Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Fiends in my Sock Drawer...

Imagine a literary agent moves into your sock drawer, and having grown bored with slovenly author types, decides to expand her client base by representing sock drawer inhabitants as well.  That’s what happened to me.  Now if I want to get hold of a sock fiend to tell them to quit using my work socks as laundry hampers, I have to submit a request to Rosie in the form of a query letter, complete with saccharine greeting and corny hook.   It’s awful.  Not only because queries are impossible to write, but after having sent a dozen of those suckers off, I’ve yet to receive a reply.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meet the Fiends Living in my Sock Drawer...

When I discovered an author had moved into my sock drawer, I thought, “Finally, some culture.”  But then came the announcements:  Monday, Eddie Russells was working on a trilogy that would turn the fantasy genre on its head.  Tuesday, Eddie Russells was working on the first science fiction novel to be written entirely in Aramaic.  Wednesday, Eddie Russells was penning a script for an edgy animated series about pixies living in a sewer.  Over a period of fourteen days Eddie Russells announced 14 different projects.   Naturally I wondered if he was on drugs.  So I had a peep at his website, and though it was full of posts detailing the amazing things he’s working on, in the end, all I could find of his work was a badly written haiku about a woman’s bum.  I’m beginning to suspect Eddie Russells is full of shit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meet the Fiends Living in my Sock Drawer...

All Randolph seems to do is sit on his very old beanbag and gossip while inhaling bacon sandwiches. A day isn't complete without someone else's tale of misfortune for him to wallow around in. The worst part is listening to him say, "That appeals to my sense of humor," every time someone has something depressing to share. Seriously, out of all the weirdos in my sock drawer, Randolph is the one I would most like to see mauled by my Miniature Pinscher.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meet the Fiends Living in my Sock Drawer

Being an imp, Pubby is prone to doing naughty things. Nothing catastrophic (like filling a car with seawater and eels), he simply takes great delight in dabbling in the annoying. For example he never flushes the toilet. And he's always adding drops of Tabasco to the juice in the fridge. His favorite trick is convincing someone to pull his finger and then vomiting all over their shoes.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Italicizing Objects

I’m curious, if all writing were in italics, would people emphasize important words by using a normal font?

And speaking of italics…

I’ve often wondered what would happen if I stuck an image between the <I></I> tags.  Well, today I did just that, and the results are rather surprising:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ghosts in my garden

I’m kind of shaken.

I went outside to take photos of my blueberry bushes like I do every Wednesday at this time, and what should I see in one of the images, but a couple of ghosts.

Now, I’m not one hundred percent certain these are actually spirits I’ve captured; they could be smudges on the lens from the moth I killed.  But they certainly look like two little girls, don’t they?

It’s so creepy, yet annoying all at once.  Because if they are ghosts, they never asked if they could pick my blueberries.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Changing Brain

I broke my finger ten years ago.  (Is it legal to use that many hyphens?)

I was playing football and a brief lapse in my three dimensional sensory abilities resulted in the ball bouncing violently off my left ring finger, fracturing the bone and snapping the tendon.

I was worried I would need surgery, but fortunately only a splint (and eight weeks) was needed for the thing to heal back to normal.

Or should I say “nearly normal” as the finger mended itself in a slightly bendy sort of way. (It bends and wiggles in a noticeably weaker fashion than it had before the accident.)

Interestingly this weakness has leached it’s way into the entire hand, and I’ve noticed myself doing things with my right hand that not too long ago I would have been doing with my left.

Like twisting off lids from jars of pasta sauce.

It’s a strange feeling, this shift in handedness.  I can actually feel it changing my brain.  Making me more literal, more prone to logic than I used to be.

I have to say I don’t like it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pimping Myself

Would you be so kind as to like my author's page?  I know this is not very becoming of me, pleading with virtual strangers like this, but as I’m quickly discovering, marketing one’s self means letting go of one’s dignity.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This is a sketch I did of my oldest daughter when she discovered her sister got something from the toystore and she didn’t.  (all pen, no pencil, lots of swearing)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bath Buddy

Just had myself a pleasant bath, although I did find a dead moth floating in the water while cleaning my feet.  It was a small one, thank goodness. (the moth, I mean.  My bath is medium sized.)  I don’t know how I’d have reacted had it been one of those chickadee-sized buggers bobbing up and down there next to me. 

