Release Anxieties

On Tuesday of this week I heard that my book FLIPKA had been released to Amazon by Booktrope Publishing.


You’ll probably think this is very silly but instead of elation, I felt like Fi Butters, dumped on a dark, abandoned desert road with no idea which direction to head.  Do I shout the news from the rooftops of Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest or wait to hear what the marketing plan is?  Luckily a refrigerator in bad need of cleaning distracted me (i.e., provided that hole for me to stick my head in).

This morning I was rescued from an existential funk by turkeys gobbling their silly heads off under my window (and I do not live on a turkey farm). Nothing reminds me I’m an idiot faster than the mating call of a wild turkey before the sun’s even shown her face in the sky.

Now I have the bad news.  Soon the marketing begins in earnest.  It will involve a release party I’m told and numerous contests where people can win prizes.  It will probably also involve having to listen to me blather on about my book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.  I’ll try not to get too obnoxious but if I am, just send in the turkeys.


The first prize will be a weathered looking leather journal.  The reason being, a mystery central to the plot of FLIPKA.  Below is a snapshot from poor Major Sebastian Olivore’s journal:

IMG_0568Please don’t ask me what the contest will be cause I don’t know.  Ideas?

Thanks to the entire Booktrope team for putting up with me, to my wise editor Cynthia White, spunky book manager Julie Serra,  the stellar designer team of Melody Paris/Kaira Paris McDade and to proofreader Cathy Shaw who was a lifesaver.  Thanks especially to Judith O’Dell for her amazing developmental edits early on, to my sister Jane, friends Carol and Kathy A., hubby Joel and daughter Bridget for being early readers and providing support.  To all my friends: thanks for being kind enough to express an interest in the project.  I love all of you!

The Secret Language of the Geek

Nothing is impossible, if you miss
enough sleep. #geekhumor circa 1990s.
I’ve always been fond of the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not taken.  I guess because I’ve taken many roads against my better judgement that have led to magical places and people.  A few dark places, yes, but that’s part of taking the road less traveled.

Back when email was the secret language of nerds and geeks because it required keystrokes and thus was scorned by management, I ran across a path which I almost didn’t take because I was certain it would lead to disappointment.

Without going into gory details, I had just gone through a divorce and, to feed myself and my children, had to take whatever work came my way, generally in stifling offices where I was the incompetent stranger. Then one day the offer came to work for a financial services company in downtown Berkeley.


The Temp

The Temp from Another Planet

I pictured endless hours of filing financial documents for a quiet, uptight, close-knit group of white-shirted, myopic, every hair in place, serious CPAs to whom I would just be “the temp.”  A disposable commodity easily replaced if I didn’t quite fit the bill, which I knew would happen because I am one of those people whose math brain is as soft as cottage cheese.  Once they figured out my secret, I would be out of there.  Maybe I’d make twenty-five dollars for half a day; five of which would be used for parking.  I’d have to report to the temp agency, another failure.

Geeks and Nerds

Nerds, Geeks and Les circa 1990

But, after being directed to the third floor of a run-down building in an area of Berkeley where homeless folk slept in the doorways and kids chased each other with knives, my soon-to-be boss greeted me with a big, bear hug and then introduced me to a smiling, barefoot swimmer/programmer whose wet towel always hung over the door to his office.  Before I’d even had a chance to remove my coat I was told one of my first duties would be to arrange the monthly blowout on the roof garden: beer, wine  and moussaka from the local Greek restaurant.  The secretary who’d been relieved of the task by my arrival warned: “No matter what you order, someone will complain.  There’s never enough wine, or it’s the wrong type of wine, and don’t get me started on the vegetarians.  Oh, and there’s one guy who who will swell up like beached whale if there’s even a smidgen of peanut oil in anything he touches.  You’ll have to give him  an immediate shot to the abdomen and a rush him to the emergency room.”  After telling me her hobby was raising silk worms, she warned with gothic sincerity that restaurants and bakeries in the area all lied about the real ingredients in their dishes.  Thus, success was not an option.  I’d found the perfect place for me.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the secret


Nothing is impossible if you miss enough sleep!

language of the geek.  Well, the department to which I was assigned,  R&D, was run by the company’s rain-maker, resident genius and madman.  He had two very special talents.  First was his mastery of the word “fuck.”  He used it as adverb, noun and adjective, winding such phrases  that it would take an exorcism to remove the resulting images from your brain.  Second, he mixed metaphors with relish, inspiring his gang of ranting social reformers, word loving nerds and arm-chair philosophers to follow his lead via email, the tool then too complicated for management to figure out.

Here are a few of my favorites:
  • th-1Don’t count your chickens before they come home to roast.
  • The whole enchilada is in a different ballpark altogether. 
  • …we sat down and computed that fucking number ‘till hell won’t come home.
  • We’ll just have to burn that bridge when we come to it.