Thursday, March 31, 2011

Last day to submit to the Angry Robots!

It's March 31st, and you have precious hours left to submit your magnificent, wonderous, amazing, ground-breaking sci-fi/fantasy/horror novel to Angry Robot Books.  I got a request for the full manuscript, and so can you!  Good luck to everyone who entered; may all of our inboxes be flooded with gushing emails of adoration and publication offers.

Angry Robot Submission Guidelines

Don't like robots?  Well, here is a list I've put together of some other publishers who also accept submissions sans agent, and links to their guidelines pages.  Bear in mind I write predominantly fantasy & horror, so this list is mostly related to those publishers who work with those genres.  I plan to submit my MS to some (or possibly all) of these, should the Robots find Eyes of Stone lacking.  Good luck to all!

PYR Publishing

DAW Books

TOR Books


Otherworld Publications  (Not currently accepting submissions, but they do from time to time)

Bell Bridge Books

Farrar, Straus, & Giroux

Black Rose Writing

EDGE Publishing

Baen Publishing

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mary Sue's Magical Adventure

This is based on a 'what not to do' piece I wrote for the QueryTracker forum, just zjhoozjhed up a bit. And yes, I totally made that into a word. Zjhoozjh. It happened. Wrap your mind around that, and enjoy Mary Sue's adventure until your head explodes from all the exclamation points.

Dear Agents, Publishers, and Oprah…

Mary Sue is the most beautiful sixteen-year-old girl at her high school. She’s a genius with the voice of an angel who plays ten instruments and speaks seventeen languages! Puppies, kittens, bunnies, and baby birds all follow her around because they can sense how pure and wonderful she is! She sings in her church choir, works at a soup kitchen every Saturday, and babysits her four brothers and sisters while her single mother works three jobs after their abusive father went to prison! She is beloved by all…so why does everyone hate her so much!?

Ashley, the leader of the rich girls’ clique, bullies Mary Sue constantly because she’s soooo totally jealous! She dumps garbage and dog food into Mary Sue’s gorgeous golden hair, steals her scholarship to art school, and calls her names until everyone else hates Mary Sue for being so popular, too! Then Mary Sue’s lost evil twin Julie Sue, separated from her at birth, joins forces with Ashley, and now everyone thinks Mary Sue is a slut! But that's so not true, because she’s totally saving herself for marriage!

Then Ashley’s hunky football-star boyfriend Hunter, who is also a brooding thousand-year-old vampire who never feeds on human blood and is immune to sunlight, falls in love with Mary Sue! With the power of true love on her side, Mary Sue develops magical powers that she only uses for Good! Everyone finally realizes how wrong they were to hate Mary Sue, even Ashley. Then Hunter reveals he is the Prince of the fairies and marries Mary Sue, making her a real-life fairy princess! Also there’s angels and werewolves.

Mary Sue’s Magical Adventure is currently 347,821 words long, but I’m still working on it so it will change. It’s a YA fantasy/adventure/literary/paranormal/regency/mystery/historical fiction novel, and it reads like Harry Potter, the Clique, and Twilight combined, only better!

This book will sell BILLIONS of copies!  I wanted you to get in on the ground floor because I saw on your website that you represent several New York Times bestselling authors, and I knew you wouldn’t want to pass this up! But don’t worry; if there are any mistakes, you can totally catch them in editing. I trust you.

I have at least five more books in mind, because I've had a LOT of bullies and they all need to learn to stop being mean to people. Especially me! So when do you want the manuscript? It's all in Old English Text font, because I want you to really feel how mature the book is.  Even though it's still in its first draft, and I haven't actually finished it yet, you'll be so hooked to Mary Sue you'll want to sell it from chapter two.

Don’t wait too long, though! There are hundreds of agents out there who will snap this series up in a second, if you’re stupid enough to pass. I'll give you 6 hours to request to read the whole thing, and then you’re out of luck.  This is a business, and I’m offering to hire you. Don’t screw this up for yourself, especially in this economy!


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eyes of Stone - Page the First

I have little to comment on today, outside of my irritation that AT&T bought T-Mobile.  (My favorite quote so far regarding the merger is this:  "AT&T is marrying T-Mobile.  There will be no reception afterward.)

Anyway, as I have run out of new ways to be interesting, I thought I'd post the first page (about 300 words) of my novel Eyes of Stone, which of course if the book I've been posting sketches of here on my blog, and which is awaiting the verdict of the Angry Robots.  Feel free to rend asunder or shower with praise, as the mood strikes you.  Kisses all around.


