“Day Off” is a Mythical Creature

I don’t know about you, but my days off never feel like days off.  There’s always a million things that need to get done.  It’s been a rather productive morning, though, and this stuff won’t do itself.

  • Updated my book contract and reviewed my quarterly royalties statement.  That was pretty neat, actually, since my book just came out last quarter.  If you have not yet read it, please consider doing so.
  • Made edits to a story I have coming out in a few weeks.  The name of the collection has not been decided on yet, so when I have it I’ll pass that information along.
  • Formatted and submitted two manuscripts for my university’s English Dept. Writing Awards and the campus literary journal Analecta.  If you submit for one, you’re automatically considered for the other, which is handy.  I sent one manuscript for fiction and one for poetry.  Analecta has a history of hating my work, so I’ll be posting my first rejection blog in a few weeks. 😀

I’m hoping once I get through the homework portion of my day that I can get to work on some new poetry pieces.  I wrote a new piece last night, and I’d like to continue down that road and see where it takes me.

Who Should I Be Reading?

Some of my favorite authors I would have never found if I hadn’t had friends tell me, “You need to read this!”  Piers Anthony and Terry Pratchett.  Clive Cussler and Robert Jordan.  So, who should I be reading?

Leave me recommendations in the comments.  It can be an author in general, or a specific book.  Feel free to tell me why you’re recommending this person or book.  After I start getting some recommendations, I will try to have at least one blog a week about the author/specific book.  If someone suggests an author I already read (and really, this is pretty likely), I’ll do a post about why I love those authors and which works are favorites.

Do not recommend the Twilight series unless you’d like to read a dissertation on why those books are systematically destroying the fabric of human social contact.  Even then, don’t do it.

Except for the above, all genres are welcome.  Yes, even (shudder) romance.  I can’t wait to start getting suggestions. 😀

The Afterlife is a Dry County

Among the many things I’m reading is The Afterlife is a Dry County by Charmi Keranen.  To be honest, she hasn’t connected with me yet.  I don’t know if it’s because she had the misfortune to be read alongside Cynthia Cruz, or if it’s simply a matter of needing to read her more.  Probably the latter.  The title poem, however, is one that’s beginning to grow on me.

The Afterlife is a Dry County

He refuses to call them


Stair-step cracks, cold in

the grasp, stippling.

The vertebrae


whatever alludes

a prescient motion.

I watched a woman with the

mind of a bison light up a foyer.

This is my fault, isn’t it.

The deep wet felt,

the undertow.


Two things strike me about this piece.  The first is the line “This is my fault, isn’t it.”  The second is “a woman with the mind of a bison.”  There’s something very cool about that phrase.  It’s almost a primal thing.  It’s not something I have ever considered doing in my own work, but it’s intriguing.  I’ll have to play with that sometime and see what happens.

A View of Things to Come

I’m a lazy blogger.  I can admit it.  I wear many hats, you see: mother, student, employee, partner, friend, and recently I got to add patient to my collection.  Of course, these hats get broken down further, on occasion, into mini-hats…beanies or maybe tiaras.  What I’m trying to say is sometimes sleeping is more important than blogging.

As I mentioned in my first post, this place is going to look like a Schizophrenic runs it.  Although I am most known (and I use that loosely) for fiction writing, I started out as a poet.  Poetry is a love of mine, and it heavily influences my fiction writing.  I’ll be posting poems I find engaging.  I’ll be posting some of my own work.  I’ll be posting about the submission process and how it feels to be rejected.  It sucks, and you know this, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway.  I’ll even post about the progress of my book…you know, if I ever get back to working on it.

I also take requests.  Just saying.

Since I’ve had several requests to post it, I’ll leave you with my newest poem.


I Was Told These Sheep Were Fireproof

I used to pretend that wool was asbestos.

It wouldn’t burn.

It would give you cancer, though…so there’s that.

Pick your poison, little lamb

Die slowly every day, like everyone else

Only faster

Or build up like orbital re-entry

Until your skin explodes like pork rinds?

Ewe should have seen it coming

Mary never loved you




Neither did Joseph.

A Matter of Taste

I’ve been reading The Glimmering Room by poet Cynthia Cruz.  It took reading several of the poems until she clicked with me, but now that she has I’m really enjoying her work.  This is the poem that finally resonated with me and opened me up to the rest of the book.


Beautiful and sad Sarah, girl

Ruler of the underworld. Strange

Saint of the otherworldly low

Weight. In mint panties and dreamed

Halo, waiting in the Arctic

Hallway for the morning weigh-in

With the rest of us.

