BANG, BANG, BANG

I told ya’ll she was accusing me of nefarious things!

The Biblio Feels

Hiya friends, welcome back to my adorable and random little corner of the internet. I have a problem, and we need to talk about it. K-pop! I am hoofin addicted and I’m not even mad. I completely blame this recent addiction on Tiff (you can follow her here…go tell her I sent you and remind her that this is all her fault).

Gangnam.jpg Psy says, “You know you dance like a fool to my song. Welcome to k-pop!”

Let’s start from the beginning with this. Tiff and I have been swapping music back and forth for a little while now, and she constantly sends me random Korean pop music videos, everything from MBLAQ to Shinee. Not gonna lie, every video she sent me was incredible – the level of creativity and work that goes into them is just unmatched. One night she sends me this video and as usual, I…

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2018…Meh.

So. It occurs to me, that I did not do an “end of year” review type post. Honestly though, I don’t really have anything to write about for this year. It was 2017 when all the “important” crap happened. The tumor behind my eye was discovered and removed. Sis’ skin cancer was discovered and removed. The first full year without my brother-in-law. Everything and anything happened that year.

Sis ♥

This past year…the only thing of any note was that my vision has improved. Oh, and I finally received my first rejection letter (which, considering the publishing house in question, I expected). I got to visit my family in Arkansas, and introduced my sister to filters. We found a graveyard from the 1800s, and it turns out, most of the people in it are related to us. I introduced my niece to Doctor Who, and she binge-watched it within about two months? Something like that. She completely devoured the show, and is now a dedicated Whovian. I rediscovered my love for VIXX, and decided to give learning Korean a try (spoiler alert: the alphabet is like, a million times easier than Japanese, but pronouncing it is a bitch).

I found my writing tribe, participated in Twitter author events. Made it through an entire summer without a single tornado warning (!!!), and missed out on Trick or Treating with the kids because they both decided to act like first-rate jerks. Added a minor to my degree (I am now minoring in Social Sciences), and am starting my senior year of college. Had two scary instances with our doggo (see the skunk incident and the brownie thief incident), and two with two of my aunts (and they say bad things come in threes…).

Dragons, Faeries, and Time Lords, oh my!

I won the award for favorite aunt this Christmas, when I gave my niece a laptop, and my roommates got me gifts very fitting for a writer of sci-fi and fantasy.

One of my roommates is now working at the same place as me, and the other is annoyed with me for buying her stuff for Christmas and her birthday (her birthday’s the 28th).  

Funny story there, actually. Our family is a Batman family. We have Batman; his wife, Alfred; I’m Nightwing; and the kids are Batgirl and Robin. Well, everyone had to work on Alfred’s birthday. Batman was working 6am-4pm, I was working 5pm-9pm, and Alfred was working 9am-6pm. Since there wasn’t going to be a time where we would all be together (the kids go to bed before 9), we decided to give Alfred her presents the night before. I knew she was going to be mad at me for one of the presents I had for her, so I gave her the two I knew she wouldn’t mind too much, and then waited. On her birthday, I left her last present on her desk before I left for work (remember, there was an hour gap between when I went to work, and when would be getting off). I got to work…and waited for her reaction.

She did not disappoint.

So yeah, it’s been an interesting year, but not one to really look back on and go “oh yeah, that was crazy…”

I’m honestly not sure if I’m hoping for an eventful 2019 or not…

Candles and whatnots.

Starting off the new year right…or trying to, anyway. As I’m writing this, The Biblio is writing her own post accusing me of all sorts of nefarious things, of which I assure you, I am completely and totally…..guilty of. (oops?) In my defense, I had no idea she was going to fall that hard for a K-pop group, but I really have no sympathy. I’ve been harassing her with VIXX videos and songs for the past year, so yeah. I’m kind looking at this whole thing as baby steps…

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To get back to the point of this post, however…

So…a couple months ago, I decided I wanted to try something new to jumpstart my brain – creativity wise. I’m sure you’ve all heard the thing about how taste has one of the strongest links to memory. That’s why they tell you to chew a certain flavor of gum when you’re studying for a test, and then chew it again while you’re taking the test. Supposedly, the taste link helps you remember the material you studied. Well, I figured that maybe something like that would work for creativity. If a person ate/drank something whenever they were feeling creative, maybe when the creative juices were running low, they could eat/drink that same thing, and get back into the swing of things, as it were.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

I’m not much for chewing gum, though, or eating anything in particular when I’m feeling creative, so I thought, maybe scents? I like smelly good stuff, so I decided to give it a try. I started out with incense, then moved on to wax melts. The incense smelled great, but the smoke dries out my eyes. The wax melts seem like they lose their scent too fast, and they’re a pain to clean up. Literally. I saw the wax was cooling, so I thought the warmer would be cool enough to pick up. Nope. Apparently, the wax cooled faster than the holder. (Is that normal?) I used potholders the next time, but I shouldn’t have to keep a potholder in my room for writing, you know?

With those two options out the window, I decided to try out candles, instead. My roommate burns candles in the office near my room, and I liked some of the scents, so I kinda said, what the heck, why not? I went hunting on Amazon, and found what has become my newest addiction.

Warning: ADDICTIVE AF.

I am just going to preface this now with a word of caution: These candles are pricey. I mean, not on par with, say, Bath and Body Works ($25 for a single candle, WHAT?!), but up there. The Biblio assures me that the prices aren’t all that bad, so maybe it’s just cause I’m used to paying no more than $10 for a large candle, but I saw the prices on these things and choked. The prices range from $6-18, with the $6 tin being a little 2oz/10 hours candle. I strongly encourage you to check them out for yourself. (Also, if you decide to order, leave me a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter/Tumblr/etc for a 10% off referral link.)

On that note, however, these are specialty candles. Not your run of the mill, smells like someone trying to cover up sweaty socks, scents. I don’t like thinking about how much I’ve spent on these damn candles, but I love the way they smell. (Dammit, they’re getting more of my money, too. I just went to their site to get a copy of their logo, and they have new scents.)

In the next couple weeks, I’m going to be reviewing the scents I’ve tried so far. I’ve bought a ridiculous amount of their 2oz cans, so it’s going to take a while for me to get through all of them. I’ll start on that next week. I’m sure you’re all looking forward to it.

Also, don’t worry, I am working on “Don’t Feed The Trolls.” I’m having to go back and re-read what I’ve written so far, and check my maps, though. I hate it when a story has continuity issues. Don’t expect to see much on that front for another month or so. (I might post sooner, but I don’t want to get your hopes up.) I also have another project that will hopefully see the light of day somewhat soon. I’ll keep you updated on that as it gets closer to happening.

Image result for big bang g dragon oops?
Oops?

That’s all there is for now. For you TL;DR folks: I found expensive candles that smell good while I’m trying to write, and it’s all my fault that The Biblio wants to be the mother of dragons (and not in the Game Of Thrones kinda way). (Look up the names of the Big Bang members. You’ll figure it out.)

Happy New Years!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com[

Why, oh why, can’t I do the “New Year, New Me!” thing? Probably because I’m pretty settled, I suppose, but it’s still a bit frustrating to see everyone else setting goals and being all gung-ho about their new year resolutions, and I’m sitting here going “Nope.” It doesn’t make any sense, and I am perfectly aware of this – I mean, half of them don’t even make it to the end of January before they’re dropping their “new me” crap like it’s nothing, but maybe that’s why it bugs me? What’s the point of making a resolution if it’s not something you plan on actively pursuing? Bandwagons are rarely a good thing to take a ride on, I’m just sayin’.

That being said, setting goals is something I approve of. I mean, it’s always good to have something to strive for, you know? Just…don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. You are not going to change your entire way of life overnight. (There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but those are far and few between.) Instead of saying “I’m going to work out every day!” try “I’m going to be more active.” Instead of “I will find Mr./Ms. Right this year!” try, “I will make the effort to meet more people.” EASY goals that you can work on throughout the year.

I have a few easy goals I’ve set for myself, but the only ones I’ll be sharing here are the ones that will actually affect you guys (as readers).

Pyramid plans FTW?
  1. Pyramid plan
    This is something I found a while ago, and forgot about. Then The Biblio sent it to me, and I remembered. Yay! for having an actual plan!

    On the plus side, this gives me an actual writing goal to work with.

    On the downside, this means it may take me longer to post updates on stories, because part of the pyramid is going back and editing. Something I wasn’t doing previously. You guys all got the chapters as they were. No edits, and only one beta-reader.

    Of course, I’m not entirely sure I will be editing “Don’t Feed The Trolls” before I post it – maybe I’ll focus more on editing Etlan. Maybe I’ll go back and edit “Say ‘No!’ to Zombies” some more. The main point, I believe, is just to get in the habit, and that’s something I need to do.

    Something I can tell you I will not be doing is reviewing an outline. I cannot outline. It just doesn’t work for me. I make an outline, and my brain shuts down (storywise). It’s frustrating, but I’ve learned to work around it.

2. Write more
Gee, I wonder how this affects you guys? Oh, wait…

Yeah, I’ll be focusing more on getting stuff done around here. Writing blog posts, writing stories, writing reviews…you name it, I’ll (probably) be working on it. Don’t really expect to see much until next month, at least, but I’m working on it. Most of it will probably be flashfiction, just a heads up, but writing is writing.

Yuck, but necessary.

