Hello, New Year

Well, howdy 2023. What is up? Are you gonna be slapping us around like 2022 did? Huh? Are ya??

It’s been raining here. Raining. When not snowing, sleeting, foggy or raining.

You know, January weather.

Rejections flying in like dead birds thrown at already broken windows. Yeee haaaaa.

My cat is a sleek, complaining rascal. She sniffs at her food bowls and resigns herself to snack a bit, after pitiful calls for the ‘good stuff’. She enjoys meowing until someone lets her out the front or back door, so she can zoom about to my window, let herself in and have another go at getting someone to let her out a door so she can zoom about outside a bit before returning inside for a nap or several. She is, in other words, a total cat.

My country is, um. An embarrassment? A total eye-rolling puke-inducing stench lately? I should get my passport renewed and get the hell out for several years until it falls or somehow rights itself a bit? Haven’t looked at those teaching abroad jobs lately…

I got myself a pair of avocado platform boots. Because I had to. The compulsion to get them WOULD NOT GO AWAY. You see something wildly not suited to your lifestyle and work needs, and yet, you MUST HAVE IT. I was haunted by these damn boots for months. Such a high heel but it’s a platform, so that negates the heel height. I can do shoe math.

I resisted. I resisted so hard! No, okay, I didn’t. I finally succumbed. They were out of the size I wanted– a size over my actual size 8 because I have wide feet and sometimes things like, oh, boots, don’t fit. And yet…these fit. They fit. Oh. Oh! Anyone not a shoe fanatic will not understand but those that do…! You get me. You feel me. You know.

Writing? Oh that. I am…sure. I’m writing. I feel defensive writing this! My mind seems tired and utterly smooth of ideas and notions about plot, character, setting, genre and theme. Should I attempt a steampunk splattergore sci-fi western set on a planet a thousand years in the past? Should I be pushing out female-only stories that deal with political issues oddly parallel to our interesting times yet no actual real world stuff happens because it might trigger a slush reader and my story won’t pass muster and the rejection will say I need sensitivity schooled and…? Should I just write cute poems about elves in my patch of sage that persists in surviving no matter what? Or write essays about man’s inhumanity toward everything ever?

I don’t know!

I go over what’s acceptable and not for a story and…yeah, I get it but sometimes, when you live in, oh, say a rural place full of people convinced the government under Biden is about to round them up for CRT-re-education camps and about to geld the local kids…well. Yeah.

I went to lunch with a friend the other day. He was spooked to be out. It was in our mutual home town. He was afraid to say stuff because he’s gotten death threats because he’s, you know, a liberal. And a pacifist and very vocal, in the past, about everything wrong with home town. The local crank, in other words. And these days, the handful of liberals in a small, very conservative town might end up shot to death or run over or hurt in some way.

So, I have to shake my head over some of the restrictions placed on what can be in a story. Or just send that story anyway, with the trigger warning. But I do understand why the list is in place, when you see the rising crimes and vicious hatred directed at marginalized groups.

Anyhoo!

Back to 70’s era platform boots or what?

Had to. Look at them!!!

last Fling

One last mad splash as the old year grinds to a savage close. Winter weather, fog, cat asleep in her usual perch in the closet.

What will the new year bring? Isn’t that a terrifying notion intermixed with some actual wonder.

That’s it. Have a happy new year and if you have to work, sigh a lot. I intend to.

And So This Is

And so this is.

I’m numb and weary and wish this year done. My holiday cheer languishes. At least there’s snow on the ground, though I do have to attempt driving in it. All weekend. I work all weekend at a job that…you don’t care. No one cares. Most jobs are terrible spirit-draining hellscapes.

Or is that just me?

I’m tired. Just tired.

Let me make it to Monday without tears. That’s all.

Watched Glass Onion this morning– the sequel to Knives Out. Very good movie. Solidly good movie. Entertaining, smart, funny and surprising.

I’ll end there. Got some submissions sent off but I’m already wanting to cancel both, not even bother…Hello, depression, you familiar imp.

Anyway! Happy whatever you celebrate or don’t.

Snowy night

It’s snowing. The huge storm predicted actually arrived over half of my state.

Yesterday was a hell day at work, starting with me spinning about on some ice. As in my car spun about like a big deadly sled. Just bumped against the curb, no damage but still…and then work turned out to be hellish, crushing and gut-punching but hey, normal in these modern times and olden times and times not named. Huzzah.

