The Trollops Have Been Released!

IT’S HERE!
It’s here! It’s here!

And yeah. I’m late. It’s a day that ends in “y,” did you really expect anything less from me?

Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee is available on Amazon! Get it today! Or tomorrow! Or next week after your paycheck gets deposited! No pressure!

35 reader reviews are in so far and they all say what we already knew to be true: the book is awesome.

From the press release:

Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee blends more than forty heart-warming, funny, and authentically told stories about the craziness of being reared and raised with the hard-hitting anecdotes that keep mothers sane. Whether it’s a traditional lesson about the value of money or a hilarious outtake about the proper way to shave, any person who cherishes their mother will relate to the stories in the book.

“When you were growing up, your mother’s advice might have made your eyes roll in exasperation, squeeze shut in frustration, or tear up with emotion—all in one conversation. Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee brings you back to those days, in a very good way,” says J.D. Bailey, humorist and creator of Honest Mom®.

Mike Cruse, blogger at Papa Does Preach, shares Bailey’s sentiments. “We spend our youth thinking our parents are crazy, lame, and have no idea what they’re talking about; and then we become parents ourselves and find out that we, in fact, were the idiots. This book shares some of the best advice received from moms as told by some of the most hilarious authors writing today.”

See? You won’t be disappointed!

 

 

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Letter To Monkey-Butt

Author’s note: I wrote the following piece based on the essay theme, “Letters To Children As They Leave The Nest.” My oldest is several years away from exploring the world on her own but time moves so quickly that her adulthood will be here before I know it. It’s been quietly sneaking up on me since the day she was born.

* * * * *

My Funky Little Monkey-Butt,

Your car is packed full of everything you own and it’s sitting in the driveway, patiently waiting to whisk you off toward your future and far away from me. I took the liberty of putting an emergency hammer and seatbelt cutter in the glove compartment between the two front seats, and there’s a new umbrella and a heavy duty LED Maglite in the pocket of your driver’s side door. The flashlight shines so brightly you could send Morse code signals to the International Space Station if you wanted to, but it also doubles as a blunt force weapon. You know, just in case you accidentally summon aliens to your location instead of a tow truck or something.

While you’re out there driving through the world alone, please try not to let your fuel level fall below a quarter of a tank. Your dad lovingly refers to me as “Gas Troll” because I nag him about that same thing whenever we’re on road trips together, but the truth is when you’re traveling unfamiliar roads it can be hard to tell how far away the next gas station might be. You never know when there will be an emergency (think zombie apocalypse or a sharknado) and you’ll need to travel a long distance at a moment’s notice without having the opportunity to stop for gas first.

I realize that I’m sort of rambling right now. That’s because I’m finding it hard to know what to say to you. This moment came too soon. I’m not really sure how it happened but the last eighteen years seem to have passed by us in an instant; one minute you were the tiny redheaded infant who was snuggled so tightly in my arms and in the next you’ve become the beautiful and determined young woman who’s reading this letter. After all of those occasions when I joked about the first day of school being “Adult Christmas”, marveling at how much I genuinely enjoyed the peace and quiet of the house whenever the bus pulled away and took you to school, I honestly thought that I would be ready for today. I’m not. Letting you go is hard for me, but I’m doing the best I can to accept the reality of you reaching adulthood. You’re going places, kiddo. I hate that I won’t be there with you to make sure that you’re okay. At the same time, I’m incredibly excited for you. I promise I won’t become one of those creepy mothers who lives vicariously through her children’s experiences, though.

You already know pretty much everything there is to know about the world, don’t you? Pay attention to my advice, anyway. Humor your mother just one more time because I’m not going to be in your face every day, making sure that you’ve eaten a healthy breakfast, checking to see that you have everything you need before you head out the door, asking if you’ve charged your cell phone…

Speaking of which: please keep your phone charged. You’re absolutely terrible at that! How hard is it to remember to toss your phone on the charger for a little while every day or so? Good grief. Memorize a few important phone numbers, while you’re at it. We’ve come to rely so heavily on technology – dialing folks by programmed name alone – that we no longer need to recall the critical details for making contact. If you’re ever placed in a foreign jail cell and the authorities have confiscated your cell phone, or if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and your phone has died because (once again) you forgot to charge it, you’ll be lost and/or imprisoned forever. As your mother, I do not want you to suffer such a lonely fate. I’ll admit I’ve got to get better at this, too; I still don’t know your dad’s new cell number and he’s had it for over a year.

