Thursday, October 30, 2008

I May Never Understand

I realize that there are people who find sex unacceptable in any context. And that some of these people don't bat an eye at graphic violence.

These people confuse me. I simply cannot wrap my head around it. I respect the differences, but I don't understand it.

I would rather read about characters having sex and, you know, enjoying themselves, than characters being shot, killed, dismembered, and other nasty things. I accept murder and death in the mystery genre. But I have trouble when bodies pile up faster than leaves under the giant oak tree come November. It's a stretch of realism, and to me a sometimes distasteful disregard for human life. I can accept a *little* bit when the bodies are all evil guys, but still, surely there are other ways to dispatch these baddies.

But sex is a no-no? Unless it's forced (which makes it violence), sex is FUN. No body gets hurt in sex. How is it that it's wrong to use a sex act for information, but it's okay to smash someone's head into a wall?

Someone getting hurt it okay, but someone getting his jollies from a willing participant is not?

I don't get it. I don't think I ever will. So, since I'm writing something that I would want to read... there's always going to be more sex than violence. Besides, writing sex is fun too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And Another One Down

It's end of the road for Muzzle Flash. It's all out of ammo, or something. DZ Allen shut the site down, so unfortunately, the archives are gone as well.

There's a string of zines that have died quiet deaths this year. Unfortunate, to say the least, though I understand wholly.

Like any writer who struggles to break into the ranks of the Big Name publications, I always get a little concerned when the online markets shift, change, or die. One less market that accepts my work.

If there weren't places like Muzzle Flash or the others, I might have long thought that I just wasn't a good writer. (There may be some editors who still think that!)

So long, Muzzle Flash. It was fun. Just too short.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My Town Monday: Grand River Corn Maze

Being that the western part of the county is still largely rural, it's not surprising that there are a couple corn mazes in the area.

Hubby and I have been going to the Grand River Corn Maze for several years now. Each year they have a different pattern. And for the last couple years, the Grand River Corn Maze has also included the Slaughterhouse Haunted Corn Maze. There was a haunted house, but it was shut down this year (amongst rumors of tension between the powers that be and the family that built it.)

This years theme was the Olympics. There are signs in the maze-- I'm not sure, but I think that if you're still finding signs than it's a clue that you're on the right path. The maze is always quite tall, and there are two patches of trees. (We used to think there was only one patch of trees... that was a problem.)

We usually make pretty good time in the maze. My family happens to be born with a pretty good sense of direction. Combine that with good observational skills, and we're usually out of the maze in a half-hour. Hubby has no sense of direction... I worry sometimes that he won't be able to find his way home. He's one of those folks who couldn't find his way out of a paperbag with a map, a flashlight, AND a pair of scissors. But he has other redeeming qualities that some day I'm sure I'll find. ;-)

Hubby and I go to the corn maze during the day time. Preferably during the day on a Saturday when there's less people. I don't do the whole 'wandering around in the dark' thing. Flash light or no. I still sleep with a nightlight because of my overactive imagination. (Good for writing, not good for trying to fall asleep when it looks like the shadows are moving...)

Needless to say, we do NOT go to the haunted corn maze. Nope. Not happening.

Once, when I was young, foolish, and brand-newly wed, Hubby and I went to a haunted house. I'd never been in one, having been to few carnivals in my younger days. So, we spotted one on Tourist Trap Clifton Hill at Niagara Falls on our honeymoon. Hubby suggested we go in and I (foolishly) agree. Then, Hubby, being the sweetheart that he is insists that I go first since my eyesight is better.

Overactive imagination. Tension from the knowledge that something is going to jump out of me. I should have left Hubby in the haunted house. No one would notice one more "dead body." I still don't let Hubby forget that one. No haunted places. No things jumping out at me. At least when it's one of my brother's I can punch them for scaring me.

But the corn maze is fun. In the daytime.

