Category Archives: Uncategorized

Voting’s Closed

Voting is closed (or has been since early, early this morning). Thanks to everyone for the great input. I will have my literary reply up tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the sunshine and very springlike temperatures if you live in the mid-atlantic. If you live elsewhere, well, try and enjoy whatever you’ve been given.


Commenting Changes

As of now, any responses will have to be approved by me before posting. I really resisted this action before because I didn’t want my friends to feel like their comments were under scrutiny or think they were being judged as if they might not be worthy for my silly little blog. But–big, hairy but–the douches with the crawlers and Taco Bell-stained sweatpant, basement dweller jobs are spamming the shit out of this profile and I’m spending more time than I’d like deleting ads for weight loss pills, dick stiffeners and all sorts of other nonsense. And it has finally pissed me off.

Do you remember when the teacher in elementary school would get so fed up with that one kid who was dancing around in his chair, flipping up his eyelids and making armpit farting noises that she would make EVERYONE put their heads down for five minutes? Well, that’s pretty much what’s happening here.

Kids, thank the armpit farter, because now I have to cull through your comments before they post.

In unison now:

“THANKS, ARMPIT FARTER!!”


You Want to Know About Heroes?

This is a reposting of a “blog” entry I did for a Red Room contest about heroes. Of course, I couldn’t let the dark side not have a representative. Apparently, they didn’t want to hear from the dark side. Sigh.

Hee hee.

**************

I can shatter bone. With no more effort than it takes you to grab a pencil, I can pulverize your femur. With a flex of my quads I can leap to the top of your house, and with a swipe of my arm, I can topple it. As a child you gazed with longing at candy-colored comic books, wishing to be all that I already am.

They cry. All night. Voices in the dark, shouting, screaming, pleading. They scurry across the earth, unable or unwilling to pry themselves from the role of victim. “It’s too hard,” they say. “It’s too hard. Help me.”

I did, at first. To shut them up, to win myself a decent night’s sleep. I saved the first one. A sweet-bodied guy with shining chestnut hair and eyes to match. As I convinced his assailants they had chosen the wrong victim, he took in the carnage I wrought with those dark, wide eyes. After the electric terror faded, after the sting of being rescued by a chick had eased from them, I found those eyes were the same as the rest of him–sweet and grateful. I let him thank me. All night. He eventually dozed off, but the screams kept coming. I stared into the blackness and wished for them to stop. The sirens echoed their wails–one passing so near it started my boy out of his exhaustion. He rolled onto his side, blinked those stupid doe eyes at me and said, “Aren’t you going to help them?”

I got up fast, was out of there before the shape of my head had smoothed from the pillow. I left him lounging in bed, confident that now he was safe, his hero was going out to save the rest of the world.

I went and got a drink.

Then another.

Then another.

Behind me, some bastard at the pool table smacked his girlfriend in the face for sloshing his beer. I let him.

There were other times I felt more generous. Times when a rapist was found mangled and stuffed in a trash can. Times when a serial killer stopped killing and the cops thought they’d somehow lucked out and managed to jail him on unrelated charges. But for each of those times there were scores where I heard, and did nothing. Times when I just didn’t feel like getting involved.

I can still hear them. Despite the four window air conditioners I have running at full-tilt, despite the music I play so loud it throbs my eardrums and gives me vertigo, I can still hear them screaming for me. I turn up the volume, and pray for sleep.

So, what do you think of me now, kids? Do I fit inside your hard-lined squares of colorful ink? Do my words fill in the bubbles?

Am I your hero, or what?


A Post A Month? Bad Form!

The laxness of my recent postings (and visitings) is shaming me. I’ve always been a one-track-minder, able to focus intensely and exhaustively–but only on one thing at a time. You want me to chew gum? I’ll chew gum. I’ll chew the crap out of it. Just don’t ask me to walk while doing it.

This post is short–painfully so. And largely without purpose, except to apologize for the lateness, to promise that I have been doing good things in the writing arena whilst away, and to stress my sincere hope for returning to regular posting as soon as I master the multitasker role.

