So Many Cats

There are a lot of feral cats and indoor/outdoor cats in my neighborhood. There are several people on my block alone who will feed them, and one neighbor who seems to routinely take them in to be neutered/spayed and vaccinated. Or at least there was, because there are a few unaltered males in the neighborhood now.

All four of my cats were rescues.  Three of them came from this neighborhood.  The two youngest cats are siblings that were born in the window well of my basement window. They're called Charlotte and Owen.

Back when Charlotte and Owen were baby kittens there were three adult cats in the neighborhood that were clearly related to them. Their mother (obviously related, and called "Mommacat" back then and mostly "Emma" now) and what I assume were her two siblings: her brother Porsche (they are nearly identical except for size), and a third cat that looked identical to Porsche, only with a moustache (Dave - because back then they were "Vera, Chuck, and Dave").

Dave disappeared for the longest time. I assumed Dave was the least feral of them and had gotten adopted off the streets. Dave showed up for dinner tonight - looking great. Fat, shiny, ear-tipped. So maybe Dave has found a home and just came around to visit the family

(note: Dave may be a girl. I haven't been able to get close enough to check. For the longest time I thought Porsche was (and he was Portia) because he had been neutered and I never got a good look at his back end until very recently).

Other frequent visitors include Charles (presumed to be the father of Charlotte) and Owenfather, who is obviously the father of my Owen.  There's also an orange cat that shows up every three or four days that I have creatively named "Orange" (Ori for short).

I really think I want to try to catch Orange and take him to BARCS (the local shelter). He's so affectionate and sweet, but clearly bothered by some kind of eye infection/irritation/cold (there is always much scrubbing after petting him to keep my cats safe) and recently a limp. He's just too much of a love to keep living out there. I can't afford to get him patched up and neutered, and he would not do well with my cats.

Anyone want a slightly raggedy Orange cat?

Orlando

Today my twitter feed has been full of horrible news: the mass murder in Orlando; the guy packing weapons heading to Pride in Los Angeles; a bomb blast in Beirut; people accusing Muslims, Christians, terrorists, domestic terrorists, and mental illness for all of this.

I don't talk much about politics or religion.  I'm apolitical and an atheist. I am also Not Good at dealing with the real world and real-world tragedies.  Sometimes this probably comes across as shallow or self-involved.  I'm not. I'm absolutely not. I'm a distraction. I'm the comic relief.  I can only be the voice of silliness in the back of the room that is desperately hoping that someone will notice and remember that there are still good people in the world and we can't let hate win.

Don't let hate and sadness win.

So I googled "the funniest picture ever."

I hope this helps.

ternus.jpg

 

 

Things I Learned at Balticon - Part 2

I knew I was leaving things out of the previous post.

  1. Useful websites:
    1. Submission Grinder - Does the same thing that Duotrope does, only for free. That is, it is "a submission tracker and market database for writers of fiction". 
    2. The Passive Voice - a lawyer who shares articles and writes about things relating to authors and publishers and self-publishing. It's not legal advice, but the site can give you information about things to watch out for.
    3. Writer Beware - (which I'd totally forgotten about!) for really detailed and up-to-the-minute warnings about scams, disreputable publishers, editors, or agents, and contests that aren't on the level.
       
  2. Writer's Digest magazine really does have good articles.
     
  3. Never submit a story to someone who tells you that you'll get paid in "exposure" only.
     
  4. Never submit to a publisher that requires you to pay them.
     

Things I learned when I got home:

  1. While I was gone, a large spider moved into my computer room and I must relocate to Canada. I love spiders, but this is not the web-kind. This is the "jump on its prey" kind and I don't need that kind of stress.
     
  2. My cats missed me.
     
  3. My do g is totally exhausted after three days of daycare and it's adorable.

Things I Learned at Balticon

It's actually things I learned or had reinforced at Balticon, but that isn't as snappy a title.

  1. Joe Haldeman's wife is a very sweet lady and I get the honor of calling her "Aunt" now because the whole Haldeclan is a fantastic bunch and will do things like "adopt" friends of the family. I'd never met her before this weekend. I still haven't officially met Joe.
     
