Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jane-iac Powers, Activate!

Why, yes, I do have a Jane Austen action figure on my desk. Why do you ask?

But seriously, did you know that the Adams Media Bad Austen anthology is on its way soon? True fact! And you can preorder a copy from Barnes & Noble. Bad Austen features not one, but TWO ridiculously silly stories by me - Foolishness and Folly, as well as The Perilous Plot at Pemberley.

Bad Austen: The Worst Stories Jane Never Wrote
Edited by Peter Archer and Jennifer Lawler
ISBN 978-1-4405-1185-1

It should ship in November, and let me tell you, Jane would be horrified appalled all astonishment at what we've done.

Pre-order yours today!

Barnes & Noble: Bad Austen - the Worst Stories Jane Never Wrote

Can't wait until November to get a bit of Austen action? No worries - you can still download my Austen-inspired short story, The Scandalous Miss Lydia Bennet, for just 99¢.

The Scandalous Miss Lydia Bennet
a Short Story by Patti Wigington
ISBN 978-1-4657-4018-2

Smashwords: The Scandalous Miss Lydia Bennet 


Barnes & Noble: The Scandalous Miss Lydia Bennet (nookbook)

And just because I'm feeling Jane-alicious today, you should totally go watch the Jane Austen Fight Club video.

We are, after all, no longer "good society."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Today is An Army of Ermas Day!

When I was a kid, I was an advanced reader. In 1970's terminology, this means "finished the kids' section at the library before age eight." Fortunately, I was the spawn of parents that were avid readers themselves. They let me check out books from the grownup section, and they had a wall of books in the rec room, which meant I had immediate access to all kinds of things that many adults would have been astonished to see children reading.

Inevitably, I gravitated towards Erma Bombeck. Partly, it was the hilarious titles that drew me in. I was smart enough to know what a septic tank was and just WHY the grass was greener above it. I understood the pun involved with cherries and life being the pits. So there were plenty of times when I lay curled in my bed to read about Erma's adventures (her name was pretty funny, too) in suburbia, with PTO moms, Little League, kids, and her long-suffering husband. Even as a ten-year-old, I knew that Erma was funny.

Fast forward about thirty or so years, when I got an email from Stacey Graham, about a new project she was starting up. Stacey and I have "known" each other online for several years, thanks to being part of Absolute Write. We've hit it off pretty much from the beginning, and watched each others' careers and lives evolve. Stacey's a busy woman - in addition to raising a tribe of amazing daughters who all look just like her, she is a fellow Jane Austen addict who hunts ghosts, cooks a ton of granola, comes up with zombie haiku, and writes some pretty nifty books.

So all of a sudden Stacey announces that she's got this idea. And it had nothing to do with zombies or granola.

In fact, it had to do with living everyday life, and finding the humor in it. It was an idea for a collection of pretty entertaining people to put together a collection of pretty funny stories, touching on all the things that make our lives what they are. Kids, spouses, jobs, road trips -- in fact, it was a project that Erma Bombeck herself would be proud of. In an homage to Erma's sense of humor, Stacey's idea was that we were putting together an entire Army of Ermas, of all different backgrounds, shapes and sizes -- and yes, there are even a few Dude Ermas.

When I first heard about it, I was pretty busy with other projects (yes, National Novel Writing Month, I'm lookin' at YOU) and was unable to commit right off the bat. Within a couple of months of seeing other contributions, I thought to myself that this was indeed something I wanted to be part of, and so I made the time to participate. I'm in good company, with a number of folks who make me laugh out loud every time I read their words.

I'm honored to be an Erma. It's a chance for someone who grew up reading Erma Bombeck's stories to pay a little bit of tribute to one of the great humor writers of her generation. Equally important, it's a chance for me to be part of a project I truly enjoy, with people I genuinely like and respect. Stacey, thanks for that. Thanks for letting me hang out on the nice little green patch over the septic tank.

And the rest of you, if you haven't had a chance yet, go check out our little corner of the Internet at An Army of Ermas, and thank Stacey for all the hard work she's put into this amazing and hilarious project!

Want to read some more Ermas in the wild? Visit these other contributors, and see how they're celebrating An Army of Ermas Day:

Terri Lynn Coop
Melanie Hooyenga
Jason Tudor
Harley May
Beth Bartlett
Amy Mullis
Angie Mansfield
Adam Slade
Jenna Qualman
Sara Spock-Carlson
Jennifer Caddell

Monday, August 8, 2011

Make Your Own Nutella

Nutella is one of those foods I rarely buy because, honestly, it's a bit pricey and my kids will eat an entire jar in about 48 seconds, not even including the time it takes to lick the lid clean. I don't even really like hazelnuts, but I dig Nutella. So when I saw that Instructables had an awesomepossum recipe for making it from scratch, I thought to myself, "Self, we's a-tryin' that!"

Now, I did have to tweak the recipe a bit to get the official Caitlin and Zac seal of approval, being the Nutella connoisseurs that they are, but the end result was even better than I expected. And, because I got a buttload of it, it ended up costing me about a third of what I'd spend to buy a jar already made. This is my version of the recipe, with modifications, but if you'd like to read the original version, click the link above.

You'll need:

7 oz hazelnuts (yes, they come in an 8 oz bag)
10 oz baking chocolate
1 can condensed milk
1/3 C regular milk
1/4 tsp salt
Roast the hazelnuts in a pan until they're nicely browned. Do not abandon them to go update your Facebook page, or they will burn. Yes. Trust me.

Put the hazelnuts in your food processor, and blend the hell out of them until you've got something that looks and feels like peanut butter.

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe dish. Sure, you could use a double boiler, but I'm a fan of working smarter, not harder.
 Add the condensed milk, and mix.
Dump your hazelnut mix in with the chocolate and condensed milk. Yes, it looks poopy. And yes, it tastes amazing.

Add the salt.
Warm up the milk, and gradually add it into the mix. This will be sort of liquidy at first, but as it cools it will thicken.
 Blendity blendity blendity blend.
OMG TASTY! Dip it with graham crackers, shortbread cookies, or just eat it with a spoon.
Store it in an airtight container in your fridge. Tell the kids it's onion gravy so they'll stay away from it.

Your Literary Agent Wants WHAT?

Rachelle Gardner is an awesomesauce literary agent from WordServe Literary Group, and she's got some great pointers on red flags that writers should be noticing with potential agents. For instance, if your agent wants you to pay for things that normally writers don't pay for -- or if there are hidden fees tucked into your contract. 

Remember, a literary agent's job is to sell your manuscript. If they don't sell it, they don't get paid -- which means they should be making money from book sales, not from editing fees or writer contracts. Read Rachelle's blog entry for more details, and make note of things to watch for!

Questionable Practices by Literary Agents

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I've Got Whos-Its and Whats-Its Galore!

It’s that time of year again. I went out to buy some cheese and a loaf of bread, and came back with six packages of college-ruled paper, ten boxes of crayons, a bunch of #2 pencils, and something like 47 glue sticks.

Why? Because I have a fondness for school supplies, and because I’ve got a pair of kids entering sixth grade in just twenty-eight days, but hey, who’s counting? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I enjoy back-to-school shopping. In fact, I don’t really like shopping for anything besides ... Read Full Article at An Army of Ermas