Activities with Rocks

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Early attempts at painting rocks

I wrote a scathing diatribe on the political hellscape that is ‘murica lately. Instead, to welcome yet another interminable month in this interminable slog of a life, I’ll write about rocks.  I’ll mention two novels that will hit sometime that could be any time, really. And something of mine that got included in a literary journal.

Rocks? Wha?

Military parade with a bloated price tag. Tanks. Money to pay for this culled from the national parks and veteran’s programs. With ticket prices, VIP seats! Sumbitch! Kids in cages. But hey, Nike pulled the Betsy Ross flag design and PEOPLE LOST THEIR MINDS CAUSE FREEDOM AND RIGHTS AND HONORING THE TROOPS OR…or…or…mm. Is that blood leaking from my ears? 

Yeah, I’m painting rocks. Badly. But it’s been a long time since I’ve painted anything. It seems a lot of people I know have turned to artsy crafty stuff to deal with…the drumbeats that celebrate the end of my country. With those supporting this screaming that we should get over it. With a ‘snowflake’ thrown in there.

I have friends also painting mandalas on rocks, leaving them places. Or writing some inspirational on a pebble, leaving it where others can find it and hopefully get inspired.

I do have a reason for why I’m slapping cheap paint on free rocks.

Last year, I went to the Death Rattle writer’s conference in Nampa, Idaho. I tried to sell some books. I was ill prepared. I didn’t have the fancy bank transaction app on my knock off Chinese-made phone. Where you can take people’s credit cards, run a transaction. Cause I didn’t even know that existed…I’m woefully behind the tech times. I’m also not up with how to sell your shit in these ultra-modern times. So. Learning experience.

I did get out of the house and mingle with others. Plus right there!

So I will attempt another attempt at a booth. You don’t have to pay a fee. Just apply for a spot. It’s held in a small alley by a bar. You sit there and try to smile and look inviting and friendly. Everyone seems to know everyone else. They’re all old friends or at least nodding acquaintances. But this time, for my wares, I intend to offer some art.

This takes place in October so I have the long hot summer to create. Or try to create something I can display without cringing.

I’ll also make some salt clay somethings. I was thinking pendants. One of a kind, small, tasteful, pretty. As I would love something like that and would scrape pennies out of the cup holders in the car to get one. I could also do some Christmas ornaments or even Halloween ornaments. I do write a lot of horror fiction. And it is my fave holiday.

If I focus on this rather pleasant problem, I do not focus on the crud coating my brain or the GODDAMN FUCKERY THAT IS CHEETOLINI and all that. At least, not entirely.

Also, I find other friends painting rocks or quilting. I noticed that Seth Andrews, who does the Thinking Atheist podcast, among other endeavors, got hooked on the Great British Baking Show. He’s been baking. I know tons of folks who love that show and then try to bake. Like, oh, me. Me, I’m one of those. 

 I am also hooked on baking competition shows.  I find baking so oddly fulfilling. I take raw ingredients, produce something roughly like what I saw. I’ve even managed to produce loaves of bread. I’ve moved from just schlupping the dough into a heated up giant cast iron pot into cutting the lump of dough in half, then placing that into bread pans.

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I made this!

I’ve graduated to seeing what I can shape the dough into. Can I braid it or…turn it into something actually pretty or French Bakery-esque?

Yeah, no, not yet. But I haven’t been baking bread for that long and it takes a lot of flour. And yeast. It seems like a lot of people need comfort and an outlet to deal with reality lately. That everyone seems to have picked up some sort of art hobby or baking or throwing away all their stuff in some sort of supercleanse or life enema. I wonder why.  I don’t. That was sarcasm. I don’t wonder why at all.

Rocks.

I feel like I’ve got an actual plan here, planning for a booth space I might not even get. But it’s a long-range plan. Longer than “make it through day.”

Ah, a flash fiction piece of mine, By Starlight By Starlight My Dear, is included in the latest edition of A Door is a Jar literary magazine. I had entered an earlier version of this same one that got soundly rejected, with actual criticism sent my way. I rewrote it. It got better. A Door is a Jar accepted it and there ya go.

