Yes I am insane

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.”

End

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.”

End

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.

Dmitri,
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.
~V

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.

End

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.

End

Where the Hell is Kelly?

Here’s a fun game for all of us. It’s like “Where’s Waldo” but with more swearing. Where am I? What am I doing? Why the hell haven’t I updated this blog in forever? Well, in the first place, I’m still alive, working two jobs, and for a three week stretch (23 days, but who’s counting?) I didn’t have a day off; I was working at either one job or the other. During this time I’ve been continuing my work as an editor and trying to do normal human things like “laundry” and “bathing”. Other things, like this blog and most human interaction outside of work, have fallen through the cracks. I’ve had two weeks in a row, though, where I’ve been able to get a day off and the trend looks like it will hopefully continue.

I don’t really have much more to update than this. I haven’t been writing much, editing less of my own work, and I’ve only recently started to catch up on the back log of reading I have waiting for me (though I did finally get through my email). If by some chance you need to contact me, you can leave a note in the comments, email me, or send me a message on twitter. I am going to try to get back to updating at least semi-regularly. Well, we’ll see how that goes.

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:

Kumquat
Fruit
Orange
Origin of Orange
China
Mongolia
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:

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

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

Journals, Cookies, and Zombies! Oh my!

Okay, I should have written this blog ages ago, but I’m feeling rather frayed around the edges. Christmas, family and forced socialization does that to me. Anyway, I have a plethora of things to talk about starting with a CONGRATULATIONS TO BOTH HAVOC AND PAUL MAGNAN for winning the Zombie Santa contest. Since there were only two entrants, I decided to paint one for each of them. Paul has already received his and Havoc will get his shortly.

Next up there are a few new journals in the gallery.

A traditionally bound journal covered in cloth.

A traditionally bound journal covered in cloth.

I really like how the bear came out.

I really like how the bear came out.

And finally, the annual parade of Christmas Cookies That Need to be Explained

Rainbow Cluck and the unnamed bug eyed rainbow cat were two spectacular cookies this year.

Rainbow Cluck and the unnamed bug eyed rainbow cat were two spectacular cookies this year.

What a beautiful tree! Too bad one of the candles caught the tree.

What a beautiful tree! Too bad one of the candles caught the tree.

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The poor tree.

Finally we have Simon Cat. There is no explanation necessary.

Finally we have Simon Cat. There is no explanation necessary.

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!

Crash and Burn

Wow. What a month. Or two. And not in a good way. To give you an update on my life, two of our staff members quit, right before the busiest time of year. I decided to write (and wrote) a novella during that time period. I found out the company I’ve been working for lost its contract with the government and I’ll have to reapply if I want to work here next year. I realized I don’t really want to work here next year. I worked two 50+ hour weeks in a row and had to fight for a day off during one of those weeks. I read 6 novels, at least 8 novellas and a bunch of short stories and am working on reading more. I managed not to kill any guests at work and kept my coworkers from murdering anyone either. I have not collapsed from exhaustion yet (either mental or physical) though there were a couple days where I was close. And sadly I have not yet finished the “outline” phase of my current work in progress, though I am so close I can taste it. I’ve set it aside for a bit, though, so I can read. I’m currently in the middle of 1984. Brave New World should be arriving any day.

I am ready for a break. I’m more than ready for the season to be over. I don’t want to deal with people anymore (though I’ve been seeing some really nice people lately. Unfortunately I’m to the point that I assume they’re going to yell at me unless proven otherwise.), and I definitely don’t want to be responsible for their problems. I’m tired of people complaining about the smallest things (I asked for a TOP floor room, even though I made my reservations YESTERDAY, and I am MAD someone who made their reservation months ago got it instead of me!)

On a happier note, I’m ready to write. My massive reading binge (4 of the 6 novels have been in the past two weeks) is my way of recharging my writing (and my poor beleaguered brain). While I’d planned to start writing my work in progress this month, I think everyone will be happier with the result if I wait until next month (or at least I will). I am also planning on writing and submitting a few more short stories, both to anthologies and magazines.

So yeah, I’m ready to crash and my sanity has already burned. Please send help.

Remember, sanity is relative. Whose relative is questionable, but certainly not one of mine.

Steampunk Bustle

I suppose I should preface this entry by saying I have been invited to a steampunk wedding this fall. And there’s no way in hell I’m going to a steampunk wedding in ordinary clothes.

I decided early on that I was wearing two things. The first was a specific necklace that may or may not be the subject of a future post, but involved me transforming a bracelet into a necklace that features a cameo skeleton. The second was pants. Skirts are generally inconvenient things (except when you’re feeling too lazy to be bothered with finding and putting on pants) and so the times I wear them are limited to events of historical reenactment, times of extreme laziness, and responses to death threats from my parents (usually for a wedding or a funeral or something similar). Thus I knew, since neither of my parents were going to this particular wedding, that pants were the way to go.

Then I saw this bustle: http://www.zibbet.com/MaritimeArts/artwork?artworkId=49080#

Here’s a picture for those who don’t want to be bothered with the link.

It seemed to me that this would be just the thing to make my outfit a little more formal while preventing me from doing an accidental Agatha Heterodine cosplay (though Agatha is a totally awesome character to cosplay). I was not, however, paying $85 for something I could make myself in a weekend. So a plan was hatched.

I went to the local thrift shop with every intention of finding a skirt I could manhandle into bustle. My only requirements were that it be long enough, full enough, and black or purple. I found none of the above. What I did find was a very large wine colored shirt made of faux velvet. I decided I would make it work. A quick trip to the store for trim later and I was ready to go.

Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking about a blog when I started this project, and so didn’t take pictures of the shirt in it’s original form. I’ll just tell you that it was very large and sack like.

After unpicking all of the seams, I decided exactly how I wanted to make it and laid out the fabric, pinned it together and called it a night. The next day I repinned everything and started sewing. I would say it was done 40% on the serger (all the major things that needed to be held together so they never come apart), 50% on a regular sewing machine (all the hemming and most of the trim), and 10% by hand (the last of the trim and some corrections). I’m rather pleased with the results

I’ve done a side shot so you can see the folds I have in back.

I even made a hand bag out of the scraps.

Remember, if you can’t write, making steampunk clothing is the second best option.