None of us fit

For marriage, or for

Anything else,

For that matter. All of us dead

Or else hid in some mother’s suburb,

Somewhere. Expert only at

Long-distance running.

Wearing the war paint of

Women stunted

In preadolescence: skater-boy haircuts

And glitter-blue nail polish, holding

Care Bears and My Little

Ponies, wearing paper crowns.

(pp 35-36)

The most striking thing for me is the juxtaposition of the dark imagery with the child/girlish imagery.  Maybe dark isn’t the right word for it.  Perhaps a better way to say it is the harsh vs. the innocent imagery.  There’s also the clinical feel of the first three couplets, the “Arctic/Hallway,” that brings back every time I’ve ever had to be in a hospital.  Then there’s the line “None of us fit/For marriage/Or for/Anything else/For that matter.”  Marriage is the primary thing they’re unfit for, the most important thing they’re unfit for, and then almost as an afterthought, “oh yeah, we weren’t really good for anything else, either.”  If you haven’t read this book yet, you should.  Read it in your head, and then read it to the empty room.  Chew the words and listen to how you spit them out.  You’ll be glad you did.


One of the things I’m currently obsessed with is Tardar Sauce, a.k.a. Grumpy Cat.  I love this cat.  If I had a cat such as Tardar Sauce, I would never be sad again.  My friends and family know of this obsession, so now anytime someone finds a Grumpy Cat meme, they either tag me in it or post it on my personal Facebook wall.  Here is the one my boyfriend’s step-mom tagged me in today:

Hopefully, no one ever says this about any of my stories.  The best thing about Grumpy Cat memes is that they span all pop culture references and real life situations.  One of my favorite movies to quote is Silence of the Lambs. So of course, there’s a meme for that.

Not into stories about serial killers who make suits out of female skin?  No worries!  Tardar Sauce has Harry Potter covered, too.

It isn’t bad enough that I’m obsessed with the cat.  I have my children doing it, too.  My oldest son, Matthew, even came up with a meme just for me.  It was actually generated by a friend of mine for him.

Among my interests, though I’m not very good at it, is science.  I could be good at it, if I gave it the proper amount of effort, but I’m a writer and I’d rather craft art than be stuck in a lab somewhere.  I get an extra kick out of science based jokes and memes.  Grumpy Cat did not let me down.

Finally, because if I posted all of the Grumpy Cat memes I’ve either found on my own or was tagged in you’d be here all day, sometimes I find that my obsessions collide with each other.  Two of my other notable ones are little pug dogs and Daleks.  If you do not know what a Dalek is, I command you to watch Dr. Who A.S.A.P.  I leave you today with what happens when Tardar Sauce meets a little pug dog and some Daleks.

Who Ordered the Snow?

I despise snow.  Sure, it’s pretty to look at.  I’ll admit that evergreens dusted like pączki make for a lovely picture.  Until you have to go out in it.  Yeah, no thanks.

Now, unless you have a large Polish community where you live, or are yourself Polish, you probably have no clue what pączki are and why you should love them.  At their worst, they are a lot like jelly or custard filled donuts on steroids that are covered in either granulated white sugar, confectioners sugar, or glazed.  Oh, but at their best…at their best, these glorious creations are like this:


At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Ok, what’s the catch?”  Because of course, there is one.  First, unless you order them from somewhere, they are only available from areas that have a decent Polish community.  In fact, I’ll wager some of you have never heard of them before.  That part isn’t so much as a catch as it is an inconvenience.  The real catch is you can only get them before Lent.  Pączki are a way to use up eggs, butter, and lard since they are forbidden during the Lenten period.  If you haven’t gotten one by Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), you won’t be getting one.  I know what I’m doing this week.  😀

Alka-Seltzer to the Rescue!

Huzzah!  I have traveled on the Influenza Express and am standing on the corner of Still Alive and Feeling Better.  Sadly, not everyone who has caught the flu this season can say the same.  In my state of Indiana, the number of flu-related deaths rose to 27 as of Wednesday.  In this age of modern marvels, it’s easy to forget that people still die from the influenza virus.  Elderly people, children, and people with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk for the flu, and it is among these groups that most flu-related deaths occur.  It is disheartening, then, to see medical workers refusing to get vaccinated.  There is even a new vaccine that is coming out for people like me who are allergic to eggs, or for the vegan who refuses the vaccine due to it being cultured in eggs.  And, for the trypanophobes out there, there is even a nasal spray.

Now, I don’t feel very strongly about whether the average person chooses to vaccinate or not.  Even if I wanted to, the new vaccine isn’t available yet, and since I don’t have death on my short list of things to do, I can’t.  I do, however, feel very strongly about medical workers who refuse to vaccinate.  If you work with sick people all day, you should probably make sure you can’t infect them with something that can kill them.  You know, that whole compromised immunity thing.  If you work in a day care, you should probably vaccinate.  If you work in a nursing home, you should probably vaccinate.  The number of deaths I listed earlier is just for my state, and isn’t even updated for today.

