Handier than I thought and an announcement

Donkeys unrelated. I just love that photo of me.

So my biggest problem lately has been staying in one place long enough to spend time writing. A lot of my best writing has been done while propped up in bed, or on the couch, but balancing everything has been a huge pain in the ass. I wanted to buy a lap desk, but Karen reminded me I’ve been dropping cash left and right on things. So, I decided to make my own!

I’m not even going to pretend that this is impressive, but I’ve been amused and how quickly I macguyvered it together. It’s only mid way done, and is effectively just a piece of pine wrapped in pleather left over and scavenged from my costume, and glued into place.

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A masterpiece in progress. Yes, that is weatherproofing caulk. Shut up I ran out of superglue.

 I’ve been feeling like working on a DIY project for a while and this is a simple, but fun start. Cobbled together in 20 minutes, I can prop it on a pillow once done and have a non-slip work surface once I get the urge to move around the house. I want to build my own writing desk soon, but I’m going to need wayyyy more tools for that.

Ever since I’ve started writing I wanted to start doing more stuff with my hands. I’m a target shooter as a hobbyist, so cleaning and breaking down simple machinery kind of scratched that itch, but lately I’ve been in such a mood to create that I’m trying to learn new trades.

Speaking of which! I’m starting a YouTube channel. It should be up by next week, just waiting for my partner in crime to get some of his professional recording mics together. I tried recording with my webcam and headset and… well it wasn’t pretty.

It’s going to be me, me reading stories, and me doing other stuff. Me, me me me me. Yeah I know you can’t get enough of me. (Please don’t close this tab yet.)

So, keep an eye out. I’ll make a post about it, but my first real video is going to be me reading my original story, “Hypothermia,” from the blog. Yeah, it felt thematically right given that it’s my new project and a horribly cold start to winter. The story has been revised since it’s original publication. Not heavily, but enough.

Looking forward to seeing you all next week when I try building a house,

UPDATE: The final product:

Real men wear pink and steal their wife's pink wireless mouse. B-)
Real men wear pink and steal their wife’s pink wireless mouse. B-)

Unexpected bonus, the backing of the pleather also reads the wireless mouse perfectly. Not too shabby for 20 angry minutes of work, a hacksaw, utility knife, a bottle of super glue, and then weather sealant if I do say! Saved $20.

The Old Church

Submitted this to a 100 word short story contest and it didn’t make the cut, so I’m free to publish it here. Yay, I guess?

The Old Church

Through unholy, ancient magic it had been locked away. Somehow, the priests had sealed it within the wooden box, carved with the blasphemous runes. Undisturbed for centuries, the box had been hidden inside the old church. The demon’s name had been lost with time, but the warnings to each new caretaker said that where it had walked, pestilence followed.

The pastor wept, pleading with the men, but they would not listen to his ravings. The firefighters apologized and said they could only contain the blaze at this point. It was safer to just let the church burn.

Thankful for the Past

Just a warning, this post has nothing to do with horror stories or writing. Instead, it deals with some of the things I’m thankful for as a 27-year-old man-child. I might alienate myself from some people, but I hate Thanksgiving. I don’t like Turkey, and would just rather write or sleep. So, I wanted to start listing the things I’m thankful for now so that I can just be lazy when others are posting about thing’s they’re thankful for. Pretend I’m like that annoying store that plays Christmas music starting November 1st.

I helped one of my best friends move to a condo in Chicago yesterday. I’ve known him since the end of high school, but it wasn’t until Freshman year of college that we became really close. We were typical freshmen, always in search of something to do or someone to hook us up with beer. We had taste though, it was always Guinness or Heineken and not the lifeblood of the University of Illinois: Natty Ice.

That was nearly 10 years ago, and I realize that while my friends group is larger than ever, most of my friends are those I’ve met through other friends, or those I’ve reconnected with since elementary school or high school.

So really, I’m thankful for my past. Two of my friends have stuck with me since Cub Scouts, and we still all get together as often as possible. My circle of gaming buddies is now huge and started with a chance meeting in gym class with a fellow nerd.

We’re all really diverse now in terms of working. I’m a struggling freelance writer, I know a marketing coordinator, accountant, stock trader, lawyer, student, pharmacist, postal worker, forensic investigator, teacher, among others. I never realized where we’d end up, or that we’d still be so close or reconnect so easily.

My neighbor and good friend is the husband of a friend of mine from elementary school, and a previous member in one of the Cub Scout guy’s old bands.

One of the friends I keep in contact with I met through a bar crawl with Karen’s photo class. I was a hanger-on, and luckily we kept in touch and he was the photographer at my wedding. Karen and I, and him and his wife still are great friends even if we’re only lucky enough to see each other twice a year.

Two of my newest friends I met at a party and we clicked nearly immediately. Now we are inseparable when it comes to our video games and horrible puns.

Karen and I have lived 10 minutes apart our entire lives. We went to schools in the same district, and crossed paths unknowingly on theater trips to U of I. It took both of us going there and various friends and detours to finally meet and link up.

I guess my point to all of this is I’m thankful for fate, and for strange coincidences. It has allowed me to connect with and keep so many great people around me that have more than helped me when I’ve needed them. They never ask anything, but are always there for support or advice.

Ending up where I am now has been a surprising and twisting road. I went to college with aspirations of being a fighter pilot, and ended up taking confidence in my ability to write. My friends are inspirations, and most importantly, understanding and a great time. Anyone I missed, don’t feel bad, this is 6am and is wonderful for any kind of post-Halloween gloom to write.

It’s weird how things work out. But I love it.

