Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas vacation and pseudo-scorpions

Last night, as I executed a I swan-dive into my bed, I spotted a dark oblong shape on my sheets. In that fraction of a second while I hung suspended above my bed, helpless to change my trajectory or even slow down, I was utterly convinced that it was yet another scorpion. I was going to land square on it, and that there was nothing I could do to stop myself.  I was doomed. As I descended, a moment of concentrated terror surged through me, both pure and devastating.  I was going to die.

I landed and flung myself onto the floor—to the everlasting confusion/amusement of my dogs—only to find that it was not a scorpion in my bed after all, but the trailing end of my earbuds. I narrowed my eyes at the deceitful little electronic listening device, threw a stuffed animal at the dogs to distract them from my humiliation, and sheepishly slithered back into bed.

If I could kill that scorpion again for forever ruining the peace of my own bedroom, I would. I should have let my husband set it on fire. But NOOOOOO, I had to be all, “No, don’t burn it alive, that’s meeeeeean!!” Well, scorpions, beware. Next time I shan’t be so merciful. Not when I’ve developed a complex where I have to shake out the mattress and every sheet, blanket, pillow, and puppy dog before I get into bed. My fragile sanity has been shattered beyond repair, and somewhere in my backyard there’s an arachnid that’s going to pay for it.

On a happier note…

Today is my last day of work this year!


I’m coupling a week of vacation with the normal week off for the Holidays from the university, creating one massive hybrid SUPER-CHRISTMAS!! It’s the only thing that got me out of bed this morning, when I woke up to find it 40 degrees inside my house.

It took a lot to get me out from my warm, currently-scorpion-free bed, covered in blankets and with two adorable puppies snuggled up beside me. But then I thought, “Oh, yeah…today’s my last day of work this year,” and I was able to skip merrily through the freezing house and get ready for work.

Ok, so maybe I wasn’t skipping through the house. It was more like slogging. The point is, I did it.

So what shall I do with my two glorious weeks of freedom, you ask? Sleep in. Every. Day. Like a boss. Maybe I'll get some work done on book 2, maybe (probably) I'll fret some more about the fact that I still haven’t heard back from the Angry Robots (sigh). Mostly I'll just eat, though. I have plans in the works to make a ham and cookies and pies and stuff, because being fat means never having to curtail your Christmas calorie intake.

In case I don't blog again this year, everyone have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  And a happy anything else you celebrate. :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Top 10 Reasons why I've not blogged so much lately...

Aside from the usual excuses of Thanksgiving, birthdays, work, etc., here are the top 10 reasons why I’m not blogging as much lately:

10.  I can’t think of anything to say.

9.  When I do think of something to say, I can’t imagine you’d be interested in.  My goddaughter turned 7, my tummy hurts, and I discovered Words with Friends. Are you titillated?  I thought not.

8.  Constantly checking/reading/updating emails/Facebook/Twitter/AW/AR website etc. leaves precious little time for blogging shenanigans.

7.  I’m re-watching Night Court and wondering how anyone ever got anything done before computers.

6.  Free time spent blogging probably ought to be spent working on Book 2.

5.  Goblin’s motivator frightens me. In more ways than one.

4.   I’m compulsively checking for scorpions.

3.  The Walking Dead has convinced me that my time might be better used preparing myself to kill my loved ones, should the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse claim them.

2.  I’m on a re-reading kick, so I haven’t been making much of a dent in my ever-growing pile of new books, and hence haven’t been writing reviews of them yet. But you should all go read Game of Thrones. Just saying.

1.  I’m afraid that if I bore you, you won’t think I’m pretty anymore.

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 

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 soon as I finish up this midterm paper.  Pinky swear! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

I hope everyone's got big exciting sugary plans for tonight!!  Our office Halloween party was a blast, especially the part where Harry Potter fought with Darth Vader. Epiiiiiiiiiiiiiic.

Don't forget, you have until midnight to post/email your scary flash fiction for a chance to win swag!

Have fun, everybody!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Only 4 days left to enter my Halloween contest!

