Sunday, December 25, 2011

It Actually Was A Train; or Why I Should Start Paying Attention to Stuff

All right, here's the truth: I have been colossally un-self-aware recently, and have managed to largely fuck up the holidays and my personal life. I'm quite stunned at myself. It's not often I screw up so many matters at once! I mean, one thing, yes, maybe something stupid, like how I left work exhausted a few weeks ago and crossed the train tracks on my way home oblivious to the fact that all the lights were flashing and the gates were coming down. I casually turned my head as I crossed and A GIANT WHITE LIGHT WAS BEARING DOWN ON ME. Although this worked better than a double espresso, I don't recommend it.

Having survived my own stupidity, I apparently decided that my physical well-being was not enough, I had to fuck up relationships and the health of others as well.

A very magnanimous angel is whispering that certain things aren't my fault, but I did set events in motion. And besides, what's a pity party without a mountain of guilt? Molehills, stinkaroony! I can't justify drinking massive amounts of cheap zinfandel if I don't feel awful about loads of things.

Here's another truth: One glass is enough. I'm drunk on two. I sometimes wonder how I can call myself a writer when I can't even get past two drinks. The number of dead writers who would shun me grows.

I said to B once: It would be easier if you loved a simple woman. Not one so fucked up.

He looked bewildered, like, Aren't all females crazy?

I've known a lot. Mostly, I would say we aren't. Crazy, that is. That our half of the species is gorgeously, supremely intelligent in ways that the other half just doesn't understand, but that luckily, they are willing to try to appreciate. But there are bad apples in every lot, and I think I'm one! At any rate, I'm a bad apple to myself.

I asked a friend a question about self-awareness recently. His answer was subtle and mind-blowing and divine. But not what I was looking for. Which was, I'm afraid: Do you think I'm really nuts?

Who knows. When you don't even know the question, then you are hopeless.

I don't have a set date for when I will start attempting to fix these problems. Or if I will. Right now, I'm stuck. And this is taking time out of my forty years of writing.

Okay, I'm officially ignoring myself for the rest of the evening and writing about pirates instead.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Etched Offerings, a Pagan Anthology, Now Available!

Etched Offerings, an anthology of pagan fiction, is now out! I'm very proud to once again be working with Misanthrope Press. You can find my short story, "The Black Oak," inside: 

Deep in the ancient forest, the Black Oak waits. Wren is coming, but she's not alone--her Guardian, as always, is at her side. All is not as it seems this damp, cool spring, and when the doorway is revealed and shadows lifted, Wren will find herself alone with the Mother. Will the Black Oak accept her and what she brings? Or will she the last of her line to stand in the presence of an Ancient One? 

Dip your ladle into this cauldron of new fiction of, and for, the Old Ones, offered both to the gods and to you by nineteen authors, some well-known and some brand new, each with a distinct voice and style, and each with a very different story to tell. Read of ancient offerings, modern magickal crime fighters, and ordinary people finding a bit of unexpected magick in their everyday lives. The stories in this volume are as colorful and varied as the gods themselves, ranging from fantasy and horror to literary and even alternate history. There’s an offering here for every god—and every reader as well!

Etched Offerings is available as an e-book for half-price through Monday, Dec. 19! Use code ZY82C.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Microfic: The Artist; And Why I Am Sometimes Ashamed of What I Write

The Artist
And now a body has been found, completing the palette. These are the colors of madness, says Inspector J. But no, he is wrong: these are the hues of things lost and found, and in the great karmic rally, something else is now lost. I, alone, understand this.
When Inspector J finds me, he will know this in his losses, tallied to equal mine.


