. You can see the highlighting under her eyebrows, and her lipstick even shows. She has a smile, and the picture was taken straight on. I’m hating on our BMV today.

I’m finally going to make the move to a debit card so I never have to hand my license over to anyone ever again. Well, other than the policeman who is surely going to stop me one of these days as I blow up and down the Interstate to and from my mother’s house. He’ll think I look like a criminal and run a background check on me.

Do you try to look your best for your driver’s license? Are you happy with your picture? Do you look like a criminal?

The Ants Go Marching One by One

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Ant cookie from The bearfoot Baker.

This blog needs a good airing. Let me set aside all things books, open the window, and allow some fresh air and sunshine to come in. Yes, the sun is shining today. It will be raining and snowing again tomorrow, but for today, there is a glimpse of spring, and I’m pretending it’s much warmer than the 40 degrees on the thermometer.

So what shall we talk about?

I choose insects as the topic for today, because I seem to have a history with ants. It all started when I was a child, and a Saturday morning rolled around. My mother came into the room I shared with my older sister. She had called for us to wake up a few times, but we had ignored her, and by coming into the room, we knew she meant business. There were chores to be done before we could take off on our bikes for the day.

I remember Mom standing there staring at me with her mouth open and a deep frown on her face. What? What did I do now? I wasn’t even out of bed yet.

“What do you have all over you?” she asked.

I sat up, focused on my bed, and promptly bolted up into a standing position and started jumping and hopping on my bed, while screaming and writhing with the heebie-jeebies. My bed, and therefore me, too, was covered with ants!

The source was soon discovered. Before going to bed, I had tossed my sneakers into the nearby closet, and they had something sweet on them. Whether it was something I had stepped in, or something I had climbed into via a tree, there were a million ants in my closet, and they had come up onto and into my bed.

Thankfully, they were the garden variety ant and not the biting kind.

Moving on.

When I was nineteen, I moved into my first apartment. It was a basement apartment in a large complex, and it was basically one big room with one door leading into a small bathroom. There was very little counter space, so when I wanted to make sugar cookie cutouts at Christmas, there wasn’t room to cool the massive amount of cookies I was baking. I spread a clean tablecloth out on the living room floor, and as the cookies came out of the oven, I transferred them from the cookie sheets to the tablecloth.

Imagine my surprise when after a time, the cookies appeared to be decorating themselves.  Yep, an army of ants had invaded and covered nearly half of the cookies. It was winter for crying out loud!

Some of you know we homeschooled our son. Rather than to give in to the recommendations of Imageour local school and medicate the hyper boy, I quit my job to stay home and school him myself. I didn’t have a clue how to start, but I figured it out, and we had a blast. A lot of our studies were done by focusing on one thing at a time – unit studies.

One summer, we did a unit study on ants. We started by setting up an ant farm in the house. Those kits are actually very cool. We started a war in our ant farm by putting a couple of big black ants in with the smaller common ants. We didn’t know they weren’t compatible, and the little ants attacked the big ants, overtook them in quick order, and threw their dead bodies onto the garbage heap at the side of the farm. It was somewhat horrifying to me, but the boy loved it.

One day we went sugaring for ants. We made ant bait by mashing a banana and stirring in a good amount of sugar. We smeared the bait onto the base of a tree trunk, and then we settled into lawn chairs to watch and wait for the ants to come. It took an hour before we noticed a steady stream of ants marching to the banana mash and then back to their anthill. There appeared to be more than one colony coming from different directions, and they truly did march single file, one by one. It was amazing.

ImageSo, ants and I share a long history.

How about you? Tell me your best insect story? Have you ever had ants in your pants?

What is it with Men and Bacon?

I came downstairs last Sunday morning, and Rich was watching United States of Bacon on Discovery Channel. People were eating 5-ounce chunks of thick, hickory-smoked bacon-on-a-stick, and my husband was drooling.

“Honey,” he said. “I swear this is just like watching porn.”

Not that he watches porn.

I laughed, shook my head, and asked him what was the deal with men and bacon? Women like bacon, but they don’t turn into idiots when it’s on television, or when they’re cooking it, or even when they see it in the grocery store. Bacon awakens something deep inside of men.

He recently did some computer work for a friend. It took a couple of trips and several hours to complete the work. HE TOOK PAYMENT FOR HIS SERVICES IN BACON. Seven pounds to be exact.

