Sunday, October 27, 2013

Scarily Cute Halloween Thingies!

At my place of employ, we're having a contest wherein all the employees costumize these little monster figurines and then the customers may vote as to which is most aesthetically pleasing. All the little monsters are so adorable/ridiculous/creepy, I feel compelled to share.

Can you guess which one is mine?

Is it....

me, Mario?

Joss Whedon's Marvel's Agent of Shield's Captain America?

 Fancy Zoot Suit Skull Man Thing Guy?

That One Thing From That One Movie by That One Guy with Them One Things?

The Boy Who Lived?

Your Grandpa?

Pinhead's Aborted Fetus?

The Most Fabulous Skull Man Thing Guy You Ever Did See?

This Scary Motherfucker Right Here?

This Slap-dash Piece of Crap?

HINT: Mine's a piece of crap that I whipped up slap-dashedly!

Kudos to all my super crafty and imaginative coworkers!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

All of My Stories Aren't About Zombies - Just the Ones that Get Published!

Just in time for your Halloween campfire! 

I have a little story in Feast of the Dead: Hors D'oeuvres, called "The Elephant." 

This is how it starts:

"That was delicious, Temperance!"

This is Albert, my next door neighbor. He teaches remedial English at the community college. He's always saying things are delicious. I hear him over the fence in his backyard, playing catch with his eight-year-old. "Delicious toss, son!" On quiet nights, I imagine I can hear him on top of his wife: "Delicious, dear. Delicious."

Copies are only $7. Buy one?

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Seneca Falls: First Recorded Outbreak of Strain Z"

Got my copy of ZOMBIES: SHAMBLING THROUGH THE AGES! It's thick and beautiful, just the way I likes 'em:

Lookit, here's my story, with an appropriate amount of crazy eyes:

(I haven't washed my hair today; I hope no one notices....until they read this.)

Here is my author bio, short, sweet, and pertinent:

Finally, here are my favorite words from Steve Berman's intro: "One of the librarians has brought to my attention that a disheveled man has been seen near the front entrance. He is most likely a student demonstrator. I would not be surprised if, upon exiting after our lectures, we find the number of these ragamuffins has exponentially multiplied."

Won't you pick up your own copy today?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Five Cost-Free Ways for You to Support Your Favorite Small Press Author (Perhaps Me?)

(Did you all know I have a story coming out in Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages? It's pretty long and in good company, and you can pre-order it now for roughly $12 through Amazon!)

People often tell me they wish I would write more, which is an awesome thing for someone to wish of you. The truth is, I have written a lot more, and some of those things are ready for publication and some of them are not. The reason you are not reading these things is because I have not found the right publisher/agent for them yet. And helping me find a publisher for my work is something YOU can play a huge role in - simply by being an active fan. Here's how:

1. Pimp my work on social networking sites. Post links to on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads. Pin a book of mine on Pinterest, share it on your blog or Tumblr, do something with it on Reddit (I'm not actually sure what Reddit is/does, but I'm sure it can be of use). Spread it like mouth herpes on the lips and tongues of the vasty interwebs!

2. Write a review. (Or give a simple star rating if you're not the verbose type.) A review is the most generous gift you can give to an author (I always ask for them on my birthday). Even if you didn't wholly enjoy the title, a thoughtful critique is always useful to the writer AND to potential discerning readers. Because of its insanely large customer base, Amazon is the most crucial site on which to post a review, but other good ones include Goodreads, Library Thing, Shelfari, and even your own personal blog or a retailer site like Also, if you want to really make an author's day, email or tweet them (when possible) to let them know how much you liked their work, so they can pee themselves with happiness (maybe it's just me who does this?) and retweet or blog your link, driving traffic to your various webspaces in return. Everybody wins (and pees)!

3. Good ol' fashioned larynx-based word-of-mouth. At a loss for words around your new coworkers or at that slightly awkward family BBQ? Got nothing interesting to say at your high school reunion, on a first date, during your driver's test, or while getting a breast exam? Books are a great way to get the conversation flowing! Eat Your Heart Out, for example, has many topics you could focus on: queer culture, celebrity, relationship issues, motorcycles, furniture outlet stores, zombies. It has so many topics that some people (Lambda Literary and Queered Science of Oakland, CA) find it extremely fun to read for their book clubs! I even wrote up a handy Discussion Guide for just this specific purpose. Share, share, share!

