Butthead Boilerplate

Monday, March 31, 2008

This weekend I took on the task of going through my "to be filed" pile from 2006. Yeah, I'm addicted to hanging onto paper for as long as possible, but I do recycle when I'm ready to let it go.

And I found this little gem that came in ever-so-handy when I used to work at a company that had a lot of butthead clients. Feel free to use this as you see fit; I never had the balls to send it out, but just thinking about sending it always brought a smile to my face.

Butthead Boilerplate

Dear [name],

After [our recent conversation/receiving your email], it has come to my attention that there may have been a small misunderstanding about this situation. While we at [company name] are focused on the marketing and promotional needs of your company, our services do not include [coordinating your life/facilitating your tantrums/kissing your hairy ass] whenever you feel it's necessary.

We do, however, offer a comprehensive roster of services geared to your success, which makes you look like a star. While we have provided you with the red-carpet treatment, we did not realize the adverse effect this may have had on your personality.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and will treat you just like a regular butthead from now on.

[your name]

Let me know if this works for you. ;)

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:00 AM 3 comments

Good things!

Friday, March 28, 2008

This arrived in my inbox today, so I would like to share it with all of you. If you're in a hurry, I've bolded the juicy bits:

North Texas RWA congratulates the following winners of the 2008 Great Expectations contest. We wish everyone the best of luck on their road to publication.

~~ Contemporary SERIES Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Megan Long, Editorial Assistant, Superromance, Harlequin Books
First: The Nanny's Secret by Ami Weaver-(requested)
Second: Diner Girl by Mary Malcolm (requested)
Third: The Cleopatra Secret by Greta MacEachern
Fourth: The Goblin's Trick by Lori Philbin

~~ EROTIC ROMANCE Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher and Senior Editor, Ellora’s Cave
First: Running From the Past by Katie Reus- (requested)
Second: Wings of Desire by Cynthia Arends
Third: Eternally Three Perfection by Lee Swift

FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Tessa Woodward, Editorial Assistant, Avon Books
First: The Duchess Competition by Vicky Dreiling
Second: Midnight Promises by Anne Barton Ardizzone
Third: Passionate Persuasions by Jennifer Ziros
Fourth: The Making of Jenny Keeble by Courtney Milan

~~ INSPIRATIONAL Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Melissa Endlich, Harlequin Books
First: New Hope by Yvonne Harris (requested)
Second: Miranda's Mistake by Jessica R. Ferguson (requested)
Third: Sarah's Rainbow by Margaret Brownley
Fourth: Sourdough Creek by Caroline Fyffe

~~ MAINSTREAM with romantic elements Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Liza Schwartz, Assistant Editor, NAL
First: Kingdom on Fire by Yvonne Harris- (requested)
Second: One for All by Chris Keniston
Third: Heart Wishes by Edie Ramer
Fourth: Twisted Snare of Fate by Gracie Stanners

~~ Romantic Suspense Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Allison Brandau, Editorial Assistant, Berkley/Jove
First: Lying Eyes by Amy Atwell- (requested)
Second: The Surrogate by Tina Butts
Third: See Jane Run by Angi Morgan
Fourth: The Chameleon Effect by Tina Butts

~~ Single Title Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Alex Logan, Editorial Assistant, Grand Central Publishing
First: The Weight of Love by Vannetta Chapman (requested)
Second: The Cost of Love by Vannetta Chapman
Third: Saints and Sinners by Catherine Chant
Fourth: Once Upon A Margarita by Heidi Luchterhand

~~ SPECIALIZED Category: Fantasy, Futuristic, Paranormal & Time Travel ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Chris Keeslar, Senior Editor, Dorchester/Leisure
First: The Night Caller by Laura Martello w/a L.A. Mitchell
Second: To Tame His Heart by Lauren Sowell
Third: Love Bites...Literally by Michelle Lauren
Fourth: The Slayer's Circle by Michelle Odell

~~ YOUNG ADULT Category ~~
FINAL ROUND EDITOR: Karen Chaplin, Associate Editor, Puffin/Speak Books
First: Super Chick by Kimberly Duffy (requested)
Second: Megan Delaney, Psychic Misfit by Bonnie Staring (requested)
Third: Fear of Falling by Amber Royer (requested)
Fourth: The Art of Selling My Sister by Shana Silver

Thanks to all the contestants and judges who made the contest possible. Our contest rules are posted year round along with many writing tips on our website.

