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Chocolate Chip Cookie Attacks Author!

No! Emphatically No!  (How many rules did I break with those exclamation points?  Side note to the was counters, there will be some.)  I do not — no matter how it may appear — intentionally plan trips to the emergency room in search of material.  (Ok, there is a lot of good stuff to be found in ERs, but trust me on this.)  I spent the past weekend at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers annual Colorado Gold conference, a fantastic experience.  (Stage aside here:  the conference is not where the Chocolate Chip Cookie Attacked the Author. They did have WONDERFUL chocolate chip cookies, but to my knowledge nobody was attacked by one – but I digress.)

Approaching my very first attendance at Colorado Gold (losing my virginity, some might say) overwhelmed me with both excitement and nervousness.  I had an appointment to pitch a novel that I’d been brain-bleeding over for several months, and although I’ve accumulated a Waffle House short-stack of rejections on a spindle, I’d never done an in-person pitch to a real live agent.  Scary, but So-o-o-o Co-o-o-o-ol.  The conference began on Friday, meaning Thursday meant dedication to preparation.  Draft the pitch, refine the pitch, practice the pitch, you know the drill. 

Thursday morning, I looked in my closet, preparing to pack for the weekend.  Bad idea, bad idea, really bad idea. I had nothing to wear.  I didn’t know the identity of the agent I’d be pitching to, but the Vegas odds favored someone from NEW YORK CITY.  Jeeze Lew-eeze, I’ve walked through Gramercy Park, strolled through Chinatown, run like hell through Little Italy.  I’ve stayed at the Gershwin Hotel, for Pete’s sake.  People dress well in New York.  OK, not necessarily the ones under a bridge in Central Park, or a couple of the places New Yorkers warn the tourists against, but generally people don’t dress like slouches.  My closet had nothing. 

Decision time.  Draft the pitch, revise the pitch, practice the pitch, or do something really important, go shopping.  Shopping won.  A few miles away from my house, a regional shopping center called Flatiron Crossing dominates the landscape.  (I could say here that the best part of Flatiron Crossing is PF Chang’s, but that would be a digression from the story.)  There are probably a bazillion stores with all kinds of cool stuff destined to bolster confidence, and make you unbelievably sophisticated and attractive, while simultaneously maxing-out every piece of plastic in your wallet.  (There is also a Mrs. Fields Cookie Shop, but this is not where the Chocolate Chip Cookie Attacked the Author either.)  The first guy showed me sport coats – $1,045.  I told him I was a fledgling writer, e.g. poor.  He showed me one for $1,900.  (I would later learn in the conference that the average published writer makes $2,000 a year.) 

Pushing my heart back into my chest, I told him I really wanted a kind of Hemingway thing, a corduroy jacket with the leather patches on the sleeves.

“We don’t have them.  Nobody makes them anymore. Good Luck, and by the way, here’s my card in case you want a real jacket someday.” 

Two hours, and a lot of floor tile later, I began to believe him and headed to my car.  In the store that I had to walk through to get from the parking lot to the mall — I’m going to repeat that to emphasize the irony — in the store that I had to walk through to get from the parking lot to the mall, something caught my eye. A camel colored corduroy sport coat with leather patches on the sleeve, in my size.

I looked at my watch and pulled a Bluto Blutarsky Holy Sh*t! I’d committed to cooking dinner, a dinner that roasted for two hours, with dinnertime ninety minutes in the future. The jacket could wait.  (Time passes here. Dinner, with the exception of Tom Jones or Babette’s Feast, is relatively boring. Think My Dinner with Andre.) Dinner was good, although a smidge delayed, and in the course of the meal, I decided to go with what hung in my closet.  We laid out clothing, tried stuff on, made important decisions then got ready for bed. Innocently, my wife posed a query, “How’s your pitch coming?” 

Arrgh. No worries, it was only a little after ten. I could whip it out and be asleep by eleven. On the way to my office, one of my brain cells reminded me that creative effort called for creative energy. Another of the little darlings offered that a bag of Chocolate Chip Cookies awaited in the pantry at the bottom of the stairs. 

The light above the stairs was off.  Again, no worries.  In the time we have lived in our house, I have descended those stairs approximately 16,953 times with only one mishap.  (In 2000, on the very day I received a promotion that meant regular air travel, a ten-week old puppy got in between my legs three steps from the bottom.  The result, eight weeks of air travel, in economy class, with a knee-high fiberglass cast – but I digress yet one more time.)  Did I mention that the light above the stairs was off?  How difficult could it possibly be to make my 16,954th descent in the dark? 

I’m going to leave out the screaming and crying here — it’s not very manly — and jump directly to the emergency room.  “I have to remove the shoe,” the nurse was matter-of-fact.  “It may be uncomfortable.” (We all know of course that ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘a little pressure’ are medical code for HURT LIKE HELL! “I could cut it off,” she continued. 

