Friday, June 28, 2013

On Self II

Yesterday, I internet-pondered on how to introduce myself--or the part of me that I'm offering to the world--in a wee little paragraph. Words come smooth and glittery to me in most circumstances, but when describing myself? Pffft. Snort. Pish posh.

A text exchange happened a little bit ago that may further illuminate who this 'J Larkin' person is.

I wrote to Broinlaw, asking if he could maybe build a coffin for me.

His response was not, 'Why?' or 'Something I should know?' or 'Stop texting me, freak!'

His response: 'Sure. How big? When do you need it?'

I'm not exactly sure who is being better defined here. Either way, we're both pretty rad.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Self

Hello, Internet!

I apologize for my absence the last few days. Dayjob got a little crazy, and I am cramming all of my limited empty hours into novel revisions. We will return to the mini series introducing all of my real-life characters in time--possibly tomorrow.

I have a head-scratch, however, and thought I would muse on it here whilst I take a brief break from revisions.

I mentioned previously that I have signed with Carrie Pestritto, over at Prospect Agency. Confetti, hand-flappy excitement, and author bio!

Eeesh. I need to write an author bio for Prospect's site. I also need to get a picture taken of myself. I have an excellent idea for the picture, but I'm stuck waiting on other people to shake their legs in order to make it happen. Having a day job doesn't help, either.

But the bio. That should be easy. It's a very small paragraph about who J Larkin is, after all. No big deal.

J (one letter) Larkin (six letters) is the blacks and whites in my gray-scale life. J likes telling stories that nuzzle close and cut deep, but leave you smiling regardless. She cannot be bothered with things that do not inspire passion of one sort of another--mild interest is not enough. She likes all things to be dusted with the macabre, and believes that every story should act as a window into its world, not a dictionary. J can be kind of a huge jerk--her main goal in storytelling is to ignite something. Grief, anger, outrage, heart-cockle fuzzies, anything.

Now I really should figure out a way to make that sound professional...ish. Shouldn't I?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

On Brothers

Hey, Internet!

This is part II of my mini series introducing you to the main cast in my life. Part I was all about my sisters. Part II is...well, you probably read the title.


This guy is married to my older sister, and with their powers combined, they created my niece and nephew. But enough about them. Broinlaw!

This man has read more books in more genres than most people can name. Also, he knows more about Star Wars (and Stargate, and basically all things SciFi) than any other nerd I've met. And he's handy--he builds all manner of things. Carpentry things, what with the right angles and hammering and screw drivering and I don't even know what. He has made all of the market booths for Sandi Henderson Design. He made art easels for his lady and his kids, and carved little paint brushes into them, and just...I don't know. It's nuts. I am not handy-crafty and it all seems like sorcery to me. Very cool sorcery!

Broinlaw has one of the most infectious laughs I've ever heard--he has an easy sense of humor, I don't think I've ever seen him actually lose his cool, much less his temper, and he has more factoids in his back pocket than Factoid Dictionary Man. He is one of those people who makes you want to be better and more interesting than you actually are--not because he makes you feel lame, but just because you want him to hold you in high regard. He is my very cool, very supportive, disarmingly friendly older brother. Which at times gets a little weird, because he's sleeping with my sister.



Ah, Broseph. My entire life has been spent chasing after Broseph--he has this magical power that enables him to run just a few feet ahead of me, no matter how fast I am going. He is the stereotypical awesome older brother: naturally good at everything, full of deep wisdom that he dishes out in a way that makes it seem obvious, generous to a fault, and way, way taller than me.

Broseph is 16 months older than me, which means we spent our early lives doing everything together. All of my childhood stories worth telling begin with "One day, Broseph and I..."

Baseball teams, school stuff, Barbie-Meets-Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtle plays, you name it. We also played with rocks. No, really. We used rocks as toys.

When our parents divorced, Broseph and I spent a lot of time taking care of the three younger kids (that existed at the time). So we have the weird bond of having half-raised three kids together. A fair portion of our lunch-meets are spent discussing books, movies, and what's going on in the lives of the kids.

Broseph is another one of those people who can just electrify a room. He's got that natural leader thing going on. One of my favorite things about Broseph is his overwhelming honesty. He doesn't sugar coat things, he doesn't pander to feelings. He shoots straight without being mean. When I lose myself in a quandary, he's the one I trust most to set me back in the right direction.


Brotato is my younger brother. He has the entire 'Cars' series committed to memory, and owns the vast majority of the 'Cars' merchandise. We saw the first movie in theatres 3 times, he and I.

Brotato is also a committed Spongebob fan. If you enter Madre's house at any given time, if Brotato is present, there is a 70% likelihood that there is a yellow sponge somewhere nearby, possibly flipping Krabby Patties.

Brotato loves anything with wheels, basically. I think his version of heaven must be a car garage, with a connected Monster Truck derby. They're called derbies, right? Or am I thinking of the hat? I must be thinking of hats.

Regarding wheels, Brotato totally has them. Not attached to his body, of course (because none of his birthday wishes have panned out to that point), but in chair-form. Brotato has cerebal palsy, which means no walking, but the ladies love him. And because nature is cruel, Brotato still seems to think that girls have cooties.