Marty Tidwell
Great Expectations Coordinator

WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO! This was so unexpected and delightful, I just may move to Texas...or at least drop by for a visit!

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 3:31 PM 4 comments

Too many plates, not enough placemats

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's funny. Back at the turn of the year, I vowed that I wouldn't freak out when I saw that my schedule for the following month was rather empty. This year, I decided my energy was best spent at the gym. And watching reality TV when I'm not at the gym. ;)

Fast-forward almost three months, and something really odd has happened. When empty spots appear on the calendar, I shrug my shoulders and continue with whatever I'm working on. No more panic attacks or frantic emails in search of the next gig or magazine article.

I simply acknowledge the open-schedule spaces and think maybe I can finally find that shampoo sample I got in the mail a few week's back...or finally get those Christmas cards out. ;) Then I get an email or a phone call and there's a cool project that needs to be done, at roughly the same time as the empty calendar spot.

And I've only watched the first 20 minutes of The Secret. Three times. ;)

But isn't that freaky? I'm also slowly mastering the art of saying no to the projects that just make me go ugh. It's amazing how much more productive, profitable and just darn happy I am working on stuff that I either truly enjoy or can pretend to enjoy for brief periods of time. ;)

And yes, I still seem to have too many plates spinning in the air, but that doesn't seem to be my problem anymore. The dilemma is the lack of placemats! There are piles of stuff all over my virtual and physical office -- and if I don't take a day or two to organize all this stuff, I may get trapped under it!

Of course, if that's my only problem I should be thanking my lucky stars. Which I do. Sometimes.

There are a lot of things going on that I can't say anything about yet. Oh, don't you hate it when people do that? Well, too bad. Good things come to those who wait. ;)

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:55 PM 2 comments

Live to air

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today I was interviewed by Mike Smyth on CKNW's The Bill Good Show -- LIVE! Just think, people were hearing me at 11:30 in Vancouver, when it was 2:30 in Toronto. I was time-travelling -- okay, maybe just in my mind. ;)

Of course, I didn't know it was going to be LIVE until the assistant producer told me when she had me on the line. I'm just glad I picked out a fabulous outfit to wear!

And my personal trainer suggested that I do some voice exercises before the call to stretch out my vocal chords. I just thought she was trying to get me to exercise even more, but I did it anyway. Tra la la la la la la. I think I sounded pretty good with my pipes all tuned up.

Sadly, no karaoke was involved.

But my goodness, that was fun! I got to talk about all things buzz marketing and share my experiences about telling friends, family and everyone else I've ever met about cool products and what it's like to be on a buzz campaign.

Now, knowing that Mike Smyth is a political columnist for the Vancouver Sun (I Googled him)did make me a little nervous as I was sure that he was going to turn it all into a "big brother is taking over our everyday conversations" type of interview, but he didn't.

He was verra, verra nice. ;)

And I survived! I'll post a link to the interview once it gets on the radio station's site so that you can listen...actually I might have a listen to it first to make sure I didn't sound like Moon Unit Zappa or anything like that. Totally.

Then again, I'd rather sound like her than Paris Hilton any day.

Now I'm off to the salon -- more waxing research. Wish me luck!

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 3:44 PM 2 comments

Angsty ripple effect

Monday, March 24, 2008

I must preface this blog post first to say that 99.9% of the time, I'm pretty well oblivious to things going on around me. That's why I gave up driving. ;)

This weekend I walked into a room so filled with anxiety and frustration that I felt it almost impossible to focus on anything else. It was the oddest experience I'd had in a while. The group already in the room had obviously had some sort of discussion/argument/knock-down Indian leg-wrestling match before my girlfriends and I arrived, but everyone pretended that things were cool when we got there.

Only trouble was, things were so far from cool that I coulda sworn I spotted the devil lingering in the corner, looking a lot like Sawyer with a smokin' tan, adding some more chili peppers to the stew he was brewing up in the corner. Le sigh.