A OneWord

I get tired of all the serial killer fics written in first person. And yet, I write them. I sometimes feel shame in what I write, and only hope that I find some new way of relating the cliche.
Because the attempt to write something totally new, never seen before, well, that is an exercise in futility. Perhaps, in the end, one can only hope to make the old seem new again. It's not likely I will do this, but I keep making the attempt. I get the strength to continue on this odd road by thinking that I might have another forty years to get it right. Which doesn't seem like a lot, and I wish it was four hundred. If there are robots before I die, I'll give one my thought processes and program it to continue on. That's even better. It may perfect the story before it rusts. Or, given its robot brain, come up with something truly new and unique.This is even more hopeful than thinking about writing for another forty years.
If you get a robot, please do not program it to destroy my robot.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Microfic: Tea Service

Tea Service
Teapots made of platinum — only the sultan could drink from them. And one of his daughters, the precious Alara.
When the sun set and the tea was served, no genie arose — by order of the sultan, no genies allowed within state limits — but Alara closed her eyes and said, “Today, beloved Father, I have married.”
And so the spectre was set free, and howling winds abraded the castle with sand, for the littlelest daughter had disobeyed. In this, revolutions rise, and hangman’s nooses never go empty.

And now back to writing. Rock gnomes smoking basalt pipes, and boscage...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Never Too Geeky for the Internet

Posted on OneWord:


I very much want to reply with: Yes, but you do need a genuine reason for all caps.


Today is probably not the best day for me to be talking to strangers on the internet (really, we're all strangers to one another; also, this existentialist frame of mind is not helpful).

It may be a good day to write. Probably it's a fantastic day to go horseback riding on a snowy trail with my dogs, but I'm sans horse at the moment. I have been considering the merits of a mini donkey; mostly, they are adorable. But their rideability is a check in the negative column. 


The other day we watched the extended version of all three Lord of the Rings movies (because 37,000 viewings is never enough), and we noticed some extra scenes. Most of these were left out of the theatrical versions for good reasons, and we have no qualms with the director's vision. HOWEVER (yes, this is a genuine reason to use caps!), the scene where the Orcs flee Helm's Deep after their defeat and go running into the woods should definitely have been left in. THERE ARE ENTS HIDING IN THE FOREST. Dudes, they stomp the orcs. It was a jump-up-on-the-couch-and-shout/fist pump moment. I mean, it's right up there with Molly Weasley hissing, "Not my daughter, BITCH!" (capslock not mine, but the original author's) and totally blasting Bellatrix into the next plane. 

Also, just an aside, but my favorite scene in the films is when the elf army arrives at Helm's Deep. I get misty-eyed every time. "We are proud to fight alongside man once more." 


If you are still reading, may I suggest Christopher Grant's Quick Fire interview over at Richard Godwin's Slaughterhouse? Pay attention to the stuff about doppelgangers and parallel planes. Deep stuff. Fascinating. Dare I say, intriguing and inspiring?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ghost Story(?)

I don't believe in ghosts. My beliefs are complicated and changing, but in general, I don't believe that disembodied spirits are hanging around our houses, trying to communicate or make us leave. This is not to say that I don't love being scared and that I wouldn't write about ghosts, just that I don't believe it. I write about god wars and dragons, too. Same thing. Anyway.

Here's the thing. Something weird happened, and I'm pretty sure I've got an answer for it, but since I am not able to collect proof, I'll just tell you about it and let you draw your own conclusions. As for me, I love thinking about it and getting that delicious thrill every once in a while.

I needed a new clock radio. No, I did not buy one that was mysteriously possessed by a demon from another plane (though my iPhone may be, I'm not real sure on that one). Sunday afternoon, I went upstairs with my new clock radio and attempted to set it. It kept blinking 12:00 at me, even though the instructions were quite clear and simple. I got frustrated and yelled for B, who was watching a movie downstairs, to come up and help me.

He paused the movie and came up, and we sat on the edge of the bed and he helpfully read the instructions to me. Our two dogs and two cats were up there as well, everyone lying about being helpful while the clock continued to blink 12:00. And then, in the silence of all that helpfulness, we heard someone say, "Hello!" from downstairs in the living room. A sort of, "Hello! Anybody home?" kind of "hello." We froze, then B jumped up and ran downstairs, grabbing a curtain rod that I've been meaning to put up on his way.

There was no one downstairs. The front door was locked, the movie paused (so it wasn't the t.v.). He went outside, but our neighborhood was quiet, no one out, not even a car going down the street. He went around the outside of the house, then checked the rooms inside, including the basement. Meanwhile, all the pets were unfazed, even though I saw one of the dog's ears go up when we heard the "hello."