Oh, so I think I have two books in editing right now. Alice in Oregonlandia, the not at all anticipated sequel to my dead on arrival House on Clark Boulevard. I kid, I kid! You’re supposed to Always Be Closing. That line from the Mamet play, Glengarry Glen Ross.

It takes up about ten years after the end of House. Alice gets a turn. The fall out of Nancy’s time in that house. Alice discovering a few truths about herself. How Art steps up as dad and caregiver.

Aftermath, which is my take on…wait for it…zombies. I know. I know. But!! It follows Hannah as she finds herself in a world run by zombies, after killing herself because she was trapped in a dead end space by zombies. Hannah tries to navigate her way through a vastly changed world, where zombies run everything and have all the political, economic and actual power. Set in Boise, Idaho, because, frankly, it’s an hour down the road from me. I had great fun writing this. Isn’t that the point of all this?

Thank you to everyone who bothers to read these. I appreciate it. I can be a tedious bore with my depression and endless string of failures. My tiny advances that give me a tiny bit of hope that maybe I should keep writing. That maybe today I can find whatever courage or gumption it takes to just keep plugging on.

Plug on, you dull bit of coal. My shout out to Pink Floyd…

 

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Available in A Door is a Jar, latest issue.
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Miz Bridge and Molly the Chocolate Lab.

 

 

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Dither

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Three blackbird eggs, in the nest in the wild rosebush. Ain’t they cute? 

I am dithering over a project. A project I will need to turn in eventually to my publisher. Yes, I have one. Stop snickering or giving me pitying looks at my delusions of being a real writer. Snort in your general direction, haters.

Okay. Sarcasm aside…!

Saint Lysette and Bloody Alice. It’s the third in my House trilogy. Alice in Oregonlandia is done, and in line to be seen by Kensington Gore’s editor/s.

Alice takes up about ten years after House On Clark Boulevard ended. The ‘tale’ moves to the world of Alice, Nancy’s daughter. Stuff happens. The end.

Yeah, I should write PR and press releases! For more money than the actual novelists ever get for their words, phrases and entire pages of words and phrases.

My mind went, hey, there’s a third book here. With everything neatly wrapped up, explained and then burned to the ground or somethin’. Cause. Trilogies. Every author should have some.

It’s like. That can of tuna on your shelf. Just in case.

I don’t like tuna so my can of tuna would have dust on it. But it would still be there in case I needed it for something. Maybe a sammich? I’d also have to have pickles, lemon, dill, onion powder, garlic…basically my tuna sammich would taste like anything but tuna. I like tuna melts.

I’m weird and contradictory. I realize that right now at this moment. Personal growth!

Dither.

I know why I’m starting this last opus over and over. I HAVEN’T DECIDED WHAT THE ACTUAL STORY IS.

I knew, vaguely, that Alice would have to return to that old house and…and something would happen that would not be what was expected by any involved. Vague, sure. But. That was the general story in my head and it seemed to write itself for Alice in Oregonlandia. House on Clark Boulevard had the same feel to it but different. Is that crystal clear to everyone??

I just got into ‘that groove’ that hits when you write. Whether it’s novels or poems or short stories or plays or manifestos about why tuna is gross.

I’m not a fish person. I find the taste of fish gross and yucky. I’ll eat fish sticks but only if they taste more of the tarter sauce or whatever dipping sauce is available. I’ve never had lobster.

Living in the interior high desert [Southern Washington State, Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho] most of my life tends to keep me away from lobster binges. Can you buy lobster or find it where I live or have lived? Yes. Did the price of lobster tend to send me off to the lunch meat aisle to see what’s on sale? Yes. Do I think it’s cruel to boil those poor sea spiders alive?? Yes!! 

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Miz Bridge waiting for me to entertain her. Because hey, you’re not writing, she says. Let’s go dig or chase something!

Story. I’ve dithered here in Saint Lysette. It’s changed POV’s. Many times. I now have Nancy, Alice and Lysette all telling the story. Whatever the story is. Which I’m not sure. It won’t coalesce, even a little, somewhere in my foggy writer brain. It does but it’s campy garbage!

Gol darn it!!

I might as well add some clowns and reptilian overlords!! Not that there’s anything wrong with reptilian overlords. There is something profoundly wrong with clowns. Yes, I have fear of clowns. Yes, I do. There’s a fancy word for that even. 

I think, therefore I am…sorry! I think I need to pick a path. Write to the end no matter the horrified faces I make as I write. 

GET THAT MOFO ON THE PAGE YOU DITHERING DITZ!

Get a rough beast shaped up, that I can then go back through and despair over.

After all, I have scrapped entire drafts. Written better versions. Or worse versions. Dang it.

I must examine why I am dithering so. I blame tuna.

Oh if it were that damn easy!

What is the story. That’s what I need to crucify in place with big iron nails. Then watch it rise from the dead a couple times or something? Ugh. Must stop listening to atheist podcasts or atheists taking apart Christian movies made so badly they’re actually in the good column.

I’m also trying to get a screenplay done. A director from the Czech Republic found a short play of mine, made a short film out of it. Traces of Memory. It’s in actual post-production now, as I write this. It looks great. I’m pleased with it.

She also, Lucie, found my book of short stories, Oregon Gothic, and found a tale in there that she wished to turn into a feature-length. One based on…necrophilia. On a woman helping her boyfriend procure a freshly dead woman for sexual purposes.

Lucie wishes it more focused on their relationship. She has the general idea of where she wishes this to go and I am helping shape it out. It’s called Prince Charming so far.

I hope it doesn’t turn out to be another Serbian Tale. If you don’t know what that is or have never heard of it, great. Keep your ignorance. If you do know what that ‘movie’ is, then no, I don’t think Prince Charming is even in the same universe as that one. I’m being cheeky. I’m a cheeky little primate!

Humans are primates, after all, no matter what screaming manbeasts with Jesus tats and a pulpit say. 

I am working on making the rather repulsive pair sympathetic. Understandable.  Which gives the horror element an extra punch in the gut. Layers, y’all.

Must go force myself to work on…something. It’s almost my birthday. I might go to the hills for sustenance and soul feeding as I turn…gulp…fifty. And ponder on the smoking ruins of my life.

I blame it all on tuna.

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The elderly cottonwood showing why it’s called ‘cottonwood’. The big seed pods burst open and look like what cotton does or something. I’ve never seen a cotton field outside of a movie. Or eaten a lobster. 

 

June News

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It’s June. Hello, June.

Hot. Ugh. It’s hot. 

With that out of the way–

I just found out a short piece of mine will get into A Door Is A Jar-– By Starlight By Starlight My Dear. 

I also have a poem, My Feet Hurt, in the Rumpus’s Enough, and not sure when that comes out. 

I am also working on St. Lysette and Bloody Alice, which is the THIRD BOOK in the House on Clark Boulevard trilogy. 

And a screenplay based on a short story of mine. I need to get on that. Ugh a bug! 

So, the little writing goblins showed up, bit me in improper places, and here we are. 

 

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A storm about to hit. That’s the Malheur Butte
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Gorgeous clouds against a Ford tractor. 

Rabbit 2019

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Brigit, the wonder cow dog. The vet called her a Kelpie mix. AKA Leatherface and the Gremlin.

Yesterday. I now have the Beatles song moaning in my head. BRB. Okay!

I spent a rainy Sunday trying to save a young rabbit. I didn’t succeed. They spray the weeds around here. Wildlife eats the weeds. Wildlife gets poisoned and die. There is no actual concern for wildlife where I’m from. Farm community, they could give a shit about the local bunnies dying in slow degrees from the weed poisoners. This young silver-brown rabbit lived in the discarded irrigation pipes on the other side of the fence. It got trapped in the privet hedge by two of the three dogs on Saturday or so. Time seems very flompy lately. Flompy—where time seems random, disjointed and not seemingly connected to reality.

The two dogs trying to get to this young bunny got distracted, ran off barking at something, so the bunny was able to hop out from the hedge, and hop slowly away. It’s out in the open, mind you. There’s dogs, hawks, all sorts of DANGER. There are two hawks nesting away just down the road who patrol the three fields, the ditchbank, our yard, the road. I actually caught them mating one day in the old locust tree. Hubba hubba!

Yes, I am a sad sad sad little creature these days.

It’s been RAINING. Actual rain. For days. Yesterday, one of those rainy Sundays where it seems time gets super-flompy.

Brigit has been outside, in the rain, a long time. Our yard is fenced. I go out to check on her, she won’t jingle her way to the door. She wears a collar with her info dangling from it. She sounds like one of those cat bell collars, you can hear her arriving or going. Tinkle tinkle! She’s worrying something on the ground. I think it’s a bit of plastic or something she dug up. Ah…no. It’s the young silver bunny. I pick it up [bad sign right there] but cannot find anything wrong with it. The dog didn’t rip off a limb or chew it up. No blood, no broken bones, I notice that it does have diarrhea. Which triggers the ‘they sprayed for weeds the other day’ ding ding ding inner bells. The rabbit doesn’t seem lively at all, very lethargic. But. The rabbit is also cold and wet and just been the victim of Brigit’s unkind use of it as a chew toy. So maybe shock and fear? Maybe it’s just playing possum [sort of and it’s a rabbit] until I either finish it off or it find a moment to get away.

I take the poor little thing inside. I put it on a heating pad, wrapped in an old towel, inside a container so that if it does turn all lively I won’t have to rip the house apart trying to find it. As there has been a rabbit loose in the house. Years ago. The dogs, and we’ve always had dogs, must have brought it in. It lived behind the dryer for two days before I found it. My mother, yet alive then, kept hearing things. So by then it was starving, scared and it just died. A very young rabbit, eyes just opened young. So I remember how fragile wild rabbits are. I remembered that yesterday as well. And that other time I tried to save a wild very young rabbit.

So! Success I thought. After a couple hours, the bunny had perked up. It was moving about, no longer huddled up in a frozen ball of misery. The rain had stopped a bit. I hesitated at putting it back outside. Cold wet drizzly day, maybe I should wait until Monday, let it suffer captivity until then.

I instead, taking the entire container out with me so as not to touch the bunny or stress it out further by handling it, let it loose near the privet hedge. As it seemed to live nearby. I read that releasing wild animals willy nilly can just get them killed. As there’s territories marked out. Or they…yeah. Good intentions kill a lot of the time, especially wild animals. Sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a crapshoot. The bunny seemed very perky. It ran off under the hedge.

Two hours or so later. The dogs whine to go outside. In the rain. They make a beeline for the hedge because our Lab is a hunting dog. She remembers where she caught scent of SOMETHING or caught SOMETHING. The young dog is, in Eastern Oregon slang, a cow dog. She’s smart. She watches the two Labs and learns. Sneaky little blighter. So Brigit and Molly keep wanting out to go after whatever’s in that hedge. Which I know is that young distressed rabbit. They just know it’s smelly and they want it. Or maybe they know it’s a rabbit. Or a bigger version of a mouse.

I find young bunny huddled at the far end of the line of struggling hedges. It’s waterlogged, and just lets me pick it up. Bad sign indeed. There’s also diarrhea. A few feeble protest kicks, then it huddles in my hands. I take it back inside, turn the heating pad back on, try to get a bit of water down it, then just cover the container and wait to see what happens. This time Lord Frith called one of His own home.

It shuddered, kicked, laid on its side. Just stopped breathing.

Why do I keep trying to save anything? Because I feel it’s the right thing to do. That’s my moral backbone. An actual set of morals I can’t seem to discard, no matter how indifferent those around me are. I will dig worms for baby birds. I will make sure the heat isn’t too high under a sick rabbit. I will…Perhaps I am trying to atone for being me. I don’t know.

And to end on a good note—

Thump! Crash. Bang! What just hit the side of the house? Out the window I look. Nothing. So I go outside. A blackbird is divebombing Brigit who’s after something in the wild rose bush tangle. I call off the dog, when I notice, yes, a young bird being pursued by enthusiastic novice hunter, Brigit. I manage to pick it up, it’s fine and it manages to fly from my hands and back under the wild rose bushes as mama bird squawks threats at me from atop the house. I make Brigit go back in the house and hopefully, the little bird family will be okay for now. There are no cats about but there is that twosome of hawks just down the way. I read that if the young bird is feathered out yet still young enough, the parents will still feed it as it hops about on the ground. Fledglings? There’s stages. AS there is in most things. I’m a wise old owl this morn.