Visit Travis Erwin for more My Town Monday posts.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Writing Characters

Some characters come to me fully formed, ready for action. Bo Fexler strolled onto the page quite a few years ago-- she was pretty much as she is now. Tall, blond, sexy. She became more sexy, and more willing to use sex as time went on. (I also went from being a high school kid to a married woman in that time period... ;)

Other characters are less distinct, more malleable. They let me push them and prod them into the role they need to play. Many of my secondary and minor characters are this way. I'll change their job or their motivation and they'll just shrug and go along with it.

Someone asked me the other day, why Bo had a speech impairment. That, to some smacks of "Mary Sue." I don't know why Bo has a speech impairment. She always had one. It makes her reticent, a trait that is useful for a private eye. But beyond that, I have no explanation. That's just who Bo is. I could no more write her another way than I could write her as being short and dark haired.

Sometimes, I write the story. Sometimes, the story writes itself. Neither is inherently better. I can make up crap just as well as a plot line can go bust without help. But it does make me sound a little more crazy than normal.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Erotic mystery

I never paid much attention to erotica as a genre. I have nothing against sex and books full of it. In fact, I rather like sex. At any rate, I admit to dismissing erotica because I thought it would have little that interested me. I thought erotica was all about romance and happily ever after and icky stuff like that.

But it's not. So, I've been studying up lately, learning about the possibilities in this genre. Possibilities for Bo Fexler to find a home. I think many of her stories could be classified as erotica. I think her first novel would be an erotic mystery. I'm okay with that... even though it does narrow my publishing prospects in some regards. It opens new prospects I hadn't really considered. I will have to learn more, see where Bo fits in.

The only problem with studying erotica is that I get... distracted... easily. The sacrifices I make for my craft. ;-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Pressure? Ha!

Like many writers, I am my own worst enemy. I write and delete, write and delete, fret and pull out my hair. Good thing I have extra hair.

I've been making something that almost looks like progress on Novel #2, but I keep having trouble with the fear of writing crap. Sometimes, particularly in the early days of a novel or story, I just write and see where the story takes me. But once there's some semblance of something salvagable, I seize like an engine without motor oil. I can't write crap because that wouldn't be worth writing. What?

Sometimes, I push myself anyway and find that these fingers are capable of writing not-crap. But the fear of writing something I'm only going have to undo or redo is causing some serious slow-downs in writing.

I've been gutting, filleting, and redoing Novel #2(but not starting over and somehow that's important. Look, if I wasn't a head case, I could hardly be a writer!). In this process of redoing so much of it, I can't seem to force myself to write just anything. My fingers resist. And then they go clicky-clicky over to the internet. =/

I've been noticing how my writing habits wax and wane with phases of the moon. A period of good writing makes me want to write more. A drought... and I spend a lot of time in the kitchen looking for ways to break the drought. So far, I've not had any great inspiration in the kitchen, but one never knows.

Too much pressure to write. I've got to find a way to get past this. NaNoWriMo's coming up, which should help. (Yes, I can be counted amongst the foolish! Fourth year now.) In the mean time, does anyone has any ideas to get some of the pressure of myself? Writing is supposed to be fun, both the good and the bad.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Town Monday: Lee Road Roundabouts

Some brainiac decided that Brighton needed mall. They bought up some land nestlted between US-23 and Island Lake State Park.

Only, this intersection (and set of freeway ramps) was already a dreadful set up. It would have to be redone to accept traffic for the new mall.

Someone came up with the idea of putting in roundabouts. I'm not opposed to roundabouts... but whoever came up with the set up for the Lee Road Roundabouts was insane. There are three roundabouts, two literarlly on top of each other. And a craptacular design that even I have trouble figuring out. It's like a free-for all-- floor it and hope no one's in the way.

Click here for a full size pic.

You have expressway traffic, mall traffic, local road traffic. And a couple multi-lane roundabouts to figure out.

It's incredibly confusing, particularly since every lane crosses another lane through the big roundabout (bottom of the screen.)

I'm a fan of roundabouts, really, just not this one. I try to avoid going through it. It's really just the lanes crossing each other that really throws me.

Though, truth is, the roundabout has only seen two accidents (that I've ever heard of) since it's opening. And both of those accidents were caused when some dipshit put their car in REVERSE when they passed where they were going. Um, last time I checked, it is NEVER okay to go in reverse with traffic behind you-- roundabout, regular road, or even parking lot. Not a roundabout problem-- driver error at it's "finest."