  2. Several different people on several different panels said it's really important to read bad books and watch bad movies. Sometimes several times. Watch them and try to find what didn't work. Why is this a bad movie or book? What could fix it? Was their potential in it?
     
  3. There are a lot of highly acclaimed books that are actually pretty crap, and that's OK too. 
     
  4. There is nothing wrong with writing in the second person. 
     
  5. At least one person should hate a choice you made in your writing style.  But if the majority hates it, it was probably a mistake.
     
  6. Never kill the "dog".
    1. If you're going to kill the dog, don't do it by surprise. Foreshadow it so when people go back and re-read they'll realized they should have known all along.
    2. And by "foreshadow" they mean shadow. Don't make it obvious. Make it so the reader goes "Ohhh... that's what <that thing> meant" or "Crap. All those times they made heart attack jokes...".
       
  7. You can always go back and add foreshadowing in a later draft.
     
  8. Reading, researching, listening to music or podcasts, and watching TV can count as "writing time" so don't let people make you feel bad about that.
     
  9. Social media also counts as "writing time" because you're making connections and interacting with your audience. 
     
  10. DO NOT TEAR DOWN OTHER WRITERS.  That can hurt you professionally in so many different ways.
     
  11. DO NOT ARGUE WITH YOUR CRITICS. That can hurt you professionally in so many different ways.
     
  12. Writers' groups are brilliant things.  Also, people who really want to write professionally will not steal your ideas so don't be afraid to share. See rule 10. 
     
  13. You should write every day if you can. If you're in the middle of a depressive episode or totally fried from your day job or due to family stress/commitments, read instead. Watch TV.  Listen to music. See rule 8 and 9. Also rule 12.
     
  14. If you have a full-time job, take a serious break between ending one job and starting the writing. Especially if you work from home and your work space is also your writing space. Go write somewhere else if you can. 
    1. Connie Willis writes at Starbucks.
    2. Panera is also a popular choice.
       
  15. Writing longhand can sometimes help your brain switch between full-time-job and writing. It's also good if your day job involves a lot of typing, or to prevent you from getting stuck in a revision loop and not moving forward.
     
  16. Read the submission guidelines. Every time. Even if you've submitted to the place before because things may have changed. Follow them. Gimmicks or rule-breaking will get their attention, but not in a good way. It can hurt you professionally in so many ways. 
     
  17. Someone out there in the world made an incredibly amazing Dalek costume.

You Know You Don't Update Enough When You Can't Remember Your Password

Over on my Patreon page I'm doing a series of posts for patrons-only. For as little as a dollar a month you can get 30 short stories or scenes. It was supposed to be one a day for 30 days, but this week the non-writing life got a little stressful and while sitting down to write would have been a great stress reliever, sleep was also a pretty tempting stress-reliever. Also on Wednesdays the channel ION has a Law & Order (mothership) Marathon.  I'm still going to do the 30-topic challenge, but it's obvious that it's not going to be a daily thing.

I do a lot of writing longhand when I have some downtime at work: waiting for SQL queries to execute, while processes are running, and during lunch. So when work is busy I don't always get those chances.  When it's busy at work I don't really have the attention span or the energy to spend more time at a computer typing things. 

This means I'm also way behind on my Cannonball Read reviews. I'm only seven books behind in my reviews because I'm not reading a lot either. So I'm actually fourteen books behind, because I have seven to review and I have seven to read to catch up with where I should be in order to read 52 books this year.

The year is just about half over. Time to finally start all those New Year's resolutions and keep moving forward.

Stories About My Dog: Part 2

Never get a terrier.

Terriers are smart, funny, lively, often silly dogs that will bring you great joy but at the same time terriers are smart, snarky little bastards that will challenge everything you do or say. They learn the rules so they know what they're breaking. They constantly push the envelope. The good thing is, if you correct them they don't get offended. "No" isn't a negative to a terrier. It means they need to rethink things and try a different approach to get around the rules. It means they've learned how to push your buttons and will do the unwanted thing often -- usually for comedic purposes.

My dog isn't allowed in the kitchen. That's where the cats eat and it's where the litterbox is kept. There's a gate in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen. The cats can go through the bars or jump over it, but the dog cannot. 

