G. Mitchell Baker is a transplanted American from the Southwest to the western part of Canada. I don’t know where, actually, and yes, Western Canada is fairly large so he might be a Prairie dude or a flakey British Columbian or maybe he’s living in Guns-God-And-Oil Alberta (yes, America, we have our *own* Texas!) He writes in a wide variety of genres, for both kids and adults, and also writes the screen plays to his own books. And he’s also like this wicked good karate guy, okay, the way he puts it on his web site he’s competed at the “highest level” for karate as well as baseball, so don’t mess with him! Although I doubt anyone does as he doesn’t seem like the sort of guy you’d want to pick a fight with. Not because he’d kung-fu you into the next week, but because, well, then he wouldn’t like you. And you’d be all bummed and stuff.
1. Okay Mitchell, you mentioned to me that you are, like me, a naturalized Canadian citizen. Enquiring minds are dying to know! Where are you from? How long have you been here? How long did it take you to decide to adopt a Queen? And how much Tim Horton’s coffee have you drunk since you got here? And did you ever roll up and win?
Actually … I am Canadian by birth and a Naturalized U.S. Citizen …I have been back in Canada for about nine months and have really haven’t shared any coffee with the Queen lately … Although I do like Timmy’s and drink a lot of the stuff… You know, it being the life-blood of authors and all… Funny you ask about the Timmy’s Roll-Up contest… I bought coffee after coffee and nada, zip, nothing… Then I noticed the 1 in 6 win on the side of the cup … Sure ‘nough, I won on the sixth cup and then I keep on winning… I think I had a streak of four drinks … I rather enjoyed that contest… It sure kept me slurping the Java, while the Queen continued to take her Tea… Here’s my Author Website for you trying to figure all this out http://www.gmitchellbakerauthor.com/index.html
2. What is Master Koda Select Publishing and is it something mysterious? Because it sounds like it. Are you Master Koda, and if so, are you a real Jedi knight? Or am I thinking of Master Yoda? Well anyway, tell us more about Master Koda Select Publishing because if it doesn’t involve deep dark secrets about the Force and midochlorians, it sounds like it might be of deep interest to aspiring authors who are looking to put their work out there.
Master Koda Select Publishing (MKSP) is a Small Press in the United States … MKSP selects about five authors a year to publish. I have been with a number of publishers (Sci-Fi, Contemporary Fiction and Young Adult) and, while promoting a couple books in these genre, during live global internet radio programs, I came to know the host, Kim Mutch Emerson.
For the first two shows (three total), I did not know the radio programming was related to MKSP. I did not know she was the publisher for MKSP. In the third show, I was promoting a new Young Adult release. I had submitted a paranormal project to MKSP (as my present publishers were not into paranormal) and at the end of the promotion, Kim announced the “Lethal Believers” project had been accepted by MKSP. Well now, that was an interesting time … I was happy to be selected, I had publishers mad at me and … well there was a lot of energy floating around … Good and Testy. Therefore,, that is about the extent of the dark and mysterious regarding me and MKSP. For young writers I have this piece of advice … there are ‘publishers’ and then there are Publishers. I believe about the only protection one really has, is to avoid having all the proverbial eggs in one basket … That is, to remain flexible and diverse… One never knows when a relationship will go south and for what reasons… For myself, I am fortunate to be with MKSP and as an author privileged to receive their respect, professionalism and support through all phases of publishing and marketing my projects. I do not maintain personal or professional relationships with those who would forego respect, professionalism and support through all phases of publishing and marketing my projects. I believe every writer and author should always maintain the same expectations for respect, professionalism and support for and among themselves. In the end, to do so will run-off the exploitation and it will make the publishing industry stronger, premised on positive, growing relationships and an industry more respected in return. For me, there is no mystery in this advice, but I can tell you it sure is not as easy to achieve and maintain as it sounds. My hat doffs to publishers like Master Koda Select Publishing for maintaining respect and professionalism at all times, in my relationship with them and others in my circles.
3. According to your web site – so don’t try to deny this or anything – you were a lawyer for twenty years. What kind of lawyer were you? Were you evil? Why did you leave? And what possessed you to say, “Yeah, I’m going to leave all this glorious leather-and-five-martini-power-lunches to become a professional writer”? And what’s up with this “family values kids adventure project” you just signed to publication and film rights? That sounds like a complete 180 from being an Evil Lawyer. Are you trying to atone for your past misdeeds? Oh screw that, how did you do it? How did you get film rights to one of your works? Who’s going to make the movie and do you know when it’s coming out?
“Objection Your Honor,” he rises from his chair, “Compound Question and the most colorful language…” *Grinning* “Sustained,” replies the Judge, “Nicole, you will refrain from using the colorful language in this interview…” *grinning*
(Oh boy are YOU on the wrong blog ;) – N.)
Eeeesh Nicole …Nope … I was no ‘Evil Lawyer’. But hey … You know that in a town with two lawyers, there will always be the winner who loves you and the loser who hates you as a lawyer… Unfortunately when I started practicing there was a modicum of professionalism that buffered this love-hate scenario … I do not see that happening as much anymore.
I believe I was fortunate, for the most part, to have choices. Based on an adage I tried to live by and often counseled my clients with, I encouraged … “It is easy to do business, what is hard is finding good people to do good business with…” My point being that relationships with “good” people are what grow, thrive, and last over time… The ‘Evil Lawyer’ thing is a short cited one-way ticket to burnout and I saw enough of that… I tried to avoid it…
(You wouldn’t be the first to drop out of the profession from disillusionment. To be fair, American lawyers are disliked more[mostly by Americans] than Canadian lawyers are, where the profession has a more honourable image – N.)
I write and publish in four genres, contemporary fiction, SCI-FI, Young Adult and Paranormal Mystery… The ‘family values kids’ adventure’ writing derives from my being the father of two beautiful kids who are very inspiring. I also can draw from a pretty KEWL kid-hood myself.
I really enjoy writing the Young Adult as an alternative to the serious adult themes and I believe it is a good thing for me to refresh by moving from genre to genre… Look for “Soccer Tommies baseball Mommies” scheduled for release Holiday Season, 2013 … Soccer Tommies is about how a hurricane ravages small town Abbottsville, leaving a single field for the ultra-competitive Abbottsville Dominion Daughters (girls’ soccer) and the Abbottsville Pirates (boy’s baseball) to share. Even with the help of Constable Barnes, a retired Yankee major leaguer, and the leadership of the Fabiano Twins, Dominion Daughter Terri, and Teddy the Pirate, the ‘Modified Field Timeshare Agreement’ fails. As the final solution, finicky Mayor Tabbshey decrees that after the July 4th Parade there will be a special, secretive but fair contest to decide whether the Soccer Tommies or the Baseball Mommies will prevail, grabs up the spoils of battle and take the home field advantage, being the lands on which to freely practice and play.