I'm sure one contributing factor to the low accident rate is that people who are confuddled by it (like me) avoid it. The other factor is certainly the low speeds-- you can't go fast through the roundabouts.

I hear there's some good shops at the mall. Nothing has enticed me, yet. I admit that if I so desired (or needed) I would learn how to navigate this engineering "masterpiece." I did, after all, learn how to drive the expressway, a stick shift, and other things that I was incredibly resistant to once upon a time ago. But for now, I'm just going to declare this a clusterfuck and avoid it. Little roundabouts are okay-- this is nuts.

What's your favorite road-design distaster?

Visit Travis Erwin for more My Town Monday posts.

And I also have an entry in Patti Abbott's Flash Fiction Challenge below (avoid if you don't like naughty things. ;-)

Fall Flash Fiction Challenge

Patti Abbott posted a Flash Fiction Challenge. I took the challenge. (Don't read this is you don't like naughty bits. ;-)

Weaker Sex
A Bo Fexler Story

His gaze fixed on my tits. Inside, where air conditioning dropped the temperatures to sub-arctic, I was cold. The thin little bra that's more than enough for my perky pair surely showed the physiological reaction to the cold. Often mistaken for arousal. I'm not the sort of girl to mess with a man's sexual misconceptions.

"You must be Ian," I cooed. When he managed to get his head to nod, I slid into the seat opposite him. "Bonnie," I told him. Given that he was a lawyer in the same office with one of my previous clients, it was too risky to use my real name. Women named Bo are as common as chaste prostitutes.

"How'd you know who I was?"

"Friend of yours sent me your way." I leaned forward so he could get a good view of the valley.

"Oh?" he asked my boobs.

"Yeah. Said you were good for… some fun." I gave him my naughtiest grin. He ginned, but only for a moment. "I don't know what you're talking about…"

"Aren't you friends with Andy Willmore?" I asked. My client's brother.

"Yeah… why? He said something?"

"Said that you were a hit with the ladies."

"The only lady I've been with is my wife." He showed me the gold band.

"I don't mind fucking married men." I almost said 'fucking with.'

His eyebrows nearly disappeared into his hair. No receding hairline-- at twice my age he was still pretty good looking. "I think-- you've got me confused-- or something."

"Still loyal to the wife? That's not what I hear. Look, I’m not a prostitute. I just prefer uncomplicated sex." Part of the reason I like to do it myself.

"I-- I love my wife."

I sat up and took an envelope from the back pocket of my jeans. I laid the envelope on the table. When I spoke, the seduction in my voice was replaced with business. "Are you honestly saying that you wouldn't cheat on your wife-- even if I paid you."

"Paid-- me? No-- I'm married."

He started to get up, but I grabbed his wrist. He looked at it, face squinched up in confusion. "Sit."

He sat. "What-- who the hell are you?"

"Bo Fexler, private--"

"Private eye. Lenny mentioned you. Said you were a pretty respectable PI. For someone who makes a living breaking up marriages."

I chuckled. "This from the lawyer."

He shrugged.

I nodded. "Would you be interested in photos of your wife… cheating on you?" I laid two photos on the table. Photos with enough nekkid to get his interest. Then I put my hand over top of them.

Several emotions passed over his face, but he returned to confusion. "Why?"

"I was hired to find evidence of infidelity in your marriage."

"By… my wife?"

"No. Kim Willmore. Andy's sister. She's rather protective and when he set his sights on your wife, she wanted to help out. And your prenup says that any spouse caught cheating gets, well, everything. Kim was willing to pay me five thousand dollars to… make sure you were caught cheating." I took half of the 5k up front.

"Kim? She's a good, respectable woman." He shook his head. That was the buzz word in his law firm-- "respectable."

"Or so you thought. You pay me five thousand, and the photos are yours."


"Because… it's the right thing to do."

"Can I write you a check."

I laughed. "Hell no! I'm not stupid."

"No… no I wouldn't say that." He frowned. "I'll get the money."

