Tuesday, November 22, 2011

RIP, Anne McCaffrey

I can't believe it.  I gasped so loud when I first read the news that my dogs thought someone was breaking into the house.  I'm so sad!  My very favorite author, of my very favorite book series, has passed away.  Anne McCaffrey, whose Pern series first sparked my love of fantasy and dragons.  A fantasy powerhouse, the author of nearly 100 books over a staggering 50+ year-long career, Anne McCaffrey will be mourned for years, and the literary world is poorer for having lost her, but her legacy will live on for generations.

Goodbye, Anne, and thank you so much.  We'll miss you!

RIP, Dragonlady.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Random Things

It’s only a few days until Thanksgiving!  Yaaay!  What is everyone doing for Turkey Day this year?

Well, the nightly scorpion checks (plural) have turned up no further scorpions as of yet.  I pray this trend continues.

No news yet regarding Eyes of Stone from Angry Robot Books (sigh), but they did sign 2 authors so far from their Open Door Month experiment, and they have hinted that there might be more.  They will also hold another Open Door Month next year, so if you’re a sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, get those manuscripts ready!!  Also, they have announced their new imprint, Strange Chemistry Books, which will feature YA books.  It will be edited by Ms. Amanda Rutter, who read a great many of the Open Door Months submissions.  You can read more about all of that at AngryRobotBooks.com 

And, should the Angry Robot Overlords happen to land on my blog, the Anxious Appliances have a message for them:


I hope I got the syntax right.  :P

One last announcement:  My husband David & I have decided to try to have a baby!  We’ve been together for 11 years (married for 8 of those), and we’re both turning 30 next month.  So we figured if we’re going to do it, we’d best do it soon.  

If you listen reeeeeally close, you can hear the future Grandmas squealing in joy.  It’ll be the first grandchild all around, so it’ll be spoiled rotten, I’m sure.

That is all for today.  :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scorpion on my pillow

So this was an eventful weekend.  First, I woke up Saturday morning with an ear infection.  Fun.  We had people over that night for drinks and to watch some big fight or other on TV, which apparently lasted 64 seconds.  Sunday I made a great big turkey dinner, kind of a pre-Thanksgiving thing, complete with mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pecan pie.  My little sister and Mother-in-law joined us, and we watched Elf and then put up (most) of our Christmas decorations.  When they left my husband & I watched another movie and ate some more food, and then when I went to bed, I noticed a little dust bunny on my pillow.  I started to brush it away when I noticed that it looked like a very odd little dust bunny.

Because it was a SCORPION!!  There was a #$%&ing SCORPION on my #$%&ing PILLOW!!  UUUUUGH!!  I'd never seen one before in my life, outside of a zoo or something.  I was like HOW THE #$%& did a scorpion get in my house, let alone onto my pillow on top of my bed?  Are there MORE of them?  Is my mattress brimming with scorpions now?  Why isn't the dog more upset about this??  My husband put the little bastard into a plastic container and we doused it in bug spray until it died, then we flushed it.

But my skin is still crawling!!!  I can still see it shaking its pincers at us in rage, trying to sting our fingers through the plastic container.  I had to check all the pillows and blankets and under the bed, and it still took me hours to fall asleep.  Every time the dog brushed up against my leg I thought it was the scorpion army come to avenge their murdered comrade. 


Friday, November 11, 2011

Creativity Exercise

It's been awhile since I did one of these.  Enjoy! And happy 11-11-11!!!

1. How can someone tell if you’re lying?
They run and tattle like a little girl

2. What was the last thing you stole?
A man’s heart. See? It’s right here, in a jar on my desk.

3. How many kids do you want?
I don’t like goats

4. What is something you CANNOT wait to do?

5. Do you believe everything happens for a reason?
No. Nothing is ever caused by anything.

6. Where is the person who stole your heart?
In prison. Organ trafficking is illegal, yo. And it stings.

7. It’s 4 AM and your phone rings who is it?
A dead person. They just don’t know it yet.

8. Anything good happening tomorrow?
What did I say about my psychic abilities? I said they only work from 7:00-7:02AM every third Tuesday, and only during leap years that end in odd numbers. You don’t listen.