Sometimes when we leave the gate open he'll sit there and stare at the gate as if it were still a barrier. Sometimes he'll whimper or fuss. Sometimes he'll wag his tail very hard and bounce and do his "look at me!" dance.

Sometimes he'll silently put one paw across the line and stare. Waiting. Daring you to say something.  If you don't (or if you don't notice), two paws will cross. He'll just stand there like that -- technically not in the kitchen, but not NOT in the kitchen. 

And then if you look at him, he'll back up and give you this innocent "Oh, was I being bad?" face. 

He will be bad on purpose. Sometimes he gets jealous of the cats. If I'm reading and I have a cat in my lap, Cardiff will purposely get into something. He'll pull junk mail out of the recycling basket, carry it into the middle of the living room, and stare at you while he tears it apart.

If you ever see a terrier keeping its back to the room, take away whatever the dog is chewing on.  It's never going to be a dog toy or a chew treat. It's going to be your earbuds. Or your fountain pen. Or the book you borrowed from your mother.

Cannonball Read 8: Review 5

Disclosure: I was given this novel by the author through a CBR8 giveaway in exchange for a fair review. 

I received the book Friday, March 18, read half of it on the 19th, and the other half today, the 22nd. Life interfered on Sunday and Monday and I couldn't sit down to read it, but I did spend a lot of time thinking about it.

I don't really like using terms like "page-turner" because they're cliche, but this one ... this one really did fly by quickly. The chapters are short - each focusing on a different primary character - and I kept going "Oh, I should do (whatever). One more chapter. Wait, this one's short. I'll just do one more." And that's how I got through half the book in about an hour and a half. 

The book starts in 1995 when fifteen-year-old Amy goes off with some guy. He's older and handsome and she knows her stepfather wouldn't approve but he's so nice to her and he seems to really like her, so she trusts him. 

Of course, she shouldn't  have trusted him. He assaults her and leaves her for dead.  She ends up in a persistent vegetative state. And that brings us to 2010 and journalist Alex Dale. Alex is doing a story on persistent vegetative state and sees Amy in the ward. Alex remembers Amy's story - they're the same age and Alex is aware that she could have just as easily been where Amy is now. Alex (whose personal and professional lives are a mess) decides that her redemption could come from writing about Amy and hopefully closing the case. 

Each chapter does focus on a different character, but the primary characters are few and each one does move the story along. There aren't any characters where I thought "Oh I can skip these".  At about the halfway point I thought I'd figured out who attacked Amy.  A little past that point I thought "Oh, wait. No. I think maybe X attacked her, but it was Y that lured her away." A little later than that I thought "It couldn't possibly have been Z, could it? That would've come out of nowhere."

At the end, I was wrong. The red herrings were carefully placed.  They were small ones. Red guppies, maybe. Carefully worded sentences that could be interpreted a few ways and in a few cases I interpreted wrong (but then thinking back, I could see what Holly Seddon had done and how easily it could have been misunderstood).  So much more satisfying than getting it right early on. I don't doubt that other people will figure it out well before the end, but these people will still keep reading to see how we get there and how the storylines are resolved for the two main characters.

Try Not to Breathe: A Novel
By Holly Seddon

Patreon Reminder

Don't forget. I have a Patreon page. Right now the Spouse is off work recovering from surgery to repair a broken collarbone. If he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid (he's part-time). So throwing a little extra income in this direction will really help. Even just a dollar or two a month!

I'm working on figuring out what to do for rewards for patrons. Normally, if you pledge $10 I'll write you a short story about almost anything you ask. They'll be made available to all the patrons. Right now, in an effort to get some more support going, if you pledge $3.00 or more I'll make you the same offer -- make the pledge and then tell me what you want me to write. It'll then be made available to all patrons.

My Patreon Page is here: https://www.patreon.com/MorganFerdinand

Cannonball Read 8: Review 4

The blurb says this:

An elderly woman is found poisoned in the upstairs bedroom of her home whose front door stands 52 steps above the street in an old-fashioned whodunit that blends clues, red herrings, suspects, and humor.

It has a solid 4 stars. I wanted something fast to read and this promised me funny.  It was free.  I got what I paid for.

Two homicide detectives get a call to investigate a suspicious death in a historic neighborhood. All the houses are built on a hill with a steep set of stairs leading to them.  The cops are both fat. HERE'S THE JOKE, GUYS. TWO FAT GUYS HAVE TO GO UP 52 STEPS.

In print this would be 221 pages. About 200 of those pages are dedicated to how fat these guys are, how hard it is for them to get up these steps, how much they eat, how they mindlessly eat candy while interviewing the granddaughter of the recently deceased, and break for lunch. At one point, going back down to the street, they decide to ROLL DOWN THE HILL.  HA HA HA FUNNY, RIGHT? TWO FAT COPS ROLLING DOWN A HILL.

They end up in the hospital.  These two are a class act, guys.

The "hero" is a guy named Dekker. He claims to be Christian and talks constantly about how he reads his daily devotional and takes the time to reflect on it, but he's downright cruel and offensive to his neighbor, a woman who's clearly interested in him. He lies to her, insults her, and has fantasies about harming her dog.  What a sweetheart! He's a widower who's still in love with his wife who's been dead for decades, and he spends his nights sitting in his living room watching "Make Room for Daddy" and "I Love Lucy". He considers the 50s to be the epitome of comedy, and at one point is disappointed to find out that a DVD of classic commercials is mostly from the 70s. Unsurprisingly, he's also pretty sexist. He'd probably be racist if there were anyone other than middle-class white people in the book.

Dekker also spends a lot of time thinking about his partner.  Dekker will wonder what Lou is doing at night. How he spends his time. What he reads. It's a little weird.

There are a lot of characters introduced. Most of them don't serve any purpose except to be "quirky" for a page or two, and add to the list of suspects. They're all broadly drawn and mostly stereotypes: the nosy neighbor, the single mom with her PTSD son, the elderly woman. The mailman. They're all so generic it's hard to keep them straight.

There are hidden tunnels connecting all of the houses in the neighborhood. Tunnels that are apparently big enough that five or six grown men can spread out to search them. Seriously, they've got cavernous rooms and wide tunnels and I think they even go so far down that they connect to the houses on the other side of the street and ... I got tired of trying to work out the whole thing. This is important to the plot because it's how the murderer was able to kill people without being seen. It's very Scooby-doo, right down to the ending, where it turns out that the murderer was a lawyer who wanted to buy all the real estate! Jinkies!

The writing itself is painful at times.  There's a lot of "'Blah blah blah, Lou.' I said. 'Well Cy, blah blah blah.' He joked. I laughed and then he laughed. And then we laughed until we were huffing and puffing for air." Because the author can't go a page without mentioning that the cops are so fat that they get breathless just talking.  Because that's funny, right?!  There are also pages and pages of wall-of-text pondering from our main character "If X was with Y, then it couldn't have been X. Or was it X and Y?  Did they have a motive? Z had a motive, but an airtight alibi. But what if that alibi wasn't so airtight? What if Q was lying for Z? Except wasn't Z supposed to be out of town? Then how would Q know that Z said that thing about W? Did W have a motive? Was Q covering for W? And... what about Naomi!?"

Seriously. Do yourself a favor. Don't get this book. Not even for charity. Not even for free. Not even for a hate read. Just don't.

Cannonball Read 8: Review 3

Sometimes I want a quick read. A comfortable read where nothing too gross happens. It's what they call a "cozy" mystery. If you're not familiar with the term, think of it as a book that's like an episode of Castle. There's a mystery - usually a death - but it's not described in lurid detail. The main character (almost always a woman) may even say something like "I didn't need a close look to know that <victim> was dead."  There are quirky characters, quirky settings, and an attractive person who's involved in the case in some way (usually a cop).

Sweet and Salty Treachery was just that sort of book. The main character (Ali) is part-owner in a shop that specializes in pastries and smoothies in the morning, lunches paired with desserts in the afternoon. Most of their business comes from providing catered lunches to the offices around the storefront.  When HoneyBuns Sweets and Sandwiches get a last-minute invitation to attend a taste testing to win a spot catering a charity event,  Ali is elated.  She packs up some samples and heads to the hall.

Where, of course, the event planner drops dead immediately after sampling Ali's wares.