We met the next afternoon to make the trade. I brought a friend as back up, even pointed him out to Ian. Ian nodded but clearly thought nothing of my orange-haired friend.

I counted the money and pressed my body against his to whisper in his ear.

"Some advice: Call no woman respectable unless she's dead."

And my friend took a picture.

Went well with the set of shots my friend had taken the day before at the bar. Ian meeting with, and getting real close to, another woman.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Temperature Changes in the Bedroom

My bed gets bigger and smaller based on temperature. It's a remarkable phenomenon.

When it's hot out, the bed is too small. There's not enough room. I push Hubby to his edge and scoot myself to my edge. But somehow, he's still too close.

When it's cold out, the bed gets infinitely large. Especially in the wee hours of the morning where somewhere past the edge of the bed is my persistent alarm... and the cold bedroom. It's awful hard to find the edge of the bed when it gets that large.

And yet, no matter what time of year it is, the full size sheets always fit.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Love Affair

I love Microsoft Word. Have for a long time. All the way back to my first computer (a Mac, actually, when I was in middle school.) I love all the toys and tools. And I'm happily wed to Word2003. With the Thesaurus in the Reference pane, with Styles and the Document Map. And Track Changes in bubbles.

I've been married to Microsoft for a long time. My whole family is in on it-- so there's plenty of site licenses to around. I consider licensed copies part of my dowry in my marriage to Microsoft. Afterall, my parents were the ones who first introduced me to Microsoft. I've accepted my computer partner as it's grown and changed over the years from "Shrug and Pray" to actual "Plug and Play." We both love my flashdrive.

I love Microsoft, in spite of their flaws. Like a lover who leaves socks on the floor. We had a little tiff for a while of Media Player, for example. Like any marital spat, it revolved around different ideas of how things should be. Microsoft wanted to be extra helpful and go to the internet for everything. I just wanted to play my music, dammit. But we found a common ground (and I rolled the Media Player version back to version 9).

We're comfortable now, Microsoft and I. WindowsXP, Word2003 (though the Laptop does have the snazzy, hip new version.) We know what to expect from each other. We do our thing, usually without stepping on each others toes. Though, we both have our moments of stupidity where we do something we really shouldn't. Sometimes it's a stop (or illegal) error. Sometimes it's a d'oh where something is overwritten or updated incorrectly. But over all, it's pretty good.

However, in spite of this long term relationship with Microsoft, I'm having a fling with Firefox. It started slowly, innocently enough, as do all love affairs. But, I admit it. I'm falling in love with Firefox. Especially the spellchecker! Oh my. I usually know I've spelled something wrong online, in a forum on here, but my give-a-damn doesn't extend to pulling out the dictionary. It is, after all, just the internet. Now, with Firefox, I have a spellcheck. Yes, I'm a fickle lover. The rest of the features are comparable. And I still default to clicking IE when I go surfing. But I swoon over the little orange fox.

Don't tell my computer (I call it Spud.) I don't want it to get tempermental on me. But, have you seen Firefox? How can I resist?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another Hit for Baby Shark

Just finished the latest Baby Shark book, High Plains Redemption. Another good one.

Baby Shark was even back to some pool playing in this one. Yea! I'm definitely interested in seeing where this series will go next.

Oh, yeah. My copy of High Plains Redemption came autographed. =D That's one of the best parts of the internet. I get to be in touch with super awesome celebrities. Like Robert Fate.

I think Baby Shark might be able to give Bo a run for her money. Though Baby Shark is a bit more apt to use a gun (or two) than Bo. And Bo's more apt to use her body. But still, it's nice to read a woman who can keep her head when someone's pulled a gun or slapped her around.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Town Monday: Roundabout We Go

User error is not a design flaw.

But some people are adamant that because the "new" roundabout(s) in Brighton are bad. Furthermore, these same people contend that all roundabouts are bad and we shouldn't have them in Michigan.

Here is the little roundabout at Main and Third Street in downtown Brighton.

Before the roundabout was built, Main Street had a right of way and Third Street had a stop sign. The only significance of Third Street is that the Brighton Police Department is there. And, surprisingly, Third Street seems to be a fairly often used thoroughfare. It connects Main Street to the other path out of town, Brighton Lake Road.