(Battle of the sexes! Love it! – N.)
As for the business side of things … I was fortunate as a lawyer to represent authors and work in some entertainment deals … One thing your writers might want to remember is, regardless of any agreement or intentions published about a project, each deal is incredibly fragile and can be there one moment and gone the next… One of the best things to remember in the Entertainment Business is that it is ten times harder to find good people to do good business with and sometimes that doesn’t even matter … It can get incredibly complicated at times with the best advice being to always keep things moving in a positive direction…
(So it’s not all glamour and wild coke orgies then, huh? Who knew??? Excellent advice about how fragile deals are. A lot of inexperienced writers don’t realize how many different elements can hose up a project, whether it’s getting a book published, or a movie deal, or whatever. As I always said in sales, “It’s not real until you’ve got signature.” – N.)
4. Tell us a little more about your Lethal Believers paranormal fiction (about which there is no description on your web site, leading me to conclude that it was stolen by ninja poltergeists). How does it differ from the other paranormal novels in the field?
Oh “Lethal Believers” does exist on my Author Website Nicole … It all exists … http://www.gmitchellbakerauthor.com/lethal-believers-the-innocents.html And, here is a link to the FB Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/LETHALBELIEVERSNOVELS
(Now how’d I miss that??? – N.)
Lethal Believers is a series of novels adapted from feature length screenplays focusing on the paranormal, teaming with a dedicated protagonist to protect the Innocents, be they children, animals, or addicts and those who cannot protect themselves. The first novel published by MKSP March 2013 is “Lethal Believers: The Innocents”. I like to think of the Lethal Believer Series as intense paranormal story telling that does not shy away from difficult social issues. Malachi Danta-Mercadel, retired INTERPOL/Secret Service rails against the Mantid Tranquil organization bent on vesting a form of paranormal revenge given Danta’s handiwork for exposing Mantid’s illicit operations. What Danta does not know, is that there a myth, in search of rehabilitation who supports his cause for protecting The Innocents from Mantid and those who would prey on The Innocents. To learn more about what others have to say about “The Innocents, follow this link to my Author website where Reviews and Blurbs are posted, http://www.gmitchellbakerauthor.com/book-reviews–blurbs.html
The second in series, “Lethal Believers: D.V.M.” was immediately optioned by MKSP after the release of “The Innocents”. The editor had this to say about DVM in her notes … “4) I really enjoyed this book! The characters were strong and believable and the back-story and history for the characters in the last book were very intriguing and helpful. It is really tying together! The story line was also very interesting and engaging. It read very well and kept my attention. I am excited to see what it does when released! The changes are minimal and should be quick and easy. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Good luck!” DVM has Danta and Lamia, the myth in search of rehabilitation continuing their efforts to protect The Innocents from Mantid Tranquil. In this story, The Innocents protected learn to protect themselves and perhaps exact cunning revenge as well.
The third in series, “Lethal Believers: Procession Subterranea” is complete and being prepared for submission. This story moves from Hollywood to Paris, surterranea to subterranea settings with the most intense battling between The Innocents and the Mantid Tranquil … With a rapid pace and twist after twist the resolution will leave one confident The Innocents are indeed protected, but by whom exactly will be for the reader to decide.
5. Looks like the ninja poltergeists got to your Emerson contemporary novels (The Involvement of Emerson, The Consistency of Emerson) links too. Who is Emerson, how did he get involved, what is he consistent with, and what do you think is unique about these novels?
“The Involvement of Emerson” also exists on my Author Website Nicole *grinning* http://www.gmitchellbakerauthor.com/the-involvement-of-emerson.html They are in drop-down menus within their respective genre … As much is created in anticipation of the series of novels to follow… *winking*
(Good gods. The ninja poltergeists have stolen my *brain*. – N.)
“The Involvement of Emerson” is the first in a four novel series about Jon Emerson, no longer the arrogant legal professional and sovereign over meaningless relationships, who eventually experiences meaningful connections. Jon eventually experiencing meaningful relationships with the likes of Bug Dog, Chilly, Lutza, Speedy G, Abra, and Dana who all, in their own way remind, and sometimes teach Jon to remain involved in his Childrens’ lives and to honor their need for their father to remain involved. The second novel is “The Consistency of Emerson” is about how once involved, a father must be consistently involved. This project is in editing with MKSP and will be followed by “The Awareness of Emerson” and finally “The Nurture of Emerson”. To learn more about what others have to say about “The Involvement of Emerson, follow this link to my Author website where Reviews and Blurbs are posted, http://www.gmitchellbakerauthor.com/book-reviews–blurbs.html
Here is a link to the FB Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/TheInvolvementOfEmerson?ref=hl
6. You’ve got original artwork on your web site which I would describe as weird, humorous, occasionally Picassoian and fun. In particular the “Mantis In The Snow” piece which looks sort of like a fossil at the Royal Ontario Museum. Was this a mantis who didn’t get out of Canadian Dodge before the first snowstorm of the season hit? And do you ever incorporate your artwork into your novels? Do you design your own novel covers?
“Mantis in the Snow” is an example of bringing two very different ideas, theme together to create something original and interesting. I like to leave it to the observer’s imagination to bring a story to creative efforts like this project. As for the weird, humorous, occasionally Picassoian fun I guess it is a fun measure to have such diverse comment and good company mentioned in one sentence… I always strive for original and interesting … I hope I have achieved as much…
I have created a cover for “ANNT: Axiom” the first SCI-FI novel in the Adaptable Neo-Nature Technology series now out of print … I have not made a concerted effort to do more covers, because I find the art/cover teams I am fortunate to work with do such a fantastic job bringing original and interesting ideas to the table. I find that writing is my passion and I also like the art, but if I am to prioritize, which I have to … the writing comes first and I in turn receive a lot of enjoyment from working with great artists and people bringing out the best in each and every project.
This just in, because Mitchell didn’t get back to me in time last night to answer my final questions: As you must surely be dying to know, Mitchell is originally from New Mexico (that’s in the U.S.) and is now residing in Alberta (yeah, the one in Canada – the Texas province!) He is a dual Merk-Canuck citizen and carries dual passports which I didn’t know you could do! So, like, maybe I should go get my Canadian passport even though I just re-upped my American one last year?
Well anyway, check Mitchell’s web site out, folks. You know he’s totally committed to respect, professionalism, and support! Plus he knows stuff about the entertainment industry that you don’t. His web site is Anything But A Tired Barn where he notes that “any reasonable offer for original and interesting conversation will not be refused.” Take him at his word! He’s also got excerpts of his novels and book reviews. And some wicked good (i.e., fun!) art.
