Strawberry Moon

Happy first day of summer! Happy full moon!


All of the things. ‘Gutted: Beautiful Horror‘ hit #1 in Hot New Releases and #2 in Horror Anthologies on its first day of pre-sale.  Tomorrow night I guest on a Noir on the Air episode of ‘Dames in the Dark‘ at 9pm. We’ve got the stories selected for the Summer edition of  Menacing Hedge, and go boldly into reading for Fall.  Pantheon Magazine’s ‘Hestia’ issue My son has one more week of baseball. My nephew is nearly here. There’s only one more episode of ‘Game of Thrones.’

‘Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will?’ at the Portsmouth Little Theatre wrapped up in a sea of love, tears and Fireball. My husband got a motorcycle. We just got back from vacation, where I met Chewbacca – who is just as sweet in person as he is in the movies! Also, not to jinx her because the day is not done (and on this, the longest day of the year, I may be tempting fate), my favorite little red hen Lauren (Bacall) has successfully navigated back and forth to the neighbors’ hen house without an automobile collision.

Howl at the moon, my lovelies. Throw away your shoes. Jump in deep, dark water. Summer is upon us!




Awful Big Talk for Such a Little Thing…

From an email to a friend, and honestly how I feel about This Thing We Do…

“But what if no one ever recognizes your efforts? That’s a distinct possibility. It doesn’t make the things you do of less value, or the work you’ve done in vain. Fame and appreciation are just matters of timing and luck with sometimes-talent added, based on whatever the pop culture climate is into at the moment. Picasso was appreciated in his lifetime and Van Gogh was not. But that doesn’t make Van Gogh’s work less amazing. And there are thousands of Picassos and Van Goghs that we’ve never heard of, and just because their paintings only hang in someone’s house or the canvases are stacked in a closet somewhere, that doesn’t mean the work wasn’t worth making, or breaking themselves into pieces for. Because it’s still worth it, because we can’t help it. That’s all there is to us, making things. You’ll itch under your skin if you don’t write stories, and you’ll just take up cooking or buy a bedazzler and put sequins on things. And in a few years you’ll catch yourself with a notebook of half-scribbled stories. Because it’s just what you are. You make things. You have to shrug and accept it. Even if you give up the marketing side, and submitting side, and just do it because it’s what you do. That second part – the whore part – is really unimportant in the actual scheme of making things.

So there’s your lesson for the day. You don’t ever have to submit shit if you don’t want to, ever again. Buy a fireproof trunk and seal all your work, finished and printed and also on various types of hard drives, in the trunk. Let someone else sort it out later. Focus on making it. Or take a break and make things when you damned well feel like it. Compulsion can also be euphoria.”


