Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm Not Above Stealing and Publishing Your Writing As My Own

I mean, if its a really outstanding story, one that must be told, that has the potential to change lives and enlighten the masses, then yes, I think I can use it.

Of course, I'm looking for top quality material.  And the best part is, I really don't care what genre it is as long as it's the greatest story ever written.

But I draw the line at glittery vampires.  I'm not putting my name on any of that.

If you think you have the stuff I'm looking for, especially the nobel prize winning literary junk, send it to me and I'll consider stealing it and publishing it under my name.

And know you have my eternal gratitude for making my literary career a reality.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For a Lady Godzilla, You Sure Got Mothra Manners.

From my novel Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg!

“Hey, hey, Lady Godzilla, don’t burn me with your fire lizard breath.”

That’s Mr. Lan. He calls me Lady Godzilla because I am blessed with a statuesque physique, meaning I am tall and strong.

But lately I haven’t been feeling too tall, or too strong. In fact, I’ve been feeling like a pair of worn-out gym shoes stuck in sticky, grimy goo, the kind that oozes beneath theater seats. It’s like I’m stuck in a theater where the same horrific movie is replayed over and over. And that horrific movie is only my entire eighth-grade year.

“Mr Lan, if you’re waiting for me to call you a gnarled-up Cambodian pygmy, it’s not going to happen. I know we’ve had our differences in the past, but I’ve matured a lot since last summer, and I’m no longer interested in arguing with you,” I inform him quite politely. I add, “And since you insisted on taking over my room until the week before I start high school, I would really appreciate it if you would try to be a little more pleasant.”

“You mind go blank-blank, dumb-dumb?” he asks as if I hadn’t said a word. “Set table up for game. I not getting any younger, and you not getting any prettier.”

So much for being pleasant. He’s looking at me with sharp eyes, daring me to retaliate. “Hey, you listening?” Mr. Lan smacks the table with his palm. “Or you got worms in ear again?”

I bite my lip. A, they weren’t even real worms that time, just gummy worms. And B, they weren’t even gummy worms, they were gummy bears. I could tell him all this, but I keep my saintly mouth sealed as I open the box of dominoes. I refuse to let him antagonize me.

“What happened to that big mouth?” He looks at me suspiciously. “I gone one year and now you too big-shot Godzilla girl to talk to poor Mr. Lan.” Then he looks around the room. “How big shot mature Lady Godzilla like I take down these silly monster posters?” He stretches his hand to the Night of the Living Dead poster hanging above my bed. He knows full well it is my all-time favorite movie ever.

I say, “Geez, calm down, you old crank-case,” knowing it’s what he wants to hear, but my heart just isn’t in it. My heart is plumb worn out.

And even though I know I should keep my mouth shut and rise above his petty aggravation, I have to set the record straight. “First off, they are not silly monsters. If you knew anything about anything you’d know they are zombies. And it is a scientific fact that the walking dead may be real. If you want proof, just look in the mirror.”

I didn’t mean to add that last part, had sworn I wouldn’t stoop to Mr. Lan’s level, yet somehow he always brings out the worst in me.

“For a Lady Godzilla, you sure got Mothra manners. You be nice and I let you change my bedpan. How you like that?” he asks with his beady eyes shining meanly.

And even though I am now a mature young woman with a promising high school career before me, I play along despite the fact it’s the last thing I want to do.
“Bedpan? You don’t even have a bedpan. What you have is halitosis.” Halitosis is chronic bad breath, and if there’s one thing Mr. Lan has it’s chronic bad breath. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it is toxic. Okay, toxic and noxious. Like having sewer vapors leak into the air each time his cranky old mouth creaks open.

“Bad breath is a sign of illness, Chicky.  I’m very sick man,” he adds, pulling his red silk kimono closed at his neck.  He says he is sick, but he is not.  He just likes taking an afternoon siesta.

Click to download free chapters.
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Monday, January 24, 2011

I Never Did Anything to Anyone

So why do I have a package of ultra-thick toilet paper on my desk at work?  Why do my co-workers feel they can gift me toilet paper at a department luncheon and make reference to my outhouse in Missouri while adding a crude comment about corncobs?

