Old Person Rant

I am—and I’ve learned to embrace this—a get-off-my-lawn type. More than that, I’m a get-off-my-street type. There is simply no basic sense of community or common courtesy any more that I can find. The kids down the street from us have loud motorbikes of the kind that are made for dirt. But do they go where there is dirt? (And our town has plenty of places that fit the bill.) No, they’d rather ride them loudly up and down our street and annoy everyone. And their parents don’t stop them, I assume because the parents would rather that the kids be the community’s problem than theirs.

Whatever. I’m clearly not a people person and not fit for society. There are days when I wish whatever cosmic power exists (and I do think there must be something, though whether it cares or is paying attention . . . but that’s another conversation) would just wipe us out and get it over with, give the world back to the plants and animals, because we suck. People suck, yes, even me. Though I at least have enough sense not to irritate my neighbors by riding loud bikes in front of their houses, or blasting music that can be heard two blocks away, or popping off firecrackers when the fields are really dry and could go up like tinder.

Bottom line: I should live out somewhere far from the rest of the general population.

An Author’s Birthday Wishes

So it’s my birthday this weekend, and like many authors I have a few modest wishes. Not that I expect readers to get me anything! But if you’re so inclined . . .

  1. Buy one of my books. For yourself or a friend. Or even just read it via Kindle Unlimited.
  2. Leave a review for one of my books on Amazon or Goodreads or your blog or wherever.
  3. Tell a friend about my books.
  4. Draw some fan art or write some fan fiction based on my work. Not all authors appreciate that, but I love it! Be sure to send me a link!
  5. Give to a charity. I particularly like to support animal rescues and environmental advocacy, but [almost] anywhere will do. I have enough—more than enough—and I’m really fortunate and grateful on that score. So donate to those who need it, or to causes that need the support.

And now it’s time for me to go blow out some candles and make one last wish: that my latest manuscript finds an agent. I’ve had some nibbles, so let’s see if I get any full-on bites.

Happy, er . . .

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, well, I’ve been hit by a deluge of sorts. Our hot water heater quit working, our HVAC system needs some fixing, we have new windows coming soon, and—oh—I cracked a filling that will need to be replaced.

But there are good things, too! On the books are a nice dinner out for my birthday and tickets to Star Wars.

These are the reasons I’m not getting much blogging—or work—done. But then again, at the holiday I always expect to be distracted by various other things going on. I’ll try to enjoy myself (except not the dentist thing) for now and hit the ground running in the new year.

How are your holidays?

The Naughty List: A Holiday Writing Tag from Jenna Moreci

Find it for yourself here.

THE RULES:

1) Provide a brief description of your novel before beginning. NO MORE THAN 5 SENTENCES.

2) If your cast is fewer than 15 characters, you can’t use the same name more than twice. If your cast is larger than 15 characters, you can’t use the same name more than once.

MY NOVEL:

16-year-old Nerissa Dey is the daughter of an A-list actor. When her dad dies unexpectedly, Nerissa hurries home from boarding school to discover her mom has married her dad’s brother. Now she’s living out a Shakespeare drama and trying to avoid the tragic ending.

THE QUESTIONS:

#1 Which character is SO into the holidays, they nearly cause a street-wide power outage from all their Christmas lights?

Mrs. Polley. Hey, she bakes cookies practically every day.

#2 Which character attends the office new years party with ONE date… and goes home with someone else?

Liam. He’s not a player or anything, he’s just easily distracted by a pretty face.

#3 Which character is more than happy to steal Hanukkah gelt from poor, unsuspecting children? [Note: Hanukkah gelt = chocolate coins]

Uncle Eoin, of course.

#4 Fill in the blanks: I saw ____[character]____ doing a whole lot more than ____[verb]____-ing Santa Claus. They were full on ____[action]____.

Rosalind; kissing; snogging.

#5 One of your characters decides to pregame before church and passes out in the middle of the Christmas service. Which character is it?

Ophelia Chase (Nerissa’s mom).

#6 Which character hasn’t been seen since winter began because they refuse to deal with the snow?

Nerissa!

#7 Which character completely forgot about the holidays and ends up regifting to everyone?

Also Nerissa.

#8 Which character has such crappy luck, they only discover their potato allergy after pigging out on latkes?

