Monday, May 31, 2010


No Spotlight Weird Today, people, that will be tomorrow, featuring Necrotic Tissue. Check back then.

As most of us know, we in the U.S. are having a holiday today; Memorial Day. For those that have died fighting for the U.S. in wars spanning centuries. We honor our dead; for they truly are ours and we are proud.

Though many members of my family are and have been military, there have been none lost and I am grateful for that. I am grateful to those who have borne that grief, while still devastated that they had to do so. My family is fortunate, and I am grateful.

Illi quisnam intereo, nos gratias ago vos. Nos memor.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hold Me To It Pt. 5

A day late, yes oh yes, I know. I am babysitting this weekend and am typing this post as my little nephew naps. So, it shall be super quick.

Word count for this week: 2873.

That is all.

Peace & Love

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

About a Boy...

His name is Captain Jackson Pharaoh, Jax for short (I do not claim responsibility for that name. I blame the kids. They wanted to name him Jack Sparrow of Caribbean fame, but I objected strenuously. I prevailed, but, as you can see, just barely) . He sails the world of under-birdcage for now, in a huge home made terrarium, complete with a pond for his wading pleasure.

He is my turtle.

Now I know that you, little readers, did not know of my precious Jax. I've been saving him, see. I love animals of all types; my dogs, Sarrow and Chancey, are very near and dear to me, my cats, Mufasa and White Chocolate, are simply a joy, the bird not so much a joy (he's a mean ass, Gemini is), the fish are... well, fish. They just swim there in the corner and act fish-like.

Ah, but Jax. Jax is a little love.

See, when I was 6, my daddy brought me a turtle. And I have a way with the little critters. I can't explain it... turtles just like me. I can pick up any turtle I see, wild or in a pet store, and be petting its head within a minute. I shit you not. Anyhow, that particular turtle my father brought to me was a female, whom I named Georgia. She was the best frigging pet in the world. She'd stretch out her neck and rub her little beak on my cheeks, she'd sit with me and watch TV. I could let Georgia loose in the house to run around and play, and she always came to find me after she'd gotten her tired on. Then she'd follow me around until I put her back in the terrarium to sleep.

Eventually, I let Georgia go. I didn't want to, but I had to. I'd kept her for two years and it started to feel wrong to keep her for reasons I didn't understand. Even back then, I had a sense of it being wrong.

Oh, but Georgia came back. In fact, she came back every fucking year until I was 15 years old. I'd be walking to the bus stop and there she'd be, beside the road, boogieing her little hard-shell ass back to the house. It was funny, because when she saw me, she'd start running towards me. Every time. It was like she missed me.

Turtles are highly intelligent, believe it or not. Especially the North American Box Turtle, of the Eastern variety, not the ornate kind thank you so very much, and I firmly believe that Georgia understood that I loved her very much, in a turtle-like kind of reasoning, of course. Why would she come back year after year if she didn't get it at least a little bit?

But of course, Jax is not Georgia. I'm getting to him, I promise.

Anyhow, one year Georgia didn't come back. I was heart-broken when July came around and still no orange and black shell came boogieing up the street for a visit.

Zip forward several years, seven to be exact, and all three of my children are going out of the toddler stage. I am twenty-two, my youngest child is three.

And my husband brings home a tiny little Box Turtle he'd found at work. The poor thing was so light--positively hollow--and she was barely more than a baby in turtledom. He brought the little girl home for our children.

But she, like Georgia, was mine from the minute we met. And she, also like Georgia, attached to me just as much as I did her. Her name was Serafina.

Now, you may be asking how in blue-fuck did I know the gender of the turtles. No, there are no pink and blue ribbons tied to their ankles, they don't wear skirts or lipstick. A box turtle can be sexed by their eye color. Red eyes means male, brown/amber means female. Not rocket science, huh?

