Wednesday, December 12, 2012

3 am thoughts on writing

Okay, so most of you know I absolutely suck at keeping up with a blog. It's been months since I posted last and I am really bloody awful at keeping people up to date on what I'm doing. Except on Facebook. I'm pretty well addicted to it. I even go to a support group that meets on Facebook Mon-Sun every two hours. ;-)

I adore being an Indie author. However, I suck badly at the marketing aspect of it. I'm not one who can run around screaming 'BUY MY BOOK!' Nor am I the sort who will put up a sexy picture of myself partially clothed to sell books. Pimpin' ain't really my thing.

I figure if you like my writing you'll buy my books. I don't ever want to surround myself with ass kissing sycophants the way I see some authors (both traditionally pubbed and Indies) do. When you start listening to the people who like you for your status and not the people you trust then you start churning out crap books.

Your writing suffers because nobody wants to tell you the truth, they're too busy fawning over you. I've seen some famous authors putting their pictures out with them scantily clad and I watch as their sites and writing changes.

One of my favorite authors has gone from writing about a strong female investigator to essentially writing porn. The earlier books in a series that used to be my favorite had some erotica elements but now every other page is an orgy. Shes lost sight of the strength of the female lead and turned her into nothing more than a sex slave/toy that gets used by anyone in a fifty mile radius.

I stopped reading that series. I noticed as the books became more porn than police work that her fans started really stroking her ego. All they did was tell her how wonderful she was and if anyone pointed out any flaws in the books (including a major continuity error) the fans went postal on them and the author herself posted snide comments.

People like that will not be getting my hard earned money. Nope, these days if I want to read a good story I tend to look to the Indie world. So many Indies are so very much more talented than the traditionally published authors and they tend not to have egos the size of Arizona (for the most part.)

Speaking of egos, I've listened to editors tell me that they've lost friends because they've told an author the truth about their manuscript. In my mind if your editor isn't telling you "Wow, that line about 'sleeping like a baboon high on marijuana' is just plain bad writing." then you've got a bad editor. Editors shouldn't just fix punctuation and grammatical errors, they should be honest with their authors about the sort of problems they see in the book itself.

For instance in a novel I wrote, my beautiful beta reader pointed out to me that I have my character taking aspirin for a head wound and that would never happen because aspirin is a blood thinner. Not a huge problem, you're thinking. To me, it is. If a nurse is reading this book and she gets to this point she will be very disappointed because I have shattered the world I created for her with some stupid little fact that could easily be checked on Google. Shame on me for not checking into it. I'm really disappointed in myself for that.

I'm ashamed of myself because one of my least favorite things is to be reading a book and come along to something that could never possibly happen. I have stopped reading books and refused to take them up again because of such issues. I give a book three chances. If they badly screw up three facts I won't ever read the author again.

For instance there are a few things that made me stop watching CSI. They're pulling bullets outof walls with metal tweezers (this screws up the rifling on the bullet making identifying and matching weapon to slug more difficult, technically they should use a pair of plastic tweezers for bullet recovery.) They are constantly using Luminol with no protection (it's extremely toxic stuff and is meant to be worn with a Tyvek full body suit and a seriously heavy duty respirator) and they're using the Luminol in cases where it'd be better to use Leuco Crystal Violet (because Luminol degrades DNA.) The most disappointing aspect, to me anyway, is watching the police detectives bumble around while the lab techs do police work. Speak with any forensic technician and I would bet very few of them have ever talked to a suspect, let alone interrogated one.

Am I a cop or a forensic scientist? No, but I have read the textbooks for my own research with writing projects and I expect that the shows I am watching and the books I am reading offer me the courtesy not to dumb things down and assume the public are morons and will buy anything. Maybe this makes me an asshole, and I'm sorry if it does, but I expect the authors of the books I read to at least attempt some research. Don't set a story in the swamps and have the weather be arid and dry. That's impossible in an area full of water.

In an age where Indie authors are coming under more scrutiny than ever before; I beg of you, don't churn out crap to plump your shelves. Take the time to make sure the work you are publishing is the best you can do. Don't just assume your fans will buy it and continue to spend their hard earned money on poorly written drivel. Listen to the people you trust, make sure you read and reread your work several times. Self edit as much as you can until the book sings. Have good beta readers in place and don't just rely on your editor. While they should tell you if they see a ridiculous sentence it's your job to ensure that the writing is clean as possible. When you think you have it as pretty and flowing as it can be, give it to someone you trust to read it and tell you the truth. If they point out problems reread it and see if you agree or not.

The most important thing to remember is, as your work starts selling, as you start gaining fans and a following, don't let your ego get bigger than your talent. When you start paying more attention to what the strokers say and less to the honest folks who truly care about you, then you are signing the death warrant to your writing career. It won't happen overnight but believe me, when you stop caring about bettering your writing and start caring more about how good your author picture looks, your work will suffer.

Well, those're my thoughts for the night. I hope you are able to sleep and that your dreams are sweet and full of joy. Have a great day tomorrow, and thanks for sticking with me; friends and readers alike, I am very grateful for all of you. I wish you all the best this world has to offer. See you later, gators.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Leigh M Lane is an angel

As many of you know I am a huge fan of Ms. Lane's book 'Finding Poe'. So when she contacted me and said she read my book 'Shifters' and found some edits, I was grateful. I can edit for style and flow easily enough but I really need to go back to school and learn more about editing for punctuation (I am a comma junkie.) <--See like that; do I put the period on the inside of the parenthesis or the outside? I was so focused on being a zookeeper that I sort of ignored anything that wasn't about animals or organic chemistry.

She sent me what had to be hours of work on her part cleaning up my grammatical messes and punctuational problems. She did not ask for anything in return. I asked her if I could list her as editor and she thanked me. That's right, the woman who had spent hours polishing up my gem thanked me for crediting her for it.