I have known Bromlette since he was...uh...three? Some absurdly young age. His mother married my father, but who cares about them? This is about Bromlette.

Bromlette is my Stepbro, and he is awesome. He gives me hope for future generations. His musical taste is killer, he reads actual-factual books, he is technologically savvy, and he's tall.

When the floods come, we're going to want tall people.

Bromlette graduated from high school recently, and is going to attend college, which blows my face off, because I swear I was at his middle-school basketball game, like, last week.

I find that my philosophical views resemble Bromlette's more closely than any of my other siblings', so discussions of that nature are always fun with him. They always have been, really. He is a uniquely open-minded, non-judgmental gentleman who is capable of passionate debate sans jackassery. Ours is a rather mule-headed clan, so I have no idea how he managed to maintain that M.O. over the years.

Well done, Bromlette.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On Sisters

Hello, Internet!

I've decided to do a mini-series in which I more properly introduce you to the cast of characters that run amok in my real life. Somewhat in the past, and likely more often in the future, I will make references to these people. Most of them will have pseudonyms, because the decision to be tossed into the maw of the digital world belongs to them, and should not be taken away as punishment for their being involved with me.

Today, let's discuss my sisters.

Sandi Henderson

Sandi is my older sister and eldest sibling! She is a creative dynamo who has corrupted my ability to see colors on a simple scale--seriously, if it's not perfect, it's not worth opening your purse* for. She designs fabric, patterns, picture-type-things, children, and also she is musically talented like wow. She has also published two gorgeous craft books. She married this one guy and they have these two kids. They have yet to mutate into a single mass of life, however, so we'll save them for later and keep this post about Sandi.

For many, many years (HA she's older than me) I have admired her passion and snap-back attitude. She is one of those people that the spotlight follows. She's fashionable, straight-forward, and throws herself at new projects full-force.

I don't consider myself to be a follower, per se, but I have often found myself leaning into new ideas and patterns as inspired by my big sister. She has long inspired me to make more of myself, and to leave an imprint on the world.

But we can't play Mario together. We just end up throwing each other off the cliff.



Dramabean is my fourth sibling, and the oldest of the younger set. Where I am caustic and sharp, she is sweet and bubbly. Dramabean is a theatre fan--she was a thespian all through high school, and starred as Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, mostly because I helped her rehearse the lines, but also because she totally rocked Helena's desperate longing and hilarious jealousy. She was by far the best part of the play. I'm not being biased. I am above such petty notions. My kid sister was just better than the other nameless rubes.

It must have been the freckles. Dramabean has the most adorable freckles. And corkscrew-curl hair like Sandi's. They're both gorgeous. Jerks.

Dramabean graduated high school fairly recently, and is currently working the 'day job/schooling' path of life, until she saves enough to move to London and work her magic there. She dates this one guy that I'm trying super hard to dislike because, as an elder sibling, that is my prerogative, but meh, he's too cute.



Girlchild is the youngest of my whole-hog siblings, being 8 years younger than myself. She is still in high school, attending the same joint that all of us (save Sandi) attended. So awkward for those teachers.

Girlchild is an incredibly gifted artist. She calls her work 'doodles' but it's the kind of stuff you see lining masterful art nouveau portraits. I think she would make an excellent tattoo artist, but I don't think Madre would appreciate that notion, so I've saved it for now. On my public blog.

Seriously, Girlchild, consider it.

Girlchild is one of those people that can pick up any artisan craft and just sort of master it on a whim. Yeah. One of THOSE people. She also was blessed with that Viking-blond hair that most people destroy their scalps for. And piercing blue eyes. She looks like a valkyrie.



Sizter is the youngest of the whole bunch; the bouncy, Viking-blond, corkscrew-curled daughter of our Papa Dog and our Stepmomster**. Sizter is adorable. And hilarious. I don't get to see her much, as they live six hours away, tucked off in the wilds of Papadogsland, but I can only imagine the wonderful things that will come from Sizter as she grows. The girl has spunk for days and she lives in the woods. Expect her soon on a ballot near you!

Also, dimples. The freaking dimples on this kid.

*I carry a messenger bag, not a purse.
**I always feel inclined to point out that she picked this name for herself! It's not an insult. We lurve our Stepmomster :)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Pestritto on Rye

Remember that last post I did? The day after it went up, my ninja agent offered me representation.

J Larkin, unpublished authoress extraordinaire, is now represented by agent Carrie Pestritto, of Prospect Agency.

This summer is now the summer of revisions! Carrie (whose last name makes me think 'excellent sandwich') has offered some awesome suggestions which I am incredibly excited about. She also suggested I make this 'blog' thing happen for real. So: back to that 'once a day' plan!

My elder sister, Sandi, fabric designer and craft magnate extraordinaire, is going to help me with my author portrait. I won't say any more until we have the picture ready, but trust me, it's going to be neat. Once that is taken care of, I'll send it and a brief J Larkin Bio over to Carrie, and I'll appear on Prospect's website.

I was, am, and will continue to be stupid excited about all of this. Begin Authoring: Phase II!