I crept down the stairs, with the box for the clock radio as my weapon should there be an intruder. And then he looked at me. "You heard that, right?" I did, I said.

Freaky looks were exchanged, and then he shrugged it off, while I have continued to privately thrill. A ghost! Saying hello!

Probably not. But the neighbors on either side were gone for the weekend, so I've really got no good answer. Part of me says there is an answer, but if that answer is not the scientific one and a ghost does reside in our house, I'm glad he's the friendly chap kind of ghost and not the melting-face, screaming kind.

*Ghost-vamp by soulofblood

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Beta Reader Requested! -- All Set, Thanks!

Beta'd and ready to go out. Where, I do not know...

Beta needed: Spec-fic/romance, 5300 words. A little peyote before reading might be helpful.

Normally, I'd know who to ask, but I'm not sure who would be interested in this particular genre mash-up. So, if you've got some time to beta/crit, I'd appreciate it.


This little guy is so adorable. I must have him.

He stands 8 inches high, and is made out of fimo (yes!) and assorted other materials, like fur and wire. 

I wish I was gifted in the crafts department. Or drawing department. Or hair. HOW do people know what to do with their hair? HOW? 


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Poetry: Love in the Time of Listeria

Love in the Time of Listeria

On a quest for
cantaloupes  free of disease,
she parted the yellow curtain
and saw Mr. D alone
with his thoughts and a parakeet
in a bamboo cage

These fruit sellers, she
and was instantly attracted
to his mustache and white jacket and his
boxes of Fuji apples and
Gala and
Mandarin oranges in blue netting
and yes, there, there were cantaloupes
but each was split open, oozing old gold
seeds and ochre pulp
and Mr. D’s hands were colored with it, covered,
each finger.

When he saw her,
there between the curtains,
the parakeet made a sound like
choking on fruit
swallowing entire bananas
He was disgusted by the sound
But she said nothing, kneeling
in the mash
among the wet crates
scooping the flesh of warm cantaloupes
into her mouth.

Out on the street, that long
hot afternoon, it was July and then August
but behind the yellow curtain,
there were persimmons and Granny Smith
figs shoulder to shoulder,
all edible things, smooth and spined,
cut open
for them both
to eat.

On an unrelated note, a search for "Listeria" images resulted in a disturbing number of female original characters drawn and named by people who thought Listeria was a pretty girl's name. Overwhelmingly teenagers, it's a sad fact that many of them not only think that they made it up, but that they don't even know what listeria is. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I must return to working on my book. I've reached the part where the planet Bacterium is being threatened by the evil overlord, Paresis, and his sexy henchwoman, Herpes. Never fear! Our hero, Phage, will fend off those scurvy villains once again.

*warning: take mega-dose of vitamin C before reading

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Tiger Machine: A little Halloween fic

The Tiger Machine

The machine had stopped. Seventy plastic tigers had appeared in rapid succession before the breakdown, each with a significant flaw: no stripes, teeth as long as their legs, bushy tail of a mule, etc. These were simply not the sort of plastic tiger that a small child would be interested in. And worse, they might give the impression to the child in possession of one that tigers actually, for example, had a row of spikes down their backs.

“Well, if they did have spikes down their back, it’d make ‘em more fearsome,” said First Machine Attendant Luigi Lamorocca.

“What! What nonsense!” the shift manager, Mr. Gallstable, spluttered. His tremendous mustache shook. “Tigers are black and orange with proper tails and teeth and claws. Make this machine make them properly, or you shall lose your job.”

“Both of us, sir?” asked Second Machine Attendant Charlie Chattock. “Or, or just him?”

Gallstable’s mustache had a minor earthquake. “Both,” he hissed, and he stalked away, muttering that the elephant and whale machines were working just fine.

Luigi had nothing to say about the elephant and whale machines. It was well known that the tiger machine was the most difficult to operate in the entire factory. Why, the elephant and whale machines almost operated themselves. It took no skill whatsoever to keep them popping out respectable elephants and whales.