This is the sort of camaraderie you find often in the Indie community. We help each other with cover art and with editing. We soothe each other over bad reviews and celebrate over the good ones. We pimp each others books and visit each others blogs. We are not just community, we are family and for the most part, we stick together. I love being a part of this and have so many people I am grateful to for their guidance and support. Today though I am eternally grateful for Ms. Lane and the fact she so selflessly helped me to become a better author by not just editing the story but telling me what I had done wrong and why.

To anyone looking for some extremely well written, engaging, and purely awesome stories; check out her titles like 'Finding Poe' a brilliant homage to one of my favorite authors and written so much like his style you forget at times he isn't the author. 'World Mart' is her dystopian novel that shows us what the world could be like if we give those corporate fat cats too much power over our lives. 'The Hidden Valley' is her newest work and what a piece of brilliance it is. A story about a ghost town you can read the novel 'The Hidden Valley: The Whole Story' but you can also experience the story through each character's eyes in the separate novellas 'The Hidden Valley: Jane's Story', 'The Hidden Valley:Grant's Story', 'The Hidden Valley: John's Story', and 'The Hidden Valley: Carrie's Story'. I will be sailing my way through these soon as it's such an amazing concept and a fun one.

So, there you have it. You now know why I find Leigh M Lane to be an angel and you know where to go to read some of her wonderful books. I thank her again for her help and you folks for reading. May your day be filled with brightness and joy and may your dreams be happy ones.

Leigh's Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Leigh-M.-Lane/e/B0055DSE6Y/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_2

Leigh's blog: http://www.cerebralwriter.com/index.html

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cleveland Clinic

So here I am wired up and stuck in a bed for however many days it takes. It was supposed to be a week but hopefully I'll get out sooner. Did I mention I'm having a video EEG? Not only am I wired up for the week but they'll have video of it too. Yay.  I mean really, who doesn't want video of them looking perfectly horrid?

I feel rather sorry for the poor chap that has to stare at my mug for a week. I can tell you that the glue they use for the electrodes itches like crazy. I can also tell you nurses and PAs do not get enough money. The ones I've met here have been downright awesome.

For those who don't know my background here's a little summary:

Nine years ago I was a successful zoo keeper. I was working at the Detroit Zoo and was in bliss. I had the greatest managers, curators, and coworkers anyone could hope to have. One day I was scrubbing the Penguinarium and this pain shot down my left arm into my pinky finger. It brought me to my knees. Mind you, I've been bitten by a lion cub, kicked in the hip by a zebra, had part of my right thumb eaten away by a lizard and those pains were nothing compared to this one.

I sort of figured it would be something like carpal tunnel or a pinched nerve, no big deal. I kept working and a month later that same pain, followed by numbness caused me to drop a bucket of herring and capelin that I was taking up to feed the penguins with. Again the pain had brought me literally to my knees and as I knelt in the Penguinarium kitchen shocked by what had happened I realized I was going to have to go to the doctor.

I was misdiagnosed with Fibromyalgia and spent 4 and a half years being treated with every Fibro drug under the sun. My doctor finally looked at me and said "This is not Fibromyalgia." Since that moment we have been running tests and I've gone to see a couple specialists. Along the way things have changed and worsened, tests have come back at "impossible" levels and everyone has been baffled. I was sent to Cleveland Clinic to test me for a possible seizure disorder.

They don't believe that is the answer but yet another possible side effect of whatever illness is slowly eating me away. They're drawing blood and testing everything while I'm here and hopefully they'll get to the bottom of what's been happening. Whether it's treatable or not it'll just be nice to have an answer, you know?

So there you have it, the whole story in a nutshell. Well, I'm off to do some writing, I hope your day is bright and good. May all your days be happy ones and may good luck follow you wherever you go.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Shifters

I just want to say thank you to everyone who downloaded a free copy of Shifters this weekend. It made my weekend to see that over 400 people snagged a copy and that the book made it to #27 in Amazon's Top 100 Free Horror. You guys are downright awesome!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Jeffrey Kosh's Prosperity Glades: DOORS by Jaime Johnesee

Jeffrey Kosh's Prosperity Glades: DOORS by Jaime Johnesee: OK, let's suppose you can't (or you won't) to chug out 1.99 bucks for a whole anthology. So, why don't get a single story from 'Oh, the Horr...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Narrator

I love my characters, they come to me to tell their stories and once they've finished usually a bittersweet goodbye follows. There are those that stick around, the ones you just know will make a series and this blog entry is about one of those. He's a character I dearly hope makes it to another book. Right now I call him 'The Narrator'. He hasn't told me his name yet, and he is so interesting that it's hard for me to remember to ask for it.

He pops up at the oddest times and begs for me to write more. Yet, all I really know of him so far is what he's told me to help me twine together the tales I wrote for 'Oh, The Humanity'. He tells me of the creatures you'll meet in the book and how they came to find themselves in the positions they inevitably fall into. I could write him for hours and still enjoy his soothing voice.

He is simply the best, well... narrator, I could hope to have. He's made a haunting impact on me, I can't seem to resist him and I can not wait for you guys to make his acquaintance, as well. He is a proper sort of fellow, yet at the same time he has this manner about him that suggests that he could fit in well anywhere at anytime. That feeling might be projecting from either the fact he's dressed in an elegant tuxedo, or the fact he is never without his rusty, bloodstained, and quite well used shovel.

Wherever The Narrator may be at the time, somehow he knows all of the supernatural things going on in all my little worlds and I couldn't imagine having this book without him. Anyway, I just wanted to let you guys have a little peek at my newest favorite muse. I hope you folks like him as much as I do. Well it's back to work for me, he's already whispering in my ear.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The case of the nearly dead turtle.