Why did my former manager think it appropriate to include my calculator in a big, green jello mold and leave it sitting where my keyboard had been?  And upon discovery, why did my innocent coworkers swear they had no knowledge of the incident all the while doubled over laughing?

Why did I return from lunch one time only to have each move I made sound loudly as if gas had escaped my body?  Why did everyone gather around me, pretending not to laugh each time I moved my chair or turned my head or asked someone to pull my finger?  Why was I the target of a fart machine placed perfectly behind my monitor?

Why was my cubicle decorated with photo shopped pictures of Michael Jackson riding a tricycle, or posing like a Greek god in a toga holding a plate of grapes, or worst in a jester costume? Or blown up rubber gloves painted silver and glittered taped like balloons everywhere? On my birthday of all days!

Why do these things keep happening to me when...


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Introducing Grover McQuiston: The Root

From my novel, ROOTED:

Someone was saying, “Get up, boy,” but it didn’t make any sense. Then someone shoved him on the shoulder. Slade flapped his hand for this someone to go away. Then he was shoved even harder.

Slade snarled, “Piss off,” and curled up tighter on his cot.

“What did you just say to me?”

Slade groaned. This person was really irritating the crap out of him.

The voice commanded, “Get up,” but Slade ignored it. Then something hard landed on Slade’s shoulder, sending shockwaves of excruciating pain shooting through his withered body. Slade emitted a high-pitched squeal and scrambled to face his abuser.

“You!” Slade accused. “You’re that asswipe with the gun!” He pressed himself against the wall and held his injured shoulder close.

“And now I have a broom handle,” Grover countered, “so I’d watch your mouth.”

Slade grew indignant. With effort, he managed to pull himself to his feet. When he felt he was as steady as he was going to be, Slade puffed out his wasted chest and said, “Go fuck yourself, you goddamned geriatric goat-grinder!”

Then he hocked up a large glopping glob and spit. It landed on Grover’s tie.

Grover’s arm shot out, snatched the nose ring from Slade’s nose, and slung it to the floor, causing Slade to scream “Motherfuck!” as his hands flew to his outraged nose.

Instantly, the broom handle struck Slade’s abdomen. He said, “Ooowmph” as his breath was knocked from his body. Slade doubled over and was immediately struck again across his hunched back. This blow sent Slade to the floor and into the fetal position.

“I don’t much care for your language,” Grover declared, striking the curled-up punk rocker across his bottom repeatedly.

Slade shook with pain and shock as he begged, “Stop, stop, oh please stop!”

Grover stood over the begging boy, with the hard handle poised to strike again. “Do I make myself clear?”

Slade nodded his tear-stained face. “Yes, oh yes, oh yes, oh yes.”

Grover looked at him closely and demanded, “Yes, what?”

Slade panicked. He wasn’t sure of the answer for this. Then a word from his past occurred to him, long unused and forgotten. “Yes…sir?” he asked uncertainly.

Grover lowered the broom handle. “That’s better.” He stepped back and said, “Now stand up here and stop acting childish.”

In disbelief, Slade mouthed the word “childish,” but did as he was told. When he stood, he noticed the black bars and the concrete floor. He was in jail. Nothing new there. But how did he get there? His hand strayed to his head and felt the enormous goose egg. The old man had hit him with a gun, but there was more. He tried to think but was confronted with that endless darkness that kept so much of the past from him.

Then he realized the old man was staring at him, and this made him nervous. Slade looked away, studied the empty hallway beyond the bars, took in the surprisingly clean toilet and sink. But there’s not a whole lot to look at in jail and so Slade finally blurted out, “What?”

The old man didn’t speak at first. Finally he asked, “Who are you?”

Slade was surprised at the question. “Is this a trick? Are you going to beat my a - me if I answer wrong?” Slade glanced again at the broom handle. Why didn’t the old man just put it down?

“Answer the question.”

The way Grover looked at him made Slade feel nauseas. “I gotta sit down, man.” Slade dropped onto the cot, wincing as his bruised buttocks touched the mattress. He groaned. “What do you want?”

“Are you who you claim to be?”

“Claim to be?” Slade’s head shot up defiantly. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

Grover slammed the broom handle down on the bed next to Slade, causing Slade to jump. He blurted, “I’m the Roaming Mortician, man. I’ve got a band, you know, MORTIFIED.”

Grover shook his head. “Not all that garbage. Is what you said yesterday evening true? What you told Miss Eleanor?”

Yesterday evening? Shit, what the fuck had he said? His mind drew a total blank and his face revealed as much.

Exasperated, Grover finally asked, “Are you Matthew’s son?”

A window of light began to cut through the thick haze in his head. It had to do with the letter, that stupid motherfucking letter that caused him to coke up and tear up Pouncy’s, ruining his chances of ever playing there again. And he could forget ever getting MORTIFIED back together. So much for proving to Donny and to everyone else that he was clean, changed, that he was off the junk and that he still had what it took.

Everything was completely and totally fucked up. And now he was in jail being abused by some redneck Nazi with a broom.

But at least he remembered now, at least he knew why he was there. So he said, “I’m here for my godda - my inheritance.”

Grover looked away. “It’s true then. Matthew is dead?”

“Yeah.” Slade shrugged. “So?”

“You ever work with him?” Grover asked quietly, watching Slade closely.

“How the fu- how do you think I got the name Roaming Mortician?” Suddenly Slade was back in Pittsburgh, in the basement of the funeral home, with the bodies, and he smelled death.

After a thoughtful moment, Grover said, “Get up. You’re coming with me.”

Slade crossed his arms. “I’m not going anywhere with you. You’re fu- you’re insane.” The hard look that seized upon Grover’s face made Slade uneasy, but he added, “I’ve got a letter from a lawyer that says I got something coming. I’m here to get it.”

“A letter?” Grover asked skeptically. “Where is it?”

“I don’t remem…” Slade thought for a second and then frowned. “It should be in my car. It says for me to see some guy named McCrap or something.”


A light went off in Slade’s head. “Yeah, McQuiston. That guy’s got my money.”

“Well, come on then. We don’t have all day.”

“What are you talking about?”

Grover answered with a straight face, “I’m that McQuiston guy.”

Slade couldn’t help it. He said, “Oh shit.” Grover lifted the broom handle.

Slade’s hands flew up instinctively before his face. “It just slipped out, man.”

Grover kept the broom handle ready to strike. “If you want that inheritance you best come with me. Understand?”

Slade knew he didn’t have a choice. “You promise not to beat my ass?”

Grover just stared at him.

Slade rolled his eyes. “All right, let’s go.”

Inside the truck, Grover pulled a long wrench out from under his seat and laid it next to him. He gave Slade a stern look and warned, “Mind your manners, boy.”


Click for full excerpt from ROOTED.

Click for additional ROOTED blog posts.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Margarita Memory Lane

I'm going out for margaritas with a friend.  I promise to be on my best behavior. 

This means I will NOT: 
  • Drink a pitcher by myself.
  • Throw things.  This includes chips, fried pickles, glasses of water or loose change.
  • Step on cakes people set on the floor until time to celebrate a loved one's birthday.
  • Jump on stage with a rockabilly band on Beale street.
  • Try to paddle up the Mississippi river in a dead boat with a midget paddle.
  • Be chased around by so-called friends pretending to be paparazzi.
  • Be propositioned by a very lonely illegal alien with pretty good waiter skills.

Again, I swear on the ghost of Jose Cuervo to be on my utmost, no-holds barred, is it even possible best behavior. 

Just like every time before.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eyeglasses: The Coolest Thing About Me

It's true.  They're brown and blue and make me look much more interesting than I really am. 

I was never cool enough for thigh high boots, spiky hair or big jangly jewelry.  Leopard print clothing? Yeah, right.

But my glasses? Boy, they make me feel uber-cool.

I wish I could squish my entire body behind the lens, they are that cool. 

I'd lead important meetings just like that, a pair of killer glasses at the head of the table, no body in sight. 

My voice would sound from the glasses, the voice of vision and clear reasoning.  All attention would be focused on the brown and blue framed lens.

No one would dare argue with the depth of my perception

I would be, in a word, VISIONARY.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A family curse, a stump-toed soothsayer, zombies, mortal enemies, bffs and so much more...

A summary of my novel: My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg

Eighth grade was to be the greatest year ever for Ginny Edgars, creative genius, food connoisseur and future award winning zombie screenwriter.

But after one too many adventures lands Ginny and her friends in the principles office, again, she is abandoned by her friends and left to her own devices by her career-obsessed parents.

Alone, and still grieving the death of her beloved Gramps, Ginny determines to befriend eighth grade freakazoid #1, Carrie 'Chigger' Larson.

Only Chigger, the biggest sourpuss in the entire world, resists Ginny's friendship every stinking step of the way until an ancient Indian soothsayer sends Chigger on a quest to learn the truth about the Larson Curse.

Chigger fears the family curse killed her father and caused her mother to stop loving her. Even though Ginny knows curses are a bunch of bulloney, she agrees to help Chigger put an end to the evil that has plagued the Larsons for generations.

But the discovery of an old family diary destroys the girls' friendship, and sets Chigger on a devastating course of self-destruction that leaves her fighting for her very life.

Relying on her foxy cleverness and a few zombie combatant moves, Ginny resolves to solve the mystery of the curse and save Chigger, all while writing the greatest zombie movie ever, Space Zombies in Love.
Click here to access additional Cursed! posts.

Excerpt: On Going Deep (had one of them chew-wawa dogs...)

From my story collection, HEADSHOTS:

On Going Deep
On Dogs

That’s a damn shame. Dog like that with all his ribs poking out. If that was my dog… But it ain’t. I ain’t had a dog in years, its hard enough taking getting my own self fed. But shoot, if he was mine, I wouldn’t let his damn ribs poke out. I’d find him something to eat.

His name is Barrel so I say, “Barrel, how ‘bout you and me head up to Chicago and shack up at Brenda’s place. How you think she like that? Shit. She’d kicked my ass that’s what.” This makes me laugh but then the chocolate lab is all scrunched up against the brick wall like he’s afraid I’ll kick him. Like he’s afraid to be touched. Shit. That damn dog ought to know.

I tug on Barrel’s chain until he turns those miserable, brown eyes on me. I say, “When things settle down at home I’ll take you back with me. And if Brenda don’t like it she can go to hell. What’s she gonna do? Call the police on my ass again? Shit. If I had you I’d say run on Brenda, run on down to that lesbian Trina. That’s right. Do what you’re gonna do ‘cause I got a dog and don’t need your drunk-ass, drill-sergeant shit.”

Brenda is my old lady and the reason I’m down in Memphis. She gave me the boot last week out the clear blue. And there wasn’t no damn reason for it, only she’s got issues. Shit, we all got issues. So I just took my ass down to my sister’s house in Tennessee. Hell, let Brenda have her space. Let her run on down to Trina if she wants. I tell her, “Go on now, have at it,” like it don’t bother me none. And maybe it don’t.

I look out over Teresa’s backyard at the flowers all red, pink, purple and blue. The grass is greener than any I’ve ever seen and the swimming pool water looks as clean and blue as window cleaner. Teresa done good, she done real good. I see all this and know Barrel ain’t ever going anywhere with me. Not even when he ain’t being cared for proper. I could do better for him and that’s a damn shame. Shouldn’t be that way is all.

Crouching down in my ragged jeans I hold my hand out to Barrel. “Come on now, it’s just Ray.” But he won’t come to me. Damn Mark anyway. Why’s he want this dog for if he’s just gonna neglect it? I asked Teresa what we’re gonna do ‘bout this dog, but she says we’re gonna do nothing. Now how’s that? Mark don’t deserve this dog and she knows it. But Teresa ain’t got it in her to say no to that prince of a son.

Still I know it just ain’t right for a dog not to have anyone to love him or care for him. I’d care for him. I’d hide him inside my coat on the bus. I seen someone do that once. He had one of them chew-wawa dogs just tucked up in a coat with his face popping out. Right there on the bus. Ain’t that something? I’d like to do that.

Barrel is looking at me, wanting me to rescue him. He needs someone to help him. I see it, but what can I do? Shit. I shrug with a heavy sigh and hang my head. “I know boy. I know, I know, I know.” When I stand up I’m all lightheaded. Ain’t no-one around, just me and him. I clasp my hands together and wonder, “What we gonna do?”

Click here for complete On Goind Deep short story.

Click here for more HEADSHOTS posts.

Introducing Slade Mortimer: The Roaming Mortician

From my novel, ROOTED:
Washed up and drugged out, punk's poster-boy, Slade Mortimer, is on his last leg.  After years of running, Slade descends on Moonsock in a desperate attempt to claim an inheritance and escapte his dead girlfriend's revenge-seeking father.

While the women looked to each other for a volunteer, the door opened of its own accord. They were instantly assaulted by antagonistic screeching, harsh chords, and crashing drums; still they did not recognize the sound as music. The smell that poured from the car had the familiar trappings of rot and decay.

The women instinctively took a step back, and another. Then, slowly, one unlaced black combat boot was lowered to the ground.

“Bet it’s some deranged military man,” Althea determined loudly over the volatile noise. “One of them disgruntled Vietnam veterans.”

“Hush, Althea,” Eleanor warned as the other boot lowered to the ground. At this point the driver’s body slumped forward into view. He rested his bloody, searing blue spiked head on his hands, placed his elbows uneasily upon his knees, opened his mouth and succumbed to several harsh, dry heaves. He emitted a small amount of watery vomit, which dribbled onto his boots.

The women shuddered with revulsion, and then leaned forward for a better view. “My sweet Jesus,” Miss Josie cried. “Look at that mop.”

The driver managed to pull himself to his feet and stood wobbling for a moment before doubling over and succumbing to a gut-wrenching heave. “Auwaughhhhhh…”

Still bent over, they heard him faintly curse, “Shit…shit…shit…shit.” After a moment or two, he recovered enough to stand upright again. He looked around with dazed eyes and then promptly fell to the ground unconscious; his bloody face inches from Lucy’s bloody cow face.

Eleanor stepped forward and whispered, “Oh my! He’s hurt.”

“He’s hurt all right, but that still doesn’t explain the hair.” Miss Josie pointed at the bloody blue spikes. “Or the earrings.”

“Or all those tattoos,” Sarah Jane whispered, studying the driver’s naked torso, the word SWEET tattooed above his right nipple and SOUR above the left. A scaly red dragon breathing hellfire snaked up the side of his abdomen from his hip to right beneath his armpit.

“Or the way he looks all starved to death,” Althea pointed out.

“Or the way he just looks like death,” Miss Josie added. And that was what they all solemnly agreed; he looked like death. He did not even look like death warmed over, no, he just looked like death. His gaunt, alabaster body was emaciated.

“He’s fishbait all right,” Althea hissed loudly.

Eleanor disagreed. “He looks like a bruised and battered kitten.”

Miss Josie was more skeptical. “A kitten wearing black leather pants and eyeliner? I wouldn’t give my daughter any kitten like that.” She shook her head at the driver’s total inappropriateness. “And what,” she demanded, pointing, “for the love of God, is that?”

They looked away from the nose ring, ashamed for the man.


Click for full excerpt from Rooted.

Click for additional ROOTED blog posts.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Uncertain, Rethinking, Questioning

A decision to be made: considerations and implications.  What will it mean?  What will happen?  Who will it affect?

People wait anxiously for my word, my decision; pressing on me, bending my back with their hungry, expectant eyes.  Hurrying me when I need more time.

Only I'm not ready.  But there's nothing for it but to choose.  Decide and move on to the next thing, the next question, the next choice.  Because there is always something else to determine or choose or settle.  Always something else to commit to or solve.

It is never ending. 

I long to choose something new and challenging.  A risk, anything to get the blood rushing, to strain the muscles: anything to propel me up and beyond the routines of daily existence that increasingly comfort yet restrain me with each passing year. 

Anything to make me feel alive and vibrant on long and bitter winter days instead of insulated and isolated.