9. Relationships or one night stands?
I keep my nightstands for one night and one night only. Disposable furniture is the wave of the future, people. Be there or be square.

10. What are you sitting on right now?
My fat @$

11. What is the last non-alcoholic beverage you had?
Blood. Unfermented, of course. See? I pay attention to the questions.

12. What is one thing you need more than anything?
My internal organs, neatly arranged and functioning properly.

13. Who was the last person to wear your clothes, other than you?
Don’t be creepy.

14. What were you doing at 4AM?
Performing Macbeth in its entirety with the pink & blue unicorns who stole Charlie’s kidney and the other Charlie, who bit his brother’s finger. Disastrous, by the way.

15. Tell me about the shirt you’re wearing.
It’s simply encrusted with gemstones, pencil shavings, and gemstones fashioned to look like pencil shavings. Its name is James Mortimer Gerard Susan Mortimer Mortimer Mortimer, and cost me two hams and one of my outdated cell phones.

16. What’s the last thing you put in your mouth?
Me shiv, since it’s too hard to board a ship one-handed.

17. I bet you miss someone today?
I’m Ron Burgundy?

18. Chicken or steak?
It depends on who has the gun.

19. Are you an alcoholic?
There’s no good way to answer that question.

20. Are you an aunt/uncle?
I know it’s “in” to be transgender these days, but, sadly, I don’t feel compelled to have my genitalia altered, surgically or otherwise. So no. Not an aunt/uncle.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halloween Flash Fiction winner #3 - John Di Rosa

Once more I want to thank everyone who participated.  Here is the work of the last, but certainly not least,  winner of my Halloween Horror flash fiction contest, John Di Rosa:

I have a problem saying I love you.

The last time I said these words the recipient was less than over joyed. The gleefully ecstatic acceptance of this term was far from forthcoming. Instead of mulling glee and an expected response of I love you too the receiver of such good will suffered terrible trauma.

Her hair line started to pull backward which erased the lines of stress on her forehead built up waiting for such great news. As the skin pulled back the eyebrows burst into subtle flame. I don't know how burst and subtle work in this description but none the less if you had been witness you would have to agree.

As the skin continued to pull back it released itself from the eye sockets leaving a shadow on the once stately brown iris. Upon further observance of the eyes, they drained of all color and became white globules which in turn burst, spraying jellied blood fibers onto the collar of my tennis shirt.

As the face pulled from the bone structure of the nose a wet tearing sound started to build. A few small blackhead pimples sprayed the caked oils and actually made the stretched skin look younger for a time. Mercifully the skin broke at the line of the ears which leaves one less horror to describe.

As the lips started to thin out and pull away from the gums small snapping sounds emanated from the once beautiful (if only to me) face and some stray facial hairs blackened the pink gums.

This hideous mask suspended itself for a few dripping seconds then instantly dried and fell to the floor like cheap parchment.

While I stared in disbelief at the uncovered skull I was consumed with conscious terror. Never again would I verbalize such an uncommon yet welcomed emotion.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It's a little early for turkeystuffs, but hey, I'm putting my Christmas decorations up this weekend.  Frankly, you ought to be proud of my restraint.  So before the Christmas music spills out of my windows into the neighbor's ears and my several dozen Christmas trees dazzle their eyes, I'm celebrating the delicious creature that almost became our national bird.

The above picture is of the turkey I made from discarded book covers for the break room at work.  I love arts & crafts.  This one is a little over a foot tall and it makes me happy.  :D

I can't wait for payday.  I'm gonna go buy a couple of those $8 turkeys Wal-Mart's been throwing up in my face for the last 18 hours or so and roast the $%#! out of 'em.  YAY, TURKEY!!!  YAY, CHEAP MEALS FOR A WEEK!!

