Sunday, November 20, 2011

String Bridge Magical Mystery Tour: InteReview

Jess Bell is with us this today to snarkily answer some questions about her debut novel, String Bridge.  But first here is my review, also on Goodreads: *spoiler alert*  The spoiler is that I'm mediocre at writing reviews, I don't actually give away anything plot wise.

String Bridge is author Jessica Bell's debut offering. It is a terrific portrayal of Melody, a career oriented mom who longs for more. With semi-dashed dreams, an unappreciative spouse, and unbalanced parents, an uncertainty about a promotion at work and her husband's secretive behavior drive 'Mel' to an emotional boiling point.

I enjoyed every minute and appreciate the way Bell wrote about very relatable topics. I'm not much for Women's lit, but I will be checking out future books from this author. Bell, who in addition to being an author is also a poet and musician, uses her skills to weave both poetry and lyricism into her descriptions of mundane everyday struggles that anyone could relate to. While the issues facing the main character are unique, i.e. bipolar mother, secretive music-promoter husband, each one is written about in a completely relatable and tangible way.

There is also an accompanying music CD released simultaneously entitled ‘Melody Hill – On the Other Side’ that is also definitely worth a checking out.

On to the ?'s:
1.  Tell us about the idea behind String Bridge, How did it come to you, did it come all at once, while you were sleeping, canoeing, etc.?

I woke up one morning and decided to become a best-selling novelist so I wrote a book about the first thing that came to mind … um … that’s how it always works, doesn’t it? Hey, btw, got any cash to donate to my New York Times Bribery Fund?

2.  String Bridge is about a Greek Aussie who writes music and has cooky musicians for parents.  You are a Greek Aussie who writes music and poetry and have cooky musicians for parents.  How did you differentiate your character from yourself, how did you draw from yourself?

Well, I’m actually German/Aussie! Ha! My step father is Greek, but I haven’t got any Greek blood in me. As for the parents, well, yeah, my parents are kinda cooky, but in a much nicer and wittier way than Betty and James. Do you really think Betty and James are cooky? I actually think they’re a nightmare …

How did I draw from myself? Um … I took a few slow backward steps, but then realized that my body was following and I gave up.

3.  Your descriptions of everyday things from your character's viewpoint are incredibly vivid and insightful.  Do you write those kinds of things down in a notebook or do they just come to you as you're writing.

Just as I’m writing. They come knocking on my door like trick-or-treaters.

4.  Why did you chose Lucky Press, How did you discover them?

With lots of luck and pressing of keys …

5.  Is this like totally your favorite writing blog ever?

Yeah, like, whatever …

6.  Multiple choice:  If you could go have drinks with any of the following people who would it be and why?
a) Justin Bieber
b) Mel Gibson
c) Whoopie Goldberg
d) Janis Joplin
e) Jack Kerouac

Janis Joplin, to ask her, “Does the number 27 have any significance?”

Thanks again for being here, and writing such a wonderful novel!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chris Phillips' Mailbag: Sparking Carrots

Be sure to get your hard-hitting questions answered by a pro!  You can also email them to me or put them in the comments and I'll answer them too, so you'll know how to live the rest of your life correctly*.  

This week's question comes from Jen in Omaha, NE.  Jen writes:

Why do carrots spark in the microwave?  I'm trying to steam them in a steam bag.

First question seems obvious, but should still be asked, did you seal the bag using the handy zipper, or did you staple it shut?  Because that's happened to me once and not only did it blow a hole in the side of my microwave, but the staples burned the tips of my fingers when I tried to open the bag.  I know I should have been more concerned about my defunct appliance, but I figured if I was out a microwave, I was gonna eat some steamed carrots out of the deal to cope with it all.  But if you used the bag's seal it could be "arcing" due to what is in the carrots.  

According to the USDA:
"Some foods such as raw carrots and hot dogs can cause arcing while being microwaved. In hot dogs, this can be due to the uneven mixing of salts and additives. In carrots, it can be due to the minerals in the soil in which they were grown."
My question is what "additives" they add to hotdogs to make them spark?  My guess is that, unless you eat Goldschlager brand hotdogs, it's lead.  The USDA advises that you turn off your microwave instead of standing in front of it.  Good idea, fellas.  I'm pretty sure they're still safe to eat.  After all Iron Man had an arc reactor in his chest in both Iron Man movies and he seems to be doing okay.  

*Legal disclaimer:  I am actually a moron.  Please don't actually ever do anything I tell you, unless you're drunk, and I have your permission to twitvid it and make you an internet sensation.  But mostly just don't listen to me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Music To Make Write To: Request Line

Hi, kids!  More request line!  Just send me what you're listening to while writing, painting, macrameing or whatever is that voodoo that you do so well. You can send them via email or comments.

This week's requests come from Man O'Clay (1)  E. J. Wesley(2)and Jessica Bell (3(Go buy her new book!)


Friday, November 11, 2011

Chart Rush!

Today is THE day to help Jessica Bell's debut, STRING BRIDGE, hit
the bestseller list on Amazon, and receive the all-original soundtrack
Melody Hill: On the Other Sidewritten and performed by the author herself, for free!