So a bit of grimness, a bit of a rescue that actually, for now, has worked out. I’m glad there’s enough cover in the yard [which does not get sprayed with killer chemicals] to shield the local wildlings.

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Notice the wild tangle on the far side of the fence, the storm approaching. This privet hedge got cleaned up and tidied by me since this was taken. Eastern Oregon landscape, y’all.

I was going to try and take apart my utter disappointment in Game of Thrones. But everyone’s doing that right now so let me utterly change directions on my dying bunny tale with if you are not watching or have never watched Call the Midwife, do so. Especially as it’s so timely with the illegal abortion stories it presents, as well as how we are still as ignorant about women and their bodies as we were back in the 60’s. I have tried to like a Discovery of Witches but…I am just cold toward it. She fell in luv in about five seconds. There’s plots abrewin’. That’s all I get from that. The vampire guy seems cute? Eh.

Don’t even worry. I’ll do a rant-take down of my television viewing habits. Don’t even worry, darlings. As always, thank you for reading and hey, I have books for sale. I also have plays you can produce or use if so inclined or in need. Don’t ask me to care for rabbits, I am 0 for 2 right now. I do better with birds. What the hell is Eurovision and what is going on in Iceland to produce that?? Geez! I also watch John Oliver’s show…

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The very rabbit in question. Very unusual fur?

Mini writing

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The truly ancient locust tree in full bloom. A smell like warm honey when you walk by this tree and the hum of very busy bees and wasps. 

It’s a rainy day. A rare rainy day here in Eastern Oregon. The dogs will go stir crazy over the moon INSANE being cooped up but it’s raining, babies.

No, you’ll melt. Go take a nap! 

Here’s a 150 word micro mini super-tiny bit I wrote for something something or other. I rather like how it turned out even if nobody else did. You get a word prompt. It has to appear somewhere in your effort. I think the word was ‘bloom’. 

 

Drunken Bees

Bloom hated her name. She had a tattoo of the devil on her arm to remind her she was not some flower or houseplant. Be nice, her nice mother counseled without an ounce of pity. One day, as stories often start, Bloom noticed a tree. A little plum tree with white-petaled glories full of drunken bees having orgies and feasts. Her fingers ran along the back of a bee, but it melted away to the next blossom’s well. I wish to be the bee, not the flower, Bloom decided. She cut off her princess long hair, she wandered the world looking for herself. On her deathbed, she held out her hand. Bring me a plum tree full of drunken bees. I want to start this all over again. Her fingers ran over the air. I wrote my name in the skin of this world. I wrote my name.

Rosemary, Dill, Zukes, Punkins and Squarsh

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Don’t know who took this but I love it. This pic is just…sublime. 

If you live in the USA, sometimes you pronounce harmless vegetable names in weird ways. Punkin for pumpkin. Squarsh for squash. There! Title all cleared up.

If I ignore the political theatre of cruelty going on right now…like, super-hard…yeah. I’ll be just like everyone else! If I ignore it, it will ‘sort itself out’ and there’ll be rainbows and unicorn candidates of such startling purity and inspiring goodness that I’ll just have to not bother voting for them. Because they once owned a pug and pugs are overbred, with breathing and digestion problems. Strike, you’re out, unicorn.

Yes, the left really is that bad right now. Yep. Purity tests worse than anything given to young girls in conservative Christian households before a Purity ball where they prance about with daddy as a date. Gulp.

 
Ah, mini garden. So, spent about eleven bucks on plants. Got them in the ground. I am hoping Brigit, or Leatherface or Gremlin, doesn’t, uh, investigate them with her…rapid and powerful digging skills. Or her shiny young dog teeth. Even with tires to guard them, Brigit the Wonder Pup might just goofily decimate my hopes of zukes sprinkled with fresh dill. Is that even a thing? It is now!

 
I also transplanted some catnip, which is growing EVERYWHERE, to combat the weeds in the front rock garden. I bought a single clump of it years ago, when we still had cats here. I planted it in one spot. Now it’s…legion. Which is fine. It smells good. It’s a pretty plant. You can’t kill it with a nuke.

So, onward to writing.

