Category Archives: #ComedyBookWeek

#ComedyBookWeek review – Beaver vs. Beaver by Portia Porter, Esq.

I couldn’t help myself – despite going nuts with trying to figure out HTML and keep track of all the updates, I’ve read another book from the 117 funny books on offer at #ComedyBookWeek. This is not an ordinary event, and it features some not-so-ordinary books. It shouldn’t be surprising then, that Beaver vs, Beaver came out at me from the left field. It’s a humorous memoir of a divorce lawyer, striking out on her own for the first time, and landing her very first client – a multi-millionaire, no less. I don’t know what I expected, although it was probably something along the lines of Ally McBeal. It promised an insider look into the family law court, and I settled in, looking forward to some light reading and maybe relieving my dreams of being an attorney. ‘Cause I could totally do that. I work hard, and I can look adorable when in the right mood and viewed from the right angle.

Oh. My. God. This was so not Ally McBeal.

Yes, it’s an insight into the law practice, alright. And yes – it’s funny when Portia Porter pulls down the pants of the legal practice and reveals all of its warts. It’s like she’s the Julian Assange of family law, but without that rapey vibe. There’s the part towards the end of the book, where the narrative steps away from the main story and details some of the ways the lawyers go about screwing each other, the judge, vice versa, the client and vice versa, and various combinations of the above. Because of that, I see this book as a short course for potential clients, told in a humorous way. Portia is also a Malcolm Gladwell of sorts – educating you about something as painful and dry as divorce proceedings through storytelling and humor.

The story is told from the first person, but you get to understand what Portia in the story doesn’t yet know. It’s gut-wrenching in the way that makes people in movie theaters yell “Don’t open that door!” I actually had to stop in the middle of the book and take a walk when she did open that door – the pain of anticipating the ultimate swindle was excruciating. I don’t want to reveal too much, sufficient to say that I found the resolution of the story very satisfying.

The voice of the book is both intelligent and lighthearted:

“Lawyers on TV—at least the ones who play the good sort—never have the smallest problems with their memory and organization. All the exhibits are always at their fingertips, they never forget a date, they have the statutory Codes memorized cold, even when they must quote what is a five sub-paragraph deep citation.”

“8:55 A.M. Judge’s bench still empty. It’s just me, Ms. “Human Coil” Boom and the sheriff.
9:10 A.M. No change.
9:20 A.M. No change.
9:25 A.M. Starting to lose hope. The judge forgot about us probably.
10:10 A.M. The back door opens . . . false alarm! It’s the Judge’s Secretary Tonya, the author of the cryptic email.”

Expertly written, flowing prose has been just as expertly edited, something that is too often overlooked. I’ve learned quite a few things from reading this book – for starters, that I’m not cut out for the court. That if I ever do have to hire a lawyer, I’ll make sure I won’t have to fire him or her. Oh, and that I will have to read her other books: Can You Stiff Your Divorce Lawyer? and Alienation of Affections.

Buy Beaver vs. Beaver to read just for kicks, and then to keep on your bookshelf, you know, just in case. Buy it if you or anyone you know is considering a divorce. And, for the love of God, buy it for that bright-eyed daughter or niece of yours that is nurturing dreams of being the next Ally McBeal.

You can thank me later.

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#ComedyBookWeek review – There’s been a Change of Plans by Amy Koko

Hey, it’s Day 7 of 8-day-long #ComedyBookWeek! It has been a surreal experience, and a hectic one, with emails pouring into my inbox every day, asking to add even more books to the participating list. Good thing I’ve been on leave, because all my energy went into making sure all the links work and all the emails are answered.

This has been going on for the last month or so, and to tell you the truth, I did not plan to review any of the participating books – simply no time. Still, one of the blurbs attracted my attention. The next thing I knew, I was reading “Look Inside” excerpt of There’s Been A Change Of Plans: A Memoir about Divorce, Dating and Delinquents in Mid-Life, and once I finished that, I had to know what happens next.

The author pretty much had me at the opening scene, in which she is admiring her brand-spanking-new washer and dryer and expecting an announcement about the overseas trip from her husband. Instead, she gets some unexpected news – there’s been a change of plans. No trip to Italy – Amy is about to embark on a rollecoaster ride through mid-life crisis.

I finished this book in two days. I would have read it in one setting, if not for the constantly dinging email notifications. It’s a true story, but told in such a funny, engaging voice, that I had to remind myself that this has actually happened to a real person and not to some fictional character. I was cheering along and face-palming with every twist and turn of the plot…I mean, the real story! I caught myself anticipating the reveal of the Other Woman’s hair style and body type; getting angry at The Husband; cringing at The Dates; and getting frustrated with The Job Search.

This is officially my very first review, so I am probably not following the Best Practice of Book Reviews. All I can say is that I loved it, and that the protagonist reminded me of Isa Maxwell, so I can confidently recommend this book to anyone who liked one of my own books. As mentioned, I found the voice of the author to be the best part of the whole experience, so I’d like to share a few of my favourite quotes with you:

“I pictured myself in the Pinellas County jail, my orange jumpsuit stained with sweat and maybe a little pee, eating beans from a tray with a spork and all bloated from not pooping in months.”