This morning I came downstairs to find our buddy Turtle Tuck floating facedown in the aquarium. My two boys were standing around the fish tank wondering what happened to their beloved turtle. Quickly, instinct (and nearly a decade and a half of on the job training) took over and I pulled her out of the tank. She was stone cold. 'Aw, crap!' I thought to myself 'She's dead. What do I tell the kids?' Then she started opening her eyes. 'Hallelujah! She is still alive!'
I quickly ran the warm water and when I hit that perfect temprature I began running the water over the back of her shell, keeping her head out of the stream, so she could still breathe. She took a huge gulp of air and I knew she was going to be ok. I had to keep her warm, but she was still too cold to move, so I couldn't just leave her in the sink. Wrapping her in paper towels, I did what any animal person does when they need to care for a sick critter. I bit the bullet and stuffed the turtle down my shirt. The body heat would certainly help and I could most assuredly keep an eye on her as I got breakfast ready for the boys and I.

Yes, I risked being bitten in a very uncomfortable place for our reptilian family member, but it was totally worth it because in ten minutes time, she was doing better and now she is warming up in the sink in warm water and is able to move again. I must say, looking at my sons' happy faces I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do this sort of thing as a career and you would be correct in assuming this wasn't the first time I've had the chance to fall back on my training and save an animal. So that's been my morning...how was yours?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Charlie's Angel

Gerry Kearns was a good woman. Her husband was the president of the chamber of commerce and his family was quite wealthy, so she didn't need to work. Instead, she spent twenty hours a week as a candy striper at the local hospital. She was on the board for the local no-kill shelter and always did her best to make sure the family donated whatever money and food items they could when the local food drives came up.

So when the man limped up to her in the parking garage, she didn't think twice about trying to help him get his unruly dog in the van. She only had to see the cast on his leg and that large heart of hers took over. She had spent the latter part of her life working hard to help people. That sort of training caused a type of forgetfulness when it came to personal safety.

As she maneuvered the Golden retriever into the white, windowless, heavy duty work van the man who had requested her aid grinned and pulled the trigger on his taser. Before she could process what was happening, Gerry had been shoved onto the floor of the van and was suffering convulsions. The dog leapt out and the man just let him run off. He had no further use for the dog. After all, he had only taken it as bait for her.

Pleased with himself, the kidnapper shut the back doors of the van, and after removing the false cast he'd donned earlier he climbed up into the driver's seat while whistling a jaunty tune. He pulled the van out cautiously from the parking structure, holding the taser in his right hand in case he needed to deliver another round of incapacitating  voltage into her. 

It had taken him awhile to realize the superiority of the taser over the stun gun. With the taser he could zap her as many times as he wanted, or needed, to. At least until the leads fell from her flesh due to the convulsions that were knocking them about. 

It gave him much more control. He sighed, heavily regretting his first kill. It had been so sloppy, but that was to be expected after all, he was new to this art. Now though, well these days he had knowledge only few did and was intimately familiar with dealing death blows. There were no mistakes any more. Hadn't been in years.

He drove her to his cabin, alternately singing and whistling for the better part of the trip. Oh, he loved how his mind was so clear after he had found one. Without his Angels things got muddled but when he found one of them he knew it was his job to send them back to heaven to be with God. This world was not safe for these beings and it was left to him to teach them that.

Once he actually convinced one of them to see his point. She ended her own life and returned to the House of the Lord forever. He was excited for his own death. He couldn't wait to see the reward he would reap for the good work he had been doing on earth.

He was brought back into the present by a whimper that had escaped from Gerry. He held down the trigger and she went quiet as her body stiffened from the current running through it.

He was home. Safe, with her in his arms. Things were looking good. He took her to the basement and immediately started on her education of the world. Using a riding crop he did his level best to split the flesh on her back and bottoms of her feet. This would teach her about the pain she would find in this world.

He never defiled them, just made sure the Angels were reunited with the God that they so selflessly served. His father told him what a good guy he was to do this for them. There had been so many lucky creatures that had passed his way and he looked back on every one of them lovingly. 

He tortured her nightly for nearly two weeks. He was good at torture and knew just when to stop so as not to break their spirits too easily. He was keeping her docile with a hefty dose of Ketamine. 

Sedated by the animal tranquilizer, Gerry was living out a hell she could never have imagined existed. Reality was sucked away along with her will. As day blended into night all she knew was that she was being punished and she didn't understand why. 

She saw there lived a giant spider in her corner of the basement. During a severe hallucination from the Ketamine she spoke with the arachnid and was told he was sorry she was there. She spoke with the spider almost daily and sometimes when the drugs were too potent, the spider talked back. Sometimes the spider grew so large she just knew it was going to eat her.

As the days turned to weeks she became a bit more used to the drugs and began thinking clearly. At times she thought clear enough to realize she needed to start planning her escape.

She was not too far removed from humanity. From her little corner she could see the security camera he had set up. People came by all the time. No one could hear her scream. A plan began formulating in her mind, one that would change her soul even more so than the torture she had endured.

She would have to kill him. His death would make her world safe again and she had to make sure no one else suffered the way she had been. A closer examination of her bonds revealed she was stuck in a  handcuff/leg shackle combo (similar to what is used in jail) and that it was affixed to a chain which had been wrapped around several wooden support beams in the basement and padlocked closed. 

One day a large group of people showed up as if he was having some sort of party. It was a perfect time for her to escape. He'd come down and told her the horrors she would face if she tried to leave or get any of his guests' attention. She had to risk it though, there might not be a chance for her to run again. He never cleaned her wounds and several of the bloody welts were starting to reek with infection. She badly needed medical help. Not to mention psychiatric. After a fourth car pulled up the driveway she began looking around for her salvation.

Her gaze swept the room searching for anything that could be used to undo the handcuffs. She whimpered, clawing through the drawers on the tool chest nearest her, hoping to find something that could break, cut, or pick the restraints.

She found an old claw hammer and tried using her left hand to smash the links of the chain connecting the cuffs to the shackles. She knew from experience that the basement was soundproofed in some way because her screams and cries brought no response from any one of the people who had visited him while she was being held. She didn't worry about the noise of the metal hammer on the chains for this reason.

