Thursday, December 13, 2012


Re-reading this, there are so many things this story COULD be a metaphor for. It was mildly self-revelatory and written when I was in a pretty stormy mood. You can take whatever you want out of it.

The moment we caught the monster, sunlight broke over pink-tinged waves and ignited the low-hanging clouds into plumes of suspended fire.
Thick rigging rope quickly tore my hands raw, turning red with each hand-over-hand pull and heave and synchronized breath. Above us, Captain Wethers clung to the railing that lined the deck, leaning over the edge and staring into the water with wide, wild eyes. Every so often he’d shout back to us, encouragement or a threat to fling us overboard, let us tangle with the beast in its element, if we didn’t wrench it out of the water faster. A spear dangled in one of his hands, scratching circles in the railing’s filigree. Once we made it back to shore, someone – most likely me, I thought irritably – would be hunched over it for hours, carefully waxing and sealing the scrapes until they were invisible.
If we made it back to shore, I corrected myself.
The odds still dangled somewhere beyond our favor.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Now and Then

Every so often, I skim through my old entries. It's an exercise in shame and embarrassment, but occasionally a nugget will shine through and I can call it a lesson learned.

So here's the thing. This time two years ago (shoot, this time ONE year ago) I was convinced I was doing everything right. Networking, blogging, carefully working on this or that manuscript and sure it would be THE ONE that would do it. That it would land me an agent, or a professional editor, or a publisher. Dream come true.

It never occurred to me that I was missing out on the most important element.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Equal parts women scorned, and running, and a kind of formulaic, conversational writing I've never tried before.
Happy Halloween.

It was his fault, you know.

Imagine how amazing, how fantastic it feels when the guy of your dreams finally, finally notices that you're more than that gray-and-blue hoodie and a pair of Converse. He walks right up to you, comments on the purple streak in your hair, and then just like that, you're holding hands in the hallways and the pair of pink fuzzy handcuffs you hang on your rearview mirror actually mean something, you know?

That was me. But not anymore.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


This might be the shortest original story I've ever written.
I could be pretentious about it, and say it's a song about earth and fire and water and wind, and say it's about the kind of love that hurts.
But I always thought that kind of talk was ridiculous.


The spell that held me was made of blood and clay and salt, and there was no fighting the words once they were lost on the wind. They swirled, broke apart, and disappeared like waves, and just as quickly.
Instead, I settled into a madman's sleep, the kind that burned with pictures that made me ache and cling to the few dreams that made it through the darkness. The feel of the waves, sea stars caught in the tide, the cliff with the lighthouse where I'd asked Carina to marry me. Where she had said yes. Those dreams reminded me who I was, where I'd come from.
I think the others, those long rows of shadows that stretched past me on both sides, forgot.
We never heard the call that roused us. I'm sure it was a dramatic affair, all wiggling fingers and deep voices, but all I knew was one moment I dreamed of Carina in my arms, and the next I opened my sand-gritted eyes and the world spread beneath me in splashes of red and silver rock that glinted in the sunset. My hands clenched and unclenched, rough skin grinding against itself and sending tiny dust devils swirling into the wind.
Then I heard the priestess's voice in my head, just like all the others did. It whispered, so soft it was almost lost in the sound of the sand at our feet.
“They are coming. Protect us.”
The others shook themselves awake like birds rustling their feathers. Their smooth sandstone bodies, pittied from years of wind and sun and rain, rustled as they shambled, one by one, down the plateau that had been our holding pen. I watched them file past and peered at their identical, expressionless faces. I knew I was supposed to join them, march past the rocks and on to the valley and lay waste to whatever stood before me.
But the heart they had stuffed inside my sandstone chest said no. I waited for last one to pass. Took one long, last look at the plume of dust, parting like a wave, that followed them as they went.
Then I turned around and walked the other way.
When the priestess first took me, she threw a sack over my head and kept me tied, face up, in the back of a wooden wagon that bumped and jostled and wore my skin raw. I lost track of the days, measured only by the amount of the light agains the burlap. When the wagon stopped and they hauled me to my feet, all I knew was I was far, too far, from the lighthouse and Carina and the world I'd known.
There were at least a hundred of us. I never knew how they rounded the others up, if they volunteered or, like me, were press-ganged and toted lifetimes away from the people they loved. No one talked much – instead, we sat in groups of twos and threes, backs against the bars of the cage they'd thrown us in, craving company and terrified of each other at the same time.
At dawn, the priestess returned, her face as lined as the dry riverbeds that snaked around us. Her dress hung in multi-colored tatters, threaded with beeds and bits of glass and sparkling rocks.
“You will be sentinels,” she said, her voice rattling like dead leaves. “You will protect us, when they come.”
Heavy iron collars were snapped around our necks, then, and we were led to the plateau that would become our resting place. I caught one glimpse of the sandstone men, standing in rows of five, before our handlers turned us toward the sunrise.
And the priestess cut out our hearts, said the words that bound us to our sandstone tombs, and watched as her army took shape.
I kept to the shadows, always aware of the tugging, nagging feeling in the back of my mind that called me back to the sand and the sun and the wind. Days passed, then weeks, and slowly the landscape shifted into the low trees and long grass and dark-bellied clouds I knew so well. My shuddering steps quickened, and my heart pounded in my sandstone chest.
The lighthouse waited for me, and I drew to it like a moth to a flame. My jointless legs and heavy feet made climbing the cliff almost impossible, but I pulled myself along, leaving yellow-tan scrapes along the rocks. Below me, the sea spit froth, churning and dark and endless.
She waited there for me, just like I knew she would. Her red hair swirled around her like phoenix fire, and her dress hung stiff with salt.
Sand filled my mouth. I spread my arms, tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come.
She heard me anyway. Turned. Widened her eyes.
And screamed.
I let her run past me, hair streaming behind her like a song, with the waves below keeping I didn't follow. I didn't try to stop her.
Instead, I kept walking, until I stood at the edge of the cliff. The lighthouse towered behind me, a beacon that spun my shadow like the hand of a sundial.. I looked down, into the churning water, and was glad for the waves, because they meant I couldn't see my own reflection.
She'd said yes here, however long ago.
A few grains of sand crept down my cheeks.
I took another step.