But the tiger machine, that was a different story. It took an experienced machine attendant to keep it working. The machine roared and quivered throughout the day, the oven in its belly needing constant stoking with chunks of coal large as a man’s hand. It would shake until its rivets loosened, snarling to be free. Its wheels and pulleys groaned, eager to snap.

Four men had lost fingers, one, an eye.

The plastic tiger reigned in sales, even over the elephant, which is a very popular animal with small children, and the lion. The lion machine seemed not to care; it produced tawny plastic lions all day with identical airs of disdain about them. The zebra machine quivered, but it might’ve been because it was situated on the factory floor so close to the lion machine. And the monkey machine, neighbor to the tiger machine, squealed and thumped and shot bolts and clouds of oily smoke at the tiger machine.

Luigi crossed his arms and watched the Shift Manager waddle away. Then he turned to his Second Machine Attendant and handed him a long wrench.

“What’s this for?” asked Charlie, as if he didn’t know.

“What’s it for? You know what it’s for! Look in that machine and find out what is wrong with the damned thing.”

Charlie pouted as pretty as a sixteen year old girl. “I don’t want to.”

“Listen! I am your boss, and I’m telling you to look in that machine and see what is causing it to make the bad tigers.”

“They’re not so bad, really…” In the pocket of his baggy coveralls, Charlie had slipped a purloined tiger with horns like a bull. He thought his sister might enjoy it. Or he might put it on the dash of his old Comet, where it would be a sight better than the bobble-head puppy that currently sat there.

“No, no, they’re not too bad,” murmured Luigi, almost to himself. “But they must stop, and good tigers come out. So find the problem. I’ll be over here.” And Luigi leaned against a metal railing and stroked his own mustache, which was far more tremendous than the Shift Manager’s.

Charlie turned to the rumbling machine. He removed five bolts and took off a plate which revealed the inner workings of the machine. The hot breath of the machine blasted his face as he leaned close. Its conveyor belt was still, its gears and axles paused in the very act of turning out a tiger, the last of which was only half-formed and protruded from a dark tube, unpainted and without fine detail. Here was the tiger that had stopped it. If he removed it, perhaps the machine would start up again. But that would not solve the problem of incorrect tigers.

He wasn’t so sure that the tigers were wrong. But it wasn’t his job, in the end, to decide what a tiger should or should not look like. That was for others to say. And so, he carefully reached in and put his hand over the unformed tiger.

For a moment, he froze in surprise. For beneath his fingertips, the pliant plastic gave and rose. As if the toy breathed. And there, as he grasped it now, he could feel – yes, it felt like – was it – a heartbeat? He brought the unformed tiger up, four legs, long tail, a blob of a head that turned… But it couldn’t turn, it couldn’t, and yet, there it was, rotating in his hand, eyes opening, peeling plastic back, mouth widening as it prepared to roar for the first time. A roar that never sounded, at least not to Charlie’s ears, for as he took the tiger out from the belly of the machine, the gears came to life, clanging and smashing, a divine roar that shook the factory. With a vast yawning breath, an iron arm edged in steel teeth came crashing down and slammed through blood and muscle and sinew and into bone and Charlie, Second Machine Attendant, became the sixth man to feed the tiger machine.

His screams echoed alongside the screech of stopping machinery. Falling onto the grates, Charlie grabbed at his missing arm, the tiny prick of little horns against his thigh lost in the sea of pain.

They took him away and left his arm and the machines quieted, except for the tiger machine, which panted and panted and then fell quiet too.

The next day was Sunday, and the factory was closed. On Monday, they reopened, and Luigi looked at the machine, purring and humming; waiting. Waiting.

Luigi put a hesitant hand to the ON button. He thought of his daughter, whose own toy tiger sat silent in a bucket on a shelf in her room with all the other animals. He pushed. The button glowed red, and the tiger machine rumbled and clanked. And all day, it produced absolutely perfect plastic tigers. 