Anyone who’s following the Rob Ford Follies in Toronto – and at this point, having made the international news and late-night comedy shows, is there anyone who isn’t? – knows that our mayor has brought a whole new level of stupid to politics undreamt-of by even George W. Bush. In fact, if the infamous alleged video of the Mayor allegedly smoking crack surfaces, his colossal lack of good judgment, considering how many political enemies he has, will be rivaled by only one other master-level political example of unthinkably poor judgment: Bill Clinton, whose Slick Willy handed the ‘vast right-wing conspiracy’ a scandal on a silver platter – or more to the point, on a blue dress.
The problem isn’t just in politics. Stupidity is everywhere. It’s rampant. It’s endemic. It’s taken over the entire National Rifle Association and turned the membership into babbling, conspiracy-mongering Koolaid zombies. Fox News correspondents (male, of course) are horrified to think that the number of female American breadwinners is growing. Meanwhile, others (all men) babble on about how rape babies are a gift from God and that few babies are conceived by rape anyway because women’s bodies somehow magically stop them from conceiving. In India, a woman is gang-raped and her intestines ripped out through her rectum, and in South Africa they eviscerated a gang rape victim, and idiot men argued it’s the women’s own damn fault for daring to go out in public and tempting men with their womanly wiles.
Which is not to say that women aren’t just as prone to stupidity. I offer up as prime exhibits Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Michelle Bachmann, Phyllis Schlafly, the women of Westboro Baptist Church, and of course every wife of every stupid man who actually allowed his seed into their wombs, thereby providing the world with Stupid Genes for another generation to come. And therein lies the crux of the problem: There is no incentive to not be stupid in this world.
John Waters has hit the nail on the head: Don’t shag stupid people. There’s only one way to take our world back from the morons in it, and that’s to stop shagging them.
You: Hey gorgeous, what are you reading these days?
S/he: Reading? Oh, I don’t read much. But you’re really cute!
You: Oh my, will you look at the time!
You: What’s your favourite news show?
S/he: Fox News.
Shagging stupid people encourages them to just continue being stupid. Feminists ask whether there’d still be men who rape and abuse women if women refused to be with men like that, so why don’t we extrapolate on that? Everyone wants to get laid, right? What if no one would shag you until you got a brain? The Greeks believed, Mens sana in corpore sano, which means A healthy mind in a healthy body. What if we took that to heart? Just think: Charlie Sheen would be goddess-free. The Kardashian line would go the way of the dinosaurs. Al Qaeda would die out from chronic horniness (or they’d shag each other, which is hardly unknown in the Middle East, but they couldn’t reproduce at least). Only intelligent, level-headed people would be alive to own guns.
When you shag only smart people, then only smart babies are born. The chronically stupid and unlaid weep and wail and gnash their teeth and join the Tea Party but eventually they either get a library card or die of terminal masturbation. The rest of us would go into politics or business and get shit done.
In Aristophanes’s play Lysistrata, Greek women protested their men’s absence while they fought wars by refusing to have sex with them when they returned. They holed themselves up in a fortress until the men agreed to their terms.
It’s time for another Sexual Revolution: Lysistrata, Part Deux, and this one’s for everyone! Men can take part in it too! Everyone agree to only shag smart people. Send a strong message to the Stupids of the world: You will never know the touch of someone else’s DNA unless you pull your head out of your ass.
SEX: You have to be smart enough to ride this ride!
Good Goddess, I have a Queen. Sometime this year I’ll actually be swearing an oath to her as the final step in becoming a full-blown red-and-white-blooded-and-maple-syrup-flavoured Canadian citizen. (And yes, before you ask, a dual citizen with the United States.) Queen Elizabeth II is the Sovereign Head of State in the Canadian Commonwealth and who, up until a few years ago, well 2005 precisely when I moved to the Great White North, she was, uh, how shall I put this? A big joke in our family. Along with all the rest of her royal lot.
We Americans don’t got much use for any stinkin’ monarchs. Kicked that babbling wackadoo King George III right out of the Colonies after throwing his damn tea in Boston Harbour.
“That’s it,” the Founding Fathers said, “no more royalty, and democracy for all!”
“Well, no,” some of the Southern representatives said. “We mean, not for, like, you know, women or Negroes.”
And everyone had a good larf at that, because of course, what were they thinking, like they were just going to extend the awesome responsibility of voting rights and freedom to a bunch of skirts and slaves?!?!
So it took awhile, with a bloody divisive war close to a century later and then a bunch of pot-rattling by some angry early feminists, but eventually everyone got the vote and America became a superpower and we laughed behind our hands at silly old England who still had a silly old monarch who didn’t really do much of anything except drain the taxpayers’ dollars, and what were they thinking, why didn’t they just fire the Windsors since it was a parliamentary democracy after all and make them get real jobs?
Oh, the fun we had with the Royal Family back when I still lived in the States.
The day Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married, my mother and I were supremely annoyed that there was nothing good on TV because like every friggin’ channel was like Charles & Diana, Charles & Diana, or UpChuck & Di as I called them, and we were so not interested in the pomp and circumstance of it all, because it was all just so bloody irrelevant in the modern day and age. Not to mention the embarrassing media focus on Diana’s alleged virginity, when Charles’ was clearly not an issue, or even in existence, because we all knew about Camilla back then too. “Are they going to hang the bloody sheets out the window like they did in the old days?” Mom sniped about the Royal First Night. Fed up with the whole nothing good on TV thing, I went upstairs and banged out on the typewriter a quick satirical play-by-play commentary of — I don’t even want to admit it here. But it was bad.
Mom loved to tell the story about how, back when she was working in New York City in the 1950s, Queen Elizabeth came to visit and they held a parade for her and Mom couldn’t be bothered to walk a few blocks to see her because who cares about a silly Queen? Ironically, Mom also goes on the loudest in the family about how little she cares about the Royal Family, but no one knows more about them than my mother, and I mean royals biographer Andrew Sullivan should be calling her for the latest updates because Mom is not only the family expert on their lineage but she says she always knows she’s not going senile if she can still name the Six Wives of Henry VIII. (Remember the BBC’s Henry VIII series that was on CBS back in the early ’70s? My parents were obsessed with that show. They even watched it while on vacation. Yeah. We didn’t care about the Royal Family. Not in the slightest.)
And now, here I am, about to take my citizenship test next week and at some future point after that I’ll be swearing an oath to the Queen of England. Yes really. Who’s not as useless as I thought back in the day, especially since, if you do the numbers, the Royal Family brings in far more tourist money than they take in taxpayer pounds sterling.
“I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.”
It took me awhile to get around the idea that I had to swear an oath to the Queen, a person I had held in little regard for most of my life. I didn’t understand why England still had a Queen when it’s a parliamentary democracy (and there are plenty of Canadians who question why Canada has a queen) but they’re earning their keep and the Queen does have some governing functions.
So, I’m okay with the Queen. And swearing allegiance to her. Hey, I swore allegiance to a piece of cloth all through grade school.