It was kind of funny, because my initial reaction was to wonder if the thing was already in the bath when I first turned on the water, or did it wind up falling in later on?  Funny because really, what does it matter?

It’s actually sort of sad when you think about it:

—an animal drowning because someone wanted to relax in the tub before lunch—  

You know if I were Hindu, I’d probably have wondered what exactly it did in a previous to deserve such a fate. (literary agent?) But I’m not, so the only thing on my mind at the time was how to get the moth out of the water without actually having to touch the stupid thing.  (I wound up using the spaghetti strainer from the kitchen.  All I can say is thank goodness the Mrs. is at work.)
I said this on twitter yesterday and immediately lost five followers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I like scarecrows.  It’s hard to put my finger on why, exactly.  Maybe it has something to do with the whole ‘artificial man’ thing.  You know, like robots and mannequins. Whatever the reason, every now and then, I feel compelled to draw them. And maybe throw in a garden implement for good measure.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Did It!

I finally got my first novel up on smashwords!  It’s called Escaping Entry, and, man, I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to have it up there.  I’ve been working on this monstrosity for seven years —seven whole years!—and to finally have it available to people is both exhilarating and terrifying.

I’ve always had a difficult time making anything I do public, and this is no exception. (I’m drinking vodka right now. Otherwise I’d be in a fetal position on the floor, wondering if I shouldn’t have given it just one more edit.)  I’m trying not to be too silly about it, though. I worked really hard writing this story, and while I know this is highly subjective, I’m confident this will go down as the greatest novel to feature characters named Billy, Harold, Rudy, and Greenie in at least fifty years.

Now comes the hard part: getting the word out. I am, by nature, painfully shy, but if I am ever going to make more than ten dollars from this venture, I must get out there and tell people what I’ve done.  So, to all those people who enjoy fantasy novels and have a hankering for something to read, why don’t you download my novel?  The first five chapters are free, and if you happen to like it, you can purchase the whole thing for 99 cents.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to refill my mug with more vodka.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

'nother excerpt from my novel, Escaping Entry

For anyone who knew him, that he should have decided to go for a stroll would not have come as a surprise.  After reading and sleeping, it was his favorite thing to do.   He didn’t have anywhere in particular in mind when he went walking, yet the vast majority of his walks brought him to one of either two destinations, one of them being the wrought iron arch decorating the city’s exit onto the hill.  Tall and black, with the top spreading out like a giant fan, it always struck Billy as gloomy, like a park of dead trees.  Even the roses his father had planted at its base couldn’t hide its depressing nature.  That’s not to say the arch didn’t hold some kind of attraction for Billy; that so many of his walks led through it was a clear indication that it did, and as he approached it on that chilly May morning, he couldn’t help but notice the roses, and how brilliant they looked.

“Must be the weather,” he thought.  “With a day as gray as this one, anything with color is going to stand out.”
He didn’t have time to really think about it though, for almost as soon as he stopped to examine them, a disturbance happened somewhere down the hill.

It sounded like crows, dozens of them.  Not really thinking, Billy started in the direction of the noise.  Could it be the mountain lion?  Or an eagle?  He’d seen a big bird through his bedroom window just the other morning, circling slowly above the rooftops.  Sometimes when an eagle’s soaring brought them too close to a crow’s nest, all the crows in the area would gather into a noisy throng, rushing the larger bird until it decided to leave.  Whatever it was, it must have been causing the crows a considerable amount of stress, because not only did their screaming continue, but it seemed to be gaining in intensity.

“I bet it’s the mountain lion,” Billy said to himself.  “She caught herself a crow and now its friends are trying to drive her away.”

Billy continued down the hill, following the noise through the trees, until he noticed the ground on which he was traveling was level.  “How long have I been walking?” he wondered, anxiously running his fingers through his hair.  The forest he knew existed at an angle, and not to see it like that was enough to send his heart beating.  He wasn’t really lost, though; the road leading back to Entry was only a few yards off to his left.