Remember, your scariest flash fiction is due by midnight on Halloween.  Post it as a comment on the original post, located HERE, or, if you'd prefer, you can email them to me directly at beckahrah @ gmail .com.  Limit of 750 words, and the winner (or winners) receive a glass tile pendant/keychain, etc. as a prize.  Huzzah!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Flash Fiction Contest!!

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I love horror.  The scarier, the better. Freak me out, give me nightmares, and make me afraid to turn the light out at night, and you’ve won me over.

And, since it is almost the scariest time of year, I thought I’d host a scary little contest. Flash fiction-style. Time to channel your inner King, Lovecraft, Barker, Craven...whoever gets your juices flowing.

The rules are simple: You have until midnight on Halloween (OoooOoooO, spoooooooky!!) to post your scariest flash fiction (no more than 750 words) as a comment on this thread. The scariest stories win a free pendant! I’ll give away at least two pendants but perhaps more, if you’re all on your scariest writing behavior.

This can be about anything. Zombie teddy bears, angry robots (smiley face), cannibalistic Santa Claus, cybernetic ghost sharks in a blood ocean, alien Frankenstein-monsters…whatever. The sky’s not even the limit. It just has to be original and scary. Blood & gore are totally cool, but please limit the “adult situations” & language so I don’t have to put a warning label on my blog. :P

And this should go without saying but, NO sparkly/angsty vampires, please, or I’ll slap you on the hand and take away your Halloween candy.

As always, the pendant(s) can be of anything you like. I can also make it into a keychain, zipper pull, etc. for the menfolk out there who might not be especially interested in jewelry.

I specialize in writing gods (see the list HERE, and you can see examples HERE, at my Etsy shop).  I have it on good authority that they bring good writerly luck.  I also have a large template collection of liquor bottles and retro/rockabilly-style zombies, but I can make any image/pattern/photo, etc. into a pendant.

Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! :D

Friday, October 21, 2011

Random Noise...I mean, News...Day

For those who don’t know, I’m still awaiting the results of UK publisher Angry Robot Books’ March 2011 Open Door Submission Month. Those of us who remain have formed a support group of sorts over at Absolute Write, in which to whinge and moan and gnash our teeth collectively. You can check it out here: The AW Waiting Club

So far, from what we can gather, there were around 22 manuscripts escalated to the editors’ desks. Of those, so far one has resulted in a book contract and at least 2 have been rejected. I think. The rest of us are following their every tweet, facebook status, website update, and Formspring answer while going slightly mad. We’ve also formed a private writing group that we’ve called “Anxious Appliances,” which seems to be slowly degenerating into a more private place to chew our hands off, lol.

Incidentally, Angry Robot Books have some of the coolest covers I’ve ever seen, and you should check them out: Angry Robot Books

In other news, I have acquired my first smartphone, and I love it and I’ll bite you in the face if you try to take it from me. I was so engrossed in Twittering and Facebooking and downloading games and such that I forgot it was a phone until I got a call last night, and for a second I actually thought, “Wow, it can do that TOO??”

And, lastly, I’m beginning to hate that Goblin Humiliator Badge. It taunts me, just hanging out there underneath the WIP word-counter that hasn’t changed in a month. “It’s not my fault!!” I scream at it. “I have a new job…and I’ve been sick…and I have homework to do…and Betas to critique…and dogs to feed and bills to pay and a husband to play with and bells to answer and eggs to fry and I HATE YOU!” I’ve been counting my schoolwork and blog posts as word counts just so I don’t get to Day 7 of no writing and have to explain myself to my mother.

I just need another 8-10 hours a day, that’s all. Just enough so that I can get some writing done and get a second job for Christmas money, and still have some “me” time. Or a clone. Or just a great big pile of cash. Yeah, that’d about do it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Blog Award! Yay!

I've been away for a bit due to some gastrointestinal distress.  Sorry about that.

Anyway, I've returned now, weak-stomached but largely intact, and now I have another blog award!  Yaaaaay!!

Much thanks to the lovely & talented Lisa Ann over at Kicked, Cornered, Bitten, and Chased for my shiny new blog award! According to Lisa, "The purpose of this award is to ask bloggers to identify their own blog posts in certain categories."  So. Here we go:

1.  Most Beautiful Post:  Amarantian Palace - my sketch of the Amarantian Palace from my WIP, Eyes of Stone, which is (as you well know) still awaiting judgment from the editors over at Angry Robot Books.