I am on facebook, where the brevity and immediacy of contact is easier for me to handle at this point in time. So, if you’re there, stop by and say, “Hey.” I also have a twitter account, but if you think these updates are sad…

Until next time (when I hope to have better, more interesting things on which to expound), be good, enjoy the remnants of summer, and write and read happy!


Just because

I’m not one to post pictures of my cats, but I was cleaning out the camera roll on my phone and came across this one, which always makes me chuckle.


Building Worlds Without a Twenty-Year Lag Time


In working on the backstory of my newest novel, I’ve strayed into the euphoric nightmare shared by most fantasy writers–world-building. It is here in the vast blackness that is potential where fantasy writers first lift their fingers over their keyboards and with the first few strokes either triumph or fail.

I believe it can go largely undisputed that J.R.R. Tolkien set the bar for fantasy world creation. His Middle Earth is so real you could plunge through the page, step onto the ground and start walking in any direction. In your travels across his landscape you would never wander into a blank area or cross a foggy, half-imagined portion of the scenery. In Tolkien’s mystical land there are no gaps, no missed opportunities. Middle Earth is whole, a world as full as our own. Prete-a-habiter. The only downside to Tolkien’s masterful accomplishment–it took him over twenty years to build.

So comes the task I’ve been struggling with for a few weeks. I have to build nine fully fleshed worlds and not be mostly dead before I’m done. There are some great resources on the Internet, of course. My current favorite is a fill-in-the-blank sort of question sheet offered by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. This sheet has been a great help to me in the past few days as I struggled to figure out what I had missed in terms of culture, geography, history and mythology. It has given me a direction, and–better still–kept me fixed on my course. There are many other resources out there, including numerous helpful sites for RPGs, and my newest inspiration, the monstrous Otherland novel series by Tad Williams. Seeing that modern, non-obsessed writers have indeed created believeable, multi-world novels is a huge comfort.

I was watching something on TV the other night (Robot Chicken or maybe Family Guy) and the characters were lampooning the fact that George Lucas is a terrible planet creator–making one only of sand, another only forest, another only ice… This easy route is the enticing lure I’m trying to evade, the pitfall I’m determined to dodge. You won’t find whole languages in my book, or even histories detailing every single year since the beginning of my worlds’ inceptions, but they will be whole, fleshed out and believable–with many different climate zones. And I won’t be sixty when I’m done.

Maybe fifty-five.


Ten Things

Last night I was thinking of where I am now versus where I was ten years ago. The difference is staggering, even to me. In honor of my nearly six years on The Shore (and nearly six years away from D.C.), I’ve come up with a list of what I miss about the Nation’s Capital, and what I love about where I am now.

What I miss about D.C. (and its surrounding locale):

1) Accessibility. Shopping, food, great medical care–all right there.
2) Diversity. An international cornucopia of heritages, faiths and culture.
3) Free Museums, especially the Freer/Sackler galleries with their vast collection of religious icons.
4) The Uptown. An historic movie theatre with a twenty-foot curved screen, a huge balcony and velvet curtains that roll back before the show.
5) Alternative music doesn’t mean Green Day–real shows, awesome bands, great venues and spectacular attendees (this applies more to Baltimore than conservative D.C.).
6) Proper county fairs. You’d think a rural county like Wicomico would corner the market on this agrarian tradition. Not so. You have to hike fifty miles north to the Delaware State Fair if you want to see a goat (and I love me some goats).
7) Commander Salamander (although I hear it has gone mainstream. Sigh).
8) Thai food. Korean food. Vietnamese food.
9) Armand’s pizza in Silver Spring. Heaven on a crust.
10) MOBY DICK HOUSE OF KABOB. Yeah, losing access to a tiny little carryout place is the biggest regret I carry with me. It’s was a splurge back in the day, which is why I particularly crave it for my birthday, our anniversary, any special event. Kabob E-Chehjeh over rice, Mast-o Kheyar (cucumber yogurt sauce), herb salad, flat bread and the house Doojh (fizzy yogurt drink) to wash it all down. A planet of “Yums,” couldn’t cover my adoration for this place.