“That’s a relief!” he said, moving to stand on the road’s edge.  Following its passage through the trees, Billy was able to discern a slight change in angle as it started up an incline.  “So if the hill’s back there,” he thought, turning to peer in the opposite direction, “the flats must be relatively close by!”  He stood there, picturing the road as it exited the forest to cut across a vast prairie.  And then it occurred to him: “What would happen if I kept going?”

It was while Billy was contemplating the ridiculousness of that thought that he noticed how still the forest was.  “What happened to the crows?” he wondered.  It wasn’t much later that a bloodcurdling howl filled the air.  Too terrible to be a dog, it caused the hair on his neck to stand to attention.  The horrible noise was still echoing through the trees when a second noise appeared: the cries of a man frantically calling for help.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

This is a watercolor my six year old daughter painted.
It’s of a quartet of plastic gnomes she collects called go-gos.  (at least I think they’re called go-gos.  The font on the package is so stylized it’s quite possible they’re really po-pos.  In which case I will still call them go-gos.)  They come in packages of three, and since each package costs $2.99, that means each go-go costs one dollar.
That seems kind of expensive.  Have you ever seen a go-go?  They’re the size of a molar.  (The bit above the gumline, I mean.  The roots on some those suckers can be quite frightening.)  Having said that, the painting is really cool.  My favorite is the little dude third from the left.  Isn’t he cute?  He looks like he just climbed out his burrow to go for a walk with his friends, saw how shitty the sky looks and is now contemplating going back inside.
I have this idea for a book.  It’s about a badger who reads the want ads in search of employment.  Somehow it never works out.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Excerpt from my novel, 'Escaping Entry'

I’m releasing my debut novel as an e-book in a couple of weeks.  It’s about a young man who is hired to take photographs of an eccentric nobleman murdering monsters.  It’s fantasy, of course, sure to entertain preschool teachers and tattoo artists alike, as well as everyone in between. (but not loan officers.  For some reason they have a hard time enjoying anything with giant horses in them.  Anything else is fine, but put a twelve foot tall horse in your story and you might as well be handing them a manual on microwave ovens.)  So, while I’m getting everything in order, here’s an 854 word sneak peek at the project that gave me a nervous breakdown:
“Good morning!” she said.

Billy smiled.  It always amazed him how cheerful Hailey looked in the morning.  It didn’t matter what the weather was; it could be dark and rainy outside, she still managed to come across as a ray of sunshine.  At least he’d remembered to put on his trousers before moving to the bathroom.  “It’s chilly this morning,” he said, breaking into a yawn.

“It certainly is!  I wore a sweater along with my jacket picking flowers this morning and still I couldn’t get warm!  It’s like winter out there!”

“I know!  When I saw the clouds outside my window I almost didn’t want to get out bed!”  Billy paused, waiting for the inevitable question about how that was different than any other morning, except none came.  “If ever I have a lot of money, I’m going to hire somebody to keep my clothes warm while I’m sleeping.”  This made Hailey laugh.  “I’m serious!  I’d pay someone to sit in a chair all night and wear my clothes so that when I woke up they’d be all warmed up for me.  They would have to remain still of course, so as not to build up any sweat.  I’d probably hire an old person to do it.  You know, someone who just sits around all night and reads.”

“Why not just hang your clothes next to a fire place?  I mean if you had a lot of money you could hire somebody to keep the fire lit.”

Billy was disappointed by her lack of imagination.  “I suppose I could do that,” he said.  “Either that or I could move somewhere warm.   Hey, you haven’t seen my mother, have you?”
“I saw her just before I left to pick flowers.  My goodness, but she’s in a terrible mood.”

Billy winced.
“Don’t worry,” Hailey said.  “It’s not because of you.  It seems somebody’s been stealing our firewood.  Eric was out collecting wood for the dining room and he noticed loads missing from the day before.”

“So that’s what she was yelling about?  For a minute there, I thought it was over something I’d done!”

“No, not this time, I’m afraid,” Hailey said, giving him another smile.  “But isn’t that strange?  Stealing firewood like that?  You’d think with such an abundance of trees there would be no need.”

“It has to be laziness.  Somebody out there decided it would be less work to simply take it than harvest it themselves.  Obviously they didn’t understand they were stealing from a crazy woman.”

