Month: November 2016

New fiction live – “Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” contemporary horror on Wattpad


This one is currently available only on Wattpad; I entered it in the #TNTHorrorContest.  The next phase of the contest happens on December 2, with the top 100 stories posted to the contest webpage.  There appear to be a TON of entries.  It’s currently free to read; if nothing else happens with it, I’ll put together an ebook.  You can read it here.

On a side note, I heard a definition of creepiness that I love:

Creepy is when you can’t tell whether something is a threat or not.

I’m paraphrasing a bit; the quote came from here, a YouTube channel called “Lessons from the Screenplay.”  It’s a video talking about The Shining.

(horror – graphic violence – creepy)

"Something borrowed, something blue.  Something terrible will happen to you."
  It's a bad neighborhood in Detroit, the kind of place where abandoned houses get stripped, then taken over by squatters, then burned.  But it's about to get worse.
  Across the street is a white van with those words spray-painted on the side in blue.  It pulled up in the middle of the night without a sound.  The windows are solid black glass.  And it's watching you...

New fiction live – “How Smoke Got Out of the Chimneys” – Historical Crime/Caper

A Victorian Orphan makes good.


How Smoke Got Out of the Chimneys (Smoke #1)

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads (reviews)

(still some links going up)

London, England. 1840.

Gangs of four- and five-year-old orphans are being used as “apprentice” chimney sweeps–they’re the only ones who can fit down the narrow chimneys, taking brushes and baskets down with them into upper-class Victorian homes to scrape out the creosote. 

It’s good for ‘em, don’tcher know?

Caroline, a.k.a. the infamous Smoke, is one of the older orphans, who help lift and lower the smaller ones, handle the customers, and keep the gang runner, Hasty Wallace, from flying off the handle. But rumor is, it’s time to shuffle the sixteen-year-old orphan off to other business ventures. Ones with mattresses. Lots of mattresses. If it were up to Hasty (and it is), Caroline will disappear into a brothel in Whitechapel…or a ditch. Honestly, he doesn’t care which.

It’s time for Caroline to get out of the chimney business. And maybe it’s time that Hasty Wallace learned a thing or two about orphans…

(For teens and up – crime/caper – some violence)


The sequel, “How Smoke Delivered a Christmas Present” is in the Very Merry Christmas Bundle, full of Christmas cheer.  I’ll put the next story up on other sites after a bit – right now it’s exclusive to the bundle 🙂


How Smoke Delivered a Christmas Present

Exclusive at the Very Merry Christmas Bundle

London, England. 1840.

The Chimney Sweep Act has just been passed by Parliament, forbidding the use of underaged orphans as chimney sweeps’ assistants—four- and five-year-olds are being sent down into chimneys with wire brushes to scrape out the creosote. The government means well, but has instead put hundreds or even thousands of little kids with no real protectors out of work. Right before Christmas.

Caroline, a.k.a. the infamous Smoke, has been trying to rescue them all.

Three of the orphans are staying at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Croft, well-off mill-owners from Yorkshire. The first night, all seemed to be fine—but the next time Caroline checks on them, they have left the sign for trouble in their window. All three of them are missing, and their belongings are still nailed up in the crate they were delivered in.

Caroline breaks into the house, fearing the worst…

(For teens and up – crime/caper – some violence)

Male Writers of Romance

Can men write romances?


However, a lot of male romance writers feel they have to write under female pen names and/or initials to hide their gender–and that’s just wrong.  Here are some of the male writers (or partners including a male writer) of romance I’ve been able to track down:


More resources (a.k.a., I’m still working through these):


If you know of more, please let me know 🙂

The Human List

I have a mental checklist for emotional distress.  Because I am THAT kind of nerd.  But also because I often have a hard time staying in contact with my emotions and feelings (like, literally I can make physical pain go away if I’m focused on something).  In order to keep myself from having some kind of breakdown, I had to come up with a relatively simple tool to follow when I’m drained and not feeling human.  This usually brings me back.

The other side of this list is that people looooove to give you advice.  Very personal advice.  Very personal advice that doesn’t take your needs, habits, and abilities into account.  They’re great about shoving that advice helpfully down your throat–at the absolute last point in time when you need it, when you don’t have the brain cells to sort out what’s bullshit for you and what might work, and what is really meant for the day after you’re about to have a meltdown, not in the middle of the meltdown itself.

This is also a list that helps me know what not to do.

So:  here are ten things to try in order and a zeroth thing that you can do if and when it’s available.  Please adapt to your own use, and keep in mind that I’m not a lawyer, medical doctor, or therapist.  If you are having a medical or mental emergency, you might want to run straight to a professional or at least call one.

How to start being human again:

0. Get a hug/reassurance that you’re okay if you can; pets count.

1. Drink something (not alcohol).

2. Eat something.

3. Take any meds you need, including caffeine and other addictions.

4. Get some rest. Sleep, ten deep breaths, meditate, whatever.

5. Do all your personal hygiene tasks: bathe, brush teeth, clean clothes, do hair/makeup, clip/clean nails, etc.

6. Move your body, exercise if possible.

7. Step away from the shit that’s making you crazy; if possible, communicate with those you trust.

8. Get some sunlight, if possible.

9. Do a quick cleanup of your area (from order of most to least disgusting).

10. Do a mental energy recharge, depending on your personality: read, socialize, play music, listen to music, reconnect with your spiritual practice, do something sexy, etc.  IDENTIFY SOME OPTIONS AHEAD OF TIME; if you are in a bad way, nothing will sound good.

It is usually a really bad idea to drink alcohol and skip to #10.  In fact, it’s usually a bad idea to skip to #10 regardless.  #1-9 are to patch the holes in your soul; #10 is for refilling your energy.  Refilling your energy without patching the holes makes you distrust the things that should be making you feel better.

This list won’t fix anything deep or serious; it won’t save a relationship; it won’t make you categorically less lonely; it won’t do the work that actually needs to be done; it won’t replace a doctor or therapist visit; it won’t make you a better person.  It’s just there to give you some mental space to figure out what to do next.


Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén