Blogiversary V

dog-cake-happy-birthday-postcard-greeting-card-send-online-2637_57Hey, look! It’s been another year and I still haven’t managed to get thrown off the internet! *flings confetti*

To celebrate, I’ll be posting three times this week (today, Wednesday, and Friday). Since I haven’t put up any new short stories in a long while, I’ll put up a fresh short on each of those days. So don’t forget to check back again Wednesday and Friday! Happy writing!

Story one: This was written with many regrets at the prompting of my husband, although I have to say, he was very confused with the direction I went with his prompt. I’ve never actually smuggled chihuahuas across the US-Canada border, but I once crossed the border with an apple core in my garbage bag that had actual seeds still in it, so I figure that’s close enough. I can handle myself.

But seriously, everything about this story is so stupid, including the title. I’m sorry, internet.

A Very Poor Career Choice

I know, I know. Of all the things to sneak across a border, chihuahuas are not topping anyone’s Most Smuggled list. But where there’s a demand, there’s a market, and where there’s a stiff tariff, there’s a black market.

A smarter guy would have told his friend no. A smarter guy would have found real work, preferably in front of an air conditioner. But I’ve never been known for my smarts.

I’d run the smelly little yappers across the border a few times already, under the watchful guidance of my buddy Steve, who’s been in this sort of business since our sophomore year of college. They’d been perfectly simple jobs. After all, we were skipping the border between Smallville, USA and Tiny Town, Canada. Not exactly tight security. We picked the little guys up mid-nap, crated them, stacked a few duffle bags on top and, voila! Fifty pooches and five thousand dollars later, we were on our way home. No sweat.

So maybe that’s why it came as such a surprise when, on the first run I attempted without Steve, I showed up ready to crate the dogs, only to find them all wide awake, yapping like maniacs to see me.

I glared at them, imaging what a beautiful arc one would make if I punted it across the warehouse. Then I turned my glare back up to the supplier. “Why are they awake?”

He shrugged, not-my-problem just oozing out of his pores. “Ran out of the stuff.”

I was pretty sure it was a lie. I shook my head. “I can’t take fifty noisy little rats across the border like this.”

He shrugged again.

I whipped out my cell phone and dialed Steve. But Steve wouldn’t answer, probably working his way through an entire paycheck at a skeezy bar. And since he still hadn’t told me anything about who he worked for, I was officially out of options.

To read the full story, go here!


A Birthday and A Poem

Well, this last week kind of kicked me in the patootie! There was my birthday, and work, and an important deadline, and a tragedy within my husband’s high school community, and a sick kiddo, and just life in general. So instead of the more thoughtful birthday blog post I had planned to share about some writing swag (hooray presents! happy birthday, me!), I’m gonna give myself a pass and simply post a terrible and unedited and kind of sappy poem that I wrote while rocking said sick child to sleep. I haven’t posted any of my writing for a while (which is maybe something of a relief?), but I’ll post this now with the promise of something a little more substantial next week.

You guys are lovely. Happy writing!





Cheeks red with fever, hair damp with sweat,

Panting like a puppy in the sun.

I am pinned beneath you to this rocking chair,

Thinking of when you were tiny,

Thinking of when you fit in my belly,

And listening worriedly to your breaths.

You fuss and struggle and whine,

And I whisper and sing all the lullabies you liked best

When our days were tallied by diapers and feedings.

Finally, you settle with your hot cheek

Against my left breast

And you quiet and you drift to sleep.

Your ear over my heart, I wonder

If you hear it and you think

Of peace and warmth and water,

And of when you were tiny,

And of when you fit in my belly,

My pulse thrumming through the walls,

My breaths rising and falling like a tide.

How could a child stay awake

When revisiting that place

On a fevered night, like a dream?

Your breaths smooth, and your cheeks cool,

And even though I am tired, and should go to bed,

I stay with you curled close to my heart,

Knowing the spell will break like the fever,

And only I will remember this moment.

The Great Annual Resolutions Post

calvinresolutionHowdy, folks! Hey, look, we all survived another year! Wowza!

I made a few resolution shifts midyear last year. I switched over from the paper calendar system I had been using to a phone app called Habitica that is delightfully nerdy and keeps me on my toes. It taps into my love of check boxes, but then also has a built in reward system, so it works very well for me, and I think I’ll cling to it forever.

Overall, I had a good year, without too many dropped balls on my goals. My exercise goals got derailed every now and then by rugby injuries, and I jumped ship on a few writing projects, switching over to things that were more interesting at the time (because squirrel brain: the struggle is real). And as mentioned a few weeks ago, I did manage to scratch and claw my way to receiving Writer of the Year from the Alaska Writers Guild. But the goal I know you’re all just dying to know about: the rejections goal.