It wasn't long before the link she was hammering gave way and her hands were free from her legs. Now came the hard part, trying to free her hands from each other. The shackles gave her a couple feet of movement and after some attempts she found that if needed to she could run with them on. She wanted to get her hands free first. If he came down for any reason she wanted to be able to fight him. So grabbing the hammer in her teeth she attempted to bang the links in between her wrist cuffs trying to free her hands completely. 

It wasn't working. She couldn't get the force needed to provide any serious blow to the links. She decided to try something else and started banging on the metal band around her wrist, with the other hand. She held back her screams as hit after hit fell upon her aching, raw wrist. Before too long she heard a weird click and the mangled cuff fell open. 

She allowed herself ten seconds to celebrate before moving on to the other wrist. In her excitement she hit the cuff too hard and heard a loud crack as she fractured her wrist. She howled with the agony and as the pain dulled to a throbbing she noticed that she had managed to open that cuff as well. 

Taking the hammer into her good hand she began beating at the leg shackles with a renewed fervor. It wasn't long before her legs were free. She sobbed with joy and moved for the stairs.

All she could do was hope that no one saw her. She crept up the basement stairs whispering prayer after prayer under her breath. That same breath caught in her throat when the squeak of rusty hinges announced the opening of the basement door.

He had forgotten to lock it! What luck! She was thanking God and looking around the room she had come out into. It was a den, and it was expensive. Whomever had kidnapped her didn't do it for the money. This thought scared her instantly. Money was a motivation she could understand. Greed was found the world over but if there was no reason for greed...than why?

She peered around the corner and gasped quietly. It was a huge group of people. They were all standing around a tv. She craned her neck and saw what they were watching. It was her. She gasped again then her bladder quickly emptied down her legs as two dozen people stared at her with an unnatural hunger. The oddest thing happened and money exchanged hands. At that point the realization dawned on her that they were betting on her life.

She stared dumbly at a board with odds scribbled across it. Everything from whether or not she would cry whole tortured to 'would she try to escape' was covered. The people who had been visiting the house all this time had not only heard her screams, all of them, but they had also bet on them. Her pain had been their boon. 

He looked at her and was overcome with sadness. She had been a fun Angel to play with but Daddy always said that the odds must lay with the house. He sighed his regret and fired the entire clip of his P226 into her brain. "Guess Charlie needs a new angel, huh Dad?"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Uncle Ron

My husband's uncle passed last week after a year long battle with cancer. He was buried today instead of last week because he wouldn't have wanted to upset anyone's Easter plans. Yes, that is the amazing angel we were all blessed to know. He was a selfless and loving man and thankfully, he has passed these traits on to his children. I am forever blessed to be a part of the Johnesee, Kowalski, and Glitz family. They are the most loving and wonderful souls it has ever been my luck to encounter. With my health being all kinds of wonky I don't have many good days and have missed more family functions than I attended and regardless of how many I have missed they still greet me with open arms and hearts when I am able to attend. So in honor of Uncle Ron Kowalski I will be putting up a free short story on my website. A story that he helped inspire two years ago during an extended family vacation to Myrtle Beach. We had gone to dinner at a Brazillian steakhouse that both Ron and Pat, his angel of a wife, enjoyed. Watching the waiters walk around with large hunks of meat on spikes titillated the horror author in me and so, being one who cannot refuse my muse I began writing a story set amid the same beautiful atmosphere in which I was surrounded. An atmosphere that had more to do with the loving family around the table than the ambience of the restaurant decor. Several paragraphs in, I came to my senses and realized exactly how rude I was being. Seated at the table hunting and pecking away on my little smartphone's notepad, grinning goofily to myself as I rode the story alongside my characters, I stopped, looked up, and noticed several sets of eyes on me. Upon realizing my faux pas I began apologizing profusely and everyone just smiled and laughed, including Uncle Ron who said something along the lines of "Don't worry about it, I was just surprised to see someone write so much on such a little object." I put away the beginning of the story and enjoyed dinner with these amazing and so very tolerant folks. That trip is the best vacation I have ever had in my life and I only wish more of the family had been able to come. Uncle Ron was quick to smile and kind to everyone. He was the sort of person that could turn your day from sour to good in just a few minutes. There was a light in him that shines on in his family, a light that shows the world just what wonderful people they are. I like to think it comes from the halos they're hiding. The whole family is full of these spectacular people. The Johnesee/Kowalski/Glitz family is one that inspires goodness in everyone they meet. So I will give you 'The Steakhouse' in Ron's memory and I hope you enjoy it. It is horror, I warn you. As much as I am surrounded by angels and light, my muse prefers to take me into the darker scarier places. It is in these spots that I can look back and rest assured that I am blessed with the most wonderful family any person could hope to have. For them, I will always be grateful.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The worst people sometimes present the kindest faces.