I met fellow wiseass author and sushi hound Ira Nayman at the Ad Astra sci-fi/fantasy convention here in Toronto a few years ago. Since he was the only other author besides myself flogging his humourous fiction, of course we became friends. I read his book What Were Once Miracles Are Now Children’s Toys which was some of most seriously funny s**t I’d read in a long time. If Ira ever decides to give up his wild madcap fiction writing career, he needs to write for The Big Bang Theory.
I caught up with Ira recently. Mostly because I can run faster than he.
Your books indulge in a lot of science-based or otherwise ‘geeky’ humour – where does that come from? Are you a scientist yourself, or do you just play one on TV, or did you just do a lot of weird mind-altering drugs in the Sixties while watching Wild Kingdom, Star Trek and The Jetsons?
Funny you should ask that. It’s true – and I probably shouldn’t mention this, but we’re friends, and I know you won’t spread it around – that, when I was younger, I had a terrible Coke habit. It seriously messed me up for a lot of years. I was drinking a two litre bottle a day! And, wondering why I was always bouncing off walls! I largely quit caffeinated beverages a couple of decades ago.
I recently met Peter and Allison Buck, publishers of my first novel at Elsewhen Press, who asked me a similar question. I told them (truthfully) that I don’t do mind-altering drugs of any kind – if I did, they would probably make me think like a lawyer, and Arrundel* knows we don’t need any more of them about!
I grew up reading the ABCs of science fiction (Asimov, Bradbury and Clark), among others. And, in keeping with my classical background, I watched such TV shows as (the original) Star Trek and Time Tunnel and movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running. They certainly primed me to write science fictiony things. Today, I read two newspapers a day (they contain a lot of current science and technology news) and I have subscriptions to Scientific American and Scientific American Mind to keep up with the latest science news.
This is by no means the only thing I write. Readers of my Web site (Les Pages aux Folles) will find a lot of articles of political and social satire, as well as cartoons that provide a surreal take on relationships. I focus on promoting the science fictiony humour because a few years ago – and this was a real shock to me – I looked around and saw that there were no satire conventions. I know, right? Who doesn’t want to pay an outrageous amount of money for an autographed picture of Art Buchwald? Our society has some strange priorities.
Oh, and I would appreciate it if we kept my ass out of this. It may be wise (although, to be honest, it often feels dumb), but it is overly sensitive to the possibility that an interview like this will make it look fat.
* Arrundel is the leader of the digital gods (like Odin, but without the penchant for aftershave that smells like burning wood chips). He first appeared in an Alternate Reality News Service article (“Digital Gods: Appendix A: Digital Gods”) which can be found on my Web site and will appear in one of my next collections in print. He and other digital gods will also appear in a chapter of the novel I am currently working on, which is why I am risking blaspheming by using his name in this context.
Having actually seen your ass*, I can assure it it’s not at all fat, it’s just pleasingly round and firm and fully packed (rather a lot like a pack of Lucky Strikes. There. Your ass has just now been compared to a long thin rod of cancer-packed death. I hope it feels better). And I certainly hope you’re not receiving any hate mail from the Canadian government or the Republicans for being so up-to-snuff with the latest and greatest science news. But one must wonder: As a Canadian, your work refers far more to American politics and culture than Canadian. Is that because we only have enough Canadians in our country to stuff an envelope and you’d starve trying to make a living here, or are you a self-hating Canadian, or are the rumours true that we’re really as boring as everyone thinks we are?
*Only in a sushi restaurant and fan shows. Mr. Nayman and I have never even suffered a chance meeting at Hanlan’s Point, Toronto’s nude beach, as we are both required by the Geneva Convention to keep our clothes on in public at all times.
I actually write a fair amount about Canadian culture and politics on my Web site, but a lot of it is in writing that doesn’t make it into my print books. There is a bit I rather like in the novel where Canada, being a pioneer in transdimensional travel technologies research, ends up a world power because it hadn’t sold the technology to a multinational corporation fast enough. So, uhh, yeah – I do make my points about my home and native land.
You are correct, though, in pointing out that I write a lot about American politics. For me, it’s a matter of the scope of the results. When American politicians screw up, the world is plunged into war, with massive amounts of death and destruction. When Canadian politicians screw up, a few people in Petawawa (look it up) are mildly inconvenienced. Somebody once wrote that you shouldn’t hunt butterflies with cannons; as a satirist, I like to go after big game.
Also, years ago I wrote that Canadian politics is basically American politics, only 10 years later and only about 10 per cent as effective. So, I figure jokes I tell about Americans today I can tell about Canadians in a few years (the one exception being Rick Santorum: we shall never see his like again, praise the lord!) Nobody can say I’m not environmentally friendly!
* As for my ass, I tried to – oh, wait, I didn’t refer to this paragraph in a footnote above. Oh, man, this is awkward – maybe, I could – no, that wouldn’t work. What if I went * now – no, that would doom us to the curse of the recursive. You know what? I think I’ll just have to start again.**
** Aah, much better. As for my ass, I used to try to cover it up with a burka, but I was told that I would not be allowed to give testimony in trials if I did. I asked the judge if he would let me talk out of my ass behind a screen so at least it wouldn’t be seen in public, but the tabloid press subsequently accused my ass of aiding terrorists. There’s a lesson about the law in all of this, but I’m no Dickens so I’ll let better minds than mine figure it out…
Now that I think of it, I should really tell your ass to pipe down and let you do the talking because your ass has not, to my knowledge, written any books. And this is an interview with a writer, not a writer’s ass. Please tell your ass to stop interrupting.
Now. Where were we? Oh yes. I do recall some of your Canadian references in Welcome To The Multiverse, and I can see where Canadian politics might have less impact in the world than American politics. And I already know where Petawawa is, dammit – then again our American-slash-foreign readers might not. Then again, I’m not at all sure anyone outside of Petawawa knows where it is. I hope you didn’t bring down Google Maps with all the server hits there, Ira.
Anyway, do you, like, worship Douglas Adams or something? The Great Man’s influence was a bit subtler in your earlier books, but in Welcome To The Multiverse it hit me upside the head so hard I still have a migraine (but it’s the funniest migraine ever). Do you sacrifice towels to Deep Thought for inspiration or what?
My ass thanks you for you understanding.
Yeah, I get the Douglas Adams thing a lot. Do people think I wear Pangalactic Gargleblaster aftershave or something? Sure, I’m a fan of his work, and he was one influence on my writing, but only one of many. The problem is, people reading my writing expecting another Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are going to be disappointed because my writing is quite different, and, frankly, I’m allergic to pitchforks and torches.
In fact, my formative years came BEFORE Adams started writing novels; two influences which I consider more important to my development as a writer were Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the Marx Brothers. I learned two things from them that are fundamental to my writing to this day. The first is to interweave humourous elements so densely, and at every level from the overall story to each sentence and even individual words, that there is almost always something funny going. This requires a lot of comic ideas, of course, but the effect can be very satisfying.