2.  Most Popular Post: Books to Movies I'm Super-Excited About - I guess a lot of people around here read. ;)

3. Most Controversial Post:  Not-So-Great Betas - There seemed to be a lot of mixed feelings about this one.

4. Most Helpful post:  How to Change a Tire - It'll keep you from being raped, murdered, and left in a culvert. You're welcome.

5. Most Surprisingly Successful post:  Dream Log #3 - Second-most hits of all my blog posts. Who knew people were so fascinated with Santa Claus kidnapping people from strip clubs?

6. Post that Didn't get the Attention it Deserved:  Creativity Exercise #8 - I thought it was one of my funnier ones, but apparently Mr. internet didn't agree.

7.  Post I am Most Proud of:  Writing gods - Wasn't sure whether to cap that "gods," but oh well.  This took me many moons to complete, and I'm still adding to it.  All the old writing gods, patron saints, etc., from as many mythologies as I could locate.  I turned them all into jewelry, and I have it on good authority that they bring good luck. :D

And now to pass it on to three other worthy bloggers:

1. Going From Nobody to Somebody

2. Rise of the Slush

3. Mary Ellen's Musings

Huzzahs all around!  I hope to step up the blogging soon; it's just been hard to find the time lately between the new job and the sickness and the school and all. :P 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dream Log #3

Last night, I dreamed that my sister talked me into going swimming with her at this strip club’s indoor pool, which turned out to have a chemical in it that dissolves your clothing. Then, of course, we saw the pervs watching from the underground pervert rooms. We got out and were promptly man-handled by creepy homeless-looking strip club patrons, and then we got kidnapped by Santa Claus.

No kidding.

Somehow in all this, my sister was kidnapped and held hostage by someone else. In order to save her life (and I don’t remember exactly how or why this would work), I had to go with the other strippers to put on a “water show” for Santa Claus at the North Pole. When we got there, the security guards said we had to be careful to avoid Mrs. Claus. She found us anyway and was really sweet and sad that her husband enjoyed sexy parties. I felt like a jerk, but hey, I had to save my sister’s life, right? Except we never got around to doing the nude water ballet thing (thank goodness), because someone (I suspect Mrs. Claus) set the North Pole on fire. Then we were magically transported back home, and then I woke up.

That dream sucked, by the way.  I feel all skeezy just thinking about it, lol.  I thought the creepy squirrel clip art was a good fit for that. ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Looking for a few good guest bloggers!

Picture is unrelated; I just think it's pretty. :D  Thank you, Windows Clip Art!

Whoo, this has been a crazy and very FULL couple of weeks! I’m finally settling into my new job (I think), and while it won’t be quite as all-encompassing as I initially feared, it does require more of my attention than my previous position. Which only makes sense, as I am now a supervisor. Squee!!

Anyway, my blogging may still be sporadic over the next few weeks as I get used to this new position. Frankly, it’s been a challenge just keeping Goblin’s motivator from getting too nasty.

This job is a much more physically demanding one than I’ve ever had, so it makes me very tired on those days when I have to haul dozens of boxes of magazines around campus. So, in the spirit of togetherness, variety, keeping the blog diverse, expanding new horizons, and keeping you lovely people interested (as well as easing the strain on my poor back and brain), I am looking for guest bloggers.

If you’d like to guest blog here, email me at beckahrah @ (sans spaces, of course) and include the material you’d like to contribute. It can be something you’ve already posted on your own blog, as long as it’s yours and I won’t get sued or anything horrible like that.

Much thanks and karma and book contracts upon you all for your help!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

White Chocolate Amaretto Custard Pie with Raspberries

Trying something new today!

As you probably don't know, I really like to cook. Especially when it comes to baking.  As the cold season approaches, I get to start flipping through my recipes for tasty treats that will fill my house with the warm smells of fattening, delicious goodies.

My coworkers also benefit from this.  I bake an assortment of custard pies and fancy cakes, and every time I bring one in, my coworkers urge me to post pictures & recipes on my blog.  So, here we go!

