Blog Posts

Week 18 2016 Darkness My Old Friend

DarknessSo this week I totally lost my mind. It happens now and then. After the A to Z challenge, I picked up my manuscript thinking I would go ahead and indulge in another round of queries. Instead, I decided to rewrite the whole damn thing. Like I said, I have lost my damn mind.

I told folks at The Reef (writers, you do read Janet Reid’s blog, yes?) my plans, and Janet advised me to notify the agents I have outstanding requests with of my insanity, er, rewrite just to keep them in the loop. I know these agents are not anxiously awaiting my every written word. They have active clients and a full inbox of hopeful little queries. Still, it is the thing to do if Janet says so and I don’t want another shark bite or exile to Carkoon.  I spent the afternoon writing those agents. So that will probably slow down my upcoming “How I got an Agent” post by some time. How dreary.

I suppose those of you eager beavers who just jump right in with draft 1-3 will think me dangerously insane to be working on draft big number just shy of infinity. Quite possibly. Remember, each writer’s journey is different. Some are fast. Some are slow. Most are nuts. We all end up in the same place in the end.  Padded room. Strait jacket.

kingofdeadSo I am going to put on another pot of coffee, fuss over every other word in my manuscript, and then switch to whiskey before finding out who will be the next to die on Game of Thrones. I wonder who wins this game in the end. Is it the one who kills the most? Or the one that kills the exact right people? If I was a gambler , I would be betting on the dragons. But my instincts tell me the good money is on King of the Dead. He’s awesome as far as zombie making ice lord thingies go. I wonder if he’d be interested in being President of the United States? Loads of people would vote for him. I guarantee it. Even if he shoots someone on 5th Avenue.



Week 17 2016 – A to Z Concludes

I finished the A to Z challenge. I feel like I stumbled across the finish line in much the same way I stumbled into the challenge. I did not start off with a clear cut theme.  It was not until H that I caught my stride. I am glad I did this even if it did pull me out of my much needed edits. Tomorrow, I will enter the world of Aerda and I do not intend to come out again until I have wrangled an agent.

Here is the break down of my last week in the A to Z challenge.

unibrauetroisMonday – Ugly Shack Pub – #AtoZChallenge  The story explored a pub that allowed those in despair, near suicides to recover and find themselves again.

Brewery: Unibroue  (Quebec, Canada) Beer: Trois Pistoles  Type: Belgian Strong Ale


VictoryGoldenMonkeyTuesday – The Volcano Tap #AtoZChallenge  A tavern where monkeys are the wait staff is at the base of a newly active volcano that houses a dragon.

Brewery: Victory Brewing (Downingtown, PA) Beer: Golden Monkey Type: Tripel (3 x malt than average brew)


WestbrookWednesday – The Wayward Tavern #AtoZChallenge This was a bit of a cheat. Taverns play a huge part in my fantasy series, Idylls of Alleysiande, and I introduced one of those taverns in a bit of a preview.

Brewery: Westbrook Brewery (Mount Pleasant, SC) Beer: Dark Helmet Type: Schwarzbier(i.e. Black Beer)


xinguThursday – Xanthe’s Refuge #AtoZChallenge  Xanthe means stranger in Greek. This story finds a group of people having beer with a kind stranger after the apocalypse. For myself, I have always wanted to have a beer with Jesus. I figured post-apocalypse will be my best shot, provided I am not proven to be a goat.

Brewery: Cervejaria Kaiser (Brazil (no X breweries found) Beer: Xingu Black Beer Type Schwarzbier

YellowRoseBuffaloFriday – Yellow Rose #AtoZChallenge  In this tale, a young woman is finally going to meet a mysterious person who has been sending her yellow roses once a year since she was thirteen.

Brewery: Yellow Rose (San Antonio, TX)  Beer: Buffalo Butt Type: American Dark Wheat Ale


ZephyrSaturday – Zero Hour #AtoZChallenge  – In this story, a woman makes a decision about the path her life is on, and decides to do something other than the safe and easy path. So many I know struggle with this every day, and it is a theme I always seem to find in my writing. A feeling that society is not quite right, that it has become a steel trap instead of something that nurtures all of our potentials. Ah well, it is a fitting conclusion to my A to Z journey.

Brewery: Zephyr (Denver, Co) Beer: Naked Blonde  Type: American Blonde Ale



Week 16 2016 -Headaches and Anticipation

QueryCatThis week saw me go O to T in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Is that the end of the alphabet I see there? I hope so. I must admit this has taken away from time I might, perhaps,  have better spent editing, revising, proofing, and polishing my current project for submission. Ah well, publishing isn’t going anywhere and this has been terrific practice and enforced a bit more discipline on me. I had a migraine that stretched Wednesday – Friday and I still managed to keep up.

Here is the week that was:

Ommegang_2– MondayOlde Town Bar #atozchallenge . This story told of a young girl kidnapped from the UK twelve years prior and taken to America, assisted by mysterious forces, and finding her way back home. In anticipation of tonight’s premiere of season 6 of Game of Thrones, I featured Ommegang’s line of Game of Thrones inspired beers. These are actually very good. Ommegang is a brewery out of Cooperstown, New York.