The other thing I learned was to use all of the different comic devices at my disposal. Ordinarily, writers specialize in one or two types of humour; I try to use them all. Aburdism. Surrealism. Word play. Irony. Exaggeration. Understatement. Parody. Satire. Character-driven humour. Situation-driven humour. I try to incorporate as many different types of humour in my writing (especially my long-form writing, such as novels) as possible to keep the reader off guard, because one of the basic elements of humour is surprise.
But, uhh, that’s pretty serious, and you wanted to keep this interview light. So, umm, ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION! That’s always good for a laugh, right?
Oh really, Ira. Dick jokes? How juvenile. <snicker snicker> Okay, maybe a *little* bit funny <giggle> All right, the hell with it, ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION is funny!!! BWAAHHHHAHHAAHHAAA!!! Well okay, maybe not if you suffer from it…or are on the receiving end (or not :), so while the condition isn’t at all funny, saying ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION is !!! ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION! ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION! ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION!
There, it’s out of my system. Sorry about that but *you* brought it up <snicker snicker tee hee> So back to the serious stuff: Who’s your favourite Spice Girl?!?! Or was as the case may be. And if NASA ever sent out any more satellite thingies like Pioneer 10 with messages and artifacts for any space aliens to try to make sense of, will they send any of your books into the Great Beyond, and if found by aliens, do you think they’ll appreciate your humour as much as we Terrans do?
As for aliens appreciating my humour, that depends to some extent upon whether or not you believe in the anthropic principle (the idea that the universe evolved in order for microscopic ants to develop). If it’s true, then they would totally be into jokes about erectile dysfunction; if not, they might very well not have erectiles to be dysfunctional, and the joke would fall flatter than…you know – what? I gotta draw you a bit map?
Or, put a different way, there is a general belief that humour does not travel well because it is culturally specific. I believe that this is only partially true: some types of humour refer to people, places or ideas that only those who know about a local culture will understand, BUT, there are also types of humour that are more universal (character-driven humour, for example, since humans in pretty much all places and times have similar emotional needs and drives).
What I try and do in my writing is mix up the two types of humour so that even if people don’t get some of the cultural references (and, honestly, if you’ve never seen The Littlest Hobo, you can look it up on Google – isn’t that what Sergey Brin and Larry page created it for?). I assume I have succeeded. Although I’m Canadian, my publisher is British; clearly, there was enough humour for him to appreciate to want to publish the novel.
PS: I was always partial to Hangdog Spice. Sure, she was mopey and sad all the time, but she had…you know, some special kind of…umm…you know…err…okay, maybe I’m just into mopey and sad. Please don’t judge. Unfortunately, she was cut from the group just before they made it big (by which I mean, of course, five seconds after they had accepted her into the band, which made them realize just how much they actually wanted to be successful).
So, do you have any parting advice for aspiring humour authors? Inside intel on what it takes to get a publisher? Or who was really behind 9/11? And whether they had any ties to the Kennedy assassination, Area 54 or Justin Trudeau’s amazing poll numbers?
Advice for aspirating writers? Slow down when you eat and you are less likely to get food caught in your windpipe!
Back in my bad boy days as a University prof, I used to tell my students that if they don’t love being an artist, if they can imagine a life doing something other than creating art, they should do that instead. One of my favourite quotes is from Vaudeville and film star Eddie Cantor: “It took me 20 years to become an overnight success.” And, he was an optimist! It could take 30 or 40 years, and there is no guarantee that you will become a success (although, I find it helps to be constantly defining the term downwards).
If you love writing so much that you can’t live without it, you’ll be able to weather the constant rejections, the negative reviews, the penury (no, that’s not a dirty joke – I’d like to think we’re past that now) and the general lack of support of your friends, family and even pets. (I had a hamster once – well, no need to go into that story.) If not, you may as well go into advertising: the frustrations may be just as great, but at least the pay is better!
And, even if you aren’t ultimately a success, at least you’ve spent 20, 30, 40 or more years of your life doing what you love, and how many people can say that?
Oh, and, if we’re gonna talk conspiracies, Pompeii was an inside job!
What? Too soon?
Where can you find this seriously funny dude’s work:
WEB SITE: Les Pages aux Folles
FACEBOOK WRITER’S/FAN/WHATEVER PAGE: Ira Nayman’s Thrishty Friednishes
ARNS BOOKS: Alternate Reality News Service collections (Alternate Reality Ain’t What It Used To Be,What Were Once Miracles Are Now Children’s Toys and Luna for the Lunies!) and the novel Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience) can be purchased on Amazon.com
RADIO SERIES PILOT: The Weight of Information
NOVEL TRAILER – Welcome To The Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience), natch!
(Not to be confused with the Jonathon Livingston Seagull Writing Contest, which is awarded to the world’s most overblown and pretentiously self-important writing on aviary topics – Nicole)
Author of the novel Welcome to the Multiverse (Sorry for the Inconvenience)
(Yah yah yah…and President of Toronto and King of Canada and Emperor of the Universe and Winner of the World’s Longest Sushi Lunch 2013 – Nicole)
and Luna for the Lunies! (available online through Amazon, Indigo/Chapters and others)
Forget Blade Runner‘s Roy Batty or Arnie’s Terminator. The biomimetic robots (inspired and designed by biological creatures) the U.S. military and bored scientist geeks in American universities are building around the country is enough to give even a badass like Lieutenant Ripley the willies.
The last time I checked in with robots, the coolest, most state-of-the-art device was this cute li’l robo-doggie named Aibo that teenage hackers were modding to make it disco dance, play with your cat, and watch the house.
Forget cute and titanium-cuddly. Forget Robin William’s warm and fuzzy Bicentennial Man. Forget the silly lame-assery of Sheldon Cooper’s and Barry Kripke’s silly robot wars – today’s bleeding-edge biomimetic robots featured on Wired Magazine’s web site will give you a worse case of the heebie-jeebies than either President Obama/Wayne LaPierre (pick your nightmare) training the attack drones currently terrorizing Iraq onto Texas/Washington DC (pick your nightmare). David Cronenberg couldn’t come up with ideas this creepy.
Some of the robots are kind of fun and cool, like the robo-salamander. This is the sort of thing you’d use to scare your little brother in the kiddie pool by yelling, “SNAKE! SNAKE!” and who’d be too freaked out to notice that the snake has “legs” and that you’re controlling it with some remote-control doohickey. And then there’s the Rat-Bot, which I’ll admit I’m once again liking for less-than-lofty-educational purposes as I can just imagine the reaction of my cat if I were to set this little robo-sucker loose on the living room floor:
Sic ‘em, Fluffy!!! I think I’ll call him Willard.
