my fake people

Book #4: Meet JUST A GIRL


FW 2010

Figure 1. Hello, love. Just waiting to see what your next book looks like on the outside.


So here’s my next book’s cover. The title is Just A Girl, because, yes, it features a girl main character/narrator.

I don’t have anything to add to this except for the image. I don’t have jacket copy yet. You don’t always write your book’s jacket copy yourself. (Thank god.)

WAIT…here’s the jacket copy!

By her senior year of high school, Rianne has exhausted all the fun there is to have in small town Wereford, Minnesota. Volleyball season is winding down, the parties all feel tired, and now that she’s in a serious relationship with reformed player Luke Pinsky, her wild streak has ended. Not that she ever did anything more than the guys her age did…but she knows what everyone thinks of her.

Including her parents. Divorced but now inexplicably living together again, Rianne wonders why they’re so quick to point out every bad choice she’s making when they can’t even act like adults. With an uncomfortable home life and her once-solid group of friends now dissolving, the reasons for sticking around after high school are few. So why is Rianne in lockstep when it comes to figuring out her future?

That’s not the only question Rianne can’t answer. Lately she’s been wondering why, when she has a perfect-on-paper boyfriend, she wants anything but. Or how it is that Sergei, a broken-English-speaking Russian, understands her better than anyone who’s known her all her life? And why has Rianne gotten stuck with an “easy girl” reputation for doing the same exact things guys do without any judgment?

You can preorder here; it goes on sale March 28, 2017.


JustaGirl HC




An Open Letter To Online Book Reviewers & Bloggers

Figure 1. oh sweet suffering jesus

Figure 1. oh sweet suffering jesus


Dear Book Readers & Reviewers:

I’m not going to bother to link to The Incident(s) because we all know what prompted this.

I would like to share with you, however, what happens to me when I get a bad/meh review. MY PROCESS, if you will. I hope this might be a source of comfort? Reassurance? Perspective?


1) Read bad/meh review. Because I am a weak woman who cannot control herself.

2) Send bad/meh review to Cabal of Friends Who I Love and Trust (including Editor).  Say something like “lookit this? Fucking hell! Goddammit, I knew I shoulda done this/that/the other! This person isn’t right, right? They are dumb/bad/wrong, right?”

3) Engage in Personal Soothing Behaviors* which include but are not limited to:
Eat chocolate.
Eat nachos.
Go to thrift store.
Pet dog.
Look at latest Zulilly sales.
Check for new Norman Reedus images available online.

4) Read replies from Cabal of Friends. These will say some version of, “You are wonderful!” & “Don’t listen to them!” & “Your book is excellent!” & “For the last time, get the hell off GoodReads!”

5) Thank Cabal of Friends for being so nice. Change topic to something else that’s fun or noteworthy to gossip about or discuss.

And…that’s about it.

It’s kind of like having a bad day at the office. You come home, you bitch about it, you pop open a beer or make a cocktail, you see what’s on the television, you curse out whom or whatever upset you, you put on your yoga pants and take a load off. Then you wake up again and live to fight another day.

When writers share their words with the world, what often happens is that some people don’t like those words.  And it’s upsetting, yes, but it’s part of the game. If a writer doesn’t want to share, he or she needs to get a diary, not a book deal.

Bloggers and reviewers, I am very sorry that you feel fear about the work you do with reading and reviewing. I want to believe that The Incident(s) are isolated outliers. We need a book reviewing community and we need it whether we agree with the reviewers or not. We are lucky so many of you do this and do it for no compensation. I understand, though, if this prompts you to hang up your blogging hat and call it a day. I also think changing your identifying details online is probably a smart move, as well.

I am sure other authors feel demeaned and shocked by this kind of behavior.

I’m sure they also have their own little Bad/Meh Review Response Process (which I hope they’ll share so as to maybe reassure the reviewing community a little).

Also, this post from The Perpetual Page Turner is a good one.

Be Well, Stay Safe, I’m Sorry, Thank You For Reading —



*This stage is one that much time is spent in; sometimes, the actions listed here occur throughout the other stages of The Process as well as during normal times of happiness and good reviews. 






Figure 1. Perfectly Good White Boy, on sale October 1, 2014

Figure 1. Perfectly Good White Boy, on sale October 1, 2014


Four Fun Facts about Perfectly Good White Boy!

1) Yes, the title is a reference to Better Off Dead. Which if you haven’t seen it, then what are you sitting here for? Get on that shit.


Figure 2. John Cusack kills it in this thing


2) I have never ever been deer hunting. That’s probably not going to change. Venison tastes gross to me. Also, I can’t blink one of my eyes so shooting things is never gonna happen. Also, I’m not interested in shooting things.

However, I have shot a shot-gun, though. Holy shit, that was uncomfortable for me. Guns are super LOUD! Even with ear plugs in! Also, some of them are HEAVY. And forget about hitting the target. I could barely figure out how to work the apparatus. I was scared the whole time, actually.


Figure 2: Shotguns. Those bastards are HEAVY.

Figure 3: Shotguns. Those bastards are HEAVY. And my muscles are far from Dixon-esque.


