Thursday, December 25, 2014

Holiday Traditions

Life changes being what they have been, I'm far away from the family and friend traditions I've grown to love during this time of year.

My dad's house has a kid's play, written by first my dad and then myself, and then performed by the more patient wee ones for the entertainment of the adults. There is also a yearly viewing of National Lampoon's Winter Vacation :)

My mom's house has stockings hung along the stairwell, which one must catch as they are cut loose. A snack tray fit for the gods and a yearly letter from Santa.

Far and away, I'm having a lovely, quiet, nerdy Christmas of a new breed :) Wifey, and the cat, and our new roommate, Ogre, are hanging out, eating delicious snacks, watching Christmas specials/Doctor Who.

Since we're just hanging about, I'm also dabbling with work. I decided to do a holiday doodle of the character who features most heavily in my current edits: the Hightower state hostage, Duchess Rhosyn, who first appears alongside her fiance and his utterly wretched father.

But in the spirit of the season, I decided to fathom up some winter holiday cheer for dear Rhosyn.

The people of Aisland wrote their wishes for the coming year on a piece of parchment, and then sealed their wishes into a beeswax candle. They exchanged necklaces made from decorative chicken feathers--different colors having unique meanings.

Let's see...we've got sheepskin, the little flowers in the hair, the snow bunnies (don't Google that) and the lacy scarf Rhosyn is wearing...all have meaning. If you want to learn more, go to Aisland :P

Christmas Traditions

Monday, December 15, 2014


Today is the 15th, which means...

Flowers courtesy of my Dad and Stepmomster <3

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 27 years old! Imagine if that meant my life was half over? I mean, 54 isn't that old, but I do eat a lot of popcorn and hate tomatoes. I've accomplished kind  of a lot in 27 years...if I didn't have to go through those first 15 years of learning how to exist as an adult American human, just think of what else I could accomplish! Or, or, what if my life is only 1/3 over? People live to be 81 these days, and I've still got all of my original organs! Imagine what I could do with 54 more years at my disposal!

If this is the breakfast I get for every trip around the sun, let's say I'm only 1/5th done. Er, maybe 1/4.
Anyway, I've started up my new project. I'm not actively announcing each publication...yet? They pop up at midnight, they're tiny, they're every day of the week...what is the best way to handle that PR? For real, I'm open to ideas!

Meanwhile, I'll have a novel sent out to someone--whether it be my beta readers or Pestritto on Rye--before the year winds down entirely. And I feel pretty good about that :)
Also, I am adorable. Candy and hypoallergenic puppy courtesy of Wifey :)

It was a quiet day. I gave myself the gift of clean laundry. My roommate, Wifey prepared ultimate breakfast, and while she was out making money like an employed adult, I completed work on the hard draft of my novel, SIREN :) Happy Birthday to me!!! After a considerable struggle with loss of inspiration, and then figuring out how to write in the middle of our apartment being broken (I write on top of two banker's boxes by the couch, for reasons =D) this is a huge step. I used to say I wanted to make my first major step in the publishing world by the time I was 25. IS how old I was when I signed with my agent...Hey, I've been busy.
That is cheesecake. I am eating it.

Daily Deadly Dose 002

Tick, Tick, Tick,

He would never get the incessant ticking out of his head. It wasn't even a darling sort of torture--he'd not studied to be a clock maker. He had never come in second for any major prize. He'd never even played Captain Hook in a play.

Tick, Tick, Tick,

But no matter how many times he adjusted his alarms, or checked himself against the nearest unquestionable clock, he always felt them slide by...two seconds. He was always behind two seconds. He hated the phrase, but he could feel them. Each time he walked into a room, he felt as if he were about to miss a cue.

Tick, Tick, Tick,

The anxiety had dulled some over the years, into a sort of raw annoyance...because who knew what could happen in two seconds? What disaster might he wander into or out of?