3. Get health issues taken care of.
You might be wondering how this one is going to affect you guys, but some of the issues I’ll be (hopefully) taking care of this year are going to put me out of commission for at least a week or two, and it’ll be more than once. (Long story short: teeth are terrible. Getting them fixed, and it’s going to take at least one surgery. At this point, I don’t care how many it takes, I just want this crap fixed.)  

And that’s it. Everything is are just things that I want to work on for myself, and should not have any real impact here. Basically, just trying to live my best fucking life, beech. (You can thank the Biblio for that one. Also, if you like rollercoasters, go check out her blog. Her mind is an interesting place to take a ride through, even if it’s not the best place to live in.)

[Holiday Hiatus] I’m still alive!

Sorry everyone, yes, I’m aware it’s been a good couple weeks since I updated anything. Have to be honest here, I was not expecting to be as overwhelmed with the holidays and life as I have been lately.

It’s not even that we’ve had a lot to do, or family and friends coming in (okay, I take that back, we did have a visitor from out of town come in, but that was only one, and he only stayed a couple days). I’ve just been struggling to stay on top of my coursework, and it has not been going well. A big part of it is the children I’ve been taking care of, but I think the bigger part is that I’m just a bit burned out. Between homework, work, my language studies (I’m still struggling with Korean – S-O-V languages kick my ass like you would not believe), my brain is going “ENOUGH!” 

So. I am taking a mini-hiatus. Hopefully just until after the new year. I have a two week break starting on Christmas Eve and going until January 7th. I’m hoping to use this time to recharge my brain. I will try to keep you updated in case that changes.

[A Story & A Song] House of Seasons

Song and a story-house of seasons

Dedicated to all of you who keep pushing forward.

There’s a house I like to visit. It sits at the end of the road. There’s nothing fancy about the place, itself.  It’s a standard ranch home, one floor, a garage, two doors – front and back – but it’s still my favorite place to be. I like to call it the “House of Seasons” because it constantly changes. Everyone else on the block, their lawn is evergreen. The bushes never bloom, but they never wilt, either. The trees never lose their leaves, no matter how cold it gets or how hard the wind blows. The porch lights are never on when kids are trick or treating, and the Christmas decorations are there one day and gone the next.

The House of Seasons though…sometimes the yard is the brightest green you’ve ever seen. Sometimes it has dead spots. Sometimes the bushes are abloom with bright red and yellow flowers, sometimes they’re nothing but twigs. I’ve seen the trees go from tall and strong, branches reaching for the sky, to almost rotted completely through in the space of a single hour. Sometimes the entire house looks like it’s been attacked by spiders, cobwebs wrapped around it so tight, there’s no way of telling if the bushes decided to bloom that day or not. Sometimes the entire yard is dead, and there are holes in the sides of the house. The wind makes an eerie sound when it blows through the neighborhood on those days.

But there is something interesting about that house. No matter how many dead spots in the lawn, or holes in the walls; no matter how dangerously those dying trees creak and sway in the wind, the front door? Is always open. On Halloween, the porch light is on. Christmas lights go up the day after Thanksgiving, and don’t go down until after the New Year has come and gone. Every year, the owner throws out all the stops. Sometimes the cobwebs hide the decorations, sometimes only half of the lights work, but anyone passing by can still see that a lot of care has gone into the work.

I think that’s why no one else in the block likes to talk about the house. Because they can tell that work does go into the house. You see, everyone else is so concerned with keeping up appearances, and go to such great lengths to hide any imperfections, they don’t stop to think about the people who are able to peek over fences.

I’ve seen the backyards of my neighbors. Festering cesspools fill half of them. The other half are either overgrown with weeds, empty, or so full of dead spots, no amount of fresh grass seed will ever fix it.

I’ve seen the backyard of the House of Seasons. I have seen a garden that would put Paradise to shame.

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The best intentions…

Alright, so. The past two weeks have been interesting, but not good for writing. You know the old “Kids say the darnedest things”? Yeah, well, one of the munchkins in our household decided that school was the best place to say those darnedest things. Twice. On top of his older sister coming up with the brilliant idea of doing all her Image result for kids say the darndest thingshomework…and then not turning it in to the teachers. How on earth this made sense to her, I have no idea, but last week was spent dealing with all those fun times. I had one sentence written for the next chapter of Don’t Feed The Trolls. Not good, I know. I had planned on making up for it this week, but then the eldest kiddo was sick, and then there was Halloween night…ahh, fun times.

Let me explain something real quick. We have a dog, Dexter. He’s an idiot. I love him, but gods all bless, he. is. an. IDIOT. Wednesday night, my roommate took Dex out for his nightly walk. Not even ten minutes later, I smell skunk. Now, I fully cop to being weird. I love the smell of skunk, so my first reaction was “Yay! Skunk!” and then…”Wait…didn’t B just go out there…with…Dex……oh no.”

