Happy New Year!

It’s not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year, is it?

I mean…

At least we’re still in January, this year.

It’s a start. 🙂

Life continues at its apparently normal blinding speed, complete with crazy twists and turns that would make roller coaster designers nauseous.

But I am here.

I haven’t forgotten you.

And, Gods willing, I’ll have more to say next time around 🙂

Until then, friends, do what you do because it’s right, decent, and kind.
Just that. Just kind.

Black Friday

I wasn’t sure I’d get this post written with the craziness of NaNoWriMo coming to a close and all the cooking involved in our (not necessarily your) traditional Thanksgiving feast.

However, the NaNo spirits blessed me with completion late Wednesday afternoon which, as you might expect, made cooking yesterday a whole lot easier (and less of a mess for my poor abused little laptop).

Giving myself a few days then I’ll go back to the draft and start polishing it up.

I have a few non-writing projects that need my attention, a house that needs decorating, and a cold I need to kick before I have to go back to the Day Job on Monday, so I’m going to go ahead and leave this one short…

Until next time, friends:
Be thankful for what you have and what you have had…
And, above all, be thankful to the people you have and have had… because their love is worth more than any of the other stuff.

National Novel Writing Month

Friends, this will be short.

While my word count is still high enough to successfully complete the challenge, I’m behind my personal goals and… quite frankly… that just won’t do.

Youngest spawn’s cheer team gave an amazing performance on Sunday, 5 Nov. They brought home a well-earned first place and qualified for Jamz Youth Nationals in Las Vegas. If you’ve seen the info-memes on Facebook about giving books as holiday gifts, it would really help the cheer fund if you popped over to the order page for some of those gifts 🙂

This year’s NaNoWriMo project is the second episode of the Heroes of Vadim saga. Several elements of this particular story have surprised me, but I think it will all work out in the revisions.

My stats so far:
Your Average Per Day ~~ 1,976
Target Word Count ~~ 50,000
Target Average Words Per Day ~~ 1,667
Total Words Written ~~ 19,766
Words Remaining ~~ 30,234
Current Day ~~ 10
Days Remaining ~~ 21
At This Rate You Will Finish On ~~ November 26, 2017
Words Per Day To Finish On Time ~~ 1,440

 

Unfortunately, these words don’t count – so it’s back to work for me.

On a less pleasant note: I am not ignoring tragedies or burying my head in the sand when it comes to social issues. I told they would show up here and this particular post doesn’t even begin to really touch the terrors of today’s world. This is not because I am trying to avoid them – it’s because they make me physically ill to consider. For my own sanity (cue the peanut gallery), I must put my heart and mind far from life in the here-and-now.

This is why we tell stories and why we listen to (and read) them.
To keep the real world at a distance for a moment and recharge to face it.

Until next time, friends – believe in love.
Terror is hate, and hate can’t be fixed with more hate.
Practice believing in love. If we all do it, we can tip the scale.

A Silent Stage and Sugar Skulls

Tom Petty
Robert Guillaume
Fats Domino

Three of many bright souls lost to this world just this month. Three entertainment giants slipping into legend.

Whether you like them or not, you can’t deny the fact that these three gents have achieved the status of legend. They defined and redefined their crafts and shared their souls with the rest of us on a regular basis.

Coping with the loss of legendary figures can be as difficult as coping with the those dear ones we were able to hold close in life. Bottom line – honestly – it sucks. A lot. And yet, we must continue.

The show must go on…

(And yes, before you crucify me, I know this world has lost much. In truth, this world is always losing much too much. I’m getting there – just be patient.)

My husband and I were shopping recently and I was ooh-ing and aah-ing over the sugar skull merchandise. I’ve always thought they were cool, but the last several years they’ve become a lot more important to me. I hadn’t really thought much about it until he asked why the intensity of my attraction to them had increased.

Those of you that know me (or have followed my ramblings here through the various incarnations of the website) know that I’ve lost a lot of people important to me: without rehashing everything (and dissolving into blob of uselessness), the increased attraction to sugar skulls coincides very neatly with the loss of several immortal figures in my life that felt like they occurred back-to-back.

Halloween, Samhain, Dia de los Muertos… no matter what’s on your calendar, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this time of year is the time for feeling those connections: for bridging the gap between this world and the next, even for just a moment.

That’s probably a long entry for another blog… you’re not here to get weepy, after all 🙂

Yes, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner.

No, I still don’t have any more of a plan than I did last time I told you about it. I may, in fact, have even less of a plan than I did then: as I was hit with a bolt of inspiration this morning that I might ride into November instead.

So, for the next four days, I will work feverishly to complete commissions for my craft business (oh yeah – did you know about that? Since I have so much free time and all… here’s what my hands do when they’re not typing) and figure out which project will consume November.

Until next time, my friends – hug your loved ones.
It’s much harder after they move on…

Nightmares, Torture, and Hellfire

It’s Friday the 13th, so embrace your inner scream queen, serial killer, or hellspawn – ’tis the season, after all 🙂

The world continues its journey through the apocalyptic opening credits of a dark future horror story. We watch society unravel in six-second clips, threaten, abuse, and then wonder why no one else is bothered by the obvious problem (whatever the hell that is).