Anaiiya had approached the Tower many times—always prior to sunset, while the beasts still slept. To venture near the monolith at night was dangerous and foolish. Some might call it suicidal. But if she wanted the gargoyles to chase her, she needed to get their attention…and the only way to do that was to make them feel threatened. A dangerous idea; an insane idea.

Well, who would miss her if the worst should happen? Penniless vagabonds were mourned by no one.

The gravel in the courtyard skittered before her mincing steps as she approached the door to the Tower. She bit her bottom lip and wrung the sacks in her hands. Sweat trickled down the back of her neck as she watched the balcony three hundred feet above. No challenge came. No sound but the wind blowing in her ears. It looked like she’d have to do this the hard way. She swallowed and hurried onto the ancient stone steps.

Anaiiya reached out and touched the door with one hand, surprised at how smooth the petrified wood veneer felt under her ragged fingertips. The door was actually eight inches thick and cast from solid iron; like so many things about this place, the door’s rotted appearance was little more than an illusion to keep the occasional curiosity-seeker at bay.

As she lingered there, a vision flashed through her mind of a monster pressed against the door, watching her with shining teeth and barely-contained rage. She jerked her hand away as all the old tales of blood sacrifice and demon worship flashed through her mind.

Anaiiya took a shuddering breath as she set the sacks on the ground. Perhaps she’d made a mistake after all. She owed these creatures nothing. Stupid, to risk her life like this. To deliver a warning they probably wouldn’t heed. And why should they? Gargoyles were powerful and terrifying creatures who thrived on combat, on the deaths of their enemies. Did she truly think anything could threaten such creatures?

Monday, March 28, 2011


A friend of mine made it to the quarter-finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest for his literary/horror novel entitled The Boy Who Wasn't There.  Go, Nik!!!!  Amazon just posted sample chapters for free (and you can get the Kindle app for your phone or PC for free, too!), so check it out, like it, and post a review if you're feeling frisky.

The Boy Who Wasn't There

Download the Kindle App for your PC for FREE here!

Friday, March 25, 2011

20 Random Questions (Creativity Exercise #1)

1. How do you flush the toilet in public?
I break it into little pieces with a sledgehammer, then use a mortar and pestol to keep the pieces from clogging up the drain.

2. Do you wear your seatbelt in the car?
No, I only wear it around the house or at the movies

3. Name one thing you worry about running out of.
A burning building straight into the clutches of zombie velociraptors

4. What is your favorite pizza topping?
Shredded form rejection letters and baby fingers

5. What song do you hate the most
That one by the fifteen-year-old anorexic blonde girl. You know the one. Snoop Dogg.

6. What are your super powers?
I can shout out the ending of a movie really, really loud, but only if I’ve seen it before. And only during the first ten minutes of the movie. Oh, and only if the theater is full.

7. Where are your car keys?
On my keychain

8. What's your most annoying habit?
That pink & green one, because it itches and sends people into seizures like an anime cartoon

9. What CD is closest to you right now?
I thought it was Absolution by Muse, but then I caught it with that whore Incredibad and I just don’t know what to think anymore.

10. What 3 things can always be found in your refrigerator?
Burned out light bulbs, house paint, and cake

11. What color are your bed sheets?
Depends on how long they’ve been lying crumpled in a ball at the bottom of the closet

12. Would you rather be a fish or a bird?

13. Do you talk on your cell phone when you drive?
I chew on my toenails while I'm driving, and if I'm distracted by trying to talk, I could choke on a nail, perforate an intestine, and die. That's just reckless.

14. What song(s) do you sing most often in the shower?
I don't shower.  I just stand outside and wait for rain.  If the lawn can't bathe, then neither shall I. Solidarity!

15. What CD is in your stereo?
All of them. When one stops working, I assume the stereo is hungry and keep cramming discs in there until the beast is sated.

16. How many kids do you plan on having?
None. My HOA frowns on keeping livestock in the backyard.

17. What do you do when no one is watching?
Roast peaches. No, no! Comedy Central style, not in the oven. What do you think I am, a psycho?

18. Would you rather die in a blaze of glory or peacefully in your sleep?
I plan to live forever. So far it’s going great.