I am not sleeping that well. Probably why I’m up writing this little blurby thing.

It’s already been a long December. Winter has arrived here in Eastern Oregon and I suspect plans to stay around. We usually get a bit of snow, it melts, it’s spring.

Going back to bed. I’ll put on an old comfy movie and wake up later on to marvel at the snow level outside. Don’t have to go anywhere, or be anywhere and what a nice sensation that is.

Hope your December is going better than mine. I haven’t even put up any decorations nor really plan to. I might wrap a garland or something about the cat just to be festive and because it would annoy her.

Writing-wise. I have been submitting a bit but am just taxed out that way right now. Might need to take a break, paint rocks or knit, something else that’s not writing. I feel crushed and untalented and unable to produce anything but dreck. Normal writer stuff, right? Yeah.

I might need some Hallmark Christmas fare to perk me up. My depression has been slapping me about lately, compounded by shitty job. Might be why I’m only sleeping in about three to four hour blocks, if that. Might be end of year doldrums where you just wanna stay in bed drifting along, rather numb and used up.

But hey, got paid. I might order those avocado green platform boots because you only get one life something something. And because they’re avocado green. There’s that, too. That’s 70’s shade that so delights the eyes. Mine, at least.

Snowy night. All is quiet and hushed. The dogs and the cat are snoozing away. Should I make myself some coffee or actually just go back to bed? I don’t have to chance the roads of death tomorrow to get to work by seven. I can stay up all night not writing and try to take a nap, feeling guilty I’m not producing magical works of art that will lift me out of poverty and despair…

Geez.

This is our fourth or fifth snow, by the way. Winter might be a bad one this year. Or good, depending on your view of snow and needing it for that decades-long drought hereabouts.

I have books out. I have short stories in many an anthology. I have people doing my plays. I have stuff out there. I’ll end this ramble there. I have stuff out there.

Happy Turkey Day

Hello.

Have a great day, if you celebrate this holiday or not.

I’m off for Kuna land and hope there’s dip and wine to make up for the insane conversations. Wheee!!!

Watched the cutest Hallmark movie with babies and clueless men trying to take care of baby. They do know men have been taking care of kid for centuries now, right? Men are capable of seeing to babies. I know several myself!

Anyway.

Snow and ghost stories

Howdy! November?? What?

I have been working. I’ll stop there and move on.

Just finished a ghost story set on Christmas Eve. Started it about seven times already. Finally hit on a tale that flowed like water. Isn’t that a great feeling? When the tale just unfurls and you don’t immediately move it to the trash and start it all over again?

Oh my gosh, America didn’t go to the Christofascist white nationalist election-denying shitskillets! Hurray! I feel a bit of hope. Yep. Just a bit because that faction is already doubling down instead of retreating to reflect on their serious mistakes and ghastly notions which lead them to very narrow defeats. Just so exhausting all the time here in the home of the bamboozled and the land of the stupid.

It snowed here. Twice now. I think we might get some actual winter.

I might have a California trip ahead of me. We’ll see.

I finished the ghost story I started this morn, so I will treat myself to some coffee and maybe a shower. I need to clean the house, wash some stuff, ready my little garden for winter. I did plant some spring bulbs. I also got myself a Venus flytrap. I rescued it from the markdown bin. Poor little thing. It’s too cold for it here.

I do not wish to attend any Thanksgiving feasts. Is that okay? I’d rather stay home and have tacos and watch Hallmark movies where the big city gal discovers she’d rather give up her life to become a Christmas tree farmer’s wife or whatever the formula is there. Just so numbing and soothing these horrific, skin-peeling times.

Hell-o, Halloween

Halloween display, Meridian, Idaho, 2019. Can’t find who to credit this with.

Welp, had to drive to work yesterday in fog so dense I nearly drove off the road, twice. Fun.

It finally rained here in Oregon East. An actual rain. We plunged into near winter temps! It might snow in the valleys! Nah, not yet but winter wants to pounce.

I want to enjoy Halloween and all its orange, black and sparkly glory, but the American midterm elections throw a giant moist pall over everything. Moister than moist. Dripping wet with racism, sexism, fascism and all the other crappy isms imaginable and then some. Who is taking all these polls? It does not seem to reflect anything but what is expected– that the Gross Old Perverts sweep everything and Biden gets made to look like a doddering, shitting himself in public, gibbering fool. Um? And yet so many people registering to vote and yet…mmm.