But there’s nothing new, there…

Like horror movie marathons at Halloween, my annual exercise in sleep deprivation & self-torture looms on the horizon… that’s right: NaNoWriMo’s right around the corner. 50,000 words in the month of November: that’s only 1,667 a day – unless you look at the number of days I won’t be able to write due to cheer competition, feast preparation, etc.

I’m going back to my NaNo roots – heading into the challenge with only a vague idea and hoping that I can power through to create something enjoyable.

The last few years, NaNoWriMo has defeated me. A combination of factors lead to the disastrous failures of the past few years but many of those factors are (finally!) off the table this year.

The project is tentatively titled Hellbound and will tell a tale of a half-demon woman at the center of a power struggle between good and evil.

I’d give you more, but that’s all I’ve got at this point. Keep watch on the Facebook page once November starts, though – that’s where the cool lines and word count updates will be 🙂

Turning back to something a little less fun…

Here in California, sadly, Hellfire is a very real thing as I write. Some of the state’s most beautiful places are being devoured by fire with no relief in sight. I live in the foothills of Central California. I’m used to dealing with fire: hundreds of acres, dozens of structures, weeks to achieve containment: these are the fires I understand.

The Hellfire that’s sweeping through the northern part of the state, though, is a completely different beast.

There are 22 fires across 265 square miles (686 square kilometers, for those with metric brains) with no relief in sight.

At least 1,500 structures have been lost in Santa Rosa alone.  State Farm has received nearly 1,900 homeowner insurance claims and more than 700 auto insurance claims due to the firestorm. Entire towns have been evacuated. The town of Willits is all but cut off from the outside world.

At least 26 people are dead with hundreds still missing.

The sheer scope of the whole thing is terrifying, even for those of use that are, unfortunately, used to coping with fire.

And there we have it…

A beautifully disjointed collection of thoughts, just dismal enough to be worthy of a minor sociopath with a flair for the dramatic.

Just remember – on Friday the 13th and always – I’m not a psycho obsessed with demons, explosives, rebellion, or the types of damage certain weapons might have on the human body… regardless of what my search history might lead you to believe.

Until next time, friends, be kind. It helps.

Protests, protests, everywhere, and scarcely a moment to think…

Before I truly begin, I must apologize to those of you who are not US citizens and may, somehow, have been spared the lunacy currently overpowering this nation.


A little history… it took 100 years for “The Star Spangled Banner” to become anything official on a national level.

The US Navy adopted it in 1899 but it wasn’t until an Executive Order by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 that it became almost official. President Wilson’s decree was that it was to be played at all military functions & ceremonies.

It took 15 more years (and a few failed attempts) before Congress finally decided to formally & officially recognize the song as the National Anthem of the United States. (In case you’re like me and don’t want to do the math, it was March of 1931.)

For the record, the National Football League had been established for a few years and officially became the NFL in 1922.

Fast forward to now – apparently ignoring all previous anthem-related protests because why bother with history, right? – and a good portion of the country is losing its collective mind over players choosing that particular tradition (and it’s just that – the only rules regarding playing the National Anthem at sporting events are imposed by the various leagues) as an opportunity to engage in peaceful protest.

I guess I just don’t understand…

If there’s something explicit in the players’ contracts about how they’re to observe the playing of the National Anthem, that’s a contract issue. End of story. The government doesn’t get to get involved in that. The POTUS doesn’t get to stand up on his very slippery soapbox and cry for a boycott.

Hell… the POTUS shouldn’t be doing that at all.

Remember what I said a few posts back about seeing the groundwork being laid for the hellish futures dystopian authors create?

Here we are again…

Shall I paint the picture for you?

I’d say “close your eyes,” but that would make it a tad difficult to read.

Clear your mind and imagine…


Following a devastating catastrophe, fearful rulers began stripping the citizenry of rights and freedoms under the guise of offering increased safety and security – and the citizenry followed, blinded by the fear of recent history repeating itself.

As time crept on, the same fearful rulers held firmly to their power and continued to strip the citizenry of its freedom and identity. Rather than look to the future, they dug in their heels and refused to move: providing a string of figureheads and phantoms to keep the citizenry from focusing on their growing monopoly over every aspect of life.

Some regions were worse than others: dictating how their populace was to believe in order to be accepted in what had come to pass for society. Those who did not embrace the politically established status quo were ostracized, slandered, and driven even deeper into hell.

When the citizenry, regardless of their origins, began to see the hell they were being herded toward, they began to fight back. It was small, at first. Mostly peaceful. It began to grow, and things became less peaceful: but the citizenry were fighting each other rather than the rulers that had driven them to their current state. And when those who had a measure of visibility, even celebrity, began to use that to further peaceful protest, the rulers’ current figurehead exploded with rage and demanded the rest of the citizenry to deny those few visible souls the right to be seen…


Sounds like a decent backstory summary for a world gone to shit.

But, enough with the politics.

I’m not quite over my flu and the nausea is really kicking in.

Until next time…

Imitation Game

“All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life, and I feel sure that if you think seriously about it you will find that it is true.”