Tick, Tick, Tick,

Those were the questions that were pestering him, and therefore that he was muttering at his wristwatch, as he attempted to cross the street. If he had pressed two seconds further to the crosswalk, who knows what might have happened?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Daily Deadly Dose 001

She had always wanted a dog. A fluffy, sheep-pestering, too-big-for-its-own-benefit affection machine, which would have been raised at her feet and on her lap and would see her as a greater constant than the sun.

So it was nice, she supposed, that her allergies would never bother her again.

It was less nice that her sweet new puppy couldn't have come with her.

On the other hand, that might have been a bit of a cruel wish. The puppy deserved to live a full, doofy, normal puppy life.

Even if the damn thing had chewed up her inhaler.

She's be switching to fish, next time around.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

For the Next 365 Days

As mentioned before, tomorrow is my birthday! I'lll be 27 years old, and I will spend the day eating cheesecake and aging :)

This year was wicked rough. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Now, it's in the past. A big preoccupation of mine has been figuring out how to rework my mindset. I wanted to pick some sort of activity for myself for this coming year--something to do daily, to keep me on the right path.

I started out thinking about doing something soooooper positive, like, listing some new thing I'd seen or learned or done...and I got bored with that idea before I even imagined the format. But I toyed with the idea, sprinkled it with a touch of the quirky macabre that is more my taste, and decided upon this:

Every day, at midnight, I will publish a new micro story. They will have a common theme that is known only to me (and Wifey, because I think at her all the time), and a more obvious common theme. You'll have to wait until the stories are live to pick these out, but it's going to be a fun project for myself, anyhow.

Once a week, I will do a sketch based on the most favored mini story. Once a month, I'll do something based on that sketch--possibly a painting, maybe some other sort Maybe a charm bracelet? Or a necklace or something? I do have loads of jewelry making stuff...we shall see.

Basically, I'm making my own trading card set. Or maybe a calendar...we'll see.

It begins in five hours :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Family Has a Term for This

You know how some cranky adults have coffee makers? Well, there are two adults who are occasionally cranky living in this apartment, and a third arriving soon, and do we have a coffee maker?

Nah. We have Mr. Coffee or some knockoff bullhawk.

We also have a new pot, because we thought the old one wouldn't fit in the car (we were wrong). The new pot didn't turn out to fit the machine, so we had to MacGuyver the machine to pour anything out. We put a metal wire filter between the coffee mug and the filter nubbin.

Also, please take a moment to envy my Hyperbole and a Half mug.

Otherwise,the coffee just bogs up in the filter arena. Boiling water. Coffee grinds, grinding on each other. A failing filter. Empty cups. It is an urban nightmare, Freddy Kreuger style.

For all that effort, the ancient Walmart laughing gesture of a coffee maker has melted a hole into its...self. It's a private matter. Sometimes, we position the wonky-shaped pot with the metal wire filter positioned juuuust right so the coffee doesn't just tinkle down the side of the pot, nor does a third of the batch wind up on the counter, just staring up at us, daring us to ladle creamer out and

None of this. NONE of it! Is enough to make me start drinking tea exclusively.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hour 27

Full disclosure: I cackled a little when I came up with that title.

I've spent the last 27 hours awake, which amuses me mostly because I'll be 27 on the 14th. Which means I'll be old enough to die like a musician! (Nobody laughs at that joke, for some reason).

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've had a touch of insomnia. It got better for a while, then resurfaced, and has been sort of hemming and hawing on my pillow ever since.

Ew. I just reread that, and...ew. Can you blame me for struggling to sleep?

Sheep counting aside, I have spent a lot of time thinking. Making plans,

[Full disclosure II: the authoress totally fell asleep right there. Like, passed right out, woke up with keymarks on her face. This continuation occurs several days and several hours of sleep later.]

editing SIREN, busting out my mad scanning skills at my Nightjob, and taking loads of stuff off of
The List.

Note: The List is written is various messy inks. The typed page next to it is the SIREN manuscript.

I'm not sure whether or not I've mentioned The List.

As a result of my, shall we say, unique heritage, I skipped many traditional experiences. Chicanery and movies and weekend shenanigan tales that 'everyone' has in common, I simply don't have. The List features all of the movies and tv shows  my more cultured friends have insisted that I catch up on.

