Friday, April 26, 2013

Are you ready?

When I was in high school, working construction part-time (among many other things) we were coming home from a job along the shore. The posted speed limit was low, the truck was seriously overloaded, and we were towing equipment so we were really towing the line, trying to fly under radar. It was one of the reasons we were hugging the coast instead of taking main thoroughfares if you get what I mean.

Seeing how the truck was about fifteen years old and the only form of air conditioning involved rolling down the window - all were down and we were hanging out hoping nature would pity us and send a breeze our way. The job we were headed home from had been in a more "southern" clime and it was warmer than we were accustomed to on top of us being beat-tired and sweated through from work.

That was when we spotted the family off an old rickety boat dock. They had this shiny, pomaded up fiberglass boat sitting deep in the water, clearing her throat with guttural bursts. That's what caught our attention. That and the steady lurch of the truck as we had to almost stop to go over the dratted speed bumps and inevitable koi pond sized potholes that accompanied the same. While the driver cursed we watched and listened as the family readied a wanna-be-water-skier on the dock. A part of me had my jaw hanging thinking, "Oh man, that is so wrong, you got to start in the water..." Another part, most likely the demonic imp that dances on my shoulders just said, "Get ready to watch tis babe!"

The guy on the boat hollered back, "Are you ready Water King?" to which his brightly hued, life-vested, straw hat-wearing, ski-laden, adrenaline junkie - clueless in the art of waterskiing replied, "I am READY!!!"

And the boat took off. Full throttle for all she was worth, all 90-horses screaming, twisting water, sending the boating on a pell-mell course that ran not quite straight but jack rabbited a tad before the pilot got it under control and he spun it out into the open channel. The skier? Um, yeah. He was in the middle of the dock when the growl of the motor signaled all systems go and the fool bent his knees. From there he duck-stepped once, twice, then lost a ski in between the boards of the grey-hued weathered dock planking. Never letting go of the pull rope, he was jerked off his remaining foot, went sky-born for a brief moment, then skipped like a stone across the water as the boat did that odd jig-jag I that point the boat slalomed him across a sandbar where he lost the second ski - it popped into the air like a toothpick. As the boat caught it's pace - so did the skier - as a kite tail behind the bright skimming silverfish. The Water King never once thought to let go of the pull rope.

I don't know what was worse, the fact that no one on the boat ever looked back to see how he was doing, or that all of his friends on the shore were laughing as hard as us in the truck (who, incidentally almost wrecked said vehicle watching the spectacle). Yes, it eventually all sorted out, but the guy looked like he went five rounds with Ali.

Over the years I wondered, 'why didn't anyone tell him what he was doing wrong?' Was it because of the nickname? There are plenty of people who think they know everything, to the point where the only way to let them learn the opposite is to have them make their own mistakes. Was that it? But...why didn't he just let go? There was even a night where I had a dream where I was in the same position, every time the motor turned on - I dropped the line. On a lark I sat and meditated, put myself in that position... My first roadblock was trust. I don't have a wealth of it. Not for anyone. Certainly not in that type of situation. Given my dislike of water, it took a long time to get to the stage where I could re-enact the scene.

Anticipation, wanting something so much then having it within your grasp then - BAM! - shock as everything goes from standing still to instantly moving faster than perception can adjust, faster than the body can move. Breath burns, shoulders tear, body attempts to keep up - failure! Pain as one ski is ripped off. Then hit the water. Not a soft hit but like razors, the surface hitting the body with wet slaps and smacks a moment before rolling you across a dirt and sand riddled bar then tearing forward again, this time pulling off sections of skin from arms and legs and the head. All the while looking at the back of the boat, the instrument pulling you - something that was intended to be fun but what is now torturous - and wondering at all the averted faces...why haven't they looked back once? Has it been that fast? Or has it just seemed that long to me?

Now, are you ready for your decisions in life? Sure not everything needs thought out like the Water Kind should have done, but you'd be astounded how often small things should be given that kind of attention. You know, 'the butterfly effect'. Only I like to think of it as, 'are you ready Water King?' Well? Are you ready? Things are getting pretty real out there to make bad decisions let alone to hold on way too long.

Just something to think about while I work on type-type-typing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

stress buster

With all the insanity that's been going on this week - the bombing in Boston, the ricin laden letters, the horrific explosion in Texas - it has been pretty impossible not to sit in front of the television and overdose on news or turn on the radio, blissing out on a buffet of all-day talk show buzzwords. At one point I thought my blood pressure was going to hit critical mass.

Worst was, I couldn't play my violin, we have peeps in the pantry Last week it was duck peeps, this week we are on chicken peeps - golden sonic and a variety of Chinese cuties that are simply darling, plus four Guineas. The ducklings have been moved to the bird barn, so no outdoor playing, I don't need to freak out the farm animals. Not yet at any rate.

So, here I was stressed like a kettle on boil with no way to let off steam and writing wasn't working. In a last ditch effort I called a friend who laughed and told me to "just make something crafty, you know, you are pretty creative..." Then it hit me, I could draw and do so many things! But I also had way too much energy to settle for that. Grabbing my Illustration Now! Portraits book I plunked down on the couch and dug in, looking for inspiration. Instead I found the peace I'd been looking for, and not a bit of inspiration as I filled some pages of a notebook with ideas with plotlines and characters and settings.

Tonight I thought to share with you some of the artists from the book in case you feel an urge to wander the 'net to have a look/see for yourself.

Lisel Ashlock has a wonderfully real texture to her work, the colors are vibrant, earthen, organic. Portraits always seem to have an element to them that an observer would see but dismiss until later when the nature of the symbol clicks with subject. Brilliant and beautiful.

In the work of Montse Bernal there are focal points within the portraits, highlighted by the mixed media: embroidery, pen, color pencils, collage. Lips are stained blood red, eyes kohl black, a shirt in vibrant hues, hair done in sausage curls - so many points of accent but never garishly so.

The pop surreal painting portraiture of Lesja Chernish - very much like Mark Ryden. My favorite in the book is that of the Sisters, the pair look so tranquil they'd be very much at home in a Verse Advice tale. Snaps to anyone who gets the reference.

When it comes to the portrait art of Alexandra Compain-Tissier, I have to admit a bit of a preference - in that for me, it is her pencil on paper art or nothing. She truly does seem to have a gift for capturing faces best in the media - at least to me, Infernal Affairs speaks for itself.

There are maybe five more artists in the book that can capture my attention for hours, but of those one of my favorites has to be Tomer Hanuka. If Hanuka has ever done an ink/digital combo that doesn't please the eye, I've yet to have see it. I can sit and marvel at The White Stripes and find something new to appreciate no matter how many times I return to it - it's outstanding. Kill Bill is just a work of freaking art.

When I'm not nearly mellow enough to create my own art, I seriously love to mellow out with these guys. Can't recommend getting to know them and their compatriots any higher. It's well worth your time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

death of Hope (part 1)

Audience participation time! This is something I've been contemplating for a while, writing from the point of the dog. Now, as you can see from the title the planned ending is a bit...grim. Only you the reader can change that. So unless you comment and get involved it's going to end ugly for our puppy. Not necessarily as foreshadowing here indicates either. It's all to raise awareness for animal abuse, so it is for a good cause. Think of this like a BIG 'Choose Your Own Adventure' story. but if you don't play you can't complain if it doesn't turn out any better than you want it to.
... ... ...

Snuffling warmth, in a pile of furry paws and tails the others shift hoping for a bit of mom’s affection. Stretching and yawning, falling out of the pile and into the sunlight something new, foreign snakes across my path. Curious, my teeth worry the intruder until it’s pulled sharply from my mouth causing pain and a yip as I scurry back to my worried mother.
Only the opening to the box has been closed. My nose bumps into a solid wall. Scared, I whine as my bladder lets go, it’s instinct to show I’m not top dog. There are loud noises above me – thunderous. My body shakes harder. My tail tucks hard against my belly, I’m all wet and scared.
Hands reach down and pick me up, dragging me up towards those loud frightening noises. Please, just let me go back to my mother. Just let me go back to where it’s safe and warm, my heart cries. Lifted up, the world sways, sickeningly so, but I can see for a heart-stopping moment the nest I knew, the warmth, the love all the licks of her tongue, the nips of her teeth, the liquid love of her eyes. Then came the slam of the door and the cold bite of air as the swaying noisome things clutching me made for a foul smelling box that hurt my eyes. But it was strange this air, it burned my nose, made it sneeze and itch. I wanted to cry but the creature holding me made growling sounds that scared me. Sounds that made my heart tremble and beat crazy fast.
Clambering into the shining box, I couldn’t hold in my cries, the creature holding me wrapped something around me, they closed us in and my howls echoed back making me even more afraid. I felt like the only dog in the world. Light glinted, reflected and exploded, heat built up, and I bark and cried, but it only made me exhausted. The creature held me tight, the shining box swayed and bucked and lurched. Pant…pant…pant…
Awake! What is this thing around my neck and why is it so heavy?! The creature put me down – outside! In the grass and dirt – yes! But I have this heavy thing around my neck. I try to step and for every third step I fall on my face. Looking down I can see I’m dragging something. What…? The creature picks me up and puts me in this huge cold box with a roof. It smells of another dog. Slowly I investigate. The creature keeps chanting some noise.
“Hope, Hope, c’mere here, girl. Hope, come on,” the rattle of something gets my attention and I look up. It smells like food, I try to bite but the pieces are too big and too hard. Loud noises sound over my head as I worry at the pieces of food, treating them as toys. Feeling thirsty, I look for another bowl, but don’t see any water.
Thirsty, I lift my head and sniff the air. So many scents! Grass, wood, rot, the creatures, and more, but my belly rumbled and my mouth was dry so I sniffed and scented again and again looking for the tang of water, whimpering when I couldn’t find what I wanted. Hopping down, I walked out until I couldn’t go anymore then dragged myself one way then the other looking for water. In the end there was something that slaked my thirst, but it wasn’t very good and it made my belly hurt.
The light was getting low. I was all alone. It was cold. The food was no good. I wanted to go home. Turning I saw the covered box I had left. Tail low, I drag/tripped back inside and cried my sadness to the heavens. Still not a dog replied. Was I the only dog left?
“Hope, c’mon, wake up Hope…” the noise started again today. So tired. So hungry. So cold. Shivering and stumbling, I made my way over to the two-legged one crouched by the food pan. Maybe today it put something there I could eat? Hope bloomed in my heart only long enough to see that nothing new was there. Just the same too hard to eat pieces. Not even water. Crying, I went and stood over the pan, but the creature didn’t seem to understand. It touched my head and walked away.
Three days later…
Rain pattered on the top of the box. The smell of water surrounded was everywhere, wriggling forward; she licked the food pan and whined at the salty flavor. Her stomach ached from too many days of drinking out of the polluted puddles in the yard. No food to balance out the toxic mix hadn’t helped. Now the rain water softened up the old hard dry so her milk teeth could tear it to bits.
Bright lights flashed in her eyes and she growled at the sharp invasion, barking madly defending her only meal in so long. A two-legged creature stood in the rain leaning over, peering into her box. It spoke low, calmly. Still she barked, this was her meal!
* * *
A week on the road and he had to come home to this, no doubt his wife was having hysterics already. Knocking on the neighbor’s door, he plastered a fake smile on his face. “Heya, Earl. Didn’t know ya got a new dog.”
“Yeah, got me a beagle pup, named her, Hope ‘cause I hope she’s a good one.”
“Well, don’t forget you got to train her up properly, and they need a special diet. You can’t just take them out in the woods and instantly get rabbits and birds, you know.” Jim smiled affably wanting nothing more than to punch this moron right square in the face.
“Nah, it ain’t all that, Jimbo,” he brayed like a jackass swatting his knee. “You just take ‘em out into the woods, let ‘em do their thing. It’s second nature.”
James sighed. He hated the “Jimbo” thing. “And what if it isn’t ‘second nature’ Earl, what then?”
“Why then it’s even easier,” his neighbor smiled in that loose way that signaled no one was home at all, “you just come home empty handed.” With that he shut the door in his face.
James was almost home before he realized that was what happened with the last hound, Pete. The hunting trip where Earl had gone out with a dog and come home with ‘empty hands.’

Sunday, April 14, 2013

my inner nerd

Color me a touch heartbroken the other day, but after reading the pitiful articles covering the media event, I've almost decided whatever eventuality awaits humankind has been earned by our ignorance and arrogance. Every article had the same singular quote from Hawking. Why even bother repeating it here? There wasn't even a reference to any science! It was like no one present asked him a question, like, "Sir, what did you base this hypothesis on?"

Given the way the reporters all pitied the man by disparaging how long he's lived with ALS beyond the average life expectancy, it's a wonder none of them suggested dragging him into the street like a mortally wounded animal needing put down. The rest just snootily condescended how we've managed to overcome greenhouse gas emissions with the latest technology and the like.

Um, hello?! Look at the Universe. Look at our planet. Look at the debris field in space and the size of the floating mound of crap in the Pacific Ocean and feel a wealth of pride. Never mind. What he had to say wasn't merely about pollution. It had so much more weight behind it. If you think on the scale of a Universe, then you have to think BIG. Now look at this world, this planet, think of the fragility of life, what it takes for life. NEEDS versus WANTS. For life you need air and water. Without air and water we as a species cannot survive, correct?

What will happen in the next thousand to perhaps ten thousand years? The process of the magnetic poles for the planet will begin reversing - at least that is the speculation based on the change in size of the planet and its revolution path. Something I've been tracking as fodder in one of the data folders for my science-fiction trilogy, Havoc. (Havoc's file is immense and fun for any geek to read.) Even if changes start small in a thousand years time, small changes will be catastrophic for living organisms. Meaning? Some speculate increased geothermal activity translating to shifting tectonics aka earthquakes, and upper atmospheric changes as well as rotation slows, but that is much farther into the future when the ice-walls build on the planet know, the next ice age. All of this could last a hundred years or a millennia, based on evidence found in the ice caps which show these periods of transition happen with regularity. Only it hasn't happened in a time since man emerged from the primordial ooze so we've gotten cocky. Face it. We ARE cocky. It happens since we're at the top of the food chain. And at this point I'm sort of aggravated and disgusted with my own species blind stupidity. Perhaps as Mr. Beagle once said in The Last Unicorn, (and I'm paraphrasing here) 'maybe one day when rabbits write books they'll think kindly on us.'

I've often wondered, after watching admirable people like Mr. Hawking tenaciously work on in their fields despite debilitating illness, if there wasn't something to the need to see your genes pass on. Why it's harder to kill some of us than others. Genetic imperative, sort of like the biological clock, the drive to preserve life. Why some last longer than others - proving even the "law of the fittest" completely and utterly wrong. Unless of course they can circumvent that, by pure deviousness and cunning and intellect. Not every village needs a swordsman.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friday Flash - a taste of Fang Tower

Sorry this Friday flash is on central or west coast time, but my internet ran out, had to wait for free time. This is a sneak-peek at Fang Tower, Dog Wild book 4, so yeah, it's not written in stone. Next week maybe you'll get a look at one of the other volumes I'm working on at the same time: two I'm actively working on and a third I'm about two thousand words into with plot-lines started, so... ask! The titles are Crazy Cat Lady, Legal Beagle, and Cool Rider.

Beyond that, here's your eye candy.

* * *

The hands of the clock near the door showed a few seconds past four when the ever-perky Nurse Joy sailed through for Gail’s hourly check. Every hour on the hour Joy swept into the room with her cute little chipmunk cheeks dimpled in a happy smile and began the process of poking, prodding and monitor checking. True to form, the cartoon clad nurse shone a light in her eyes and grabbed a wrist lightly humming in tune to the piped in music still circulating over the speakers.
“I thought the reason people stayed was to get rest,” Gail was pissed. Her voice still slurred, her head still hurt and things seemed to have a weird aura to them. She was starting to look forward to seeing the big orderly who pushed her bed around with all the empathy of a grocery cart. He at least, still appeared perfectly normal when she looked at him. The doctor had this funny glow and good old Joy practically gave off light in the dark, it was an odd greenish glow that didn’t touch her skin or looks but was just there. Like a nimbus or a corona. After a few seconds of staring the haze faded and Gail felt her hopes rise. Maybe it was just a side effect of the concussion or the anesthetic.
“I am sorry, but I do have to wake you every hour to make sure you sleep normally and don’t fall into a coma.” Gail stared slack jawed at the peevish teacher-like voice. Hello? Just because she had a concussion didn’t mean she was knocked brainless. She was pissy and hurt, she should be allowed to bitch. Joy picked that moment to poke her fingers at the base of Gail’s skull. Reflexively, she grabbed the smaller woman’s wrist and squeezed. Hard.
“I do unnerstan’. But let me explain somethin’ to you.” Gail fought to keep her voice strong; her traitorous tongue wanted to do the Tequila Tango. “That fuckin’ hurts, it hurt an hour ago, and it’ll hurt an hour from now. Leave it the fuck alone.” Gail nearly dropped the woman’s wrist as the glow flared back into existence turning from lime green to a weird pumpkin. Instead of shimmering it pulsed in time to Joy’s heartbeat. Slightly freaked she dropped her grip.
“Jesus…nurse Joy and pumpkin bolts of lightning...Raichu isn’t it? I see it now, this is like a joke. I am stuck in some Pokémon nightmare.” Almost instantly the glow steadied and resumed the green shimmer before fading.
“I hear the Pokémon thing a lot more when I work pediatrics. That’s my regular beat if you can tell.” The younger woman attempted a strained smile as she indicated her cartooned uniform. “I didn’t know you had a kid. You know, to know about Nurse Joy.” Gail’s eyes drooped. The need for sleep was winning out over her pain and irritation.
“No kids, guys on crew…I babysit some…go birthdays.” It seemed like all she did was blink and the clock went from reading quarter past four to five and again to six. Someone must have taken pity because the next time Gail pried her eyes open sunlight flooded the room through half-closed window slats.
“Gail,” breathed a voice from the shadows, “how are you girl?” She squinted at the dark shape in the chair.
“Mr. Seiff?” her voice sounded froggy. Reaching unsteadily she found a small plastic cup, beaded with moisture sporting a straw. The water tasted better than it should have and she nearly forgot about her visitor as she looked around for a way to refill the now empty cup.
“Ah, here you go, Gail.” He stood up and set something on her knees as he picked up a mauve colored plastic pitcher and refilled her cup. “I wanted to ask you what you remembered from yesterday. And to show you how lucky you were just to have a concussion.”
Gail struggled to work the confusing buttons on the bed to allow her to sit without turning contortionist. Something of her feelings must have shown on her face because the careworn features of her boss broke into a huge smile. “Hospital beds bite,” he agreed as she wrestled with the sheet and alleged blanket.
“What’s this?” she gripped a broken piece of bloody plastic in her hand.
“That, Ms. Hardesty, is what is left of your hard hat.” The voice came from her left, startling her so much she nearly fell out of the bed as she jerked in reaction. It was an incredible voice, dark and deep like an opera singer, full bodied. The man, however, was unusually ordinary. Dark brown hair framed an almost perfect face. The lines of his cheeks, nose and jaw had a rugged cast rather than scalpel smooth flawlessness turning what could have been breath-taking male beauty down the road to regular Joe.
Yet, there was something that drew her gaze, changed her heartbeat and made her hormones want to howl at the moon. Blinking, Gail tried to understand her reaction to the stranger sitting relaxed at her bedside. Then it struck her, the weird aura thing she’d been experiencing didn’t just surround him like an indelible line, it played along his features like a lover’s paintbrush. There was a bluish cast to the skin of his tented fingers and relaxed face. Yet around his eyes and mouth there was a crimson film. For a moment she could have sworn that the gold of his irises actually glowed under his dark brows.
Without thinking she shook her head to clear it and nearly bit off the tip of her tongue as pain exploded behind her eyes. Like the night before it seemed to want to rip through the top of her head at the one spot on the left. “Son of a bitch,” she moaned massaging her fingers around her eyes and cheeks trying to loosen some of the excruciating pressure-pain.
“Ms. Hardesty?” the incredibly sexy voice drew her like a magnet, regardless of the throbbing. His voice had texture, she marveled between heartbeats of misery. Then she nearly lost the battle between her heaving stomach and the titling room as she looked at the unknown man again. The burst of aural color had fled and this time his skin tinged blue, eyes glowed gold and the sharp, bloodstained teeth of a predator smiled at her as the shadows coalesced into the shape of dark wings. Gail screamed in terror before her mind short circuited sending her into oblivion.


“Women don’t usually fall at my feet,” Kyle Atwood joked. He had just barely managed to grab the woman’s shoulders before she could tumble out of the bed. She had been as much a surprise to the vampire prince.
“Damn, I hope that head injury didn’t screw her up permanently. We need her,” Sieff patted a pale hand, tucking it beneath the covers as he pushed the alert button next to the bed summoning a nurse. Kyle arched a dark brow at the other man’s skewed sense of concern. For millennia humanity had accused his people of being unfeeling, but nothing compared to modern America for a true lack of compassion.
“Oh don’t get me wrong,” the older man caught the look of amused disgust on Kyle’s face. “Gail is a great lady. She’s more than just a construction project manager to me. Almost like a daughter, I’ve known her so long, but I know how bad she hates being laid up. Last year some fool accidentally shot her in the leg with a nail gun.” With a shake of his salt and pepper head over the memory, Sieff grinned in pride at the limp woman. “Never known for her fainting, she’s plenty tough. That day she gritted her teeth, glared down the cowboy with the gun and picked up a claw hammer cool as you please and pulled the nail out.”
Kyle stepped back from the bed, at once repulsed by the casual pride the other man took in the woman’s unfeminine spirit yet oddly attracted to her strength. It seemed like only yesterday that women were feted and cosseted, every whim indulged and every injury fretted over with the greatest of care in regard to their more delicate constitution. In the space of a mere handful of years woman had truly evolved into the more deadly of the species of man.
Curiously he stared at her true face revealed under the duress of pain and wondered if she would be the one. Marble cool skin the color of unpainted porcelain slid smoothly under a questing fingertip. She glowed with life, energy and potential as brilliantly as the moon. For all he knew, she could be equally unattainable.
A heavyset nurse bustled into the room with a scowl on her face. Breathing deeply Kyle read the woman in consternation. She was more concerned with merely shutting off the alarm and returning to her romance novel secreted in the stock closet where she was supposed to be doing inventory. Disregard and a lack of caring flowed from her pores like a tang of filth.
Stepping to the side he allowed the slovenly woman to brush against his clothes and stiffened in revulsion. She was utterly focused on the value of her paycheck and the expensive quality to the ‘harlot’s’ visitors. The woman had a penchant for “tidying” the personal effects of patients and visitors alike. A sudden wave of protective warmth rose and flooded his mind with the need to keep the greedy thief from inflicting harm on the woman before him. Instinctively Kyle stepped forward and plucked the sweaty plump hand from Gail’s.
“Get a doctor. Now.” He growled through teeth bared in a parody of a smile. Incredibly the woman still tried a pathetic attempt at an old pickpocket maneuver, the bump and dip, as she moved to leave the room. Kyle forced icy calm through his veins and allowed the foolish woman to win a small token piece of jewelry, a gold cufflink. His dogs would track the scent back and render proper judgment.
A younger harried looking doctor walked into the door and paused, staring wide-eyed. Kyle gave an imperceptible nod and the young neurologist hastened forward frowning lightly. Even to one of the lesser bloods Kyle mused, her identity was revealed by scent, appearance and her very touch. Lightly her eyes fluttered and opened. Dilated with shock and something more, the warm hazel orbs had drained in color showing only the brilliant red-gold threads gleaming fire, bright against the muddy green humanity boiling away from her very soul.
Silently he stared, considering Gail Hardesty, the future and all it could hold. Clasping Sieff’s shoulder in a gesture of support he turned directing a final fulminating glance at the dazed prone woman before leaving. There were many, interesting things for his attention. Things like the worm Cody Barnett and his unusual hold over men who should have been more loyal to the stricken Gail Hardesty.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

the vagaries of service

I'd love to have a real and I do mean interesting reason for why I haven't posted since last Friday. Sure, I could blame the fact we started construction on the bird barn. Most would call the new edifice a chicken coop, but since it'll be home to a combination of ducks, chickens and geese...well, I'm calling it a bird barn. That did take up a good part of an unusually balmy weekend, but it wasn't the reason I was frustrated in posting.

For some reason once the sun came out - the internet service died. We watched as our service bar was totally filled, yet a mysterious little yellow pentagon with an exclamation point just surfaced on the bottom of the screen, informing us that while we had internet, we didn't have internet.

So I took the time to work on my projects...and obsess on that damned little symbol in the corner of the screen thwarting me from doing what I said I was going to do. It was aggravating, irritating, and worst of all - frustrating!

Today on the way back from a doctor's visit, I was stuck in traffic (tis the season for construction), there was a big dust up about people feeling how they were being short changed in terms of service at a certain fast food chain. How the workers weren't happy, not greeting customers happily. That sort of thing. I cracked up. Just before going to the doctor I had a stop at a lab for blood work so I made to detour through a local drive-thru for something to eat. My blood labs can take a lot of vials so I tend to want to eat and have a bottle or two of water. Thank goodness mine are non-fasting! There was no line and I had some time so I thought, I'll just pop in. HAH! Twenty-six minute wait, got cold food when the girl remembered I was there, between trips to wherever she was haring off to and her gossipy friend and her manager watched the whole thing. Her comment? She could have made better use of her time by cleaning her station. Yeah. I don't think the greeting is their major malfunction. Sort of like my internet interruption there is another problem that needs exploring.

At least we managed to fix our problem by getting the dish realigned. Now, service again! However long it lasts...that is another mystery. But I am back peoples!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Friday flash...tease

Many apologies, there would have been a post yesterday, but I ran out of internet. I've noted how I'm in a pretty rural area, so my connection is through a satellite uplink, meaning a metered connection. My daily allotment was gobbled up when my computer decided - all on its own, I may note - to do a Windows update. I had turned that annoying function off. The computer and I are going to have words, in the programming language once I get back from the neurologist this afternoon. *scowls*

Now, I finally got that scene typed up in Trickster's Folly. Go me. So proud of myself. With no internet I didn't have anything else to do. Other than read 'Survivals of Roman Religion' for the umpteenth time, but only I'd enjoy that dusty tome that much, but I digress. Keep in mind, this is a quasi PG-13 clip and it hasn't been edited to my normal OCD levels. It's just a teaser.

Happy Friday, folks!

* * *

“I can’t believe you signed those divorce papers.” Rayna emerged from the bathroom posed artfully, one arched foot on top of the cream colored seat of dressing stool. The twisty vines of metal forming the base accenting her other calf as it narrowed into a two-toned emerald and taupe shoe made of multiple, thin straps which had to have graced a denuded street hustler somewhere.
Up and up, Amber’s tired eyes dragged as more than her libido woke following lithe lines of knee to thigh to where lush loveliness disappeared underneath a shell of matching green dress. “Your dress is really pretty, even if it is kind of crooked. It’s a nice green color.” From the sudden bloom of red high on Rayna’s cheeks, Amber’s customary lack of fashion sense turned the smaller woman’s crank – again.
“This is a Grecian style, it is meant to be off one shoulder. It is an elegant style you heathen – it is not crooked.” Her sharp little nose popped right into the air, damn but it was sexy. It was all she could do to keep herself sprawled on the floor at Rayna’s feet, to keep acting like she was bored out of her mind by the frippery, and just a bit amused when all she wanted to do was muss that fine dress while Rayna’s leg stayed hiked up in that vulgar way.
“Oh, it’s Greek. That’s why it’s olive colored,” Amber nodded and stared at Rayna’s foot like it was fascinating.
“It is not olive! It is sea green, there is a huge difference! One would think you were completely color blind!” She huffed tossing her arms, which caught Amber’s eye. One hand held the second shoe, the other a slim bit of yellow colored leather. Whatever could that be for, she mused?
 “Aren’t you ever going to get dressed?” Rayna might be thrilled as a pig in poop to attend the black-tie fundraiser for animals’ rights groups, but Amber was getting the impression she was probably the only one. Well, Rayna, and possibly Princess Pain-in-the-ass, Celena. But still, Amber would rather sit at home with Huginn and Steve and watch her toenails grow.
Grumbling, she pulled off her bathrobe to reveal she was still wearing her vambraces, the leather vest that protected her shoulders against Hugs claws, and bikini underwear. “I’ve showered before you. Can you make me presentable in the time given, oh, my queen?”
“Yes, smarty pants,” the answering smile was soft, playful and full of hidden meaning. Quickly Rayna slid on her second shoe then walked over, stride slow, measured. With a quick furtive movement she slid her hands around Amber’s neck. If it were not for decades of trust, Amber would have pulled away, but she didn’t. She stayed, trusting, loving the tiny woman in front of her more than anything possible. When she felt something small, thing and almost tight cinch around her neck, she had an odd notion of what it was, a sort of collar, if she was right. Looming over Amber, Rayna swallowed nervously, smiled, and then commanded, “Take out your braid, and let your hair fall naturally over your skin.” Perking a brow at the order, but interested at this change of pace Amber did as directed.
Keeping her golden eyes on Rayna’s limpid brown one’s, she unhurriedly freed the elastic end then used her fingers to brush the entwined length into a long curtain of waves flowing over her back, over her shoulders, down her arms. It itched, brushing over her skin, and she wished it was elsewhere, but if it made her lover happy, she was more than content to indulge Rayna’s fantasy.
A click sounded almost overloud in the small room. From somewhere Rayna had found a length of gold-plated chain and attached it to the collar now clasped around Amber’s neck. Really into this ‘amber for Amber’ theme aren’t you, she chuckled inwardly. “Take off the vest,” Rayna ordered, her voice low, cracking with emotion.
Amber nearly grinned. The last time Rayna tried to top from the bottom she made it about this far and then just started begging for what she wanted. Not a problem, not like Amber had any qualms about giving the goddess trying not to bite her lip in sudden indecision exactly what she wanted, but then again if being in control or in charge was part of what she wanted…how to make her curb this indecisiveness? Amber’s inner sadist woke and howled with glee.
Sitting back on her haunches, Amber let her weight rest on her heels. She kept her gaze on the throbbing pulse point in Rayna’s throat, her body loose, elbows down, shoulders flat, posture almost as perfect as if she were trying out for a swimsuit model piece on the beach – the only difference being her hands were slowly, deftly moving to pop the buttons one at a time from bottom to top. As if Rayna realized and reacted even harder to the impersonal show, Amber frowned and pulled back.
“You’ve gotta be kidding,” she pouted, angling a glance upward through dark lashes. Holding the top buttons, she arched her back, tilted her hips, and pulled out every trick she could recall seeing a stripper toss in her direction while stuck in the same direction. When Rayna’s eyes nearly popped, Amber smiled slow and hot.
“Uh, uh. No way. You wanted to master this beast, remember?” Her muscular arms stretched out, then folded back, submissive. “You got the chain, you’re in control.” On her knees she crowded closer, using her nose, she rubbed the soft flesh of Rayna’s knee, slipping the silk of her dress higher, but still not breaking eye contact. “You wanted to be in control then do it.” Amber’s breath fanned out between Rayna’s spread thighs, ah the naughty girl was only wearing the tiniest of lace thongs. If it weren’t for the liner on the dress, the silk would be ruined with a single wrong placed lick. “Can you do it? Can you bring me to heel?”
Rayna shook like a palsy victim. Absently her left hand spooled the slack of the chain as she bent over her lover and would-be-slave. “I think I can handle this, so kiss me – now.” Grinning like a sinner, Amber leaned in and gave her exactly what she asked for.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

today ... and a taste of FoL

Got a bit rattled off of my writing game today when a local arts center where I'd signed up for a class called to let me know that the class was unavailable due to lack of enrollment. Cue nervous breakdown. It had only taken me two and a half months of dickering back and forth with my husband and cognitive therapist, talking about class length, levels of difficulty, intensiveness, and, of course, cost. Finally I narrowed the course down from a handful to just one and the one I wanted was cancelled. The other alternative was more than my budget. The next class that interested me, I didn't think I'd be able to handle in terms of ability.

Meaning I spent today walking around like a Turret's victim, pacing and tugging at my hair as I studied the catalog, but I couldn't seem to concentrate on it, I was also so easily distracted by every last thing. For some stupid reason I get like this when I'm really upset. Any outside stimuli suddenly - bang - has my attention and I'm hyper aware and can't focus on anything else until something else intrudes. Meaning while I clutched the catalog, music was playing - music I didn't really hear - as Facebook pinged - and the dogs barked - and I went to see what had them in a tizzy - and the neighbor drove by - then my stopped with a guy named Mike - and the computer pinged again, Facebook - and my cellphone rang, unknown number, ignore it - and my husband came home - to which he saw what I was like and promptly...the music was turned off, the cellphone was turned off, for an hour the internet was turned off, and he made me put the catalog down. After all, I looked like a mad woman wondering about with it.

In the end I picked a class on how to do mosaics. Really kind of happy about it. Hope it doesn't get cancelled too. I know how to do tile and stone and mortar and brick, so...Seriously, don't let this get cancelled. I can't deal with it.

* * *

Given the recent popularity of the mini-series of the Bible on television, I decided to promote my faith-based erotic, Festival of Lights a wee bit. (Hey, the Bible has sex and violence. Think I'm wrong, just read it.)

To that end, here's a new blurb:

Torn by the tides of religious war yet again, ancient Jerusalem proved a dangerous place for rabbinical students. To save his son a merchant made a most unusual purchase, a female Scythian slave - horse and all. Return in time to the first Hanukkah to witness miracles of faith and love.

And a work safe excerpt:

With the fluid grace of a predator, she closed the distance between them. The animal part of his brain was bleating in fear, but the male part was fully appreciative. The play of muscles under skin, coupled with the way she moved, walking on the balls of her feet with just the hint of a feminine sway. Hypnotized by the display, he didn’t notice how close she came until the twisted belt at her waist bumped a part of his body that enjoyed her prowl too much. So much so, if she moved any closer there would be no way she could miss the thickness of his arousal against her belly.
A calm, analytical part of his mind registered her attributes in painful detail. Saka was tall compared to other women he’d encountered. With a flash he imagined them naked, her hands circling his swollen manhood as he pushed her against the wall, lifting a lithe, muscular thigh. Then she gripped his chin with her dirt-stained fingers and the daydream shattered.
“Do you see me?” Saka lifted her arms. All Jacob saw was the ornate vest molding a taut waist and comely breasts flaring beautifully above lush hips and toned thighs, but somehow he doubted that was the answer she was seeking.
“Better I think, than you know,” his voice came out huskier than intended and deep inside her blue eyes something contracted, then flared candle-bright.
“Then know this, Conqueror of the line of Kings. I fell in battle. I failed my people. It was they, not the enemy, who decided my worth lay in the slave market and not as a warrior. I cannot go home. There is no home for me with the Kimmeroi.”
For a moment Jacob stood astonished at the heartlessness of her betrayal. Women were the core of his people. There was not a one without value beyond compare. Then he remembered his dream, white deserts tamed as he walked the land and a curious feeling of power grew in his chest.
“Wear your hair as our women do. Wear clothes as they do – but do not forsake your own. No one but Elokim, our God, knows what lies in the future.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

writing day

Today was a writing day. Had this scene in my head that I was working towards getting committed to the page, never got it actually typed up because of a few speed bumps, but for the first time in a good long while it is really blazing in my mind fiercely. I'm not worried about losing an impression or a word. So, I don't mind going off to bed tonight without having gotten all of it recorded.

I do mind, however, my idiotic lack of feminine finesse when it comes to clothes and shoes. Jeans, t-shirts and stripper shoes. *scratches head* Yeah, not the magic mix most would find knock-your-knickers-off-sexy but that happens to be my forte, oh and toss in my fetish for killer hats. Really, I dig hats. Anyone who knows me has seen my insane addiction to headwear, and I am not talking about baseball hats, either. But if I'm pressed to describe a lady's dress, you'll get the color and if it had puffy sleeves or strappy things or not. See, totally lacking. I had to drag out the Taschen costume Bible as well as a few catalogs to dig through.

The sexy stuff, no problem. I can rattle off sexual peccadillos blindfolded and ball gagged. How? Easy-peasy, sign language should push come to shove, or well, there are other ways of getting words across, you pick those up quick depending on the kink. Then there is my unfortunate urge to constantly self-edit from the beginning every time I sit down with a work-in-progress. The longer the story grows, the more irritating this becomes - I just wish I could write! Instead I obsess, "Did I really say that back there? I really meant to say this in that spot. Oh, no! I shouldn't have used this word four times in three paragraphs." And so on. All of this could wait for the end, but no, I do it writus interruptus in the middle.

But today none of that derailed me, I got a good 4,000 words in on Trickster's Folly and added another 2,000 to The Relation Chip, so it was all good. Maybe if things go right I can share that scene tomorrow or even share the opening to Leash Laws. Now to get rid of the low-grade headache and get some sleep.

Monday, April 01, 2013


The other day I was swamped by the sheer volume and complexity of news stories available in today's media. Then it hit me, it really shouldn't bother me as most of what I draw from when writing doesn't necessarily come from news snippets, but from experiences that this new 'plugged-in' generation will totally miss.

For example, the other day I was cleaning my kitchen when I was utterly floored as I listened to the story of a local kid who successful had his parents dragged in by a child protective service branch (since I live in a border area not sure if it was WV/PA/OH/MD) because when the youth was being punished his parents dared take away his cellphone, video game system, computer and related paraphernalia. Um, hello, that is the definition of being grounded. To have things of enjoyment being withheld for a set period of time until positive changes in behavior are achieved. Instead this was considered 'cruel' and the preteen was being deprived of things his peers had making him the 'object of derision' also 'denying him enjoyment of his formative years.'

Oh for pity's sake. A preteen. As in not a teenager. I must have been the worst mom ever. My kid didn't get a cellphone until he was sixteen. Let's not talk about the video game system or the internet because if I do the federales will be tracking the origin of my signal to haul me away to Gitmo for waterboarding. Sheesh.

I remember the trips to Florida, when we had the money - not two or three times a year, let alone seasonally - and certainly not to the expensive realm of Disney. And on these long trips in a vehicle sans DVD player, we were to sit, feet on the floor, hands in our lap, and eyes steadfastly out the side-windows to report on anything of interest to either parent. By the way, we were fortunate to have an FM radio, which my father never played unless it was to drown out my mom's attempts to give him bad directions to wherever we were headed.

You'd be amazed at the things you see while looking out windows - like the man with the long greasy black hair, sunken eyes and pallid skin wearing a tuxedo and tall top hat, driving a blue Schwinn bicycle with a shiny chrome basket down the side of I-95. Trust me, that image stayed in my head from the time I was fourteen, he had the image of today's age-worn Alice Cooper without the cool stage make up. Even more interesting were all the signs for "No bicycles..." and the like on the road, yet there he was, and in such odd get-up. Like a mortician for roadkill minus the shovel.

There were other things, too. Like the carload of naked people driving down the road, carefree as you please. So many folks treat vehicles like no one can looks in, as if it's a brick and mortar world instead of a fishbowl on wheels, but there you have it. Even better were the billboards and animals. We stopped counting and memorizing all the goofy slogans and misspellings that made us laugh. Or how many "Pedro's South of the Border" signs there had to be - just too many to count. And I got to see a real black panther in along the side of the road when we cut across the state. Dad liked to go to wild places to take pictures.

I never noticed a lack of having "stuff" growing up, because there was so much fun. Miss Tactile Sensitivity, that's me I suppose. So when it came time to be a parent and I was presented with the problem of hardship, of need-versus-want I didn't want to just present things in terms of economics, but to show my child how life could still be fun, to inspire him to live and enjoy life to the fullest without lusting after all the crap his friends had.

You can eat a meal and talk to the people you are seated with.
You can watch a movie, focusing on it alone.
You can spend a holiday with your family without responding to the dulcet tones of a text.
The world will not end if the internet is disconnected for two whole weeks.

Just imagine the things you can learn about the world around you...or even about yourself, if left to your own imagination for that amount of time. The world spun for millennia without it in far, far better shape. Think on that, and ponder the possibilities and ramifications.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

I thought I'd be better able to tackle the weekend than I was, silly me. Instead I'm going to share a project I've been working on as the mood allowed the past couple of years. It's an odd sort of story, so I'd really like feedback. It's heavy supernatural, urban-fantasy, interracial and female-centric. Make what you will of the last bit. As for the title... I'll keep that to myself for the time being.

Hey, maybe one day someone here will tell me how to do one of those cut things so I don't clutter up my front page with walls of text (looks hopeful). Yes, I am that clueless.

* * *

For hours Neuri Ralston watched the crowds of humanity flow past the front of Absinthe of Malice, an innocuous bar in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. She had stood watch over the establishment on and off over the last month. Each time, a siren’s song wrapped in scent pulled her closer to the door. Who or what was inside? Why was she drawn? Most importantly, was this a trap or could she finally have found where she belonged?
The door opened and another tantalizing drift of pearlescent smoke wafted her way and she was sorely tempted to give in, to explore the bar’s mysterious interior. Maybe at long last her yearning heart could find a place where she belonged. With a disgusted shake of her head, Neuri subsided deeper into the shadowed cove of an alley to watch and hope.
“I’ve dreamed,” the terse words fit the angry jerk of movement as the petite woman behind the counter slapped decorated cardboard coasters on the sleek surface of the bar.
“Misa, you are the Strix, when don’t you dream?” Lyndi Chiao laughed and shook her walking staff so the incense in the complex metal head plumed smoke to disguise her own. Being a dragon was getting harder and harder with all of the anti-smoking laws being passed. For the last hundred years, the po-shun flying staff remained safely hidden while a ceramic cigarette holder lent her the illusion of smoking. Now, she pretended to sniff the scent of burning orchid seeds as a customer sent her a scathing look, now she faced having to go back into hiding in the hinterlands.
Not so for her voluptuous little lover, the Strix. The modern world had lost true appreciation for the witch-born demonesses. Today, thanks to the neo-pagan movement, strix was just another name for a type of witch, not the beautiful shape-shifting, dream haunting, blood drinkers they truly were. Lyndi loved the feel of Misa’s small talons gripping her wrist as she ruffled her silky feathers before a nocturnal hunt.
Misa’s gusty sigh accompanied a pained roll of green eyes, redirecting Lyndi’s fanciful thoughts. Artemisia had been a youth with the first blush of womanhood gracing her limbs when she walked naked in the creek, harvesting herbs and the attention of a dragoness. No matter her innate tranquil grace, a simmering cauldron of emotion always bubbled beneath the surface.
“At least I find my way through dreams by more than mere moonlight,” an impish dimple dented a soft cheek a split second before Misa’s classic Greco-Roman features turned serious. “Oscar Wilde aside, I’ve been dreaming awake. Again and again the same thing – a cry of loneliness that kills, an arctic wind that burns with heat, and a fury unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”
Lyndi nodded, she too had felt a change in the energies of mountain, air and water. However, she wasn’t as attuned to the earth and its creatures as Misa. A celestial being at heart, she needed to breathe the air and see the stars. Contemplating the possibilities, her claw, tipped fingers twisted the po-shun surrounding her with comforting smoke.
“Ugh, that is so disgusting.” A nasal voice full of haughty derision buzzed in Lyndi’s ear like an annoying gnat. “There are laws about smoking in public places, ya know.”
“Yes, I do know,” instead of getting angry, Lyndi felt amusement coil in her belly. This pale round eye held nothing but contempt in her insubstantial little frame. Humans walked such a small time on the earth, yet roared as though their voices carried the impact of a Shishi, Foo Dog, protecting their temple.
“You are very thin,” she commented, looking at the annoying one’s underfed body with a spark of lazy, masochistic interest. A spark that must have registered in her eyes the way the waifish virago flinched. She felt the bristling energy of Misa at her back and pulled the full-bodied beauty to nestle under her shoulder. If she let her little demon-witch have her way, the woman would be sipping hemlock tea and smiling prettily. Sometimes having dominion over water had its perks.
“I’m a model,” the annoying one said with a toss of badly permed hair. The whining voice was starting to erode Lyndi’s good humor. White women would never make sense. Twenty, or maybe thirty, years earlier, a designer looking for something unique had stumbled into Absinth of Malice and persuaded the dragoness to pose for a few photos to sell his foul smelling perfume. Black women weren’t supposed to have Asian cat-tilted eyes and long layers of waving green-blue hair – she was a hit and business increased. Thankfully, her fifteen minutes of fame lasted only that long. In no time she was back to being reviled as a mongrel freak.
“So was I child. Being pretty doesn’t give you a right to be surly and demanding.” Lyndi’s eyes slid slowly closed, unconsciously pulling the bony creature forward. “Aren’t you,” she extended a pearly claw forward and caressed a hollow cheek, sensing the implants behind it, “thirsty?” The fake blonde licked equally false raspberry lips with a suddenly raspy tongue.
“Yes,” her voice, now quieter, rough with thirst was far less troublesome to Lyndi’s ears.
“Then perhaps you should have more to drink?” The suggestion had the desired effect and the young human stumbled back to her table to order a new round.
“Misa,” she purred, a throaty sound not unlike the rumbling timbre of a tiger defending her dinner. “Be a dear and call your friend, the Peace Officer and allow him to know that a very inebriated female will be leaving within the hour.” Giving in to temptation, Lyndi rubbed her nose against the pale fragrant skin of Misa’s neck, allowing the thick fall of chestnut curls to tickle her nose giving rise to images of another spot of her luscious lover’s body where crisp curls delighted.
With the spark of arousal came an image…snow swirled and flew coloring the air and ground in a tornado of white, above the sound of the howling wind was the wail of an animal that wasn’t quite an animal. The feeling of arousal intensified, Lyndi lifted her head and her lips bowed into a true smile. “Our third nears; soon our trinity will be complete.”

Friday, March 29, 2013

self challenge

Still not feeling "the thing" so I opted for an old fashioned writing challenge instead of attempting to add to anything 'in progress' to share. This type of challenge involves getting out the dictionary, picking a number of words at random and using them in the first sentence. The idea is to write a bit of flash-fiction based around that sentence. Remember, this isn't perfect, it's written fast and just based on these randomly picked words to stimulate the muse or writing process.

Todays words: negative, course, sputter, fill, descend, carcass

Negative thoughts filled the young man’s mind as he watched the thin stream of cold water course descend over the cooling bovine carcass to fill the chipped concrete gutter in the center of the floor with a thick runnel of blood.

“’You’re good with animals, help your uncle out for the summer, they said,’” he mocked, twisting his alto voice to a screechy pitch. “This doesn’t require being good with animals.” He looked disdainfully at the rough planked walls and the unsealed concrete floors while the ceiling was enough to not bear closer scrutiny. The lid of the make-shift abattoir consisted largely of exposed rough sawn beams pierced by pieces of rebar that seemed to have been wrestled into shape by the world’s biggest, burliest fisherman. Most of pieces looked as if they had been scavenged from construction sites, splattered with paint, concrete, rust or just run over by heavy equipment.
At the least he was spared doing the outright killing, that or dealing with the farmers when they brought their animals in to negotiate prices. He was quick and efficient at processing a carcass that was the only reason his lazy uncle wanted him around, and he knew it. But at the rate the old man was having people bring in cows, he wouldn’t be able to get any sleep – or the meat would go rank, because the son of a bitch was too damned cheap to buy a proper refrigeration room. There was this creepy cellar that smelled like death, but there was no freaking way he was going to stack any of the hung beef in there. No way, no how.

When he complained, asking for another flash-freezer – because, face it, one wrapping station and flash freezer isn’t enough with the amount of cows his uncle had agreed to take in of a sudden – he got dragged around to a bunch of other places just like this 1930s horror show. All had the same motif, broken down barn meets light-industrial with a side of depressed splatter house horror in blue vinyl boots and a clear plastic slicker. Just…what the hell?
In school they’d read Upton Sinclair and those stories out of the slaughter houses, things were supposed to have gotten better, not worse, right? But that was all USDA, not mom-and-pop do-it-yourself and ‘as long as you don’t sell the meat no one cares’ fly-by-night outfits. It made him want to weep. The irony being he was saving up to pay for college, hoping for veterinary medicine. And here he was, using his knowledge of anatomy to make better, faster cutlets. Watching the blood change from dark red to a foamy pinkish froth, he wondered not for the first time, if the guys at the big, clean slaughter houses ever shared these maudlin thoughts, or if it was something he was stuck with based on the ambiance of drafty former pig-pen? Fervently he hoped to never find out.

With a shake, he returned to the task at hand. This beef need to hang. Time to focus on another. In this fashion he hoped to numb his emotions, preserve his sanity, dull his senses and keep a running tally on days, hours, minutes, and cows via steaks, chops, burger, and entrails. There was another guy, one with a missing eye who pulled his leg along like a puppy on a chain that dealt with head, hides and hooves. Let him face the faces and those horrors. The other man never really talked, he liked that as he was at his limit.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

world of hurt

No bones about it, today was an awful day. On Monday I picked up a prescription and noticed the generic for the Topamax that I usually take was totally different. It really made me uncomfortable. I wasn't onboard with going generic in the first place, but didn't have a choice, but going to yet another generic...well, I decided there really wasn't anything I could do about it. Hindsight, is a bitch. Tuesday was sort of okay, Wednesday I had a headache all day that just kept getting worse no matter what I did. Just put it down to two doctors' appointments in one day plus trying to squeeze in grocery shopping. Overload. Today. Yeah, it blew. My eyes still ache. My face still feels swollen. My skin still feels foreign, and I just managed to hold down my first meal of the day. Go me.

In case you don't know why it is important to tell your doctor that you want 'brand necessary' checked on your prescriptions for chronic conditions, unless you're being ground under by the system like me: Crazy Meds

On the upside, my husband didn't know how bad my day was going and he brought me home an Easter gift early, six white Peking ducklings. They are sitting under a heat lamp in a special tub with a feeder system - cat proof, of course. It's indoors until they are ten weeks old, they're only a week old.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

casual conversation

I love people watching. Really. As much as I dislike being around people in general (crowds are not my thing), I'm actually one of the rare types that goes shopping on Black Friday every year not for the deals, but to people watch. Just ask my mom and sister-in-law. They've spent enough years with me during our annual event to testify to my lack of actual spending to own up to the truth of what I'm really doing - gawping at the sheer humanity. Or in the case of that pulsing mass if gibbering mayhem, lack forthwith.

Used to be I'd take a notebook and jot down what I thought people were saying, or doing as I watched them. My own brand of alternate history. It was pretty popular for a while, I've lost track of some of the older creations on the internet bulletin board system. Would have kept them on my computer but the grey box did a pop and fizzle with a wicked virus a number of years back that killed a score of files. Every so often I challenge myself to do a story in conversation alone, like this:

“Mmmm…I don’t know about you, but I love coming here every Friday. Look at all that prime man flesh.”
            “Tabitha! You're married!”
            “Sweetheart, I may not be allowed to sample the treats, but I can certainly appreciate the beauty that is the male animal.”
            “That is so not right.”
            “Aw, come on! I sit and listen to you complain about that woman at work who makes eyes at everything with a penis but you can’t indulge me?”
            “It’s not that Tabby, it just seems wrong sitting here drooling over those guys.”
            “Because I'm married?”
            “Partly, but also because it’s all based on looks.”
            “Hold that thought! It’s okay for you to tear down your co-worker based on her looks, but I can’t appreciate beautiful men? What kind of half-assed logic is that?”
            “Fine! I'll be nicer to Betsy, but I just can’t stand to be around her. She makes a good target screwing up as much as she does.”
            “Tracy you have got to be the biggest hypocrite. That woman doesn’t screw up, you set her up simply because she is fat and, as you said, makes an easy target. In order to judge her worth properly you have to use unbiased standards.”
            “Why're you looking at me? Look at the guy over there. Yeah, that one with the dark curls. She just makes me want to gag. All she does is sit in that office and eat all day. Fritos, Crunch ‘n Munch, Twizzlers – you name it. She sticky fingers her way through the day with a saccharine smile – literally and physically. Being that big isn’t just disgusting, it’s positively unhealthy.”
            “I forgot about your mom. Didn’t she die of heart disease complicated by obesity.”
            “This has nothing to do with my mother!”
            “If you say so.”
            “I say so.”
            “What do you think about that one…the one over there on the left with the long brown shaggy hair?”
            “Tabby, I just don’t get it. None of these guys you are panting over looks anything like Carl. I mean, if this is what you look for in a guy, what gives?”
            “Carl loves me and I don’t even love me. This is what I look for in fantasy land. You do know the place. You would have to since it been how long since you've gone out on a date...? Tracy? Hello over there.”
            “No, you are right, I don't date. I do have fantasies. Just not over these guys.”
            “As in really never? What the hell!”
            “Not a big deal. Oh, sure I'm good enough to drink beer or watch the game with, but dating requires...Well, something a bit different.”
            “Damn! You work in construction, you get to look at all those luscious men all day and you want me to believe that not a one has asked you out for a drink or maybe a “working” lunch?”
            “Yeah, I’ve had those sorts of offers. Be still my beating heart! What romance, ‘yo, Trace, you wanna suck my dick and get some pizza?’ Thank you but no, Tabby.”
            “I didn’t realize it was like that.”
            “Tabs, I'm a mason. I lay brick for a construction company. The only other woman employed by the firm tosses back jelly doughnuts like a wino at nickel beer night. What do you think I get all day? I get, ‘hey there Trace, you can bed my bricks any old day,” or “lay me sweet mama.’”
            “You’re kidding me!”
            “Hello? Remember me? I don’t have a sense of humor.”
            “There is a lot to love about you, the least of which is that delightfully sarcastic sense of humor. Look at you! You are in great shape!”
            “Yeah, I guess fireplug is a shape. Short and squat. My arms are more muscular than most guys, and I got a working man’s tan. I look like a car door reflection, not a runway model.”
            “You are so wrong, that assessment is so wrong. Oh, oh, oh! Love the buns on the blond! Okay, so these guys do nothing for you. Tell me then what is your fantasy man, Ms. International Fireplug.”
            “You won’t laugh at me?”
            “Out with it woman before I stab you with my fork.”
            “Okay, okay, no need to get psychotic. I want a guy with perfect hands. They have to be strong but not clumsy or too big, long lean fingers that can hold me gently, but strong enough to hold me close. Not body builder stuff, but honest strength. He has to have a deep voice, not crackling or spooky movie deep, but a nice bass tone that makes you see dark nights and silk sheets just by whispering into your ear. He has to be taller than me. Damn it, I want a man that makes me finally feel like a delicate female that needs protected. I want to feel like a lady when I am with him, not a bowling partner. I want a partner and a protector, it gets old being alone. This female power shit is for the birds, coo-coo birds to be precise.”
            “Damn Trace, you’re a romantic.”
            “Yeah, I guess so. Tell anyone and I’ll break your nose, sissy-girl.”
            “You wish, She-Ra. Hell, look at the time, I have got to run and get the kids. Stay single you really aren’t missing all that much, only the screaming and the crying and that’s while the kids are asleep.”
            “Funny lady. Guess me and my make-believe man will just keep on going for now. Same time next week?”
            “Of course! But next time, if it looks like rain, we’ll sit at the indoor café across the street. The rain makes you utterly maudlin.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

curry chicken

Before you look at the dish and run away - stop! This is actually a sweet dish, not spicy, nothing to fear here. Plus, there are a couple variations to keep things simple and easy when you are in a hurry or short on the more hard-to-come-by items.

white rice
1 lb. chicken breast cubed
2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 - 13 0z. can coconut milk*
2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 cups baby spinach**
1 cup diced tomato

Make enough white rice for your family. Your distance may vary. That's why I didn't give amounts, sorry.