the new religion – plus clint eastwood and a lil’ about a boat

DOROTHY: Okay. There was a mandatory inservice. They said to bring my lunch, which I did. Then as soon as we got there, he made us get up and make an imaginary boat out Of tables. Then we had to sit in the boat and row the boat. I refused. He said the boat won’t move if we don’t all row. Well. I don’t think it was ever gonna Move. Then he tried to make me sing row your boat. I did not. Still, the boat didn’t move. Then he said to break into groups of strangers and write song about Customer service. Suggested we use a lady gaga tune. I left. I won’t disrespect lady gaga. She’s does too much for the community.
BLANCHE: That may be the best job ending story I’ve ever heard.
DOROTHY: You see why I’m not upset? Too absurd.
BLANCHE: well, it made my evening infinitely better. so thank you for that.
DOROTHY: Any time. It was appalling
DOROTHY: We poor appalachians. We aren’t entitled to anything.
BLANCHE: i know. we’re supposed to scrape by, tis our way.
DOROTHY: And keep all our assets in a mason jar
BLANCHE: Yep. And be quietly disdainful of those who live off the government.
DOROTHY: I made my disdainful face. Not to be confused with my unreasonable suspicion of up to no goodedness face
 BLANCHE: There’s a subtle difference in mouth-corner position that makes those two faces completely different.
DOROTHY: Little bit in the corner of of the mouth. Definitely.
BLANCHE: The appalachian facial gesture language is subtle and multi-faceted. Surely clint eastwood studied it for years.
DOROTHY: I just built a house for the litter box. That’s right. I did it. By myself.
BLANCHE: you are like jesus
DOROTHY: Yes. A capricorn and a carpenter.
BLANCHE: and you love sandals.
DOROTHY: Well yes. And organic food.
BLANCHE: and comfortable,natural fabrics. and women.
DOROTHY: And talkin all flowery like. Damn. I am just like jesus.
BLANCHE: sometimes it takes us awhile to catch on to stuff like this. you should probably try to have more flowy hair
DOROTHY: I’ll try! Maybe wear more robe like dresses.
BLANCHE: like sleep with it braided
DOROTHY: I see. Wavier. I can do that.
BLANCHE: i bet you COULD make that boat go…….
DOROTHY: Boat? I don’t even need a fucking boat.
BLANCHE: HA!  you already have this incredible cache of subtle facial expressions. why are we not starting a new religion?
DOROTHY: I’m gonna be telling someones grandkids thr story of how I got fired. and why is this the first time youve asked me that question?
BLANCHE: i get busy, i forget. i totally wanna be judas, okay? i’m going to look brooding – LOTS.
DOROTHY: Of course . You know the only thing I know about the bible I learned from jesus christ superstar right?
BLANCHE: yeah, that’s everything. lots of singing hippies and political strife. got it.
DOROTHY: And a whore!
BLANCHE: YES!!! let’s get a real one so as to be authentic. more money that way. but we should get motorcycles like in the lady gaga video.
DOROTHY: Fuck the bake sales!
BLANCHE: fuck the soap!!
BLANCHE: the only difficulty is finding some mihrr. especially since i can’t spell it. you keep your fucking pachouli outta this.
DOROTHY: OOoh. I think you can get marzipan candy? I’ll check the hippie food store
BLANCHE: well, you’re going to have to look peaceful. i’ll try to brood more as practice. then we’ll hit athens and find some suitable religious hippy clothes – where to get the whore?
DOROTHY: That can’t be hard to find
BLANCHE: yeah but we need a really good one. columbus, easy
DOROTHY: We’re only getting one, so she has to be good
BLANCHE: i told you it would be hard! let’s just look while we’re in athens. i don’t want no fuckin drama whore. i want one of those Ween-type Weed Whores
DOROTHY: Perfect. Very hippified whore.
BLANCHE: i’m just gonna throw this out there, but think we should MAAAAYBE change the ending. like just sell beaded necklaces and whatnot in new mexico on a compound as opposed to you getting crucified.
DOROTHY: Oh. I fully support this idea.
BLANCHE: this is gonna be a lot easier than soap. mean, i already have beads. you can bless the hell out of them.
DOROTHY: Perfect. And we don’t have to worry about the lye.
BLANCHE: goddamned lye. you know, though, i still kind of want to make soap.
DOROTHY: Well, I always think crafts are a good idea. I’d like to tie dye professionally
BLANCHE: as the messiah, i think this would be pretty much perfect. i’ll bead, you tie dye. we smoke pot and sell our wares. but ‘m tellin you, you bring pachouli into it and we’ll have some real sing-offs, just like the real thing.
DOROTHY: This sounds like a flawless plan
BLANCHE: well, they all pretty much are – we just seem t have an issue with follow-through. like, we still don’t have black market babies or homemade soap.
DOROTHY: I think we can go ahead and combine all three plans
BLANCHE: word.
DOROTHY: Precisely
BLANCHE: OOOH!!! OOOOH!!! we have to make special tie dyes – whoever the whore is can wear the first one so as to establish it in fashion “I’M NOT GOD BUT MY GIRLFRIEND IS”
DOROTHY: Oh. My. Soul. That’s perfect.
BLANCHE: i think we might actually be getting some divine intervention here.
DOROTHY: Divine inspiration at the very least

black market babies

blanche:  it’s a little bizarre that one with a fondness for pachouli was able to solve my spoiled little girl gift issue in under 2 minutes.

