Author and Blogger, Marti Lawrence

Ebooks by Marti Lawrence available through Amazon

  • River of Possibilities, ebook, Kindle. novel by Marti Lawrence
  • 7 ways to screw up your life by Marti Lawrence
  • humor, klutz, Queen Klutz, Marti Lawrence, Ebook

You Gotta Laugh or You’ll Cry

Posted By on August 5, 2015

You lucky readers get to sample some great writing by a friend of mine, Samantha Bryant, who is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is now for sale by Curiosity Quills.

You can find her online on her blog, Twitter, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on the Curiosity Quills page, or on Google+.

_______________________________________________________
Writing is my therapy. Whatever is bothering me, scaring me, or sticking in my craw is going to come out on the page. I’m forty-four years old, so right now, that’s aging. I started writing Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel as an escape for myself, to find the humor in some of the changes I was just beginning to experience as I neared the halfway point of my next decade. As I wrote I definitely saw the humor in the situation, and I hope my readers will too!

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 5: Jessica Lightens Up, featuring Jessica Roark, former gymnast, age 32. She’s gone through menopause early because of cancer and is suffering from depression as she processes those changes. This excerpt is the second half of the chapter, when Jessica’s unusual symptoms first manifest.
_______________________________________________________
Jessica artwork by Charles C. Dowd
Artwork by Charles Dowd

In the kitchen, Jessica picked up the tin of herbal tea her mother’s friend had made for her and began brewing a cup in her little Adagio teapot. “It will help with the depression,” Ms. Liu had written on the card in her bold, spiky, oddly slanted script. “Make you lighter.” Jessica didn’t know if it was helping or not, but it was very soothing and smelled wonderful. She couldn’t really remember what was in it, other than some special kind of ginseng. She’d drunk kind of a lot of it, though. She held the cup under her nose for a moment to savor the smell and then stood staring out the back deck while she drank it.

Some new birds had come to the little station she’d built for them last summer. She’d imagined standing at the window with her children watching the birds, but the boys were not very interested—they’d rather be outside chasing the birds away just to watch them fly. Maybe if she’d been able to have that third child, the daughter, she would’ve been more contemplative, more like Jessica.
Mostly, Jessica watched alone, and was the only one to notice the little birds coming to enjoy the treats and the bath. A small yellow finch was there now, picking at the seeds she had put out that morning. He turned to her for a moment, cocked his head, jumped into the air, and was gone.

Jessica gasped at the effortlessness of it. So beautiful. She felt a kind of giddiness in her gut, like she had been swinging at the park and had gone weightless for a second, a feeling like she might just vault into the sky.
Just then, she thought she heard a car door slam. Shit! The house was still a mess. Jessica stacked the teacup next to the other used ones from the past couple of days and hurried to the living room. Just as she crossed the threshold into the living room, her bare foot caught under a rug and she went flying. She braced herself, tucking into a safety roll automatically. It took her a moment to realize she hadn’t hit anything.

After a few seconds, she opened her eyes to find she was hovering, midair, about two feet above the glass coffee table. Jessica stayed absolutely still, afraid to move. If she fell into the table, she was going to be horribly hurt. Could she move? She took a deep breath and kind of aimed herself at the couch. Her body drifted a little that direction and then just sort of hovered again.

Okay. This has to be some kind of dream. Right? She must’ve fallen asleep on the couch. So, if it was a dream, she should be able to figure out a way to move. Maybe it’s like swimming. Jessica stretched an arm out tentatively in a sort of Australian crawl. When she pulled back, her body shot forward a foot or two, bumping her into a picture frame above the couch and knocking it askew. Okay. Maybe crawl stroke is too strong. She decided to try a gentle breaststroke, and her body bobbed gently forward. That’s better. Another stroke. This is actually kind of fun. Maybe it was a good dream. The light bubbly sensation in her stomach was really strong now. She felt good. Effervescent. She decided to enjoy the dream.

She bobbed around the living room and toward the stairwell. She didn’t notice she was continuing to rise until she bumped her head on the lighting fixture. She pushed off from the ceiling with her arms and went back down a bit, back to hovering halfway between the ceiling and the floor. She worked her way into the open two-story foyer and peeked out the window above the door. Yep, Nathan is home. He and the boys were closing up the mini-van and heading for the door now. She noticed she could read the decorative plate on the front, “Mama’s Taxi.” Jessica frowned. She’d taken a vivid dreaming seminar her junior year. You weren’t supposed to be able to read when you are dreaming.

Jessica swam her way over to the banister a little awkwardly and grabbed on, trying to pull herself down. She could get her upper body down, but her abdomen and legs stubbornly floated upward. It was like the empty space in her belly had filled with helium, and gravity had lost its hold on her. She was going to scare the kids. Heck, she was scaring herself. How can I get and stay down? She blew the locks of blonde hair out of her eyes, noting the color had darkened as her hair grew back in.

She heard Nathan’s key in the lock and tried again to pull herself down. She tucked her ab muscles and folded herself at the waist, like she’d done in gymnastics class, pleased to find that it didn’t hurt to do so. She pushed herself down and was relieved when her feet made contact with the ceramic tile. The relief quickly gave way to panic, though, when she simply bounced up, like the floor had been a springboard. She lost her hold on the banister and sailed toward the ceiling.