The List, in its original form, suffered a little during the move. But I managed to get it across 3,000 miles and around a lot of paper-hungry damage devils, and I've cleared off about half of the original titles. The main benefit to this is that the inside jokes don't fly aaaaaaall the way over the top of my head when anyone or thing references the classics.

Today, I watched Beowulf.

I've been 'eh' and 'urrrrh' about watching that one ever since it came out, because I hold a special grudge against work that claims to present the 'true' story, dismissing the source material as anything else. It's weird how much that bugs me. Like, clenched jaw, grumbled swears, one violent eye roll and a snort puff of derision. That is how I respond to such claims on book jackets.

Beowulf, as the rest of the world already knows, is a grunting, thrusting, sweaty meatloaf of a film. They took a bold swing at artistic and made a really gross looking project that would have been impressive but confusing twenty years ago...and it is not twenty years old. Everyone knows that the movie drags on and on like and struggles to drag the ancient tale into the modern story telling platform, and fumbles pretty lustily with that goal the whole way.

Now, I know all of these things, too. I have scratched one more item off of the list of barriers between me and the rest of the world.


Monday, November 3, 2014


Work on the new novel is coming along. Unfortunately(?) I've reached the point in the tale where the main characters...kinda need names.

I've often had this problem: my characters come to fruition as people before they have names. By the time I know their deepest fears and dreams, their favorite foods, what element they would represent in Avatar...other characters are still calling them 'Hey You.'

The first novel I completed followed a character named Thomas Kaiser. I chose his name after a kaiser roll sliced open my middle finger on my right hand at the bakery.

I was halfway through SIREN, with no name chosen, when an oven accident left my with a severe burn on my right pointer finger. That was when I decided the narrator of that novel would be called Cinder :)

I don't have much direction for these new character's names. I offered my thumb to the cat to chew on, but she declined to assist me with the artistic process. So I'll continue working, and be sure to report on the amusing injury that leads to the naming of the new narrators :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Adventures Ahoy?

To help me get back into the groove of the unyielding grindstone dance, I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I first participated six(?) years ago, when I decided to get serious about this 'writing' thing. I have since written two and a half novels, started two more, signed with my excellent agent, lost and regained my mojo multiple times.

In leaping back into the psychotic but tender embrace of NaNoWriMo, wherein thousands of writers attempt to write 50,000-word novels alongside thousands of their own kind, I've tapped back into the dizzy glee that is Being a Writer. And I've remembered how I excited I was, once, when I decided to attend a writer's conference.

Instead, I lucked out and fell into a creative group in Missoula, full of wonderful women who inspired me and kept me excited about work on SIREN. Then I lucked out and fell into a situation where I met my agent, Pestritto on Rye. I haven't lucked out for a while, and have struggled to make new creativity buddies. NaNo seemed the way to go, but they're a little disorganized there. If I saved up and went to a proper writer's watering hole, though...

So, I'm thinking about attending a conference, as an unpublished, agented author who just wants to make some contacts in the industry. By the time I have enough duccats saved, I could possibly have another draft of SIREN complete, as well as at least one readable draft of this new (untitled) novel set in the same world.

I see few downsides to the idea, aside from the fact that I'd have to save and then surrender considerable duccats, as mentioned. But that's sort of a part of any great adventure in the modern world, isn't it? At any rate, it would give me something to build towards, which is something I've been missing.

Anyone else got plans for the new year? Or advice for my venture?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Sleep has been evading me pretty hard since The Troubles started in Missoula, back in June. Here and there I get a day where it's all I want to do, or I manage to work myself hard enough that I can get a solid five hours or so, but it really is a bit of a nuisance.

I haven't had insomnia quite like this since I was a teenager--and then it wasn't so bad, because I had an early-morning seminary class to zip off to, anyway. Between the ages of 14 and 17, I averaged about 2-3 hours of sleep a night. I'm dealing with it now the way I dealt with it then: media gluttony.