Gwendolyn. Poor girl.

#9 The Krampus has arrived to punish your very bad characters. Which character is kinda into it?

Rosalind.

#10 One of your characters should be on the naughty list, but has convinced Santa to clear their name. Which character is it, and what was their means of persuasion?

Nerissa’s mom Ophelia. She paid Santa off.

I’m Back!

That’s me, second from the left in the middle row. Not my most flattering moment, but there’s a story here, and as a writer I always want to tell a good story. But to do that, I have to go back a couple decades.

I first went to Disney World for spring break while I was in college. This is some 20 years ago. My dad took me, and we went on what was then called the Tower of Terror. It was a Twilight Zone-themed ride that really just drops you. I’d never been on a drop ride before. I don’t remember what I felt about it at the time, but I do know I never went on it again.

A year or two later, my friends Natosha and Abby and I went to Six Flags Fiesta Texas and also did the big drop ride there. I hated it. Now, that ride is somewhat different since it’s all outside and you’re just hanging over the park. And it didn’t help that something caused them to have to pause a long time while we were sitting and waiting at the top. I don’t know if something had gone wrong or what, but at that point I was never going to do another one of these rides that drops you.

Twenty years later . . . We’re at Disneyland, and what used to be Tower of Terror is now Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout. I love GOTG. And I’m thinking maybe a ride like this isn’t as bad as I remember.

But the minute the car pushed back to what I knew was a big shaft that we were going to be dropped from, I regretted my decision.

And this ride didn’t just drop us once. Oh, no. This ride is like being on a yo-yo. Up, down, up, down. It felt like it went on forever.

The thing is, the ride itself is very cool. The story and everything—I really enjoyed it. But I don’t love the sensation of falling. The weightlessness, the way my stomach attempts to exit my body.

My nine-year-old daughter, however, adores these rides. That’s her next to me in the photo. I asked her, “Is it almost over?” and she reassured me that it was (even though she didn’t really know; she only wanted me to feel better). So there she is in the photo, telling me it will be all right.

When the ride did finally end, I was shaking. I started crying. The people getting off the ride weren’t really sure what to make of that. You see them in the photo, all having a great time. Not me! I cried, and also laughed a little with relief. I could barely walk, I was shaking so hard.

But! Pics or it didn’t happen! So here is the evidence. I bought a t-shirt too. And a tiny part of me wants to try again. Because it is a clever ride, and maybe exposure therapy will make me more able to tolerate it?

Or maybe I’m crazy.

Still, I think I look even more afraid here:

And happiest here:

The James vs. Clarence Thing

I’m pleased that my new Sherlock Holmes Professor Moriarty story is finding readers. (If you haven’t read it yet, you can get it here—free to read if you have Kindle Unlimited, and just 99 cents otherwise.) I even received my first review, and it was 5 stars! But I did notice the reviewer wrote that, really, she gives it 4.5 stars because she was confused by the James/Clarence thing. So I thought I’d answer that question in case others also had it.

In Conan Doyle’s story “The Final Problem,” Watson writes:

My hand has been forced, however, by the recent letters in which Colonel James Moriarty defends the memory of his brother…

Colonel James Moriarty is not the criminal. You can be forgiven for thinking as much since there seems to be an ongoing use of James/Jim/Jamie for the character of the evil Moriarty in books, films, and television programs. But, going by the original source material, this isn’t true. James is just the professor’s brother. So I gave my version of Professor Moriarty the name Clarence. Which happens to be my father’s name. And before you think that says something about how I view my dad, you should probably read the story first. In any case, I’m sure my dad will be hugely amused when he reads it. (He and Mom are on a cruise at the moment, so…)

Anyway, that’s my reasoning. Sorry for any confusion. Hope you still enjoy the story!

WIPjoy #26

26. Protagonist – How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Nerissa: My birthday is at the end of January, so usually I’m in school. Still, there have been plenty of years when my parents took me out of school for the week so we could go someplace warm. Sometimes it depended on where Dad was shooting [his current film]. Sometimes we couldn’t because Dad was shooting.

Vacations are nice, but I think ideally I’d just spend the day hanging out with Bea. I don’t need a party or anything. I just want to relax.