You have a recent copy of the Rand McNally Road Atlas in your car and a couple of fancy GPS apps on your phone, but do you know where you’re going? A thousand bucks says you don’t, and you know what? That’s normal. Grownups love to preach about the importance of furthering your education, of finding a career to be passionate about right away and jumping head-first down the appropriate chute to get there as soon as possible. You’re barely out of high school. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life. And it’s okay to change your mind later on. You’re going to experience so much personal growth and change during your twenties that you might end up in a completely different place than you’re imagining for yourself today. Life is one big adventure and you have to find your own way, even if it’s more of a puke-inducing roller coaster than it is a corporate ladder.

As your escapades begin, consider applying for a passport as soon as possible. They take weeks to process and you never know what kind of amazing, spur-of-the-moment travel opportunity may be offered to you through your college, your employment, or your social circles. You, my sweet girl, have inherited your mother’s gypsy spirit. Embrace it. Experience as much of the world as you can because it is a magical place full of interesting people and untold stories.

Along the way, you are going to make mistakes. While you’re young and flexible, learn what you can from them. When you’re old and gray (and hopefully not too crippled by osteoporosis – make sure you take your calcium supplements regularly), look back and laugh at all of the ridiculous blunders you made. Educate, entertain, and terrify future generations by sharing your anecdotes of what-not-to-do. No matter what happens, don’t ever allow your errors to define the person you are. Don’t let them scare you away from taking chances at any point in your life because you just never know how things will turn out. At the same time, don’t be afraid to change the things that aren’t working for you. You get one chance at this particular life, you shouldn’t settle for anything that – or anyone who – makes you feel inferior or unhappy. You are a wonderful person. You’re intelligent, tenacious, beautifully ironic, and so warmhearted. You deserve all the best that life has to offer.

With that being said, not every thing is going to go your way all of the time. I wish I could guarantee you that it will, but let’s be honest – it won’t. Quite frankly, circumstances will occasionally turn into complete shit no matter what you do. That’s the unpredictable nature of life. Try your best to accept those indeterminate challenges that lay ahead because they’ll make you stronger. They’ll hopefully make you much wiser. They will also increase your capacity for helping others who are struggling with their own battles. I hope that you never lose your compassion for people, your empathy, or your patience. The world can be an unmerciful place and at times it will absolutely push you to your limits, but it needs you.

I need you, too.

I want you to remember that you always have a home here. Don’t let your pride stop you from coming back to the place where you grew up if that’s what you feel you need to do at some point in the future. I’m not going to turn your bedroom into an exercise room or a craft room as soon as you drive away today because we both know how much I hate exercise and crafts. This house is your home and it will always be here for you as long as your dad and I draw breath, and even after that because you’re in the will.

I love you so much. You don’t have to call me every day – in fact, I hope you have such a marvelous time that you’re not even able to – but do check in once in a while. I’ll be thinking of you, always. Well, except for maybe when I’m pooping. Or when I’m having sex with your dad because ewww…. that’s a total mood killer.

(Admit it: you’re going to miss my exquisite mental tortures. Just you wait until you have children of your own – you’re going to have so much fun passing on the legacy, I promise.)

Anyway… drive safely. Always yield to pedestrians, even if they act like douchebags and you’re tempted to run them over. That’s what daydreams are for.

Don’t pick up hitchhikers, no matter how cute they are, because serial killers are always the people we least expect. (Also, please don’t ever be a hitchhiker for that very same reason.)

Do not accept abuse from anyone. Ever. If someone abuses you in any way, get the hell out of the situation and never look back – not even once. If you need me, I will be there no matter where you are or how far I have to travel in order to reach you. I’ll even help you to dispose of the body and provide an alibi.

Practice safe sex every single time you have it because some diseases are permanent and those momentary lapses in judgement cannot be undone.

Read books more often than just once in a while.

Don’t break the bank, but do go out and enjoy live music as often as possible.

Avoid taking any drugs that are offered to you because you can’t be sure of what you’re actually being given.

Remember that it’s okay to say “no” to people; you did it all the time when you were three so I know you’re capable of it.

Try to stay positive no matter what happens in your life; things could be worse than they are and there is always someone else out there who’s got a heavier load to bear.

You’ve been blessed with the gift of effortless wit and sarcasm – use it. Humor will see you through the worst of times, and it will make the best of times even better. Never lose the ability to laugh at yourself, or at other people, or just because.

I think that’s everything. Well, not really… not even close. But you’re fixin’ to leave and I’m unfortunately out of time. I’d give anything to have more.

Go forth and conquer the world, kiddo. It’s waiting for you.

