Thursday, June 25, 2009

Where to find a redneck if you must . . .

And the tale continues . . .

My first real brush with a redneck traumatized both me and my mama and even had lasting repercussions on my little sister. I was my minding my own little eight-year-old business (isn’t that always how it is when you run into a redneck?), drawing pictures of kittens and hearts when Bud Epperson turned away from making glue chips in his desk tray and informed me that he was going to marry me.

“I’m gonna marry you,” he said.

I thought maybe he’d gotten too good a whiff of that glue, but he was dead serious –or as serious as you can get in the fourth grade—and he said, “I’m gonna hold you down and cut your fingernails and you’re gonna milk cows. I’m gonna marry you.”

Of course I was horrified and ran straight home to ask my mother if he really could cut my fingernails and make me milk cows.

Horrified her ownself, Mama immediately enrolled my sister and I in Charm School. Apparently, she thought teaching us to eat with the right fork and walk with books on our heads would not only whip us into marriageable shape, but would also make us unrecognizable to the average, every day redneck.

Sadly, redneckedness rubs off on you a lot faster than charm does.

Oh, sure, my sister and I learned how to artfully apply makeup, how to win beauty pageants and the proper way to cross your legs (at the ankles, knees pressed together, which incidentally I found out later, is also a perfectly acceptable form of birth control and is still being taught in many a Texas school).

Mama knew a lot about charm, having pulled herself up by her own petticoats and escaped a life of redneckedness.

She also knew that rednecks are a lot like Cheese Doodles. Once you’ve had one, you pretty much want the whole bag and then you’d spend the rest of your life with Doodle Dust down the front of your shirt.

And so it was that my sister and I were shielded from blatant redneckedness until well after the age when many southern girls lose their virginity in the back bed of a pickup truck hanging onto a gun rack, which was always my mother’s greatest fear. It turns out there are worse things that could happen.

My own personal redneck rode into my life the same way he rode out—riding to the rescue of a blonde. The first time, the blonde was me.

It was my own fault for putting myself in a situation that required rescuing. The particular situation that led me to this particular redneck was, of course, another redneck, because everyone knows the easiest way to get over one redneck is to run right out and jump on a new one (I said the easiest way—not the best way).

While rednecks can be found roaming freely most anywhere in the continental United States, there are proven habitats that tend to attract them in large numbers, and most of them are in Texas. These places include but are not limited to: anywhere that beer, bait and ammo are sold, any establishment where meat is fried, and anyplace they might get to see some boobies, including company picnics, tractor pulls and family reunions.

A redneck will never look a gift boobie in the mouth, and will fall all over themselves to get a peek at even one, lone boobie. They don’t even care what the boobies look like. You could have tits you can fold like a pair of socks and a redneck will still want to see ‘em.

And, as one of my redneck friends informed me, the only bad boobie is a covered-up boobie.
Now, if you’re looking for a redneck to keep, the Home Depot is by far your best bet. Being at the Home Depot suggests that he is willing and able to fix things, has the money to pay for the things he needs to fix things, and if he pulls out that little orange credit card, you can surmise that he is able to make a commitment at least once a month. You may also surmise that if he’s getting things to fix things at the Home Depot, the home he’s fixing does not come with wheels and a trailer hitch.
I met my own personal redneck not at the Home Depot, but at the South Austin meat market. Needless to say (or maybe not), both of my boobies were covered.

On the advice of a friend who knew I needed to move all my personal possessions out from under the nose of Previous Redneck, I took myself down to the meat market to enlist the help of a man she called “Fluf.”

I was immediately wary when she referred to him as Fluf, but, being acquainted with more than my fair share of rednecks, I took this with a grain of salt. Besides, I’d left half my shoes at the Ex Redneck’s house. They weren’t my favorite shoes, mind you, but I wanted them back. Another woman could take my place in his bed, but I’d spit nails before she took my place in my shoes.
And though I was fully clothed on meat market day—as I am on most days—Fluf later told me that there was sufficient evidence that my boobies were worth a little wait.