OMG, I can't wait for Christmas.

Tomorrow I'll post the final Halloween flash fiction contest winner.  I was gonna do it today, but the turkeys distracted me.  And now I have that song "Super Turkey" stuck in my head.  Thanks, internet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Halloween Flash Fiction winner #2, Hammond House by Mary Vettel

Here is winner #2! Congrats to Mary Vettel!

Hammond House by Mary Vettel

It was not The Summer of ’42. It was not The Summer of Love. It was the summer my parents took us to Hammond House. My sister and I were teenagers and had no interest in this Revolutionary War museum. It was comprised of three separate houses –from the 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s - that were brought together. The curator lived in the Civil War era portion and gave us free reign to walk about giving ourselves the tour. My sister and mother remained downstairs in the 1600s house while my father and I went upstairs where a lot of farm equipment and hand tools were on display. They were desperately in need of repair, rusty, the leather torn, and the wood rotten with what looked to be termite holes. Not exactly something you’d ooh and ahh over.

Dad and I entered another room that was empty and in mid-July I saw my breath. We quickly exited and headed for the door to go downstairs. Near the door stood a dress dummy that appeared to be at least a hundred years old. I bent to feel the material at the hem and the dummy rolled up a ramp toward me; up a ramp that had been put there to keep it from rolling around. My father and I raced down the stairs, erupting into the room where my mother and sister were admiring a spinning wheel.

My mother said, “You two look like you’ve just seen a ghost.”

Not quite, but close. Dad and I stood at an antique writing desk explaining about the dress dummy when a small bouquet of dried flowers rose up from a pewter vase, hovered, then fell to the floor.

Mom asked my father how he did that. As though he’d arrived ahead of us and rigged the joint. Dad disavowed any knowledge and studied the pewter vase, determining there were no springs or strings involved. I had a real good case of the creeps at that point and wanted to leave.

As a group we moved along to the 1700s section of the house. I stood near the large fireplace when a candle in a pewter holder rose up off the mantle, hovered, then fell to the floor. My mother again asked my dad how he did that and told him to knock it off before he scared us. Too late. Dad examined the candleholder, most likely looking for springs or strings. I heard them suggest the summer heat had something to do with the expansion or shrinkage of the wax, etc. My sister and I weren’t buying any of it.

We moved on to the curator’s section of the house and sat in his living room as he spoke about the curator’s duties. We heard footsteps above and my mom asked to speak with his wife. He said his wife and kids were out and he was alone in the house. My sister and I thought this was odd and excused ourselves to wait out in the sweltering car.

My parents joined us about a half hour later and, as we made the drive home, they sprung the news on us that we were going to be moving into Hammond House as the next curators. It was a done deal. We had no recourse, no amount of complaining, protesting, or reasoning would change their minds. They’d already found a buyer for our Bronx home. Contracts were signed. My mother tried to soften the blow by saying my sister and I would finally have our own bedrooms. My father told her about the frigid room that was to have been mine and thought it best if my sister and I remained roomies.

We moved in a few weeks later. The footsteps continued. The cold room remained cold even in August. The feelings of being constantly watched never ceased. The sensation that someone was right behind you on the stairs. My sister and I took turns as lookout while the other showered. Things disappeared and turned up elsewhere. My teachers didn’t want to hear, ‘My ghost ate my homework.’

One of my jobs was to hang the flag in the morning and take it down in the evening and I always heard a small boy’s laughter though we were miles from anyone. Negative energy permeated the place and arguments grew out of nothing. We lasted that one school year and were back in the Bronx by the end of June.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween Flash Fiction Winner - Sentinels by Kevin Bufton

Over the next few days, I'm going to post the winners' flash fiction entries from my Halloween contest up for everyone to enjoy, since Blogger didn't approve of the 750-word limit (ok'd by the authors, of course!).

Thank you, Kevin, for your hard work and for allowing me to post your story up on my blog.