“No more drunk e-mails that now, for sure, had killed any chance I ever had at running for governor.”

“Think! I tell myself, think back to that day roughly thirty years ago when you made that brilliant decision to drop out of college. What was your career goal?”

“…for a moment I was temporarily blinded by a vision of me drinking champagne at gallery openings and exhibits, where the artist would probably approach
me and ask if he could paint me and I would have to politely decline and walk away leaving him standing there breathless and disappointed.”

“Yes, I went into divorce kicking and screaming and drunk texting with some slight stalking thrown in. But on a positive note, I came out stronger and with some great new underwear.”

All I can say is, give the “Look Inside” excerpt a go – I’m willing to bet you won’t be able to put it down.

After reading the book, I just had to learn more about the author, and luckily she was willing to answer my questions. Everyone, please put your hands together for Amy Koko!

amy cover photo

Hi, Amy, and thank you for your time to answer the questions that I’m sure will be on the mind of other readers. For starters, your book is hilarious, especially the comedic voice, which I’m sure took years to develop. When and how did you come to be a comedian? Is it genetic or learned? Can you recall the first time you’ve made an audience of at least one laugh?

I will be honest Ana, I never really tried to be funny, I just started writing and this is what came out, so I am going to say it is genetic. That being said, I definitely have my comedic idols that I turn to for inspiration, such as Nora Ephron, Helen Fielding and I adore Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer. Jenny Lawson is another favorite.

Do you have other outlets for your comedy, such as acting or stand up?

Oh my gosh no! I am horrible at telling jokes, I start speeding up as I get closer to the punch line and find people staring at me, mouths open, like, “What? I don’t get it,” as they head back to the humus dip.

Is your book mixing fact with fiction, or is it autobiographical? If it is close to the truth, how did you feel about a tell-all story – did you have fears or backlash from anyone?

Ana, this story is 100% true. Names have been changed such as my husband’s and my children and I also had to change Doritos to “chips” but it is all true. I did fear some backlash and long lasting effects on my kids, after all it does go into some very personal details of my intimate life with my husband, their father. Still, I felt like my story could help and hopefully inspire other women out there going through this gut wrenching experience so I had to get it out there, and I believe my kids are proud.

How long did it take you to create this book, from the first idea to publishing? How long did each stage take, for example, the concept, the first draft, and then preparing for publishing?

The book took me roughly a year of devoted writing. This includes formulating the book proposal which is actually harder than writing the book! It has to include your marketing strategy, stats and analytics, and WHO is going to actually buy your book and a completed table of contents. This 50 page document complete with the first three chapters, is what my agent was able to sell to the publisher. I met with my writing coach every two weeks which helped keep me on track and accountable.

How did you find the experience of selling your book to a traditional publisher?

The first step for me was finding an agent which is no easy task as any writer will tell you. Talk about low self esteem…wow! It’s not for the faint of heart that’s for sure. It was my agent who actually sold this book to a large publisher and I was thrilled beyond words. Imagine how devastated I was months later, when they told me that they had lost several editors and were no longer doing memoirs. I was able to keep my advance but they would not be publishing the book. My agent then sold it to a small independent publisher, Martin-Brown who published it in October.

What is next for you? Will we see more autobiographical stories, or will it be fiction? Have you thought of turning your book into a screenplay?

I am currently working on a fiction novel, although isn’t everything we write really based on things we know? I am excited about the concept and plan to have it finished in late September. It is a hysterical tale of a midlife woman who moves from a small town in Florida to New York City and becomes a…oops…you’re going to have to read it!

I would love to turn my book into a screenplay and as a matter of fact I have been looking for courses in screenplay writing as I have never attempted one before. I do think that Change of Plans, and my new book as well would do great as screenplays.

What do you wish you’ve done differently – or what were your biggest lessons learned?

As far as my book goes, my biggest wish is that I had paid for a professional editor. I now know I cannot edit my own work, it’s like trying to find imperfections in your children’s faces which we all know is impossible because they are totally perfect. So that is a BIG lesson learned for going forward. The other lesson I learned is to stop doubting and start doing. Life is short and based on the rate that my eyebrows seem to be disappearing, I don’t think I’m getting any younger.

Once again, please put your hands together for Amy Koko…I mean, put them on the keyboard and download her book:

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Goodreads checklist for #ComedyBookWeek

Just over three weeks left till #ComedyBookWeek goes live on 16 July. I’ve made the following checklist for myself, but if you’re participating as an author, a blogger, or supporter, you may find it useful. This could also help you develop a greater presence on Goodreads by gathering followers and friends.