First appeared at Cast Macabre. My thanks to ed. Barry J. Northern for presenting this story at his most excellent audiocast, and for making the totally excellent banner to accompany it.

And thank you to everyone who continues to drop by this blog; yes, works are forthcoming (dates unknown, at this time), and yes, I'm working on a large project that is consuming my free time, hence the reprint of this story here for Halloween. 

When the zombie apocalypse comes, may you all have a gun, chainsaw, tire iron or weapon of your choice at hand.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fic rec: "Hot Damn" by Martha Stallman; OneWord

Martha Stallman, winner of Playboy's college fiction contest with Hot Damn, presents a blindingly funny, tragic story of a guy who just wants to get to the mailbox so he can pick up his Social Security check and pay the woman who gives him his "girlfriend experience."

Not only is this story a wry farce, but Stallman is another believer in the temple of Parentheses. I secretly love them. My love used to be more open, until a beta beat it out of me. I have now moved on to em dashes, and by god, I won't be swayed! 

Seriously, the story rocks. Totally read it. 


His Initials Were A.T.

The way he signed his name was pure artistry. I presented sheet after sheet of paper, until the house was his, my love growing with each flourish, each zip of a crossed ‘t’. And then it was finished, and he shook my hand.
It took me a week to master it. Every wall in every room covered with it. And now I need more. Starbucks in one hand, scissors neatly concealed in my purse, I walk to the door of his newest purchase, speech practiced so I won’t stumble over the words.
He opens the door and lets me in.
Who lets a mortgage broker in?
He smiles, I offer coffee, and the scissors grow heavy in my bag.

The above was brought to you by today's OneWord
I've been using it as my warm-up exercise for writing. I want to say more about what I've been working on, but I have become suddenly, powerfully superstitious. I was never like this. I always had no problem babbling on about projects. But not this time. 
So... Yeah. But feel free to tell me what you're working on!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Mirror Shards; Halloween Decorating Pics

I love anthologies, because I love the short story, and my shelves are full of science fiction, horror, and fantasy collections. Why add another? Because despite having approximately three thousand sci-fi anthologies, I didn't have one based around the concept of augmented reality. Was it worth it, or was it simply a novel (heh) buy? Definitely worth it!

Mirror Shards, edited by Thomas K. Carpenter, contains thirteen stories of possible futures, a time when we may have implants to our optical nerves, allowing us to see the world around us in a flood of information, brought up by merely thinking about it. A world in which no one sees us, but our avatars. Where cities are digitally realized, and the universe expands beyond the physical.

These authors all managed unique takes on the concept, so even if I wasn't especially enjoying a piece, I loved the imagination behind it. Anthologies are like that -- some call them "uneven," but it's really more a matter of taste. Subjectively speaking, I liked some and some were just okay -- for me. A highlight was Grayson Morris's "More Real Than Flesh," in which the anti-heroine Petch attempts to escape from her life, without realizing that she's tried it before. Intriguing on its own, there's a quasi-Blade Runner twist near the end that had me -- and Petch -- thinking about the nature of humanity and the price of freedom. Also a stand-out was the first story, "El Mirador," a galaxy-noir fic with voice and thrills.

Overall, I highly enjoyed Mirror Shards and recommend it to anyone who likes sci-fi and wants something very different, very intriguing.


P.S. I first heard of this anthology via Grayson's blog. Her posts are often thought-provoking, generally humorous, and she's pretty cool. Today's post about being a writer -- street cred! -- is a great example. Put your two cents in.


And now, our house, decorated for Halloween (I may get a bit crazier with the decorations, but right now, I love it!):

That last one's wonky. Sorry! Some of the pumpkins are heirloom pumpkins; the white one is called White Ghost. Cool.

I have a witch outfit planned, but probably not enough time to pull off what I want to do with it. That's be okay, though.

Our Halloween is always this: sitting on the front porch with blankets, big orange and black bowls at our side and filled with candy, drinking hot apple cider with a touch :) of Capt. Morgan's. I do share with neighbors. Feel free to stop by and claim to be my neighbor!