So, now that I’ve gotten the didactic portion of the post out of the way, let’s move to the “how to feel human again” part.  Alka-Seltzer Plus Severe Cold and Flu.  Thanks to my pharmacist, I have started taking this horribly wonderful product and, for the first time in almost a week, I don’t feel like curling up in a hole somewhere and dying.  It does not taste good.  It may, in fact, make you feel like pulling a Linda Blair all over the room you took it in.  If you can keep it down, though, it will help.  It took the second dose before I started to really feel better.  Stay healthy, folks, and if you can’t, stay home.

Seven Reviews and Counting

One of the most thrilling, yet completely terrifying things about being a newly published author is having people read your work.  I’m not talking about your parents or your best friend, here.  I’m talking about People.  The ones you don’t know, who live and work in places you’ve never been to.  Writing is a lot like art because once a piece leaves the creator’s hands, you lose all control over how people interpret it.  What they take away from your story, your poem, your novel may be completely different than what you meant and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.  You’ve given a piece of yourself to the world and you can only hope they won’t wound you to your core.

Now, periodically, I like to check Amazon to see how my book, Celia, is faring.  Most of the time, it’s pretty depressing as I’m bouncing around between #1,000,000 and #250,000,000 on their best seller list.  No, those zeros are not typos.  Today, however, I got a very happy surprise: my seventh review.  What makes this review more noteworthy than the other six reviews is that I have no idea who this person is.  Because I am a new author who published a novella length manuscript through an independent press, most of my readers so far have been people I know.  To be honest, it’s been pretty hard to burst through that bubble and reach a wider audience.  I did it, though.  I reached one person I don’t know with my book, and I made an impact.  He or she (it’s a gender neutral name) gave the book five stars and a great review.

At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about for me.  I may never be famous, and I might have to do something other than writing for income, but someone out there read what I had to offer and it made a connection.

Chicken Noodle Soup

There are two things I like to have around when I’m sick, you know…besides copious amounts of medicated Kleenex and an assortment of drugs that any meth lab would love to get their hands on: orange juice and chicken noodle soup.  I am now out of the former, and will remain out unless someone delivers it to me as I refuse to leave my house.  I have a ton of the latter, however.  Yesterday, during the eye of the disease, I ventured out of my house and bought soup stuff.  I could have just bought a can of soup, but it wouldn’t taste as good as my homemade soup and it wouldn’t have been nearly as much.  I now have about 5 gallons of soup. 😀  Most likely, that will be both lunch and dinner.  No, I’m not sharing.  Unless you have o.j.  Even then I make no promises, but you’ve bettered your chances exponentially.

Harboring Disease

It seems that I’ve finally succumbed to the various bugs that are going around.  I started feeling bad yesterday morning and by the time I got home from class (which I had to leave early-sorry David), I was in full sick mode.  Several Sudafed, Zicam, and Advil doses later, my fever has broken and I’m starting to feel human again.

I knew when the semester started, I wanted to write a piece called “I Was Told These Sheep Were Fireproof.”  I had no clue how I was supposed to do it, but I wanted that title.  I suppose a side benefit of becoming feverish is that on my way home last night I came up with my poem.  I’m sure it still needs some work, but I got the basic piece down.  I don’t think it will fit with the collection I’m building this semester, but who knows?

Old Blog, New Content

A few semesters ago, I started this blog as part of my web writing class.  And as with most of my attempts at blogging, when the class was over, so was the blog.  This time, I have not one but two classes that I will most likely be using this for, and because one of them is a publishing class, chances are better than usual that I may actually keep up with it this time.

So, first some updates.  I am in my final semester of undergrad studies at Indiana University-South Bend.  I graduate in May, and I accept monetary gifts and foodstuffs (especially foodstuffs in pie form).  I’ve applied for grad school and am waiting to hear on that in the next few months.  I published my first novella, Celia, through Rainstorm Press and I have a short story coming out in the next few months with them as well.  I’ve started writing my first full length novel, Enraptured, but it’s taken a backseat to school.  I plan on getting back to it, and I have a decent chunk of it started.  I have not yet received a little pug dog.  Or an angry looking cat.

The primary class I plan to use this blog for is my publishing class.  As a part of it, I’ll be writing a chapbook of poetry.  I may also use this for my multimedia writing class.  So no, I’m not schizophrenic nor do I have multiple personalities…just multiple classes.