PirateBombTuesdayPirate’s Pier #AtoZChallenge  – I revamped a story I wrote in high school which eventually resulted in my fantasy series The Idylls of Alleysiande. It featured an American Double/Imperial Stout with a hell of kick (14.00 ABV) called Pirate Bomb from Prairie Artisan Ales out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

QueensLagerWednesdayQuery Pit – #AtoZChallenge – I was inspired by my time spent swimming in the Reef, an affectionate name for agent extraordinaire,  Janet Reid’s Award-Winning Blog which is frequented by writers, agents, readers, and editors of all walks of life. Regardless of what your career model is as a writer, traditional publishing, self-publishing, or hybrid, this is a literal treasure trove of knowledge that will only help you as a writer. For this tale, I featured Queen’s Lager out of Queens, New York in honor of QOTKU (The Queen of the Known Universe which is Janet’s official title and should be on her business card).

RedHare_WatershipThursdayRabbit’s Rebuke – #AtoZChallenge This little story was in many ways inspired by my daughter and my own struggles against societal norms. She is graduating from college in two weeks and does not wish to take the normal road. I believe she will be happier for it. A lot of my knowledge of beers comes from her. She is a bartender and loves it. She is also artistic and full of wanderlust. I hope she sees the world instead of hides from it as most seem to do. For this little story, I featured beers produced by Red Hare Brewing out of Marietta, Georgia.

StoneRuinationFridayStorm’s End Cafe #AtoZChallenge Finally, the week drew to a close and I challenged myself to take a broad cast of characters and bring them together. I really needed several more drafts, but it was a good exercise. I love stories that take seemingly unrelated lives and crash them into one another. I also left much in this tale up to the reader’s interpretation because I believe the best writing involves the reader bringing their own voice to the tale. I don’t know if I managed that, but it is something I strive for. The great stories do that. It’s why something like Harry Potter works so well because so many readers can bring their own experience to it and take something more out of it. I feature California’s Stone Brewing Co’s Ruination IPA as the beer in this story.

HatTrickHopSaturdayTower Peak #AtoZChallenge  A very short tale of an angel that falls quite unintentionally by trying to help. This rides along a theme that has long fascinated me ever since I encountered J.R.R. Tolkien and his Inklings. It shows up over and over again in literature through the ages. It is a constant struggle that so much evil done starts with a good intention. For this story, I featured Montana’s Tamarack Brewing company and their Hat Trick Hops IPA.

So now my watch is done for this week. Thanks for stopping by. For one more week we will travel to the end of the alphabet. For all of you participating in the A to Z challenge, good luck. See you on the other side of Z.

Week 15 2016 – Beers Ago

For the last couple of weeks I have been participating in the A to Z blog challenge. Basically, I have been taking a favorite beer (usually a craft beer) and associating it with either a new short story or some aspect of my new fantasy series. I thought for those that are also interested in beers, I would provide a guide of all the beers that have made an appearance in the blog so far. Enjoy.

Date Post Brewery Beer Type Abv
04/01/2016 >Apocalypse With Allagash White #atozchallenge >Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine) >Allagash White >Witbier (White Beer) >5.10% AllagashWhite
04/02/2016 Baggins, Beers, and Story Ghouls #atozchallenge
04/04/2016 Creep to Creature Comforts #atozchallenge Creature Comforts (Athens,GA) Cosmik Debris American Double/Imperial IPA 8.3% CosmikDebris
04/05/2016 Dragon’s Milk #atozchallenge New Holland Brewing Company (Holland, MI) Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Stout American Double/Imperial Stout 11.0% IMG_0166
04/06/2016 Evil Twins #atozchallenge Evil Twin Brewing (Brooklyn, NY) Extra Fancy IPA American IPA 6.3% ExtraFancy
04/07/2016 Fire Snake, Fishing, and My Father #atozchallenge Founders Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, MI) All Day IPA American IPA 4.7% FoundersAllDay
04/08/2016 Goblins, Ghouls, and Ghastly Beasts #atozchallenge Tamarack Brewing Company (Lakeside, MT) Green Goblin American Double/Imperial IPA 10.5% GreenGoblin
04/09/2016 Heaven by way of Hell #atozchallenge 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA) Hell or High Watermelon Fruit/Vegetable Beer 4.9% HellHighWaterMelon
04/11/2016 Invoking Spirits – A Gamble #atozchallenge Wild Heaven Craft Beers (Decatur, GA) Invocation Belgian Strong Pale Ale 8.5% Invocation
04/12/2016 Juggling Jinn – #atozchallenge Jester King Brewing (Austin, TX) Omniscience & Proselytism American Wild Ale 5.0% JesterKing
04/13/2016 Kraken – #atozchallenge Bell’s Brewing, Inc (Kalamazoo, MI) Kalamazoo Stout American Stout 6.0% kalamazoo
04/14/2016 Lycanthropy Alley – #atozchallenge Lagunitas Brewing Co. (Petaluma, CA) Lagunitas Sucks American Double/Imperial IPA 7.85% LaguinitasSucks
04/14/2016 Lycanthropy Alley Lagunitas Brewing Co. (Petaluma, CA) Undercover Investigation Shut-Down American Strong Ale 9.30% Lagunitas
04/15/2016 Minding the Minotaur – #atozchallenge Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta, GA) Drafty Kilt Scottish Ale 7.20% draftykilt
04/15/2016 Minding the Minotaur Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta, GA) Eye Patch Ale American IPA 6.20% EyePatch
04/16/2016 The Nymph’s Nest – #atozchallenge New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO) Fat Tire American Amber/Red Ale 5.20% NewBelgiumFlatTire
04/16/2016 The Nymph’s Nest New Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, CO) Hoppy Blonde American Blonde Ale 5.70% NewBelgiumHoppyBlond