Simple, unassuming little roundabout. When it went it, it was the first roundabout in the area. And I mean, really. One of the first in Michigan, too. A new, novel, dreadfully frightening thing.

And years later, people are STILL whining over how awful they think (the) roundabouts are.

The complaints usually come in two flavors.

The first is that the roundabout is confusing and it's too hard to learn it.

If you can't figure out a little roundabout... please get off the road. Find someone competent enough. If you can't figure out simple little roundabout-- slow down & yield to traffic in the circle-- then how do you manage the Michigan left or some of the delightful freeway ramps.

The Main Street roundabout is very basic. Slow down, yeild to traffic in the circle, proceed when clear.

Ah, well there's the problem. But rather than realize that the DRIVER who doesn't slow down, pay attention, or yield is the issue, many Brighton citizens blame the roundabout. How dare the road commision put in a roundabout. Didn't the road commision realize that slowing down (you know, going 25 in a 25mph zone) and paying attention (like hanging up the bluetooh iphone) just shouldn't be expected from drivers. Tsk.

The other flavor of compaint is that no body does as they should in a roundabout. People on Main Street will often fly straight through the little circle without even a touch to the brake pedal. No yeilding, and sometimes I'm not sure they even see if there is anyone in the circle.

Again, this is clearly the fault of the road commision.

Whenever discussin of the roundabouts comes up, as it often does for some reason, I keep reiterating that user error does not equal design flaw. I usually win.

Then someone mentions the Lee Road clusterfuck roundabout. And I have nothing more to argue.

Come back next week to read about that delight.

For now, tell me, what do you think about roundabouts? Do you have them where you are?

Do you find yeilding to little rusty cars a problem? If so, I'd like your name and address. I'll be coming for you... I mean... um. Drive safe-- keep it between the ditches.

And thanks to Travis Erwin. See him for More My Town Monday links.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Patti Abbott has a Flash Fiction Challenge.

750 words.

One of the lines to use in the challenge is "Call no woman respectable unless she's dead."

I've used that line. Or rather Bo has.

Come back October 20th.

  • Query Status: 19 queries, 2 partial requests, 1 partial rejection, 12 rejections
  • Novel #2 Progress: 14k (yes, I went down. alot. =(
  • Current Song: I kissed a Girl by Katy Perry

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What Goes Through Your Head?

So... you come into my house. There's dust on the pictures and TV. There's a stain on the carpet by the front door. There's a mountain of newspapers breeding be the end of the couch, waiting to be recycled. There are a handful of glasses and bowls in the sink. There's crumbs and hairs here and there since it's been a couple days since anyone last vaccuumed.

What do you think? What goes through your head? Are you disgusted?

According to the commercials on TV, I should be mortified. Or, at least to avoid such mortification, I should buy [insert product].

I know there are people who get upset. But I don't. I have much more important things to do than put away dishes or vaccuum. I don't see my housekeeping as a reflection of my worth or godliness or some such thing.

I actually feel uncomfortable in spotless houses. I'm afraid to drop/spill/touch/ or shed.

How many of you care about how your house looks? Or what other people's houses look like?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Looking Nice

I'm thoroughly a modern woman, no doubt about that. I'm rather glad to be growing up in the age of the internet and other modern delights.

But there's one thing that I wish had not gone away with the tailfins on cars. That's dressing up. All the images I have seen and read of from the 1920-50s included men wearing nice slacks, shirts and sometimes ties. Had to have a hat. Women wore dresses (or occaisionally nice slacks), did their hair. In other words, no one looked like they grabbed the cleanest thing off the top of the dirty laundry basket and threw it on. No one looks like they live in a house without mirrors.

I wish going out didn't require seeing people hanging out of dirty sweats and raggy tee shirts. If I wanted to see people's underwear choices, I'd go to a strip club. I'm tired of the 'it's comfortable' argument. If you buy clothes that fit, most all of them are comfortable.