Then I heard the cussing. And the sneezing. And the whining. B comes in, still cussing. I looked at him, me: “He didn’t…?” B: “THE HELL HE DIDN’T!” Apparently, Dex decided that the black “kitty” outside looked like it needed a dog nose up its butt. The “kitty”Image result for skunk disagreed. It was too late that night to give him a skunk bath, so we just tossed his kennel in the backyard and he got to spend the night outside. We spent pretty much all day yesterday dealing with the skunk mess, and giving the dog, like six baths (he still smells, but not near as bad).

Honestly, it was kinda fun, but it has definitely pushed back the new chapter of Don’t Feed The Trolls. I’m hard at work it, I promise, but yeah. No update this week (in case you couldn’t tell).

Also: I am not taking part in NaNoWriMo this year (or any, for that matter), but I encourage anyone/everyone to go cheer on those who are.

Cross your fingers and hope really hard that this week is a bit better for writing, yes?

 

[Story & A Song] Josephine’s Coat.

Song and a story-josephinescoat

“Why did you give her that, Shel? Are you trying to get Jo killed?”

Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the fact that I had never heard my father attempt to whisper before, I probably would’ve continued on my way, strutting around like a supermodel in the new coat Mama made me. But the sound of the voice that so often shook the rafters pitched low enough to barely be heard halfway down the hall, combined with my name, brought my catwalk practice to a screeching halt.

“Jake, baby, please, just listen-” My mother was better at whispering than my father, but not by much.

I went on tiptoes, edging my way closer to the kitchen.

“No, Rachel, you listen.”

I froze. I had heard others call my mother by her birth name, usually bill collectors and the such, but never my father, and never with so much anger it vibrated the air.

“When you became pregnant, and I proposed to you, you told me what it would cost me. I paid my price, Shel. I led those girls – my own daughters – to that butcher, without hesitation, because you asked me to. And now you do this.”

The kitchen was silent. I peeked around the corner.

Mama was standing at the sink, back to me as she stared out the window at something I couldn’t see. Her dark hair pulled back in her usual messy ponytail. Daddy was pacing back and forth by the island. Back then, I had never really considered the age difference between my parents. I knew Daddy was older than Mama; he stopped correcting people who assumed he was my grandfather a long time ago. I even knew he had been married before, to Mama’s older sister. A picture of Aunt Leah hung in his office, right next to pictures of distant cousins I never got to meet. Cousins who – when I thought about it – looked a lot like me.

I was still mulling over that when mama spoke again.

“You know what would’ve happened, Jay. You remember that life, just the same as I do. I did what I had to do, to protect my children.” She finally turned away from the sink to stare at Daddy. “Just as you did when you tried to fool me with those bodies.”

Daddy stopped pacing. I saw him lean heavily against the edge of the island. “You know about that?”

Mama laughed, but it sounded funny. “Two years ago, Jo had a dream she didn’t understand. She was playing dolls with her sisters. All of a sudden, her sisters’ dolls all stood up and bowed to hers. Sound familiar, Jacob?”

Daddy pulled out a chair from the dinner table and fell into it. “It can’t be…”

I don’t think Mama even heard him. She just kept going. “You were away on a ‘business trip,’ when it happened. I stayed up all night crying.”

“I’m sorry-”

Mama did that weird laugh again. “I wasn’t angry, Jake. It was almost a relief?” I saw her wipe at her face. “Knowing that you were willing to kill ten innocent children, to save your own…no, baby, I wasn’t mad at you.” Mama walked over to join him at the table. She took his hands and held them in her own. “I never wanted those girls to die, Jacob. They were my nieces. I loved them.”

“‘Were’ your nieces?” Daddy’s face was almost as white as his hair. “Oh God, Shel, what did you do?”

“I did what I had to,” Mama said. “Didn’t you wonder where I got all the patches for Josephine’s coat?” She leaned forward until her head was touching his. I don’t know what she told him then, but I will never forget the way he ran from the room and the sound of retching that echoed down the hallway.

Mama died not too long after that, right after she gave birth to my little sister. A week later, I had another weird dream. The sun and the moon fell from the sky, cracking open when they hit the Earth. Ten stars poured out of the sun, and laid down on the ground at my feet. I peeked inside the moon, thinking that maybe there were more stars trapped inside the pieces, but it was hollow. I told daddy about the dream. He just hugged me tight and cried.

The coat of many colors still hangs in my closet. I’m not afraid of what the future holds, and enough blood has been shed already.   

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[Announcement] Finals week.

abc books chalk chalkboard

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Just a heads up that there will not be an installment of “Don’t Feed the Trolls” this week. My university is online, but we still have finals. The professor for one class has given all of us an extension on the ones due for her class, but that’s not the only class I’m in, and my eye has been blurring more than usual (oh joy), which severely hampers my ability to write. Hopefully next week will be back to normal.

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out my Twitter for your #Batfile prompt, and I’ll be back on Monday with a Story and a Song.

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