dorothy: i’m a good problem solver. and an even better shopper. and i’ve spent the vast majority of my life wanting a daughter.

blanche: i browsed a little.
i want a daughter too. those little bathing suits with the ruffly bottoms make my heart ache.

dorothy: i know. actually, the bathing suits, underwear, tights…anything with a ruffly bottom. and those little dresses always make me want to cry.

blanche: i love little girls. but you have to remember, they’re like puppies and kittens – little girls grow up into something horrifying, 9 times out 0f 10.

dorothy: i know. that’s my attitude towards babies in general. they turn into children. then they turn into adults, and that’s almost never good.

 blanche: but we should still adopt foreign girl babies simultaneously and force them to hang out.

dorothy: i’m fearful you’d be more successful in acquiring a girl baby.

blanche: nope. i have medical history, my file is thick as me. i think you’d do better,what with your penchant for steady jobs and making payments on things. my past is a wreck. yours looks impeccable on paper!!

dorothy: yes, but you’re married. and i have a ten month marriage on record. i smoke and my cat ran away.

blanche: i’m crazy on paper and my husband has a “hazardous” job.

dorothy: i’m crazy on paper too. you have prior experience.

blanche: shit. we may just have to go black market.

dorothy: i think we both knew it would one day come to this. you and me. buying black market asian babies. it was bound to happen.

blanche: well shit, neither of us are going to traverse the baby black market alone. and i’m pretty sure we’ll also go shopping together for improbably large sunglasses to wear when we go pick out our babies.

dorothy: yes. and a very big purse. to carry the baby in.

 blanche: almost a tote or carry-on.

dorothy: yes. it could be used as a tote, and most people would, but i’ll be confident enough to pass it off as a purse. just remind me to not be yelling all the time about how i can’t find my lighter in this damn thing. that would completely blow my cover.

 blanche: yeah, because then you would upset the baby, and your relationship would be off to a bad start. unless the baby handed you a lighter….

dorothy: That would steal my heart

blanche: i think my baby will have a very old-timey name – a name that fits no one. cecilia. opal. june.

dorothy: oh, for sure. i like cecelia. i think i’ll go with clara. charlotte. celeste. ruby.

blanche: if they were opal and ruby, they would be DESTINED to be best friends, based on their shared hatred for us for those names.

dorothy: they’d have to be. with a bond like that, and the fact that we’d force them to be friends, there’s no way they couldn’t be.
the other option would be may and june.

blanche: that’s TOO far!! it could wedge them apart. they could blame each other’s existence on their month names. i vote opal and ruby. so when are we going to new york, again? that’s where they keep the black market babies, right??

dorothy: god. to find a good black market baby, i’d have to find j—. she was always talking about black market babies. mainly she was interested in selling them, so that may be as far as we need to go.
i like opal. opal —-. that’s a good name. ruby —- is not so great, but —- doesn’t really go well with anything.

blanche: ooooh, ruby —- is actually quite good. they’re BOTH quite good.
now we just need to rustle up some cash and find j– or whatever name she runs her underground operation as….

dorothy: i have no idea what ever happened to j—. i know she went to college in d— …and i have no idea what happened to her after that.
i’ll start saving immediately

blanche: i’ll start saving immediately also.
well, shit. there goes my vagina.

dorothy: what!?! where goes your vagina?


 dorothy: fuck. there goes my vagina.

 blanche: exactly. you know, paradoxically, the only other way we could raise money to buy babies is to rent our body space as surrogates. ain’t that a bitch???


Me: so i think we should go all fight club and make some soap. i’ve been on and it looks pretty easy, and i promise not to give you a chemical burn.

angela: Well. Okay.

 Me: as far as i can tell we have all the equipment, except a “stick mixer” which i translate to mean “stir really fast”  

angela: Very. Hmm. Surely we got something like that.

 Me: it seems unnecessary to buy such a specialized piece of equipment for that – and i KNOW they didn’t have one in fight club!

angela: Would it melt the spoon?  Definitely not. Maybe we can use a blender.