3) Actual Real People often inspire Fake People. I based Layne in Sex & Violence and Kerry in Perfectly Good White Boy on these two guys who used to run the baler at the thrift store job I had. Yes: one had KICK ASS! tattooed on his knuckles; they both had little kids, but none of them are named Harry. I still have fond memories of both of them.


Figure 3. Kinda badass, right?

Figure 4. Kinda badass, right?


4) Post-Break-Up Sex: Icky Yet Irresistible. The idea of not understanding when a relationship is over yet being compelled to continue seeing each other sexually? That was on my mind when I started Perfectly Good White Boy. THEN I heard this Kenny Chesney song. You’d think Kenny Chesney is some kind of closet-case Jimmy Buffett, but man, think there are so many undertones of secret obsessions in this song. Also, the video is horrible. Don’t watch that unless you want to have gross feelings.

Also, here are my country-music-free thoughts on the matter. 


Figure 5. Well. Not really. But you get the idea.

Figure 5. Well. Not really. But you get the idea.







Figure 1. Let's cook some shit up, baby

Figure 1. Let’s cook some shit up, baby


I don’t think any of this matters for the larger world of publishing or writing.

But here’s what went into the making of Perfectly Good White Boy.

In case you want to try to reproduce making a book called Perfectly Good White Boy. Which, you know, is of limited use, I realize.


Ingredients List for Perfectly Good White Boy

– 1 copy of Gustav Hasford’s The Short-Timers
– 1 viewing of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket
– walking down Washington Avenue every morning for a mile
– Bjork’s Violently Happy
– Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball
– Gregory Alan Isakov’s The Stable Song
– Chobani Greek yogurt, in lemon or blueberry
– 100 mg Sertraline, daily
– 2 squares of dark chocolate (as needed or daily)
– Norman Reedus on the cover of Men’s Fitness


Figure 2. Important fashion photos inside.

Figure 2. Important fashion photos inside.


– Norman Reedus, in any iteration
– 1 copy of ASVAB for Dummies
– Bruce Weigel’s poem “What Saves Us”
– 1 copy of Evan Wright’s Generation Kill
– 1 copy of Beth Ann Bauman’s Jersey Angel
– some delicious sandwich made out of shortribs that The Karre bought me for lunch
– lots of The Karre hand-waving & gesticulating
– long discussion about deer hunting w/ husband
– 1000 conversations with Pablo (approximate)


Figure 3. Perfectly Good White Boy, w/ Perfectly Good Furry Brown Boy

Figure 3. Perfectly Good White Boy, w/ Perfectly Good Furry Brown Boy


– long discussion about oral sex symbology and condom disposal w/ The Karre
– this video of Henry Rollins talking about taking off a condom which I can’t find now but trust me it’s out there
– removal of gall bladder
– pulling nails out of used flooring while listening to country music for several hours
– The Flickr page of the United States Marine Corps
– conversations about swearing with everyone in the whole world, probably


On Imagination and Greed

Of course, I want The Reedus. I enjoy wanting him; it takes up lots of my time. But in reality, if I ever was in the same room as the man, I’d probably hide under the fuckin table. Cos, I don’t want The Reedus next to The Me. ME doesn’t work in these conditions. I ruin it, the whole imagined thing. You know? Oh shut up.

Figure 1. Of course, I want The Reedus. I enjoy wanting him; it takes up lots of my time. But in reality, if I ever was in the same room as the man, I’d probably hide under the fuckin table. Cos, I don’t want The Reedus next to The Me. The Me doesn’t work in these conditions. I ruin it, the whole imagined thing. You know what I’m saying? Oh shut up.


So I wait all week until Sunday when The Walking Dead comes on. This is a pattern of my life when it comes to visual entertainment like movies and TV shows, but it also happens all the time with books, too.

And you’d think the waiting was horrible. But I think it’s the most fun. The most fecund place for the imagination for me is in the warm sugary nutritive liquid of suspense.

I think sometimes that I like the waiting more than the actual reality of the show, though. When it could be a million different things, it’s so much fun to think about. So Sunday, at 9:00 CST, when I know what singular thing the episode has been, I’m all sad and deflated.

(Also sometimes anxious and pissy and freaked and excited. There’s a gamut of emotions, all intense and amazing, given that these are Fake People we are talking about.)

Sometimes I think people who are singular about wanting certain objects or goals – luxury items, dream houses, vacations – those who we might call greedy, are only slightly misguided. Because they’re spending so much time imagining how great things will be when they get their mitts on what they want. Seeing themselves wearing their jewels or running down the white-sand beach or gliding through their fancy palatial estate. Thinking about all the parties and ball gowns and baccarat tables they’ll enjoy swaggering around.

We can condemn them for not living in the present while they burn for diamonds or trips to Martinique, but aren’t they just doing the same thing I am – enjoying the singular delicious feeling one gets while spinning through all the delightful possibilities?

This is probably why I don’t have many personal goals or dreams. I’m not good at being singular like that, perhaps, because I’m always in that space, whether it’s reading or watching television or movies. It seems silly, then, to want just one thing.

I have wanted many things. And then mostly don’t get them. Or I don’t want them anymore. Then I want other things.

The pleasure is in the wanting, I think. In my head, I get everything I want and it’s always just as lovely as I hoped.