What I love about the Eastern Shore:

1) Maryland Blue Crabs. And not the crap they charge you an arm and a leg for in Baltimore, but locally harvested, giant, succulent crabs.
2) Assateague Island National Seashore, with its massive white beaches, nature trails and wild ponies.
3) The towering pine trees ensure there’s always a little green edging the horizon, even in the depths of winter.
4) For better (usually) or worse (one stellar example), I actually know my neighbors.
5) The ocean is twenty minutes away.
6) On nights with a celestial or lunar event, all I have to do is drive ten minutes in any direction to find myself standing in a cornfield under a velvet black sky.
7) I can drive my 1977, belt-squealing, engine-growling, eight-foot-bedded beast of a pickup and the stares I get are ones of approval, not horror.
8) Farmland is not a mythological entity.
9) Thrasher’s French Fries and Anthony’s Carryout roast beef sandwiches.
10) I can afford my house.

So, six years later, I’ve reached a happy compromise. When the yearning for city life grabs me, I jump in my car, indulge in some of my most longed-for entertainments, then I climb back in the car, and let the sparkling silvery waters of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries guide me, bridge-by-bridge, back home.


As Restless as We Are

This is just a tiny bit of fluff that popped into my head after hearing (and I so wish I hadn’t had to hear it) 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins.

********************************************************************************

The splintered laminate dug into her palms as she leaned over the sink, studying the void that stared back at her.

What was she doing here? And where was it all supposed to take her?

“I’m off to class, now,” her roommate said from the other side of the dark, twin bureaus that divided the room. “You going today?”

She turned towards her roomate’s voice. The heavy fire door slammed against the metal jamb before she could form an answer. She looked back at her reflection. She studied the absurd roundness of her cheeks in the mirror. Apple cheeks on crank. Campbell Soup Kid Cheeks. She’d never be skinny. Too much Mountain People in her for that. What was it her great-grandmother had called her mother?

Fleshy.

A compliment.

Sturdy.

Like a mule.

The reflection’s eyebrow lifted. So, that took care of the supermodel option. Probably the actress, too. So–what? She knew full well what her parents wanted. Nurse. Teacher. Government worker. The first two with easier schedules for a tired pregnant woman, ones quickly enough discarded when the proper man, proper house, proper number of spawn came along. Disposable jobs. The mirrored mouth twitched in something bordering amusement. The latter option would provide great retirement benefits.

A sturdy job.

A good job.

A fleshy job.

She snorted, pushed away from the vanity, and snapped off the light.

**********

Twin bulbs flicker into illumination. She leans against another vanity. Although it is in another place entirely, the mood is unsettlingly similar. She leans forward, pulled into the bluish glow like a bug to a zapper. She studies the face before her. She had been right. She never got skinny. As for her cheeks, well, the advancing of time had neither sagged nor diminished them. Still like a hamster with a face full of seed. Forever a Campbell’s Kid. As she gazes at the minute lines time has danced across the features she once thought unchangeable, she thinks back to that day. They had wanted an answer. She hadn’t had one to give.

Who was she going to be?

What was she supposed to have said to that?

Whatever’s on page forty-one of the Course Catalog?

You pick for me, because I haven’t a fucking clue?

A bloom of teeth and gums splits the face in the mirror.

The answer to her roomate’s question had been–had always been– “No.”


Another R.I.P

What was going to be a regular post has now become a memorial for yet another fallen freak.

Rest in Peace, Lux Interior.


Just So We’re All Clear

A short, yet illuminating video** (because I’m too lazy to write anything useful today):

Oh, and taking a chance on any of the thousands of new writers with zero credentials, but mind-blowing novels–now THAT’S
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**Thanks again to my personal, internet-scouring evil flying monkey, “X” for finding this video