Good News from Bo’s Cafe!

I survived yesterday—I almost didn’t make it home, since the low roads are under water, random sections of the high road have sprouted orange barrels in a somewhat premature Ode to Spring, and the unofficial motto of our area has always been “You can’t get there from here.”*

But I did eventually find my way back, though I was so beat I completely forgot about the leftover birthday cake that I’d planned as a reward for making it through.**

Let me tell you, when I’m so out of it, I forget cake . . .

But some good things came from the pathos.  My friend has accepted my apologies for forgetting her birthday—whew! Many of you offered to take on the pain of next Monday for me—I accept, by the way. And our brilliant Downith added a two word comment to yesterday’s post that should keep me, uh, fundamentally balanced until I absolutely can’t put off a shopping trip to Ye Olde Torture Chamber the lingerie store.

But the real credit for breaking the Curse of Monday goes to Wayne E. Pollard, who sent me some wonderful news:

His webcomic, Bo’s Cafe Life, about which I’ve gushed here before, made Writer’s Digest’s 101 Best websites for writers!


If you’ve missed any of the previous gushing, Wayne’s brainchild is a deceptively simple comic that offers a sincere, sweet, cynical, painfully realistic and always hilarious look at the writing business and the business of writing.

There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a blogger (and ouch, Wayne, really):


A poet:

A writer of fiction (or just of a certain age):


Or . . . all of us:


I’ve accused Wayne of following me around more than once . . . But that’s only fair, since I plan to follow the Cafe gang for as long as he keeps posting.

Go look through the archives—and share a link to your favorite in the comments!

*A couple of years ago, at the city-logo brainstorming session, someone suggested “A Great Place to get Lost.” It made the top five.

**So I planned to have it for breakfast—don’t judge me, it beats small cellophane baggies of fortune cookie crumbs from my purse—and forgot again.  I may be coming down with something . . .


A Kilo of Chocolate Sprinkles

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Wayne E. Pollard’s webcomic Bo’s Café Life, which describes the trials, victories, tribulations, happy delusions, and painful realities of this over-caffeinated writing business—including what happens when they run out of French Vanilla.

His stuff is so spot on, I’ve accused Wayne more than once of following me around.* And his No B.S. Blog for Writers is exactly as advertised.

So when I was told that he was gathering a short eCollection of his humorous essays and offering it on Amazon for a penny less than a buck, I was there**  even before I saw the cover:


See what I mean about being follo—um, never mind.

I laughed and/or snickered all the way through this book—I even read my favorite bits from “Café Life” and the title story out loud to my longsuffering husband, who hates it when I do that but couldn’t help chuckling, too.***  There’s also a phone call between Charles Dickens and his agent which is eyerollingly snortworthy, and an essay about media interview tips that has some solid, if snarky, advice that I’m saving for (a hopeful) later.^

After finishing the last page, I only had two complaints: I wanted it to be longer—though it’s an awful lot of funny for 99 cents—and I wanted Cold Stone ice cream. Now. With lots and lots of sprinkles.

A Kilo of Chocolate Sprinkles is for sale at Amazon—give it a try, would you?^^

And then go find yourself over at Bo’s Café Life—we’re all in there somewhere.


*Which, I’ve noticed, he hasn’t actually denied

**Or, rather, I was there once our WiFi re-established itself after cutting out mid-download when the storm knocked out our power. That I was more irritated about not having Internet access than I was about the freezer or finding working flashlights or a battery-powered alarm clock says a lot about the dismal state of my priorites our current technoculture (cough). But if the lightning had held off for thirty seconds, I would at least have had something to read on a nice, bright screen while I waited for the lights to come back on . . .

*** Though I wisely kept the best lines from the treatise on husband-training to myself.  I do have a few survival instincts.

^Though the state of my wardrobe viewed through this advice has me seriously considering agoraphobia and strategically-filtered Skype as a valid career choice . . .

^^There’s a free Kindle app available for your laptop and your phone, if, like me, you prefer a different eReader—or none at all.


Bo’s Cafe Life comic reposted courtesy of the author, who retains all rights, etc.

Bo’s Cartoon Life: or, why Wayne Pollard is now even MORE awesome

My morning routine on work days goes something like this: Get up, get sighted, get showered, get dry, get dressed, and fire up the laptop.

If I’ve done everything correctly the first time—without, say, dropping a contact into the sink* or discovering that all my clean laundry is still in the washing machine because I was writing far too late while listening to Apocalyptica far too loudly, and so didn’t hear the beeps and forgot—I’ll have time to go over the previous days’ work** and set a goal or two before I have to fetch the crowbar and pry the kids out of bed.

But the very first thing I do is check out  Wayne Pollard’s webcomic to see what Bo and his fellow novelists, poets, bloggers, screenwriters, and caffeine addicts are doing.

Drinking coffee (or tea, as long as it’s chai) is a given, and though writing is the goal, talking about writing is the clear preference. I’ve been reading Bo’s Cafe Life since the beginning, and I not only identify with these determined wannabes, I occasionally accuse Wayne of following me around for comic-fodder.***

One of the characters, Dingbang—who may be my favorite, though I’m not sure what he writes, exactly—runs a questionable answer feature,^ and Bo occasionally interviews Real Life™ people from agents to editors to publishers.

It’s funny, y’all, and simple and sarcastic and cutting and often far too insightful for comfort. I never miss it.

But yesterday, in place of the daily comic, I found something a little different:

I like it!

And I’ll bet you a virtual-venti chai latte you’ll like Bo’s Cafe Life.