19. Coffee or Tea?
Mix them both together and just pour them right on down the toilet.

20. Do you talk to yourself?
You are all figments of my imagination, so I ONLY talk to myself.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Mary Sue Litmus Test

Is your character a 'Mary Sue?'  Find out!  I found these quizzes online and while I wouldn't say they're 100% accurate, they'll definitely help you refine your characters.  Most can be applied to both original & fanfic characters, although they are geared more toward fantasy/paranormal fiction.  Some of the stuff is pretty obvious (is your character named after you, does he/she consider her exceptional beauty to be a curse, etc.), but other questions really surprised me.  Who knew that being abused as a child contributed to Mary-Sue-ism?  While I never really considered any of my characters to be 'Mary Sues,' these quizzes definitely made me take a harder look at them.  I even made some changes to my MC based on some of these tests, and I think the whole story is better for it.

There are lots of other tests like this out there, but I like these the best because they don't require me to do any math.  I click yes or no and it tells me at the end how saccharine and predictable my character is.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Opening to Longboat

After sending this around to various magazines without success, I'm entering it into the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest.  Haven't done that in awhile.  Not to toot my own horn, but I last entered in 2005 with a YA fantasy piece and it made it all the way to the semi-finals.  Huzzah!  This is a dark fantasy/horror piece entitled "Longboat."  I'm just posting the opening few paragraphs (about 240 words) here for your amusement.  :)

Two glittering specks hover over the bow of my longboat, like moonlight reflecting in dark glass.  I tell myself they are dim stars, or the fizzling lamplight from the sinking brigantine some fifty yards ahead.  I can almost believe it.  Until they blink.

Those flecks are not stars.  They are not candlelight reflected on the water.  They are the wet and watchful eyes of whatever monster brought us to this lightless world.  I am the only one left alive.


Yesterday morning—at least I think it was yesterday—I awoke heaving my guts into the ocean, watching slimy green threads connect my mouth to the water through watering eyes.  The retching held me captive for several minutes, my gut clenched so tight I could not even draw breath.  When my stomach finally released me, I collapsed against the hull and sucked in great lungfuls of the clean salt air.  The cold Atlantic wind blew over my flushed cheeks and eyelids, relieving my nausea for a time but doing little to ease the terrific pounding in my head or remove the sour taste of vomit and absinthe from my tongue.

I didn’t have to open my eyes to know I was no longer aboard the Raven.  I was in the longboat.  Again.  I had only the dimmest recollection of breaking into the liquor shipment with the third mate and punching the quartermaster in the mouth when he tried to take it from us.  Damn.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Tower

This is the Tower, where the gargoyles and Anaiiya live.  As you can see, it was once very fine and beautiful, but neglect and disdain have left it in a state of disrepair.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Congrats to Phoenix!

Huzzah!! Phoenix's new short story anthology hit amazon today!  Congratulations to everyone who contributed!  I'm sure your book will be a great success.

Phoenix's Announcement on her blog

Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever - Buy it here!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Motivational Speakers

This is a satirical piece I wrote back before I learned how to fake an injury to get out of those mind-numbing teambuilding seminars.  Uuugh.  Now I know better.  Now I just think about actually sitting through it, and the nausea moves through me until I'm actually too sick to attend.  Crisis averted!  May you enjoy reading this as much as I hated attending it.

Motivational Speakers

Hello, everyone.  Welcome to your Company-sponsored lecture on leadership, productivity, and self-improvement.  I know you're all being forced to attend this seminar, and most of you are rolling your eyes and glancing at your watches, just waiting for me to say we’re all going to have a super-fun time.  Well, we’re probably not.  I mean, this is the same brainwashing, behavior-modifying, pop-psychological, propaganda-based waste of time we’ve been regurgitating and feeding back to the public every three years since the Hitler’s Youth program.  

That’s right; the only things we change are our catch phrases; like “See it and Be it,” “If you Believe it, You can Achieve it,” “Be Your Own Cheerleader,” and “Have You Hugged your Rainbow Today?”  And yet, some of you here today will still walk away believing that today has forever changed your life for the better.  So let’s get started!

Now, let me first tell you what we’re all about.  We’ve been hired by your Company to steal away precious hours of your life under the pretense of elevating your self-esteem, managing your time more efficiently, and bettering your overall lives.  In truth, however, it’s just much cheaper for your employers to make a meaningless gesture in the form of this tedious seminar to boost profits and productivity than to give you all raises or offer some sort of incentive program.  As a bonus, we make your heartless, money-driven Corporate Machine look like they actually care about its fully-disposable employees.

The same goes for your schools, ladies and gentlemen.  Yes, I can fully guarantee that if your children aren’t already enrolled a class that hammers these mind-controlling precepts into their fragile, impressionable young minds, they soon will be.  There are classes out there in every elementary school, junior high school, high school, and college that are devoted exclusively to these time-wasting exercises, designed to shape the weak-minded, gullible masses into the performance-driven automatons every employer dreams of.