4. Ask your local bookstore, chain store, or library to order a copy. Even if you don't intend to purchase it from them, ask them to order it in anyway, so that the title is floating around, and the name is in their heads.

5. Buy the book! (This one costs money.) Buying the book not only provides you with hours of entertainment, it shows potential publishers that the author has selling power (and possibly allows her to break even on all of her out-of-pocket expenses for promoting the book herself). An author with a proven audience has a greater chance of selling more manuscripts or acquiring an agent so that they can continue to put out books for you to enjoy for hours and hours and hours to come! EBooks are especially affordable - why, you can snag a copy of Sleep Like This for a paltry .99 cents! Eat Your Heart Out is now only $3.99, and the preorder for Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages is currently discounted at $12 (physical copy).

Thank you to everyone who has done any or all of these things for me (there are too many of you to list!), and to anyone and everyone who will do them for me in the future. I couldn't chase my silly dreams without you.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Brief Life Update + New Writing Samples

In the last six months, I have: realized that living in the SF bay area is not financially feasible (student loan repayments, hooray!), moved to the Boston area only to make the same realization (can't live off the generosity of my friends forever), and moved back to my (super financially feasible) hometown in Southern Ohio to live off the generosity of my dad (I can do that forever). My Yaris has packed on quite a few miles over these months, and my personal possessions have been downsized to fit inside said hatchback. I am pretty tired of moving, you guys! And also I would like to be able to buy some furniture that I don't have to resell or give away within one year of purchase.

MEANWHILE....I have been working on my pitch package (industry term, because I am the epitome of professional) for my horror novel All Good Children and sending it out to potential agents. I've started a new fantasy story called Little Daughter, about a girl cursed with the Midas touch, that also explores the power of storytelling and murkier themes such as personal ethics and morality. I've also been sending out short stories and flash fictions to various markets, and have a new story, "Seneca Falls: First Recorded Outbreak of Strain Z," coming out this August in the anthology Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages. Finally, I am awaiting word on whether I got into a certain Fellowship program, but I consider this quite a long shot. To sum up: I have been writing, submitting, and waiting, waiting, waiting.

BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT...for some juicy sample paragraphs from my new/current projects!

Here is the intro from my 11,000 word short story (phhhsshhh, short), "Seneca Falls: First Recorded Outbreak of Strain Z," in which an 80-some-year-old Elizabeth Cady Stanton recalls that one summer in 1848 when she changed feminism forever, fell in love with Lucretia Mott, and saved the world from zombies:

"Though it was perhaps the most significant chapter in my long and—if I may be so immodest, and certainly at my age I may—quite significant life, still I hesitate to include the truth of those two short days as a chapter in these memoirs. As much as I do not care to admit it, I am frightened. But of what do I have to be frightened? I am an old woman now and the only person I might betray has long ago passed on. She swore me to secrecy that night—more for the one sin than for the other—and I, though the record shall prove it quite contrary to my nature, I have bitten my tongue on this. For her.
    All my life I feel as though I have been fighting for her in the only arena I felt equipped to fight: the political arena, the constant struggle for the rights of the marginalized. I am nothing if not a powerful orator, for God blessed me with a voice and a will to speak it and I am afraid I have never been able to turn my back on the Lord's gifts. She, of course, could speak me under the proverbial table, and did on more than one occasion. It was one of the things that made her so beautiful, that stirred up those things in me. She fought for me—for my life if not for my hand, which, God forgive me, back then I would have traded it all for that kind of fight. A fight of the heart. But she had other, more pressing matters she had to attend to, as you will read.
    Despite my fear, I have decided to write it out for you, whoever you are. Whoever would care to read the accounts of an old woman when she was but a young and impassioned fool of a girl, driven by a need for justice and equality, yes, but—but also by something too dark to name. A dark sort of longing, a dark sort of love. Never to be realized, surely, and, I thought, never to be raised up again. But, as I learned during that awful summer night in 1848, the things we thought we'd buried have a way of lurching after us."

You can find out more about my story and the anthology Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages here, here, and here. Or why not pre-order through Amazon? You know it will be worth it.