Anyhow, I didn't keep Serafina for very long. She became depressed (yes, turtles get depressed) and her stress levels went through the roof. My kids were just too young, see. They wanted to constantly hold/play/run around waving the turtle in the air. And for a very young turtle who has had no taming or handling, it's extremely stressful.

Zip forward another few years. I'm walking down the road with my husband and, lo and behold, a box turtle scooting its way alongside the street, just like Georgia used to do but no where near as quickly. My husband likes to poke fun at me over my turtle obsession (I have a jade turtle necklace I will share the story about one day, but not today) and told me: "Go get it, baby. Maybe it's your Georgia reincarnated." I almost hated him for that because I still miss Georgia. But see, he knows how turtles take to me. He saw it with Serafina and a couple other females I'd picked up, but never kept, throughout the years.

Anyhow, I go over and take a quick gander at the turtle and it draws up into its shell. The great thing about box turtles is that they can close their shell entirely, unlike others of the same species. It makes them unique in turtledom, you know?

Anyway, I start talking to it. (Yes, I talk to turtles. So what?) I ask it what it's doing, so close to the road like that. Don't it know it could get hurt? After all, a great big truck is heavy enough to crack even as good a shell as this one.

My husband behind me chuckles and laughs, as he so often does at my antics.

But the shell opens up and a little head pokes out. I don't know if it's the way I talk to them or what, but I've always been able to talk a turtle into coming out for a pow-wow. True, I do all the talking, even the incredible box turtle isn't much of a conversationalist, but they respond to my voice.

Anyhow, I am delighted to see a bright pair of red eyes looking at me. A boy! It's my very first boy turtle and I couldn't be more thrilled.

See, I don't keep the females because they need to lay eggs. Box turtles are getting rarer and rarer all the time, and a female turtle can produce many offspring throughout her twenty-five year lifespan. So, I don't keep female turtles. Turtledom needs the eggs and baby turtles to keep Turtledom alive and going. Without turtles, there would be no Turtledom of the wild. I didn't know why I felt bad for keeping Georgia when I was a child, but as I grew up, I understood my feelings of guilt.

After a second or two, I reach down to pick up this red-eyed miracle in a shell and he doesn't draw in. And as I go back to my husband's side, I'm already scratching the top of this boy turtle's head. Minutes later, I'm rubbing under his chin and he's loving it.

My husband says (on that day) that I'm the only person he knows that can find, pick up, and begin petting a turtle within minutes. Sometimes even tame turtles draw up and away from people they don't know.

As I said, I have a way with the critters.

So, Captain Jackson Pharaoh comes home with me. I build him a temporary terrarium until I can make the turtle alcove outside habitable again.

I still have my Turtledom sign. It goes up when the outdoor alcove is reopened.

Jax is a great turtle. He's moody, and can be grumpy if he hasn't had a little tomato or strawberry every week, but he's an awesome pet. He climbs all over me, all over his little area with its rocks and logs. He loves to soak in his little pond and I swear, I can almost hear him purring when I rub his chin (not literally, but turtles are so expressive! You can see that if he could purr when I rub his chin, he would). His claws get sharp every once in a while, but they wear down on the rocks in his little area soon enough.

Who knows? Now that I have a boy turtle, maybe I'll find another girl turtle someday to bring home and give him a friend. And if we have baby turtles, then I can release them at proper age and help replenish some of the box turtle populace.

I love them so much, these turtles. It's sad to see their numbers dwindle. Destruction of their natural habitats, roadways, and of course, their natural predators, have their way with these little creatures. But in my Turtledom, the babies would be safe from predators and other dangers, at least until they are old enough to make it on their own. And it very much mimics their natural habitat, with their natural foods of slugs, worms and other creepy-crawlies, as well as the tasty treats of melon, strawberry and tomato I buy for them.

So, that's my about a boy. About my little love, my turtle Jax. In my own life, there have been many pets. Turtles will always be welcome at my house, in Turtledom. I have a strange and wondrous love for these reptiles that I can't explain. But we get it, the turtles and me. Isn't that the only thing that matters?