But we’re getting off topic.  Let’s talk about time management.  Now, when I say ‘time-management,’ am I referring to your recreation time, your time at home, away from the office?  Of course not.  How would that help your Company pay my ridiculously overpriced bill?  No, I’m talking about better managing your time here, in the cubicle that will slowly but surely drain from you all life and vitality, leaving you a cold, hollow shell praying daily for a swift and painless death that will not come.

I know most of you are saying, “How?  How can I better manage my time to benefit my Company?”  Well, let’s just think about it for a moment; do you really need to take a lunch break?  Couldn’t you better use that hour by eating at your desk and finishing that paperwork?  Of course you could.  Just don’t choke on that chicken bone.  All the resulting paperwork would really slow down your HR department.  And what’s that, folks?  That’s right:  It’s…bad for The Company!

Today I’ll teach you about the power to “Choose Your Own Attitude.”  What a revolutionary concept, you’re thinking.  And you’re right.  You can decide how to feel today, and every day.  Do you want to be happy?  Then just be happy!  It doesn’t matter that you rear-ended a police car while driving your underage daughter to the hospital after she miscarried her cousin’s unborn child.  Suppress those unhappy, counter-productive emotions; block out those gloomy thoughts until they’re somewhere you’ll never find them until you suffer a psychotic break.

Just put on a happy face, and the rest will fall into place.  Don’t bring your problems to work; nobody cares about them anyway, and it can only decrease your performance level and the effectiveness of your co-workers.  Remember, The Company is everything, folks.

But what about problems at work, you say?  Well, those are your problems, and they’re your fault.  You shouldn’t selfishly lower your colleagues’ productivity by making a big scene when you’re passed over for that promotion in favor of the intern who gave in to your supervisor’s bizarre sexual advances.  Don’t sue over unpaid overtime or complain about working weekends.  Is that good for the Company?  No.  It doesn’t benefit anybody, and frankly, it can only make it that much harder for you to turn that frown upside down.

We all know that The Company is a fine-tuned Machine, and it can only work best and most effectively produce revenues if all the little people—I mean little pieces—are working together as one unified, non-individual-based unit.  Only if you all work your tired fingers to the bone, ridding yourself of every drop of individuality and hope for a better future, can the Company maximize its output.  That means higher profit margins and more money than a printing press.

But not for you, disposable employees.  No, no; that’s what I’m here for.  A meaningless gesture from your superiors to give you that false sense of loyalty and respect you so desperately thirst for, in order to keep you operating at the back-breaking pace they need to improve those bottom lines.  Yes, folks; if you listen and apply everything you hear today to your lives as a whole, I guarantee your Company will hire us to do this at every office they own.  Soon every employee will be volunteering to work weekends, giving up overtime pay, forfeiting vacations and time with friends and family, and feeling great about it!

Over the next four days, you’ll learn all about:

·         How guilt at missing unreachable quotas can be offset by working off the clock
·         Visualizing how the same repetitive, meaningless tasks performed over and over again will somehow make you president of The Company
·         The smug futility of mission statements
·         How to forge a false sense of unity through Company-based sports teams, retreats, and other mindless ‘teambuilding’ exercises
·         The degradation of the points-based ‘reward’ system
·         How competing in non-monetary awards programs for attendance/safety certificates can make you feel ‘special’
·         Better customer service though personal humiliation

And so much more!

Friday, March 18, 2011


It's bizarre...of all my characters, I have the clearest image in my head of Tarcos.  Yet he's given me the most trouble.  I just switched out the old one with this one; he's still not quite right, but this is close.  And since I'm running out of paper and I've worn my erasers down to the nubbins, it'll have to do for now.  You get the general idea.  Dark, surly, etc.  I envision this sketch happening during a fight scene.

I'm almost out of my pre-drawn sketches, so soon I'll have to resort to trying to be witty and charming all on my own, rather than fishing for compliments by posting bad sketches, ha-ha.

Also, I started book 2 today!  Been a long time coming, but I've been busy.  Get off my back about it.  ;)  I wrote about 5 pages today, and I borderline hate them all.  We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


It might be a little hard to imagine, but his hair is stark white, even his eyebrows.  Eyes are silver.  He didn't turn out quite as 'pretty' as I'd envisioned, but I think I got the creepy factor down.  Maybe when I get a little more free time I'll tweak this one some more.