Still, we pretended that nothing was amiss. Even when we'd catch a snarky glance or eye roll, we refrained from commenting or calling attention to it in any way. Most of us started watching the clock after about an hour, wondering how much time needed to pass before it would be considered an okay time to leave. At least there were some good tunes on in the background.

While I was concerned for the gang of grumblers, part of me was thrilled since the scene reminded me so much of something that would happen in high school -- and I could totally use all this angst in my YA novel. So I shoved some discomfort and angst in my handbag and sneaked home with it.

Of course, when I got home, the Kitten of Mass Destruction (Zaphod, who now weighs in at 10 pounds), went right for the batch of moodiness and started dragging it around the house.

So yesterday, instead of hunting for Easter eggs, we were looking for pockets of disdain, angst and apathy. The DH even stepped in a puddle of contempt: now we have to get the carpet steam-cleaned. ;)

And how was your Easter?

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 9:43 AM 2 comments


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's been a wild week for me so far, as I'm interviewing quite a few people for three articles I'm working on. The topics are as varied as multiplex offerings: hair removal, facing fears and how to avoid overloading at the buffet of life.

Yeah, I don't want to mix my notes up. ;)

My media whoring also appears to be paying off. Reader's Digest Canada's fact-checking department called this morning to confirm some comments I made about contesting during the Canadian Contesting Association's first-ever conference back in September. The article is scheduled to run in their July issue -- can't wait!

And, I'm going to be grilled (er, interviewed) by Mike Smythe on the Bill Good Show on radio station CKNW in Vancouver, B.C. He wants to know more about my experiences as a buzz agent that I wrote about in my article for Homemakers magazine.

I'm choosing my wardrobe wisely for this media appearance, believe me!

I've also experienced another case of deja-done: an article I queried on Monday just appeared in another magazine! It arrived in the mail today. At least my editor made it clear that she didn't think I was stealing ideas from her competition and then sending them over to her. ;)

Things like that just show me that I gotta find a time machine so I can pitch my article ideas six months before I come up with them. I just need a friend like Hiro Nakamura. ;)

Oh, and I've been yanked out of my "I love this novel" phase and thrust into the "I can't believe I wrote this crap" part of the writing process.

Luckily I knew it was coming so I was able to prepare by stocking the house with Diet Coke and cheese strings. It's hard to be mopey when there are cheese strings around. Well, unless you're lactose intolerant. ;)

Are there some handy supplies that you keep on hand to keep the blues/the rants or simply the blahs at bay? Please share!

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 6:24 PM 5 comments

Tapping your happy spot

Monday, March 17, 2008

That totally sounds like a euphemism. doesn't it?

Believe it or not, there's a book titled Become Happy in Eight Minutes (it burned into a pile of ash when I touched it), which explains the technique of locating and tapping one's happy spot in order to send endorphins or serotonin or something into your bloodstream.

If ya wanna know, your happy spot is located right above your sternum. Well, at least the one the book refers to. ;) Don't tap too hard: it could hurt.

Trouble is, that's what I really needed to do today. It was one of those days when everything just drove me freaking crazy. Everything I touched turned into pork rinds and my mood just turned greasy and high-caloric; not a good place to be as a diabetic.

So what did I, the one wearing the cranky pants, do?

I went to the gym and worked out.

Yeah, get up off the floor already. ;)

Incredible but true: exercise actually banishes bad moods. Sure, I was mentally cursing every blinking light on the treadmill's display, but I was working it baby. Sweating like a rock star during a major guitar solo and everything.

Hopefully I wasn't singing out loud like last time.

And, once I made it back home and opened up the WIP, I had another great shashoomba experience. Things had been too darn easy for my heroine, so I've just poured a giant bag of marbles under her feet to see how she deals with it.

Maybe she'll burn a calorie or two. ;)

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:00 PM 3 comments

Keeping the faith

Sunday, March 16, 2008

And no, this post isn't about me suddenly finding religion, so there's no mighty sermon here. But do feel free to shout-out a hallelujah if you feel the need. ;)

Whether you're a churchgoer or not, having a career as a writer requires more faith than you might imagine. I thank my lucky stars for being able to share this journey with great writing friends, the wondrous RWA chapter I belong to and the numerous keyboard-tappers out there who share their wisdom through blogs, articles and the forums to which I belong.