Thanks everyone, love you all.

Throwback to my favorite band in college:

Merging of the Worlds

After careful consideration (and the consultation of my buddy Max, struggling with the same conundrum) I’ve decided to merge my new and old idea. The new idea will set a background for the old idea to take place in, that is much more satisfying to write than my original entrance to the story.

Already I’ve accepted it as the beginning. My perspective has shifted to first person, and my opening leads to a much more jaded narrator, but writing my short form horror has molded me to be that way. I guess it works because I’m writing to my strengths instead of what I assume the genre wants. (Action/Fantasy/Sci-Fi, yeah, I’m clearly writing the next ‘Catcher in the Rye.’)

Either way, this is a bit of a new and exciting chapter in my novel, and I already wrote the first chapter as though I was in a drunken fever dream, so there’s that. I might not ever be done with this damn thing, but I’m having fun writing it.

A Question for Novelists and a Humblebrag

I never thought that when I started this blog that I’d be doing freelance editing as well, but here I am! Currently working on two different assignments. Okay, one’s paid and one’s not, but I was still asked! That counts eh? So, now I’m feeling pretty good about myself.

However, I’ve run into a problem while writing. I’m currently working on a novel that I’ve been envisioning in my mind, and developing world design and character notes for about 6 months now, but a new idea popped up. Now, the question is whether to drastically change the design on my world, or keep the new world completely separate. Now, I know that I’m being vague about the ideas, but the characters can conceivably exist in both worlds, but the worlds do not make for good companion stories or sequels. The original novel is fish-out-of-water adventure, the new world would be gritty survival.

So, what I’m asking is, have any of you run into a problem like this? How do you choose between a massive overhaul of a story’s world and theme? Thanks all!

Today I’m a tetchy dentist

I’ve never really had my dog’s teeth cleaned by a groomer, but this is something I never thought about. Definitely going to be adding dental checkups to Bailey’s yearly vet check ups. In addition, I love blogs about dogs (heh) and if you do too add Claws Carefully Sheathed as a follow. They post great stuff about vets that I had no idea I even needed to consider half the time. I have no idea about a lot of things apparently.

Darkness

I’m back! Sorry everyone, I’ve been having computer issues that have screwed up my schedule, but they have been fixed. Enjoy!

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The darkness is my friend.

I’ve had horrible migraines ever since I was a child. My grandmother used to get them so I guess it runs in the family. Sound didn’t bother me, but light turned a regular headache into the feeling of my head being crushed in a vice. I came to know the darkness. When my friends were scared of the dark, I tread through it fearlessly.

I know the location of everything in my room by touch. I think I can see in the dark a little better than most people, being able to navigate my room only by the dim light from my dorm room microwave and alarm clock.

That’s how I can see him. Standing by my door.

It’s not really a person though, it looks to be taller than the door itself, and the outline looks more like it was 2 kids sitting on each other’s shoulders and not the broad shoulders of a man. It would be funny if it hadn’t shown up behind a locked door at 4 AM.

The head is the true giveaway though. It’s the size of a watermelon, and I can only make out the faintest of features. Hints of ears, maybe a nose. Small eyes.

It has to crouch a little. The watermelon looks like it’s standing on one end, about to tip over, as the thing hunches under my dorm room ceiling.

I sit up and the ancient bed frame, probably here since the university was founded in 1867, squeaks. The head tilts back and forth, searching for the sound. The giant head rolling from side to side like a confused dog. It turns its head upwards and begins sniffing the air.

The thing must be close to blind if it can’t see me from this far. Moving swiftly from the room, it tries to seek out my scent. I lie frozen as it breezes by me and I silently thank my mom for buying me all those weird scented new age bullshit lotions supposed to reduce stress and cure headaches.

The bat handle near my bed seems an eternity away as I stretch for it. Moving as quietly as possible, I grab the taped handle and pull it towards me.

The bat thuds against my nightstand, and the thing is on it in a second.

I can see the cheap particle board shred as the watermelon’s hands tear into it. I hear it release a high pitch shriek, like a quiet steam whistle. Pieces of the shattered wood scratch my eyes and I do all I can to keep from screaming in pain.

_____________________________________________________________________

We’ve been next to each other for what must be hours. I can see the faintest of sunlight begin to creep through my heavy drapes. The darkness was my friend. I clutch the bat tighter and curse the sun.

Now it’s time to see whether it’s blind. I raise the bat and begin to stand on the bed, it turns its head towards me and I swing. The bat connects and I hear a sharp crack. It looks at me and I see its hand clench and

Completely Subjective: Alien(s), the Best Film Pair of All Time

Apologies for not catching up on my Halloween posting. It’s been a surprisingly busy previous couple of days, but I recently re-watched “Alien” and “Aliens.”

Now, I feel I need to make a claim. It is completely subjective and all of you will probably disagree, but I don’t care.

I feel that “Alien” and “Aliens” are the best sequel combination ever. Yeah, I said it. Suck it “Godfather.” Beyond that, Ellen Ripley, the protagonist of the two films, is the best action hero of all time. The reason being that not only did they set the standard for horror and action movies in space, but two different creative teams ended up completing a complex overall arc for the main character between the two movies.

So, here is my completely subjective opinion on the two films and Ellen Ripley. Having never taken a film course, this should be fun.

Spoilers abound, and I’m going to feature mainly on the development of Ripley’s character in “Aliens,” following her mental state at the end of “Alien,” so watch those. If you haven’t I’m a bit disappointed, but we can still be friends.

Continue reading Completely Subjective: Alien(s), the Best Film Pair of All Time