The shoe, only a few weeks old, seemed to beg me for it’s life. “No, it’s new.” 

She pulled on a lace and the pain spoke to me, “not THAT new.” She pulled on another lace and the pain spoke again, in a more assertive tone. “They’re not even that expensive. You got them 50% off an already reduced price.” 

The nurse began to pull another lace, and backed away from me as she did it. “This is the point where I sometimes get hit in the face.”

I didn’t hit her, though I admit the thought crossed my mind as she finally removed the shoe.  She turned with a gentle smile, “what about the sock?” 

“Shred that sucker.” 

At two-thirty in the morning, I finally had my Chocolate Chip Cookie.  In collusion with the light switch and the stairway, the cookie had been able to postpone, but not stem its demise.  It had not gone quietly.  My right foot, broken in three places, bore a high-tech boot straight out of Star Trek (the new one, not the old one).

At five o’clock the next morning, I scrambled to write my pitch on my notebook computer at the hotel, only to find out that the hotel’s printer was broken. I delivered my pitch from passion rather than preparation.  No notes, no time to practice, just the story in my heart.  A little over a minute in, I heard two magic words, “Send it.”

Three Chords to Freedom

An important part that music has played in the history of mankind is the expression of political views.  Although a few diseased minds have used music for oppressive purposes (think “The Horst Wessel Song” and I’m sure the idiots in the Klan have a tune or two they call favorites), music has played an important part in human freedom. Three Chords to Freedom invites you to celebrate that music.

ttfn, rlc

Another Sailor Wallpaper

We’ve added a new wallpaper featuring Sailor the infamous yellow lab.  Take a peek and [NO LONGER AVAILABLE] it for free.

Get a New Wallpaper to Express Your Day

New wallpaper from an upcoming project…

Take a peek and [NO LONGER AVAILABLE] it for free.

RMFW Colorado Gold Conference is Getting Closer

I’m really looking forward to the second weekend in September this year. The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ annual Colorado Gold conference!!!! I’m going to be a newbie this year, my first time, pop the old cherry as it were….

Hope to see you there…

ttfn, rlc

And the winner is…

I am juiced! Last night, I took part in a contest in Colorado Springs called American Icon, presented by Pikes Peak Writers. The object was for a writer to read 2 minutes of a current work in progress in front of 3 judges and a large audience.The opening for my work in progress novel “Blisters” WON in the mainstream chick-lit (yes, chick-lit) category… and they say I don’t understand women 😉

This is more cool than I could imagine, I still haven’t slept.

For more information visit [ed: you’re already here] or

ttfn, rlc

[ed: Update July 2012, the night discussed in this article began a six year relationship with Pikes Peak Writers which included being elected both VP operations and President of the organization.

Another thing about that night… I had been debating about buying a laptop computer to have more writing opportunities, and before the contest started I said to Lovely Monica, “If I win something in this, I’m going to get the laptop tomorrow.” True to form the very next day he bought a Toshiba laptop (named PETER-TOSH) that was a workhorse, outliving a couple of desktops, until November of 2011.]

Here Comes Petrov

If you want your passionate pickle to be perpetually prepared, purchase your pearly pink pills from Petrov.

Anyone who does any e-mail volume at all has certainly seen the recent flood of spam for “enhancers” and other stuff. What’s really amazing is the volume of it that comes from domains ending in “.ru”.

They must be :

a) completely out of stuff to do over there, or

b) desperately needing to utilize all the used computers left over from the cold war…

Oh, well, you can’t stop it, might as well have some fun with it.

Get your Russian spam at!


(legal stuff: Seemsfree is a fictional company, any resemblance to real companies, real people, real food, real Russians… etc. is purely unintentional… etc. etc. blah blah blah)

ttfn, rlc

Ongoing Polls Galore! Give us your opinions.

Real research blended with silliness and satire at Our Toothpaste Society.

We currently have two types of ongoing polls running on the Toothpaste Society site:

Word Use Polls:
Throughout the US and the World, there are many items that can be described with a plethora of words. To use our first poll for an example: a long piece of furniture on which one would sit can be called a sofa, divan, couch, settee, davenport… just to name a few.
Tell us the words that YOU use.

Totally Senseless Polls:
These polls are designed with a little humor and a lot of satire, keeping in mind the overall concept of the toothpaste society we live in.

You do not have to be a registered user to vote in the polls… charge ahead!

94 with a bullet!

I don’t know exactly what this means, but a few days ago, while Googling “Batting Practice”, I ran across a list from Amazon in Germany listing it at #94 in thrillers.  Thought maybe it was just a funky list until I scrolled up to see Dan Brown at both #1 and #2, with over 1,000 total entries in the list.  We’ll see what happens.

Just in case.  If you are in Germany and bought my book Danke!

If you are in Germany and you haven’t bought my book, Kaufen Sie es! “Batting Practice” (out of print).

If you are in the States — out-of-print…

ttfn, rlc