I did it again. My bad.

Uber-fast rundown of what's happened this summer:

The short story I submitted in March, The Keeper of the Trees, was accepted for publication in Holiday Magick! It'll be published early next year, and I'm ridiculously excited about this.

Peter Beagle liked the first chapter of Sever!

I started a Tumblr! Here it is!

So there it is, the long and the short of it.

Longer post to come later, I promise. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The not-so-vacation

Last week, I took a vacation to Red River, New Mexico.

My plans were as follows:


For an entire week or so. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Because I walked in the door to our room, and this happened.

How did that happen?

No, I really have no idea. But anyway, this is how I spent the week instead:

To the dulcet sounds of fifty ducks.
So I didn't spend the WHOLE week glued to my laptop. We spent a day in Taos and did a lot of walking and hyperventilating around Red River because Cade and I are proud lowlanders.  And we watched a lot of movies, because most everything was closed since it's a slow time of year for them.

But, I did enough writing to finish a 6,000 word story that I'll be submitting to a science fiction anthology. Said story is in the beta reading stage now, and I plan on opening it back up early next week to do a few rewrites and tweaks.

I guess I call that a success. I feel kind of bad for spending my vacation time stressing over something I could easily stress about at home, but at the same time it was really satisfying.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Things that Go Through My Head

Look at me, keeping up with this not-so-gritty blog reboot (explosion gifs give me headaches).

It's raining today, and I spent the entire day fighting to stay productive. Does anyone else come to work when it's pouring down rain and think, "Man, forget all this"?


In all fairness, rainy days like this are awesome when it comes to writing fiction, but I'm really glad I have a day job. If left to my own devices, I turn into a hermit and shun all external communication. The next step, I'm sure, is raging paranoia.

So. Since last week. What fun we've had.

I'm about 1,100 words into a scifi short story I plan on submitting to (another) upcoming anthology. When I was younger (high school age-ish) science fiction was all I read. It's been nice to get back into that genre. I missed it more than I realized.

Also, I managed to snag enough time to work on the full-length manuscript. It's sitting at 2,000-ish words, which is a far cry from the 48,000 word first draft (which I never finished and eventually trashed) but it's progress, right? Keep in mind this is the manuscript that's going to be critiqued by Peter Beagle in less than a month.

This is pretty close to how I still feel about that.

Really, there's not much else going on besides that. I'm such a boring person.

Just add glasses and a thick veneer of animal hair.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Seven Miles from Yonder Shore

It's been awhile, eh? I apologize for lack of updates, lack of presence... lack of anything even remotely resembling life, really.

But oh, it's been busy. So, so busy.

Here, in fun-for-all-ages bullet points, is a rundown of the boring stuff that's happened since my last update.

  • Hub and I bought a house a few days before Christmas. 
  • Hub changed jobs shortly before the house situation, which caused all sorts of trouble.
  • I changed jobs in the middle of March. No more two hour commute.
Now, a couple of not-so-boring things: I'm linking this blog to my Facebook for the first time ever.

Funny thing, that, because before I was the type of person who would all but throw myself at the computer to hide the fact that I was working on a story.

But, surprise surprise, that got old, or I just got tired of pretending those humongous text documents on my computer didn't exist.

So here we are. And-

If only my smile was this endearing.

 At this point, my work schedule has become so hectic that I haven't had a lot of time to work on my longer projects. This is good and bad, I guess. Obviously, it's bad because I'm not getting it done. But it's also good, because it means I spend my free-thinking time plotting ways to keep the longer projects going.

It's Conan gif day, apparently.
Also good is the fact that said free-thinking time lets me brainstorm on short story ideas. Which leads me to what else I'm doing.

Enough short stories to kill a small rhinoceros.

Last week, I submitted a 7,000-ish word short story to an upcoming anthology. I won't know anything until late June. The prompt was "alternative origins for holidays" with a heavy fantasy theme. Writing the story took a couple weeks. Editing took another couple weeks. Sending it took forever, because I would lock up and think "This is terrible why am I doing this I can't even why why why why why?!"

Just add four pairs of critter eyes peering from the edge of the bed, and it's good to go.

This happens about once a week with every story. Here's what's crazy about it, though. I have these meltdowns, in which I become absolutely positive nothing but unfiltered crap pours from my fingers. I resist the urge to self-lobotomize.

Then this happens.


 So. Now I'm working on another short story. The anthology calls for young adult-themed science fiction. I have a vague idea of what I want to do, it's just a matter of getting the ins and outs figured out for it.


I can't believe I almost forgot this.

In June (as in NEXT MONTH HOLY CRAP), I'll be participating in a two-day writer's workshop with none other than Peter Beagle. I have to have five thousand words of copy ready to go for the workshop, so he can give me input on it.

Here's how I feel about it.

And also:

There's a betting pool going on, as to whether or not I hyperventilate, and pass out within ten seconds of getting to the workshop.

We shall see, friends. We shall see.