Liquid Innovations, Please Hold : A Liquid Innovations, Inc. Tale



The Liquid Innovations, Inc. call center was, at her core, a jealous place. So jealous, in fact, she switched her last two letters to read CENTRE, all caps, to steal some attention from that pompous tart, THEATRE, with her cheap velour seats and ratty curtains and obscene ticket prices. For years, THEATRE got all the phone calls, while dippy Call CENTRE listened to the echo of a dozen agents dying of boredom.

Because, as it turned out, Liquid Innovations, Inc. didn’t have a phone number.

Well, Call CENTRE wasn’t about to let a little thing like that stop her, so she wriggled and clawed and snatched and coerced and bribed and fluttered her blinds until she had a nice collection of numbers. Just wait, Call CENTRE thought, until THEATRE hears about this.

But THEATRE had heard and wasn’t ruffled in the slightest because she knew something that Call CENTRE didn’t – when the phone rings, someone has to pick up.




“Liquid Innovations, please hold.”

“Liquid Innovations, please hold.”

“Liquid Innovations, please—no, I can’t… hold please.”

Chloe leaned back in her lumbar supported rolling chair and admired the festive lights on her switchboard. They changed colors according to how long the caller had been on hold, but no one knew exactly how many colors they would cycle through before starting over at bright, two-seconds-on-hold, red. There was an office pool meant to go to the first person to get purple on their switchboard. Chloe had gotten a pale blue once, but so far purple remained elusive.

The game was especially difficult because a series of whistles blew in the boss’s office whenever a call had been on hold for longer than ten minutes. (Ten minutes was goldenrod, with glitter.) If someone was caught with a full switchboard and nobody on the line, they were sent Upstairs. Chloe had been Upstairs once, during her first week on the job. She didn’t remember exactly what went on, but she hadn’t been able to feel anything in her two pinky fingers since.

When it sounded like the boss’s office had been replaced with a tiny train station, Chloe donned her headset and jabbed the first button.

“Liquid Innovations, thank you for holding.”

A timid voice came on the line. “Uh, sorry, I was trying to get the Kitty Corral?”

Dammit. Chloe scrambled for the folder studiously labeled “KC” before he had a chance to hang up. She was way over her monthly limit on hang ups and if she lost this one… Aha!

“Yes, sir. Um.” She flipped through the script, choosing a topic at random. “If possible, induce vomiting using a long plastic or wooden rod. Avoid metal, as it can puncture the esophagus.”

“I just wanted to know if—”

“All Calico cats are female.”

“But that’s not—”

“If you can’t get your iguana to eat his usual food, try deli turkey. Not the cheap stuff, though. Too many fillers. Thank you for calling. Have a great day.”

She checked the automatic timer on her computer screen. One minute, fifty-seven seconds. Shit.

“Wait! Sir!”



Two minutes. Bingo.

Chloe smiled. Callers can always hear a smile. “I meant have a really great day.”

The line disconnected.

Almost instantly, lights on her panel flickered to life.

Hi, is this Rituals Spa?

“Do not, under any circumstances, ingest the lemon bath salts.”

Julie? Julie Edelson?

“Julie isn’t home right now, but I’d be happy to take a message.”

Can you tell me the difference between grey with an ‘e’ and gray with an ‘a’?

“One is the color of storm clouds. The other is the color of existential dread as it creeps slowly up your spine before finally devouring your mind like that alien from Alien.”

I need movie times.

“Twelve-thirty. Also, probably eleven. Or seven-fifteen.”

The next time Chloe looked up there were five minutes until her lunch break. Her stomach growled thinking of the leftover pizza sitting in the breakroom refrigerator (all congealed cheese and greasy pepperoni. Yum.). One last call. She punched the pick-up button.

“Liquid Innovations, Inc. How can I help you?”

The voice that came through the receiver was so loud it made Chloe flinch. “Oh thank gawd. I tell ya, I been callin’ and callin’ and all the robots were givin’ me the go around. You know how it is. Press one for English, Press two if you got a question about the collapse of the Amazonian ecological system. Blah, blah. Can’t tell you how good it is to hear a human voice.”