Next year, for the first time, we plan on not being home for our favorite holiday, but spending it in Disney World. The decorations aren't as lavish as what they do for Christmas, but still cool, and besides, they have Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom, and it. Is. So. Freakin'. Awesome!

And speaking of apple cider, Not So Humble Pie's recipe of the day is for Spiced Apple Cider Caramels. If you're a dessert freak or just a foodie, you must follow Mrs. Humble. For one thing, the pics are food porn. And second, the recipes are fantastic. I've made several of her ice cream recipes and not plan on making the caramels.

Did you decorate your house for Halloween? Please share pics!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Damnation: A Friday Flash


Sly reflected that damnation was probably this: senility. Wondering constantly where your keys were, and why did you want them in the first place? Also, there was the matter of his car not being in the garage any longer, after Sly Jr. had come and taken it away. Sly tried to grump about a special hell being reserved for ungrateful, greedy sons, but he didn’t have the heart. After all, his boy was, really, just like his mother: pale-skinned and kind-eyed and far too concerned with making Sly live to a hundred.

If only Callie had been so concerned with her own self. He drank his calcium-fortified o.j. and stared at the spot on the carpet where he’d found her. He still stepped over it, still occasionally kneeled to touch it, still could not forget this one thing: that she’d left him first.


Thank you for reading. If you're looking for something a bit more witchy, may I suggest yesterday's microflash, The Witch's Lover?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Witch's Lover

The Witch's Lover

We jettisoned the secret offer sent by Spring — a potential error, but who needs crocuses and tree nubs when fallen oak leaves, all damp and black, make the best hats? So we witches, in our sweet time, held the hourglass until dinner, when Autumn’s arrival at our table was met with furtive glances and just the slightest knocking of knees. Spring may be innocent and pure, but Autumn, dear Autumn, we swoon for thee.


Another OneWord; it makes me write strange things. At least I'm writing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

OneWord and An E-book rec

The Heart is a Prison

The wily Desdemona earned her conviction: that sly bastard Robert at her side, she'd brought old Frangia to the riverside, a bouquet of lobelia in her hair. Green water claimed the men, and Desdemona had taken off on Robert's sweet Indian. She sits across from me in the cell, tempting dandelions to the window ledge with her stare, but tiny suns never bloom in this place, though my love does. Should she find out, I fear it will be me, in the cold, rank waters of our toilet, joining the men as the final part of Desdemona's macabre menage a trois.


The above is brought to you by today's OneWord.


I reviewed Amal el Mohtar's The Honey Month last year, and I've just found out that this lovely little book of the fantastic and gently brilliant is now available as an e-book.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review: Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

First, an excuse (of sorts): During a routine visit to a doctor yesterday, there was a minor incident. Despite it being somewhat embarrassing (I prefer to be seen as strong and healthy and capable), the good thing is that it led to the discovery of severe anemia. Well, not such a good thing, but it explained many things, including my serious, complete, and confounding exhaustion for the past six months. When your blood pressure is that low, apparently, they are surprised to see you even standing!

I'm typically fairly hyper and always on the move, always doing something, and it's been seriously depressing to come home from work and barely be able to take a shower. Dinners have not been cooked, and I have not been writing -- that was the worst of all. I just didn't have the energy to sit down and write. If I wrote 400 words, I would be utterly spent. So anyway, anemia is not the world's worst thing -- hey, I was at the doctor in the first place because I am at high risk for breast cancer, and speaking of which, Ladies, Get Your Boobies Checked! -- but treatment is slow. Apparently, it takes about three months for your blood to completely renew itself. And I perceive physical problems with my body to be some sort of personal failing. I know, whacked.

This could be a sign that I need to slow down and take a break. OR NOT.

I hope to be back to regular blogging and writing daily again soon.

Now, the review:

Free Food for Millionaires has been on my to-read list for a couple of years. Deeply immersive, it follows Casey Han, daughter of Korean immigrants, as she struggles to find her place in America. Casey wants desperately to be rich -- or possibly, she just wants to be everything her parents are not. Whatever one's nationality or upbringing, it is a common thing among those in their twenties to struggle for identity. If I could tell Casey -- and every other twenty-something in the world -- something right now, it would be: Let it go. Stop fighting and enjoy each day. With time comes some sort of wisdom and grace, so allow time to flow. And for heaven's sake, follow your heart. You'll wish you did later on.

