Tuesday, April 18, 2017

My Book Got a Face Lift!

Isn't it pretty? The insides are the same, but I wanted to change the outside to reflect the inside. I'm weird. My book is weird. And wonderful. And quirky. To celebrate the new me, I am offering Death Becomes Us for only $.99 on Kindle or Nook. If you want the print edition and you order it on Amazon, you will get the Kindle version for FREE.

Crazy Pammy is slashing prices. Buy it NOW. (Or tomorrow would be cool too.) Just buy it.

Here is the link. You have no excuse.

Monday, April 3, 2017

We're Donating Our Bodies to Science

Jessica Topper is an ex-librarian turned rock-n-roll number cruncher. By day, she does bookkeeping for touring rock bands. By night, she creates books of her own. She is the author of four novels from Berkley/Penguin: Louder Than Love, Softer Than Steel, Dictatorship of the Dress, and Courtship of the Cake. Jessica lives in upstate New York, and you can visit her at http://www.jesstopper.com

“We’re donating our bodies to science.”

Somehow, my mother managed to work that sentence into our daily phone conversation one random afternoon. I don’t remember what else we spoke of that day – she had a knack for blending the trivial with the significant, so she could’ve told me about the great bargain she got at Chico’s earlier, or who showed up to her morning yoga class. But I do remember how she delivered this major news: with confidence and conviction. Perhaps that was a bit of relief I detected in her voice as well, over a decision well thought-out and finally made. Mom sounded almost cheerful, giddy.

I wasn’t wholly surprised. This was the couple, after all, who got married on my father’s lunch hour and went out for a cup of coffee afterward. My parents were practical, informed, and smart about their finances. And they weren’t religious, superstitious or sentimental when it came to the thought of “after” – they were enjoying their golden years together in uncluttered simplicity.

But with five kids (three from my mom’s previous marriage and two more from theirs), eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, I knew they wanted to take care of things so we wouldn’t have to. And so they were now card-carrying members of an Anatomical Gift Program.

I also wasn’t surprised by the place they chose: The State University of New York at Buffalo was just down the road from where we lived. My father had graduated from there; my brother and I had received degrees from UB as well. And my parents were forever encouraging knowledge gleaned in any form. Our house was filled with books. There was probably much to learn from their bodies. My father was somewhat of a medical miracle, having had Crohn’s Disease that he managed to keep at bay for years with no medication and minimal surgery. My mother was a former smoker who was told during studies her lungs now looked like those of a non-smoker. She also had Sj√∂gren's syndrome, but a mild form of it.

As my mom elaborated on the University’s Anatomical Gift Program and how it worked, I was struck by her personal pronoun usage: “we” this and “we” that, “your father and I” – as if they would arrive at UB’s medical school together on this final journey. Or perhaps it was just my own coping mechanism; I found it oddly comforting to imagine them, side-by-side on tables as students benefited from this most generous teaching gift.

In reality, I knew this was unlikely. Unless they were brought to a swift end while driving to the food co-op, en route to the library or on their daily trip to the gym, they would most likely depart this world at separate times. I didn’t want to speculate who would go first. It was a thought I continually pushed a pin into, far down the timeline. Although my parents were in their late-seventies at the time – and despite their autoimmune issues – they were both strong and healthy, and of sound mind. Long-time vegetarians and exercise fans.

“Okay, Mom. Sounds good,” I said, humoring her. Of course we would honor their wishes when the time came. But that time was a long way off.

Until it wasn’t.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Memorializing Pop Icons with Puppets

Sisters Amy and Nancy Harrington have made a career based on their love of pop culture. Their positive entertainment content — including interviews, articles and trivia challenges — has been syndicated to Yahoo, OMG!, Examiner, Screenpicks, Fox.com and many more.

They have conducted over 1,200 interviews including more than 50 one-on-one oral histories for the Television Academy's Archive of American Television — including in-depth interviews with Danny DeVito, Ed O’Neill, Tom Bergeron and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

They were handpicked by OWN to be part of the VIP digital press corps covering Oprah’s Lifeclass during Winfrey’s tour of the U.S. and Toronto. And through their work as MediaMine’s Creative Directors they helped to create the Official Hollywood Walk of Fame App, a thousand-question Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson trivia game, a Don Rickles Zinger App and more.

Most recently, they launched their own line of hand-crafted pop culture themed puppets that have paid tribute to legendary icons like David Bowie, Bernie Sanders, Freddy Krueger, Prince and Carrie Fisher.

DW: As women who are passionate about all things pop culture, what made you want to memorialize celebrities? Was 2016 and all the celebrity death the impetus?