Nathan came through the door, calling her name. Jessica was quiet, holding on to the chandelier with one hand, floating there, looking down at them. From her ceiling view, her children looked wide and squat, like they’d been designed by Duplo. The bald patch on the back of Nathan’s head was clearly visible and much wider than when she had last noticed it. Somehow, this made her want to giggle. She stifled the laugh, not wanting the boys to notice her. She let Nathan get the boys settled in front of the TV and then hissed his name when he came back to toss his keys into the bowl by the door. “Nathan! Don’t scream―I’m up here!”
____________________________

Going Through the Change is going through a change in price for a couple of days in early August. On August 5th and 6th you can get the Kindle edition for free on Amazon.
Check it out!

Growing Old Disgracefully

Posted By on July 31, 2015

A couple of days ago I turned another year older. In light of the sex, drugs and rock & roll I imbibed in heavily in my youth, I see it as a minor miracle. :-)

I’m way past the age of “Only the good die young” or “She’ll always be young and beautiful in our memories” so I will just hang in there until I look like this

Ugly old woman

Getting older is actually a blessing. First off, what’s the alternative? Dead. And not the fun kind of dead like on “True Blood.” The kind of dead where the worms go in, the worms go out, they crawl in your nose and come out your mouth. (Now all of the young readers who never sang, “Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts” at summer camp are scratching their heads while backing slowly away from the crazy old lady.)

I know I am old and I don’t care. Granted, I can’t wear a sleeveless top anymore, because my flabby upper arms would make me look like a flying squirrel in drag. And I don’t have to avoid temptation, it avoids me.

How will you know if you’re old?

“Old” is when your friends compliment you on your new alligator shoes and you’re barefoot.
“Old” is when the porn you bring home is “Debby Does Dialysis.”
“Old” is when your doctor doesn’t give you x-rays anymore but just holds you up to the light.
“Old” is when a sexy babe catches your fancy and your pacemaker opens the garage door nearest your car.
“Old” is when you remember when the Dead Sea was only sick.

But there are advantages to getting older.

Finally you can eat dinner at 4:00
Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
It’s harder and harder for sexual harassment charges to stick.
If you’ve never smoked you can start now and it won’t have time to hurt you.
People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them.
Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
Your eyes won’t get much worse.
No one expects you to run into a burning building.
You don’t need the shingles with the 30-year guarantee.
Someone else will have the unpleasant task of burying your pets.
There’s nothing left to learn the hard way.
Protecting your eyes during a solar eclipse isn’t as important as it used to be.
Buying cheap tires and not rotating them makes economic sense.
You may never have to vacuum under the bed again.
You don’t have to bother planting perennials.
In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.

And if you’re old enough to be reading this, by now you should have learned that:

No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.
When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.
Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.
You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.
Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.

So, cheers for making it another year!

Funny Answering Machine Messages

Posted By on July 3, 2015

1. Hi. This is John:
If you are the phone company, I already sent the money.
If you are my parents, please send money.
If you are my financial aid institution, you didn’t lend me enough money.
If you are my friends, you owe me money.
If you are a female, don’t worry, I have plenty of money.

2. Hi! John’s answering machine is broken.
This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I’ll stick your message to myself with one of these magnets.

3. Hello, you are talking to a machine.
I am capable of receiving messages. My owners do not need siding, windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean. They give to charity through the office and don’t need their picture taken. They are also very happy with their current phone service. If you’re still with me, leave your name and number and they will get back to you.

4. The College Special.
A is for academics, B is for beer. One of those reasons is why we’re not here. So leave a message.

5. If you are a burglar calling to check, then we’re probably at home cleaning our weapons right now and can’t come to the phone. Otherwise, we probably aren’t home and it’s safe to leave us a message.

6. Hi. I am probably home, I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.

7. You have reached the CPX-2000 Voice Blackmail System.
Your voice patterns are now being digitally encoded and stored for later use. Once this is done, our computers will be able to use the sound of your voice for literally thousands of illegal and immoral purposes.
There is no charge for this initial consultation. However our staff of professional extortionists will contact you in the near future to further explain the benefits of our service, and to arrange for your schedule of payment. Remember to speak clearly at the sound of the tone. Thank you.

My Morning

Posted By on June 5, 2015

Dear readers, it is your lucky day! I have another guest post by a terrific writer!

To read more from guest author Ilyanna Kreske please visit:
http://yanamama.blogspot.com/

A play in one act, for your amusement

Setting: 5 a.m. Friday. The sun has not yet risen. A cool spring breeze flows gently through my bedroom, where Darling Husband and I sleep to the melody of robin-song.

Smoke Detector 1: Let me sing you the song of my people

Smoke detectors 2 – infinity: We will sing with you, brother

I rise and stumble downstairs to listen to the glorious chirping

Unfortunate Puddle: Let me bathe your feet in cold dog urine. All the girls are doing it.

I fumble for the mop and spray bottle and clean a bazillion square feet of wood floor

Unfortunate Puddle: I shall return!