Here is a teaser from the first chapter of All Good Children, in which an anxious 14-year-old Jordan Fontaine prepares for a visit from her Liaison, a woman who will essentially decide the girl's future:

"Those slender wrists. Bare and smooth, she must moisturize. There’s that game the other kids play at school, curling index fingers around wrists to touch the thumb, and moving up and up and up, and the farther they can move up, the more babies the person will eventually birth. The science of junior high reflecting the spells we learned in grade school using only a well-placed buttercup to discern how boy crazy you might be. I could wrap my fingers around those wrists and all four tips would touch my thumb. She would have ten children, maybe, a household or two, a village. But the elbow might put a stop to that, and the muscles that come after, though they’re hard to see beneath her blazer. Blue like her eyes. I wonder what she’ll tell us and what her voice will sound like when she speaks.
     I am up in my room, it used to be the attic but I was a surprise. Dad put my mattress on top of a group of boxes full of memories he swears we’ll never need to check on, but just in case, we’ll save on a box spring. My sheets are pink with pale yellow flowers and they match my pillowcase and my comforter. I didn’t pick them out. Jason has sheets patterned with antique muscle cars, and Jeremy has plain black, and I have yellow flowers swimming in a pink expanse, and my name is Jordan even though I'm a girl. As I said, I was a surprise.
     She pulls into the driveway. I placed a bet with myself that she would park on the street, but now her Mazda is boxing in our pick-up and it’s a possibility that this was calculated. I wonder if she knows that my parents would never run—well, maybe Mom but never Dad—and if they did, we have horses in the barn and they can go places her Mazda only sees in its SUV dreams. She’s wearing heels and a skirt that only pretends to fall past her knees. She probably wouldn’t chase us. She’d make a call, that’s all it would take, and wait disinterestedly for us to fall. Fall. It’s almost Summer.
     I pick through my dresser. Mom would kill me if she knew I was not dressed yet, but she’s still at the hospital and Dad’s in the field. We have a fox problem and our last good dog died last week. Checking up, checking up. I think I’ll dress down, fuck impressions.
     A pair of Jason’s old Wranglers, torn at the knees almost symmetrically, two sizes too big and I won’t bother with a belt. Mom doesn’t know about the stud in my bellybutton so I throw on a long black t-shirt. Seems to me that kind of thing should be no big deal, but she freaked when Jeremy pierced his ears last year and I’m not taking chances. Sneakers on, and one last peek out the window.
     She’s finger-combing her hair and checking her makeup in the Mazda’s side mirror. Doesn’t look like she’s wearing much, some light lipstick, blush, subtle eye shadow.  She’s pretty and I wish she weren’t. Her hair’s the same shade as mine, light brown if you look too quickly or from too far away, golden if you don’t blink. The sleeve of her blazer slides down her arm as she combs, and the wrist stares up at me. Briefcase at her feet. I wish I’d been told what to expect."

Jordan can expect a lot of heartbreak, painful Life Realizations, and sexual confusion, that's what!

Lastly, here is a bit of my current manuscript, Little Daughter, in which our reluctant heroine, Liddy Vanya, finds herself the center of a fable meant to frighten small children at bedtime (oh yeah she's also being tortured by the storyteller):

"In the Western Plains there lived a great Lord whose lands produced much food for the Kingdom. Through all seasons, there was something to reap, and no one in the Kingdom wanted for sustenance. This, it is said, so angered King Raedin of the Continent, that he cast a hex upon the lands, to weaken them in preparation for his intended war. The hex took on human form, the form of Zoloto Doch'ka."
    As he spoke, the knight took from his belt a sharpening stone and ran his blade across it, his eyes never leaving Liddy.
    "She appeared one evening in the Lord's chamber," he continued, "and his Lady wife, upon seeing her grotesque countenance, was so terrified she turned to gold in her bed. For Zoloto Doch'ka was not human after all, but a monster created from the darkest magic. Her skin was riddled with pustules, and coarse hair sprouted from her nose, lips and eyelids. Her irises were a rheumy red, and the smell of her caused pigs to weep."
    The blade satisfactorily sharpened, the knight gripped Liddy's pants leg and ran the blade up the seam, shredding the fabric from ankle to thigh. She tensed as he began to cut her shin, carving a shallow line to her knee, then a deeper one to her hip. She squirmed, but it only made his blade press deeper.
     His voice remained level, even cordial: "The Lord, upon seeing what had become of his beloved wife, took up his dagger and rushed the vile beast. But Zoloto Doch'ka, forced by her ugliness to resort to her wits, said to the Lord:

            A beauty, she
            But barren, see?
            And so her life
            She gave to me.
            To spin to gold
            So you'll not be cold
            Sonless yet rich
            As you grow old