And, of course, Ali and her best (journalist) friend end up "investigating" and figuring out who was really behind the murder. The attractive cop saves her at just the right time. 

It was a quick read, and a satisfying one. 

Patreon

I'm on Patreon now. 

I'm really hoping that knowing that people out there are interested in seeing what happens with Nick and Alex will get me back into the writing groove. I fell out of it last year and it got much worse through the last quarter of 2015 when the spouse fell ill. Focusing on work and worrying about him left me little time to think about writing. 

He's improving now and I have a little more time for myself and the urge to write is coming back. 

And let's not mince words -- money is a strong motivator. People can talk about writing for the sake of art or writing because their soul demands it, but being able to pay for meds and cat food, or being able to replace the broken coffee maker is also a great incentive. 

There are rewards for different donation levels, but every donation gets something.  You can donate a dollar a month and still get the short stories, character sketches, and other weird little things. 

If you can donate, thanks!  If you can't, I totally get it. I can't afford to back all the creators I want to, either.  But no matter what, please share this if you can.

Cannonball Read 8: Review 2

The Magicians

AKA: Holden Caulfield goes to Hogwarts

Did you ever wonder about those white-haired, cynical wizards in fantasy stories? The ones that show up at strange times and disappear right when their magic would be most beneficial? Did you ever wonder what their backstory was?

Me neither, but apparently Lev Grossman did.

I wish I could take credit for the "Holden Caulfield goes to Hogwarts" thing, but I stole that from a friend of a friend. It's fitting.  The main character, Quentin Coldwater, is about seventeen at the start of the book.  He's in love with his best female friend who is - of course - dating Quentin's best male friend. He feels like the third wheel all of the time.  His parents are flakey and largely disinterested. He's in classes for the smartest of the smart kids and his life is a constant competition to be the best. He hates his friends for how easy everything comes to them - Quentin studies for hours and doesn't have fun because he absolutely cannot be less than perfect.

Quentin's only escape is into a series of young adult novels about a land called Fillory, populated with talking animals and simple quests and two kings and two queens, all of whom are siblings who can enter this magical land.  Quentin reads and rereads these novels and wishes such a place existed.

Poor Quentin and his best friend James have an interview with some Yale alumni person. They're the super besty best in their class and the interview is vital to them getting into the school. But instead of an interview, they find the guy dead on the floor.  One of the paramedics who responds to their 911 call hands Quentin and James envelopes with their name on it, saying it was probably something the dead guy was going to give them. James refuses the envelope and wanders off to meet up with Julia, the girl best friend. Quentin looks in the envelope on his walk home and discovers... the manuscript for the legendary sixth Fillory book!  He takes out the first page, but before he can read it, the wind whips it away and down a long, dark community garden that gets longer and darker than any community garden in Brooklyn could be.  And then suddenly he's in Upstate New York and it's no longer November.  It's August and it's hot and he's stumbled onto the grounds of Brakebills, the elite magic college. The college is always about two months behind the real world, which totally messes with Christmas vacation.

Quentin takes a test. Passes it. Becomes a student in the magical school. He hates it because he has to work hard and he is convinced that everything is easy for everyone else and he's the only one who has to work hard and he'll never be good enough and everyone else is getting drunk and having sex and whine whine WHINE, Quentin!  You're at a goddamned magical school. You're learning magic. When you graduate you can be set up for life in a fake job that keeps you legitimate and pays you incredibly well.

The book suffers (much like this post does) from long, drawn out descriptions of things that are only mildly interesting (many pages about how the class gets turned into geese and their long flight and geese pooping and eating bugs and flapping their wings) and then glosses over other things (It's the first day of class and suddenly they're 3rd year students).  Threads are started and not so much dropped but forgotten about until it's convenient. (Julia was invited to take the test but failed. She's been teaching herself magic and getting weird and twitchy and demands that Quentin talk to the school about taking her. He does, the dean says he's going to wipe her memory of the school again, but somehow he never does, but Julia still doesn't get in, but goes to Fillory in the end and she's got magic, but she's crazy?)