We’ve joked about bacon here before, and some of you may remember his bacon poem. He wrote it for me to enter into another blogger’s poetry contest, but I refused:

Slice it, smoke it, fry it up quick.
Make sure it’s done, or it might make you sick.
Splattering grease burn, it looks like a freckle.
An apron protects you, especially your schmekel.

(Yes, we’re really twelve years old, and the poem still makes me laugh.)

When I make potato soup, he wants bacon in it. Fried cabbage? Only with bacon. Bacon on Imagepizza. Bacon-wrapped steaks. Bacon on baked chicken. Bacon on burgers. Bacon in baked beans. Bacon and eggs, of course. It never ends, and just the smell of it as it cooks reduces him to the grinning village idiot.

A 2009 study in Britain showed men to prefer the smell of bacon over babies. Why am I not surprised? When I told this to Rich, he replied, “Well, that makes sense.”

Bacon is addictive. Per wikipedia: bacon possesses six ingredient types of umami, which elicits an addictive neurochemical response.  … “the chain lards on bacon” create a one-of-a-kind product that has no taste substitute.

You can’t help it if you love bacon: “Bacon makes you feel happy, satisfied, blissful, which greatly reduces stress in our lives and effectively relieves the negative effects of frustration, self deprivation and sense of lack in ones existence.” Bacon is nature’s candy.

I’ll close with some final thoughts from my husband:

– Bacon is like fine wine, except you fry it.

– There is nothing better than bacon and eggs – minus the eggs.

– There is no proper way to prepare bacon.  Whether it’s almost burnt, or fried just enough, it’s perfect every time.

– Kevin is one of the luckiest guys on earth!

– Just because there are no bacon paintings by van Gogh doesn’t mean he didn’t paint one.

– Did you know that no matter what you type into Google Images after the word bacon, you will get legitimate results?  From bacon automobiles to bacon zombies, you’ll get real bacon results.  Try it.  ImageDo you love bacon? When was the last time you ate bacon? What’s your favorite way to eat bacon?

It’s World Toilet Day

ImageI hate toilets.

Yes, I know we need them. Yes, I know how to use one. Yes, I’ve hugged a few in my lifetime. But that doesn’t mean I have to like them.

I’ve mentioned before that we live in a century home. That means it’s over 100 years old, and the plumbing is probably original to the house. When we bought the house, it came with two evil toilets.

The upstairs toilet was the worse. Oh, it had us fooled with its pretty blue color, but I eventually caught on. You didn’t dare get up and go in the dark in the middle of the night, or the seat Imagewould be mysteriously up, and you’d take a water plunge. No one in this house leaves the seat up. No one. It was the evil toilet slipping its seat up in the night.

Then it took a lean. Literally. There is wallpaper in the bathroom with a tiny flower pattern in straight rows. The back of the toilet was lined up perfectly with a row of flowers. One day I noticed the toilet was a little lower than the flowers on the right side. Over the course of a year, the toilet leaned more and more until it was two rows of flowers lower on the right side than the left. You had to sit sideways to use it.

Thank goodness my husband is a man who can do anything … when he’s good and ready. The evil toilet was removed, floor boards replaced, and a brand spanking new white model that could flush a sweater arrived. It has a magical seat that closes hydraulically in an ever-so-quiet motion. No more catching the back of your pajamas on the seat and having it bang in the middle of the night.

However, the evil spirit from the upstairs toilet moved into the downstairs toilet. Go ahead, give it a flush. Works perfectly, doesn’t it? That’s what it wants you to think. The next guy who goes Imagein there and flushes runs the risk of the toilet overflowing. The second guy must always be prepared to be the plunger guy. Run the washing machine? Oh yeah, the downstairs toilet has a fit, and the water does freaky things and sometimes looks like it’s boiling. Go back in there and flush it again just for kicks. The kitchen sink gurgles. That’s cute.

Want to come to our house to visit? We’d love to have you, but if you have to use the toilet, please run down the street to the McDonald’s.

Hubby and I were lying in bed the other night. It was that really quiet time just before you drop off to sleep. But then there was a noise that was killing me. I had to get up, close the bathroom door, and turn on a fan in the bedroom so there would be ambient noise to drown out the offending noise.

The faucet in the bathtub was dripping.

http://www.worldtoilet.org/wto/
Even though I hate toilets, I have done my part today to promote awareness for all of the people in the world who don’t have toilets.

ImageQ: How many men does it take to change a roll of toilet paper?
A: We have no idea. It never happens.

My blog is rated PG. Add your own love/hate toilet story … or add some toilet humor!