Without them, I would have given up long ago.

I think it's because I assumed that, the more I worked at my career, the easier things would get. While it may be true in some cases, it's far from it in others. There always seems to be a learning curve, whether it's mastering the art of receiving rejection (sob!) or developing those pesky punctuation skills. And I look forward to the lessons I will need to learn once I receive an offer for one of my manuscripts.

Perhaps getting my feet wet with magazine article writing was the smart thing to do, although I never considered this part of the master plan. My goal, back when neon colors and spandex were all the rage, was to write advertising copy. And make millions doing it.

While that was fun, I still felt the need to do something even more fun: write for the magazines that I love to read, all curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a box of those European chocolate covered cookies. Okay, maybe just one or two. Boxes.

And that turned out to be where things really took off for me. Then Michelle Rowen encouraged me to try NaNoWriMo, where participants attempt to write a 50,000 novel during the month of November. Never in a million years did I think I'd be able to do it, but whaddyaknow? I passed with flying colors!

Too bad most of it was absolute trash, but it taught me a valuable lesson: I can write something longer than 1,800 words. Woo hoo!

And that's when, back in 2003, my wee flame of hope sparked to life. I always thought writing a book was for other people, certainly not a gal who tends to forget which verb tense she's in from time to time. ;)

For me, working on a novel is a lot of things: an opportunity to delve deep into a story, a means to turn my experiences into something I can share with others and, most of all, an activity that rewards my spirit.

And if that isn't what keeping the faith is all about, I don't know what is.


posted by Bonnie Staring at 2:43 PM 4 comments

Not much to buzz about

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. My TBR (to be read) pile is calling out to me, but so is my current WIP...and the other projects I've been assigned to do.

Worse still, is that I'm sticking to my "two article queries a week" goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, and I've been doing really well at it. :::gulp:::

And no, I'm not complaining or hyperventilating because I'm loving it! The thrill of hunting for sources, finding new angles for topics that are seemingly overdone and being able to add a little dash of Bonnification to them is, in two words, way cool.

My article on buzz marketing is now available online, so if you wanna read all about it, click on the link below:



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posted by Bonnie Staring at 10:40 PM 5 comments

Beware the Idles of March

Monday, March 10, 2008

I've been horrible at keeping up with the Joneses, who blog every five minutes or so and always have something riveting or at least engaging to share.

Me? I've been biz-ay crossing many items off my never-ending to-do list, and I'm seeing light at the end of the first-draft tunnel for my current WIP. A completion date of March 31, 2008, is totally doable, so I'm gonna do it.

:::sprinkles magic powder over keyboard to keep the muse happy:::

I've also been fighting a battle. It's one between the book that has been written and the one currently in progress. Both want my attention, especially when Project Runway is on, but only one truly needs it: the current WIP.

Trouble is, I'm a revision junkie. Who knew that staying up until the wee hours, massaging a phrase or pondering the placement of a comma would be something I'd voluntarily do? It's madness!

And it's extremely problematic when I need to be focused on the manuscript at hand. A whole bunch of people have said that the best way to get published is to keep writing -- and I know they didn't mean "keep writing the same book over and over again." ;)

I also have to confess that I'm a lot more productive when I have to spend the day working in an office on other things. Once I get home, I'm actually excited to get onto the computer so that I can continue where I left off.

Don't worry. There's no way I'd ever go back to having a full-time day job, but getting out of the house every once in a while does have its merits. A paycheque is cool too.

What frightens me most is that I may fall victim to the Idles of March. You see it all the time: college kids frolicking on the beach, couch potatoes falling deeper into the couch...even teachers are caught relaxing in their own homes during daylight hours! The temptation to find a sunny spot and curl up with a good book is very, very tempting.

But I can't. Not yet.

Maybe I can hold off until April, when the snow might stop. Yeah, I've got big dreams. ;)

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 6:03 PM 0 comments

Cat and mouse

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I know it's been a productive week already when my hand is aching from all the keyboard action. The buckets of words have continued to come through for me, and I have no freaking idea why so I'm just gonna stay focused on the prize: getting stuff dun.