I have a couple of Tarcos I'm still working on, but I'm not happy with him yet.  Maybe I'll take a break from him and try to work on Anaiiya, or the gargoyles...though I shake my head and roll my eyes in frustration at the very thought.

Ah, well.  I guess I could work on my writing instead for awhile, now couldn't I?  I haven't even started on book 2, although I think I may start it out with a wedding.  Not sure yet.  I can't seem to get focused enough to plot it out in my head yet, hence the everlasting rewrites on Eyes of Stone and dabbling with some short stories.  I might post a satirical piece later on this week entitled "Motivational Speakers," which I was justifiably provoked into writing after being forced to sit through yet another seminar about productivity, time management, blah, blah, blah.  Or maybe I'll put up the first 5 pages of Eyes of Stone.  I haven't decided yet.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amarantian Palace

This one took me a whole lot of tries to get right.  Still not perfect, but you get the general idea.  Carved right into the purple marble of the Amaranthine Cliffs.  I tried to give that sense of a work-in-progress, with  windows carved into the unfinished back walls of the cliffs.

I'll probably post my sketch of Sefal next, unless something more interesting happens and I feel the need to share that first.

Hope everyone is enjoying their Spring Break!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I'm putting him up first because I personally feel he's one of my better sketches so far.  This is Motavi, Second Prince of the Guardians.  I put both versions up; the first is in pencil, and the second has been gone over in ink.  I like the pencil version better myself, but pencil smudges like the dickens so I had to take a sharpie to it or lose it forever. What do you guys think?

Anyway, I'm working on others; Tarcos is giving me some trouble, and I haven't even started on Anaiiya yet.  And I lack the intestinal fortitude to even think about starting the gargoyle sketches, so don't hold your breath.  I'll probably put the palace up tomorrow.  I think I'm finally starting to get it right.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Map of Laryial

Here is my initial attempt at a map of Laryial, hand drawn by yours truly and everything.  It might be a little hard to read, as it was done in pencil and I lack the confidence to go over it in pen, but if you zoom in I think it'll be ok.  :P

It's also got some smudges and stuff, because my erasers are garbage, so don't judge me too harshly!  I'll be putting up other sketches later on; I currently have some of Sefal, Motavi, Tarcos, the Tower, and the Amarantian palace in the works.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New try at an old query

AW loathed my query for Eyes of Stone.  (Sad face)  And although it's gotten me a couple of partial requests, it ain't sold until it's sold, and I got a looong list of agents who rejected it, so I'm coming at it from a different angle this time.  What do you say, O bloggers?  Offer your thoughts, suggestions, rewrites, condemnations, etc. here. 

I'd like to return the favor, but, sadly, my query skills are more pathetic than two shivering puppies nuzzling their dead mother in the rain.  However, I seem to have a slightly less crippling failure rate with synopses (although my patience for them is rather slim), so if you can whittle your synopsis down to about 1,000 words, you may send it to me and I will do my best to destroy it for you.

Anyway, here is the newest version of the new query letter for your amusement:

        Anaiiya always believed she was human—until she awakened covered in blood with no memory of how she killed the thirty men scattered all around her.  Her demonic heritage, unknown to her and dormant for over twenty years, stirs to life at her first taste of bloodshed and compels her to ever-greater acts of violence.

The gargoyles, monstrous-looking warriors who are incapacitated by sunlight, have depended on Anaiiya for their daytime protection ever since she saved them from an attack by pro-human fanatics.  But if she loses control of the bloodthirsty compulsions that plague her, she could kill her new family herself.  

She fights against her own nature even as it grants her strange powers that could make it easier to defend her tribe.  She is strong enough to crumble stone into powder.  Blood obeys her every command.  But every time she uses these abilities, the darkness within grows a little stronger and the violent urges a little harder to resist.

Her burgeoning powers catch the attention of another creature:  A creature of black magic who wants Anaiiya’s powers for himself.  Now her only hope to save her family from monsters may be to become one herself.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some of my Favorite Quotes

Wow, this blogging thing is more difficult than I thought.  I have to find something interesting to say almost every day now, when normally I can go days without saying anything interesting to anyone.  But now, apparently, I've made some sort of a commitment to be entertaining. 

Well, too bad.  I can't just sit around making you people laugh or cr or whatever.  I'm nobody's clown.  In fact, I hate clowns.

