Finding your funny bone

How’s this for a terrific “welcome home” from my three weeks of prowling around Portugal—a note from the Mark Twain House and Museum people about their inaugural Royal Nonesuch Humor Contest! No, it didn’t say I won (darn), but it said I made the top 20. That sure tickled my funny bone!

The note said (in part):  Mark Twain would have been thrilled with the quality and quantity of our results–we received nearly 400 hilarious submissions. […] Choosing the finalists and winners was an agonizing process and […] so competitive that the judges requested we include the entire top 20 in our recognition
…  Dusty Zima, Judy Millar, Nikki Stern, Kara Dawn Goodwin, Wayne Johnson, Jon Ziegler, Alison McGaughey, Leah Prinzivalli, John Kachuba, David Finkle, Katherine Varga, Melanie Vare, Patrice Fitzgerald, and Dinty Moore.

I’m thrilled to be listed with others who’ve found their funny bone and who exercise it regularly (did you notice the name “Dinty Moore” above? If I’m not mistaken, he’s the editor of Brevity magazine and he’s written numerous well-respected books on writing.). My congratulations to the winners (Yaron Kaver, Melissa Fay Greene, Briana Haynie), honorable mentions (Allison Williams, Josh Dobbin, and Alice Nguyen) and finalists. You’re all on my list of humorous writers to search out and read.

The story that earned me my finalist spot is “Ink in a Blink”—an as-yet-unpublished story that’s long been earmarked for inclusion in the sequel to my book Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories. That sequel project was relegated to the back burner as I got busier with live storytelling and speaking opportunities—maybe it’s time to get back at it. Speaking of speaking— this coming Saturday (October 25, 2014), I’ll be presenting “Finding your Funny Bone” at Vancouver Island Regional Library. If you’ll be in the Nanaimo vicinity and you want to find out how to add more zest to the stories you write or tell, you can register by calling 250-933-BOOK, ext. 109. Maybe your story will win next year’s Royal Nonesuch Humor Contest!

~ Judy

George Clooney street cornerP.S. As far as my last blog post about my George Clooney crush is concerned–yes, I am “crushed” to learn that he did indeed get hitched in Italy in September. But we managed a brief rendez-vous on a street corner in Lisbon a week later. Don’t tell Amal. 🙂

Tattoo trouble … yours for free!

It seems every second person has a tattoo these days. Some are subtle—others are, ahem, regrettable. When it comes to tattoo trouble, I’m not having any—the only sharp, ink-carrying object I want anything to do with is my writing pen. I can’t say the same for my characters. Ink in a Blink has set up shop in Big Beaver County, and a few of my characters have been getting themselves into tattoo trouble at the local parlour.

Feet tattoosIn the story I’m working on right now (“Ink in a Blink”), a character named Mad Dog has had the misfortune to hire a tattoo artist who can’t spell. I’m not sure yet how I’ll put Mad Dog out of his misery. He’s in good company, though, judging from some of the tattoo trouble real people have gotten themselves into. (Google “regrettable tattoos” if you think you can handle it.)

Still, a lot of people seem to be getting a tattoo these days. And tattoos are getting more “high brow.” Some are downright literary. A couple of librarians in my first book jumped onto the “lit tattoo” bandwagon—and ended up in titillating tattoo trouble. You can read about it in a short story from Beaver Bluff called “I’ll Tell You Mine, if You’ll Tell Me Yours.”

I'll Tell You Mine ... eBookIn fact, as my Valentine Gift to you, you can read it for FREE on Kindle! I’ve set up “I’ll Tell You Mine…” for free download from February 14 through February 18, 2013. Just surf on over to,, or the Amazon nearest you, and download your free copy. (BE SURE the price reads as $0.00 before you click “buy.” Price change timing depends on your time zone.)

Don’t have a Kindle or free Kindle app on your mobile device? “I’ll Tell You Mine” is one of the stories in the full collection Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories, which is for sale in print (and electronically) on Amazon. Either way—enjoy!

What’s the worst tattoo you ever saw? (I hope it wasn’t on you.)