Month: April 2017

Journal: Some mornings I have a bit of an issue with making sense

I’ve been journaling a fair amount lately, but a lot of the stuff I’m journaling about is probably not for public consumption.  Like, I wrote some a little bit about the fact that readers are going to see the cover and blurb on whatever you write, so of course the first big plot twists aren’t going to be all that surprising, but it was in such a scattered way that it’s kind of nonsense.

What does the reader know?  More things, more stuff.  They know the cover & blurb–so they know more of the secrets.  Well, you do what you have to.

See what I mean?  Makes no sense.

But when I got the garble cleared out and put the journal down, things became more clear.

Another thing I wrote about was a couple of people who have inadvertently come out to me as being pretty damn sexist, and I came to the conclusion that I had better keep an eye on them (and maybe not get so involved in some projects).  That’s been on my mind lately.  “Am I burning too many bridges?”  And then I realized, “Wait…shouldn’t they be giving a shit about burning their bridges with me?”

But I think I’ll let that ruminate before I write it–a lot of gobbledydook this morning.  Like this:

Also, one more heartbreak–one more sexist asshole dickweed guy.  “You can save them!” No, you can’t.  They can climb out of the hole, or they can’t.

Anyway, if you enjoyed this morning’s hurbleburble (although I’m not sure how), please take a look at my book, The Clockwork Alice, which is a historical steampunk/fantasy intended to produce a thoughtful, yet turn-around-in-circles-until-you’re-dizzy effect.



Journal: A bunch of bad ideas. Or evil ones.

Today’s blog post is brought to you by…

Cheesy horror tropes. I was coming up with title ideas for cheesy horror stories…at one point I caught myself going, “Why am I writing this? Who’s gonna read these anyway? Who cares?” See if you can spot it 🙂

1. Don’t Go into the Basement. 2. Let’s Split up. 3. The Final Girl. 4. (He Had a) Bad Childhood. 5. The Monster in the Mirror. 6. Don’t Look Behind You. 7. Push the Bell & Run Away. 8. Double Dog Dare You. 9. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? 10. Why’s Calling? 11. People Suit 12. Rubber Mask. 13. Things That Go Bump in the Night. 14. Don’t Go to Sleep. 15. A Knock at the Door. 16. Don’t Touch That. 17. The Forbidden Room. 18. Don’t Do That One Thing (I Told You Not to Do). 19. Who’s That at the Door? 20. The Thing in the Basement. 21. The Skeleton in the Closet. 22. Scream and Run. 23. What Happened to Your Face? 24. Night of [All] the Monsters. 25. Good Friends Help You Move. 26. A Dish Best Served Cold. 27. Red of Tooth and Claw. 28. Bad Choices. 29. Don’t Leave the Garbage Out at Night. 30. Taking Out the Garbage. 31. Don’t Make a Face (Or It Will Stick That Way). 32. The Guy on the Other Side of the Street. 33. The House Next Door. 34. The Cabin in the Woods. 35. What’s in the Attic? 36. You’re It. 37. Bad Luck. 38. It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. 39. Good Neighbors. 40. The Accident. 41. Born This Way. 42. The Rats/Spiders/Birds/Bats/Ants, Etc. 43. Unquiet Ghosts. 44. The Town Where All the @#$% Happens. 45. Suburbia. 46. Quaint Little Tourist Trap. 47. Tourist Trap. 48. Homeschool. 49. Unsupervised. 50. The Babysitter. 51. Nightmares. 52. Don’t Step on a Crack. 53. Girls Always Go to the Bathroom Together. 54. Split Personalities. 55. The Devil You Know. 56. Things That Go Bump in the Night [this is apparently the sequel, since I already listed it]. 57. Loose Ends. 58. Don’t Throw the First Stone. 59. What’s in the Sewers. 60. Best Friends. 61. The Chosen One. 62. The Devil’s Daughter. 63. Back from the Dead. 64. The Haunting. 65. ESP. 66. Telekinesis. [Note: someone wanted to know the first Stephen King book one had ever read; mine was Firestarter.] 67. Poltergeist. 68. The Little Old Lady (Who Has Like 50 Cats). 69. The Cathouse. 70. The Thieves who Broke into the Wrong Damn House. 71. On More Monster Just Trying to Make It. 72. Cubeville. 73. Guilty Conscience. 74. But I’m Not Wrong. 75. Expect the Unexpected. 76. The (Werewolf) Pet Sitter. 77. Now You Know. 78. The Divorce (Splitting up Secrets). 79. The Squirrels in the Attic.

I didn’t run out of ideas, just out of page. One of the things that was interesting was that changing the phrasing slightly caused a completely different idea to come into my head, for example, “Don’t Leave the Garbage Out at Night” vs. “Taking out the Garbage.” One is more “If you go outside, the monsters will get you or do SOMETHING to your garbage,” and the other is, “We killed a guy and now we have to get rid of the body.”

If you liked today’s journal, check out Chris Fox’s Write to Market, which is what started this train of thought.

Journal: I’m not going to even mention the name of the book

Being both sick and feverish and in manic mode is not pleasant.  I did get a haircut.  The conversation ended up with me encouraging the hairdresser to start talking to her daughter about sex earlier rather than later, because it’s better for the information to be coming from you…I’m not really sure how we got there.  The details are kind of foggy.  But!  Haircut, no tears, success.

I wrote half my journal before I went to get the haircut, and half after.  “Get a haircut” kept coming up in the writing and I finally just broke off and got it done.  When I got back the thoughts were a lot more settled.  For some reason what came up was a rant about this writing book I’d tracked down at the library because it sounded interesting.  Then I read this:

Motherhood is a creation.  It is the beginning of immortality.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons women are less inclined toward philandering [and, or so it is implied by the author, creating stories] than men.