Above you see one of my very favorite recipes, my white chocolate amaretto custard pie with raspberries.  And yes, it looks even prettier in person and yes, it tastes just as amazing as it sounds.  I know that sounds a little vain, but trust me, it's pretty awesome.

Don't believe me?  Well, then, try it out for yourself:


* 1 Shortbread Pie crust (I abhor graham crackers, but change it out if you must)
* 1 pint (2 packs) fresh raspberries**
* 1 pint heavy whipping cream
* 1 small can sweetened condensed milk
* 3 egg yolks, well beaten
* 3 tbsp. cornstarch
* 1 box Bakers white chocolate squares 
* 2 tbsp. butter
* 2-3 Tbsp. Amaretto extract (I like a LOT of amaretto flavor, but use as much or as little as you like. I do NOT recommend substituting amaretto liquor, as it doesn't have nearly as much flavor as the extract does)


In a large saucepan, combine COLD heavy whipping cream and slowly add cornstarch, mixing constantly with a wire whisk. Turn heat to medium-low. Add condensed milk and egg yolks, still mixing constantly.

In a separate pan, add all white chocolate ingredients, amaretto extract to taste, and butter.  Cook over LOW heat (or in a double boiler), mixing occasionally, until it's all melted together (so that it doesn't stick to the bottom) and bubbling.

Continue mixing the custard almost constantly over low to medium-low heat.  When the custard becomes thick (so that the wire whisk leaves trails) and just starts to bubble--and this will take about 20 minutes, so bring your patience--turn off the heat and add the white chocolate mixture.  Stir well with a spatula until bubbling again.

Pour the custard into the pie crust and let cool for at least an hour (NOT in the fridge).

Top with fresh raspberries** and chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. Overnight is best.

**You CAN use frozen raspberries, but make sure you thaw them and drain them VERY WELL.  They will still turn the custard pink.  It will taste fine, but it'll look a little funky, and I personally think that it tastes better with the fresh ones.**

As I make my other recipes, I'll post them up here as well as some pictures.  You can look forward to things like Bananas Foster Custard pie, chocolate pecan custard pie, lemon-blueberry cake, and others.  Yay, baking!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

OoOoO! Another Blog Award!! Yaay!!!

Mucho thanks to Darian Wilk over at Crazy Lady with a Pen for bestowing upon my unworthy person theBlog on Fire Award!

So, things you may not know about me...

1. If I could have any superpower, it would be shape-shifting, because that’s kind of like having all the powers.

2. If I had a genie offer to make me twice as smart but it would make my butt bigger, I’d take the deal. I’m already fat. Maybe if I were smarter, I’d figure out a way to become rich and have my entire backside removed.

3. I hate Ikea furniture.

4. I have an orange tree in my backyard that mysteriously came back from the dead after the week-long ice storm of doom “killed” it last winter.

5. I’m secretly afraid that people will think I’m insane/psychopathic when they read how dark most of my writing is.

6. I have a very low threshold for stupidity. Alsmost as low as my threshold for bad grammar. Almost.

7. I could bore you to tears with my expansive and surprisingly useful knowledge about cables. HDMI, firewire, VGA, SVGA, component...the list goes on and on.

And, last but not least, I pass this award on to seven worthy recipients. Hmm...let me see...

1. The Monster in Your Closet

2. Tara Tyler Talks

3. De's Stories

4. Paranormal Pursuits

5. Writing Cocoon

6. Ink Poisoning

7. Talia Jager

Yay!! :D

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Vague Angry Robot News!

If you haven't been keeping up with Angry Robot Books on Formspring, you should check it out:

Angry Robot Books' Formspring

In other news, today will be my second day at the new position.  I think I'm going to like it (outside of the cruelty of a "normal" 9-5 day...already I miss sleeping in!!), but it's SUPER more complicated and intensive than my last job, so, sadly, I may not have the time to blog & Twitter and keep up with my various other social networks like I used to.

I shall give it my utmost, but between the new crazy work schedule, homework, trying to write Book 2 (I'm toying with the title of Blood and Black Sand, but I'm not married to it), and keeping up with the various chores & obligations of being a wife and homeowner and BFF, etc. while trying to get enough sleep so I don't die on my way to work, the blogosphere may be the one to suffer the most neglect.  I may only get to post once or twice a week, if that.  So don't fret if I wander off for a bit.  If you're that thirsty for more news about yours truly, there's always Facebook & Twitter.  Those are much easier to keep up with, as I can fit in little snippets on my breaks/lunch hour.

