HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!

Today is the one-year release anniversary for Rough Passages.  Never has a book been more aptly named, for oh, so many reasons. Read on to get the details.

3 years ago today: I was struggling with a novel I eventually set aside, building my author website, & coping with various health troubles. Barely treading water, creatively.

2 years ago today: I was struggling with Spouseman’s major health troubles, working on a frustrating short story, and coping with the aftermath of painful dental surgery. Ugh.

1 year ago today: still mostly struggling, and I let down a lot of people, but support from friends, fellow authors, & readers kept me going. Rough Passages happened because of that support. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I went on to finish the story-that-turned-into-a-Rough-Passages follow-up novel, and THIS year? This year, that follow-up is in revisions, I’ve completed 2 new short stories, and I’m 3/4 done with a novel draft in a different, brand-new series.

It’s a happy day indeed.

Here’s my pretty baby:

Rough Passages-Digital 1600Cover
Super-powered grandmas, doomed teens, and monster Marines.

A buy link in case you want one: get Rough Passages here

It’s Saturday. Have a cat video.

The background story: my cat Scooter has a special-friend toy. He will bring it to me and howl until I drop it on him, and then he will parade around the house with it. Scooter also likes to entertain himself by chasing my feet for varying periods of time.

Here be 101 seconds of him enjoying both activities at once. He is a loud cat. Mute as needed. Shortly after I stopped recording he flopped over on his side and went to sleep with his toy as a pillow.

Want to know what I sound like?

I don’t know why anyone would want to listen to two 5-minute practice readings from my work in progress, (Heartwood)  but if you do, here they are.

Jack & Heather in the park part 1:

 

Jack & Heather in the park part 2:

 

Yes, I know. They aren’t great. Yes, I could edit out the sibilance & word stumbles.

Making a perfect audio wasn’t my goal. My plan: read the material aloud enough times to know the speaking rhythm well enough to avoid those mistakes–but not so many times it sounds like a memorized recitation. That was my first pass. There will be more.

A certain amount of swearing may occur.

Fun times.

Disclaimer: The header photo is not a picture of me reading. That is a CC0 royalty-free stock photo from Pixabay.com.  I don’t look at all like that. Also I made recordings using my pocket-sized supercomputing personal tracking device…uh, my mobile phone. 

 

Eccentric Holiday Viewing

Because I know you are all dying to know, here’s the Chez Herkes list of preferred holiday movies. It is not an “Advent Calendar of Movies.”  Blizzard binge-watching, maybe. Overall Spouseman & I usually watch at least one from each category per year. Tradition is important.
Action:
    • Die Hard(s)
    • Lethal Weapon
    • Deadpool (new addition!)
    • Batman Returns
    • Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang
    • Long Kiss Goodnight
    • Iron Man 3
    • Go
    • Assault on Precinct 13

**Shane Black is to blame for several of these. The man has a weird THING about Christmas.

Classics:
    • The Shop Around The Corner
    • The Bishop’s Wife
    • Bells of St. Mary’s
    • We’re No Angels
    • It’s A Wonderful Life
    • Christmas Carol in B&W w/Alistair Sims
    • ”  with Reginald Owen
    • all the Bing Crosby musical holiday movies: it’s a sub-genre on its own
  Offbeat/comedy:
    • The Ref
    • Bad Santa
    • About A Boy
    • Love Actually
    • Better Off Dead
    • Coming to America
    • Ice Harvest
 SF/fantasy/Animated:
    • Nightmare Before Christmas
    • Muppet Christmas Carol
    • Rise of the Guardians
    • Elf
    • Strange Days (New Year’s Eve, close enough )
    • Gremlins
    • Rare Exports
    • HogFather
    • Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (otters!)
There are  holiday movies others love (or love/hate) that we will not watch:
  • A Christmas Story: worth special mention because I loathe it.  I could write a whole post on all the many reasons I find this movie repulsive for reasons both personal & political, but others have done such a good job I will leave that to the reader & the reader’s favorite search engine.
  • Reindeer Games. Singled out because I usually adore bad movies and dislike this one. It commits the one unforgivable sin for a bad movie: it’s DULL.
  • All the assorted Holiday Horror Flicks: I’m not against horror movies. They just don’t ring my bell, so to speak. Slapping some holly and tinsel on the genre adds nothing to its appeal.

Random thoughts

True love means harmonizing the songs of separate lives. I do not stop singing my own song simply because my partner sometimes bellows off key. This is a metaphor, by the way. Spouseman has a wonderfully resonant tenor singing voice.