Peace & Love

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spotlight Weird: Clarkesworld Magazine

Ah man. Absolutely the best online magazine I have ever read. This is not to downplay the other magazines featured in Spotlight Weird, but Clarkesworld Magazine (clickable) has, simply put, incredible fiction in several formats for your reading pleasure. They feature stories in text format and as audio podcasts.

I remember the very first story I read on Clarkesworld. I'd only just found my place in the horror world, deviating from my jaunt in thriller/suspense, and was looking for markets. I stumbled upon Clarkesworld and thought it might be someplace I could send some of my short stories in to. Now, Clarkesworld is a Science Fiction magazine, but some very dark Sci-Fi could be mistaken for horror. It just depends on the delivery. I had a story or two that I thought would have been right at home there.

Well, I was wrong. Wronger than wrong. I started reading this magazine and, at the time, I was admittedly daunted. Where the hell do they even find stories this good? I've read novels by established writers that have it all, fame, fortune and a good reader base they can depend on, that aren't as good as a single short story I've read on Clarkesworld.

In a nutshell, if you don't read Clarkesworld Magazine, you should. It's incredible, it's wonderful, it's awesome. But don't take my word for it. Go read for yourself.

Till next Monday in the weirdest spotlight...

Peace & Love

Friday, May 21, 2010

My Story as a Podcast and Hold Me To It Pt. 4

You simply must go and hear Jason Warden reading my story, Deadly Heirloom (clickable), on the Shadowcast Audio Anthology. Mr. Warden does a fine job reading it, and I'm so proud to have been a part of his podcast.

Now, for this week's progress. Not as much as I'd like, but 2385 words on the novel rewrites and another 322 on a short story.

Okay. So, I'm excited about my very first podcast and I'm going to go make other people listen to my story, haha!

Peace & Love

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!

Hello there.

As I talked about last Friday, I have decided to rewrite my novella and turn it into a novel. Well, I am proud to announce that the rewrite has begun. All other projects, save one collaboration with another writer and of course my short stories, will be on hold until this rewrite is done.

From here on, this project will be called "Sister" for the sake of the blog, although that is not the true title of the work. If you have been a follower of my blog for a while, and have read my posts, then you know which project this is. After months upon months of putting it off, I have finally started rewriting it. It is a rather big undertaking. The novella has its moments that are extremely good, but for the most part, the writing skill is so varied that I am forced to just rewrite the entire thing and use the great parts in the new manuscript.

So this begs a question. Of course it does, do you not know me by now? There is always a question.

In rewrites, what kind of goal do you set? Me, I am hoping to get a chapter of writing rewritten a day, which means this project will be done within thirty days, give or take a few. Maybe forty days, as I have some extending to do.

When rewriting, do you take it as it comes, or do you make goals? This is my first major novel rewrite. I had a novel that I revised and revised and revised in, but never a total rewrite. The revise, revise, revise did not work for me. I ended up with jilted scenes and chapters that seemed unrelated to the true story even though they were... THAT novel is a total mess and it will take a lot of work to make it "doable" again. That novel, I am afraid, is one of those epic tales that spans generations and will be much larger than the 80,000 words it is now. But that is another topic altogether.

Rewriting a novel or novella is largely different than short story rewrites. I can write, rewrite, revise, edit and submit a short story in a single day. In hours, if I am really cooking. A novel... totally different story.

To be fair, even though "Sister" has been a long going on (read as years) project, it was written in a matter of months. It was simply that those months were spanned out over several years. So, I have some work ahead of me. The story arc is fairly consistent, but there are monsters around every corner, no redemption for my protagonist (how is that for fucked up?), and of course, tons of people die throughout the story. I admit that I like to kill main and or major characters. But that need not happen in all of my stories.

I am growing, people! It is a frigging miracle.