The greatest injustice imposed upon a mother is when her grown up children, out of sheer love and consideration, keep their troubles from her.  They make her feel unimportant.

As you might imagine, I stopped reading about this point.

This is so sexist that I’ll grieve every time I [try to read this book].  How is this person going to tell me how to write a story when he doesn’t think I’m fully human?  what stories can he even tell?  Having birthed a child did not satisfy my need to create.  It slowed me down, granted–and if [a lack of need to create] is how you wanted to read the situation, you could.  But I stopped being fully human for a while there, because it took everything I had to deal with my child.  I was carefully trained to turn my essential nature off.  That is not the same a having satisfied the need to create.  That was being exhausted and brainwashed into compliance.


I am not a magic breeding machine who is “satisfied” by my daughter’s mere existence and her desire to have her every whim be my command.  There’s nothing essentially holy or uplifting about it, no more so than some guy leaving behind an unwanted child after a one-night stand.  Or do guys get some special glow after they’ve impregnated someone?  Someone, tell me, was your need to create satisfied?  Were you like, “I was going to be a world-famous novelist, but now…?  I’m good.  Someone else take my place at the table.”

I thought not.  Screw that guy; I’m not even going to mention the name of the book.

If you liked the journal today, please check out my historical crime novellas in the Smoke seriesHow Smoke Got out of the Chimneys is the first one.

[Shakes fist at the author of that book.]


Journal: The (ugly, unwanted) heart of the story.

This morning…a little bit downhill on the viral front.  I broke out the new gin and peach bitters last night and I feel terrible this morning.  It’s like I can’t believe that the same thing that happened to me last time (drinking even a little alcohol while I’m recovering causing me to be completely wiped out the next day) won’t happen to me this time.  And of course my inner voice is no help.  “What are you, some kind of alcoholic?”

And yet so much of my life has been, “Well, it’s been six months since you got screwed on that front.  Why not try it again?  Instead of swearing that you’ll never do it again.”

So if it’s a choice between, “Poke the boundaries and have something negative happen” and “Never poke the boundaries at all,” I have to go with the former.  But I also feel like I should be able to find a middle way that doesn’t involve being dehydrated and miserable in the morning.

This morning:  working on a story idea that I was stuck on.  Plot usually doesn’t cause me problems, but when it does, they’re doozies.  However, I backed up and went, “This isn’t actually a plot problem, but a story problem–I don’t know what the heart of this story is.”

This story is stupid and I don’t understand it!  What am I struggling with here.  Plot.  A series of logical events.  I don’t like being railroaded [by my plots].  “Now, we have to look for the killer.  It’s a whodunnit!”  But it’s not a whodunnit.

I’m struggling with keeping the reader in mind.  Tell myself a story, tell someone else a story.  I’m telling nobody a story, I’m just back at the stage of not even being able to figure out a logical sequence of events.  Yay.

What is the heart of this story?

Once upon a time, a writer had to seek revenge.  It was a horrible thing.

(Please note that I generally hate revenge stories and was both amazed to see myself writing these words and yet knew that’s exactly what it was, too.  I cut a bunch of story specifics here on the revenge plot.)

You don’t contain a berzerker by force.  You contain one by erasure.  The “Mama Bear” is the true face, not the comforting mother.  Story idea:  A female serial killer who kills the people who hurt her kids, over and over and over.

I couldn’t figure out what the heart of that story would be, and decided to move on this morning to the one that I’m already invested in.  If you’d like to claim the idea of the female serial killer who kills the people who remind her of the asshole who hurt her kids, feel free.

If you liked the blog, today I’d like you to check out my horror/dark fantasy short story collection, A Murder of Crows:  Seventeen Tales of Monsters & the Macabre.  Since I seem to be on a revengeful rampage and all this morning.

Journal: Not knowing you’re being rude is not the same as being polite

I’m finally getting over being stealth-sick (the kind where you find yourself panting after a small exertion but that doesn’t leave a trail of mucus in your wake), and it still shows.  I gotta wonder if more people just need to stop and take naps, and if that would solve a lot of problems.  “You’re dehydrated and tired.  Get off social media and take a nap.”

Three semi-random tidbits follow, mostly tied together by the feeling that I’m going to have to be ornery if I’m going to make it through the day…

What if [everyone] learned not to let other people assume that you were on their side?  Then that literally would be enough [to change the world].  What if everybody with privilege said, “Oh.  Maybe I should default to helping out when it costs me nothing but 30 seconds of my time.  Instead of defaulting to looking the other way.”  All you have to do is change that one default.  “It would take me one minute–so–I’m out.”  Fine, cool.  But that one default.

There are already millions of bigots who are loudly standing up for what they believe in.  All you have to do is not let them count you in their ranks.  “I will not let you believe that I am on your side.”


Not knowing you’re being rude is not the same as being polite.


I realize that you, like me, have a passion for self-sabotage.  Something is uncomfortably intense = time to run.  Why don’t we all just get along?  However, I’m not willing to let my fear control me to the extent that I must fail.  […] I will keep vigilant against fear.  It’s not a mind-killer.  It’s a tool and I will use it to its highest and best purposes.  I will use my fear to help me live, not to help me fail.

I have a new novelette out (yay!) but it hasn’t sifted through the system to become active on Kindle or iBooks yet (b00!), so I’m going to sit on the links for that for a bit (sigh!).  So I think what I’d like to ask of you this morning (if you liked this blog) is to watch a Chef John/Foodwishes cooking video.  This is one of my favorite recipes, spicy caramel chicken.  Be prepared for dad jokes.  I make this fairly often.



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