    "The Lord, wanting to believe in his wife's noble sacrifice, accepted Zoloto Doch'ka at her word, and allowed her to escape. But the beast was only just beginning her scourge."
    The knight had cut away her opposite pant leg, and ran his jagged maze along that leg as well. It hurt a good deal less than the splinters had, and Liddy bore it bravely. Then he sliced along her Achilles tendon, and she screamed. He did not miss a beat in his tale:
    "Surreptitiously, she had used her jagged claws to cut the hand from the Lady's gold form, and she took it to the town's blacksmith and lured him with promises of riches to shape the gold into coins. Then she passed from door to door in the village, her horrid face cloaked by a shroud, and gave each family three gold pieces, and told each that three more pieces awaited them if they would turn upon their Lord.
    "And so one night, when the moon was full, a band of townspeople met at the Lord's gate, and he, not being accustomed to fearing his loyal people, met them unarmed. There he was slaughtered, as from the shadows Zoloto Doch'ka looked on and laughed. And before departing, she set fire to the fields and burned the town's livelihood, and she reported back to her King Raedin, who was set to strike any day. But our own King Arkona was ready for him, and pushed back his forces, no matter which land he attempted to seize."
    The knight leveled his sword at Liddy's chest, and popped the buttons off her shirt with its tip. "But you are not an ugly monster, are you, Golden Daughter? Your ugliness is held deeper. It is held inside your heart."
    Liddy coughed, struggled to produce enough saliva to spit. She said, "That was a pretty song. Sing it again?"

Pure, unedited drafting version right there, folks. It doesn't get much sloppier than that!

I must give a shout to Friday Night Writes and Write Club on Twitter (@FriNightWrites, #writeclub), which is a group of people just like you and me, banding together on Friday nights to participate in exhilarating half-hour writing sprints akin to the kind you might do in a manic state in the final week of NaNoWriMo.

All right, I hope you enjoyed all those words. I'll be back in a month or so with more!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Eat Your ART Out: Fan Art, Part 3

Today's selection is less "fan art," more "my friend Michelle just being her general rad self."

Michelle Kendall whipped up this t-shirt for me, in support of the One True Bad Ass, Ms. Renni Ramirez! While I do think Carmelle Souffle has her charms, and I can understand why Devin would continue to feel emotionally bound to her even after her indiscretions, make no mistake: I am thoroughly and forever on Team Renni.

I guess Michelle made her own stencils for this? And possibly other simple craft thingies that are way beyond me because crafts, like maths, scare my brain into dark corners from whence it refuses to return until I give it trashy reality television and make the BAD BAD NUMBERS AND CROSS STITCHING GO AWAY.

I can be seen wearing this t-shirt at my Velvet Revolution reading here!

Thanks so much, Michelle! I couldn't dream up a more supportive friend unless that dream were to somehow wander off into an erotic space, which I only let happen on days that end with Y.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Teenage Rejection

True Fact: My first rejection letter came from L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future series. I was somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15. The story was titled "Special Delivery," about a boy who pretends to be sick so his mom will leave him home alone, whereupon he is terrorized by miniature, mischievous trolls (delivered to him in a mysterious package).
My favorite thing about this is that I attempted to take cliches and make them literal, in a way that turns out to be pretty imperative in Ralph's battle with the trolls.  
Here is the story in all it's ridiculous, I-have-only-read-Goosebumps-and-Dean-Koontz-novels-up-til-now, glory:

Ralph looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. His cheeks were puffing out past his ears and his nose was as red as a cherry. His eyes were glazed over and he could barely see his own reflection.
            "Sweetie, you're going to be late for school," his mother called from downstairs.
            "Ungh," Ralph replied. He exited the bathroom and walked lazily down the stairs.
            "Oh my," his mother gasped when he met her in the kitchen. "You don't look well."
            "Bud I feel fined, momb," he said.
            "No, I think you should go back to bed and get some rest. I'll call the school."
            Ralph went to his room and lay down on the bed. In a few minutes his mother came up to give him a hug and say goodbye before she left for work.
            Once Ralph was sure she had left, he took the mound of cotton swabs out of his mouth and removed the cherry from his nose. Lastly, he wiped the glaze away from his eyes and returned it to his donut. He proceeded to change into jeans and a t-shirt while jumping on his bed. He had fooled his mom once again.
            "Eight wonderful hours of a mom-free house!" Ralph declared aloud as he munched on some potato chips. "There are a million and one things I could do!"
            Within the next half hour, Ralph had done all one million and one things there were to do. He was very bored.
            "Ah, shucks," Ralph complained. "Now what?"
            A knock at the front door nearly scared him to death.
            "Who is it?" Ralph asked.
            There was no answer.
            "Who's there?" Ralph asked again.
            There was another knock.
            Ralph picked up a fire poker from the fireplace and cautiously pulled open the door. A white package wrapped in a black ribbon was waiting for him on the stoop.
            Ralph looked from right to left before stepping out onto the porch and picking up the package. Once inside, Ralph slammed and locked the door behind him. He shook the package up and down. It made no sound.
            Ralph carried the package into the kitchen and set it on the table. He searched it for a card or tag or something that would identify who had sent this mysterious gift. Finding no tag, Ralph decided to go ahead and untie the ribbon.
            Suddenly, the telephone rang. Ralph jumped into the air, his heart leaping out of his chest. When the telephone rang once more, Ralph hurried to pick up his heart and ran to answer the phone.
            "Hello," Ralph said in a gruff voice, trying to sound like his father.
            "Mr. Boden?" The voice asked. "This is Principle Albert. I'm calling to let you know that Ralph is not in school today."
            "Yes. He's sick," Ralph lied, still impersonating his father.
            Principle Albert grunted. "Well, are you aware, Mr. Boden, that young Ralph has been 'sick' almost everyday for the past few weeks?"
            "He has the mumps," Ralph said, thinking fast.
            "Well, if it's so severe that he can miss weeks of school, wouldn't it be smart to take him to the hospital for proper treatment?"
            "Yes. That's exactly where we were headed before you called."
            "Is that so?" Principle Albert questioned. "In that case--"
            "Look here, Principle Albert," Ralph shouted into the phone. "My son is shivering and burning up at the same time, his cheeks are puffed out past his ears, he is in terrible pain, and only this phone call is keeping me from taking him to the hospital before he doubles over and dies right here and now!"
            Ralph inhaled deeply and exhaled loudly. "Now if you don't mind, Principle, I'm going to escort my son to the emergency room. Good day to you, sir!"
            Ralph hung up the phone and settled into a chair across from the mysterious package. He felt very proud of himself. He had always wanted to say "Good day to you, sir".
            Now Ralph set back to the task of untying the dark ribbon from the pale white package. Before the ribbon could be completely untied, though, the door bell rang and Ralph hurried to answer it. There on the porch was a plain yellow envelope sealed with a sticker that displayed the words "Excellent Work!" beside a picture of a man giving the thumbs-up sign. Ralph took the sticker and smoothed it onto his hand before going back inside, forgetting all about the envelope.
            No sooner had Ralph closed the door when someone knocked hard on it. Ralph swung the door open as fast as lightning but no one was on the porch. His eyes trailed down to the yellow envelope which had been stripped of its sticker. Ralph picked it up and went back inside.
            On the way back to the kitchen, he opened the envelope. Inside were a five dollar bill and a letter which read: There's more where that came from.
            Ralph closed the envelope and reopened it. Sure enough, another five dollars appeared. Another letter was stuffed beside it. It read: That's not what I meant.
            Ralph took the money and put it in his wallet. He threw away the letters and stuck the envelope in his secret hiding spot for a rainy day.
            He returned to the kitchen and finished freeing the package from the black ribbon. Once that was taken care of, he tore the white wrapping paper off. Underneath was a brown cardboard box. Ralph tried to open it with his fingernails, but it was no use. He extracted a cutting knife from one of the counter drawers and stuck it into the package.
            A shrill cry made Ralph stop cutting. Once he pulled the knife from the package, the noise was gone. When he shoved the knife back into the package the shrieking and screaming resumed. Ralph ignored it as he cut away the cardboard edges of the box.
            After several minutes the screaming stopped and the walls of the box fell open. Ralph carefully peered inside and gasped at what he saw.
            Five tiny trolls stared up at him. They had big bulging eyes, large noses that whistled when they breathed, and their bodies were short and pudgy. They wore blue and black overalls and they pulled on the straps as they nervously surveyed their surroundings. Then, one by one, they nodded at each other and hopped out of the ruined box onto the table.