All you have to do is
purchase the
book today (paperback, or eBook), November 11th, and
then email the receipt to:


She will
then email you a link to download the album at no extra cost!

To purchase the paperback:

To purchase the eBook:

To listen to samples of the soundtrack, visit iTunes.

If you are
not familiar with String Bridge,
check out the book trailer:

Rave Reviews for String Bridge:

Jessica Bell’s STRING BRIDGE strummed the fret of my
veins, thrummed my blood into a mad rush, played me taut until the final page,
yet with echoes still reverberating. A rhythmic debut with metrical tones of
heavied dark, fleeting prisms of light, and finally, a burst of joy—just as
with any good song, my hopeful heartbeat kept tempo with Bell’s narrative.
~ Kathryn Magendie, author of Sweetie and Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn Journal

“Poet and
musician Jessica Bell's debut novel String Bridge
is a rich exploration of desire, guilt, and the
difficult balancing act of the modern woman. The writing is lyrical throughout,
seamlessly integrating setting, character and plot in a musical structure that
allows the reader to identify with Melody's growing insecurity as her world
begins to unravel …
String Bridge is
a powerful debut from a promising writer, full of music, metaphor, and just a
hint of magic.” ~ Magdalena Ball, author of Repulsion
and Sleep Before Evening

Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer
of great skill and depth.
She doesn't pull back from the difficult
scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds
barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop
character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel.
I look forward to reading her
next novel, and next and next.” 
~ Karen Jones
Gowen, author of Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds and House of Diamonds

"It's like... super good."  ~Chris Phillips, author of Fishsticks are People Too, a Memoir. 

Please TWEET and/or FACEBOOK this post using #StringBridge!

Jess said we could add to this announcement if we wanted, so here's a picture of a Kraken!   

This is what will happen if you don't buy her book, only to your face!  Yeah!  


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wise New Sayings 11/9

These are coming to you by request.  If you have an old saying you want revised, email it to me or put it in the comments.  

Wise old saying:
"Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."

Wise new saying:
"Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, your frenemies REALLY close (like almost touching,) and your aquaintances at medium distance, between 8-15 ft approximately."

Wise old saying:
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away"

Wise new saying:
"An apple a day... will eventually lead to malnutrition.  You should really eat some other stuff too."

Wise old saying:
"If you are not part of the cure, then you are part of the problem."

Wise new saying:
"If you are not part of The Cure, then you are part of the problem.  However far away I will always love you.  I will always love you."


Monday, November 7, 2011

Music To Make Write To: Request Line

Sup, Party people?  This week on Music to Make Write to we are featuring three songs requested by you, the posters.  We will continue to do this until you stop making requests, so probably for a week and a half.  If you want to let us know what you listened to while writing lately, put it in the comments or email that stuff and... poof! It will magically be here next week.

This weeks' songs come to us by way of Trisha (vids 1,3) and Crystal Cook (vid 2)

L8ter, party peoples!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chris Phillips' Mailbag: A Warning

It's time for the ole Mailbag again, kiddos!  A time honored tradition where I answer your hard hitting questions sent to me via email or comments.  So remember, if you want a questions answered be sure to put it in the comments of this post or to send it in via email.  

This week's question comes from Lydia Kang in Counciltucky, Iowa.  Lydia writes:

Dear Chris,
I saw 18 turkeys walking around in my yard today. It's November.

Should I warn them? About, you know...a certain holiday coming up that involves, er, gravy?


Let me begin this response by explaining a common holiday misconception.  Basically every holiday should involve gravy in some way, if you are doing it right.  Not just Thanksgiving.  Think about it.  Thanksgiving needs gravy, sure.  But what about Christmas?  Now I know right now you are thinking, That's only two holidays, what about Yom Kippur?  You aren't even supposed to eat on Yom Kippur!  You are to be fasting!  And while that is true, what do you think observers break the 25 hour fast with?  That's right, gravy.  Have you ever had unleavened bread dry?  And I don't even need to get into how much more fun Groundhog Day is with gravy, now do I?

As for the turkeys, you should warn them.  It's only fair.  Now how to warn them?  Hmm.  We need something loud enough for them all to hear and get it.  I know!  a pump action shotgun!  That should warn them!  Though I guess you'd only technically be warning 17/18 turkeys.  Oh well.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Need Your Input

Hi.  So I was thinking about taking this blog back up on a more regular basis.  But I need your help.  What I really need, is for you guys to do it for me.  So if you have a song  you write to that you want to share, comment that stuff.  If you have a wise old saying you want me to mock, comment that stuff.  If you have a question I can use for a mailbag post, comment that too. 

In the meantime, I used this song while writing yesterday:

Also a wise old saying:
"A bird in hand is worth two in the bush."

A wiser new saying:
"Two birds in the bush will not poop in my hand. They can poop in the bush, that's totally cool with me."

A mailbag post, this one from Gary in Crete, Nebraska.  Gary writes:

Why don't you answer my questions I keep writing you?  It's like you are ignoring me!  Are you ignoring me?  How dare you?!

Thanks, Gary.  Well that's all for now, if you want more, you're going to have to help me out with some questions, sayings, or songs.  Have a good week.