Did anyone else watch Wonder Woman doing WWI battle action and think, “Hey, she’s the team tank?” That was my first thought.   In both the main battle scenes she drew aggro from the boss enemy so her DPS teammates can pick off the mobs/adds. And in another scene her team gets together to specifically launch her at the enemy. Literally.

Games have always shaped culture. It’s just getting more visible.


In case you wonder what I mean when I mention I’m pickling things, this is my basic recipe.

Pickling mixture
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1-2 tsp salt
1/2 cup hot water

Occasional additional ingredients, depending on what I’m pickling: peppercorns, mustard seeds, dill seed, onion flakes, garlic cloves…sky’s the limit there.


Heard standing in line waiting for a delicious grilled cheese at my local tasty-foods establishment (Dave’s Finer Foods)

Staffer: “It’s for the lady with the blue hair”
Dave (who knows me personally) “She doesn’t have blue hair!”
Staffer: (eyeing my observably blue hair)  “…”
Dave: “It’s blonde! And it’s blue. So it’s blueberry blonde!”

Blueberry blonde. Heh. I like this and may steal it for future use.


Best status I’ve ever scrolled past on Facebook:

“Does anyone know offhand when the llama costume contest is?”


I said random, and I have delivered.

 

 

Quotes & story ideas & other miscellany

This blog has been languishing a bit. When my time isn’t disappearing down the side roads of  life detours, it gets sucked into wrap-up for the next paperback release (Rough Passages. COMING SOON! Woo!)  and cleanup work on the current WIP.

All the blogging-type energy has gone to writing five-minute  free association word riffs, and those get posted in the Other Things Blog. (Click HERE if you’re feeling brave.)

I can’t stand the idea of letting any creative space sit idle, though, so here:  have some random phrases gleaned from conversations during the Nebula Awards conference weekend. Presented without rhyme or reason and mostly without attribution to protect privacy.

These would make good story titles:

  • Barbie & Ken Doing The Kama Sutra In the Basement
  • A Big Cloud Of Foot Flakes
  • Going To the Aviary To Hug the Owls

And some phrases:

  • “One man’s dirty underwear is another man’s shooting star.”
    from Dr. Kjell Lindgren’s presentation about Life on the International Space Station.
  • “In war there are no winners, only widows.”
    not attributing because spoilers, but is that a great saying or what?
  • Ocean gyres
    that one might also make a good title.
  • “Fairy tales are all bone and no meat.”
    Seanan McGuire, during a panel on fairy tale themes in speculative fiction

More random notes from the conference will appear as time allows and the mood strikes.  Stay tuned, bookmark, follow the blog, whatever.

 


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

Dreams & other things

A friend on Facebook brought up the topic of weird anxiety dreams a while back. It made me think about how much I enjoy the heck out of my dreams even when they’re full of awful occurrences. Here’s the most recent memorable addition to the collection.

This ramble through the wilds of my subconscious took me to one of my regular locations: a HUGE university campus that grows and changes depending on how recently I’ve visited my alma mater and other factors in my life I haven’t pinned down yet. I’m always new on campus, I’m always clueless about where anything is, and I never know anyone. Signs and maps are ubiquitous though, and I do a lot of research.

In this dream I’m supposed to assist with a medical procedure in one building, but I get trapped by a doctor who doesn’t like me in a classroom building on the other side. So I come up with a clever escape plan involving a cat and a clock (details were vague, but I am *sure* it would work and it does.)

Then I have to thread my way through all the back paths on the campus I don’t know yet to get back to my new dorm to change clothes so I can properly help with the Important procedure (the nature of the medical issue was never made clear/important to me, nor did I ever grasp the specific need for new clothes. I just know I need them. )

And of course I keep getting lost in weird places like a grotto with pine trees and glowing mushrooms. And I steal a bicycle at some point, one with multi-colored glittery streamers on the handlebars. (Important detail)  Also, there was rain, but not on me. All this made perfect sense.

On the advice of the mushrooms I find my way nearly back, but I have to dodge through a food fight in the dining hall to get to the right quad. I get out the door to find that the whole place is unrecognizable because some frat boys have covered all the buildings in big colorful building wraps like bouncy houses designed to look like psychedelic replicas of Roman landmarks.  ( my dream university does not have fraternities or sororities, by the way. Yet there are frat boys.)

And they’re doing it all  for some big unnamed festival so everyone on campus is out and about celebrating and getting in my way.  Given I don’t even know the names of all the buildings or the normal layout, I have no chance of ever finding my dorm in that mess.

Even in my dream I was thinking, “okay, but this is beyond absurd,” and I was persuading one of the frat boys to reveal which building was mine when I woke up.

Objectively I would expect that dream to be jam-packed with dread and worry, but it wasn’t. It was honestly a good bit of fun.

That’s all for now.


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn