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Blogging Send Jen on a Vacation Writing WTF?

At the End of My Rope

July 13, 2015
Mississippi River flooded

I’m at the end of my rope! My dad used to say that all the time. So much that it lost its meaning over time even if he had good reason to be hanging on to that rope’s end. Now I am at the end of the my rope. Nothing has happened to put me there, just life. I’m tired, so tired.

Midlife Crisis?


It may be a midlife crisis, it may be that I am sick of cleaning up after children who can’t seem to pick up after themselves and I am too tired to throw a fit to get their attention. It might be that I am tired of tripping over a dog that is terrified of thunderstorms and we live in tornado alley. It could be that when he is scared he has accidents and I am really tired of cleaning those up.

It could be that my ex husband hasn’t spent time with our daughter in going on two years now and I need a weekend to myself. It could be that I have no idea who I am anymore afraid that I am just someone who cooks and cleans and works so I can buy things for others.

It could be that I am tired of working and want to work for myself now. I am still blogging but for others. I never update my blog anymore and I miss that so much. I want to write for me not for others.


Whatever it is I am in need of recharging my batteries. This is something my dad used to say a lot too. He was often in need of a battery recharge and would traipse off to Mexico with his friends while I stayed home and took care of my mother. I can’t go off to Mexico on a whim and if I could I don’t have any friends that could go with me.

I don’t leave the house except to run errands, visit my mother and take my daily walk so I hit 10k steps each day even though that isn’t helping me lose any weight at all.

I don’t sleep well. According to my Fitbit I wake up 11- 13 times per night! Most of those is letting the dog in and out because he is old and letting the cat in and out because she is a retched bitch who hates me. I know, I should ignore them both but if I do the dogs pees on the couch and the cat meows so loud she wakes the dead.


I want someone to care for me who I didn’t give birth to. I don’t want to burden my kids with my sense of being overwhelmed. It isn’t their problem and they don’t need the added stress. I miss my father. I could call him and unload my troubles and feel a whole lot better for just having said them. He couldn’t do much about them and would often feel compelled to compete with me as to has it harder but having someone to spill it all to would be nice.

I’m hoping to take the daughter to Wisconsin Dells next month and I am looking forward to it but it’s not the kind of vacation I need. I need to be alone for a couple of days. I need to not be worried about anyone but myself while I try to put things back together. I need to know that while I am gone all hell isn’t breaking lose. I need my kids to grow up faster than they are currently doing it.

As it is right now anything could set me over the edge. Yesterday the thought of setting the table for dinner was more than I could handle. I did it but it was painful. I’ll get through this, I always do. These episodes seem to be coming more often, like a wave that recedes only to gain force and slam back into the beach. I need a break, I need a mom, I need a hug.

Blogging Books Things I Really Like Writing

Bloggers Who Write Books

May 20, 2015

This week is a great week for those of us who started blogging because we were going to write a book. I say that because two great bloggers have come out with books this week and each of them are not only great reads but inspiration for those of us who have a book but just haven’t gotten off our asses long enough to hit the publish button.

Or those who are terrified to actually publish in case the words we write might be offensive or hurt someone who treated us like crap. You know, those people.

Brittany Gibbons has written a hilarious memoir called Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin…Every Inch of It, about growing up fat with a set of slightly crazy parents, something I can related to on so many levels. You might have heard of Brittany before, she’s the blogger who vowed to have sex with her husband every day for a year and she’s the blogger who stripped down to her Spanx in a Ted Talk. Brittany also hosts an extremely popular Facebook page called Curvy Girls Guide and of course she has a blog. Brittany lets it all hang out and she does so without apologies or excuses. She’s a breath of fresh air and she’s all over the talk shows this week. If you’re looking for a fun read then pick up her book.

Jen Lancaster also has a new book out this week called I Regret Nothing: A Memoir. She’s written like a hundred books and still finds time to blog about her daily life. If you’re a blogger you know all about Jen and aspire to be like her. Back in the old days of blogging, when we all actually commented on each other’s blogs, you might have read her. Now everything happens on Facebook and no one leaves comments but when we did it was Jen we were trying to emulate. I haven’t read her book yet, I’m still reading Brittany’s but I’ve read her other books and they make me laugh so I don’t expect any less than that from this one.