I'm reading, viewing, and gaming at everything I've missed out on between Dayjob and having a social life. I watched the first two seasons of Green Arrow, along with The Roommate, in three days. It's not a record, by any means, but it's, impressive, right?

I've been out and about and around, but haven't really made any friends here. I've roamed the streets for hours and hours. I've looked into activities and events for the hip youngsters in the area, and the closest thing I've been able to find involves a 20-minutes car-ride. Or, for those who sold their cars before moving, a 4.5-hour bus-ride.

I think I'm going to just have to get used to being lonely again, because it's making me all...snappy and crab-like. I know I've been taking it out on the friends who are still talking to me, and that sucks. That is a sucky thing to do. I kinda hate that.

So! Redirecting all of that energy!

Even though my computer freezes up entirely if I start laying out more than 40 wpm, writing is happening. Since deciding--along with Pestritto-on-Rye--to lay SIREN to one side for a minute (as I couldn't focus on revisions, so functional work had slowed to critical molasses levels), I've started work on a new, fun, tragedy-filled story.

It's set in the same world as SIREN, although in a different location, and several decades prior.

Two sisters are separated, and each cast into a world that goes completely against their natures--one is cast into a wild wood full of savage beasts and worse people. The other is carried off into a culture that despises her own.

Though they have no means of communicating, their stories remain connected through their common strengths as they adapt to their new worlds, while struggling not to forget who they are.

It's oodles of fun.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed!

Hey, Internet! It's been a little over a month since we talked. How have you been?

I've driven across the country, dipping my toes briefly into Canada, and moved into a third-floor apartment that was not actually the one in the pictures the realtor provided. The power was shut off for the first week, we have a teeny tiny spider infestation, and the movers broke Wifey's table's legs and Jericho, my writing desk.

I sold my car before moving, so my getaway sticks are my main transport, until I have a job steady enough to justify purchasing a bike. I've landed a sink-or-swim opportunity at a martini/piano lounge downtown, which is my now second favorite place in this city.

My favorite place is the forest that's so big you can't hear any people sounds, if you sneak in deep enough.

Almost every day since we moved, there's been a new problem. A new challenge. A new place to visit. A few dozen conversations with interesting people I'll never meet again.

I love it here. I haven't chomped this hard on the bit of life in...ten years?

It's been a pretty great month :)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Eau de Missoula

It's late. In fact, it's two hours later than it even feels to me. Wifey and I drove from Laurel, Wyoming to Sioux Falls, South Dakota today, with a stop over at Mount Rushmore to take pictures and marvel at the cost of a basic cheeseburger when there's a history of granite and dynamite involved.

The vast majority of our drive has included jokes about chasing down The Nothing--what from The Neverending Story. Rain clouds and doom clouds have lingered on every horizon we've chased, but we finally caught it in, I kid you not, the Badlands. There was some legend-slapping lightning and about thirty minutes of us trying to catch it on video, but mostly just us, driving in a box of uncivilized darkness, swearing harder and louder each time we came across some inane, road-saving construction.

It was fun as hell! Also quite tiring. Now, it's 1 (3) in the morning, Wifey's enjoying some well earned unconsciousness, I've got another long drive coming up in few hours, and I can't sleep.

You know how babies, the really fresh ones, have that special smell? That newness? That sort of powdery, clean, really kind of indefinable scent that just makes you want to smell the top of their heads and then protect them from every danger that has ever existed? For some reason, that's what the pillows at this hotel smell like. And it's only making me think about my niece.

C-Dubs, my newest niece, is just barely three months old. Her hair is turning reddish and it is fluffy and her elbows and knees and face is all covered in dimples and her eyes are the color of Montana's biggest lake in November. Her brother and sister adore her and I adore all of them.

Now I'm thinking about all of the smells I'm going to miss from Montana, and that's never really been an issue for me. I'm not exactly led by my nose. But now I can't stop thinking about all of my favorite Missoula scents, and why they matter, and who they're attached to.

The smell of dry grass, rain, and a forest full of trees to bowl in. Paperbacks, and coffee that's too fancy for its own good. Roses and fresh baked bread. Lilacs and gasoline. A certain brand of cigarettes.

