Posted in holiday guest blog

Days of Christmas: Holiday Have to Reads–Bookmark These!

Unless you’re in retail, or one of Santa’s elves, business tends to slow down over the holidays, leaving you more time to spend reading.  Throughout the rest of the month, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite downtime reading sites, starting with:

Arwen Bicknell: Wordsmith, hack, scribbler

Why read Arwen’s blog?  First, because she’s hella entertaining (I know, I am an embarrassment to still be using “hella”.  Arwen never would.  That’s reason 1.a that you should read her.)  Second, because she is working on publishing a novel and is sharing the ins and outs of that arduous task.  There are really hundreds of reasons to visit her site, but I’ll let you find them in your freetime.  Here’s a tiny sample:

Today I read an agent’s wish list on Facebook. And I started wondering about what I’m writing.

Part of the hard thing about writing fiction is that there are so many different avenues you can take with a story.  I set out with a plot, a goal, a voice and an audience in mind.

And then I think, “But this story would be so much cooler if I could write it with some older, sexier, darker subtext. That guy should really WANT that girl, and not get her. Can I write that into middle-grade fiction? Pretty sure my kid doesn’t get the whole unrequited love concept. Nope, take it out.  Or should I just start writing the other version? Can I write the same book twice, from two different perspectives?”

And then I think, “Bah. I can’t even get one book published. Why would I write two of the same thing?”

And then I think, “You know, this story would be so much more saleable if I say they are all vampires.”

And then I think, “Perhaps I should stop writing and go eat some cake. Like, forever.”

A Dash of Domestic

I am quite fortunate to be a personal friend of Jamie’s, the writer of A Dash of Domestic, which means I get to sample many of the delectable wares posted–you will only get drool over them, unless you use her recipes and make your own.  From diet wrecking cake balls (falling off the wagon never tasted so good!) to homemade soap, Jamie recounts her successes and not-so-successful tries at all kinds of DIY home making.  Plus, she’ll make you laugh while you’re reading.

Check out this recipe for Cake-in-a-Jar Christmas Gifts.

And you have to check out author and television writer, Pamela Ribon’s site, Pamie

I started reading Pamie when she was writing for Television Without Pity, found her blog, and have been following faithfully ever since.  She posts sporadically, so don’t expect daily updates, but with the treasure trove of archives, you can stay busy for a couple of weeks.  Definitely worth wasting your time there!

Remember that you can be entered to win a month-long Premium Membership to by leaving a comment on any blog entry at The Outside Lane between now and December 30.  Go like us on Facebook and get entered again!

Posted in Women Worth Knowing

Women Worth Knowing: Meet Pamela

Used with permission. Photo by Jason Wesley Upton.

I started reading Pamela Ribon’s recaps of The Gilmore Girls on Television Without Pity several years ago. She never failed to make me laugh. Liking to laugh and being a nosy thing, I followed a link to her blog and spent many happy hours catching up on her world. Then, I started following her on Twitter. It was like making a friend, only she was an imaginary friend since she had no idea I existed. I will not lie. I have fantasized about how much fun it would be to hang out with Pamie at the Krystal Burger or the Krispy Kreme. I don’t know why, but all my BFF fantasies about Pamie have to do with fast food. Wait. Yes, I do. Ha!

Over the years, I have emailed Pamela Ribon (I can only call her Pamie if I am in the throes of a BFF fantasy, otherwise, she is Pamela Ribon) and been fangirl giddy when she responded. I wrote her once just to tell her how much I enjoyed her blog. Then I wrote her to get more information on Pamela’s annual book drive the Dewey Donation System. I wrote her to say congratulations when she started writing for Samantha Who?, and again to say bravo when she was leading a strike team during the 2007 WGA strike. When I picked up this project again, I thought, “Oh my gosh…Pamie! My BFF Pamie would be so good for this!” Then I remembered Pamela Ribon wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a crowd with a pink carnation, so I wrote to her again with fingers and toes crossed, knowing she was very busy with her latest book release. I named dropped my high school chum, Laura House, hoping that would help sway her.

Graciously as ever, she responded, and I’ve been teasing you with her profile ever since.