            Ralph started to say hello when all of a sudden one of the trolls let out a high pitched squeak and shouted, "We're free! We're free!" Then all the trolls laughed hideously and bounded off the table, scattering in different directions.
            Ralph blinked. He could not believe what had just happened.
            The door bell rang and Ralph hesitantly got up to answer it. There on the welcome mat was another letter lying atop another package. Ralph was about to pick up the package when he heard a shrill cry from behind him. He spun around just in time to see one of the little trolls scurrying away with his wallet hoisted over its head.
            They're little thieves! Ralph thought to himself. He stepped out on to the porch and shut the door behind him.
            He sat on the stoop, opened the envelope, frowned when he saw no money, and read the enclosed letter: So you opened the package, huh? Well, we suppose, then, that you may want to open this one as well. They will help you recapture the demonic trolls. We'll be in touch. Signed, Us.
            Ralph quickly opened the package and released five little knights on five little horses. The horses grunted and the knights greeted one another. Then they turned to Ralph and one of them said in a tiny voice, "Greetings, Mi'Lord.” He bowed. “I am Claude. These are my men. Lead us to the trolls.”
            Ralph silently opened the door to reveal three tiny little trolls laughing fiendishly to themselves as they dragged a ball of string across the room. When they saw the five little knights on five little horses, they screamed and scurried away, dropping their treasure.
            “CHARGE!” Claude shouted as the five knights galloped into the house.
            Ralph shut the front door and slumped down on the stoop. He wished he had gone to school.
* * *
            After a few minutes of kicking himself for skipping school, Ralph got up and went inside. He looked himself over in the bathroom mirror. His eye was bruised and there was a shoe print on his left cheek and forehead. He scrubbed himself clean and headed to the kitchen for a snack.
            On the trek over, he could hear faint screeching and cries of triumph. At one point during his snack, Ralph spotted one of the horses dragging itself stealthily across the living room floor. When the horse disappeared behind the wall, a tiny demonic troll burst out of the shadows and chased the horse with a sharp little axe gripped in its tiny little hands.
            Ralph shook his head, attempting to rid himself of images of trolls hacking away at defenseless little horses.
            When the phone rang, Ralph jumped out of his skin. He answered the phone in his father's voice.
            "Oh, um . . ." The voice on the other end stuttered. "Wrong number."
            Ralph recognized the voice as that of his best friend and stopped him before he could hang up. "Orson, it's me."
            "Oh." Orson sounded relieved. "You sounded like your dad for a minute."
            A troll scampered into the kitchen, picked up Ralph's skin, and ran back out of the room.
            "Um . . ." Ralph began. "I know we were planning on skipping school together today, but something's come up."
            "What?" Orson asked.
            Ralph peered out the kitchen doorway, watching nervously as the troll started to fold his skin.
            "It's too hard to explain," Ralph said, desperately wanting to hang up.
            "Try me," Orson pressed.
            The troll shot a quick, wicked glance in Ralph’s direction and sank its teeth into his juicy flesh burger.
            "Look," Ralph said quickly. "Come over if you want, but it'll be at your own risk."
            He hung up and rushed at the troll. It yelped and scurried away. Ralph slipped back into his skin and bandaged up the troll bites.    
* * *
            Ralph was hiding in the chimney when the door bell rang. He jumped down and peered out the window, fearing that another mysterious package would be waiting for him. But only Orson stood there, swaying innocently back and forth as he waited patiently for Ralph to answer the door.
            Suddenly, Ralph felt a piercing pain in his leg. He turned around and saw a tiny troll aiming another tiny arrow at his other leg. Then, quicker than you could say "Rumplestiltsken,” a knight rode in and chased the troll out of the room, his apologies to Ralph trailing behind him.
            "Hey, Ralph," Orson called from the front porch. "Come on! Open the door!"
            Ralph sighed and opened the door, pulling Orson inside as quickly as possible.
            "So what do you want to do today?" Orson asked, smiling. But that smile quickly gave way to a frown when he saw two trolls slide down the upstairs banister and scurry into the kitchen, immediately followed by a tiny little knight on a tiny little horse.
            Orson's eyes popped out of his head at the sight of the little creatures running around outside of their usual setting in fantasy novels. Ralph helped Orson push his eyes back into their sockets and quickly explained the situation.
            "Why'd you open the package in the first place, dummy?" Orson asked in amazement.
            "That's not the point," Ralph said.
            "Curiosity did kill the cat, you know," Orson reminded Ralph.
            "Look," Ralph said, ignoring the comment. "It doesn't matter why I did it, it just matters that I did it. Now I have five tiny trolls and five little horsemen tearing up my house and I need to get them out of here before my mom comes home in less than four hours!"
            "Okay. I'll help you get rid of them," Orson said.
            "I think maybe we should see what the horsemen can do first," Ralph replied.
            A faint wheezing and coughing sound interrupted their conversation. Ralph and Orson looked around the room until they found Claude bleeding out on top of a newspaper headline which read: CURIOSITY SENDING MILLIONS OF CATS TO THEIR DEATHS --- IS THERE A CURE?
            "Claude!" Ralph rushed to Claude's side and held his hand with his pinky finger.