I mean, we can't all keep our hearts with the lemon zest and whatever else is actually supposed to smell good.

Thanks again, Missoula. And to every Missouligan...breathe deep.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pre-eminiscencee (Sort Of)

'I just accidentally laid on top of my glasses. When I put them back on, they fit better than before.

My Dad's birthday was the 12th. I neglected to call him. The excuse doesn't matter, he's been incredibly supportive of me during all of this 'into the wind' nonsense. I still have to call him. But now, I've been working during all of the acceptable call times. I am a terrible child. Let it be known.

I just had a major epiphany, during an epic lightning storm, and realized I did not know what sub-persona to log it under. Just now I am realizing that it ties neatly into ze book.'

That was the week I was having. I have since survived my last day at Dayjob, packed some more, written some more, gone outside some, settled on movers, unleashed a lot of stuff into the wild...and done exactly one shot.

And now, a happy story about living in Missoula:

This story actually takes place when I was driving away from Missoula, in order to engage in an interview that would determine whether or not I'd be allowed to get as far away from Missoula as I ever had--to England, France, Wales, and Ireland, for a trip through my university.

As I was driving from Montana to Idaho, I received a text. Everyone who had my number knew where I was going to be at the time, so I declared it an emergency worth vehicular safety to read it.

"I'M PREGNANT!!!!!!"

read the text from my friend, First Wife.

I damn near drove of the road. Thirty seconds later I was parked and texting her back, all caps, I don't actually remember what. And then that I loved her and I loved her concubine, Captain, and I was so excited to see the person they were going to make together.

"Well, duh, you're going to be an official Auntie!"

In fact, I became an official Godmother. First to the cheeky sprout who gives equal opportunites to princesses and superheroes, my Riverbug, and then to her little sister, who is all cheeks and drool and perfect Hollywood baby movie sounds--the Wee Ripples.

It makes my heart cringe to think about how far away I'll be living from them--but there are videos to be taken, phone calls to be made, letters to be written. They're still my girls. She's still First Wife. Missoula is still the place where I met her and, when they were born, them.

This is where I first tried to build a family, which has now expanded into a galactic empire that communicates through digital messages and warfare.

Thank you, Missoula.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Update and Storytime

Moving is busy business. Half of the time, I’m spread so thin that I can’t construct a fully functional sentence. The other half, I go full Jekyll. I accomplish a lot, but there’s this creepy, uncontrollable laughter involved. That’s why it’s been a hot second since I’ve posted on this blog. I try to save the Jekyll times for actual packing (HAHAHA), apartment hunting (accomplished!), job hunting (leads!), and answering messages and questions and summons.

Work on the novel is happening, though, along with a few side projects, and practice on the uke, and the rest of the time…I’m at Dayjob. After six and a half years, I’m please to say I have only six days left to serve at the bakery J The day I actually put Missoula in my rear window is a touch further than that. But we’re getting there!

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Now, story time.

Wifey, Wfums and I drove to the wonderful historic town where Wifey’s wonderful parents live. We were floored by the Irish music festival, ate memory-bedazzling food, and enjoyed being out of our current town for a while. I adore Wifey’s family—they are all sweetness and no bullshit and just gah I love them. 

While we were there, we marched up the hill to observe a memorial to the victims of a terrible mine fire. On the way up, I summoned my former life experience as a raccoon to capture a meaty grasshopper for Wifums. The grasshopper—dubbed Lady Teddington BeauRegard by Wifums—was unharmed, and was pleased to ride on my friend’s fnger for a considerable distance. Until we started eying a bigger grasshopper. Then, Lady Teddington BeauRegard bid us farewell.

The memorial was beautiful, and sobering. There are records, final words and parting letters from the victims. Most of them bid farewell to their families, asking them to be safe and happy.

The memorial took care to display the nationalities of the miners—they came from all the hemispheres and all of the backgrounds. They were just men in a new world, doing their Dayjob.