For now, harried and hurried I settle for the safe and known despite the fact that it is the tried and true that I most want to rebel against, to rise above.  It is the tried and true that seems to be thickening my blood and my waistline.

Decision made: I step to the counter and order Sesame Chicken even though it may not be what I really want. 

But what do I really want for dinner tonight, or the next night or the next?

More importantly, what do I really want for myself, my life and my future?  The same books and music and food? The same people and places?  The tried and true.

Or do I want unknown horizons and expanded views?  Music fresh to my ears, words and sentences and thoughts both strange and wondrous to me.  Untasted food, exotic to my tongue, foreign to my knowing body. 

I don't know.  I can't decide.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Introducing Sarah Jane McQuiston: Accused Vagitarian

From my manuscript ROOTED:
Stubborn and rebellious, Sarah Jane McQuiston is an untamable recluse hiding from a traumatic past and a scandal that has the entire town talking. All Sarah Jane wants is to remain at Moonsock: unseen, unwanted and untouchable.


The sheriff said, “First, Mr. McQuiston, let me say how everyone knows Sarah Jane is, well, she’s just different is all.

Like how when someone talks to her, she just stands there with her eyes on the ground, like she doesn’t see or hear no one. Almost like she’s holding her breath until they go away. Shoot, I’ve hardly ever seen her talk to anyone other than that mechanic over at Patterson’s garage. And it ain’t natural, her not dating or having a boyfriend, not at her age.

She don’t work a job or go to school. And she just looks a mess anytime she comes to town, always looking like she just rolled out of bed, or ain’t even been to bed in days. She’s a pretty girl, but ain’t none of us ever seen her in a dress, not even to church. Just wears those cut-off shorts and all.

And how she runs round all night at the river, like she don't have no upbringing."

“I know all about Sarah Jane, Watkins. I don’t need you telling me about my blood.” Grover might have said granddaughter, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. And he hated using the word “blood” to describe Sarah Jane, when it had never been proven to him that even a drop of McQuiston blood flowed in her veins.

Click for additional ROOTED blog posts.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Just Call Me Francis The Talking Mule

Highlights of my lowbrow vacation in the wilds of Missouri on our forty acre property.

Continued to clean up the devastation from a 110 mph straight line wind storm from a year and half ago.  This involved much mule-like activity centering around chopping/hauling/burning acres of downed trees and limbs.  Great fun.

Took a break to visit an alcoholic ex-felon who drank crown royal, blessed me often and talked of all the big, violent women he knew.  His mind kept returning to a pool-game murder witnessed in prison.

Gifted a quart of moonshine in a mason jar.

Saw an outhouse with double toilets minus any walls in someone's front yard.  Classy.

Crushed a mouse with my massive body.  Don't ask.

Busted a chain on my dirtbike just as a terrible storm broke.  Waited for help in a torrential downpour with lightning crashing all about. 

Spent New Years discussing Charles Bukowski, the beat writers and government conspiracy with a banjo picker. The quart of moonshine was drained (not by me). 

Made it home on gas fumes.

All in all, most enjoyable.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

23 Years of Disallusion: An Anniversary

On January 2nd, 1988 I:
  • Left my car at the bottom of the driveway with a note to my parents.
  • Drove to a church.  And yes, it was a Pentacostal church - recommended by a head trauma patient.
  • Eloped in my prom dress.
  • Honeymooned in a Motel 6 in Texarkana enroute to Dallas.
  • Dined on a steak finger basket at Dairy Queen.
  • Woke up in the middle of the night and swore my ring was missing.  When my newly-minted husband assured me it was on my finger, I exclaimed "I'm so disallusioned," and fell back to sleep.  Awoke five minutes later not remembering this incident.
On January 2nd, 2011 I:
  • Have no intention of driving anywhere today.  Its negative 40,000 degrees in Iowa.  
  • Plan to watch Weeds all day in my house coat.
  • Will dine on whatever my old, worn-out husband cooks and will like it immensely.
  • Slept soundly, dreaming I found arrowheads in dirt that I wanted to give my husband.
AND am still a bit disallusioned.