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Month: February 2018

Jealous Haters Book Club: Handbook For Mortals Chapter 14 Wheel of Fortune or, “Fifty Shades of Mac”

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Hello, everybody! Things are still hectic over here at the Trout House, but I’ve been stealing bits of time here and there to work on my true passion, which is, surprisingly, not calling and canceling accounts for a deceased person. Who could have guessed? No, I’m talking about my passion for ripping bad books to shreds. It soothes me.

Before I go too far, I want to thank everyone who has donated money to us in the wake of this unexpected death. I won’t go further than that because Mr. Jen wants to thank you guys directly via video (when he’s able to do it without choking up) and I don’t want to steal his thunder. But you guys have really saved a huge chunk of our asses. Disposing of someone’s body and material life is expensive, even when you go super basic.

As of right now, posts here are going to be thin on the ground. I’ve got two novels I’m trying to get out while also doing death-related responsibility. But I’m so glad to at least give you guys this, and thanks for sticking around!

Okay, so, in Lani Sarem news, someone was very, very busy. Or, the people someone hired on Fiverr to write five-star reviews for Handbook For Mortals. From February 12 to February 14, over fifty unverified reviews flooded into Amazon for Handbook, all proclaiming it a wonderful book, a great read, that it should be made into a movie, or, in one case, just “A,” which fifteen Amazon customers found helpful. These reviews are being called out and roundly mocked on social media (and in the comments on my previous recap), as they’re clearly purchased. Next time, Sarem should consider writing a better book and getting good reviews that way.

But what do I know?

Over at Switzy Thoughts, Amanda J. Surowitz describes her experience in Sarem’s “How I Navigated The New York Times List” session at the Agile Writer’s conference in Virginia earlier this year. Sarem apparently spared some time to slam Phil Stamper, one of the key figures in uncovering Sarem’s scam, and continued to insist that because the world of publishing isn’t run like the far superior music industry, it’s broken.

With that, let’s go see what Shitbook For Shortles has in store for us this time.

Hiatus After Hiatus After Hiatus…

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I promised I’d be returning this week. I did not realize that my husband would find his mother dead in her apartment on Thursday afternoon. She hadn’t been feeling well, so he’d gone by after work to check on her. She’d died in her sleep the night before. She was only sixty-nine years old.

If you’ve been reading my “Worst Person I’ve Ever Met” series, this may interest you: “Sam’s” father was the medical examiner who showed up. One might have thought that would be the cherry on this shit sundae, but alas, it is a mere sprinkle. The complications that have been left behind are numerous. There is the time, money, physical labor for the monumental task of funeral costs, closing accounts, or cleaning the apartment. Mr. Jen and I have found ourselves the beneficiaries of several new full-time jobs.

The costs associated with even a modest funeral are astronomical. Some of you who heard the news on Twitter sprang into action and raised $600.00 to help us with the cost. We are so incredibly thankful for those contributions, as we are finding ourselves wiped out.

The worst part of all of this seems to be the numb practicality. Of course, my husband is grieving. But I feel nothing. Nothing but irritation and anxiety at the situation and at the number of things that require our urgent attention…later. Because everything waits on offices opening on Monday, death certificates arriving, signatures obtained from uncooperative parties. Hurry up and wait builds a wall between grief and the people who are supposed to be processing it.

I’m not going to promise that I’ll be returning next week. I have no idea if that’s possible. At the moment, we’re sifting through a lifetime of disorganized paperwork–here, a vital record from the retirement office, there a printed-off email joke from 1998–and sorting through useless brick-a-brack we feel guilty disposing of because it was precious to her in life. And the one person who should be allowed to step back and just not have to deal with anything other than his emotions is my husband, who absolutely will not get a chance to do that until all this other stuff is done.

For now, I’ll just say that updates will be sporadic and I’m sorry. Hopefully, it will only be in this immediate aftermath and not for weeks.