Anyway, today, rather than be charming and witty and so on myself, I've provided a short list of quotations other people have said that I find charming and witty and thought-provoking, etc.  I tried to give credit to those who said them, but some  are so old I don't remember where they came from. 

"All Things Work Together for Good." - Romans 8:28

"For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow." - Ecclesiastes 1:18

"You can't spell sarcasm without letters."

"The beatings will continue until morale improves."

"I have put my heart and soul into my work, and lost my mind in the process." - van Gogh

"Do I look like a mushroom? Because I don't like being kept in the dark and fed bull$#!t." - Rachel Caine

"Once you get past a certain threshold, everyone's problems are the same:  Fortifying your island and hiding the heat signature from your fusion reactor." - Austin Grossman

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Clarke

"Well, maybe you hid my flamethrower, because I make poor choices with it." - ATHF

"Is there some reason a robot made of wax can't take a nap standing up in the middle of a bunch of wax robots, or does that CONFUSE you?" - Futurama

"Nothing is as frustrating as arguing with someone who knows what he's talking about."

"Except for ending slavery, Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, war has never solved anything."

"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for want of the shoe, the horse was lost; for want of the horse, the message was lost; for want of the message the battle was lost; for want of the battle, the war was lost; for want of the war, the kingdom was lost... and all for the want of a horseshoe nail." - Benjamin Franklin

"Who Now remembers the Armenians?" --Adolf Hitler

"No Single Raindrop believes it is responsible for the Flood" - demotivators

"Never Use a Big Word when a Diminuitive One Will Suffice."

"When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do." - Demotivators

"All I ask is for is the opportunity to prove that money can't buy happiness." - Demotivators

Monday, March 7, 2011

Little Johnny's Christmas Revenge

For some reason, I woke up today with Elvis's "White Christmas" in my head, and I haven't quite been able to rid myself of it.  So, in spirit with the seasonal tunes going 'round and 'round in my head, I thought I'd post a little piece of Christmas-related flash fiction I wrote.  So enjoy "Little Johnny's Christmas Revenge."

Johnny ground his teeth as he clenched and unclenched his fist around the black lump he’d found in his stocking last Christmas. Coal. Again. After he’d tried so hard to be a good boy this year.

He flicked his gaze over to the pile of shattered Christmas memories lying on his nightstand. Five years = five lumps of coal. Never again. Johnny slammed the last piece down next to the others. He glared at them for a long time, his eyes dark slits in his face, until he remembered the gallon of gasoline under his bed. His face broke into a smile. No, he’d never get another lump of coal for Christmas again. Nobody would.

It was nearly midnight on Christmas Eve before Johnny felt certain that everyone else was asleep. He cracked open his bedroom door and peeked out into the hallway. His parents’ door was shut tight, as were his sisters,’ and all the lights were off except for the one in the bathroom down the hall, which was left on in case one of the children needed to use the toilet during the night.

Johnny slipped out of his room and locked every door in the house. He used a screwdriver to remove the handles and latches, so the fat man couldn't just walk out when he heard the smoke alarms. Then he snuck into the garage, the gasoline in his hand and a box of matches in his pocket. He took his father’s ladder and set it against the side of the house. His feet slipped a little on the rungs, but he managed to make his way onto the roof. There he sat, shivering in the chilly air of late December, waiting for Santa.

He didn’t have long to wait. The tell-tale sound of sleigh bells tinkled through the night air, and Johnny’s heart raced in his chest. His face tightened into a half-crazed grin, and he ducked behind the chimney.

Other children would have been fascinated at the sight of finally seeing Santa and all his reindeer on their rooftop, close enough to touch. But not Johnny. No, the humiliations and the disappointments of the last five Christmases were too much to bear. Every time his conscience pricked at him, he thought back to his sisters’ laughing at his tear-streaked face and coal-blackened fingers while they danced and played with shiny baubles and beautiful dolls. His parents would cluck their tongues and shake their heads, telling Johnny it was his own fault; he shouldn’t have put the cat in the freezer. He shouldn’t have put the hamster down the garbage disposal. He shouldn’t have held the dog underwater in the bathtub until he stopped moving.

Johnny ground his teeth again and willed the fat man in red to hurry up and go down the chimney. After a few minutes—an eternity to any eleven-year-old boy—Santa hefted the sack over his shoulders and vanished down the chimney.

Johnny tiptoed out from his hiding place and popped the cap on the gas can. The reindeer pawed nervously as the young boy approached them, but didn’t move out of the way. He hummed ‘Up on the Housetop’ as he sprinkled the smelly liquid all over the roof, the sleigh, even the reindeer. He’d brought a flagstone up onto the roof months ago, and now he slid that over the chimney top to keep the fat man from escaping his well-deserved punishment. But not before he took the five hateful lumps of coal from his other pocket and threw them down into the fireplace.