Pamela’s latest publication is Going In Circles, a book about friendships and finding your way out of heartache through, well, ass-ache. I just finished it last night, and it is every bit as good as her other books.

Along with being a sitcom writer, novelist, blogger, twitterer, former television recapper, activist, and philanthropist, Pamela is a Roller Derby girl. Isn’t she exactly the sort of woman you want to know? She is.

Meet Pamela.

Name: Pamela Ribon, aka Pamie, aka Wonder Killer
Age Range: I just turned 35 and I don’t understand how that happened.
Preferred Job Title: Writer, performer, derby girl, professional silly person.
Industry: Your television and your bookshelves.

How did you come to writing as a profession?

I hustled. Oh, Internet. You used to be so much smaller. I wrote a “web diary” back when people couldn’t understand why other people would willingly read the words of strangers on the Internet. And upon that, I built my empire! In all seriousness, I seized every opportunity I could find. At one point I was performing six shows a week in a comedy club, writing a weekly tech-humor column for the Austin American-Statesman, wrote the dub scripts for Japanese anime, updated my personal site every day, and at two in the morning I would write recaps for Television Without Pity (which back then was known as Mighty Big TV). Oh, and I had a full-time job doing tech support for IBM. I do not understand when I slept.

As the freelance work became more consistent, I was able to support myself through writing alone…as long as I maintained at least six active jobs at all times.

It occurs to me that I still, twelve years later, have never held just one single job. I moved out to Los Angeles in 2000 and started the hustle all over again. I was lucky enough to find a few very supportive agents, and within a few years I’d sold my first novel, a screenplay (based on that novel), and landed my first television gig on a pilot for Oxygen that you never saw.

I consider myself very lucky to work in an industry that spends 99.9% of its time saying “no.”

Where do you draw inspiration?
I have a hard time drawing inspiration from anything other than my life. If I don’t see myself in the situation, or know how I’d react to it, it doesn’t feel real to me. I wouldn’t know what to say about it. This is probably what keeps me from the entire vampire phenomenon. I don’t know how to imagine myself in a world filled with immortal blood-drinkers. If only Twilight was about klutzy people who dance uncontrollably whenever they hear “Shake Your Rump” by the Beastie Boys. There’s a genre I can embrace.

How much research goes into a novel?
I often quote my literary agent when this question arises. A few years ago, I think right after the second novel was published, she smiled and asked, “So what terrible thing are you going to have to go through in order to get your next novel?”

Describe your family: I can’t do that succinctly, so I will direct you to 320 pages of answers in a novel called “Why Moms Are Weird.”

What does the first hour of your day look like?
Make coffee during the following: Feeding two cats (give insulin injection to one cat) and last night’s dishes. Coffee. Daily Show during: email, Twitter, Facebook, Words With Friends, more coffee, and then “Oh, crap. Did I forget to brush my teeth?”

The last hour?
I either fall asleep with a book in my hand or in the middle of laughing about something that probably won’t seem as funny in the morning.

What makes you feel successful?
When someone I don’t know tells me about something I wrote that made them feel something they’ve been struggling to understand.

What brings you joy?
The people I love in places I love. Travel. Karaoke. French fries. David Sedaris.

What women do you admire?
Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, S.E. Hinton, Carole King, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ellen DeGeneres, Fiona Apple, Tara Ariano, Cori Stern and of course: Oprah.

What advice would you give boys about girls?
The fact that they might be smarter than you is a good thing. Never make them feel small.

How do you overcome adversity?
Without adversity, I wouldn’t be anywhere. Since I was very little I only wanted to do the things I was told I couldn’t do. Not *shouldn’t*, like touch a hot stove or something. I’m still very observant of rules and laws. But if someone ever told me something was “too hard” or “extremely unlikely,” that’s when I went at it full-force.

How do you want to be remembered?

This question is so morbid! But you know, obviously I want to be remembered. Why else would I have written half of my life down for people to see? For strangers to judge? But I can’t actually think about someone I love missing me because it makes me too sad. I can’t even handle how much my mom misses me right now even though we got off the phone about an hour ago.

Fondly. I want to be remembered fondly. And that something I said or did or wrote makes them laugh right when they need to most.