Things I’ve already done:

  1. Claimed author status and added my books to Goodreads (easy to do from the Author Dashboard). If you’re completely new to Goodreads, start with this how-to guide. If you’re a blogger or supporter, you can help by adding participating books to your library shelves.
  2. Connected my blog to my Goodreads author profile, so that every WordPress post is automatically posted there. Sometimes there’s a delay, but they do come through.
  3. Created Comedy Book Week event and invited my Goodreads and Facebook friends. If you’d like to add your own event go to Upcoming Events, and click on “add an event” on the upper right page.
  4. Held seven Shizzle, Inc giveways, which have helped me gather several hundred followers and friends, and have resulted in 1,800 adds to “read” shelves. I didn’t know why that would matter until I created an event and saw that I could invite my friends. Plus, every time I post an update or a blog post is published, they all get notifications.

Things I’m going to do:

  1. List a Goodreads giveaway for Shizzle, Inc, starting on 16 July and finishing on 23 July. The ad text will begin with “As part of #ComedyBookWeek, you can win…”. If you want to list a giveaway that’s longer than a week, make sure it either starts or ends during 16-23 July, as that’s when you get the most exposure. Don’t forget to mention #ComedyBo0kWeek.
  2. Update my “General status” daily with that day’s Calendar of Events. To post a general update, go to “Home” tab, it’s on the right-hand menu, under the “currently reading” book stats.
  3. Add #CBW event to the couple of humor book groups where I’m a member.
  4. Add Goodreads tab to Facebook. Directions are at the bottom of Goodreads author page.

If anyone has other ideas on how to get the most out of Goodreads during #ComedyBookWeek, please let me know and thank you!

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#ComedyBookWeek Calendar of Events

UPDATE: THIS PAGE HAS BEEN SUPERCEEDED by the official page. Please visit http://www.comedybookweek.com to view the up-to-date list of events.

 

 

 

 

So wonderful to see everyone excited about the big event! I have started the list of links to what will be happening each day – if you have a post/review/interview happening during 16-23 July, please let me know in the comments below, and I will add it to the Calendar.

Dear book bloggers – please make sure your review is posted on the scheduled date, or advise me if you want the date moved. Once you have a dedicated URL for the post, please advise, and I will update the link (the links are currently generic to your blog).

16 JULY

C (the happy meerkat) review of Shizzle, Inc by Ana Spoke.

Matthew Drzymala’s interview with Ana Spoke.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Russ Colchamiro.

Kirsty McManus review of Mind if I Come In? by  K.L. Phelps and interview with the author.

17 JULY
Barb Taub’s review of Must Love Ghosts by Ani Gonzalez.

Jam (Leaves et Livres) review of Do Not Wash Hands in Plates by Barb Taub.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with J.J. Green

Matthew Drzymala’s interview with Abby Vegas.

18 JULY

Rosa Temple’s interview with Ana Spoke, author of Shizzle, Inc.

C (the happy meerkat) review of Space Adventurer #1 by Carrie Hatchett.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with M.T. McGuire.

Matt Drzymala’s interview with MTM McGuire.

19 JULY

Rosa Temple’s review of How To Cook Up A Disaster by Rachel Elizabeth Cole.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Frankie Bow.

Matt Drzymala’s interview with Portia Porter.

20 JULY

C (the happy meerkat) review of Do Not Wash Hands in Plates by Barb Taub.

Rosa Temple’s blog – guest post by Bernadette Maycock, author of It Started with a Snub.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Scott Burtness.

Kirsty McManus review of Shizzle, Inc by  Ana Spoke and interview with the author.

21 JULY

Jam (Leaves et Livres) review of Can You stiff Your Divorce Lawyer by Portia Porter.

Guest Post by Susan Daffron on Rosa Temple’s blog.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Jackson Lear.

22 JULY

C (the happy meerkat) review of Kingston Raine and the Grim Reaper.

FB group ‘Books and Everything’ interview with Isa-Lee Wolf.

23 JULY

BRMaycock’s Book Blog review of Maid for Love by Victoria Van Tiem

PLANNED BUT NOT YET SCHEDULED:

Ani Gonzalez will be reviewing KL Phelps(Mind if I come in), Leigh Selfman (Haunt Flashes),  Barb Taub (Null City #1), and Shizzle, Inc.

Ingenious Cat will review Kelpie Dreams.

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#ComedyBookWeek – source page for book bloggers

UPDATE: THIS PAGE HAS BEEN SUPERCEEDED by the official page. Please visit http://www.comedybookweek.com to view the up-to-date list of participating books.

 

 

I’ve decided to post all participating books early, to allow book bloggers to easily choose one (or a few!) books for review. If you are interested in reviewing any of the books below, please contact the author directly using their social media contacts, for a free review copy. You can also approach any participating author for an interview.

Once you’ve planned an “event” (a book review, interview, or a guest post), please do the following:

  1. Let me know, so that I can add it to Calendar of Events,
  2. Make sure to use #ComedyBookWeek in your post,
  3. Use the hashtag in any Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook ads of the post – we will be retweeting all posts with the hashtag during the week of 16-23 July!
  4. Use this graphic wherever and whenever you can:humor_book

And now, for the books. Click on the image to visit the book’s Amazon page, to read the blurb or author’s bio.

Please let me know if you’re an author and would like to add your funny book to this list.
  

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