            "Truly sorry, Mi' Lord," Claude struggled to say. "I have failed thee. Just . . . do me one favor, Mi' Lord? Kill those little demons!"
            With that, Claude took his last breath and fell into eternal sleep.
            Ralph and Orson flushed the little knight down the toilet in the upstairs bathroom then went back downstairs to formulate a plan to take out the trolls.
            "We don't need a plan," Orson protested. "Just step on 'em!"
            Just then, a troll ran into the room and Orson picked up his foot to step on it. As his foot came down, the troll stopped and raised its tiny axe over its head in a defensive position. Orson's foot slammed down on the little axe and quickly shot back up. The troll ran away, snickering, as Orson tore off his shoe and massaged his wounded sole.
            "Okay, bad idea," Orson said. "Do you have a better one?"
            Ralph was about to answer when the door bell rang. Orson looked out the window and swung back to Ralph, his face unusually pale.
            "It's Principle Albert!" he exclaimed.
            "What's he doing here?" Ralph asked, more to himself than to Orson.
            "Mr. Boden," Principle Albert called from the porch. "I understand that you're upset with me, but I've come to extend my apologies."
            "Just be quiet and maybe he'll go away," Orson whispered.
            It was a good ten minutes before Principle Albert finally stopped rattling off tearful apologies and left. Over the course of that ten minutes Ralph and Orson sat on the living room floor and attempted to keep as still and quiet as possible. This was a very difficult task, due to the five tiny trolls and four little knights on four little horses who insisted on using Ralph and Orson's bodies as their battleground.
            "Whew! Glad that's over," Orson said when Principle Albert was gone.
            Ralph kicked at a troll. "What are we going to do about these?"
            "Maybe we could burn 'em," Orson suggested.
            Ralph shook his head, "No. . . . Wait! I know!"
            Ralph whispered his plan into Orson's ear and their faces lit up with delight. They turned them off quickly before the trolls noticed. In a little over five minutes the trap was set. Now all they needed to do was convince the knights to use themselves as bait.
            "Never!" One of the knights said.
            "Bait for those demons? Puh-lease!" Said another.
            "Neigh!" The horses exclaimed in unison.
            "It's the only way to get rid of them," Ralph pleaded.
            "Nonsense." One of the knights stepped forward. "We have them right where we want them."
            "And where's that?" Ralph asked.
            The little knight looked confused. "Well, we have them right under our feet, that's where. Ready to crush them at any moment."
            "Fine. Go crush. Crush your little hearts out!" Ralph said, annoyed.
            The four little knights and their four little horses disbanded and continued their useless chase of the trolls.
            "Great," Orson groaned. "Now what can we use?"
            "I've got it." Ralph snapped his fingers. "Scare me."
            "Scare me."
            "Over twenty-five new deadly viruses have been circulating the air since November."
            "That's not what a meant, Orson. Like, startle me."
            Orson stared and blinked at Ralph. Ralph waited patiently. Then, without warning, Orson screamed and jumped at Ralph. Ralph jumped out of his skin.
            "Okay, now we set my skin under the trap and wait for the trolls to come," Ralph said.
            "Are you sure it's going to work?" Orson asked.
            "Trust me," Ralph said.
            They carried his skin into the living room and set it under the trap. Then they hid behind the couch and waited.
            In less than half an hour, four trolls scurried across the living room floor, following the scent of the skin. When they reached their destination and were about to dig in, Ralph tugged on a string and a fairly large wire box slammed down around the trolls.
            "Yes!" Ralph and Orson cried out.
            As the trolls screeched and foamed at the mouth behind the wires of their new cage, Ralph lifted up the box long enough to retrieve his skin, but not long enough for any of the trolls to escape.
            While Ralph dressed hurriedly, Orson counted the screaming trolls.
            "There's only four," he said.
            "What?" Ralph recounted the trolls. "Where's the other one?"
            "Beats me," Orson said. He was looking out the window. "But we had better find it soon because I think your mom just pulled into the driveway."
            "No," Ralph said, but when he looked out the window he saw his mother's mini-van disappear into the garage. "She's early."
            "Hurry," Orson said. "Let's get rid of these."
            Ralph and Orson hastily wrapped the wire box containing the four trolls with pale white paper and a dark ribbon. Then they told the four little knights that the five tiny trolls had scampered off to the neighbor's house, and the knights quickly gave chase.
            "See you tomorrow," Orson said as he ran out the back door with the package tucked between his arms.
            "See you," Ralph said. "And don't forget to send that thing far, far away!"
            Just as Ralph closed the back door, his mother opened the front door. Ralph ran silently to his room where he waited for his mom to come up and check on him.
            "How're you feeling?" his mother asked as she opened the bedroom door.
            "Better," he said.
            "What'd you do today?" She took a few steps forward as the last troll shot out from under Ralph's bed. Her foot slammed down hard on it. There was a faint, satisfying splat that only Ralph could hear.
            "Nothing," he replied, smiling.
* * *
            Weeks later, in a completely different part of the world, two young boys received a pale white package tied with a dark ribbon.
            "Qui hic est?" one boy asked the other.
            "Videamus," the boy replied, excitement glittering in his eager eyes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Eat Your ART Out (Fan Art, Round 2)