If you’re ever in the Montana area and you come across a memorial or a museum of any sort, do take the time to step out, hike up, do whatever you must to check it out. I promise it will be worth your time, even if it’s just five minutes and a stroll.

I hope my new lands have a similar situation!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Proper Flight

Hello, Internet!

I must apologize again for the long gap between posts. Someday I'll accept that this is just sort of my blogging style, but for now, let's settle for an announcement:

I am moving!

At this stage, I'm only excited. I've wanted to pack up and take off to a new town for about...fifteen years? Yikes! More or less since I moved here, when I was still just a chubby li'l nerd. Time passed, and the city just sort of kept lobbing heartache at me. Now I'm a big chubby nerd, and I've had my heart broken so badly I couldn't even write bitter poetry about it. Long story, but it's stirred me from the roost. I'm finally tapped out of things to give to Missoula.

This is going to be a huge move! I'm leaving behind almost all of my possessions--selling what I can, doling the rest out to family and friends. I'll be taking along two little writing devices (getting rid of my big computer, Portia, and Jericho, my big writing desk), a suitcase of clothes, house-type things that will be more expensive to replace than to move, and a couple of boxes of books. And my bed. It's a nice bed.

So, the freshest of starts, and right now it's looking like I'll be going to Massachusetts, which, if you're unfamiliar with the USA, is on the other side of the country!

I don't have a departure date yet, but I've given notice at Dayjob, and packing, research, and other prep has begun. And I'm actually asking people to help me. Secondary yikes.

A major concern of mine is finishing this draft of ze book before I move--and I've written up a schedule for myself so that can still happen. I can't let this derail everything, after all!

So, that's my announcement. I'll still be around. Just not around the western part of the country :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Da Plan

Goals are good. Goals keep us motivated. Goals are probably going to shave off a good seven years from my natural life :)

As a proud, card-carrying member of the Distressed Guild, I like to craft unrealistic goals for myself, and then go after them all Beowulf-style* so that I can be properly dismayed and destroyed by my inability to meet said goals. I don't know when I started doing this, but I'm going to guess it had something to do with being a hall monitor once in grade school.

Sometimes, those goals are just throughout the day: I will get up at 7, I will be showered, fed, and dressed by 8, I will have three chapters edited by noon, I will--wait, when did it become night time again? I was just looking at one picture of legitimate female battle armor!

I do hope that illustrates my point. And I am trying to do less of that, because the stress that goes into making strict schedules tends to eat more time than I ever gain. That being said, I am trying to adhere to a stricter schedule for myself--time allotted after Dayjob and with a healthier amount of sleepytime and oh Lord this is boring to even type about! But it's helping me actually accomplish things, which is some good clean fun the whole family can enjoy :)

Doing creative, fantastical things is sometimes a little odd to cram into a working, real-world schedule. At least, it's not something I've perfected. Sometimes I wish I could move into a little commune full of writers and sketchers and crafters of all kinds, because then all of my neighbors would, like...get it. You know? However, lackaday, that is not the way of the world.

So, more realistic schedules, less babying of the self, less abusing of the self, and I think it's turning out okay.

All of this only really matters because I'm taking a trip in September, and I insist to myself that the work must be done before I go!

But for the first couple of weeks in September, I'll be driving towards or around or away from The House on the Rock. If you've never read Neil Gaiman's American Gods, first, shame on you, second, do it, third, The House on the Rock is a conglomeration of vaguely haunted insanity and roadside nonsense that appears in a really good book. And I'm going to explore it for a while, and also all of the things between hither and thither, because I will be driving there.

There will be much reporting when I go, and probably several photos, which I'm trying to get into a better habit of taking.

Supposedly it takes thirty days to develop a new habit. I have about ninety days to snag this one :)

*unarmed, undressed, unstable, and eventually set on fire on top of a pile of gold. You should read the book.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tyler: A Confession

Dear Blogalogalogs:

There's something we need to talk about.

Please, don't be upset. It's not your fault. I just have needs...needs I'm not comfortable sharing with you right now.

There's...there's someone else.


My stolen poetry book.

We've been seeing each other...for about six months.