On the other hand, the Snake-Bot that can strangle you if it’s thrown at your head? Not so cool. The hummingbird spybot? Also not very cool. Especially if you live in a penthouse apartment in a gigundous super-sky-rise and you can’t figure out how you and your wife became the latest YouTube video viral sensation while testing out a brand-new sex toy with some acrobatic positions that you can’t even find in the Kama Sutra, maybe you can blame that rotten teenage kid who lives below you and that lousy Christmas present he got from his dad who works at DARPA.
Even worse is the Spiderbot, an actual dress for the woman who’s got absolutely everything except a Spiderbot dress, and which is the stuff of my very worst nightmares, mostly involving Australia:
However I can see practical applications for this dress for, say, women in India who want to take the bus at night to go see a movie.
Speaking of weaponized insects, nothing beats the U.S. Air Force’s killer MAVs (Micro Air Vehicles) which will “revolutionize” future warfare. Forget those silly giant ants in Them! or the The Deadly Mantis. You will laugh in the face of oversized insects after you’ve faced a swarm of lethal bugs that look like old-school computer memory chips with wings and a mandate to liquidate your ass. Or to be more specific, your head, since they can pop a cap in it:
If you think the Middle East hates us now over the attack drones, which you can at least see coming, wait’ll you see how badly they want to blow us up over these nasty little surprises.
I think the thing that scares me more about the hybrid mule/dog robot is not that it can fling actual cinder blocks (useful, I suppose, if you just can’t nail your beer-swilling, heavy metal-playing frat-boy neighbour with the Strangling SnakeBot), but that it does this really freaky little marching dance that simultaneously reminds me of a sweet little dog flattening the grass before he drops a load, and the horribly automated goose-stepping of a massive robo-Nazi invasion:
And if that’s not bad enough, its cousin AlphaDog looks rather a lot like Mule-Dog-Robo-Terror, except it’s got just a red light bulb for a head, and when it moves it looks more like a horrible giant mutant headless spider that can outrun you when they become our new robot overlords!!!
Although it’s impressive how that little Nazi two-step enables it to climb over rough terrain which means, what, I guess, that we can’t escape this nightmarish army of headless spider-like mule-dog terrors by running through the Rockies? You can’t even push the bastards over! Now just imagine how terrifying this scenario will be when some NRA asshole outfits them with fricking lasers on their heads!
And don’t think you’ll be able to escape its evil ass through the woods and getting it stuck in the mud, either:
Doesn’t it kind of look like kind of a horrible robo-pig? The one thing it doesn’t do is root for truffles. Which would be actually @#$%ing useful. Yeah, sure, I want this thing following me around in the trees like a faithful puppy dog, just in case, like, I should run into one of those cinderblock-chucking Nazibots or maybe a swarm of robo-flies.
But let’s take a break from the ani-mules for a moment. Here’s the creepiest one yet: A man-like robot – actually a half-man-like robot – that is actually supposed, eventually, to be a rescue robot:
Oh yeah, that’s what I want to see charging up the stairs to rescue my ass from the aliens or the zombies or Al-Qaeda. Um, can you at least make it look like half-a-George-Clooney? And maybe give it a bigger head so AlphaDog can get its own head back?
Things this terrifying subhuman robot reminds me of: The cargo robot from Aliens; the Empire’s attack robots in The Empire Strikes Back; Robocop; and of course, The Terminator. After it had lost its Arnie skinsuit.
If I see that damn thing coming for me, I think I’d rather stick with whoever’s holding me hostage. Although I might try to make my Grand Escape just because I fear the rescuer more than the alien zombie terrorists who have me. Not that I will probably get very far, Robo-Half-A-Man will probably just whistle for the Goose-Stepping Nazi Mule-Dog-Thingy which will pick me up by the back of my jeans and chuck me over the compound fence just as easily as it throws a cinder block.
All joking hysterics aside, it’s actually pretty impressive to see how far robots have come, despite some of the more obviously unpleasant abuses to which some of them will be applied, like increased surveillance and possible execution after being stalked by flying Packard Bell ROM chips. Fifteen years ago I read about the advances in robotics in one of Michio Kaku‘s books and he said it would be quite some time before we saw robots that could behave in human-like ways – walking, running, etc., as leg action in particular was proving to be quite a challenge. I guess his idea of “quite some time” and mine differ greatly – I was thinking, like, human robots by the time I’m old enough to live in a wheelchair? Rather than, How much longer before I can have my own personal George Clooneybot?
Either Amazon readers are the worst spellers ever, or Rick Santorum is managing the search function at Amazon. I found the most amazing thing the other night while looking for good keywords for Sumer Lovin’. If you’re looking to find information about ‘penis’ or ‘vagina’, don’t type a space after penis, and misspell ‘vagina’.
Why was I looking for penis and vagina – or vaginna, as it’s spelled in the Amazon search function? Actually, I wasn’t looking for dick at all, what I did was to type ‘vagina dentata’ into the search function but I noticed after I typed the word ‘vagina’ there was no dropdown menu of optimized words or phrases for ‘vagina’.
When you type something into Amazon’s search function a drop-down menu lists all the most searched-for key words and phrases associated with it. I was looking for new keywords for my own book Sumer Lovin’, which draws on ancient Sumerian religion and mythology, so, for example, when I type “Sumerian” into Amazon search, the drop down lists ‘Sumerian tablets’. ‘Sumerian language’, ‘Sumerian mythology’, etc., which shows me which are the most popular searches for the word ‘Sumerian’. My novel also focuses on mythological male fears about the vagina, and I mentioned the ‘vagina dentata‘ in my novel, and that was how I discovered that if you type ‘vagina’ into Amazon search, with or without a space after it, you won’t find anything about vaginas in the drop-down menu.
It’s not like you can’t find vagina-related products on Amazon, if you hit ‘enter’ after typing vagina, you will find a list of vagina toys, not to mention a book called The Haunted Vagina. (Yes really.) Along with, of course, The Vagina Monologues.
But if you type in ‘vagin’ without the ‘a’, you will find a drop-down menu listing for ‘vaginna pictures’ as well as ‘vaginna tighteners’. Interestingly, you can find other vagina-related words spelled properly, like ‘vaginismus’ and ‘vaginitis’.
That’s what led me to look for dick, as it were, on Amazon. I tried typing in ‘penis’ and I found that it does conjure a drop-down menu, but not with the word ‘penis’ separately. If you’re looking for a ‘penisenlarger’ or ‘penisextender’ you’ll find it as a compound word, but if you type a space after ‘penis’, you find nothing. Although, as with ‘vagina’, if you hit ‘enter’ you will find all kinds of marvelous penis-enhancing products, from toys to books and pills to help you get that larger, thicker, longer, more massive dick than whatever it is you’ve already got.