I'm so very proud to have such talented friends who want to share their creations with me!

Up next is this gem from Dan Doerflein:

This was sort of a commission, as Dan asked, "Hey, do you want a painting?" And I replied, "Yes, please, do an emotional beet." Bless that man, he rendered not ONE but SIX emotional beets! (It was less of a commission in the fact that I did not pay Dan anything to do this. But let's not split hairs.)

However, I am not pop-culturally aware enough to understand the reference here. "Emotional Beet Bunch?" Are they one beet making six different faces? Or six different emotional beets, kind of like the Seven Dwarves? And are those people supposed to then be Snow White and Prince Charming? More importantly, is that beet on the right in the middle flirting with me? If so, his girlfriend in the bottom right corner has a problem with that.

Of course I am attempting (poorly) to joke around about not knowing what the heck The Brady Bunch is (it's a breakfast cereal, duh). Which makes this brilliant piece of art all the more disturbing, as it implies that the two people pictured have had sex to produce these emotional beets (not with each other, but with previous, unpictured, partners. Whom I would assume are beets.) Breaking boundaries, is what this painting is doing. Boundaries some might say are best left erect.

And now that you are safely thinking about erections, I bid you adieu!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Eat Your ART Out

I am proud to say that I can repeat this fan art theme thrice more, but one of those posts will be kind of a stretch.

Last week, Sophia Accorinti imagined her way into the bodies of Carmelle and Devin (as I'm sure we all have in one way or another). The results are astounding!

Cleavage speaks louder than words, people. I (and Devin) would like to think Carmelle is sporting a Superman halter top here, but alas I'm pretty sure that's just a pouty lip icon. Which. is. perfect.

I hope that frappacino is for Carmelle, because if not, she is going to be maaaad. Also, sister needs a Bluetooth! Makes multi-tasking for demanding girlfriends whilst avoiding zombie hordes so much simpler. (Here is a marketing gift for you, Bluetooth: "Bluetooth. Simplify the way you run your girlfriend's errands while simultaneously evading zombie hordes.")

Thank you so much to Sophia for drawing these! (I didn't even ask her to! Or pay her. Sorry about not paying you!)

If you have Eat Your Heart Out fan art that you would like me to share with the ten or so people who read this blog, send it my way! Or just pictures of yourself pretending to read the book. Or just pictures of acorns that look like Baby Jesus. Whatever you got, I need blog content!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages

I'm excited to announce the announcement that the contents for the upcoming anthology Zombies: Shambling Through the Ages (Prime Books) has been announced!

Click this to be taken to Contents Page!

My non-fiction piece, "Seneca Falls: First Recorded Outbreak of Strain Z," looks to be in very good company.

This anthology releases in August. In the meantime, I'll be posting more details about the Seneca Falls tragedy and triumph, and the process of uncovering the unnerving truths you'll find waiting for you in my thrilling historical account.