But of course, just as I would've ignored such advice when I was that age, so Casey struggles: with men, with her own morality, with money, and with a sort of sick pride that manages to sabotage her every attempt at making her life better.

Author Min Jin Lee writes with a delicate, almost spare hand, while showing us the perspective of nearly all the characters in the book. Lee says that she wanted to emulate the classics she most admired, such as Bronte, and I dare say she brings a modern touch to the style. I soon began to love it, although the head-switching initially threw me. If anything, it shows Lee's enormous grasp of social niceties, of the subtleties of social interaction, something so difficult to pull off.

While the book reads with a gentle flow, much like those 18th and 19th century classics that Lin adores, it manages to fascinate. I rooted for Casey all along, and I recognized those hallmarks of growing up in your twenties with a sad twitch: meeting the first love at a wedding after you've broken up, and he's there with his fiancee, or not understanding how to deal with a relationship in which things are going terribly wrong.

A strong main character and a vividly drawn minor cast, all set in the mysterious and yet mundane world of Korean immigrants, bring Free Food for Millionaires to life. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Flash fic: Wheels


Lake wasn’t sure if it was his new skates or all those vitamins, but either way, he’d finally, in his eighty-eighth year, made it around the Great Skate roller rink fifteen times without falling. The skates were terrific: black leather, bright orange stop, and they fit like gloves. Of course, it could be senility. Weren’t old men supposed to be afraid of breaking hips, or worse, looking like fools?

Teenage girls blew him kisses and laughed as they flew by. He smiled back, gliding off the polished wood and onto the carpet for a breather.

A girl in white skates with pink poms skated over.

“Cool. Wanna get a Coke?”

Damnation. Life never ceased to surprise.


One of several attempts for Boxing With Pencils. I fail at word limits. 

If you're so inclined, look them up. Like Lily's Friday Prediction, they offer three words, and you must write a story in under a hundred and put it in the comments. The words for this challenge were: senility, carpet, damnation.

This piece is dedicated to my grandpa, who is 92. He stopped skating years ago, but he took us every Sunday when I was a kid. He had his own black leather skates, and he taught me to skate with a pillow tied to my butt with rope. He could skate forwards and back and was the most graceful man on the floor. 

And if you're wondering, I can still Shoot the Duck. *g*

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A OneWord microflash: The Watch

I tweet about cephalopods and guns, I write about space detectives unexpectedly delayed:

The watch had a toothy grin. Cal tapped it. The time read: dense.
He sighed. Yet another wormhole. Glancing around, he took in all the cats and crooks and pretty girls, and decided that, for once, he deserved a vacation. Even if it was in a no-space, no-time wormhole somewhere beyond the Milky Way.
Lying back, he watched the universe un-turn, and for the first occasion in decades, he turned his phone off.


Brought to you by today's OneWord. Trick: I glance through one of my favorites folders on DeviantArt before trying OneWord. It puts an image in my head, so I'm not necessarily a blank slate inspired by the word, but I have to put the word with the image.
In other news, no surprise, but the foster dog is staying a bit longer. She needs fine-tuning of her behavior, but she's pretty awesome. We start a training class in two weeks, and in the meantime, I'm getting her a jump on her classmates with basic training. My goal? Not only to get her adopted to a great home, but to make her one of those very special dogs: A poster child for the pit bull breed. 

For everyone who discriminates against this wonderful breed of dog, I wish I had a picture of her last Saturday, when we took her to our niece's soccer game, and she was literally covered in small children. Or video of her and my German Shepherd bouncing across the yard, merrily chasing balls for hours and dropping them at my feet. Ooh, vicious dogs! LOL! She's a great little girl. 

Now, remember: Despite not writing about cephalopods myself, I will gladly read (and re-tweet!) flash fic about them, if you write some! (hm, pit bull fic, too???)