*My personal best is dropping both, consecutively, and only finding the first one. The second one fell down the household wormhole and is probably stuck to a lost sock in an N-space oubliette. That’s gratitude for you.

**  You know, after checking e-mail and blog comments and  my feed-reader and . . .

** Such as deleting and rewriting the entire flippin’ section.

***An accusation he has yet to deny, I’ve noticed.

^I know what I said.  Read ’em and see.

Random Thursdays: Random Happiness

Unexpected happy-making things, both big and small, have happened all this week.  Don’t know why, don’t care, but I’m enjoying them all.


Pumpkin bread for breakfast this morning, courtesy of Downith, who sent me her recipe!

I would have taken a picture of the results, except I tasted them first, and then the family woke up and all that’s left is crumbs and a grocery list with MORE PUMPKIN written on it and underlined twice.

Spice cake was already on the list, because Lyra’s recipe kicks it, too!


On Tuesday, I helped a nice lady find a photo of her grandson in the newspaper and order a print copy from the website.

I found out today that she took the time to write out a comment card saying how helpful and friendly I was—those things go straight to the director, and my annual evaluation is coming up!


 Janie had her softball awards ‘ceremony’ at the local ice cream parlor two evenings ago—her trophy is featured in yesterday’s post.

I took Sunny along and we stood in line for ice cream while she charmed the socks off the older couple behind us.*

The woman mentioned that their children and grandchildren had come down for the holiday, but they’d all gone home and the house was far too quiet.

Our house isn’t quiet,” said  Sunny.  She pointed to Janie’s group.  “I have a sister.

Ice cream and shared laughter.  Awesome combination.



I got my FOID card in the mail yesterday, which means I can rent a gun at the local shooting range and  practice.

I’m hoping to work up to the broad sides of barns, but we’ll see . . .


Wayne E. Pollard, creator of the webcomic Bo’s Café Life, is going to have a collection out soon!

Wayne is a great guy, and his gang of struggling writers at the coffee shop are spot on—laughing at them imeans laughing at ourselves, and that can only be a good thing in this business!

He also gives the occasional nod to writer support services:

The comic has been featuring interviews from editors, agents, critics, and others in the industry, as well as an Ask Dingbang feature that I never miss.

The morning doesn’t start until I get my Bo fix— and soon I’ll be able to read my favorites without worrying about my wireless connection!


My husband brought  my packed lunch to work for me before I even realized I’d left it on the kitchen counter this morning.


I have no idea why this feels like a huge confession . . . but I’ve been known to write a little fanfiction—for practice, experimentation, relaxation, the occasional dare, the instant feedback, because I’m a huge geeky nerd, whatever.

I’m well aware that I’m choosing to use some of my writing time on derivative things that can’t be published, but this is something  I enjoy doing, and I know it’s improved my writing.

I haven’t participated much lately, but this past month, the Leverage fandom at the site where I post held an awards thing, where readers could nominate and vote on their favorite stories and writers.

Someone was kind enough to nominate one or two of my stories in a couple categories,  and I was up for best author, all of which was quite the ego boost.  I voted for other people’s stuff, and then the voting period was extended, so I forgot about it.

Then yesterday, I received a ton of e-mailed congratulations.

Turns out, one of my stories placed first for best original character, best alternative universe,** and best overall story, and tied for second for best general-category (with its sequel, if you can believe that).  And I placed first for best author.

I know that this isn’t the type of thing one mentions in a query letter, and I know that fanfiction is generally vilified—be honest, how many of you read the previous paragraph and thought well, how hard can that be?

But let me explain why this is important, personally, to me:

There are about eighteen-hundred stories in that fandom at last count and an average of three new ones pop up every day.   I wrote that story three years ago.  And readers still remember it.

That’s the real award, right there.

And a challenge to do the same thing, all on my own.


This week has been great so far!  How’s yours going?  Any random happiness to share?


* As she does to any grandparent within a thirty-foot radius.  So far, she’s only used this power for good instead of evil, but I’m keeping a close eye . . .

**Which I’m taking to mean that the events in the story occurred outside of the shows, though it obviously referenced several.

It’s all about the Chai, Baby

It’s my day off from the library, so as soon as the kids were packed off to day camp this morning, I schlepped off to the nearest Panera with my Netbook and as many of my plot notes as I could cram into my bag.*

There’s much to be said about writing in a different setting, away from the usual distractions.  And more to be said about a setting with hot- and cold-running caffeine and sugary baked goods.

Wayne E. Pollard knows this (more of his wonderful and all-too apt writerly comics may be found here):


Franch Vanilla is nice enough, but I choose my writing spots on the quality of the chai tea lattes.  Love them.  Had two of them this morning in lieu of breakfast.  And an orange scone.

The perfection of the chai lattes at Panera was a great comfort when I realized that the pacing is all wrong in the section I’m working on.  Plus, it’s infodump.  It’s a rushed infodump.

That’s when I bought the second latte.  And the scone. 

I tore apart a couple of darlings with great savagery and heartbreak** between sips, and everything is going much more smoothly now.

If I’d been at home, with nothing more than a half-drunk diet Pepsi and a handful of my kids’ cheddar goldfish crackers, I would have given up and spent the time following my blogs and webcomics and watching Youtube.   I might have done that at Panera, too, except their Wifi appears, ironically, to need several very strong cups of coffee.

So, yes, sometimes it’s good to get out of the house towrite.

As long as there’s chai.  And scones.  And wonky Wifi.


*That would be one file folder, two quarter legal pads, and a lot of little pieces of paper.  I buy shoulder bags for capacity first, strong straps next, and style last.

**I’m not quite as purple on paper, I swear.