It’s hard for me to believe that all Amazon seekers of penis and vagina information can’t spell the words properly. I don’t know why this is happening on Amazon search but I’m curious. Googling on it revealed nothing. If anyone knows why you can’t find dick or vadge on Amazon, I’d really love to know!
Survey data compiled by a Northeastern University sociologist shows that less than a quarter of Americans will ever use math more advanced than what you learned in the third grade. No surprise that upper white collar employees use more advanced math, what’s surprising is that upper blue collar employees came in second. The rest of us will never have to divide radicals after our senior year finals until some future Thanksgiving when you have to separate the blue-state family members from the red-state family members at separate tables. Maybe even separate rooms. Or separate counties.
I didn’t listen to my parents about a good many things that I wish now I had, but I was right about one thing as I sat at the kitchen table lo these many years ago with tears streaming down my face and battling two parents who threatened that I’d be “slinging hash” for the rest of my life if I didn’t do well in school, and that’s when I’d yell that I’d never need any of this math stuff when I was out of school. (The “slinging hash” comment never resonated much with me, mostly because I had no idea what slinging hash was.)
I don’t know how much of my life I spent in my father’s den doing math homework, without the radio because Mom insisted I needed to concentrate, but I can tell you a good portion of it was spent playing with Dad’s slide rule, rifling through the drawers in the desk to see if I could find something interesting, trying to figure out the French words on the spare condiment jars my father kept pens and paper clips in, and spinning around in the office chair until I thought I was going to throw up. Not a lot of concentrating went on, because I knew I was never going to go outside and play, because once I finally completed those twenty math problems, I’d have to wait while Mom checked them over, and then correct all the ones I’d gotten wrong, which was pretty much all of them, so I knew I was lucky if I had time to do anything more fun than brushing my teeth before bedtime.
At some point the homework went beyond Mom’s ability to understand it, so my father got the responsibility of dragging me kicking and screaming through long division, factoring, algebra, and then geometric proofs. I was a pretty thick student and he had to explain stuff over and over until he must have surely been ready to scream that there was no way this idiot child could possibly be the fruit of his loins, Mom must have had an affair with the mailman or something, because my father was an engineer who worked on the space program in the ’60s and helped to put a man on the moon, and even my mother, no mathenaut herself, wasn’t this thick.
Subsequent efforts to hide math homework from my parents so that I could go out and play were foiled one day when Mom found it carefully hidden in my eyeglasses case. Plus, they got a clue from my report cards that maybe I needed some help, or a good swift kick in the arse to get the homework done at all.
Several Presidents later, I can no longer factor equations or even convert miles and quarts to metric (Damn Canadians!) and I will die without my calculator. My father somehow managed to drag me through twelve years of public school math, and there it ended because math wasn’t required for my university major. Dad accomplished it all without ever raising his voice or telling me I was stupid. It was all for naught, of course, because the main reason why I so quickly un-learned all these valuable skills is because I never used them after graduation. And I still don’t know what “slinging hash” is but I’m pretty sure, as an IT sales geek, I’m getting paid better than most hash-slingers.
Fast forward sixteen years after my last math class and I, the computer wiz in the family by virtue of my newly-adopted computer sales job, was tasked with getting my parents up and running on the Internet.
There is nothing that strikes fear in the heart of IT geeks quite like a senior citizen with a computer.
It was about 1995 or so when I first set up Mom & Dad on the Internet, and until the day he passed on a few years ago, my father could still just send and receive email okay as long as nothing ever went wrong with his computer, Outlook, or the Internet, and hey, how often does that ever happen?
And I’d get the Phone Call. “Nicole, the computer is–” “I’ve got this error message–” “How do I–” “What does ‘fatal error’ mean?”
And I had to explain to him, over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again how to find a file, how to change his settings, how to scan a picture, how to print out the picture you just scanned…and I couldn’t lose my temper and yell, not ever, because he’d had the patience of Job when dragging me through the simplest math problems back when Richard Nixon still enjoyed fairly decent approval ratings.
Karma. It always comes back on you. With a vengeance!
I met Toronto erotica fiction writer Eden Baylee through my publisher Deux Voiliers Publishing. My interest was piqued by someone who wrote erotica in such a notoriously uptight city as this, but also because she’d quit her lucrative job at a bank to write full-time – a dream of many authors but very difficult to realize unless you plan very carefully financially or hit it big early on, which happens to only a very, very few.
I’m pleased she consented to an interview for my blog. Check out her books on Amazon.
How would you describe your genre of fiction?
My writing spans different genres. It’s been called erotica, erotic romance, literary erotica, erotic literature, women’s fiction, and even straight romance. I also write flash fiction, poetry, and I’m moving into erotic thrillers next.
What prompted you to write in this particular genre?
I’ve always enjoyed “edgy” storytelling. The psychology of human reactions and emotions fascinate me. Sexuality is obviously high on the list for what motivates us as people.
What path have your marketing efforts taken you on the road to success?
If there’s a virtual network out there, I’m probably on it. Without social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and my blog, marketing my books would be much more tedious and expensive.
Writing is a job for me, and what I earn has to support how I want to live, or it simply becomes a hobby. The goal is to have my writing pay the bills and have money left over for leisure. I’m not there yet. Thankfully, I planned for other sources of income for a while. “Making it” will never just be about the number of books I sell although that is important. It’s more about living the life I want to live on a daily basis. It goes without saying I love to write.
Many authors, particularly women, who write spicy fiction run into resistance from their families. How has your family reacted to your books?
Wonderfully. My mother was concerned with my change in career from a secure banker’s job to a writer, but what I write was never an issue.
Where do you think “erotica” is going in the future?
It’s hard to say. Just when you think it’s going nowhere, you get E.L. James’ books skyrocketing to the bestseller lists. Trends come and go, so I don’t chase them. All I’m concerned with is what I am writing at the moment.
Have you explored the thriving swinger/fetish/kink subculture in Toronto? If so, how does that impact your writing?
As with research for any project, it can only help to know more about a topic before writing about it. Having said that, exploration comes in many forms. Stephen King did not have to kill anyone before he wrote a murder scene into his book. As a writer of fiction, I depend on the combination of experience, research, and imagination to fuel my stories just like any other author.
I’ve been told my work is romantic, though I don’t set out with this as a goal. It’s a by-product of writing about relationships and love. I’m not particularly romantic at heart.
You quit a lucrative job in banking to become a full-time novelist. How has that gone for you so far? Would you advise other novelists who dream of becoming full-time writers to do what you’ve done?
I love what I do, but I planned for it, and it was the right decision for me. Obviously, each person must look at his/her own situation to decide on becoming a full-time writer. My only advice is: Don’t expect it to be easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. Ask yourself: Would you quit your job to become a fashion designer/pianist/filmmaker unless you had the proper skills, knew the market, and had financial resources to support you until you became successful? Of course not.