People feel better when they look nice. Too many episodes of 'What Not to Wear' have proven my theory on that. Does it really take that much longer to put on a clean pair of jeans (maybe even a pair that fits... though that includes another issue.) Is it that hard to get a clean shirt out of the closet or drawer? One that covers the muffin top or 'beer' belly?

I can brush my hair free of snarls in less than two minutes (three if I have use my tangle-free spray.) My hair hangs 3/4 of the way down my back at this point in time (give or take). If I can do that, than so can anyone else!

I think in general, people would feel better if they just took care of themselves, inside and out. I wish we all went out looking nice, put together, and competent. Instead of lazy, sloppy, and indifferent.

Though, sometimes, when I have extra bitter, I fear that people prefer to be lazy, sloppy and indifferent.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

My Town Monday: They're Out There

They're waiting, sometimes in corn fields along the roads.

Or standing in the trees, waiting for the sound of tires on ashphalt and the white triangle that marks the approach of my car.

They've tried before. Once, they almost got me. Almost.

They're more determined than ever.

They're waiting for a long straight stretch of road. Some night, when I'm on my way home.

Or perhaps early morning while Hubby goes to work. No way I get up "early" in the morning! I'm nocturnal. But so are they. Twilight and dawn. When the world is gray and sleepy, night still near.

They're not thinking clearly-- they're reckless and careless. They're minds are on one thing. Sex. Two if you count a good time. But that might still be one thing.

They're a menace to the roads in and around the towns where I live and work. Long straight roads are the most menacing.

As I drive along, I have to be careful, be watchful. They might jump out at any moment. Doesn't matter if I'm going 55 mph down a quiet country road. They're not thinking about me.

They are after, all, just horny deer.

Yes, it's that season again. When the deer are out frolicking and looking to get laid.

They almost got me once. Wounded, my Firebird limped away. The Firebird, my first car, had to be put down after a deer bounded out from this very field.

Okay, maybe he didn't run out. Those deer live on the other side of the county where they kamikaze into the side of cars.

Maybe the deer just strolled across the OTHER lane to come stand in MY lane and stare at me like the dumbshit he was. He deserved to get hit. It's not like I'm fool enough to go swerving into the trees, ditches, mailboxes, and farm fields. Hit the deer dead on.

He lived. The Firebird didn't. (Okay, I have no idea if the deer had antlers or balls. It was a deer in the middle of the night and it wrecked my car. He could have had seven legs and good grills on his teeth and I wouldn't have noticed.)

Two days later, in my replacement car, I nearly hit another one. Thus the conspiracy was revealed.

They're after me.

I see them. Waiting. They're biding their time. Trying to catch me off-guard. They know that I'm hypervigilant. So they wait.

Sometimes in groups. Sometimes, oddly, alone. Sometimes they dart across the road, to see if I'm paying attention. Today one was grazing in the center median of the expressway.

They almost got me once.

It's only a matter of time before they try again.

So they wait. Along the edges of corn fields. Under the shadows of trees. In that odd gray light between daylight and nighttime. They're out there.

Visit Travis Erwin to read other folks' My Town Mondays.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Talking About You

It's all about you. People, in general love to talk about themselves. Especially if they think a listener is interested. PI's or other investigative folks can truly exploit this.

But in casual conversation, it can leave things a bit lopsided. Small talk has never been easy for me. A situation compounded by the fact that I often don't think myself very interesting. Except for my writing.

So, I'll try to ask people about themselves, what they do, etc, when in conversation. And most of the time, people are happy to talk about themselves. Though, a trend I've been observing lately, is that few people will reciprocate the questions.

"So what do you do?" I ask.
"I work at such and such company doing this or that."
"That's cool. How long have you been there?"
"Three years. Before that I was doing this other job."
"Wow, what a change..." And so the conversation goes.

Rarely does it include, "And what about you?"

Since they don't ask, I often don't tell.

I don't want to impose. Maybe I'm not very interesting to them. My life doesn't usually include car chases or explosions. It does include the occaisionally naked woman, though.

I muse-- what does this mean? My best answer is that's just part of the death of common courtesy. And a sign of the rise in selfishness.

After all, it's all about me. Well, you at least.

But I'll admit that I'm mining what you say for my writing. =)