Tag Archives: Humor

Making Time

I’m here to share a secret with you all.  Gather near.  Lean in.  Shh.

I have a superpower.

No, I can’t fly, become invisible, or see through walls.  My power is far more useful and pragmatic, and it’s also transferrable; after reading this post, you can assume it for yourself.  Are you ready?  Here it is:

I can make 25 hours out of 24. 


This photo might not fully illustrate my point, but I saved a little time by not caring.

Think of me as an extremely low-level Time Lord.  If I weren’t one, I’d be in big trouble.  I’m a debut author, which means that I don’t have a steady stream of authorial income; instead, I’m a full-time middle-school teacher with three preps, I have a three-year-old son, I just turned in the revision of my first novel, and in five months I have a second manuscript to deliver. Somewhere in there, there’s also a husband who is fighting the good fight with me. I think I glimpsed him at one point yesterday.

I want these demands to be made upon my time.  These are good things.  But to juggle them requires superhuman effort. So for all you new and aspiring authors out there who are trying to make your writing a priority right alongside your job, your family life, and whatever else is competing for your time and attention, I’m here to help you. Just follow these steps, and you too can squeeze an extra hour out of the clock each day.



Why bother with a chair? Save an extra minute by writing on the floor.
(Photo by Kristin Brown)

1. Don’t do your hair. Scrape it into a knot on your head and put a headband on to make it look like you tried. There. That’s nice. Gentlemen, you look especially fetching.

2. Don’t turn your clothes right side out until you put them on.  You are too busy for that.  Hanging and folding your laundry is now officially optional. May I suggest draping everything artistically over your bedroom furniture?  Dumping armloads of fresh, warm laundry into a graceful rocking chair and then throwing a blanket over the heap is another option (you’re welcome).

3. Cereal is a dinner food. Toast is also acceptable. Gluten-free options available at your local location that offers gluten-free options.

4.  Let shaving slide. It’s winter, okay?  Also, maybe your husband owes you for the various beard “styles” (lumberjack, Lincoln, Manson) you have loved without judgment (okay, so calling it a Manson beard is kind of a judgment) over the years.

5. Red lights afford the perfect amount of time in which to file your fingernails.

6. Your car is filthy because you are environmentally conscious.  Not for any other reason.


Coffee’s nutritional value is tremendous. I know, because this beverage is almost singlehandedly keeping me alive.

7. Coffee is a breakfast food. It also makes a lovely snack.

8. It’s totally okay to go on for five months digging at the same obviously finished lipstick tube with the bottom of a pen in order to apply your makeup. This is normal. Also, nobody can see you.

9. Lunch is optional. Keep a supply of stale Halloween candy in a drawer in your office, and shove it in your mouth between completing tasks. You’ll be fine.

10. This is the only serious one: Make a date with your writing, and keep it.  Even if you can only do this once a week, it will add up big time.  I have a standing date with a highly responsible teaching colleague who never cancels, and we keep each other accountable.  We meet every Sunday night at 5pm at a Starbucks that closes at 8.  It has comfy chairs, and I write for three solid hours.  I am rested from the weekend, I can be focused and productive, and I don’t feel guilty about being away from my son, who is at home having some serious Dad time. Without this standing date, I would not have finished my revision on time.  No way.

That’s it.  POW.  You’ve been granted a superpower (and a glimpse into my grimy, nutritionally challenged private life).

How do you scratch out time for your writing?

HiRes_Morrison_6861_cropMegan Morrison is the author of GROUNDED: A TALE OF RAPUNZEL, due out summer 2015 from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. GROUNDED is the first book in the Tyme Series, co-created with Ruth Virkus. You can follow Megan on her blog at makingtyme.blogspot.com or on Twitter at @megtyme. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.



Filed under Advice - Helpful or Otherwise, Time Management, Writing and Life

Books Behaving Badly

Remember those days when writing was just about writing for the thrill of it? And you only shared your freshly printed pages with your friends and family members who were blown away by your budding talent . . . or at least surprised by it?

I can hardly recall that time, it was so long ago.

Although my love for writing itself never fades, the pursuit of publication adds challenges which make writing start to feel a lot like work. In fact, these days, if it doesn’t feel like work, I know I’m doing it wrong.

Finding an agent. Getting a book deal. Anticipating editorial notes. Meeting a deadline. Missing a deadline. Is anyone going to buy my book?? What will the reviews say?! What if I never sell another manuscript?!?! This all causes me stress.

So once in a while, I find it healthy to unwind. Write something ridiculous! Free write for the love of wordplay and humor. And what’s better than letting loose and writing for fun? How about writing for fun and PRIZES!?

Anyone out there want to win a free book?

Our theme for today is Books Behaving Badly. We want to hear your best ideas for bad titles, bad pitches, and bad, bad beginnings.

Here are a few examples to get your juvenile juices flowing:

Judge a book by its cover, do you? I came up with a bad title for each of these talented author/illustrators to work with (and check out the awesome covers they created!):

* * *


Illustrated by Kevan J. Atteberry

* * *

Illustrated by Ruth McNally Barshaw

* * *


Illustrated by Deborah Underwood

* * *

Now, imagine sitting with an editor in a private pitching session. Let’s make her day with a truly horrible, cringe-worthy pitch:


coupon clipper
Clairvoyant eleven-year-old, Stella, can see into the future. She uses her skills to predict coupon specials and become an expert clipper, but is ostracized by her friends who just don’t get it.