So, can I write a horror novel without killing loads of people? Sure I can. I can leave people alive. Does that mean no one will die?

Say it is not so!

Well, it is not so, people. I will kill someone... just not quite so many someones.

So, tell me a bit about rewriting the novels. It is a new experience for me and I would like some other takes on the experience.

And on Friday, along with my word counts, look for some news from me with... clickable linkage (haha, not clickable this time).

Bet you are really curious now huh?

Till then...

Peace & Love,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spotlight Weird: Everyday Weirdness

Everybody loves flash fiction, right? A quick little tid bit that often sticks in the brain and comes back later to taunt your happy head. Flash fiction is great.

Flash fiction is becoming more and more popular among writers, and among magazines. With that in mind, in this week's weirdest spotlight, I present Everyday Weirdness (clickable), an online magazine dedicated to bringing you the weirdest, most tightly woven stories they can lay hands on. Flash fiction, poetry... all quick reads that will entertain at the very least.

Well, what more can I say about the magazine? If I ramble too much... my post will be longer than their stories. I'll let their little tid bit stories do their own talking.

For now, though...

Peace & Love

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hold Me To It!! Pt. 3

So, this week was pretty productive. I finished my short stories from last week, totaling 3600 words. Wrote an entirely new short story for another 1500 words. And started another with about 800 words in on it. Not a bad week. Could be better. No new poetry this week.

So, now I'm pondering starting the rewrite on my novella. I'm turning it into a novel, as it's almost a novel anyhow, and I think it will be a good one. I don't know if I'll do it yet or wait some more, but I think the time has come. I've procrastinated for far too long.

See the thing about it is, it's been my inbetween things project. I'd work on it between working on other stuff. Which means the skill level throughout is varied greatly. Thus, a total rewrite is in order. Same characters, same story... back to the original antagonist I chickened out on, changing some stuff and bringing it up to speed with my writing ability now, as compared to years ago.

But anyway. That's it for this week. Until next time...

Peace & Love

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Funny Things About a Note from the Teacher

So, no blog post yesterday, so you get the extra one on Tuesday and this one too. I think scheduling blog time helps keep me posting regularly. I always work better with a deadline. I was just very worn yesterday and I was a bit busy too. Hence, today's post.

So anyway, my daughter, who is eight-going-on-nine as she makes sure I know every time age is a topic of discussion (as if I had forgotten somehow when exactly it was I gave birth to her), and who is also in the third grade, has received a funny note from her teacher.

Being in third grade is apparently a big deal. This is the grade where cursive writing is required for all school-work. Cursive, my daughter mastered quickly. She writes with a very fine hand that is much better than mine is now. In time, her penmanship will be beautiful. (I love hand written things and pretty writing is so nice to see. You can tell a lot about a person by their handwriting.)

However, my daughter's handwriting is very small. Not tiny, you don't need a magnifying glass to see it. I can read it just fine. I might have to put my glasses on. Sometimes, I don't even have to.

The other day, in my daughter's backpack, attached to one of her spelling tests, was a little post it note. The test had quite a few answers marked as missed and the teacher had spelled the word out correctly beside it. The original grade was an F. Needless to say, the note got stickied to the table while I looked at the strangely graded spelling test. Some (not all) of the wrong answers had been marked through and counted correct, bringing her grade up to a nice, comfortable D.

Now what gets me, is the child can spell... verbally. But when she writes words out, sometimes she spells them phonetically. We're working on that aspect and she's picking it up slowly. I hate the phonetic system the schools use.

Anyway (see how I ramble? I apologize.), daughter and I talk a while about the D and how she can improve. We go through the words, she spells them to me and then writes them out a few times each. We've gotten reading down to an art, much like her penmanship, and now spelling is suffering.

While daughter is writing, I read the sticky note.


You must write a little larger. I can't see this. Old Teacher!! (this was underlined) If it would be better - you may print!