Copyright Kevin G. Bufton 2011

Lehman walked awkwardly down the corridor, the soles of his shoes squeaking on the ornate marble floor as he struggled to support the girl's weight. She had been gratifyingly mute since leaving the limousine – a potent cocktail of champagne and sedatives had seen to that – which was all to the good. After all, he had not purchased her for her conversation.

He stopped before the boy's private quarters and rapped sharply on the door with his free hand. He entered without waiting for an answer and was not surprised to find Michael sat up in bed, reams of computer printout spread before him. He did not look up from the work and Lehman was not entirely convinced that he had even noticed him coming in.

“Good morning, Michael,” Lehman said.

“Mr. Lehman,” the boy replied, his eyes not leaving the pages before him.

“How are you this morning?”

Michael ignored the question. “We should get out of United Steel,” he said. “Their stock will spike on Thursday morning, but it will crash by the time the market closes.”

Lehman did not bother asking him how he knew. “Then we should wait until it spikes?” he asked.

“No, before that,” Michael replied. “We need to sink that money into Denton Holdings before the drop.”


“Of course,” Michael said. “Their value will skyrocket within hours of United going under. We stand to make a small fortune.”

Lehman nodded to himself and half-dragged the girl towards a low chair at the side of the bed. As he threw her roughly into it, Michael looked up from his paperwork, his eyes suddenly alight.

“You brought me one,” he said, breathlessly.

“First of the month, Michael,” Lehman said. “Have I ever let you down?”

“No,” the young man replied. “No, indeed not.” He moistened his dry lips with his tongue, swinging his legs out from the bed and dropping to his knees before the woman. He waved his hand in a serpentine motion before her face and smiled as her glazed eyes followed its every movement. He covered her eyes with his hand.

“Name,” he said.

“Sarah,” the woman replied, tonelessly.

Michael took her head in his hands and, leaning forward, gently kissed her forehead. Lehman found this display of affection sickening, considering what was to come. He left the boy to his charade and stepped over to the mahogany bureau. When he returned, he saw that the girl was now compliant with his every command, all in a matter of seconds. Whether hypnosis or witchcraft, the effect was unnerving, even after all these times.

“Sarah,” he cooed. The woman raised her head a looked at him with glassy eyes. “Do you love me Sarah?”

“Yes, Michael,” she replied.

“How much do you love me, Sarah?”

“I love you with all my heart, Michael.”

“How much do you love me, Sarah?” Michael persisted, a distinct edge to his voice.

“I love you more than life itself, Michael,” she replied.

Satisfied, the young man took the tools from Lehman's clammy hands and, placing the point of the metal stylus in the centre of Sarah's forehead, brought the hammer down with a single, decisive blow. A thin rivulet of blood trickled from the hole and Michael scooped it up on his forefinger, tracing a red oval around the wound.

“This is the all-seeing eye,” he explained. “You will watch over me Sarah. You will protect me from harm, because you love me.”

“I love you, Michael,” she said.

He took her head in his hands again, his thumbs covering her eyes. Lehman knew what would happen next and excused himself from the room. Every month he did this. Every month he brought someone who would not be missed to the house and every month, he buried them somewhere in the extensive grounds as they succumbed to shock or infection. The life of a whore didn't amount to much when he stood to make millions from the forthcoming deal, but that didn't mean he had to watch.

As far as Michael was concerned, she was an all-seeing guardian, perceiving the whole of creation thanks to his impromptu surgery.

It stood to reason that she would no longer need her eyes.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Contest Winners!

You know, I couldn't decide.  They were all so good!  And so, I'm awarding pendants to everyone who entered! Yaaaaay!

So, Charles, Mary, and Kevin, shoot me an email with your contact info and I'll send you my templates.

Thank you all for your time and your creativity! :D

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quick update

Thank you to everyone who entered my Halloween blog contest!  I'm in the process of reading them, but they're all pretty great so far!  I'll post the winners sometime this weekend...as soon as I finish up this midterm paper.  Pinky swear!