Friday, November 8, 2013

Of Contests and Celebrations

I'm bad at posting details as they happen, so here's a recap:

  • In early August, the wonderful Kristin Anders sent me a link to an anthology call. A zombie anthology call. Zombie romance, to be exact. In other words, she dangled catnip in front of my nose and I couldn't resist.
  • I ran right up to the deadline, writing, fully rewriting, and then revising my short story. I actually finished it at Dragon*Con, staying up until the wee hours in the hotel lobby with only my laptop, a drunken stormtrooper, and an enthusiastic bunch of bronies for company. These were my muses, people, and I was grateful. Story sent. 
  • I didn't hear anything for a while, and given the publication time frame, soon decided the story had been rejected. "No Response Means No" is common in publishing (I'm not saying Riverdale Ave Books is a No Response Means No publisher, just that I hadn't necessarily expected to hear anything back, so I wasn't surprised not to). No hard feelings, just wasn't for them. On to the next story. 
  • At the end of October I got an email I truly did not expect. Lori Perkins - author, agent, fabulous editor of Hungry for Your Love, and the originator of the follow-up anthology call - loved my story. She decided to include it in the anthology. I was over the moon. Still am. 
That brings us to today. I'm so excited to announce my short story, PIED PIPER OF THE DEAD, is included in the zombie romance anthology Still Hungry for Your Love. The anthology contains 15 short stories total, and these authors are top notch. Lori did a fantastic job deciding what to include (no easy task, I'm sure, as the call received over 250 submissions), and I am so humbled and grateful to be included among them.

To celebrate the release, I'm at The Otherworld Diner with a contest and a chance to win a digital copy of Still Hungry for Your Love...and maybe a few other goodies as well. 

Thank you for celebrating with me, and I hope you enter the contest.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Of Goodreads and Great Reads

While working on my reading homework (yes, it's homework...homework of the best possible variety!), I went to track my upcoming reads on goodreads and noticed a trend.

This is the trend

Nothing at all against children's books, but I think the Littlest Kraken has managed to abscond with almost ALL of my reading time. Children's books currently average of 6 to 1!  And I don't track how many times I read each story (the goodreads system doesn't allow enough integers to accurately record how any times I've read Bubbles, Bubbles), I just enter the first time a new book is read. I think it will be cool to one day look back at the list with the Littlest Kraken, when he's older and possibly no longer a sea monster, and see which stories stick with him throughout his childhood. But still, 6 to 1. Sigh. 

Sure, let's read it again. The 817,830,923rd time's a charm.

Not that I'm complaining (except about Bubbles, Bubbles). I love reading to TLK. It's one of our rituals, and he *loves* books already, so I can count at least one thing I'm doing right. I just wish I was blazing through my TBR pile as quickly as we are his. 

Anyone else out there a fan of Bubbles, Bubbles? Is there some deep and meaningful symbolism I'm missing here? If baby Cookie Monster insists on eating soap, does that mean it's cookie flavored soap? It's possible I'm over thinking this...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Of Home Invasions and Vegetable Pizza

Someone tried to break into my house today.

Tried is the operative and oh-so-important word in the previous sentence. Some times you try and succeed. In this case, thankfully, the person or persons who tried failed.

Want to know what makes me angry about this situation? It's not replacing the deadlock that was torn partially out of the front door and left dangling, now ruined. The deadlock that was the very first thing my husband - then boyfriend - and I purchased for our new home after signing the paperwork almost 4 years ago.

 This lock, picture taken the night the home became ours in 2009, 
because we were excited to take the first step in securing the house we'd live in together. 

It's not the time spent waiting for the police to come this evening so we could file our report. Nashville is not a huge city, but the police here are busy and, thankfully, our situation was not an emergency. I didn't mind waiting and the officer who came was polite and thorough. It's not even the fractured sense of security that accompanies the idea of someone willfully attempting to violate our sacred space, because the security of our home held. The would-be invader(s) never made it inside our house and, to our knowledge, disturbed nothing other than the lock. Again, we are fortunate.

What makes me angry is when the attempt occurred. The attempt occurred between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Mid-day. But it's not the daylight hours alone that bother me, it's the fact that my husband works from home. Nick's home office is directly beside the front door. Although I work outside the house, my office is under 5 miles away, and I come home frequently for lunch. I also work at home from time to time. My point is, my home is not sitting vacant for hours a day. We were able to pinpoint the timeline, because Nick was home ALL day, except from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., when he had to run some errands.

