Month: July 2017

Denver Botanic Gardens

dragonflies, spider silk
green ripples on black water
below the mirror–goldfish
the undersides of branches
shimmer. a bird calls desperately
–across the pond, a woman
plays a mating call off her phone.
dragonfly plays copyeditor
over the shadows dancing
on my page

…It was a good day.  I also saw a bonsai tree shaped like a dragon’s claw (it was a pine tree, so not having some kind of main stem was odd and rather ugly).  I watched it for a while and decided it was flipping the world off and rather resentful of being stuck in the pot.



Cookie Butter Cookies

The last time I went to Trader Joe’s, I found myself standing in front of a display of cookie butter cookies.  These are like recursive cookies. I wonder if they’re any good.

A woman reached past my shoulder to grab a box, as you do at Trader Joe’s, because Trader Joe’s is all about catering to people who just want that one thing, whatever it is, that they want and can’t really get anywhere else.  I go to Trader Joe’s for the palak paneer frozen dinners; they’re cheaper, spicier, and taste better than you can get anywhere else.  I get like five at a time.

“Are those any good?” I asked the woman.

“Yes, they’re wonderful! I just got a box here last week because I was curious and,” she laughed kind of giddily, “I’m back already!”

“Thanks, I was wondering.  The fates must have brought you here,” I joked.

“Oh, good!” she said, with disturbing sincerity, and walked off, teenaged son in tow.  He was looking at me strangely.  I couldn’t blame him.

Got ’em home, opened up the box and bag inside, and…

The filling shouldn’t have surprised me but it did.

It didn’t taste like anything.  It wasn’t sweeter than the surrounding cookie or anything, either.  Just the same, only greasier.

I sat down this morning and ate some while I was journaling, trying to work out how I wanted to approach a story that’s going to come due soon, and ate like four of them.  Damned recursive cookies, the most useless things ever.  Why not just buy a cookie with no filling?  I wish I’d picked the ones with Nutella instead.  Why would anyone want to eat this stuff? Go out of their way to get this, and no other thing?  There were entire jars of just cookie butter for sale.  An entire display of it.  Voila…cookie butter!

I bet Trader Joe’s knows more about more people’s secret dreams and desires than any of us would like to admit.



Writing: Do It For Your Inner Two-Year-Old

You know how for some people, it’s easier to do something if it’s for someone else’s sake, not your own?  I’m that way about writer stuff.  If I weren’t doing it in order to accomplish the writing dream, I wouldn’t do it because:

  • I don’t deserve it (I may have mentioned I have self-confidence issues),
  • and I hate moving out of my comfort zone.

It’s almost like my dream to be a writer belongs to an entirely different person.  I want to say it’s the writer I am becoming–but it’s probably really for my inner two-year-old.

Right, I massively screwed up some promotions stuff for this book, so I’m gonna keep harping on it for a bit:  My new cheesy ’80s horror novelette is out!  The start of a series.  The next book is written already even!  Three woman go after a supernatural serial killer, looking for bloody, vicious revenge… By Dawn’s Bloody Light.  

Pantsing: Reading from the Book of Books

So “plotting” is the current writer term for “I write a plot outline before I write a book.”  “Pantsing” is the current writer term for “I write a book without writing a plot outline beforehand (in other words, by the seat of my pants.)”

Plotters seem to feel that pantsers are cheating somehow.  “Just admit it!  You’re really plotting! You’re using a mental template and just filling in the blanks as you write!”

But no.  Pantsers aren’t filling in blanks on a Madlib template.

They’re using a book inside their head, but…it’s not just one book or one template. It’s a book of books, a fuzzy sum total of every book they’ve ever read (and especially every book they’ve ever studied).  Every book outline that they’ve ever personally encountered plus every possible book outline that could be worked out using the book outlines that they’ve ever encountered is there, at least in potential.  Some writers have bigger books of books than others; some writers have clearer known pathways (and essentially writing the same book over and over).  One’s skill in using the book of books varies.

The process isn’t about filling in the blanks, but calling back to the book of books in their heads and saying, “What’s the most fun thing that could possibly happen next?”

My new cheesy ’80s horror novelette is out!  The start of a series.  The next book is written already even!  Three woman go after a supernatural serial killer, looking for bloody, vicious revenge… By Dawn’s Bloody Light.  


Don’t Wanna: Dealing with Editorial Changes

Here’s the thing about editorial changes:

If you could have done it right the first time, you would have.

This is hard for editors to understand; I know, because I’ve taken the same attitude toward my editorial clients that my ghostwriting clients have taken toward me:

But it’s not that big of a change…just try it before you get all melodramatic, FFS!

But if the writer could have done it right the first time, they would have.  Edits require changing your mind.  Not just “oh, I suppose I’ll have the club sandwich instead of the hamburger.”  But going in, hacking how you think, and coming back as someone slightly different.

In a lot of cases, that’s a good thing.  But a) it’s a big deal, and b) how do we know when the edits that people are asking for aren’t just complete b.s. until it’s too late? When it comes to writing, what is “right,” anyway?

What kind of information does the writer need in order to be convinced to change their mind?

I have a new novella out!  The first entry in the cheesy ’80s horror-fae series is up:  By Dawn’s Bloody Light.  Three women go on a hunt for a supernatural serial killer, assisted by a supernatural presence that may have been haunting the town for generations…

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