Me: they say you can just mix it in a big bowl, or one of those big metal pots with the lids. i think if we put it in the blender we would ruin the blender and lose at least one of our combined 4 eyes.

angela: Hmm. Good point. I forget to put the lid on about half the time. 

Me: no wait, goggles are on the list – so i guess just the blender would be in danger

angela: And the house

Me: well yes – and skin. lye is involved.

angela: Ah. My — is the —-. He has those big orange suits.

Me: YES!!! then we could video it, and the soapmaking process could be the way to advertise our soap business.

angela: I’d feel safe and very clean knowing my soap required hazmat suits during production.

Me: where the fuck do you get beef tallow?? i mean yeah it says beef tallow OR lard OR palm oil, i’m just wondering where one would acquire beef tallow

angela: Hmm. The amish?

Me: well, at the least the hazmat suits would be a guarantee we didn’t sneeze in it accidentally, or cough or whatever. very clean soap.  i have to look up what beef tallow is 

angela: You know I’m not touching beef tallow. Fat!

Me: i looked it up. fuck that. i SAW it, angela – you can buy it.

angela: Nooooo. I can’t buy it.

Me: well, tallow is a very fancy word – if it was fat in cute little cubes that looked like fudge it would make it usable, but it just looks like disgusting fucking fat, so fuck that.

angela: Hmm. Maybe foil wrapped like buillion cubes. 

Me: no tallow. not very fight club, but i’m not handling that tallow shit.

angela: Fuck that is correct. The lipo dumpster scene makes me sick. Really sick.

Me: also that makes it an animal-free soap, that’s an extra selling point. “there are no cows in this soap.” right on the label 

angela: That always gets me. “Cruelty free” bullshit.

Me: there you go. if we’re the only ones injured in the process, it’s very marketable. if i had known it was this easy to make soap, i could’ve saved us all thousands and thousands of dollars.

 angela: I’m pretty sure I’ll burn myself. I spill things. 

Me: you can just hand me mixtures. i’ll stir.

angela: Really really fast. Hmmm. This is so easy. Why haven’t we done this before?

Me: so easy. we’re making soap. so many people make candles, fuck that. we’ll make cow-free soap.

angela: It seems perfect. And easy.

Me: i was thinking our logo could be a cow with a circle around it and a line thorugh it, like no cows, but that seems anti-cow.

angela: That does. Hmm. Fat free should be on the label somewhere.

Me: what a goddamned racket. all we have to is make it pretty and smelly and we can make a killing. they show them cutting the bars off a big log of soap with a kitchen knife.

angela: We’re good at making things pretty 

Me: yep. and we can stir, and have access to hazmat suits, so we can do this.

angela: Hells yes. And you’re very persuasive.

Me: well, we need oils, lye, water and a fucking shoebox, and we have a business. it’s crazy NOT to do this!!  oh wait, also a spoon!!

angela: I’m embarassed we didn’t do it sooner

Me: but i have several spoons, so we’re cool. me too. i really don’t understand why fight club didn’t spur us to make soap. well, except for the implication that we needed human waste. 

angela: Still. Seems like we would have at least researched

 Me: so now we just need ingredients and a free day.

angela: Is this all like a kit? Or do we have to go find ingredients?

Me: we go get it. they have pussy ass kits where we just buy pre-made synthetic soap, melt it, toss in smell good then pour it in the molds, but we’re not pussies. this is about fight club, remember?  fight club and ribbons and mint.

angela: I think maybe that’s our business name. “I like pussy and fight club”. 

Me: THAT is what goes on the label!!!  with a picture of a cow with a line through it.  the confusion can only add to the cutting edge appearance of all of it.

angela: Yes. This is going to make us a million dollars. Actually, if we went to the lions den and just wrote pussy on the label, we could easily sell it. We have to be focused. I can’t let you convince me that we should shape the soap like penises. And don’t let me tell you everyone loves patchouli. Its not true

Me: See, it will take both of us to keep this from being a fiasco. Or ALL my soaps would be shaped like penises and all yours would smell like hippies.

angela: I did assume you were gonna try to tell me penis shaped was ergonomical and marketable.