Brutilda breaks her foot and uses her cast to flirtatiously stomp on the foot of the boy she likes. For reasons unknown, he doesn’t return her affection. Angst and heartache ensue.


hippolkaJane Austen (almost) meets Charlotte Bronte . . . an exposé of those ten or so missing years between the Regency and Victorian eras that authors skip over for no apparent reason. (I’m guessing the lost-to-the-ages Hippopotamus Polka was a big thing during this mysterious era. Maybe that’s why nobody writes about it?).


Editors often tell writers that they need to grab a reader’s interest in the first few sentences. I’m pretty sure these beginnings would be epic fails:


big nose cold
You know that feeling you get when mashed potatoes are stuck up your nose? Yeah, that’s the kind of cold I have.






goat sticking tongue out, blog

Rollin’ in the hay really can be fun. Billy may be a goat, but our first kiss was still an eight out of ten.






promMy cousin is looking seriously hot today. I think I’m gonna ask her to Homecoming.






So let’s hear it: Your worst titles, pitches, and beginnings. Leave them in the comments, along with a category for your entry.

A winning entry in each category will be selected by a prestigious judge—someone who reads good (and bad!) titles, pitches, and beginnings for a living. The winners will then get to choose a book written by any of the EMU’s Debuts members, past or present, as long as it’s at least available for pre-order. Entries are due by midnight Eastern time on Oct 15th, and winners will be announced here on Oct 17th!

You don’t have to be a “writer” to play along! Anyone at all can join in for a chance to win a book! Good luck!


IMG_0723-2Amy Finnegan writes Young Adult novels and is a host at BookshopTalk.com. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT, will be published by Bloomsbury, Fall 2014. You can follow Amy on Twitter @ajfinnegan, and Facebook (Amy Finnegan, Author). She is represented by Erin Murphy.


Filed under Advice - Helpful or Otherwise, Anxiety, Writing

Auto-Correct Texts: Funny and Embarrassing EMU Moments

In Laurie Boyle Crompton’s debut BLAZE, Blaze’s friend takes a photo of her while they’re goofing around trying on lingerie and she sends it to Blaze’s crush. (Uh-oh!) Later on, the crush dumps Blaze and she retaliates by drawing a comic that outs him as a total man-whore. His reaction is to post her ‘sext’ photo which then goes viral. She ends up getting “slut shamed” by her peers and hilarity ensues. (Yes, despite the heavy topic, the book is still funny and upbeat!)

So today we polled EMU members to see if they’ve had any embarrassing texting moments. Who doesn’t love the automatic humor of auto-correct texts?

Laurie Boyle Crompton:
One time my phone auto-corrected my “xoxo” to my husband to say “I love you Xbox.” He immediately responded with, “I love you too Atari.”

Also, I once accidentally sent a text about a gathering to someone who wasn’t invited. When they wrote back that they didn’t know about it I pretended that their invite must have slipped through he cracks. It worked out for the best that they couldn’t make it on short notice since it would’ve made for a really awkward combination of people but I wasn’t about to tell them the text was a mistake and they weren’t invited!

Years ago when “text speak” was still new we had a friend who thought LOL meant “Lots of Love”. They wrote a heartfelt message consoling another friend over the death of a loved one and ended it with LOL!

Pat Zietlow Miller:
I work in corporate communications. In a former job, spell check would always suggest changing the name of one of our employees to “Party Dynamo”.

Carol Brendler:
When someone posted a photo of a snow Totoro I typed the comment “a Snotoro!” Which was corrected to “a Snot pro!”

Laurie Thompson:
My husband’s name is Bernie, but I usually call him Hon (short for Honey). Once while I was on a trip to NY with girlfriends, he got a little worried and jealous. I tried to send him a nice “I love my Hon!” text to reassure him, but it auto-corrected to “I love my John!” Luckily, he had a good sense of humor about it and we both had a good laugh.

Tara Dairman:
I may once have called my significant other “pookie” in an e-mail that I thought was just going to him, but that actually cc’d all his siblings and their spouses. We didn’t hear the end of that one for a while.

I may also have sent out wedding save-the-dates by e-mail, and accidentally included someone from my address book who had the same first name as a family member, but whom we were not actually planning to invite to the wedding. Oops!

On a more literary note, I may have recently contacted a couple of fellow EMLA clients by e-mail to request autographed books for a gift…and accidentally hit send on one e-mail when I was only halfway done changing all the “Trent”s and “Stealing Air”s to “Jen”s and “The False Prince”s. Luckily, EMUs are an understanding lot!

Jeannie Mobley:
Not an auto-correct text error, but one of the most interesting papers I ever graded is one where a student summarized the entire plot of HAMLET, except he had used the “change all” function in his word processor spell check and replaced Hamlet with PIGLET throughout the document, so it ended up as a bit of a Winnie-the-Pooh/Shakespeare mash-up in my mind. My favorite part was where Piglet stabbed Polonius through the curtain. I think Eyore might have been playing Polonius.

OK, so what about me? Well, I am a cell phone luddite. I’ve actually never texted. (GASP! SHOCK! HORROR!) But never fear, I collected a funny one from a friend…

My friend’s elderly mother was hospitalized and someone commented “I hope your dead mother comes home soon”. Of course they meant “your dear mother”.

Can’t get enough of the texting humor? Check out When Parents Text!

And be sure to check out BLAZE, too! Just two days till its launch!

And let’s continue the fun–leave your funny texting moment in the comments!


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