In a separate bowl, sprinkle the chicken with the curry, salt and pepper - turn until well coated. In a wok or generous skillet, heat oil on med to med-high add onion and chicken, turning often until well cooked. Stir in milk and tomato paste, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer for five minutes or until thickens. Add spinach and tomatoes cook until greens soften, 2 or three minutes. Serve with rice.

*substitute canned milk (sweetened condensed)
**substitute canned spinach or turnip greens, we're really fond of turnip greens

Monday, March 25, 2013

may you live in interesting times

Back in college, when I was taking creative write classes to alleviate the rigors of engineering, I entertained classmates with slightly altered accounts of my own life, or tales thereof. I've always kept a journal, a diary or something to that effect, even after my car accident, even if it was just a few scrawled words here and there. Looking back through chunky books of mess from those weeks and months there was a lot of lost time but also a lot of pain I'd rather not revisit, so I turned to the internet to see what I missed.

Words fail me.

There is a curse, "May you live in interesting times." Even if I don't live in interesting times, the way the world has shrunk so the internet touches every spot on the world in an instant...well, we're ensured we don't miss much of anything anytime soon. Which begs the question of how to create anything new or interesting to what must be jaded readers. Face it, if you can pop on the world of twitter, blogger, facebook and the like and inside a few keystrokes and be inundated with real stories of heroism or romance, debauchery or wickedness, how is a mere storyteller ever supposed to attempt to compete? Bad enough knowing the classics are out there, you know, myths and fables and tales handed down over generations - but to have every last impression and event shared over a day? Talk about overload.

So, what do you think. Do books and television shows and movies still provide a bit of alternative escapism, or has it come to the point where we as a society now expect so much more from authors that we hold them to an even higher degree? Or is it just me that seems to see authors in that light?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The oldest profession - redux

With snow spitting, the husband and I decided to stop at a local watering hole for a quick drink and we had the following chance discussion with a female friend - much to the amusement and consternation to the bar patrons.

Her: "Ehhh... Snow, again, snow. I wish it would stop. I'd much rather see buds on the trees than that crap on the ground. But at least it keeps the hubby busy shoving wood in the wood burner. What the hell is it with men and fire?"

Hubby: "Hey now, that was man's first job, taking care of the fire!"

Me: "Just like women's oldest profession was prostitution, and likely just as noble."

Her: "Gee, I can see it now. Did the first fire for man to tend start from the first profession being worked in the high prairie grass, you think? All that friction?"

Hubby: "Hell no woman, we figured that shit out to keep your cold feet off us and to get you gone after so we could get some sleep."

Her: "Charming."

Me: "Yup, him and his chainsaw wielding skills are all mine."

We, the sniggering ladies of the room toasted and the guys just looked ill at ease, unable to fathom why we weren't out to directly kill my Neanderthal male. Why? He amuses me. That and he really does stock the wood burner, entendre included.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

presents from the past

Late last night, I was pulling my hair out looking for a file I'd misplaced by frantically scanning through backup CDs burned over the course of a number of different years. We've all done this, I guess. It's the cyber version of tearing the house apart looking for our car keys. In the end I didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find something so much better.

I found my son. To be more specific, I found a slew of three minute movies my then, seven or eight year old son had made while his mom was doing the dishes or cooking dinner. In those days the young man would have been so busted. Now that he's in his twenties - the potential embarrassment factor is delicious! And seeing his sweet little face pop-up in the dark grainy screen with such cheesy dialogue...just cracked me up. No mom could possibly erase these 'precious moments.' Nope. I plan to save them. Maybe even send them to family members cell phones, once I figure out the cell phone thing well enough...

He didn't let me carry pictures of him in my wallet when he was growing up, because and I quote, "Mom, that is sooo embarrassing. Someone will see!" For as outgoing a child as my son was, things were strictly regimented to eliminate any possible extra attention. He was a bit phobic about being in the spotlight. As a result, anytime I tried to take a picture of him, he disappeared into the background faster than a ghost on fade. The only one permitted to snap a pic was a designated grandparent, because, "you know, that's their job." Make that make sense.

So for Passover this year, I'm going to be passing out copies of his epic, nine-part mini series filmed in my old bedroom, featuring the whisper voiced detective clad in his dad's Laser-Tag gear, as he assaults my old wicker rocking chair for posterity's sake.

Ah motherhood, the gift the keeps on giving!

Friday, March 22, 2013

soutzoukakia recipe

Growing up Greek, we had a lot of great foods that a small child pretty much couldn't pronounce let alone spell. One of my all time favorites (aside from dolmades aka grape leaves) was what I called Greek meatballs. Face it, when you're five years old and an American mutt with a percentage (about 25) of Greek blood, you're not belting out words like 'soutzoukakia' like a champ on a regular basis.

But boy, oh boy, do I adore this recipe. So, I am sharing it today.

1 kg/2 lb ground beef
2 eggs
1 sliced onion
1 liter/1 quart of tomato paste
Some olive oil
some flour
2 spoons of sugar

You'll notice there isn't a lot of exact measurements. Yeah, about that, a lot of folks don't do salt or pepper and some aren't too keen on cumin - so it's to taste, same with oregano. I never realized a person could have a dislike of oregano until I got married. The male isn't too fond of the nicely scented green herb, it gives him heartburn if I don't pay attention. The flour is 'use until stiff' so if you buy/use fatty meat you'll use more flour than folks who cook with lean meat or venison. So, no amounts given.

Mix the meat with the eggs (raw folks, seriously this should go without saying but I didn't and a friend hardboiled them, it was the weirdest fiasco - ever), and add the chopped onion, the cumin, salt and pepper. Form into elongated balls and turn inside a bowl with the flour until firm. Fry the floured meatballs in the oil at high heat.
When cooked add the tomato paste and sugar, and let cook for another 10-15 minutes at medium heat. Serve with either rice or fries.

Now, you'll notice the 'some' on the oil, this is not an invitation to a deep fry either. This is a lightly coat the pan and fry the meatballs, just a bit more than sauté but not heart-attack worthy grease immersion.

Good luck and enjoy!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

daily posts

I want to start doing daily posts again, but am not quite sure if people would like to read teasers from things published, to be published, in the works, or original stand alone its - full and complete that could be about one to three pages in length.

Sound off and let me know. For those of you who are aware of where my live journal is hidden, I'm attempting to post there daily as well - those aren't for public perusal given the adult nature of topics. So Try to keep things here pg-13 suggestion-wise.

As for facebook, I seriously don't know what to do with that place. My internet service is via a satellite uplink, and we only have so many megabytes each day. Not nearly enough to deal with the bloated mess of that place. Not only that, but every time I go there it's rife with viruses and other problems. I know a lot of people love it, but really, I'm not one of them. And for the life of me I can't figure out twitter. Call me dense, call me stupid, I just can't tweet.

Hope to hear what you'd like to see :)