Smoke Detectors (all): Chirpety chirp squeak squeal!

I take matters into hand.

Smoke Detector Eleventy: I weep for your ignorance as you tear me from my hearth and home. SDE screams in mighty agony

All the other smoke detectors wail in disbelief. The children wake and begin to cry. I mercilessly storm through the house, pulling down smoke detectors and gently stacking them for later battery replacement

Smoke Detector The Last: I will sing intermittently and at random, in mourning for my family. You.Will.Not find me.

I spend 20 minutes searching for the last smoke detector and finally find it in the unfinished basement

Me: AHA! Gotchu, fucker!

Unfortunate Puddle: I’m ALLIIIIVVVEEEE! Let me shower your hand and arm with dog urine, filtered through the floorboards above. All the girls are doing it.

I throw the soaked detector in the trash and mop myself with paper towels as I head to the shower.

On-Demand Hot Water Heater: Poor girl, let me shower you with delightful hot water. Better?

Me: mmmm.

ODHWH: PRANK! switches instantly to ice water

Me: FFFFUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!

Alarm Clock: Wakey, wakey rise and shine! Are we ready for another GREAT day?

*The End*

How to Succeed at Steampunk Without Really Trying

Posted By on May 31, 2015

Today I am sharing with you a guest post by a good friend who is a terrific writer!

If you are not familiar with “steampunk” it is so much fun! It is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy—also in recent years a fashion and lifestyle movement—that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.

To read more from guest author Mike Reeves-McMillan please visit:
http://csidemedia.com/gryphonclerks/my-books/

– – – – – – – – – –
So, the market for urban fantasy is looking pretty saturated – hard to break into. And you’ve been eyeing up this steampunk thing, but it looks like it might involve work. Fear not! Steampunk is selling, and as a former employee of a large publisher I can exclusively reveal that large publishers don’t give a fat rat’s for quality, because they make their money on quantity.

And, having read a bunch of the results of this policy, I can now impart to you the never-fail, paint-by-numbers formula by which you, you lazy, talentless hack, can also get a publishing contract (and a legion of diehard fans in funny costumes).

Setting. In practice you can probably set steampunk anywhere from the Renaissance to about World War II, but its heartland is the Victorian era. Even if you’re setting your story in a secondary fantasy world, you should stick in some kind of Victorian reference.

You might think that this will involve research, even if it’s only spending a few minutes browsing Wikipedia. Don’t worry. Whatever vague impression you have of the Victorian era is fine. Most of your audience won’t know any more than you, and they will defend you against any nitpicker who does (or has spent a few minutes browsing Wikipedia) by chorusing, “It’s only fiction! Get over yourself!”

Set dressing. Steampunk is all about the set dressing. No, really, if you get this right you can screw everything else up completely. Memorize these words: Brass. Steam. Gears. Airship. Goggles. Clockwork. Punched cards. Corset. Automaton. Use several of them on every page, and you’re golden.

Of these, you would think “steam” was the most important, but actually it’s “brass”. Brass is shiny, and distracts your readers from the fact that you’re a crappy writer. Make everything you can out of brass.

Don’t worry in the least about whether making that thing out of brass (or powering it with steam, or clockwork, or using punched cards with it) makes any sense whatsoever.

Characters. You can just order these from stock. You’ll want a square-jawed hero, probably, a plucky gel (that’s important), a mad scientist or two, some minions, you know the drill.

Your villain should be so villainously villainous that he hardly has time to plot, between kicking dogs, killing incompetent henchmen and innocent bystanders, and twirling his moustache. He should always seem like he’s on the point of tying a girl to some railway tracks while saying, “Aha! My proud beauty!”

Give your main character something they’re afraid of, or that they dislike intensely, that makes no difference to their actual behaviour in situations where they encounter it. This establishes their iron will and their unshakeable badassness, and your fans will praise this as “deep characterization”.

Be hard on your characters, by the way. There should be a high body count of nameless mooks and bystanders. Beat your main characters up, have them tied up and imprisoned as frequently as possible. Remember: steampunk fans like to dress up in corsets. I trust I don’t have to draw you a picture.

Language. Your characters don’t have to talk like a 19th-century newspaper, but some fans will expect it. Don’t worry if you don’t write this terribly well, nobody expects you to. And it helps to hide the plot holes if your fans are spending all their brainpower on parsing your sentences.

Speaking of which:
Plot. You do need one, but any pulp plot from the 1930s will do. Some guy wrote a book with all of the pulp plots in, but I can’t be bothered to Google for it, so I’m guessing nor can you. Just watch any of the Indiana Jones movies (doesn’t matter which, the plot’s much the same) and steal that one.

Lots of travelling about in different vehicles (but call them “conveyances”) and getting in fights is absolutely essential.

Follow those five simple steps, and steampunk success is yours (or your money back). You can write any old crap, as long as you stick to the formula, and you don’t even need to spell or punctuate correctly.

TL;DR:

Victoria had an automaton,
Its clockwork was of brass.
And everywhere her airship steamed
The villain kicked her arse.

Spread the word