Then he lit a match.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Writing gods

I've compiled a list of all the writing gods, mythological figures, and patron saints associated with writing, the alphabet, poetry, storytelling, etc. I could find.  I've been creating jewelry based on each of them, as an homage to all those aspiring authors, linguists, archivists, scribes, etc. who have come before me.  At first I meant to make a necklace, but as my list grew, it ended up being a 3-foot chain with dozens of pendants on it.  I sometimes wear it while I'm writing in hopes of inspiration, but it's so heavy now that I just leave it up in my library, hanging from a sconce as part of the decor.

So far, I have a total of 31 gods/patrons/etc. from all over the world (I've lumped the Muses together as one 'goddess').  It's taken me months to compile, and I'm sure I'll be adding more later.

If anyone knows of any others, let me know and I'll be glad to add them to the list!

Here is my current list, in alphabetical order.  I've included their alternate names, regions, and some have items/symbols/animals they are associated with:

1.  Athena (Greek)/Minerva (Roman) – goddess of wisdom, the arts – owl

2. Bragi/Bragr (Norse) – God of poetry & eloquence

3. Brigit/Brigid/Bridgit (Celtic) – goddess of Inspiration, Poetry, Healing, Smithcraft and Martial Arts. Brigit’s cross, Brigit’s knot

4. Brahma (Hindu) - supreme god of the East Indian trinity; brought knowledge of letters to human race.

5. Cadmus (Greece) – brought alphabet to Greece

6. Cangjie/Ts’ang Chieh (China) – Invented Chinese alphabet/characters

7. Fu-Xi (China) – Invented Chinese alphabet –8 trigrams of earlier heaven, calabash

8. Ganesha (Hindu) – god of wisdom, intellect, art; lord of beginnings & success; patron god of writers

9. Hermes (Greek)/Mercury (Roman) – Inventor of the written alphabet, god of writing/literature, speech, travelers, treaties, dreams

10. Inanna/Ishtar (Mesopotamian/Sumerian) - Goddess of Words, Language, Syntax and Meaning. Stole tablets of destiny – 8-pointed star/rosette, lion, knot of reeds

11. Itzamn/Itzamna (Maya) – invented writing & the calendar. Mayan calendar, compass; north= white; east= red; south= yellow; west= black

12. Manjushri (Buddhism) – bodhisattva of writing, poetry, and knowledge – sword, lotus, lion

13. Muses (Greek) – Calliope – epic poetry/literature, Melpomene – tragedy, Euterpe – lyrical poetry/singing, Thalia – Comedy, Clio – History, Erato – erotic poetry, Polyhymnia - Sacred hymns/sacred oetry, eloquence Theatre masks, scroll & quill, boots, writing tablet, flute, ivy

14. Nabu (Babylonian) – god of wisdom & writing – tablet, stylus

15. Nisaba (Sumerian) –Invented writing – Hair, crescent moon, corn; - rhodochrosite

16. Odin (Norse) - god of wisdom, poetry. Inventor of Norse alphabet - raven

17. Ogma/Oghma (Celtic/Irish) – god of knowledge, eloquence & poetry – Ears & tongue linked with chains of gold & amber

18. Philyra (Greek)/Merope (Roman)/Klymene/Clymene/Hesione – goddess of paper, writing, healing and perfume. Invented/taught humans to make paper

19. Quetzalcoatl (Aztec) - serpent god; founder of Aztec culture; patron of priests, the inventor of the calendar and of books, and the protector of goldsmiths and other craftsmen

20. Saga (Norse) – goddess of sagas

21. Saraswati – (Hindu) – inventor of Sanskrit; goddess of creativity, wisdom, speech, learning, arts; patron deity of writers, poets, students, artists, musicians, etc.,

22. Sequoyah (Native American) - invented alphabet for the Cherokee and taught his people to read. First with pictographs and symbols adapted from English, Greek and Hebrew letters, altered to represent spoken Cherokee language

23. Seshat (Egyptian) – goddess of writing & history, inventor of written characters and mathematics, measurer of time, patron of architecture & libraries, record-keeper of the gods - Papyrus, Palm stem, 2 horns facing down/crescent moon

24. Sint-Holo (Native American - Cherokee, Chicasaw, Choctaw, Creek) - God of Language, Intelligence/Wisdom, Writing, and the Alphabet. Horned serpent