Hailey snorted into her armful of flowers.  “Oh, come on,” she laughed.  “Veronica’s not that bad.  Yes, she has a temper, but I’d be angry too if somebody stole from me.  In fact, I am angry!  It bothers me that someone would think it’s acceptable to steal.  Even if it is only firewood.  Oh, and before I forget,” she said, bringing her index finger to her cheek, “your mother told me to remind you to pick up the bed sheets from Bremming’s.”

Now this was something that really irritated Billy.  It was bad enough that Veronica felt it necessary to remind him whenever he had a job to do, but then sending Hailey to do it too?  “I know, I know,” he said, flicking his comb irritably in front of him.  “I was going to go after I had something to eat.  I’ve only just gotten up, you know.”  And just to show how true that statement was, he made a big show of wiping the sleep from one of his eyes.  “Is it just me, or does it seem like we’re sending sheets off to be washed every other day?”

“The beds do get changed every day,” said Hailey.

“But why?   It’s not like there are new people staying here all the time.  It’s the same people staying in the same rooms for weeks at a time.  I don’t see the need for changing their sheets everyday like that.  Take my bed for example.  I’ve had the same sheets on my bed since October, and you don’t see me coming down with any strange diseases.”  The outrage in Billy’s voice turned into embarrassment.  “Did I say October?  I meant March…”

Hailey couldn’t help but smile at Billy’s blushing face.  Mercifully, rather than let him suffer, she chose to steer the conversation towards something she’d heard over breakfast instead.  “Remember last night?” she began, making sure there was no one within earshot.  “When Eric was talking about how they’d found something big?  Well, earlier at breakfast, I was chatting to one of the researchers and he mentioned finding something massive on one of the mountainsides.  It was only a vertebra, but judging from the size, he thinks the creature was of a scale never before dreamed of.”

“How big was it?  The piece of bone, I mean.”

“Fifty feet I think he said.”

“Fifty feet?!?  But that doesn’t seem possible!”

“I’m just repeating what he told me.  You can’t say anything, though.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet the Fiends Living in my Sock Drawer

I always thought vampires were supposed to be charismatic creatures, or at the very least, frightening.  Mr. Geoffrey Gooms manages to be neither, spending the majority of his time either on twitter or cocooned in a 1970s era sleeping bag in the corner of my sock drawer.   Even the story of how he became a vampire is boring:  he was bitten by a mosquito while weeding.   Or was it a monkey?   Other than that, I know nothing about him: his age, his powers, his views on god; I don’t even know where he gets his blood from.  And to be honest, I don’t really care.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The kids of Shallowgulch One Room Schoolhouse. (and what befell them)

a: Passed away at the age of 61 from a diet rich in bacon and eggs.

b: Fell out of her home’s second story window only moments after realizing the window ledge on which she’d been relaxing was much narrower than she’d remembered.

c: Believed afternoon naps were much more pleasant when accompanied with a cigarette.

d: Drowned in a swimming hole days after picture was taken. (This photograph was the first one ‘d’ ever appeared in.  Unfortunately it was also his last.)

e: Still alive. Living in a retirement home in Modesto California. Is both deaf and blind.  Can’t remember the names of her children.  (Or that she even has any) Relives her 9th birthday every morning from about 10:30 until noon. (that’s when sandwiches and juice are served)

f: Shot to death by police during botched bank robbery attempt.

g: Drowned to death. (was very fond of ‘drinkies in the pool’)

h: Lived twenty years under power lines. Succumbed to brain cancer in the spring of 1952.

i: Survived 5 strokes. Wasn’t so lucky with number 6. (nicknamed ‘Rasputin’)

j: smallpox

k: smallpox

l: smallpox

m: trampled to death by herd of cows. (never underestimate the speed of a startled bovine)

n: stabbed to death by jealous husband.

o: smallpox

p: stepped on a German mine (last words happened to be, “I’d hate to step on a mine”)

q:killed by German sniper during Great War.

r: Rabies. (never pick up a possum. No matter how cuddly they might appear)

s: smallpox

t: ‘Accidentally’ stabbed in the eye with a pen nib. (Never argue with an angry calligrapher)

u: smallpox

v: Throat cancer. (might have been the cigars.  Could have been the pipe)

x: hung self from rafter in barn after smothering neighbor with goose down pillow. (Family still not sure if instances were related.)

y: smallpox

z: Heart gave out while reading obituary section of the newspaper. (twenty-five years later and he’s still the butt of jokes around the family dinner table)

1: Passenger on the Hindenburg. (“Hey, I got the window seat!”)

