Floating Fire

fire-ant-raft-1

I grew up in southwest Florida. Believe me, you don’t know bugs until you’ve lived in the south. The cockroaches are huge, and they fly. The spiders are huge, too. And then there are the fire ants.

Florida used to be all swamp, and during the rainy summers it tries to revert back to its former state. Every year my backyard would flood, and sometimes the whole neighborhood would be submerged under a couple inches of water. While there were distinct drawbacks to this (such as issues with the septic tank – enough said) as a kid I loved splashing through the neighborhood, even wading into the deeper water of the ditches. I would never do this now, knowing what sorts of bacteria and parasites that water was likely teeming with (septic tank – enough said), but then it was fun, like a huge natural kiddie pool.

Except for the ants.

When the neighborhood flooded, the fire ants were flooded out of their hills. To survive, they would clump together in a big floating ball. Imagine wading in waist deep water…and running into a floating fortress of fire ants. Accidentally stepping on a fire ant hill was bad enough…fire ant bites are terribly painful, and people have died from too many…but imagine them suddenly crawling all over you, taking a respite from their watery tribulations to bite every bit of skin they can get their pincers on. 

Give me the e. coli and flukes. Balls of fire ants are the worst.

Wall ‘O Crazy!

tumblr_ojk0kolxzn1r13x2bo1_1280

The crazy wall trope is so common as to be cliche. You’re probably nodding right now in recognition, remembering some TV show or movie where papers tacked onto a wall and connected with a web of string is a visual cue that the main character is losing their marbles. The image is so pervasive that this website has been posting examples for 6 years. What I’m wondering is if this is actually a thing that people actually do. Certainly people put things up on walls to help them visualize a problem or see a pattern, but I wouldn’t necessarily call those “crazy walls.” Does it become crazy when they start using string? When the papers become jumbled? Even if they do exist in the real world, they can’t possibly be as prevalent as they are in the movies.

Opening Day!

red-sox

Growing up in Florida before the Tampa Bay Rays were a thing (the team started playing in 1998, when I was already in college), I wasn’t really interested in professional baseball. I remember the year the Twins were in the series and we watched because my grandparents lived in Minnesota and sent us “Homer Hankies” to wave when the Twins hit home runs. And I played girl’s softball (I was a catcher and I loved it). Other than that, though, baseball wasn’t really a part of my life.

That changed in 2003.  I was living in Boston and working on my master’s in theology, and the Red Sox were hot. My grad school was small and close-knit, so those who were hardcore Sox fans soon infected the rest of us. I found myself putting the game on the TV when I was at home and writing papers or knitting or sewing or whatever. We all excitedly tracked the team’s rise, held our breath as they got SO CLOSE to the Series…only to fall in the AL Championship. The next year I was fully into the Sox. I even went to a game when I was pregnant and supposed to be on bed rest. I was in Boston when the Sox won it all, on an October night when a lunar eclipse turned the moon red.

The next year we moved away from Boston, and while I remained a die-hard member of Red Sox Nation, I couldn’t watch as many games. (For some reason the Chicago stations insisted on airing White Sox and Cubs games instead. Go figure!) I cheered them on in two more World Series wins, but it was different. I wasn’t steeped in the culture. I didn’t know the players. It was always my team, but somehow it wasn’t my team.

We moved back to Boston in the summer of 2015, and when it comes to baseball? I’M HOME. Last year I watched Big Papi’s astounding final season. And today? Today is opening day. I drove by Fenway Park this afternoon and saw the throngs of Sox Nation making their way to the park. And now I’m home and the game is on and life is good.

Giving a Face to the Faceless

Teenagers can  still have trouble discerning fiction from reality, particularly in groups. I knew kids in high school who were absolutely convinced they had known each other in past lives, and would tell elaborate stories of their past histories. My husband knew kids who were convinced they had multiple personalities. One of the powerful things about Slenderman is that he has no face. He is a blank canvas upon which anyone, particularly those with an overactive imagination and a shaky grasp on reality, can project their own ideas, their own darkest desires. Still, I disagree with those who might say that the stories are responsible for what happened. The idea might provide the ager,  but the growth upon it is all due to the girls, and it could easily have grown on something just as sweet.

BACK FROM THE DEAD!

zombie-156055_1280

 

Greetings, gentle reader! It’s been a while! Like many people, I found the back half of 2016 to be exceptionally stressful and unpleasant, and more than just this blog went by the wayside. Although the world is still several shades of crazy (and that’s all I’ll say about politics here) I’m delighted to be reviving this blog. Stay tuned for the strange and bizarre, the terrifying, the delightful, and things to make you go “hmm.” I will also be announcing upcoming projects and publications here, so keep an eye peeled! (Only, not really. Because ewww.)

Booktrope’s demise and where I stand

giphy

Booktrope, the hybrid publisher of my novella Haunted, has announced that they are closing up shop by May 31th.  To me, this is neither a surprise nor a bad thing. I have had problems with Booktrope for some time now, including poor communication, unprofessional behavior from higher-ups, and next to no help with marketing.  Over a year ago I decided to quietly move on to other projects and wait out the five years that my book would be under contract.  I had some ideas on expanding the novella, getting the sequels I have mostly written into tiptop shape, and then self-publishing the lot.  I expected this plan to kick into gear in 2018. Now I’ll have the rights to Haunted as of June 1st, so things have unexpectedly moved up.  I’m still figuring out what that timeline will look like.  But be assured, Haunted will be back in one form or another. Hopefully it will be even better, and followed by more tales of my intrepid trio.

If you decide you absolutely must have a copy of Haunted right now (and who am I to argue?) it will still be available here until May 31st.