I just want this all over so I can start breathing again and plan accordingly. Do I still live in a ‘free’ country or do I have to practice my salutes, wave a flag with savage frantic grins plastered across my frozen face? Shout randomly, in public, about eagles and freedom and no more open borders? We don’t have open borders, what the fuck is that noise?

Idaho, by the way, is almost an Ida-don’t go there, stay away, avoid avoid avoid. We do have scary states here in ‘murica and that is becoming one of the scariest.

The Aryan Nations that used to be a joke, who used to live under rocks and only appear if you whispered something overtly racist near an open sewer…have now virtually taken over that state. It’s sad and tragic and awful. Aryan Nations meets QAnon nonsense, has weird disgustingly awful sex, produces a mutant baby and here we are!

And my state, by the way, has a trumpian Gross Old Pervert running for guvvie. I just. No. No!

I do have scary movies lined up, as the midterms causes eye twitches, drooling, screaming when a leaf drops from a tree too near me. It’s tense here, y’all. Tense. Golly, vote for sane people or batshit trumpfucks? I mean no offense to actual bats, who just wish to live their bat lives in peace.

I have had a few acceptances roll my way, but mostly, lately, it’s been rejection city. Sigh.

Need to sacrifice something to Satan, I guess. Maybe he’ll accept an IOU? Will hand over the flies stuck to the fly strip. They’re already dead and am just gonna toss that strip otherwise. Why be wasteful? Satan? Hello?

It’s Happy Month

Artwork for the Abominable Dr. Phibes movie.

Oh, my fellow babies and compatriots for this thing called life– it’s the happiest month of the year. For me. Cause. Halloween.

Pumpkins. Pumpkin patches.

Ghosts and goblins and ghouls, oh my.

Creaky vampire movies with capes and crosses.

American Werewolf in London time!

The weather cooling the frack down.

The Halloween baking competition with its black garlic cupcakes and four-layer oozing lime basil cake with Italian buttercream something or other. Make entire scary scenes from cake, pumpkins, rice crispy treats and sugar work!

Oh yes, oh please, amen.

I have pumpkins about ready to be plucked. I have gourds. I want to make bread.

I feel energized and ready to watch scary movies with all the lights off.

I have the original Night of the Living Dead tucked away. There’s a compulsion within to find the DVD and WATCH IT the old-fashioned way. On my television through a DVD player. No streaming. No computer involved. Old-fashioned out the disc in, push play when prompted. With a big cup of ho-cho in hand.

Of course, it’s still rather hot here in the day. The nights have cooled off a bit. I now need at least a blanket. Kitters has even taken to napping a bit on me so it must be getting cold outside or she misses me as I’ve been working. I call my cat Kitters, though her official name is Jaws. As she showed up with a broken jaw a couple Halloween’s ago.

So. I hope TCM shows horror movies I’d like to watch. I hope hope hope they show the Abominable Dr. Phibes, with Vincent Price. Where he speaks only through a record. It’s so acid-trippy, weird and satisfying. I’m so glad no one has ever tried to remake this one. Why would you? It’s perfection. From that first scene with the bats to the bitter, bitter end. Dang. And there’s sequels, which I hear, are not as good but still. I will also probably watch the silent Swedish made up documentary on witches, because it’s just so good. Haxan or something like that. 1923 or hereabouts. It’s on Youtube. As are a lot of silent horror movies. Like M or the Cabinet of Dr. Caligaleri. [Spelling?]

Halloween month. It’s the happiest month of the year for me. From baking to horror movies I’ve seen a gazillion times already to new horror films I might discover. I do like discovering some offbeat, nobody’s heard of it, frightfest. Like the Blood on Satan’s Claw [Satanic children, 70’s] Or even something like Only Lovers Left Alive, with Tom Hiddleston as a mopey vampire. It’s a gorgeous film, by Jim Jarmusch, and also boasts a sparkly performance by Tilda Swinton. It’s as slow as frozen molasses and it’s not so much a horror movie as a test of your patience but hey, it might hit a sweet spot or two.

Hey, speaking of Halloween and spooky stuff and scary things…I have two recent novels out that deal with zombies and cannibal bikers. Yay!

Aftermath: Boise, Idaho— where Hannah kills herself to escape death by zombie horde only to wake up in a world run by sentient zombies.

There’s also The Remarkable Women of Brokenheart Lane, where three elderly sisters hiding out in a small Nevada town after a catastrophic world war nuclear event, become embroiled with the decimated cannibal biker gang that’s limped into Fallon.