Again, for prosperity's sake, I feel the need to be completely honest: there is a surreal element to suddenly having people take me seriously. I hope it never fades. It still feels like a game, and considering the fact that I want to make a living by dressing up like a cabaret pirate and telling stories ripe with fantasy (with a slice of horror), I think it should always feel like that. Like I'm entertaining my friends with slightly saucy tales, and always ending with "Someday, someday."

I keep trying to find something with more meat to offer, but that's all I've got for now. My sincerest thanks to those who have supported me this far, a casual thumb-bite to those who haven't, and an open invitation to anyone else only vaguely involved: let's share a bit of an adventure.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On Fear

When I was a wee Lark, my older brother, Broseph, and I were in a zoo. Specifically, in the reptile/insect/other ickoids section. A zoo lady was in the last room, doing some exhibition thing with a hairy, eight-legged lump of ‘So Over This.’ She called it a tarantula. Being a reader, I knew all about tarantulas. They are covered in butt hairs and have swords in their mouths.

Zoo Lady offered the tarantula out for kids to hold. Broseph, bold and manly as anyone in elementary school can be, immediately took a turn. Zoo Lady then offered the tarantula to me. Wary of mouth swords, and not certain that a hand washing could fix butt-hair-handling, I quickly shook my head. She laughed, and turned away. “Oh, girls never want to hold him.”

I immediately held out my hand. I wanted that verbing spider in my hand. No way in hell was I going to do or not do something just because I was a GIRL.

It was too late. Zoo Lady had wandered off into that mystical place behind the walls of most insectoid habitats, taking the tarantula with her.

It’s a silly little story with an uninspiring end. I could have shrugged it off, and run out after Broseph as he eagerly told our folks about the tarantula. Then we moved on and did other zoo things. I don’t remember what—probably feeding giraffes crackers. Maybe we even ate hotdogs. Who knows?

But I’ve always regretted not holding that spider. I knew, even at the time, that nothing bad would happen if I held him. Even if I squealed and accidentally dropped him and ran around flapping my hands like a drunk flamingo, no one would have looked down on me particularly hard. I was a girl, after all.

But I hadn’t even tried. I was too scared.

I’ve made it my mission, since that very long time ago, to do things. All the things. I loathe unanswered ‘what if’s. I would much rather live with a string of failures than with an untarnished slate.

I’m applying this to the whole ‘author’ thing, as well. The Writer’s Voice was an amazing experience—I made it onto a team! I worked hard on my pitch! My wonderful coach, Monica, helped me craft the best damn query letter I. Have. Ever. Crafted!

I got absolutely zero votes!

It would be a disservice to creative endeavors everywhere for me to lie right now and say that I took this well.

It was humiliating. It was heart-breaking. Five years ago, I decided to get serious about being an author. Five years of effort, a LOT of people telling me I just won’t make it—for no apparent reason other than the fact that people you know in real life just don’t do unordinary things like authoring successfully—and I choked on my biggest opportunity yet. I was at Dayjob for most of the voting time, and had to deal with people whining about the size of their pastries and the brownness of their bread while my life dream was just sort of casually not happening in the background.

I made it through most of the day without crying. Yes, I’m female, but the last time I cried I was having a panic attack. A year ago. The time before that? I woke up from a concussion-experience that could have technically killed me. I’m not trying to brag, I’m just saying that it takes a lot to rattle my cage. And on the day that I realized I wasn’t going to garner any interest in my biggest author-opportunity to date, I stuffy-cried at work, then I went home and sobbed for hours, and felt like the biggest, dumbest baby on the planet because of it.

Again, I’m only writing about this because posterity may want to know.

Also, after everything, after I leap-frogged back into the saddle and made myself a giant list of to-do’s and potentials, I totally got a ninja vote.

A real, proper agent (who is totally cool and who I would LOVE to link to, but won’t, because we’re still just in email chats and revisions) who was not officially involved in the contest, is considering my book. Ninja Agent has read and enjoyed the book. We’ve talked on the phone. I’ve just sent Ninja Agent my first five chapters, with suggested revisions, and soon, hopefully, we’ll see if they actually want to represent me.

Ninja Agent may change their mind. Or, they may decide to sign me, and then my book may fail to sell. It’s possible that I will breach the agent-wall and then fail to ever sell ANY book. It’s possible I’ll spend the rest of my life working lame Dayjobs and writing during my lunch breaks—writing stories only my friends will read and enjoy.

But I’m trying. I wrote the book. I wrote before that. I’ll write more after. I work hard, and I’m willing to work harder.

If not for The Writers Voice contest, I wouldn’t have a working query. I wouldn’t have this shot with Ninja Agent. I wouldn’t know how tough I can be—because, again, in the interest of full disclosure, being passed by after all that buildup was an emotional gnad-punt. But I’m back in the saddle. I’m ready to keep trying.

I implore you, whoever you are, not to shy away from the spiders in life. Not necessarily real ones, because, again, butt hairs and sword-teeth, but whatever it is that creeps and crawls on your personal dreams. Let fear drive you. Never let it control the breaks.