Her life had stopped being her own when she had the kids. Marilyn didn't mind that. They were wonderful children and no mother could be prouder. What really bothered her was knowing that the Devil himself was going to come take them from her when they reached seventeen. He had told her so the night he had impregnated her. She sobbed into her duct taped hands and ignored the pain as he took her violently. Nine months later sweet little Sarah and lovely Anthony were born.  She'd had a difficult time carrying the twins and once had thought she had lost them. She had actually been ecstatic at the time. Of course she didn't realize just how much those kids would mean to her. As their fourth birthday appeared Marilyn decided to play things safe, if they looked different perhaps Satan would not recognize them and would leave them be. She had smiled as she carved into their faces ignoring their screams of pain and terror. She was doing this for them and that thought steeled her while she mutilated her babies. "Momma, will you sing us a song?" Sarah asked her one evening. "Yes dear girl, I'd love to." Marilyn began singing 'Hush Little Baby' to her sweet loving children. She was in bliss and sure that the Devil wouldn't get her kids now. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "What's her story?" one of the new interns asked Dr. Middin. "Who, Marilyn? It's a terrible tragedy. She had a loving husband who'd died, two months later a bookie showed up to collect a debt from him and when he'd found out her husband had passed he took the loan out on Marilyn. He raped and beat her for two whole days. As if that wasn't bad enough she conceived from the rape. It broke her, because she and her hubby had been trying so hard to have a child. She lost the baby when he was four months old. The bookie had found out that he'd sired the boy and came back to kill him. He raped her again. She broke with reality, thank goodness, and killed him while he was torturing her. Sadly it was too much for her to bear and she snapped."  "Wow! That's awful." the intern pitied the poor woman. "She hasn't spoke a word in almost five years. She just hums some lullaby and screams occasionally. She'll have at least one psychotic break a day. I'm not sure which is worse, her torpors or her breaks." Dr. Middin sighed, he felt old. Treating people who had been so badly broken wasn't quite the rewarding experience he had been expecting.  There were few things he hadn't seen and most made him lose utter faith in humanity. Marilyn's case was one of those that made him feel angry beyond rage. Not only was she not progressing but her condition seemed to be worsening. He just had to try and reach her again. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When the intern headed off to empty some bedpans, a nurse slipped into Marilyn's room and whispered in her ear "I'm coming for you Mary. It's time to save you." he grinned as she stared off into space in horror. There was a part of him that blamed Marilyn for not getting well, and for refusing to respond to him. It pissed him off. The hospital wasn't paying him enough to deal with this crap.  He'd decided that if they wouldn't get well then he would make them change. Sure most killed themselves, but some, like Marilyn, became bliss to play with. When his girlfriend had broken up with him he'd enjoyed "treating" a nymphomaniac named Jill. Yes they didn't pay him much but his job had many perks. Tormenting Marilyn and trying to anticipate her reaction was a favorite of his. "Your turn to die, Beelzebub." She said quietly as she approached Manny the night nurse from hell. She pulled a piece of metal from under the mattress and stabbed him in his right eye when he was leaning in to whisper more of those horrific things. "No one will blame me Devil for ending you. You cannot have my children and with you gone I can be free to enjoy my life with them."  Manny had no idea what she was screeching, he was too busy trying to claw his way to the door. He felt her remove the shiv she had made from a piece of the bed springs and then his left eye went dark. Panic mode set in and he started wailing for help.  His last thought was "I should have left the security camera on." as Marilyn stood over his prone body stabbing her attacker and praying internally to God. Manny was also praying to God but somehow his prayers went unanswered. The last thing he felt was the warmth of his own blood running down his throat when she severed his Carotid.  "No Mr. Satan you won't have my children. They're mine and you can no longer touch them you vile beast." proud of herself Marilyn sat back and felt some semblance of safety for the first time since Larry died. When Dr. Middin arrived he found Manny dead on the floor and Marilyn laying peacefully on the bed a beatific smile lit her face and the doctor was surprised. He called for help and went to examine her. She would never respond to another soul again. She was with her children and was safe, the real world would never intrude on that safety.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A short zombie tale from long ago for you I hope you enjoy


It had all started when Mt St Helens erupted years ago. A parasite living deep in the fiery bowels of the volcano was expelled along with the magma and gasses. This parasite had been dormant since the time of the dinosaurs and no one knew of its existence until it started using humans as its host. It started its rein of terror by invading the bodies found dead along the side of the highway. It realized quickly that the cold lifeless corpses of animals made unfulfilling hosts. They wanted something more intelligent, something larger so that they could breed and transfer their young out into the world. They came across a pre-school.

The children were out playing during their recess when the parasites invaded the playground. The kids never even saw it coming. One second little Mary Sue Greene was playing hopscotch the next she was groaning and shrieking. The teacher on guard watching the kids immediately ran to her and called into his walkie-talkie for an ambulance. It would have been the perfect thing to do if Mary was ill. Unfortunately Mary wasn’t ill; she was deceased. The creature that took over her body pushed the soul/being/human that was once Mary into the universe and claimed the body as its own.  It buried itself into her brain and thoroughly enjoyed using her eyes to view the world and her tiny feet to walk.

It had never had to walk before, always relying on air currents to move. As it mastered the fine art of walking and using the girl’s arms it looked like Mary Sue was having a seizure. The adult attempted to restraint the girl but the thing that had taken over the child hissed at him, gnashing her teeth and slavering like a pitbull. The teacher called again on the radio asking for some help. That was when little Brian Dobkins attacked the teacher from behind. The sweet blonde haired boy ripped Mr. Carmichael’s left arm off as easily as it were tissue paper instead of living tissue. The blood spurted from the severed brachial artery and a sweet coppery redolence filled the air.

The parasites remembered how hungry they were and they steered the little bodies under their control towards the owner of the deliciously scented liquid. Ten children fell upon Randy Carmichael; their teeth biting and tearing, their hands grasping and ripping his flesh. As the parasites swallowed the gobbets of flesh belonging to 2002’s teacher of the year they realized how much they enjoyed the taste and feeling of the thick chucks of salty sweet flesh as it rode down their throats filling the hosts’ tiny stomachs. The parasites were disappointed when they realized the children’s tummy’s were too small to hold much more blood and flesh. They attempted to unburrow themselves but found they were unable to leave this host. Nature abhors a vacuum and since the creatures had ousted the previous bodies occupants they were stuck in the tiny flesh suits. They cried and screeched but no matter what they did they were stuck. Their thoughts then centered on reproduction.

A self replicating species, the parasite began laying and fertilizing eggs in the folds of the human’s brain. Both the parasites and their eggs were too small for human eyes to see. The principal came out to check on Mr. Carmichael and Mary Sue. To his unfortunate surprise the horde of children fell upon him snapping and manducating. The flesh didn’t stay down long as the tiny tummies of the hosts were too small to hold such delectable bounty. As the infected children vomited up pieces of the poor man they wished their offspring better host bodies than they had found. They passed on the knowledge that they would be stuck in the bodies they infected to their eggs.