After months of having answers counted wrong if printed (encouraging the use of cursive, in other words), this struck me very funny. My poor kid.

I told her she needed to write her words slightly bigger and she laughed. I asked what was funny.

She said, very good naturedly and without even a hint of temper at having gotten a bad grade for writing too small: "Mom, I DID write bigger for that test. Mrs. Such and such is just blind!"

Oh my darling child. I love her so.

Peace & Love

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Free Fiction!

My friend, Neil Colquhoun, has some fun stuff just for you. If you want some fiction for nothing, with no effort except to check your email, go here (clickable).

And there's even an extra blog post from me today. Woo hoo!

Peace & Love,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spotlight Weird: Horror Bound Magazine

This week in the weirdest spotlight, we're going to talk about Horror Bound Magazine (clickable). Horror Bound publishes fiction online of, well... you know what kind. Horror, dark fantasy, and the like.

Some very interesting tales to be found on this little site. Lots of horrifying eye candy for those of us who love the strange and scary. I enjoy this online mag very much.

Issue 12 features such authors as Paul Kane, Michael Robertson, John Prescott, Ray Prew and several others. I must say that this issue gave me quite a few of my favorite moments. You know the ones I mean. Stomach churning, palms sweating. You should go read a few for yourself. Ray Prew's "LET ME OUT" is a good spot to start if you've ever been queasy in the elevator. Just sayin'.

As well as some nice uneasy moments, there is, of course, opportunity at Horror Bound Magazine. A call for submissions for their new anthology can be found here (clickable) as well as their normal submissions guidelines here (clickable). Go check them out if you're a writer of the darkly.

And if you're a reader... go check them out too. You may be sorry. But you may not. I think not.

Peace & Love

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hold Me To It Pt. 2

This weeks word counts are much better than last week. I came in right at 5,800 words on various short stories, completing 2 and starting 3 more. Those 3 should be finished over the weekend. I also wrote 18 poems. A very, very productive week.

I am very satisfied with my progress. I think this word count tracking may work this time. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Well, this post would be longer, but today my youngest son is celebrating his birthday and I am busier than a one legged an in an ass kicking contest.

Peace & Love

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cordless Dummies

Ever notice how things without cord stop working more often than their corded counterparts? I have.

Power drill? The cordless stopped working about 8 months after I got it.

The corded power drill my father bought when I was a kid still works. That thing is over 20 years old!


Know how many cordless phones I have replaced? About 8.

I still have the same corded phone I got when I had the phone put in.

Electric razors. My brother goes through the cordless versions often enough that my sister and I both get him one every Christmas.

I bought him one with a cord three years ago.

He still uses it.

I could go on.

But... you get the point.

Peace & Love

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spotlight Weird: Shadowcast Audio Anthology

This week in the Spotlight for all things weird, I'm going to tell you about the Shadowcast Audio Anthology (clickable). Run by editor Jason Warden, Shadowcast has some of the most interesting dark fiction I've ever heard. The readers for the anthology are great and more than easy to listen to.

Each weekly episode brings you a new short story read by one of Shadowcast's great readers, which include Mr. Warden himself. You can listen to the podcast alone or read along with the text provided on site. Recent episodes include such titles as Black Lodge by T.H. Davis and Candy's Mother by C.T. Thieme. All podcast episodes are free to listen to or download directly from the site, or you can subscribe free with iTunes. My personal favorites, so far, are Help Wanted by Heather Web and The Demon by Joe Darnall. You can listen to back-episodes, which are found in the archive section.

Shadowcast Audio Anthology is a great place to find free fiction that entertains as well as gives that ever elusive chill we lovers of the dark are always seeking. You can get more information on the Shadowcast Blog (clickable). If you are a writer of the "darkly" fictions, then check out their submission guidelines and see if you think you have something for them. Who doesn't want a little free fiction, right? Check these guys out. Tell your friends, your family.

Until next week in the Spotlight...

Peace & Love.