Have a fantastical week!


Monday, September 19, 2011

By the Powers!!!

How could I have forgotten???


For shame; I ought be keelhauled and sent to the depths fer forgettin such a noble an 'onrable day as this!!  Ye'd think me a sprog!!

Official site for "Talk Like a Pirate Day."

Bosun got yer tongue? Click here to larn how to be gittin' yer pirate speak on!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Got a Promotion (Sort of)!

Starting October 1st, I'll be the new Binding Supervisor for Collection Development!  It means nothing to you, I know, lol.  Basically I'll be in charge of binding old journals/books etc. into hardcover books, things of that nature.  And I'll have a minion; a student assistant. And no more parking permits or walking 8 blocks in the hail and rain and snow and heat!  HUZZAH!!

So why is this just "sort of" a promotion?  Because there's no more money in it, just the experience.  Although I may have to make some squeaky-wheel-type noises over that.  I'm going from a glorified receptionist position to an actual supervisory one, which has way more responsibility and a much harder/more challenging workload, and I don't know if it's fair for me to still only make a lowly receptionist's salary.  Plus, thanks to the whole "government employee salary disclosure" thing, I know that the woman leaving that position has only been there for 6 months and she makes about $3,000 more a year than I do.  So...yeah.  I'll wait and see how this whole thing pans out, though, before I go making waves and whatnot.  I might acyually get more money, or the job may be very different now than it used to be, etc.  Lately the university has had a tendency to change jobs, supervisors, and offices around willy-nilly. 

Heck, my first 2 weeks at this job I went through 5 different bosses.  They cycled them around like a birthday card.  Two weeks ago they changed it again and I had yet another supervisor, and now I'm leaving myself.  Half the people who worked in this office when I started have been moved to other offices/buildings/departments, and others have come in only to be moved yet again.  Fun on a bun.

Ah, well.  It's a good thing.  I want to get into collection development or technical services anyway.  I like me some books (shocking, right?) and I'm not necessarily what you'd call a "people person."  Books don't ask me stupid questions or threaten to call the police if I don't know where the nearest bicycle rack is located, and they don't call me nasty names when I tell them they have a late fine.  Actually, books never get late fines, because they're inanimate objects.

Ok, I'm rambling now. 

Back to work...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Prophecy - The Fulfillment by Deborah A. Jaeger

I got this book, Prophecy - The Fulfillment by Deborah A. Jaeger through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.

This book suffers from a tragic lack of decent editing. I was so distracted by odd phrases, typos, and the exorbitant number of adverbs that I had to re-read the first few chapters. Heck, one of the pitch sentences on the back cover read, “An urgent need to follow it's covenant.” Shameful.

Granted, I’m also a writer and I can’t turn off my editor-vision when I’m reviewing something. But the incorrect phrasing would have distracted me anyway. For example, “…worked himself to the brink of exhaustion physically” (should be “…worked himself to the brink of physical exhaustion.”). Or, “Unable to think of anything else to say, the gift touched him deeply" (I’ve never known my gifts to think, speak, or rub my shoulders, but perhaps I’m doing it wrong.).

And if I have to cull my adverbs, then everyone else does, too. One section toward the beginning of the book almost made my head explode. In the course of one paragraph the character does things finally, tenderly, tightly, gently, sharply, bloodily, and quickly. I had to set the book down for the day.

Mid-scene POV shifts, an abundance of qualifiers (the favorite seemed to be “Listen”), and—and this may be a purely style-related complaint—I found the contraction use stilted and inconsistent. It kept jumping out at me throughout the entire book. It’s hard to explain. “What is the way to the store?” “I do not know what is wrong.” “He does not know what is going on and I am nervous,” etc. It just didn’t seem like realistic dialogue. I tried to ignore it but it took me out of the story ALL THE TIME. If there were no contractions at all, it would’ve been better. Some people don’t believe in them, and that’s fine, but the inconsistency made it worse. “I’m here because I am having dreams and I have not been able to tell what they are about.” People don’t talk like that. Am I crazy?