There’s also Oregon Gothic. The opening tale, Bailey, is about what a real vampire is like and the costs of thwarting that vampire’s will. There’s also the necrophilia-smeared love story of Prince Charming Finds His Sleeping Beauty, which will be in an anthology coming out this year.

Halloween month. Pure joy filling my soul right now. Just pure happy wonderful joy.

Road Trip

My one sunflower. It regally lives among the ever-spreading squash plants.

September. It’s almost over. The weather here is finally cooling a bit. I’ve rescued the same toads from the dog pool many mornings now. The big one that squeaks at me if I handle it too much, the smaller ones that pretended they were frogs, so I’d leave them alone. That was when the water levels were much higher. I dug a giant hole to put the rubber tub into, and it has this valve that keeps turning so all the water leaks out. Why would you put such a valve into a tub designed to hold water? Oh sure, to drain it but still. It’s entirely too easy to brush against it and turn it the wrong way. I blame liberals for this. Is that how that works?

Snark, sarcasm and hissing gently from the shadows. That’s me!

Job? I don’t know. Nobody cares so let’s move on.

Road trip. I am going to go to Mountain Home, Id-eee-ho, for a literary event. I know!! It’s for the Whistle Pig Literary Magazine launch, held this year at the Mountain Home library. I even got myself a hotel room so I wouldn’t have that long drive back, in the dark, with the extra bright lights in my eyes. I probably need to go see the eye doctor about that…yikes.

Or just deal with it because, hey, who has insurance?

Rimshot! I’ll be here all week, try the chicken.

My story for the Whistle Pig is called Lovesmoke. I based it off a short play I wrote ages ago, about a nearly mute man who’s in love with his brother’s girlfriend. She just wants to get married, have a normal life as her boyfriend is about to lose everything due to bad cattle prices and the bottom falling out of that market. The brother in love goes about collecting rocks and such to sell at the various festivals in and around the Western states. If you’ve ever been to small town festivals, with booths– that’s the type of person Salinas is.

In my prose version, I set it in Weiser, Idaho, with the about to lose everything brother having already run off and the other brother crossing the Rubicon, so to speak, by declaring his love for Lily. It’s bittersweet and it seemed to write itself, once I found that balance between manipulative monster versus clumsy overtures of affection toward another. I sort of blended the two extremes of puppet master and hopelessly bad at romance tropes, so to speak. That happy medium? Eh.

I did play with having them end up together but it just didn’t gel, it just didn’t flow, it just didn’t…yeah.

Rewrote a short story in the last couple days, turned it from vague woman-empowered claptrap to murderous psycho monster baby claptrap. Wheee!!!! I also realized my lead character is the least of my three in that story. I need to, ahem, punch her up a bit. Or not. I also need to look at the ending. It might be awful or okay, depends on mood, weather, snack consumption and coffee levels. The title also needs changing. Willa and the Mist to perhaps Baby Lamb or The Graveyard Baby or something equally provocative. Two On A Meat Hook? I’d have to add a meat hook. Dang it!

I’ve been reworking short stories that keep getting rejected. It keeps me busy and out of prison, so that’s good.

That’s it.

Oh, for those panting to know– I have pumpkins. I also have three giant gourds growing away. I’m so excited! I researched and it said to wait for first frost to collect them. We are nowhere near a first frost. I’m also watching the pumpkins closely, looking for that all-over orange color. Still a bit green underneath. Small sugar pumpkins, for pies but still so gorgeous. I do love the color orange.

Halloween is close. I have a happy feeling somewhere close by. And then the drudge and stress of the ‘holidays’. All those damn turkeys to bake. God damn it. I’m already sick and tired of turkey. I just want to buy a bunch of frozen dinners, call it good from here until next January. Want a fancy meal? Here ya go– Hungry Man Salisbury steak!

Oh my, I should adjust accordingly, eh? Holiday season hasn’t even officially started yet. Not until Hallmark starts constant Christmas movie rotation BEFORE HALLOWEEN USUALLY. Notice that?? I noticed that last year. Syrupy cookie cutter movies that bring numbness and a sort of Zen blankness if you watch too many in a row. Lifetime, also, has a host of these things.

And the Halloween Baking contest is back. Happiness is oozing icing the color of infected flesh dripping down over a rotted pumpkin face chocolate cake. Or pies with top crusts that look like tortured human faces. Happiness and bliss.