This is my expressionism.

A Slightly Late GISHWHES Post

Hi, everyone. Your wayward author is back with another update. In my last post I told you about how busy I’ve been. I’ve got good news; I’ve been working full time for the National Park Service for more than a month now. My stress levels are way down, and I’ve been able to get some writing done (as well as my editorial jobs). In fact, I was able to participate as an author in GISHWHES 2014. I’m sure most of you know about GISHWHES, but for those who don’t GISHWHES stands for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen”. The contestants do all sorts of wacky fun stuff for charity. One of those things this year was to ask a published scifi author to write them a tiny bite of fiction. The stories had to be 140 words, and include Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and an Elopus (an elephant/octopus hybrid). I wrote two myself and two with Sarah Hendrix. I’ll post them here for your reading pleasure. Be warned some of these are pretty weird.

GISHWHES #1 With Sarah Hendrix

It was a vast, black ocean they raced across, skimming the oily surface as their skiff ran from the ships of the royal navy.

The Dread Pirate Collins sneered at his prize. He knew that if he could just get away from the navy, he’d be able to ransom the clockwork Queen for quite a bit of money.

The Queen, for her part, stared back impassively. Her automaton brain knew that this was her fault. If she had been more fair, and just, as she was programmed, then no subject would be forced to into piracy.

The pirate’s ship was pulling away as something huge rose up from the waves smashing his ship. Mechanical tentacles snaked across the deck.

The Elopus cradled the Queen in it’s many arms. “I love you.”


GISHWHES #2 With Sarah Hendrix

She sat alone at a back table in The Elopus. A piano tinkled, out of tune, near the stage. There was a glass of something strong in her hand and her hat was tipped low over her eyes.

Sheriff Misha took a deep breath and looked up to the sky but the faded sign with the odd creature was in the way. He wondered exactly how things would play out.

She seemed to know he was there before entered; her gun was already pointed towards him as he turned to her.

“You ain’t wanted here, Sheriff. Leave me be. I’ll be gone soon enough, just here on family business.”

He nodded and sat across from her, his hands far from his gun. “Sorry about your momma.”

“The queen is dead,” she said quietly. “Long live the queen.”


And now my solo stories:

In the Cave of Ganesh

Misha paused at the opening of the cave and pulled the tattered letter from the back pocket of his trousers. The handwriting inside was still legibly the Queen’s.

I have no words for how sorry I am for what I must put you through. I know you understand, the beast must be destroyed. My sources tell me you will find it in the Cave of Ganesh. Please, be careful. I cannot lose you.

He shoved the note back into her pocket, wishing for more information. There was only one map in the entire royal archive marking “the Cave of Ganesh”. He was here, now, though. After weeks of searching, he’d found it.

A rock clattered towards him. He looking into the cave and there it was. The beast, writing, huge, and reaching for him.

“Sorry, Vicky,” he murmured.


Misha and The Queen vs. Dr. Elopus

Misha and The Queen crouched atop the roof of “Elopus Inc”. Their target was coming around the corner. He was a middle aged man, balding on top and dressed in a lab coat.

“Now?” Misha asked.

“Now,” she confirmed and jumped from the rooftop, using her Scepter’s power to land safely.

Misha unfurled his wings and followed her to the sidewalk. “Dr. Elopus,” he said. “You’re under arrest for crimes against humanity, cruelty to animals, and several hundred municipal code infractions.”

The Queen pointed her scepter at Dr. Elopus. “Come quietly and we won’t have to hurt you.”

There was a moment of silence before the man began to laugh. As he did, he began to transform. Tentacles sprang from under his lab coat and his nose distended to become a trunk. “Not today!” He cackled, swinging towards them.



How I Named My Brother’s Car “Dammit”

Because I could use a little levity, I’ll share this story with you.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my younger brother is very ADHD. He is so much so that when he was younger, we made a game based off of it called Free Association. To play, you had to get from one object to an unrelated other object by words of association. I’ll give you an example. Kumquats to Kublia Khan:

Origin of Orange
Kublia Khan

That, of course was too easy, so we started adding words you had to go through before you could get to the end. Our favorite was the French Revolution.

All of this is relevant to the story.