25. St. Frances de Sales (Catholic) – patron saint of authors

26. St. Jerome (Catholic) – patron saint of librarians, archivists, and translators

27. Tahmurath (Persian) – demons taught him the art of writing in 30 different languages in return for sparing their lives

28. Tenjin/Tenjin-Sama/Sugawara no Michizane (Japan) – god of writing, poetry, scholarship; taught humans how to write – bull, ume tree, Tenjin Temple

29. Thoth/Tehuti/Djehuty (Egypt) – god of wisdom, reading, writing, oratory, & scribes. Inventor of hieroglyphics; “lord of the holy words.”

30.  Titivillus - lord of typographical errors, delinquent letters, and superfluous language.  He lurks in monasteries, whispering into scribes' ears and filling his sack with the errors they make. "Patron demon of writing errors." Also known as: Chochlik Drukarski - Poland; Tryckfelsnisse - Sweden; Trykkleif - Norway;  Sætternissen - Denmark; Painovirhepaholainen - Finland;  Gazapos - Spain;  A Nyomda ördöge - Hungary; and Druckfehlerteufelchen - Germany.

31. Wen Chang (China) – God of wisdom, education, & literature – Pagoda


Friday, March 4, 2011

Repeating myself

For those who don't know, I submitted the first 15,000 words of EYES OF STONE to Angry Robot Books.  Much to my everlasting joy and surprise, less than 24 hours after I submitted it, I got back:

"I have very much enjoyed what I have read of Eyes of Stone and would like to request to read the full manuscript.  Please send the full novel..." 

Had to read it thirty, maybe forty times.  Heck, I've gone back once every couple of hours and re-read it, because Lord knows how familiar the aspiring writer is with rejection.  We all need a little boost every once in awhile.  I still go back and read the partial requests I got from DM and BookEnds, even though one's still out and one was ultimately rejected.  But we gotta take what small victories we can get, am I right?

I'm thinking about posting some of my worldbuilding exercizes on here later on, because 2 of my current 3 followers (kisses to all of you, btw) have read something of my novel already and perhaps they'd be interested in knowing how, exactly, the gargoyles turn to 'not-stone.'  Or what Laryial's principal export is.  Or maybe they won't.  Don't know.  We'll find out!

I'm also working on some character sketches.  I have a good idea of what Tarcos and Sefal look like, because they look kind of like celebrities.  That wasn't intentional.  I flipped on the TV, got my first look at said celebrities and thought, "Holy crap; it's like they posed for it."  I'm not gonna say who for now; maybe I'll get some work done on them and post em up...see if YOU can tell ME.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why I don't use a certain writing forum anymore

Ah, my first tirade! I put this up on a writing forum I no longer frequent in protest of a certain administrator's delete-happy 'vision' of a well-censored venue for 'free expression.'  I'm betting some of you even know who he is, but I'll be polite and delete his name.  Enjoy. 

C*****'s god complex has defeated me.  I shan't be coming back.

I like my creative outlet administrators just a tad less Hitler-y, thanks. Get a life, dude. Just let people express themselves without your endless nit-picking. Do you seriously have nothing better to do than monitor every single line of text entered into every single thread every single minute of every single day? I wish I had that kind of free time. Although I like to think I'd spend it in more constructive pursuits, like spending time with family and friends and realizing my dreams. You know, frivolous stuff like that. Nothing like becoming the tyrannical overlord of a writing forum, I know; but us little people have to dream smaller than that.

There are better forums out there, folks, where C*****'s Nazi regime and endless, needless, pointless rules cannot reach you. Hope to see you there. Also, he doesn't even know what a query letter is. So don't listen to him.

I bet this post stays up for all of thirty seconds, because he has absolutely nothing better to do with his life than quell the insurgents. If there's one thing C***** hates, it's free expression. I mean, it's not like we're all trying to be creative professionals or anything, right?

What are you gonna do? Kick me off the forum? Send me another email about my infractions? I'm shaking. Seriously. Can you tell? I can barely type through all the tears at the mere thought of Herr C***** Big-Brothering my every keystroke.

Sieg Heil, jerk.

(By the was removed in less than a minute)

So here it is

I've done it.  I've given in to the pressure of blogging.  At least it's nice and dark.  ;) 

As you can clearly tell, I have no idea what I'm doing yet.  Hopefully that will change as time goes by, but for now we all have to sit in the dark and hope that's not a spider crawling up our leg.