2: Struck by bus.  (Always cross at crosswalks, and never race traffic.  Especially if you’re blessed with arthritic knees and can’t get around without a cane)

3: Drowned to death in toilet bowl.

4: Got up from the dinner table one day, walked out the front door, and was never heard from again.

5: Drowned while fishing.

6: smallpox

7: Mauled to death by pack of vicious Springer Spaniels.

8: Shot to death. (by #9 in the picture)

9: Electric Chair.

10: Poisoned by grandchildren.  (if you happen to be fabulously wealthy, make sure you don’t have kids)

11: Invented Cold Fusion.  Died on way to patent office after anvil mysteriously fell on his head.

12: shot by Germans.  (during vacation in Scotland in 1958 )

13: Lung Cancer. ( “This asbestos is swell.  I’m glad I have a job where I actually get to work with the stuff!”)

14: Heart attack.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Another Post on the Fiends Living in my Sock drawer

Veteran of the War. Ask which war and he will tell you the one between The Empire of the Recently Reunified Sock Drawer and The Evilly Disposed Socialist Republic of the Closet in the Hall Across From the Bathroom. (It was declared a draw on account of a highly contagious flu wiping out over 90% of the combatants on both sides of the conflict.) Abacus now spends his time reading old Reader’s Digest magazines and leaving toenail clippings in the corners of my sock drawer.

Yawn (stretch)

I woke up this morning.

That’s always a good start. 

Because if I didn’t wake up this morning,
It would mean one of two things:

1, I’m typing this in a dream
2, The afterlife looks suspiciously like my kitchen.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
With my book, I mean.
Sure, it’s finished
The next step?
Releasing it online
Which is fine and dandy, but
Have you seen the number of e-books out there?
(As Carl Sagan would say)
“Billions and billions”
The trick is standing out
How does one do that?
Without going to jail, I mean.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Meet the Fiends Living in my Sock Drawer

The word ‘grunyon’ is literally a contraction of ‘gross’ and ‘onion’. You see, if an onion is left to rot in the veggie drawer of a fridge long enough, it can somehow transmogrify into a bipedal, big-mouthed, slightly anxious creature with little-to-no self-esteem. This grunyon is a Walla-walla sweet that somehow migrated into my sock drawer in December of last year, bringing with it a smell that can only be described as a combination of body odor and fried onions.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Meet the Fiends Living in my Sock Drawer

Miss Ellywelly is a cute little kid with a horrible habit: she takes books out of the library using my card and then loses them. Not once has she returned a book she’s borrowed. Of course I’m the one the library calls when they want their books back. I’ve tried explaining to them it isn’t me taking the books out, that it’s really the work of a little girl living in my sock drawer, but all that does is encourage the library to pass my file onto a collection agency, and I’m not about to risk getting my knees broken over books about talking bunnies making cookies.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ghost Under my Bed

There’s a ghost under my bed
Of a boy
He’s twelve, I think
Or at least he used to be
I thought it was a rat at first
Until I heard him giggle
He was just lying there
Wide eyed and pale
“You shouldn’t be here,” I said
“Go away.”
That’s the thing with ghosts
They never listen
It’s been six weeks now
In two days it will be seven
Most of the time he’s quiet
But if take out my earplugs I can hear him
Breathing, mostly
In a pattern eerily similar to my own
The truth is: he scares me
Not because he’s bad
But because he’s a ghost
“Leave,” I say, “Or I’ll have you exorcised”
I’m only bluffing, though
The poor fella’s already died once
He doesn’t need to experience it again
So in the meantime
Until I figure out what to do
I’ve bought some comics and a flashlight
And slid them under the bed
Wrapped in a map to my sister’s house

Friday, July 1, 2011