Changing topics, my brother recently bought his first car. Our family has a tradition of naming our cars based on the model. My brother, being different, named his Bob. A few weeks later he decided he didn’t like that name after all, so he decided to change it. After some deliberation, he decided on ‘Cody’. Unfortunately, my mother is somewhat hard of hearing, and she thought he said ‘Colby’. When she told me, she confided that all she could think of was cheese. I said in that case a better name would be Jack, as in Monterrey Jack, and well, it went from there. Here is our free association to Dammit:

French Cheese
The French Revolution
Wars in France
Cheese from Normandy
Monterrey Jack
Monterrey, California
Aunt Janet (a relative that lives in CA)
Dammit, Janet (Rocky Horror)

And that is how it happened. Incidentally, my brother doesn’t like is calling his car Dammit. I wonder why.

Kitties, Bunnies, Puppes and Hugs

I was going to make a happy announcement today, but in light of today’s events, I’m going to wait until tomorrow. Instead, how about some happy pictures?

Also, if you feel like you need or would like a hug, I’m sending written hugs through the mail. If you would like to recieve a card from me, email me your PO Box address at stileskellyc at gmail dot com or DM it to me on Twitter.

Photos I Found on my Phone

So I have some exciting news, but I can’t share it for a little bit yet. I’ve been holding off on posting a blog because I want to post about this news, but I’ve just realized it’s been more than a week since I last posted, and so I am now taking a page from The Bloggess’s playbook and post a place holder filled (almost) entirely with photos I found on my phone.

I'm going to give this to my brother. It says a lot about our relationship. And his ability to find his keys.

I’m going to give this to my brother. It says a lot about our relationship. And his ability to find his keys.

For those who are wondering where they too can purchase such a marvelous keychain, I would suggest trying Spenser’s. I don’t know if your Spenser’s has one. I know the one in Winchester does.

We had snow. We lost power. I both lit and warmed my home with about 12-15 candles. It was bright enough to write by.

We had snow. We lost power. I both lit and warmed my home with about 12-15 candles. It was bright enough to write by.

No, I’m sorry, I’m not entirely sure which snow storm it was. We’ve had several. I’ve shoveled for my fair share of them. They are now starting to blur together in my mind.

Remember the Kidnapped Dinosaur from two years ago? Becca is the coworker that kidnapped it.

Remember the Kidnapped Dinosaur from two years ago? Becca is the coworker that kidnapped it.

She also happens to be one of the assistant managers where I work (she got promoted). She really, really loves dinosaurs.

So when I saw these Easter eggs, I had to get them for her. I don't think she's found them all yet.

So when I saw these Easter eggs, I had to get them for her. I don’t think she’s found them all yet.

I’m sure she’ll be finding them all year.

Speaking of Easter, here are two BATTLE BUNNIES.

Speaking of Easter, here are two BATTLE BUNNIES.

You wind them up, point them at one another and let them go. The results are hilarious. Incidentally, the one who’s eye was put out loses a lot more than the other one.

Here's a picture of the random, gorgeous quilt I was given a few days ago.

Here’s a picture of the random, gorgeous quilt I was given a few days ago.

One of my mother’s friends quilts a lot. She made me a quilt. It’s very, very pretty! I’m not exactly sure why she made it, but she did and I will love it. In fact, I already do.

Speaking of things I love...

Speaking of things I love…

I won an issue of Shock Totem. They’re an awesome magazine that puts out some great stuff. If you like dark fiction of any kind, I definitely suggest you check them out. A special thank you to Lee Thompson, the man from whom I won the issue. He’s been featured in Shock Totem multiple times and is an amazing writer.

Remember, I have news to tell you soon!

A Contest!

In the spirit of Christmas (and my distaste for certain Wal-Mart items) I am making a zombie Santa ornament, and you can win it. How? Comment below and me how you would avert a Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule, or any other holiday in this time period) zombie apocalypse. You have until the 20th to post. If there are more than 30 responses, I will do a second one (probably a Lovecraft themed Santa instead of another zombie). The five best entries will be decided upon by me and the winner will have their name picked out of a hat/bowl/other object by a random member of my family. One post per person, please.

And I’m not looking for a novel here, a paragraph or two would be perfect. I just want something to make me smile after spending time with certain members of my family.

Pictures of Zombie Santa the work in progress:

Creepy Wal-Mart Santa stares at you with soulless eyes. Clearly anything I do to him can only be an improvement.

Creepy Wal-Mart Santa stares at you with soulless eyes. Clearly anything I do to him can only be an improvement.

A new skin tone really helps Santa, don't you think?

A new skin tone really helps Santa, don’t you think?

Zombie Santa is mostly finished. I'll add one last picture tomorrow, a good one taken with a real camera, that will show the final touch ups.