Yeah, I mean dun: the kind of completion that leaves your brain so fried you can't even remember how to spell. ;)

And, speaking of prizes, I'm going to be appearing in part of a documentary called Winning for a Living, airing tomorrow night (Thursday, March 6) at 9 p.m. on CBC television's Doc Zone. A former boss says she saw a preview for it last week -- and recognized the back of my head.

Wow, is the back of my head that recognizable? I know I probably wouldn't be able to pick it out of a lineup. LOL

This has also been a week of decisions, priorities and everyone wanting me to work for them tomorrow and Friday. Believe me, if I knew that I was going to be this popular, I would have cloned myself a few times so one of me could stay in bed and avoid the piles of snow outside.

Ugh. March can take its "in like a lion" and...

Never mind, I'll just pour this angst into the WIP. Or my article on elevator speeches. That's the beauty of what I do: ideas are everywhere; I just have to be able to catch them. It's kind of like playing cat and mouse.

And, to demonstrate the point, here's a great photo that Laura sent me today:

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:52 PM 0 comments

Clearing the clutter

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hello, my name is Bonnie and I've been a pack rat my entire life.

This post shouldn't surprise you, as I spend a lot of time moaning about how much stuff I have on my plate. Only this time, it's actual stuff I'm whining about.

Where does all of this crap come from? And how do I let it accumulate to a point where there's so much of it, it's easier to just stop using a room than deal with any of it? Le sigh.

Well, I started doing something a little freaky yesterday. I threw some stuff out. Just a few things here and there, mind you. Tossed some expired take-out coupons from the kitchen shelf into the recycling bin. Put some shoes into the cupboard. Started a donation bag for the stuff too good to toss out.

Sure, they're baby steps, but Rome wasn't built in a day. And I'm sure it didn't get all piled up with crap in a day either. No, that was Pompeii.

I can't blame the state of my home on a natural disaster. It's all about my inability to let things go. And, even though the decluttering guru Peter Walsh has another book out on how to deal with clutter, I'm not going to buy it. Why? Because I can't find where I put his last one -- and I even had him sign it for me. ;)

One rule for dealing with the clutter mayhem that seems to be working for me so far is keeping it small. One shelf or one drawer, not both. One bag of stuff, not the whole room full of them.

The thing is, I know this clutter prevents me from writing. It's my built-in procrastination station. When I don't feel like doing an interview, I go through the stack of magazines. Or if I don't want to proof an article just yet, I can organize my gift bag collection.

Acknowledging the problem is half the battle, right?

Good, now I have to clear off all the crap on the coffee table. Or maybe just half of it. ;)

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 5:54 PM 0 comments

I can't type fast enough

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Back in the day, I was a huge Depeche Mode fan. Heck, I still am, but more for the early stuff before they started getting all religious and super-angsty. I like my angst with more of a pop beat, thank you very much.

Hey, did someone mention angst? My current WIP is moving along swimmingly, and I wrote ten pages today, a freaking record and miracle. The bucket of words had no limits today! Yahoo!

I have found the love again with this novel, right when I have a gazillion other projects on the boil, including on-site work for a client. Le sigh.

So, instead of bitching about it, I rewrote Depeche Mode's "I Just Can't Get Enough." Squee!

I Can't Write Fast Enough
When I’m writing baby, I get into my head
And I can’t type fast enough, I can’t type fast enough
All the characters in a scene and everything they said
And I can’t type fast enough, I can’t type fast enough

The fingers fly like I’m wearing gloves
And I really can’t type fast enough

Words string together, creating a new scene
And I can’t type fast enough, I can’t type fast enough
Every time I think of them my knuckles feel the heat
And I can’t type fast enough, I can’t type fast enough

My deadline’s fodder, sleep I'll have to shove
And I really can’t type fast enough

And when I block, the muse is there for me
And I can’t type fast enough, I can’t type fast enough
Get me some aspirin, my hands are killing me
And I can’t write fast enough, I can’t write fast enough

It’s like an angel who dictates from a above
And I really can’t type fast enough

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posted by Bonnie Staring at 11:34 PM 2 comments