-Oscar Wilde

I have been watching the world grow more and more cruel.

It’s not position I’d ever choose willingly, nor is it one that I occupy without actively opposing its growing strength. Nonetheless, this world we live in has brought me to it.

I can’t speak for others but I can tell you that, to me, the current state of the world is terrifying. Rather than being united against the overpowering darkness, we fight amongst ourselves… teach children to scream obscenities they don’t even understand… shed blood without bothering to realize that it’s all the same color when it’s spilling onto the ground… and there’s no end in sight.

It’s understandably disturbing to students of history: those that have studied the recurring patterns and the turbulent decades that follow.

It is just as disturbing, though, to those whose visions reach into the far future.

Seeing the current state of the world, I see the groundwork being laid for the dark futures some of us create. The toxic wastelands, unwarranted division of peoples, unchecked abuse by those who have managed to seize power… those nightmares crafted in the minds of the creative collective seem to be looming on the horizon.

I hope I’m over-reacting… but it is a little hard to tell.

And in other news:

The DayJob continues its quest to liquefy my brain.

Cheer season is in full swing and the youngest spawn has a full schedule until sometime in November (at least). Consequently, so do said spawn’s parental units.

We are back to triple-digit highs (37.7c and above, for those whose brains are metric) with thick clouds and random sprinkles.

And, just to make life interesting, I’m still writing and crafting as if none of the above items in this list have any bearing on anything.

Rain In August (and other oddities)

This is today’s weather forecast. Did I mention that windshield wipers were necessary during the morning commute to the DayJob? Yes – it’s as miserable as it seems it would be… especially for the denizens the Central Valley who are so often reminded we should appreciate the fact that “it’s a dry heat.”WTForecase

Speaking of the DayJob… it hasn’t quite sucked the life out of me – but it’s making a hell of an effort.

In other news…

I am still chipping away at the previously mentioned projects and, thanks to a comment on the Facebook page, have another one rattling around one of the currently unoccupied corners of my mind. Or maybe sharing space with another fledgling plot. It’s hard to tell, sometimes.

Youngest spawn has finished camp and cheer season has officially begun. Practice Tuesday and Thursday, games on Saturday. This (in addition to the DayJob and other year-round responsibilities) is my life for the next three months. You may “see” less of me out here in the etherworld, but if you happen to wander our direction in real life on a Saturday, you’ll probably end up at a youth football game. You’ve been warned.

In the grander scheme of things: the world in general (my country, in particular) continues its downward spiral. I fear the doomsday clock will move even closer to midnight next year – assuming they even wait that long to make the adjustment. I think, though, that’s all I’m going to say about that today.

I make no promises about what I may or may not say tomorrow.

Redefining Insanity

Things are crazy here.

Even crazier than normal… unless, of course, you consider that all the pieces and parts are still… well… normal.

For me, at any rate.

The world seems to continue to spiral into madness (in a related note: Dissension is still free, but time’s running out). Seriously, folks, there really are things more important than who was cast in a TV show.

Closer to home, the Detwiler Fire in Mariposa County (central California) is not an immediate danger to us – but it’s devastating and my heart breaks a little more every time I see an update.
More than 74,000 acres have burned so far with only 15% containment.
Nearly 4,000 personnel are battling this blaze.

Even closer to home, the Day Job’s about to intensify exponentially and cheer season for the youngest spawn is right around the corner.

Then it will be back-to-school, and holidays, and…

Oh, and that cool story with the fantasy races in the post apocalypse? That’s still happening.
So’s another Rio Crew Novel.
And a couple other smaller projects that may or may not develop beyond brainstorming.

Thinking Out Loud

Eldest spawn is finally getting around to reading “1984″

She asked if I drew inspiration from it, mentioning that the writing of a particular scene reminded her of my work.

I was quite flattered by the comparison – still am, actually – but also perhaps a (not so) teensy bit disturbed.

Whatever your political favor or flavor, a well-written politically driven social apocalypse (with or without accompanying environmental damage and/or destruction) can be disturbing. Maybe even terrifying. But, in the end, books like this are written for one reason – to make people think.

I have told my children that “1984” is a must read, but never did I mislead them by calling it an easy one. When the eldest spawn asked if I’d drawn on it, I had to really think.

I am certain I did not intentionally attempt to channel Orwell’s voice… however, to say his work in general – and “1984” in particular – had no impact on me or my own work would be a complete and utter falsehood.

As a young reader, the voices of Orwell and Bradbury hypnotized and terrified me. As an adult, though the world has changed dramatically, the qualities of those voices remain constant.

I never considered my own voice among them, but apparently my sometimes insanely critical eldest spawn does…

There are things in my imagination – things that have found their way to pages – that are, at times, just a few steps this side of terrifying.

Either way, they make the brain work.

Regardless of the discomfort it may cause, thinking is one of the few things everyone can do to help keep the worlds of “1984,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and “Dissension” from slipping out of their bindings and into everyday life.

The ability to think is the essence of freedom.

So… until the end of July… here’s something to think about.

The Dissension ebook is free in nearly any format you might need.

Go ahead. Click the link.