Moving on. The characters started out too idealistic. Everything in their lives went exactly as they wished, forever and ever, amen. I could almost see them skipping through the meadows, tossing flower petals into the air as they told tales of their perfect lives. Jillian’s mother says this about her marriage: “in all their married life, she’d never been bored.” Really? Never? Every single moment of the last 20 years was a paradigm of joy and adventure? Never a tedious night in front of the television? Never a sex-withholding, I-can-last-longer-than-you, silent-treatment-filled weekend? I don’t think so. I got that the author wanted to highlight the difference between the veritable utopia of their lives before their darling daughter got pregnant and the chaos it degenerated into afterward, but I didn’t believe it.

I also didn’t get why everyone flocked to the hospital so fast. People may take a 19-hour bus ride to look at a piece of toast with the imprint of the Virgin Mary on it, but they don’t want to just look at the house where the person who ate the toast lives. So why gather around to stare at a hospital when no one knows what (if anything) happened? Countless people overwhelm the city before the first news report. And even then, where was the skepticism? Why didn’t anyone, at least at first, think or even suggest that the doctor who was “miraculously healed” just hadn’t been that badly injured, or perhaps he’d spilled blood on his hand and had never been hurt in the first place? Without those X-rays showing otherwise, which nobody saw except the doctors, the whole “miracle” thing is nothing but hearsay. But no. The whole world jumps straight to “miracle.” I don’t buy it.

But let’s just say throngs of desperate miracle-seekers did surround the hospital. Would they really lock sick and dying people outside behind police barricades in the middle of a heat wave? It’s a HOSPITAL. And that press statement? REALLY? The hospital representative essentially blurts out, “Yes! We witnessed a miracle healing!” and goes back inside. No one does that. It creates hysteria and attracts crazy people. Heck, Obama took his time announcing that bin Laden was dead, and we already knew about it.

The “telling” really got to me, too. Characters said things like, “I’m scared and confused,” and “I’m just so tired and worried.” It reminded me of that episode of Futurama where the Robot Devil says, “You can’t have your characters just come right out and SAY how they feel. That makes me angry!”

I had a tough time powering through this one, what with the ridiculous number of punctuation errors and the weird lack of contractions. The story itself was ok. It got a lot better about halfway through, when Jackson almost cuts his arm off to experiment with the miraculous amniotic fluid, then injects more of it into random patients. That was pretty cool. But overall this book lacks subtlety, suffers from too much “telling,” and the editing was just abysmal. I give this two stars, tops, and a “pleh.”

Prophecy – The Fulfillment – by Deborah A. Jaeger

· ISBN-13: 978-0982889107
· ISBN-10: 0982889100

Publisher: Hampton House Publishing; First edition (June 14, 2011
Publisher's page

Amazon page for Prophecy - The Fulfillment by Deborah A. Jaeger

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Have Returned!

Ah, the beach was GLORIOUS!!!  Our hotel was right on the beach, so we got to see the waves anytime we wanted.  We even saw dolphins swimming right offshore form our window.

The beaches were all free, the parking was free; even the FERRY was free!!  I couldn't believe it.  Thank you, Texas Department of Transportation!!

The picture above is my husband David and his Mom, Legay, chillin at Crystal Beach after a few hours of riding the waves and rooting out shells with our feet in the ocean.  I pulled up a pretty snail shell only to find it inhabited by some little hermit crab dude.  I laughed and showed it to my husband, and the little crab got SUPER pissed off.  It thrust all its little pincers and feet out and waved them at David's face like he was gonna pull his eyeball out.  It might have been more frightening than laughable if the little guy had been more than an inch tall. 

Oh, it was so peaceful.  The weather was perfect, the food was good.  It feels like we were gone for weeks.  I can't wait to go back.

If you'd like to see more pictures, click HERE and you can see them all on my Facebook page.  I'll be adding some more over the next couple of days, when David & his Mom finish uploading all of theirs.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vacation Time!