Now, it's entirely possible this was a random attempt and the perpetrator just got lucky, happening upon our home during the small window of time Nick was gone. But I'm a fiction writer, and if coincidences in plots are suspect, coincidences in real life are down right out suspicious. It seems far more likely this was an attempt made by someone who's been watching the neighborhood, if not our house specifically. Someone who's been monitoring routines and keeping an eye out for opportunities. Someone looking to do harm. Planning. Waiting. Watching.

Yes, I'm angry. I told my neighbors what happened, warned them to be extra careful with their own routines and habits. I called the police, just so they have a record of an incident in the neighborhood. And then? Then I made a vegetable pizza.

It was every bit as good as it looks

I gave my son a bath and read him some new stories we've been saving. I played Nintendo with my husband. I may be angry, but I'm more grateful that nothing truly bad happened. Happy my husband was away and my child safely at daycare. Thankful I decided to have lunch out with a friend today, rather than returning home for lunch at noon, as was my original plan. We are fortunate and I am thankful. And although I do get angry if I dwell on it too much, I refuse to be afraid. This is our house, our little corner of the universe. We went through the nightmare of closing. We fixed the fuse box that first winter when it blew anytime the heat was set higher than 65 degrees. We replaced the roof when it leaked enough to provide a convenient, if unnecessary, in-living room pool. We demoed the detached garage with nothing more than sledgehammers, attitude, and a VERY generous friend. And now, now we'll repair a broken deadbolt. Because at the end of the day this is our home, and no coward is going to change that.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Of Dresses and Days

I love dresses. I love dresses almost as much as I hate pants; I may even love them MORE than I hate pants, and I hate pants quite a bit. It's not a girly thing with me, it's about comfort. Dresses are fast, easy, and comfortable. They're also acceptable at my office, whereas boxers and a tee, unfortunately, are not.

My closet is 75% sundresses, and I pretty much wear all of them until they have to be surrendered to that big summer-festival in the sky. I've even worn my wedding dress to work a few times.

To be fair, my wedding dress was a green tube dress I got for $30 on clearance at Belk

My dress enthusiasm (it's not an addiction if you don't admit it's a problem...and it's totally not), is hampered by the fact that I'm kinda cheap money conscious. I'm a huge fan of thrift stores, always have been, because I just don't see the point of paying retail for most things. Obviously I'll make exceptions, but finding a cute dress at the Goodwill on half-price Saturday comes with a certain sense of accomplishment that trolling a mall just doesn't have. Not for me, at least. 

Combining my love of dresses and thriftiness is one of the COOLEST sites I've ever seen, New Dress A Day. I cannot stress how awesome this site is. Marisa Lynch is a genius (and Jody Wallace is wonderful for introducing me to the site ^.^).

Inspired by Ms. Lynch and her creativity, I think it may be time to see if I can upcycle some dresses of my own. Fortunately, I already have the starting pieces. Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to do with them...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Poo~Pourri, This Sh*t's Real.

I tend to think the point of YouTube advertisements is simply to skip them after the requisite 5 seconds. It takes a lot to convince me some product I don't want and don't need is worthy of my viewing time when I'm trying to get to an adorable cat video. But within 5 seconds, Poo~Pourri managed to do just that.

I really wasn't sure it was a legitimate product until I went to their website. Holy sh*t. I highly suggest you watch this ad.

They're marketing team is GENIUS! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Reblog: No Longer a Virgin - RWA National Conference Edition

Ever wonder what the RWA National conference is like? Get the first timer experience (mine) today on the Ruby Blog. I'm interviewed by the always wonderful Kim Law. And yes, there is mention of zombies. There's also squeeing, motivation, and discussion of what it's like to be the "fun group."

Come check it out: A First Look - RWA Conference from a Newbie's Perspective

Monday, July 29, 2013

ReBlog: Nerds and Male Privilege

A friend of mine linked to this blog post on Facebook, and I loved it SO MUCH I had to share. Yes, it's a little old (dated Nov 28, 2011), but the issues it raises are still very relevant. What place do women have in Geek Culture? Does Geek Culture--a culture that prides itself on inclusivity--limit the voices of those who aren't straight, white men? Entertaining and insightful post.
"Y’see, one of the issues of male privilege as it applies to fandom is the instinctive defensive reaction to any criticism that maybe, just maybe, shit’s a little fucked up, yo."
To read Dr. Nerdlove's full post, Nerds and Male Privilege, follow the link.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Do You Hear the People Sing?