I'm going to need my poetry key back.

...still friends?

So What Are You, Really?

So there I was, elbow-deep in shallow revisions, and then I set my computer aside for a minute so I could stare into the horizon and contemplate how much I loathed my manuscript.

I don't, actually, by the way. I really, really, would-totes-date-like my story, and it has been an impossibly wonderful journey working on it and so on. Trip of my life so far, actually! It's just that I've been reading a lot of TransMet lately, and I can't help but idolize Spider Jerusalem. the comic some time.

Back to rant:

I was flustered because I am doing a thing I have never done before, in a time and place I've never been, and new things are bothersome when you secretly pine for easy things because you are a Lazy Person. I had a moment of weakness and a bit of a pout, and then a nasty thought crept into my head:

"What if I'm just a bakery clerk?"

Oh, shudder. Gag. Stifling sounds. Please, no. Anything but that.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being a bakery clerk. I don't think there's anything wrong with working in a deli, or with washing dishes, or any means of doing what it is that fulfills you. Go you! You have made it!

It's just that I don't want to be a bakery clerk. It doesn't make me happy, because it doesn't make me feel like I've put my best work into the world. It's just not what I can do best, when I am at my best. And that's something I need in order to be a happy Lark. It's something that I hope everyone gets to experience, at least once.

So frustration is okay. Because that at least means I'm trying, right? And I'd rather try and try until I'm blue in the fingertips (because typing) than know that I'm always going to have to cringe when people ask me what I 'do.'

So, bowler cap back on, manuscript reloaded :)

We'll talk again soon!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dat Muse

Hello, Internet!

The last few weeks have featured spotty internet and spotty casual inspiration, which has led to the radio silence that the scores (2?) of you may or may not have noticed.

But fear not: I have been hard at work. This round of novel revisions has presented to me a series of challenges that have me chomping at the bit. Character mash-ups, earlier deaths, plot twists for future tales! Woo! I can't put it down! Compliments and encouragement are awesome, but I crave a challenge. So I've been editing, printing off what I've got, editing in paper form, adjusting, and moving forward. I aim to have this round sent back to Pestritto on Rye before I get my bigger tattoo. Which will be awesome.

But all of this (among with a few side-stories I won't get into) has led to me musing on muses.

I've previously discussed First Wife, who was very much my first muse. Fiery woman with a badass history, beautiful babies, and also one of the coolest names I've ever encountered? Hells yes.

But the last year or two has led to me finding inspiration in other places, and through other people, as I've stretched my writing wings and found other interests. Art, poetry, rants combining the two. I've come to realize that I really do thrive in challenge-mode. I like having my buttons pushed. More than that, I like people who can handle what comes out of the box when those buttons are pushed.

I spent a solid portion of my life in relative silence--I come from a clan of bickerers, but I was often told to 'calm down' when I engaged in the battle. I have a natural inclination to fight, but I also have developed a genuine, silly fear of offending people. So I listened. I 'calmed down.' Because Goddess* forbid I hurt anyone's feelings by standing my ground. I'm an overly passionate person by nature, but I retreated into a dormant shell, which really only resulted in volcanic blips when I was pushed too far (usually in discussions regarding the history of fairy tales).

So I need to be pushed, but I also need to be allowed to push back. I need to release my claws from time to time. That is when I create my best work--by which I mean, the work only I can create. The stuff that sets me apart from any old bum with a pen. Because I can schlock with the best of them--I just don't see the point. If you can't pick my words out of the barrel, why did I ever write them down?

But, surely, not everyone does their thang berserker style? What shape do your muses take? What lights your fire? Does your muse have a face, at present? Do you have different muses for different crafts?

*The wives and I have dubbed Amanda Fucking Palmer** our lead Goddess. We have a hand salute and everything.

**This is Her stage name. Deal with it.

Monday, February 24, 2014


Very brief blogalog, just to inform my two active readers as to my latest goings-ons and plans.

Two of my Wives and I returned from a wee road trip yesterday. We drove to Billings to see a little-known author give a few speeches and read some stories to celebrate the opening of Billings' new library. No big deal. Just Neil Gaiman.