It's been a long week, hence I haven't had it in me to blog too much.  Got a reject on the partial sub from my dream agency, another R on a short story sub, found out my sister has to have one of her ovaries removed, my best friend collapsed into a sobbing heap after a drunken argument with her boyfriend...

So, yeah, it's time for a little R&R.

My mom-in-law is whisking me & David off to Galveston Island tomorrow morning, and I'm SUPER EXCITED about it! Ok, so it's not as pretty as the picture at the top of this post, but it's still the beach and the weather will be sooo nice this weekend!  It's been years since I've been to the ocean, and I've never been to an island before.  Shoot, I think the last time we actually went anywhere for a real "vacation" was like 3 years ago (camping at Palo Duro Canyon--awesome, btw).  We'll be staying at a hotel on the beach, take a ferry ride to other islands, and hang out like a beach bum on the sand.  Yay!!

So I shall be incommunicado from about 2:00AM tonight until Monday-ish.  I'm setting Goblin's humiliator on vacation mode so I don't get that dreaded 7-days-without-writing badge, and I'm not going to think about anyone but myself for the next 2 days. 

I will, however, bring a notepad to the beach with me in case inspiration strikes for some story of novel, etc.  I'm not a fool. :)

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Favorite Books Day!

I LOVE me some books.  No doubt you all do, too.  It's why we write.  That or the psychosis.  I don't know you people all that well, so maybe you're crazy.  Maybe you hate books but the voices in your head demand you commit their manifesto to writing.  Well, if that's the case, I'm sorry, take a pill, and come back tomorrow.

For the rest of us, I thought it'd be fun to talk about some of our favoritest books.  It's magical, isn't it?  To delve into other worlds until you feel like you know those characters better than you know your own friends.  It's seductive and wondrous and the reason why we all write books of our own.

Watership Down by Richard Adams is one of my all-time favorite books.  I got hooked on it as a kid when my uncle rented the movie.  A few years later I read it, and I've been re-reading it ever since.  It took me a few years to convince my husband that this wasn't a run-of-the-mill kiddie story about bunnies.  He finally broke down and read it, and now it's one of his favorite books, too.

Raptor Red by Robert T. Bakker, a paleontologist, is also up there in my favorites.  I've worn out 3 copies.  It's one of the only books I know told from the raptor's point of view.  It's AWESOME and I love it and you should love it, too.

Dinotopia Lost by Alan Dean Foster is the only book I've ever read twice in a row.  I read "The End," closed the book, then opened it right back up again from the beginning.  It's got pirates, T-rexes, lost cities made of gold, Buddhist raptors...oh, I want to go read it again right now.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson is AWESOME!!  The story of the fallen god-like creatures who have been locked inside their own broken city, surviving despite their utter lack of food or water.  It's so vivid, the characters so well-done.  Well, that's Sanderson for you, isn't it?

The Illuminati by Larry Burkett scared the bajeezuz out of me when I first read it as a teenager.  It's a Christian story that's sort of about the End Times.  What scared me was how realistic it was.  MUCH better than the "Left Behind" series.

And last but NEVER least, Song In The Silence by Elizabeth Kerner.  This is my all-time favorite fantasy books.  The other 2 in the series weren't quite as good, but this one was JUST. SO. GOOD!!  It's about a young woman who travels to the fabled "Dragon Isle" in search of the mythical creatures who live there, but finds SO much more than that. 

There are so many other books I count as my favorites; The Pern books, the Samaria books, the Temeraire books, Animal Farm, Jurassic Park, the Liveship trilogy, the Weather Warden books, the Stand, A Wrinkle in Time, the Bloody Jack books, the Narnia books...oh, there are just so many!  There's never enough time to talk about how wonderful books are!

So what about you?  What are your favorite books?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yay free book!

I won a free copy of Phoenix's new ebook, SECTOR C!!  HUZZAH!!  I love free stuff!  I won it last Friday, but I was busy enjoying the non-brain-melting-temperatures all this holiday weekend, so the post had to wait until today.  I've only read the first few pages so far, but I'm digging it.  And I'm beginning to suspect that I'm a tough sell, because I seem to hate so many books lately. 

Everyone check out SECTOR C here, at Phoenix's Blog.  She's awesome!

Or just buy it HERE!