I have a deep and abiding love of Jon Stewart, but John Oliver's opening segment in reaction to the Supreme Court's decision regarding DOMA is a thing of beauty. Then he tackled Wendy Davis' amazing filibuster. I'm sold, John Oliver. I'm sold!

Watch and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Of Monsters and Men

I love music, which seems like a rather pointless claim, because I don't know that I've ever met anyone who didn't like music. Anyhow, I do love music and listen to everything ranging from classic rock to classical, old school country to gansta rap. About the only thing I don't enjoy is techno. It's something about the repetitive, electronic nature of it. Just not for me.

But regardless of genre, my favorite songs are those that tell as story. Whether it's Reba McEntire singing about a young girl turned hooker with a heart of gold, or Josh Ritter recounting the tale of unlikely lovers during a nuclear WWIII, I'm just drawn to these types of songs. They're like short stories set to music, which is probably why I'm such a sucker for them. It's the writer in me responding to the narrative structure of these songs. And if telling a complete story in short story format is hard (and it is), how much harder is it to tell a complete story in the average length of time of a song? It's like the ultimate flash fiction. Songwriters (the good ones) definitely have my respect.

I've gotten inspiration for several of my stories from songs. Some nugget of an idea embedded deep in the lyrics just sets my imagination on fire, and the next thing I know a character pops partially formed into my mind, chattering away. And then sometimes, it isn't the song so much as the video that captures my imagination. Sometimes, it's the combination of both.

I've been hit or miss with blogging recently, mainly miss, so I wanted to jump back in by sharing one such song and video that's captured my imagination recently. No, it hasn't inspired any stories for me, at least not yet, but the song just has a certain something. And I like it, whatever it is. I really do. It also doesn't hurt that the video is a mixture of steampunk, Georges Méliès film, and awesome. That's right, "awesome" is a primary ingredient.

Here is Of Monsters and Men's Little Talk:

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Of Werewolves and Wolfmen

Due to a lingering illness that's trying it's best to end me, I've been working from home a lot lately. It's funny how much the drone of cubicle noise can irritate me in the office, but several days of silence is almost as bad. To combat the wheezing drone of my own congested breathing, I've taken to turning the television to innocuous programming to provide some background noise as I work. The goal here isn't entertainment, it's distraction -- just enough to keep my subconscious happily preoccupied so the rest of my brain can focus on the task at hand.

The programming that works best for this? National Geographic,The History Channel, and PBS. Interesting and educational. These can play in the background happily all day, and I rarely pay them much thought until I'm ready to close up shop for the day. One program did manage to penetrate my medicine and work induced fog, though, and that program was the 2009 H2 documentary, "The Real Wolfman."

The program summary says, "Stories of a wolfman who was said to terrorize the French town of Gevaudan in the 18th century are explored by criminologist George Deuchar and cryptozoologist Ken Gerhardt, using modern forensics."

It is an interesting program that fully articulates the history of the events, researching all possible explanations for the attacks, using modern forensics and knowledge to dissect eye-witness testimony taken at the time of the attacks. Pairing a criminologist and a cryptozoologist for the investigation is an inspired idea, because their two extremely different viewpoints ensure no theory is accepted or rejected too quickly. And oh, how the theories range. Rabid wolves, human serial killers in wolf hide clothing, prehistoric cave jackals, actual werewolves...all explanations are considered more or less seriously. The criminologist argues for a human perpetrator, the cryptozoologist argues a beast is likely behind the attacks. And, while I pride myself on being a logical, reasoned, well-educated woman, I can't lie...I was rooting for the cryptozoologist.

My interest in cryptozoology, the paranormal, and the supernatural is difficult to explain. I am a rational person, sometimes to a fault. I am a realist. I like things I can see, touch, hear, taste, and smell. I'm not particularly religious and enter situations with a good deal of skepticism. That's why I like my fiction (books, tv, movies) to be be so fantastic in nature; I want the escape fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction offers. So, why pull for the cryptozoologist? It isn't that I believe in werewolves or any mythical, fantastic creature; it's that I *want* to believe. Although the sensible part of my brain enjoys being grounded in the facts of day-to-day reality, I think it would be a great shame if there was nothing in this world that transcended our five human senses and modern scientific explanation. So, while I know the wolfman attacks have a logical, scientific explanation, I can't help but hold out hope there's something supernatural at play.