With very little malice and absolutely no forethought, I waltzed myself into the meat market full of fear and false bravado, and with good reason. Fluf looked like a machete-wielding, swarthy, southern version of Yosemite Sam.

Not to mention the fact that I was told he could bend a crowbar with his bare hands—not a bad trait when you’re looking for someone to move all of your earthly belongings out of the house of another redneck.

One thing I knew for sure was that he in no way resembled anything remotely related to fluff, at least until I learned the origin of the moniker.

FLUF, he told me later, was an acronym for Fat Lazy Ugly Fucker, and was bestowed on him by friends at the Baptist Boys’ Ranch.

If it is true that all good boys go to heaven, then boys on the fence go to the Boys’ Ranch, where they are taught survival of the quickest and the slickest.

Fluf was neither fat nor lazy or ugly, but he could indeed be a fucker when the occasion called for it, especially after copious amounts of tequila—a fact he seemed proud of, because he had a t-shirt that said, Instant Asshole, Just Add Tequila. But as I mentioned, these are all things I learned later.
While I balked at the nickname, there’s one thing you have to know about rednecks is that they’ve appropriated the Native American custom of naming people for their attributes, abilities or behavior, such “Barn,” as in, her butt’s big as a barn door, “One Arm Amy,” on account of she only had one arm, and “Smidge,” as in premature ejaculator.” So, if you’re planning on saddling yourself a redneck anytime soon, you may as well pick your own nickname, or you’ll be assigned one and it will stick, whether you like it or not.

Anyhow, on that fateful day at the meat market, Fluf was behind the counter, blithely butchering a feral hog. Horrified, I tried not to stare, as I am a Hypothetical Vegetarian, which is to say I eat meat but I feel bad about it, and I prefer not to eat anything while it still has a face.

But standing there in Aisle Five, flanked by pork butts and bacon, I realized that I did, in fact, have a pig in my life, and this guy with the machete and appeared to know how to handle a pig. Not that I wanted him to filet my ex, but it was nice to know I had options.

Later, we discovered that we both had misgivings about the other. He thought I was a social worker, and I thought he was an ex-con. It turns out both of us were mostly right.

Tentatively, we exchanged telephone numbers and I hightailed it out of there before he continued his assault on the hog and before I could change my mind.

Writers' League!

On Saturday, June 27th, I'll be moderating a panel about writing for graphic novels at the Writers League of Texas Agents Conference, being held at the Sheraton Hotel in Austin.Joining me for "Beyond the Strip: Inside the World of Comics & Graphic Novels" will be Alan J Porter, Rick Klaw (former editor of MoJo Press and online reviewer and columnist), and Tony Salvaggio (writer of Psy*Comm and Clockworks)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Agent Class Starting Soon!

There are four more spots in the Agent Class starting Tuesday. We’re going to be looking at winning query letters from best selling authors, we’ll share insider tips from Super Agents Jenny Bent, Kim Whalen, Deidra Knight and Noah Lukeman, along with some secret weapons to help you get your foot in the door. In the second week of class, we’ll help you write (or rewrite) your pitch and/or query letter. Email me privately at for more information.Hope to see you there, it’s going to be a lot of learning and a lot of fun!

Friday, June 19, 2009

This one's for Rita . . .