All my love,
Mom

P.S. Don’t forget to stop for gas whenever you hit 1/4 tank! I’m telling you right now, if a zombie typhoon suddenly drops out of the sky and whirls bloodthirsty havoc through your city, you’ll thank me while you speed along the highway, whistling a happy tune and leaving behind a wake of screaming victims who didn’t heed the same advice from their own mothers.

Knee-Deep In The Bowels Of Research

So yeah, I swore up and down that I was going to keep all my NaNoWriMo-ing to myself because I didn’t think anyone really gave two shits about my progress or the process. Also, I was probably a little hormonal when I wrote that.

I am not a novelist. Yet. I’m not much of a writer, either, but I am trying my hardest to remedy that. I write every day. Every. Damn. Day. Some most of that stuff never sees the light of said Day, but it still got written and that’s the point. Crap or not, at least I wrote something.

I went into this year’s NaNoWriMo pretty much exactly the same way I did last year – with no idea what in the hell I was going to write. I had the vaguest idea for a couple of story arcs. I had two characters whose names have changed a few times and who (as of this writing) have no last names. These things combined really don’t amount to 50,000 words.

And so, while I had gotten off to a start, I’ve had to spend quite a few hours just thinking. Brainstorming on digital paper the What-Do-These-Characters-Want, the Whos, the Hows, and the What-Fors. Followed by writing out the answers to all of those Questions with a capital “Q.” I’m happy to report that I’ve got the story deeply outlined, I know my story arcs, my characters and their motivations, their back-stories and personalities… I’ve made some real progress, finally.

What I have learned from my experience so far is this: research, while a royal pain in the ass sometimes, is one of the most important things you will do. “They” say that, to be a good writer, one should write what they know. Well, when the story you want to tell goes beyond that which you know, what then?

Hours of research, that’s what.

I wrote a description for a forest glade. Sounds pretty simple. Trees. Grass. It’s a fucking forest, right? How hard can that be to describe?

When it came down to writing the minutia of the setting, I realized something. I don’t know shit about plants. Or gardening in general. I know green leafy stuff grows out of the dirt when the weather is warm, and for the most part, it goes away when the weather gets cold. Beyond that, I got nothing.

Based on the month I had to write the description for and the image that I saw in my head for the scene itself, I had to hunt down plants that fell into the following categories:

• propagate and spread on their own in the wild
• bloom white flowers in April
• can live in full to partial shade
• can tolerate wet soil, you know, because it’s a shady forest
• can grow in a nondescript area that falls somewhere between zones 4-8

I also needed one plant type that worked as a hearty ground cover that would fill the glade and eventually flower (although not necessarily in April). And, I kind of wanted to have this setting glow in the moonlight later on, so I would also need things that flowered at night during the summer months. Preferably white or pale-colored flowers.

And so I researched the shit out of plants. Came up with alyssum and sweet woodruff, creeping jenny, woodland phlox, lily of the valley and four o’clocks.

Why? Why go to all that trouble for what ended up being four sentences of content (so far)?

Because all it takes is for one reader with a background in gardening to punch holes into the continuity of my story. And while the flowers, in the grand scheme of things, don’t mean jack shit to the story itself, getting them wrong holds the potential for pulling *that* reader out of the story. Because they would know it was bullshit.

Because I didn’t do enough research to make the description of the scene believable.

Now, this certainly won’t be true for those writers who are building complete worlds from the ground up, where artistic license fully takes over and they’re creating every single thing from scratch, brand new and never seen before. They get to decide what kind of flowers grow, and when, and how, and what they look like.

But for those of us whose stories operate, at least somewhat, within the confines of the real world, that research is absolutely necessary.

Think of it like this: how many times have you heard about people pointing out obvious mistakes in movie scenes? “Watch, she’s got the gun in her right hand, but when the camera flips back over to her, it’s in her holster! And then when it pans away and comes back to her two seconds later, it’s back in her hand! HAHAHAHAHAAAA! I can’t believe they didn’t catch that, it was sooooooo obvious!!”

There is even a website dedicated to those mistakes.

And books, they are not immune to that sort of scrutiny.

I’m not making excuses for falling behind in my word count. Honestly, I’m pretty damned proud about reaching the 13,000 word mark. But, I’ve come to the decision that I want those words to be right. I’m all for writing off the cuff – I have done that on and off this month and I do plan to catch up (hopefully) – but I find it very difficult, and at times impossible, to write a scene when it includes writing about something I don’t know well enough to describe.

Did you know that a merlon is the solid upright section of a battlement? You know, those dookies that go across the top of a castle or fortress? And did you know that the space between merlons is called a crenel? A series of merlons and crenels is called a crenellation, did you know that?

No?

Neither did I, until I did some lengthy research on medieval architecture this afternoon.