Writing is a skill, so learn it, and selling books is a whole different ballgame altogether. Learn about that too.Dreams are wonderful when supported by viable plans that give them a chance to become reality. I’m an optimistic dreamer, but at my core—I’m a realist.
How do you come up with such professional-looking covers?
I use professionals. That includes buying the photos that make up the covers. It’s important to ensure the images are high resolution and the design is attractive and tells a story. A cover is the first impression most readers have of a book, and you know the old adage – you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
I received this tip early on from my mentor Kate Austin, a multi-published erotica author. At the time, I was lamenting to her about the rejections I had received. Her response was “Sometimes persistence is even more important than talent and you’ve got both.” I’ll never forget those words, and I feel very fortunate she helped me establish a strong work ethic early on.
For me, writing is a marathon, not a sprint.
Any final thoughts?
Yes, thanks so much Nicole for interviewing me. I look forward to meeting you for a coffee very soon.
Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. Incorporating some of her favorite things such as travel, culture, and a deep curiosity for what turns people on, her brand of writing is sensual, sexual, and literary.
Spring into Summer is her second collection of erotic novellas and the companion piece to Fall into Winter. Her latest release is a book of erotic flash fiction and poetry called Hot Flash. Currently, she has eight titles available via Amazon.
Belladonna, my black demon beast, developed epilepsy a few years ago and after suffering another attack last week, my vet decided it was time to put him on medication. I’d hoped cat medications had made some progress since the last time I had to give a cat some meds, about twenty-five years ago in what my mother and I liked to call the Pepto Bismol Incident.
Circa 2013, no such ucklay on the edicalmay advancesay. No mist you can spray in Monsieur’s face. No ear drops you can sneak in when he’s not paying attention. For most cat owners this wouldn’t be a problem but Belladonna is the world’s pickiest eater. He will eat his dry kibble and nothing more. Not into canned cat food. Not into people food. (My last cat would try to steal it right off my plate.) Not into kitty treats. Not even into nice crunchy houseflies like Mephisto was.
Fortunately, I was working from home today so I had more time to deal with this. First attempt: Wrapped it in one of those “pill pockets” (salmon-flavoured). As expected, Monsieur wouldn’t touch it. So I tried a dab of peanut butter on my finger, concealing it. Monsieur wasn’t going for that, either. Figured I’d do like I did when he was a kitten and needed hairball remedy; I smeared it on his nose. He shook the pill off. I tried to jam it down his throat (Carpe cattus!) but try holding onto a panicked cat when he knows you’re trying to jam a pill down his throat. I’m lucky I didn’t lose a finger. He ran around half the morning with peanut butter all over his face. I know all kitties are weird, but I swear Belladonna takes the Grand Prize in weirdness. What cat doesn’t love canned cat food or treats? Who wants to eat the same damn thing day in and day out, year after year? And what cat isn’t rigorously clean about crap on his fur?
So, I hadn’t replenished his food bowl. I figured when he was hungry enough he’d eat the pill in the pocket, then he could get fed. By lunch time I thought he was on a hunger strike. I tried various foods out of my fridge to see if he’d eat any; if he did, I’d grind up a pill and poke it within or mix it up. We eliminated tomato sauce, cream cheese, salad dressing, marinade, tofurkey, butter, and veggie fake meat in short order.
I thought we might have scored a hit, finally, with Parmesan cheese. I pulled out a small lump of the grated kind and offered it to Monsieur who licked it down to about half its size. But, he wasn’t interested, of course, as soon as I mixed some in with the pill.
I began to suspect incipient anorexia, brought on by bad role models in the fashion industry.
I figured when he was hungry enough he’d eat the pill pocket. Well, no such luck. So I bought some tuna fish on the advice of his aunty, the lady who graced me with his furry black presence ten years ago, but guess what, Belladonna is the ONLY CAT IN THE WORLD WHO DOESN’T LIKE TUNA FISH! I have canned cat food we’re going to try next. I hope he likes it because it’s all he’s getting.
So far, the score is Shakey-Quakey Kitty 1, Mom 0.
I’m considering asking the vet if we should just consider electroshock.
Not for Belladonna. For me.
It supposedly takes 5,000 sales for a novel to become a best seller in Canada and I’m on my way. Sumer Lovin’ is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through Red Tuque Books, my publisher’s distributor for libraries and independent book stores, although anyone can order through them, and can even order one copy. The book is not currently available at Cole’s/Indigo’s/Chapters, the only book store chain in Canada, as there is no agreement in place at this time with them. Right now, until the end of April, Deux Voiliers Publishing is holding the Best Seller Challenge to encourage people to help make Sumer Lovin’ a best seller in Canada. You can find it on Facebook or right here if you’re not on Facebook.
The publisher passed on a link to a TED talk done by a gal named Chen Lizra with the comment that she seems an awful lot like Lamashtu – a statement with which I must heartily agree! Hope Ms. Lizra is flattered rather than offended to be compared to the crotch-killing scorpion psychopath of Sumer Lovin’ – Lamashtu is a hot chick with a jones for male virgins and a hatred for the very young. She’s trying to get her powers back and you just know no good can come of that. However, Lamashtu is also a drop-dead gorgeous seductive demi-goddess, with brown skin and long chocolatey hair, and Chen Lizra is the author of My Seductive Cuba – A Unique Travel Guide which led to her TED talk on the intriguing subject, The Power of Seduction. Check out the sexy little samba lap dance she does for the TED host and then tell me she’s not trance-channeling Lamashtu! At least that irresistibly seductive charm. Although hopefully without the fatal scorpion death of an encounter with Lamashtu, for whom le petit mort always ends in……le grand mort!!!
The Power of Seduction In Our Everyday Lives
I’d sure like to see Ms. Lizra try this in Toronto! Toronto guys aren’t quite as, uh, receptive to the powers of seduction as apparently Cuban men are, and I strongly suspect Ms. Lizra might scare them more than titillate them :) Hmmm….maybe she does have the power to kill with seduction, and she doesn’t even know it…!
I’m sure she’s much nicer than Lamashtu, but damn, my publisher was right – she sure as hell matches the physical description I give of Lamashtu! I should point out that I did not in fact make up Lamashtu – she’s from Sumerian mythology, which claimed “the space between her legs was like a scorpion.”
When I found that while Googling for female villains one night, I thought, “SCORE!” (Hey, women so rarely get to be the villains in anything.) And then I thought, “People are going to think I’m some kind of a sick #$%& for thinking that up!” So it wasn’t me, folks, it was some totally messed-up ancient dead Sumerian dude! And it was most likely a dude and not some hot Sumerian uber-feminist chick, either. Fears of women’s killer vajayjays feature in other legends like the dreaded vagina dentata and demonstrate male fear of women’s seductive power over them.
And, for the record, I didn’t invent that messed-up demon with the giant ding-dong who shows up near the end, either! Once again, blame the Sumerians!