Week 14 2016 – Frankie’s Spring Break

IMG_0433This was a splendid week devoted to nothing but writing and editing, and then more editing. A wonderful respite from the drudgery that comes with a day job, but now it is over. Tomorrow I return to the real world. My pug will be most sad. She has been terribly spoiled this week, getting to spend practically every moment within my reach. Still, it’s good to have the day job as I like being able to support myself, but still, what a thing it would be if my writing alone could pay my bills.

This week was the first full week of the A to Z blog challenge. My theme is beer, sort of – I wanted to see if I know enough beers for each letter. Also, there were lots of previews of my book because I am editing. I combined proofreading my book revisions with my blog challenge.  I must cross Query Lake, turn in my full requests and my partial requests so that one of these weeks, I can write my “How I Got My Agent” post.

IMG_0496The best part of this week is that I got to spend the whole week with my dog at my feet. Frankie is the perfect research partner for finding all these beers. There are a couple of pubs close by that allow me to take Frankie with me. I love that.

I do not actually drink alcohol at all when I am writing. It may have worked for Hemingway, but my poison is coffee and tea for the early and late hours when I am chewing over my latest manuscript. Beer is a social thing for reconnecting with people, getting caught up with my now grown daughter, a way to draw stories out of friends and strangers, a way to leave the real world behind, and travel deep into my imagination.

Week 13 2016 – Renewal from the Reef

PyraThis week has been one of recovery and renewal. I am at last back to writing steadily. My aunt’s death knocked me off my virtual horse. I can hear her pushing me right back onto my horse just as she did when I was a child learning to ride. I am going to cut this short as I am participating in the A to Z challenge. People will tire of my blog in short order as it is.

I am working on the last edits for my R&R today and would like to be back in the query trenches by this time next week. Tomorrow, I must write a blog inspired by the letter “C”. I did not pick a theme for my challenge although I suppose “beer” could be construed at such. Anyhow, thanks to all in The Reef (Agent, Janet Reid’s wonderful blog) for all their support over the last couple of weeks, and for all they do. What a great bunch of writers. Drinks on me this week.

Week 12 2016 – The Last Good Bye

HeavenlySkiesI can picture Hell. It’s all too easy these days. Just turn on the news.  A place without love, without compassion, full of selfishness, ignorance, oppression, totalitarianism, and violence. Hell is nothing more than the absence of God, although there are plenty of false gods and theocracies formed to keep the drivel in line.  There are no miracles, no magic, no dragons, demons, or ghosts,  and no happy endings. Everything can be explained. It is all terribly shallow and mundane. Imagine a life occupied by only the most base of human experience. There is no need for fire and brimstone. While humans suck at power to do any good, we are quite adept at making our own little Hell dimensions, especially if we are given any power.

There is pleasure in Hell, fame and riches, envy and lust, but it is all empty, meaningless and always surrounded by horrors.  Hell lacks subtly and is so prevalent in its creeping tendrils in our world, we scarcely notice it. And we certainly do not dare call it by its name.  We live in a fallen world where glimpses of Heaven are fleeting.

Heaven is found only in moments of pure joy, unconditional love, and painfully beautiful visions that take our breath away, a sunset here and a clear blue ocean there. It is quiet, always there just in your grasp, not on the other side of the clouds, but rather on the other side of your life. In my belief, a man of love was nailed to a tree for our crimes so that everyone of us might conquer death and gain Heaven. This man descended into Hell, rose again on the third day so that all of us might one day dwell eternally in a place that is filled with love so bright that even the most glorious of poets could never describe it.

J.R.R. Tolkien gave a wondrous description at the end of Return of the King which comes pretty close to my meager imaginings of what paradise might be like.

“And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the gray rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.”


I like to think that my Aunt Barbara is there in that far green country reunited with her beloved horse, Annie, both young and whole again.


This week we said our last goodbyes, and though I will miss Aunt Barbara from this day until that day, I do believe we will meet again. I might go fishing with my granddad first, my dad (if he beats me there), and my old Springer Spaniel, Winston. That dog loved to jump in the lake, especially when a fat brim began to nibble on my line.

So Aunt Barbara and her horses may have to wait. I am sure she won’t mind as there will time for everything and everyone. For now, I will try my best to fight the good fight, live my life as full as I can until the good Lord calls me home at last.  At least, I will write more whatever comes along.