The Dog Days of Winter Break, or, everything is symbolic of life these days

Yesterday was the family Christmas party and we told the kids we weren’t going to monitor what they ate as far as sweets, but that they should “use good judgement” and “try to eat SOME things that are good for you”.

Naturally, every time we saw them, they were grabbing a few more cookies or candies. What can you do, though? Some lessons you have to learn yourself.

Cut to 1 am when Ollie came into our room to say he threw up. As I scrubbed his floor he held his tummy and said, “I’m never going to eat sweets again!” (And so far he has kept to his deal; he hasn’t eaten any candy in the first four hours of this morning!)

After I got him tucked back into bed, I went to rinse out some of the rags I had used to clean up. When I started the bath I discovered that someone had left the shower plug up…discovered by receiving a full blast of freezing cold water on the back of my head.

I have to say, there is something special about a full blast of ice water on your head at 1:45 am when your hands are covered in someone else’s puke. Somehow it just felt…apropos pro.

2017 going out with a bang.

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New Story by Me (and a GORGEOUS book!)

I am delighted to announce that my story “Spooks” is now available in the Agents & Spies anthology from Flame Tree Press.

I ask you, have you ever seen a more beautiful book in your life?

It occurs to me that I have never been in hardback before, and it is absolutely delightful.

As I am reading through, I am reminded how much I used to enjoy these kinds of gothic crime / detective stories. I went through a huge Sherlock Holmes phase around middle school, and read anything that I could get my hands on. In fact, it occurs to me as I read the other stories in this book, that this has actually influenced my writing more than I realized. Even though I don’t write this kind of fiction (aside from a single unpublished, thinly veiled Sherlock Holmes fanfic story), and rest assured, my story in the book is decidedly science fiction, I do maintain a certain fondness for the clever wrapping up of all the loose ends in the final act. My stories nearly always involve plucky heros surviving by their wits, using clues carefully threaded through the narrative to overcome overwhelming odds. If those aren’t hallmarks of Agent & Spy stories, I don’t know what is.

Oh yeah, did I mention that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is IN. THE. BOOK. with me??? Yeah, no big deal. Just him and me and a guy named Rudyard Kipling. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Maybe you’ve heard of US??

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This life, man. Sometimes it is just too much.

Quote Monday needs a hand

Sara: “Ollie has a bad ouchie.”
Ollie: “I hurts really, really bad.”
Alex: “You need to go to the emergency bathroom Ollie.”

Something tells me the emergency bathroom is a very different place than the emergency room…

Evelyn: “Okay so we each won one, plus you won two more.”

That is…an optimistic way to phrase it.

Alex: “I cannot do it!”
Sara: “Oh, do you need a hand?”
Alex: “I need two hands.”

::Alex trying canned pears for the first time::
Alex: “Oh, I like that!”

Free Audio Fiction by Me: “Copy Machine” on Toasted Cake!

I am very pleased to announce my story “Copy Machine” is now available in audio on the podcast Toasted Cake.

Tina is the perfect narrator for this story. I have always believed this story was *perfect* for Toasted Cake, so much so that I had to wait through a TWO YEAR HIATUS at my shot to send it in.

TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Toasted Cake is one of my all time favorite podcasts. IN FACT, I actually wrote Tina a fan letter five years ago:

But anyway, I just wanted to say that I love weird fiction and my favorite magazine is the drabblecast. But toasted cake is like the photo-negative of the drabblecast. It’s like all the weirdness without all the darkness (or maybe quite as much darkness?). Don’t get me wrong, I like the darkness, but I guess I never really realized how much I like the more poetic, light-hearted side of weird fiction too until I had it all assembled for me.

Specifically, one of the smattering of episodes I listened to was episode 24: Zing Zou Zou. This story has really been haunting me since I listened to it. The funny thing is, I think that if I had read that story I wouldn’t have liked it. But your reading (and singing!) really made the story. I think that one really is better out loud (I can see why it would work as a play). Which is a long way of saying, you don’t podcast in vain!

Anyway, fan letter.

I never miss an episode of Toasted Cake, which is not hard because the episodes are so short! Go give my story a listen; it will take less than 10 minutes.

 

Quote Monday makes a tasty snack

Evelyn: “Is Thanksgiving always on a Thursday?”
Me: “Yes.”
Evelyn: “Oh, because of Black Friday.”

Obviously the pilgrims wouldn’t have wanted Thanksgiving to interrupt their big shopping day.

Oliver: “Evelyn, will you come downstairs with me? I’m scared.”
Evelyn: “No! Last time you  made me go first and shouted, ‘Here comes a tasty snack!'”

Vania: “P is for…porcupine.”
::Alex pretends to eat porcupine from book::
Vania: “I know a little boy who ate a porcupine…”
Alex: “Perhaps I’ll die.”

“Omg squirrel trapped in garage with me”

Yesterday I had an all-morning work training to attend. At the beginning, the trainer made a big deal about how distracting our phones are, and how we should make sure they’re off, put them away, etc. Being the rule-follower that I am, of course I complied.

I mean, I don’t mean to act like that was a big deal. I’m not some high powered business executive; most mornings I don’t receive any texts at all.

Except THIS morning…THIS morning I received something a little bit more interesting. When I got around to checking my phone at lunch time I had a series of frantic texts from Sara, starting with, “Omg squirrel trapped in garage with me”

“Hope it will run out now!!!” she continued.
“It is either out or hiding”
“Was running up garage door when I first noticed it”

And then? Nothing. Not for a whole hour after. Was it rabid? Did she escape? WAS SHE DEAD?

Naturally, I texted her immediately and got the rest of the story. So it seems like maybe the squirrel came in when she drove into the garage, or maybe it was already there. When she got out of the car to get Alex out, it was *climbing up the garage door*, a few feet from her head. Natch, she dove back in the car, abandoning the field to the squirrel, and started furiously texting me.

A real Cujo situation here.

She opened the garage door, and hoped for the best. After a while, she didn’t hear anything. So probably the squirrel is not in the garage anymore, right?

Right?

Free Fiction by Me – Random Play All and the League of Awesome

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I am delighted to announce that my story “Random Play All and the League of Awesome” is now available in audio on the Cast of Wonders podcast!

To quote myself from a different blog post:

I can not overstate how much I love trivial superpowers. As anyone who knew me growing up could tell you, I’ve always loved super heroes. From dressing up as one as a kid (or, er, as an adult), to collecting comic books, to apparel, movies, and video games, to the absolutely embarrassing number of times I’ve listened to Dr. Horrible.

But I never liked the idea of guys like Superman or Thor. I don’t want an unstoppable goody-two shoes. Show me a guy who doesn’t have it so easy. Show me a guy with just a *little* bit of power, and the wit and courage to use that little bit at just the right moment to make a *huge* difference.

This is one of my all time favorite stories, and I’m so glad it is available for free (it has appeared twice before previously in “paper book” form).

Go give it a listen!