While the eggs were being incubated, the parasite ridden children had been separated and contained. The CDC had been brought in to explain why the little kids of Good Morning Pre-school had turned cannibal. They found some of the parasite’s eggs embedded in a slice of brain tissue they had cut from a little boy’s brain when he stopped moving and expired suddenly. As they watched under the microscope the eggs hatched and the room was cleared and locked down. The rest of the children were gathered and placed into a similar room. Both were airtight and nothing was allowed to escape. For three weeks the CDC team waited and watched as one by one the children’s corpses began rotting. They made the mistake of believing the parasites to be dead. As is usual with humans they set their own stupidly erroneous parameters upon the deadly parasites.

When the man in charge of the Zombie Project opened the door to the containment room he was suited up and believed himself secure. The door whooshed open and thousands of unseen parasites flooded the building. They didn’t care what level protection the suits were they bored through the rubber and plastic until they reached the soft flesh of the humans below. They liked the bodies they pirated and used them well. As the new horde shambled from the building they looked for more people. More yummy, delicious people. Some preferred the salty taste of the brains and some liked the sweet breads best, but all enjoyed the thick sinewy flesh and hot, savory blood.

The four hundred employees of the CDC were now basically mindless creatures with ravenous appetites. As they opened the outer doors they let their fellow parasites out to find bodies of their own. As they reproduced they learned in time that their children could be taught to head for the mouth of the host to be released into the world through the host’s saliva. This meant that they did not have to die for their off spring to flourish. It also meant learning some measure of self-control as they could only bite a human once in order to implant the young ones. It was hard to suppress the instinct to rend the soft skin and eat it, but as always the urge to procreate outweighed the insatiable hunger and the yearning for flesh.

As time went on the horde grew larger and the parasites lived longer. They started choosing their hosts carefully for fear they’d be stuck in an loathful host. As time marched on; the aimless horde started becoming more and more like a family. They began watching out for each other and each others’ larvae. If they saw a zombie about to bite a human they knew to be unworthy they’d stop that zombie and eat the human. Communication began and the horde became a living, thinking, working entity. Unfortunately good food started to become scarce and the flabby lay-abouts that populated the Northwest and the Midwest became almost unpalatable to the horde. They scuffled southward in search of more muscular and tastier bodies to add to the family as well as eat. As they migrated they were unaware of the fact that the humans were starting to fight back. The people in the armed forces discovered that sarin gas worked quite well at killing the parasites and their eggs. A plan was put into place to destroy the swarm as it moved.

The humans in towns along the horde’s route were evacuated and the roads and towns surrounding the legion of zombies were isolated save for the encroaching beasties. The Air Force had been elected to fly over the horde and release a large cloud of sarin gas. As the zombies died their corpses would be tossed into a deep freeze containment unit in the unlikely event that any survived. It was thought that they might have a problem with the cold. The solution had presented itself when a stray zombie found it’s way into the meat locker at a grocery store. It lasted not three minutes before it died. Nobody understood why the cold killed them, they were just grateful that it did.

Hundreds of thousands of bodies lay twitching in the streets, the sarin gas killing most and leaving a few in a coma-like state. As the men in the rubber suits carried the bodies into the deep freeze they were terrified of becoming infected themselves. Once they finished hauling the corpses inside the containment area they closed and sealed the door then rejoiced in their triumph. Humans all over the world celebrated that night as every country forced their zombies into a deep freeze of their own. It became a world wide independence day of sorts and the festivities were grand. Fireworks were set off throughout the globe and parties were held on almost every block in nearly every neighborhood. People were dancing in the streets and whooping with joy. It was a grand time to be a human.
Meanwhile the parasites waited in the cold. One day the humans curiosity would cause them to open the door and those that had adapted to the cold would rise to infiltrate and devour human flesh once again. They had agreed to start small and begin with animals. As they acquired the ability to communicate telepathically with each other all over the world the parasites waited for the day when the humans would begin their own demise. They were so excited to plan their escape and dominion over the Earth. The entire time they were held captive they plotted and dreamed. As they talked to each other wordlessly they realized they could unlock the memories and thoughts inside their host brains. The knowledge gained around the world was immense and they shared it with each other. As they laid in wait for the humans to accidentally set them free they grew excited at the possibilities of their future. They had never realized how quickly their time would come. Most assumed they’d have to wait a century or more. To find that they’d only have to wait weeks would come as both a surprise and a treat.

His name was Ned McCauley, he was a janitor at the base where the original freezer was. He always thought the giant aircraft hangar being turned into cold storage was a neat idea. He just wished he could peek in and see what the bodies looked like. He wondered about them a lot the few weeks he was on the base. He queried; were they blue? Were there snotcicles hanging from each corpse’s nose? Would they try to attack and eat him? Ned McCauley never realized he’d be going down in history when he turned the freezer doorknob. The bodies were too frozen for the parasites to move but they were able to allow the young ones out through the nostrils. When he slammed the door on the hangar Ned was sure everything was okay. He would find out a few months later that he had allowed a dozen nearly invisible parasites their freedom. No one except Ned knew he was the one who set the beasties free. When he realized what he had done he painted his kitchen wall brain matter grey. As far as the parasites went, it didn’t take long for the offspring to return for their parents. After all, their motto had become “Horde equals family”.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tiny bit of flash fiction for you guys

 Crazy Smart

The stench of death rose up like a cloud around him and he grinned, inhaling with a joy he hadn't felt in years. There was nothing quite so delightfully aromatic as the delectable coppery scent of blood pooling and clotting.

He wasn't sure exactly when he'd felt so alive and it gave him a thrill to know that his joy came from their deaths. His eyes moved lovingly over the shattered corpses at his feet and he sighed "Oh, Tommy, look at what we've done now."

In his mind his best friend grinned up at him from the belly of the corpse nearest him, his enigmatic smile stained with the blood and effluence seeping from the body he had been gnawing on.