Both of these books are inspiring because for those of who wrote a book or still want to write a book, it can happen to us too. You don’t need a publisher or a publicist either (though, lets face it, it helps a lot of you do) you can publish yourself and market it yourself. And, if you’re a blogger you know how to do those things better than most.

As some of you know I’ve written a book, a memoir, that I’ve shelved for various reasons that I said I wouldn’t talk about (but I so want to). I will publish, sooner than later, but there is still a lot of fear. Like Brittany’s story, I grew up fat and when you’re fat people treat you differently. Often those people are close to you, they are friends and family and while their behavior was shitty for a lot of us fat people we’ve tried to protect them from their own bad behavior. Reading Brittany’s book gives me courage to say fuck that shit and publish without worrying about what others think. As Anne Lamott said “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.


Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Writing

Taking Stock

September 2, 2014
Apple Wireless Keyboard with Shift Key, Shift key on Apple Wireless keyboard, Apple keyboard

I haven’t been blogging much lately. No one has, it’s summer, Facebook is so much easier and there are only so many things you can write about and I blew my wad years ago by writing every day – sometimes twice. But with the recent development of celebrity naked selfies I just have too much to say. Seriously how dumb is Jennifer Lawrence to take naked photos and store them in the cloud?*

I’ve also refrained from blogging because I don’t want to offend people. I don’t know when that happened but it probably took root when I started getting more traffic and more and more people in real life knew I had a blog.

No longer was my little space on the internet a secret. I have clients, ex husbands (and his lawyer) and family who are all aware of my blog and knowing they might be reading it makes me careful of what I might say.

Well, fuck that.

I’ve got a lot to say and I’m not going to worry about what other people think about it. They already think the things I worry about them thinking of me already or they never will. And they would be right to.

Ya still with me?

Anyway, stay tuned for more ranting in the coming weeks (if you’re still reading this). I’ve got a lot to say about naked celebrity selfies, our politicians, public school, ass surgery and all kinds of other things.

If you’re still blogging leave a comment, I’m going to start reading blogs again, too.

God, I hope this isn’t the pain killers talking.

* I don’t think Jennifer Lawrence is stupid, I like her and feel bad that she has been chosen as the face of this scandal. At least she copped to them being pictures of her. And, the cloud is confusing, if I were to take naked pictures of myself I’d probably have some up there too, though would have no way of knowing.

Things I Really Like Writing

How Big is Your Brave?

December 2, 2013

Because Sara Bareilles says it so musically:

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

Minnesota Things I Really Like Writing

Get Your Free Copy of Bombshell by Mike Faricy!

May 27, 2013

You heard me, I said you can get your very own free copy of Bombshell by my friend Mike Faricy.

Dysfunctional. bumbling, crazy babe-magnet Dev Haskell, P.I., becomes the envy of every guy with a heartbeat when he’s hired to watch over a team of gorgeous English roller derby stars. Though he’d rather be standing guard in the shower room, he suddenly finds himself under arrest and found guilty before he’s even charged. He’s got an attorney who drinks too much, a beautiful woman with a bad attitude, a feisty team of females ready to kill him – and no answers. Bombshell is another fast-paced, engrossing suspense thriller from Minnesota’s master of the bizarre, Mike Faricy.

Bombshell is the 4th installment of the Dev Haskell series by Mike Faricy, my favorite St. Paul writer.

Mike Faricy is the award wining author of mystery suspense thrillers woven together with a rich strain of humor and romance. He and his wife live in St. Paul, Minnesota and Dublin, Ireland. His entertaining tales are populated with the sort of quirky, oddball characters we’d all like to know more about, but wisely prefer to keep at a distance. They serve not so much as examples but more often as warnings to the rest of us. None of Mike’s characters will be saving the world from terrorism, international banking conspiracies or coups to topple the government. Rather, they’re individuals inhabiting a world just below the surface of polite society. The difficulties they find themselves in are usually due to their own bad decisions, but then bad decisions make for interesting tales.