As you may recall from this post last year, I had a goal to receive at least forty-eight rejections. I counted short story submissions, queries, competitions- anything that pitted my writing against a slush pile. The final count is in aaaand… I failed! *sad trombone* As of December 31, I only tallied forty-four rejections.

I’m not being too hard on myself, because I still managed to achieve the two main objectives of the rejection goal: I got better at taking rejections as impersonal matters of preference, and I pushed myself to submit waaaay more than I usually do. As a result, I also had way more acceptances than I normally do! And as an added benefit that I hadn’t even anticipated, I had a super productive year for short stories too, because I had to make sure that I had fresh material to shop around as my old store of shorts got published. Overall, it was a very good year for my writing!

So I think I’m gonna stick with what works. I’ll keep with a forty-eight rejections goal for this year as well, since I felt really pushed and still didn’t quite manage to make the goal. I think I can hit it for reals this time! For novels, since I didn’t stick with the titles I had planned to work on, but still managed to get good work done with other projects, this year I think I’ll just drop the specifics altogether and just have a goal of two new first drafts, and a round of edits each for two first drafts from last year. I’ll work on whatever sounds most fun in the moment! I also plan to average one new short per month, although I don’t plan on worrying too much about how marketable they all are. And for daily goals, I plan a baseline of 500 words per day, and ten minutes of backshop, with Sundays off to rest my weary brain meats. I have goals for my spiritual, mental, and physical health as well, but that’s it for my writing goals.

Whew! All the things! I should have plenty to keep myself busy over the next year. I would love, love, love to hit that rejections goal, and maybe even outstrip this year’s number of acceptances. Heck, if we’re getting really pie-in-the-sky, I’d like to pick up an agent as well, haha, but that one’s a little less in my control. The only thing I can do is keep researching, stay consistent, and continue to hone my craft as much as I can. So that’s what I’ll do!

How about you fine folks? Any exciting new goals for this year? Let’s chat about them in the comments section! I’d love to know your plans!

Until next week, happy writing, and happy New Year as well!

Happy Blogiversary!

Whew! Four years, guys!  Thanks for sticking it out with me!

In celebration, I made you a nifty coloring sheet.  (Apologies in advance for the wonky dimensions.  I never think about these things when I start a project, augh.)  I plan to color this and print it out as a poster for hubby’s classroom, (The original is hugenormous.) so you’ll probably see a color version up eventually.  In the meantime, feel free to print it out, color it, stick it on your bathroom mirror, but respect the copyright, man.

Happy blogiversary! Wahoo!


Book Boyfriends

I may as well just admit it- for about as long as I can remember, I’ve had terrible crushes on Sherlock Holmes and Peter Parker.  Bruce Wayne is a more recent addition- I think I picked him up when I was between twelve and fifteen- but I don’t know if he’ll ever quite catch up to the first two.  I think I married my husband based at least forty-two-percent on the fact that he’s the closest real-world equivalent I’ll ever find to Spiderman- he’s got the build, he wears spandex, and he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.  It didn’t hurt that he was a Sherlock nerd as well.

For fun, and in mocking observance of Valentine’s Day (which is a hard holiday to win at whether you’re single or not), I did some research on imaginary crushes! Because I enjoy bothering people and graphs are fun.

Participants were asked to answer this question:

Which of the following statements best describes you?

A.  I am nearly constantly in love with one fictional character or another.

B.  I fall occasionally in love with fictional characters.

C.  I only fall in love with real people, thank you very much.

D.  I am a mere robot and cannot feel.

I bothered only eighteen people about this, but the results delicious.  Pie!


An interesting sidenote: Most of the men questioned answered C, whereas most of the women answered A.  B was a mixed bag, and I don’t know which of my associates is secretly an android plotting humanity’s downfall.  But my husband had an explanation for why men tend to answer C: Guy Code.  Apparently Guy Code dictates that you cannot pine for another guy’s girl, and since most female characters are someone’s love interest, they are not allowed to crush on them.  I don’t know if I buy it, but that’s how he explains his cold, cold heart.

Need some more imaginary romance goofiness?  Well the internet’s got you covered!  Check out these fun links to more literary loveboats, and until next week, happy writing!

What Your Book Crush Says About You

Our Biggest Literary Crushes (wherein self-aware staffers at B&N explain themselves)

Totally Crush-Worthy Literary Characters (this one got in based almost solely on #21. Like I said, I have a problem.)