In reality, Frank Gomez was standing in his kitchen facing a corner caught completely  in his dreams, thoroughly believing he was standing atop the bodies of those who had taken his son.

Ten years earlier Frank had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. But rather than live a sort of half life (where all he wanted was to die) because of the pills' side effects, Frank chose to remain untreated and suffer the vivid hallucinations and memory loss that accompanied a degenerative disease like that with which he was cursed.

Because of his hallucinations, Franks's ex had won full custody of their boy, Marcus. Frank had been punished for his choice to forego treatment and was only allowed to see his kid when his ex okayed it. Even then, he was to be supervised the whole time he visited the boy.

  It had pretty much broken him. When Samantha took Mark from him, he felt dead inside. The emotional trauma did something to his disease, it was as if a lit match had been tossed upon a bucket of gasoline. His delusions changed from spiders crawling the walls and following him everywhere he went to deepening in both vividness and feeling. It wasn't long before they morphed into ones in which demons had taken over his ex and stole his son. He vowed vengeance for his loss and he swore he would make the demons pay.

In his mind, his best friend Tom Sanders was there helping him. Sure this Tommy didn't exactly act like the one he knew and loved so well, but at least this one believed him about the demons. This Tommy agreed that his ex and her new boyfriend needed to die in order to save their souls. Thinking about it a little longer he decided that he very much preferred Mind Tommy to Flesh Tommy.

He stood in that corner for three hours until the episode broke and he could once again think normally. Once he was back in reality, he retched and ran for the toilet.

The things he had done to his ex had sickened and scared him. It didn't matter that he had only done them in his mind. He straightened after clearing his stomach and flushed the bowl clean of his lunch. After rinsing out his mouth with Scope he headed to what he termed his 'thinking' chair.

He kept a pad of paper and a pen by the chair to record anything he might need to know or remember when he was lucid. The notebook contained three sentences, it took him a moment to grasp their meaning.

"Saw her with him today. She took him in your bed. While you degenerated in the corner."

It was then he hatched his plan. He knew he'd have to kill her. Doing that would stop his disease and appease God so that he wouldn't have the 'bad times'. Besides if he killed her they'd only send him to an asylum where someone could care for him again. He was insane, he had ten years of medical files to back up his insanity defense.

A slow grin spread across his face, a grin that lit his eyes with a mania that would have scared him if he wasn't completely in his right mind. Yes sir, he would make sure things went his way, and no one would hold him responsible.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I HATE editing. Blah!

While I know editing is essential and even crucial to having a good finished product I absolutely loathe it. Aside from not having a ton of time with the two kids and old house that needs some love, there's the fact I am an unrelenting demon when I edit. I will scrutinize a page until it starts crying. But to me, the best way to have a good book is to make sure it's as close to flawless as you can get it.

I'm working on an anthology right now with a dozen or so short stories from my past and present. The ones from the past need some serious clean up because they were written when I had just begun down the road of writing. The newer ones also need a bit of love and care and I'm ok with giving it to them.

My problem is when I spend fifteen minutes wondering if I couldn't find a better synonym for this word, or if I ought to include this sentence here or there. A bit obsessive perhaps but I know in the end the story/novel/novella will be better off for it, but Jeesh, I hate editing. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Muse

Sometimes I wish my muse wouldn't get so distracted by....Oooooh shiny! Sorry, I mean to say that I really wish my muse would stay on tar.....hey check out that Facebook post! Again sorry. What I'm trying to say is I really wish my muse would stay on point. But as we all know, sometimes the internet can be an amazing distraction.

I know that for myself I would probably have finished at least one, if not two more novels in the time I waste having fun on the web. There are days I hop online to learn about some topic or get my facts straight and within moments I'm carried away to Memebase or Facebook and I have forgotten entirely what it was I jumped online to research.

Two hours later I shut down the internet and thwack myself on the forehead for not actually looking up the information I needed in the first place. Then I jump back online and whammo two more hours pass and I realize I have again lost sight of what I was doing.

Then there are the times my muse decides she needs a vacation and without giving proper notice (or filing a request for the time) she zooms off leaving me staring at a story and wondering what the hell I was just doing. Luckily if I go back and read it from the beginning I can usually call her back in and finish what I start but sheesh this muse of mine is a tricksy sort.

Have any of you ever had this problem?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Being ill sucks, but I'm glad it happened.

So as many of you know I am suffering from an 'as yet undiagnosed' disease. It's been a long seven year battle and at times it feels like I am living in hell. There are days where it's an absolute miracle (I kid not) that I am able to get downstairs and get my boys breakfast and lunch and simply take care of them.

There are so many days where I have no clue how I was able to do it, and there have been many days that resulted in me collapsing and laying on the floor unresponsive for a little while.

It's getting worse and things are getting more and more difficult but one thing has remained constant; my husband. Without him I don't think I'd be alive today and honestly he is the only person in my life I can rely on completely. Hell, he is the only person that I have ever been able to rely on.

I try not to complain or whine too much about my problems. I am luckier than so many, but there are days where it hits me so hard I can't stand it. On those days (usually when my hubby has off) I spend a lot of time locked in a room crying because I don't have the energy to play with the kids and we have no one to watch them.

I have a love/hate relationship with this disease. You all know now just much I hate it, so I will start to tell you where the love comes in. If I had never started getting sick in my late twenties than I never would have settled down, had kids, or even started writing full time. This illness was the turning point on which swings everything I have and am today.

Had I not gotten sick I'd still be a zookeeper, all alone, wandering the Earth like some crazy tiger wrestling nomad. (Ok so I've never actually wrestled a tiger but I have been face to face with one inside it's habitat. I've also brushed a couple tigers teeth in my time.) Sometimes I miss those days but then I remember how awful tiger poop smells and the missing ebbs. So there we have it; being ill sucks, but I'm glad it happened.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reading a ton of Indie Authors lately...