Zombie Santa is mostly finished. I’ll add one last picture tomorrow, a good one taken with a real camera, that will show the final touch ups.

HO! Hoooo! Ooooooh! Uuuuuh...braaaaiiiins...

HO! Hoooo! Ooooooh! Uuuuuh…braaaaiiiins…

Remember, post me something by the 20th!

May Has Not Been Kind

This really has not been a pleasant month for anyone where I work. Between employee and guest accidents, people breaking down on the road, and family emergencies, I don’t think anyone has been happy. The people at our corporate office think we’re nuts with how many accidents there have been. Thankfully no employees have died (though one almost cut off his thumb with a table saw). We have had some loose family members, though.

There have been plumbing disasters and people who couldn’t get into their room (the lock broke and there wasn’t anyone from maintenance on duty. We had to put them in another room for the night.) It really seems like it’s been one thing after another all month long.

That aside, there have been other, small things. Things that guests do that really annoy me. Like demand a room with a view on a holiday weekend. When they booked a week in advance. I’m sorry, some of the rooms have trees that have grown up in front of them over the years. When you cut it so close on a holiday weekend, that’s what you’re going to get. Of course I would never actually say that to a guest, but sometimes I wish I could.

My muse also seems to have taken the month off. While I did finish up/submit two stories this month, I didn’t really write much besides a flash for the Shock Totem contest. I don’t know where she’s vacationing, but she’d better hurry up and get her muse-y butt back here. I have another story I need to finish and polish for Dagan Books. (Yes, I am going to try to do more than my usual very last minute edits this time.)

I am starting to think that every year just picks a month to be bad. That at the beginning of the year Father Time spins a wheel and whatever month the wheel lands on is going to be bad news. Maybe he spins multiple wheels for multiple people and places. Maybe my allergies are getting to me. Or maybe I’m just nuts. Hopefully with this month (mostly) out of the way, things will be better around here, and I won’t keep bitching about stupid things. We’ll see how that pans out. I’ll keep you posted. Or I’ll keep writing blogs. Or something.

I can’t think of anything else to say, though I was kind of hoping for at least another 200 or so words. Instead, here are some pictures I took while bored at work.

The amazing card castle.

It’s weight bearing too!

Remember, life’s not always fun. That’s why there are card castles.

Things I’ve Learned from Work

I work at a hotel. That in and of itself should give you a clue as to some of the insanity I deal with on a daily basis. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way. WARNING: THERE ARE A COUPLE THAT ARE KIND OF GROSS.

1) The most entitled jerks are likely the ones that have booked less than a month in advance. They want what they want and get indignant when you tell them that people who booked earlier than they got what they wanted. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been yelled at because someone didn’t get a building they wanted or a room they wanted. Let me give you a hint. If you want something specific, book earlier!

2) Excedrin should be taken with food. I’m sure this should be obvious, but when you’re in pain and not thinking straight, it isn’t. Just trust me on that. In the same vein, I’ve also learned that tea doesn’t taste as vile as most vomit. I think I’ll make myself a cup the next time I’m ill.

3) If they can complain about it, they will. I’ve worked at the hotel for a little more than a year. I’ve heard LOTS of complaints. “There’s a tree blocking my view”, “My room doesn’t have a tv”, “My room DOES have a tv!”, “I wanted to be farther away from everyone”, “I wanted to be closer to everyone”, “This place is too rustic”, “This isn’t rustic enough”. And on and on it goes. For every complaint in one direction, there’s undoubtedly been one in the other. And the less I can do about it personally, the more they complain.

4) For every time I’ve heard something a million times, there’s always something new. Just think about that for a moment. I get the same complaints/comments all the time, and then someone comes in and floors me with something. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s just dumb. If someone serving you ever stares at you for a second or two before answering, it’s either because they’re trying not to laugh, or they’re trying come up with a response that won’t offend you.

5) Be careful who you joke with. This one goes both for customers and employees. It can be really hard to tell who has a sense of humor and who doesn’t. Feel customers out before you start joking with them. The same can be said about employees, even if first impressions aren’t always right.

6) Restaurant floors are nasty! We clean our floors nightly. Sometimes we clean them between shifts. I got to vacuum a few nights ago, and I would like to assure you that the vacuum made those sounds before I started getting up all of your crud. No, really. Also, who the hell drops large pieces of food and doesn’t pick it up? I mean I can understand the crumbs (many as they are), but entire fork fulls?

I’m sure there are many other things I could cover in this blog, but then what would I do for the next one?

Remember, employees are people too.