From now through Tuesday, May 28th you can get your very own free eBook of Bombshell by Mike Faricy.


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My Next Big Thing

December 17, 2012
Minnesota Nice by Jennifer Brown, Minnesota Nice independent best selling book by Jennifer Brown, best sellers by bloggers, bloggers with best sellers

I’m happy to be participating in a blog hop called, “My Next Big Thing.” I was tagged by fellow blogger and writer, June O’Hara of the Nuerosis Files, and asked to answer ten questions about my most recent writing project. Here are my responses:     

Where did the idea for your book or project come from?

From my family. My book is a humorous and heartbreaking memoir about growing up with a closeted gay dad, a physically and mentally handicapped mom and a Republican brother.

What is the working title of your book?

Minnesota Nice

What genre does it fall under?

It’s a memoir.

If applicable, who would you choose to play the characters in a movie?

Emma Stone would be my choice for the older years. The story takes place between the ages of 9 – 22. As for the younger years I have no idea. If you have any ideas please let me know.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your manuscript or project?

MINNESOTA NICE is a humorous and heartbreaking memoir set in the 1970s and 80s about Jennifer Brown’s struggle to grow up in Crocus Hill while trying to fit in. While caring for her disabled mom she learns her dad is gay. Enter the 800-pound gorilla, stage left. (Wearing a pair of jeans from the Husky section at Sears, no less.)

Sorry, that was three sentences.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m leaning toward self publishing but am also in talks with a couple of agents and publishers. I want to retain control and self publishing seems like the best way to do that. I could write a whole post on this subject, lots to think about.

How long did it take to write the first draft of your manuscript?

5 years.

What other book would you compare this story to within the genre?

Running with Scissors by Augustan Burroughs.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Laura Ingalls Wilder. Since I read her book in third grade I have been writing my book in my head. I didn’t have a story back then but given a little time and a lot of crazy the story wrote itself. Everyone I have ever met has suggested I tell my story.

What else about the book or story might pique the reader’s interest?

Everyone has a story and a lot of people have a crazy story. This is one of those unbelievable stories that just had to be written. Just when you think the characters have seen it all something else happens to up the ante of bizarre and unbelievable. So far most people who have read it can’t understand how I am still mostly sane.

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Creating a Bestseller

October 22, 2012

I’m glad I didn’t see this infographic on successful books before I started writing. It’s nice to see the stats of what sells when it comes to books but I don’t think a book should be written because it will sell. A book should be written because it needs to be written. The story needs to be told. If it’s a good story the audience will find it even if they didn’t know they wanted to read about it.

I used to own a bookstore during the rise of the big box bookstores. Ironically the same big box stores that are struggling to stay relevant in the age of Kindle, iPad and Nook. Back then, when the big box stores were putting shops like me out of business they ruled the shelves. As a small store owner I couldn’t take a chance on an independent or new author. I had to stock Grisham and Patterson and all the guys who had no trouble selling a book. With digital publishing widely available and easy to use more and more indie authors have a chance to be read.

The DNA of a Successful Book

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Dancing Skeletons Writing

Minnesota Nice

October 19, 2012
Minnesota Nice by Jennifer Brown, Minnesota Nice independent best selling book by Jennifer Brown, best sellers by bloggers, bloggers with best sellers

After at least 15 bazillion titles I have finally settled on Minnesota Nice as the title of my memoir. According to Wikipedia Minnesota Nice is:

the stereotypical behavior of people born and raised in Minnesota, to be courteous, reserved, and mild-mannered. The cultural characteristics of Minnesota nice include a polite friendliness, an aversion to confrontation, a tendency toward understatement, a disinclination to make a fuss or stand out, emotional restraint, and self-deprecation. It can also refer to traffic behavior, such as slowing down to allow another driver to enter a lane in front of the other person. Critics have pointed out negative qualities, such as passive aggressiveness and resistance to change.