By Kit Frazier
©Kit Frazier 2009

Chapter One
Redneck Rule of Three

Grandma Jessie used to say there are only three kinds of men in this world: the ones you play with, the ones you stay with and the ones who just need killin’.
With a redneck, you get a three-fer. I know this because I went through all three of these stages with a redneck of my very own.
In the beginning (the play-with and stay-with stages), my own personal redneck could do no wrong. The man practically farted hearts and flowers which is a neat trick if you can get him to do it. But as we neared the killin’ stage, I was tempted to chop off his private parts and duct tape them to his forehead.
Since the law (even in Texas) frowns upon maiming your loved ones, I’ve amended Grandma Jessie’s Rule of Three to include two alternative endings.
The first is that if you can’t beat ‘em, you’re not using a big enough stick. Face it. You’re just gonna have to out redneck your redneck. This isn’t hard, if you have in fact decided your redneck is worth keeping. The trick is to just hang around with a redneck—any redneck—as long as you can possibly stand it, because sooner or later the redneckedness is gonna rub off on you.
And honey, once you’ve been subjected to that level of redneckedness, there’s no amount of Extra Strength Clorox or mega-doses of the Discovery Channel that can scrub the redneckedness out from under your skin.
While greater minds than mine have pondered the meaning and/or classification of redneckedness, a redneck is basically a cowboy who’s gone over to the dark side.
You will know you’re on your way to true redneckedness when you realize that kitchen appliances are merely extensions of garage appliances. A steak knife is as handy as a pocket on a shirt and can be used not only for slicing up a good steak, but also as a screwdriver, a back scratcher, and/or a hammer. Moreover, you learn the true use of major appliances—transmissions go on the bottom rack of the dishwasher, baseball caps go on the top.
The second, and my preferred alternative method, is the Redneck Catch & Release Program. You catch and keep your own personal redneck and do the whole moon-pied, doe-eyed, hearts-and-flowers thing until one day he stays out all night and you have to restrain yourself to keep from Super Gluing his frank to his beans.
And when you’re finally to the point of wanting to back over him with his own tricked-out pickup truck, it’s time to take him back to the auto parts department at the Wal-Mart where you found him in the first place.
This is not to say you can’t still have a little fun at his expense—dancing naked in the backyard around a burning pile of his underwear, for example (I warned you—redneckedness rubs off on even the best of us).
And, after you’ve drunk your bodyweight in Bourbon and Diet Coke and all your good sense ran out the dog door and you decide to go get yourself another redneck, don’t worry. As Miss Jessie used to say, “There’s an ass for every saddle, and another one’ll be along directly.”

Friday, June 5, 2009

Some interesting news . . .

This is from Cindi Myers' weekly Market News . . .

Last week I shared information from the Book Industry Study Group's Making Information Pay 2009 conference about the state of the publishing industry. I want to continue that report this week, with information from Kelly Gallagher, v-p of publishing services at R.R. Bowker , who spoke on "The Customer's Always Right: Who is today's book consumer?" The average book reader last year was 45 years old.
Women comprise 65% of buyers. Of all Americans 13 or older, 50% bought a book last year. The average age of the most frequent book buyer is in the 50s. The average price paid for a book last year was $10.08. Unit sales (number of books sold) for the year to date are down 1.2%.31% of all books purchased last year were impulse purchases, and 28% of purchases involved readers planning to buy a book, but not knowing what they wanted. Thus more than 50% of book buys are impulse purchases. 41% of people earning more than $100,000 a year buy comics and graphic novels. 41% of all books purchased are bought by people earning less than $35,000, and most people in the U.S. earn less than $35,000.The average book reader now spend 15 hours a week online, more than for TV. Digital book sales grew 125% last year and represent 1.5% of the trade. Digital book purchases by those 64 and over rose 183% last year. Seniors are the largest users of Kindles. 48% of e-books are read on computers. Kindles have a 22% market share; the iPhone has 20% of the market. Last year for the first time online became the "No. 1 selling channel," and accounted for 21% of sales.Book clubs are still significant sales channels for reaching older readers.The fiction market is predominantly female. The one area of fiction in which men predominate is science fiction, where 55% of buyers are male.

You can view a slideshow of Mr. Gallagher's presentation at http://tinyurl. com/pqnjy2

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cabinets & Fireplace!

So, Opa was here all weekend, catching boo coo fish! Yesterday when Opa hauled in a big catch I said, "We should have a fish fry!" and Opa took his fish and left before we could get our mits on his catch . . .

In the mean time, R and Opa got the cabinets going, and yesterday R started on the electric.
Today the guys are here working on the fireplace.
Atticus doesn't like all the commotion. Look at that face . . . I feel like that about writing sometimes . . .

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing

Barnes & Noble Round Rock Signing
My friend Pantera with Tahoe & Me

Tahoe and a new friend at the signing