Shrill screamiiiiiiiiiing!!

I'm still trying to put my thoughts into some semblance of order. I--just--Neil Gaiman. He read stories. He talked about literacy. He had a beard, because his wife (who happens to be the head Goddess worshiped on The Good Ship Looney) likes the scruffy handsome hobo beard he developed whilst working on his most recent writing.

Shrill screaming (Part 2)!!!

He did a question/answer section after he was finished reading. One of the note cards he chose to read aloud and answer was written by Wifey. It was a question about me, about a lovely rejection I'd received comparing my writing to his. 

I'll post the audio of his response when I've finished having heart palpitations :)

Suffice to say, this was an inspirational trip. I took a lot of pictures, which you will be aware of if you follow me on any of the other media sites. If you don't yet, here I am on Tumblr, which I believe is connected to everything else in the world.

But I am throwing myself, body, brain, and boobs, hard into revisions. There are some mighty changes I'm making this round (I'm merging a handful of characters to lower the head count), but mostly I'm focusing on looking at the book from a more critical, commercial standpoint. Which is weird for me, but important. After a mighty day of reading, rereading, chopping, polishing, rerereading, and scrapping about ten entire pages of material, and then elbowing a bit more to the side, and then reading it outloud for the tenth time, I've got some decent progress made and a healthy, loving desire to set a portion of the world on fire.

But it's a good thing. Writing is like rollerblading uphill. If you're not sweating, not actively moving forward, you're probably zipping back down the slope.

And that awkward metaphor suggests to me that it is time for me to go to sleep. Now that I'm back in town, I will continue to blogalog, and toss in an update on revision status if it doesn't strike me as too boring to report :)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Amber June

I believe I have mentioned once or twice a truly resplendent woman I have the great fortune to be friends with. Her name is Amber June, she has three beautiful children, and is easily the most gracious person I have ever known. She is also an absolute artist with words (and with art) and if I ever have to grow up I hope to be at least a little bit like her.

I made this as a gift for her, for Christmas:

Because Amber June is an elegant badass who has a thing for butterflies.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Valentine for a Bearded Man

I composed this for my bearded man friend, for Valentine's Day. Then I took him (and Wifey) to a cemetery to lay out flowers. If you've ever wondered what it's like to be courted by an author...well, here you go.

Note: Formatting is weird. And hard. The version I printed out and crumpled in my bag before actually offering it had text and images working in tandem. I'm afraid you'll all have to settle for the text/image mashup below:

Valentine, I will build for you a Cabin in the Woods,
Where The Strangers cannot follow.
It will be The Shining respite that we need
Our own little Sleepy Hollow.
Don't be Afraid of the Dark, for I will be with you
Lying beneath the Silent Hill
Awaiting The Return of the lark.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


Beginning around the time I was old enough to be critiqued on my appearance, I have been told that I have ugly hands. My fingers are short and stubby (making my strong desire to pick up the guitar or the piano or most instruments, really, a moot point). Most of my digits have experienced breaks and are therefore crooked. I often have cuts and bruises with less interesting stories than are usually worth telling, because I like using my hands for everything and usually don't stop long enough to think about protecting them.

One of the art classes I took in high school (I took damn near all of them) required that we keep a sketch diary. We didn't have to be skilled or creative, we just had to show that we were constantly drawing. Sort of similar to an author needing to keep an active blog, I guess *shame*

For one of my pages in this sketch diary, I drew my own hands. I wrote on the page, in passing, "These are my hands. They're ugly, but they're useful, so I like them."

My teacher, Master Tim, responded: "Useful = Beautiful"
This is my beautiful hand. It has some nicks, some cuts, some signs of past adventures, and a tattoo of a feather pen, because that is how I communicate best with the world. I've frequently said that every -one and -thing has a story worth telling; it is simply a matter of telling it correctly.

Last year was a year of change and progress. This year has, for its young life, been a year of progress and learning. I hope to have some proper adventures, and I hope you enjoy hearing about them :)