Although the term is generally considered to be Americentric in nature, some traits typical of this stereotype are also generally applied to neighboring Canadians.

I’ve been told they are going to change the title. They being the publishers that will eventually publish my book.

Originally I was going to self publish, and I’m still leaning that way. I like having the control over the title, cover, and most importantly the money. On the other hand having my book published traditionally puts it in front of people it might never have been. I have a large reach. I’ve been blogging forever in internet years and know how to get the word out. But, I know that a traditional publisher, and their marketing department, can do so much more than I could on my own.

Still, I like having the control.

So here’s where things stand. The manuscript is currently in the hands of one publisher and five agents.

Which means I wait.

In the mean time I’ve set up a Facebook page for the book and would love it if you could like it. I will be posting the publishing experience over there as well as adding resources for other people who are writing their book.

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Writing WTF?

What Makes a Bestseller?

September 25, 2012

As some of you know I’ve been working on a book for the past forever. I’m nearly finished. I know, I keep saying that but that’s only because my editor keeps telling me that. In reality she is in the pool teaching me how to swim and she is standing their with her arms outstretched saying “just a little bit more, just a little bit more” all the while backing up so that even though I have gone a little bit more she is still just as far away as when I started. Thanks, Kelly.

I’ve got a list of tasks, from said editor, the length of my arm that I need to tackle but I got to thinking, after a discussion about Moby Dick and what a long boring book that was, what makes a best seller?

Moby Dick is certainly a best seller and some people might even think it’s great but I bet if it was published today it wouldn’t make a dent on the best seller list.

Why is that?

I was browsing for books the other day and stumbled across Shades of Gray. I can’t bring myself to buy it because I have no desire to read it. It’s fan fiction about the characters from Twilight, another book I couldn’t bring myself to read. Both of these series of books are best sellers. Huge best sellers. And yet no one is calling them classics like Moby Dick.

At least I don’t think they are.

Remember Flowers in the Attic? Remember when everyone was reading it and you couldn’t wait to get your hands on it? The story was silly and ghastly and so wrong. The writing was ok, I think, but it was word of mouth about the story that sold the book. It helped that if your parents knew what it was about they would have taken it away. Remember when you found out that the later books in the series weren’t actually written by Ms. Andrews? For me it was no different than learning that Carolyn Keene was really just a bunch of people, possibly those famous monkeys at typewriters, banging out mystery after mystery.

I loved the books but once I knew the secret I couldn’t read them again. They hired a ghostwriter because the books were such a success and they didn’t want that money train to end.

My daughter is reading To Kill A Mockingbird right now. She is probably too young for it but she picked it out of the book case when she needed something to read and got hooked. That, to me, is a best seller and a classic.

It’s better than Captain Underpants, another best seller.

So, what do you  think makes a best seller? Is it readability, flat out numbers of copies sold or it’s effect on society? What best sellers do you recommend and which ones do you refuse purchase?


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People Pets Writing

Writing is Hard

July 30, 2012
Ruby the puppy, black lab puppy, black lab boxer mix puppy, rescue puppy

So how has your summer been going?

I haven’t been around much these past few months. Some of you may know I am writing a book, a memoir, about growing up in a pretty strange environment. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, a long while since it seems I never update anymore and therefore you wouldn’t have a clue what I am talking about if you just stumbled here and never checked out my archives and why would you because you don’t know what this blog is about because it’s more like a ghost town than an active blog.

I need to catch my breath.

Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, I am writing a memoir about growing up with a gay, closeted dad, a mentally and physically handicapped mom and a Republican brother. Talk about shit that will mess you up!

Did I mention it was a humorous memoir? I do a lot of name dropping because I know people. Garrison Keillor is in my book as is Nick Swardson. Just think, you don’t even need Kevin Bacon to tie those two together if you know me.

Other than that it’s been a typical summer. Kids are driving me C.R.A.Z.Y!!!

Oh, and we got a puppy.

Because, you know, it’s not chaotic enough around here.