Necessary Whimsy: Grumpy Chickens and Other Fun Ways to Escape the Hectic Holidays

Oh, the holidays. Like many, I have a complicated relationship with them. On one hand, I love seeing far-flung members of my family, and I have a deep love of sweet potatoes and holiday films. On the other hand, I want to run through the streets ringing a giant bell while screaming, “The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Bring out your coping mechanisms!”

Whatever your relationships to the holidays or your family, loved ones, or sweet potatoes, it never hurts to have something bright and shiny in your back pocket to fall back on. Ah, books—my favorite coping mechanism.

So, bring on the coping whimsy!


The Tick by Ben Edlund

I’ve only ever belonged to one fan club. While I get passionate about fandoms, I’ve never felt the urge to really join up, officially. Nothing against it, just not into it. However, when I was a ...

Pyromantic Lish McBride

Necessary Whimsy: Vampire Bunnies and Other Weird-But-Fun Halloween Reads

At first I thought, I’m not going to do a Halloween post. After all, what can be more terrifying than this year?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 2017 jumped the shark a long time ago in regards to how mind-numbingly horrifying it has been. I can’t think of a worse time. (Except maybe high school.)

Then I remembered that sometimes reading about other scary and horrible things can actually make you feel better about the terrors you face in real life. Like humor, it too can be a coping mechanism. Which is great, because if you’re having a year like me, you need all the coping tools you can get.

Right—on to the spooky, creepy, seasonally-themed whimsy! 


Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe

Okay, so maybe you’ve read this one, but sometimes it’s good to think of the classics, right? In my home, this is a ...

Pyromantic Lish McBride

Necessary Whimsy: Hippos, Zombies, Ballroom Dance, and Dragon Vomit

Some time back, when I still had cable, I fell asleep on the couch and woke up at three in the morning to a documentary about Pablo Escobar’s hippos. It was a topic so weird that my brain refused to believe it was true. Clearly, I was still dreaming. The very idea that a drug kingpin would (A) buy hippos for his own zoo, and then (B) that those hippos would get loose and start to take over the countryside, seemed ridiculous. When I got up the next morning, I looked it up online convinced that my brain had produced it during some sort of bizarre fever dream. It was 100% true, and I still can’t believe it. That documentary immediately sprang to mind when I saw the summary for River of Teeth by Sara Gailey. I thought, “This sounds absolutely bananas.” Followed by, “I need to read this....
Pyromantic Lish McBride

Necessary Whimsy: Fun, Funny Books Featuring Feisty Ladies

I know what you’re thinking—Necessary Whimsy! It’s been awhile! We thought your absence meant that tides had changed and everything is better now! Oh, my adorable book nerd friends. What I love about you is your optimism. April has brought many a spring shower, and the muck just keeps getting deeper…but you know what helps with that? Books. And you know what helps even more with that? Books full of sassy-mouthed ladies. If you look back on my childhood report cards (and why would you, weirdo? You’re not my mom… unless you are my mom. In which case, hello! Please burn my old report cards), you will notice a trend. That trend can be paraphrased as, “Lish is a good student, we just wish she would stop talking quite so much.” My brothers had similar comments on theirs, and my mom once had her mouth duct taped shut ...
The Last Adventure of Constance Verity A. Lee Martinez sweepstakes
Pyromantic Lish McBride

Necessary Whimsy: Fun, Funny Comfort Reads for the SFF Soul

Illustration by Eva Cabrera Books have been my go-to comfort objects for a long time. My brother, Jeremy, likes to tell a funny story about a childhood sailing trip—we were on a boat with my father, our cousin, and my brother’s friend when my dad decided to try and “beat a storm.” Which went about as well as you’d expect. We lost both anchors and started taking on water from the large swells that were breaking over the ship. Everyone who knew how to sail was wretchedly seasick and my brother’s friend had to use the radio to call in a mayday. As the storm was starting to wind down, Jeremy found me nose-deep in a copy of David Edding’s Queen of Sorcery. When he asked me what on earth I was doing, I replied that I wanted to finish the book before I died. When my brother trots the story out, he ...
Pyromantic Lish McBride

The Author’s Guide to No-Show Events

empty-seats Today we are going to look into the deepest, darkest pit, writer friends. We are going to not only stare into the abyss, we are going to invite it for tea and tiny fear cookies. Because today we are going to talk about something that all authors dread: No-show events. They are going to happen. As an author, you will at some point throw a party and no one will show up. It’s okay. I’m here for you. We’re in this together. (Plus fear cookies happen to be my favorite kind of cookie.)   Avoiding the No-Show First, let’s talk about how to avoid this situation as best you can. Of course you should expect whoever is hosting your event to hold up their end. They should advertise online, in their newsletter or calendar, and in store. They should have your book. If at all possible, do what you ...
Pyromantic Lish McBride

Preparing Your Book Event: A Step-by-Step Guide for New Authors

Third Place Books book aisle

< p class="frontmatter">Please enjoy this encore post on preparing for book events, originally published October 2016. So now your book is being published and you’re overwhelmed in general about things, and in specific about this event, and WHEN WILL THE HELPFUL EVENT WIZARD SHOW UP AND HELP YOU? The wizard is in, friends, and it’s time to roll for initiative. First, as a shiny new author, you should rethink how you look at events. It’s not just a single blip on your calendar and done. It’s a continuum. Your book event is like the first date in a long and fruitful relationship with a particular bookstore. Many authors have their first book events at their local bookstore, so this is a vital relationship. And much like dating, debut book events can be confusing and stress-inducing. So where does a new author start?

Before the Event

If you’ve never seen a book launch or ...
Bookstore event information packet example
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