Also, for those of you who are also stalking the Angry Robot people, there is a new question & answer posted up on formspring with a hand-chewingly Cryptic Answer.  I seriously joined formspring just so I could follow them. 

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Eureka Moment and A Huzzah!

I've recently discovered that what I read has an impact on how I write. The True Blood books are fun and all, but not necessarily conducive to writing epic fantasy. But give me some Brandon Sanderson or George R. R. Martin and suddenly I know exactly how to describe that fight scene I’ve been struggling with. I’m not talking about stealing their words or anything monstrous like that, of course, but I do find certain books and writing styles…inspirational. When I read books by authors I admire, by writers I strive to emulate, it gets my synapses in line and sets my mind into a more creative pattern. I think.

It’s often hard to articulate what your own writing is missing. You know what I mean. The opening scene is ok, but not great. No matter how long or how hard you glare at that infuriating little cursor, you just can’t figure out what’s wrong with that chapter. Last night I started reading Game of Thrones (which is REALLY GOOD, btw), and I only got five pages into it because I suddenly got all these ideas for my own WIP.   I scrawled four handwritten front-and-back pages of dialogue and scene information into the notebook I keep near my bed for just such occasions, and had to force myself to stop at around 4AM so I could get some sleep. The scene I was writing has nothing to do with the scene I was reading about, but it sent my brain and fingers into a frenzy nonetheless.

I always read for an hour or so before I shut out the lights. I’m starting to think that’s why I get so many ideas while I’m trying to go to sleep.

Well. It seems I’ve found myself a new cure for writer’s block. Just goes to show you how right everyone is when they tell you to keep reading.

And a big, bone-crunching roar of Congratulations to Phoenix, who just published her ebook, SECTOR C!

YAAAAY!!  (Muppet-like flailing of arms in joy inserted here)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creativity Exercise

1. Do you believe that the things you own end up owning you?
Yes…I’m being held hostage by my underwear as we speak.

2. Do you have any scars you’d be willing to tell us about?

3. Do you wear jewelry?
No, I use it to fight off garden gnomes and neighbor cats

4. Do you read?
Never learned how. I just mash down on the keyboard. If a word looks too long, I hit the spacebar.

5. Say your worst enemy calls you at 2 AM. What do you do?
“Your worst enemy calls you at 2 AM. What do you do?”

6. How would you feel if you found out there was a gremlin living in your computer?
Relief. It would explain so much.

7. What is your favorite hypothetical personality disorder?
What do you mean, “hypothetical?” We take offense at that.

8. What’s your favorite curse word?

9. What are three things you can’t live without?
Heart, lungs, and brain.

10. Can you drive?
I don’t like golf

11. Do you give in easily?
It depends on how close the shooter is

12. What toothpaste do you use?
Green icing

13. Would you rather have money or love?

14. Do you listen to the radio?
No, I just sniff it a little

15. Have you ever felt forgotten or overlooked by a loved one?
No, never. I am always the center of attention, the life of the party, and the belle of the ball. ALWAYS, ALL the time, FOREVER.  My life is a never-ending whirlwind of love and excitement.

16. You wake up to find it snowing. What’s your first thought?

17. Who is the dullest person you know?
My dog. All she does is sit there. No ambition, no hobbies, no job. Such a slacker.

18. Are there a lot of flies in your home?
Not yet, but I’m working on it. Soon my plan will be complete.

19. If you were mugged, would you fight back?
Ha! If someone wants my maxed-out credit cards and empty checkbook, they’re welcome to them. At this point, theft can only help me.

20. Name a food you think is overrated.

Monday, August 29, 2011

And the Winners Are...

And the winners are:

BODWEN (who had to post anonymously because Blogger was being mean)


And JANE!!

All of the entries were really creative.  I wanted to let everyone win, but…well, I’m actually down to my last few glass tiles so I had to limit my winners to only 3 (frowny face!). But if you didn’t win this time, don’t fret! I’ll have another blog contest soon enough.

To the winners, send your shipping address to beckahrah (at), and I'll send you back my design templates.  You can choose any one that you like, or if you don't like any of them, you can send me a pic of what you would like made into a glass tile pendant.

Huzzahs to the winners, and to everyone else who entered!