I hated about 78% of the book.  I liked the very start of it, then almost immediately started to find every single person in the book irritating. They're all self-absorbed, spoiled, "tragic" people. They all secretly (and not-so-secretly) hate each other, but still insist on sleeping with each other.  And of course they go to Fillory and it's not the cute happy-bunny-land of the books.  People die. One guy gets his hands bitten off.

There was a point around the 86% mark where I was interested again (about the point where the hands get bitten off) and honestly it's where the book should have ended.  But there was more after that - about Quentin sulking and getting mad at talking badgers or something, and then returning to New York and getting a boring desk job and making large amounts of money and then suddenly his "friends" show up and they decide they're going to go back to Fillory, even though several of their friends died horrible deaths there, and Quentin is royally fucked up in the head because of it.  The End.

The worst part?  It's written like a young adult novel. Or a young-young adult novel.  There's a scene with foxes and later  it's explained to us that one girl gets the nickname "Vix" because of the fox thing, and female foxes are called vixens. I am not nine.  You can't tell me on one page that this group of  20-something magicians just got really drunk and had an orgy, and then on the next page explain foxes to me.  Decide on your audience!  Also, that nickname gets used exactly once and then is never used again.


Stories About My Dog: Part 1

I have a dog. He's a Welsh Terrier.  People always ask if he's a mini Airedale and I say no, he's a Welsh. It's its own breed.  Sometimes I tell people he's an Attention Hound.  Sometimes I tell people he's a Belgian Waffle.  Most of the time all of these responses are met with a disinterested "Oh really."  I suppose they're disappointed that he's an actual dog and not a miniaturized version of a larger dog. Maybe I'll start telling people he's a full-size Airedale and they're obviously having trouble with their vision. Or we invented a shrink ray.

Most of the time I tell people his name is "Muffin" because it's easier than doing the "Carter?" "No, Cardiff." "Curtis?" "Cardiff" routine because that usually leads to me having to explain that Cardiff is in Wales, and yes, Wales exists, and that's why he's a Welsh terrier.

Cardiff is eight and he's allegedly clever.  The other day on Facebook someone joked that their dog clearly understands words like "dinner" and "cookie" and I started thinking about the words that Cardiff understands. So I made a list.

Words My Dog Understands

  • Cardiff
  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Go pee
  • Let's go
  • Up
  • Good Boy
  • Hungry
  • Leave it
  • Treat

Words My Dog Obeys

  • Get Luke

Luke is Cardiff's cat. We got Luke when he was about six weeks old and Cardiff took care of him.  He still thinks Luke is his responsibility.  Cardiff will distract Luke if Luke starts to claw the sofa.  When they're outside, Cardiff keeps an eye on Luke and makes sure Luke doesn't jump the fence and (as seen in the video) herds Luke when it's time to go in. 

Even if Cardiff does it by getting Luke to chase him.

 

Cannonball Read 8: Review 1

The Moon's Dirty Light: Werewolves of Baltimore (book 1)

I love me some werewolves. I love me some Baltimore. I love me some gay romance.  You'd think I'd love me this book.

Sadly, I did not.  This book unfortunately pushes a lot of my "nope" buttons, but I do understand that there are a lot of people out there for whom this book will be catnip. Erm. Whatever the werewolf version of catnip is.

It starts with a sex scene. Two cops, partners Logan and Dylan, are getting hot and heavy in their off-hours. One of the cops is a werewolf and during the sex the werewolf gets a little out of control and his partner is marked. The werewolfism is transferred, and ... surprise! They're now a bonded, mated-for-life pair.  

And then the "real" world intervenes. A body has been discovered.  The victim was mauled to death by a dog. Except, you know, we know that it was a werewolf.  The lieutenant knows that Logan (the werewolf cop) is a werewolf cop. Dylan doesn't know. The lieutenant knows this is wasn't a dog attack. So he sends Logan and Dylan to investigate.

The second victim is a vampire. This threatens to destroy the truce between the vampire and werewolf communities.  The vampires are angry so the werewolves have to solve this fast.  Because the vampires are so angry they're going to get their lawyers involved.

There's more sex. There's an attack on another werewolf, but he survives because he's a werewolf. There's more sex. Some non-cop werewolves catch the rogue werewolf that's been behind the killings. The werewolf is executed. Dylan accepts the magical bond, there's more sex. They live happily for now.