My elderly computer went to a farm in upstate New York, so I have files on a zip drive. I was going through them. As you do. What’s this? I open a novel I started, a while ago. It’s got a pretty good solid start, over twenty thou words. No supernatural anything, just people being people. As they sometimes do even in my gothic mansion, cannibals in the attic, ghosts in the porridge sort of work. A title borrowed from Lifetime for Women. It’s About Love…gag me with a barbecue fork.

Oh hey, let’s work on this, something in my dormant little mind screams into the great void. Why? Who’s gonna read it, the void screams back, before farting thunderously and telling me I do look fat in those pants.
So a project of sorts.

I’m finding it hard to concentrate longer than five seconds at a time lately. Which is my problem, not yours.

The ground squirrels have moved into the bank. The mini garden, for now, seems well. It’s been one day. I have a project I am at least wanting to get back to. Maybe the inner tide has decided not to direct me toward sharp objects for a bit. Hurray!

Oh, before I sign off…I have two books. Two. Oregon Gothic and House on Clark Boulevard. I also have short plays available for production over on ten-minute-plays dot com

I promise neither book is a fragmented horrorscape of gardening news and despair over unicorn candidates not being unicorn enough. I promise!

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Some famous painting. 

Rebirth Rebirth!

 

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A still from the Red Turtle. The Red Turtle will not be mentioned once in the following blog. 

Instead of Rejoice Rejoice…

The [new] computer is now working. One of those refurbished deals. Man alive, it’s FAST. Whizz! Whoom! Oh hey I can play Candy Crush now. My priorities are catawampus a wee small bit. 

Lesson for writers: Send out lots of submissions. Instead of, like, three. Yep. Glad I could help! Volume. Volume is the key here. That way when you get rejected, it won’t seem so thousand percent everyone hates your work. Volume will spread that out a bit. That’s the theory, anyway. Wink!

ABPIP– always be positive in public

Notre Dam has burned. Something ancient, something grandly lovely, something fragile, has been destroyed. For now. It was being renovated. So perhaps something sparked. As it can do. Whomp whoosh, medieval wood ceiling might as well be made of gasoline cans. I did hear great efforts managed to save some of it. And I am glad of that. 

People claim terrorists did it. Like Glenn ‘Puppy Eater’ Beck.  Or that God is sending a message. [Most of the crazier religious sorts on Twitter.] With various interpretations as to what that message is. Others make jokes or shrug. I guess the football team can still play…seems to be some people’s confused take on the fire there in Paris. [As Notre Dame is a school and…yeah.] 

So am figuring out things and stuff on the new computer. It does read my thumb drive/s. That’s excellent well. Very leery of this newish machine. I trusted the old one, after all. Which was also refurbished. And worked for ten years. If not longer. 

Oh! Game of Thrones was on all week on free HBO. Which is good. As it was the week my elderly other machine decided to beep forlornly at me to bury it in the computer graveyard known as ‘stored in the closet somewhere’. Yes, I did see the new ep and I am literally a quivering, miserable happy mass of cells. Will Jon accept his birthright? Will Dani find out she’s likely preggers with her nephew’s kid? Will the Night King discover that Cersei is far far far colder than he is? Will Sansa and Tyrion get together for real?? [Heard people contemplating that one…] Arya and the Hound, a new buddies cop spinoff? Brienne and the big red-headed guy? Romance or…? [my absolute fave want them together couple ever on GOT. I am not alone in this one.] So, one zombie dragon took down the Wall? 

I was also watching Return of the King, as I had to find a new app to play DVD’s and the like so…and it was right there. Shh. Now. Where were the elves at? Mirkwood and Loth-whatever? [Did they all go get on the ships? All of them?] I mean, that group of elves showed up for the Battle of Helm’s Deep. The elves couldn’t send twenty or so to fight in the big ass giant battle in ROTK?? What about the dwarves? Gimli cannot be the only dwarf left and he was a fearsome, awesome fighter. So? Was there some plague that killed off the dwarves or they were busy or…did I miss that in the umpteen times I watched the LOTR movies? 

So!! I have two books for sale. House on Clark Boulevard and Oregon Gothic. They’re GREAT! I also have Aftermath now in editing. It’s about Boise and…ZOMBIES. But aware zombies that run the world. Yeah, now you’re hooked! You’ve always wanted to know about Boise! Ha ha ha!