In the end (*spoiler alert*), the criminologist and cryptozologist are both right. They decide the culprit of the wolfman attacks is a combination of man and beast; the man who claimed credit for killing the beast had trained a jackal to attack humans. So, chalk another tally point up for logic and reasoning. But you have to admit, discovering evidence of a werewolf, no matter how ridiculous and implausible, would have been kinda cool.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Of Mondays and Moodiness

It's a Monday. Monday's don't tend to be too high on my list of Favorite Days of the Week. This particular Monday, I made it about 15 whole minutes before my faithful zombie stress doll EOR became a makeshift voodoo doll.

Alas, poor EOR

Maybe "voodoo doll" isn't the accurate term since no actual ritual was held, but I don't know a more succinct way of saying "I stabbed the poor doll profusely in impotent rage until I felt marginally less hostile towards the human beings in my direct vicinity."

Okay, so maybe there is a more succinct way of phrasing it. How about "typical Monday"?

Rest is peace, EOR. Or whatever it is un-resting, non-peaceful monsters do. 

Anyone else have the Monday zombie voodoo doll blues?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Of Zombie Babies and Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

I wear many different hats these days. Wife. Mom. Zombie Enthusiast. A darling red plaid fedora I picked up on the cheap.

You heard her wrong, honey. The checkout girl totally said I look "rad." With an "R," not a "B."

It was only a matter of time before the different parts of my life collided. Why oh why couldn't the collision involve the fedora?

So, the Little One. Let's call him the Littlest Kraken because, well, if you heard the sea monster-esque noises emitting from that baby monitor night and day, you wouldn't doubt the child is at least 75% mythical aquatic beast. The Littlest Kraken, LK for short, has developed a habit even I think is disturbing. My darling boy occasionally likes to sleep with his eyes open. I KNOW! Horrifying. The first time I caught him doing it, I figured lack of sleep had me hallucinating. The second time, I wanted to purchase a baby sleep mask and and a lobotomy poker (for me -- there are some things you can't unsee). The 87th time? Meh, it's still creepy, but I have to admit that if this is his main quirk, it's still preferable to just about anything he could have inherited.

Being the terrified diligent first-time-mom I am, I subscribe to the weekly emails. Low and behold, what comes through to my inbox today? An email from Baby Center containing the following question: "Is it normal for my baby to sleep with her eyes open?"

Excellent question, anonymous mother of a baby girl! I've been wondering that very thing. And here's the answer provided in the article, first two sentences:
Yes, it's normal, but it certainly looks odd. As Concord, California, naturopathic doctor Tara Levy puts it: "Zombie kid! Watch out!"
Okay, the emphasis is mine. Even so, zombie kid? If two things in my admittedly eclectic life had to merge, I could have found a better pairing.

Joking aside, the condition, known medically as nocturnal lagophthalmos, is common in infants, harmless, and usually outgrown by the time a child reaches 18 months of age. Still though, creepy. CREEPY!

The article offers some medical advice, but overall advises "...don't fear the zombie kid." Sure. Don't fear. Be lulled into a false sense of security. Everyone knows that's when the zombies strike!

Notice the tag-to-mouth ratio? The child's already a biter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Of Blog Breaks, Babies, and Hopefully Blogging Again

I've taken a blog break. Nothing major, just took a step back to have a baby, bring him home from the hospital, and, you know, watch him grow and turn 8 months old.     o.O

Okay, so perhaps it was a longer break than I'd anticipated...from blogging, and writing, and, um, what was that thing I had pre-baby? It's on the tip of my tongue; I used to get all wrapped up in it... Oh yeah! A life. But enough hibernation. The little one is getting bigger every day and it's time for me to return to the activities I also hold dear, including the writing career I'm working to build. Fortunately, I do have my family's unwavering support in this venture.

Hey mom, how 'bout you write something? Legos ain't gonna buy themselves!

How times flies. So, back to writing and blogging and brainstorming and pursuing this crazy dream of mine. Hello 2013, we're going to have a wonderful time together.