The things that turned me off:

  • The whole "magically bonded/mated for life thing". 
  • "Screaming" during sex. This is set in Baltimore City, in an area I know, and if you were actually screaming during sex, the neighbors would be calling the cops because the neighbors share common walls. Twice the sex happens in a greenhouse Dylan has built in his back yard. A greenhouse isn't known for its soundproof properties.
  • Logan's over-the-top jealousy if anyone so much as looks at Dylan.
  • While Logan and Dylan are screwing, two werewolves we've never been introduced to capture the bad guy off-screen. They find out with a phone call. 
  • Some of the phrasing that's so common in m/m romance ("hot liquid showered his insides" and "coating the wall in strips of jizz")
  • Apparently all werewolves are Alphas, Betas, or Omegas, and "knotting" happens during sex.
  • Male pregnancy is mentioned as being a thing that can happen.
  • Editing problem: One minute they're screwing in the greenhouse. Next, they're waking up in bed.
  • And the big one: the McCormick Spice Factory hasn't been located anywhere near the Inner Harbor since the 1980s. 

One thing I almost liked: Dylan is rightfully pissed off when he finds out that not only is Logan a werewolf, but he's mated for life with Dylan and turned Dylan into a werewolf without consulting him. Unfortunately the anger doesn't last long because Logan is apparently so damn sexy and the bond is too strong. 

We Have Mice

We have mice.

Not on purpose. I would love to have mice as pets, but I live in a house with a terrier and four cats.  The terrier and two of the cats are excellent mousers. We found this out at about the same time we found out we had mice. 

You know what's not cool? Nearly stepping on a dead mouse that's in your bedroom doorway.

You know what's even more not cool? Finding a mouse with its tiny feet chewed off. Or finding just the head of the mouse.

You know what is the most uncool thing in the history of uncool things?  Thinking your cat has a dead mouse in his mouth and finding out the hard way that the mouse is only playing dead and has just bitten you.

It was on that day that I learned that my tetanus shot was up-to-date, teeny little field mice generally don't carry rabies, and that telling a doctor and/or nurses you've been bit by a mouse will get you some really strange looks and a lot of questions like "how did you manage that?" and "in the city?!"

Fortunately that issue was resolved with antibiotics and a cat that eventually re-captured the mouse and ... well ... that might have been the severed head. I like to think that my cats have a sense of justice.

Several of the mice were caught humanely, in a no-kill trap, and released far, far away from our house. Near a Dumpster(tm) by a Dunkin' Donuts. (Feast well, little mousies!)  Some of the mice didn't fare so well (see decapitation, above). They were humanely thrown away. (I would bury them, but... Terrier.)

The number of mice we've seen/they've caught has dropped off dramatically, but not entirely. I blame the constant rain and the incredibly warm winter. The mice are probably reproducing like crazy, and getting flooded out of their mouse-y houses.

Honestly, having mice in the house doesn't really bother me that much. I would be more bothered if we had a problem with goats. Although that'd be a lot more fun to talk about. Probably easier to trap, too.

The End of 2015

A few months ago I had a little meltdown and announced on Facebook that I was done with writing.  I'm hoping that it's not true. I'd like to think I have a few more stories in me and that they're worth telling.  I have files in my computer that are almost books and I want to believe that one day they will be books.  To ease back into things I'm going to blog more.  So I've dusted off the website, put in a new template, and restarted the blog. 

I signed up for Cannonball Read 8. I tried it in 2015 and did okay-ish. I read 43 of the 52 books, but only managed to review 17 of them. And because a lot of them were books in a series and I reviewed them in blocks, that was kind of cheating. I'm going to do better in 2016.  I'll be posting the reviews here, in a category called "Cannonball Read".

I have a Letterboxd account and I'm going to attempt to keep up with reviews of the movies I watch. Less pressure there, since I don't actually watch a lot of movies.

I will also be posting about life.  Mine, mostly. 

So welcome back. Or welcome if this is your first time here. Comments are enabled and there's no need for any kind of account to make them. There's a Contact form on the "About" page if you need to reach me privately.