No not authors from Indiana (although there is one or two of those) I'm talking about authors who self-publish their books on Kindle and Nook. They're not backed by a giant publishing house and most of them have full time jobs and families and are no different from me in that they write for the sheer joy of writing (and because our heads will explode if we don't get the chance to write these stories down) and they publish their works themselves because it's less troublesome, faster to get published, and gives a much better (according to some I spoke with) payout in terms of royalties.

You'll find my book reviews posted on the right side of my home page and you can bet there will be a whole lot of independent authors on this list. I've really had a blast meeting with and reading several of these writers and I think it's safe to say a whole new world of literary possibilities has opened up to us and it is a fantastic time to be a reader or a writer.

As an independent you never deal with those disheartening rejection letters, nor do you deal with watching your royalties subdivided up into chicken feed. But the question remains 'Are Indie authors just as good as those backed by large (and small) publishing houses'? The answer is yes and no. Just as we see with published authors some Indie's are magnificent in their storytelling abilities and some are mediocre. Some take their job as an author seriously and take the time to edit and polish a manuscript because they care about it and love it. Some write stories rife with plot holes, unbelievable characters, and spelling and grammar mistakes that a second grader could point out. But those are the same problems and issues you can find in the traditionally published books and authors.

That's the only difficulty in navigating the Indie market; Who is good and who is pushing crap for the sake of making money? The best thing you can do is read the reviews. Now there are some who get a long list of friends and relatives to write glowing reviews for their pile of fecal matter but there are many who are just that good. Next time you go to buy a book for your Kindle or Nook, take a second and look over the ones whose authors you've never heard of. You might just find a new favorite writer, I know I have found several.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Catch and Release

So at 1:30 this morning our cat hops up on the bed and proceeds to nudge my hand to wake me up. The next thing I know a live mouse is running all over the bed, including over my husband's face. Chris sits bolt upright in bed and I say, completely puzzled "There's a mouse in our bed." Needless to say the mouse got off the bed and hustled out of our room and into the hall.

The cat looked at us as if to say "Do you know how long it took to catch that mouse and you let him get away? Fine, I'll get it again." The he tore out of the room after Speedy Gonzalez and I turned to my lovely, handsomely bearded, incredibly groggy husband who simply shrugged and laid back down. He laid like that for a second and then said "You think he's trying to get back into our good graces?" Mostly because the cat had been a real jerk about Mr. B.

"I don't know." I said "Possible, or he could've just wanted to give us a gift." I love the cat. I'm glad he's a mouser, but this catch and release stuff is getting a bit difficult. He's very careful not to hurt the mice, he just likes to play with them.

Needless to say the next two times Flip jumped on the bed that night I woke up immediately and expected to see a furry little rodent scurrying around. Also needless to say I'm glad the mouse ran across Chris' face and not my own. :o) (Sorry My Love, but it's true.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mr. B

For those who I'm pals with on Facebook you already know about Mr. B. For those who don't let me tell you a story....

Two weeks ago my husband and I decided we wanted to get another dog. So we did our research and found a pup online at the Humane Society that we wanted to go see. We packed up the SUV and headed out when Chris got home from work. Excited and giddy we postulated and joked about how this dog would fit in our new house and large yard.

Reality was very different from fact. The dog was 9 weeks old and at first was a great little puppy. Then she started becoming vicious with me and my kids. She bit me several times and not only drew blood but has left scars. When our three year old became scared of her we decided immediately she was not the puppy for us and we put her back in her kennel.

My husband and I began looking at the other dogs in the shelter and I came across a beautiful St Bernard named Betsy (who oddly enough, could have been a double for Cujo) I adored Betsy until my husband came around the corner and she started growling and barking at him. This shocked me as she is the first animal I have ever met who didn't fall wildly in love with my hubby.

Chris looked at me and said "There's another St. Bernard over here." and so we headed that way. As we walked we passed many dogs who were excited, hoping to be adopting, and some who were sad at being in the kennel. There were a couple who were heartbroken and one or two who had given up.

Mr. B was one of the ones who had given up. You didn't have to be a behaviorist to see he had decided that life held no more joy for him. He looked so broken and sad. Sitting in front of his concrete and steel mesh cage I cried. I looked him in the eyes and told him "Don't give up. Things will get better, just don't give up." Then my hubby, boys, and I went home.

We'd never planned on getting a four year old St. Bernard and we actually hadn't even considered Mr. B while we were at the Humane Society. On the way home however Chris and I had started talking and I said "Even though we're not sure if he's our dog can we go back and visit Mr. B tomorrow?" Chris said we could.

An entirely different dog awaited us the next day. He was happy and his tail was wagging. When they put us in a 10ft x 12ft room to get acquainted we could see he was aware of his size and was careful not to bump into the two boys. So we decided to come back the next night.

For a week we went to the shelter and visited with Mr. B. He was 'Application Only' and we had put an app in for him but were unsure of how many others had done the same. So I figured by going up there to visit and love on him every day they'd see how much we loved this dog and the dog would also see he was loved and he'd get to come home with us.

There was at least one other application in for Mr. B but on the fifth day of us going to see him specifically the manager told us to bring our other dog up for a meet and greet in two days. If that went well, she added that Mr. B would be ours!

It was one of the best meetings they'd ever witnessed and the following day we got to bring our small moose home to live. We've had him a week now and couldn't be happier, neither could he. I'd like to think my telling him not to give up had something to do with it (as he is very much my shadow and protector) but I think it was probably just one of those things. Either way he's my dog now and I love him more than these words can say.


Welcome to my Blog

So I've just started down this path called blogging and I thank you all for bearing with me while I learn the nuances of this medium that is entirely new to me. I never even kept a diary as a kid, so this is an adventure for all of us.

The Stew on Kaldar 3 is Fantastic (Flash fiction fun)

Hi, folks, today I used the picture above as inspiration for the story below. It was a free wallpaper and it lit up my imagination l...