Chloe paused, one finger hovering above the disconnect button. Thirty seconds.

“Anyway.” The woman paused to take a breath. “I got this box on my patio. Says Liquid Innovations on it, but I didn’t order nothin’. Hopin’ you can tell me what’s what.”

“What’s what.”

“Yup, yup. Like, for starters, what do y’all do over there anyway? How does a person innovate liquid?”

An alarm went off in her head. She knew without looking there wouldn’t be a script for this call. During the thirty-minute training session she’d had on her first day, her supervisors made it terrifying clear that there was zero information regarding the actual day to day workings of Liquid Innovations, Inc. on the premises of Liquid Innovations, or probably anywhere so far as they could tell.

“Don’t worry,” they’d said. “No one ever calls for that.”

“Ma’am, can I—”

She coughed once, loud, and it took a minute for Chloe to realize it was a laugh.

“None of this ma’am business. I’m only a hair past a calf’s dawn. Name’s Caroline. Not Carol. Caroline. Mama took the time to write out the full name, s’only right people make the effort.”

Chloe fought the urge to frantically wave for her boss’s attention. She was still six and a half years away from the end of her official probation—the last thing she needed was for him to think she couldn’t do her job. She had to deal with this on her own.



Damn. Chloe was hoping to buy some time with another long-winded response.

“What does the box look like?”

She could almost hear the woman roll her eyes. “Brown. Boxy. Taped up real good, too. Broke one of my good steak knives.”

Oh! She knew this one! “Liquid Innovations is not responsible for any damage caused adjacent to, in relation to, on top of, inside of, or in the general vicinity of Liquid Innovations properties, employees, products, namesake, etc…”

“Oh relax, doll. All I want to know is what’s in the box. I don’t particularly like surprises. Once, my daughter-in-law, bless’er, threw a surprise party for my birthday. She’s always been heavy on good intentions but a bit light in the smarts. She rigged up some kind of lights display—bulbs shaped like artichokes or some other nonsense—set to go off the minute I walked in the door. Well, they went off all right. Exploded right above my head. I was near bald when they’d finally put the fire out.”

While the woman spoke, Chloe panicked. She’d said Liquid Innovations, clear enough for even their shitty recordings to pick up. There was no way she could hang up now, even though the call was pushing five minutes. Another few seconds and the boss would come over anyway. Some of the other agents figured out how to call each other, though it should’ve been impossible. Their direct lines changed every hour. They’d spend all day playing Guess The Fruit without having taken a single call. Now, anything over five and a half minutes was flagged.

“—and it’s got nothing to do with the quality of her apple crumble. It’s in the name, isn’t it? Crumble should crumble, not turn to wallpaper paste on the tongue. Poor girl takes everything to heart—”

Chloe stood just enough to see the boss’s office, a triangular glass room in the corner of the main floor. A blue light flashed silently on his desk.

“—that was when the dog died. Well, not right then. But, hand to heart, it started with that smell—”

The boss stood.

Chloe did the only thing she could think of; she relayed the call from the stationary dock to a mobile, clipped it to her belt, adjusted the headset and left her desk.

“Ma’am?” Chloe tested.

“None of this ma’am business. I told you, the name’s Caroline. Anyway, when we looked at the fine print on the coupon, it was her that decided a twenty percent discount was worth shopping in a mesh onesie—”

Eyes followed her as she tore through the maze of desks toward the breakroom. The boss never step foot in there, claiming a deathly allergy to the smell of burnt popcorn, so it was a safe place to hide until she could figure something else out, though she didn’t hold out much hope. She couldn’t stay in the breakroom forever. The call would have to end eventually, and with it, her job.

She rounded the eighth cluster of desks and hit a solid wall.

The breakroom had moved.

“—so I told him that if he thought he was keeping a llama in the spare bathroom, he’d soon find himself without his left—”

But it couldn’t have moved. That was impossible. Except this was where the door ought to have been. The Mysterious Brown Stain all of the second-shifters toe-tapped for luck on the way in to see if their lunch had somehow survived the first four hours in the company fridge was right there. She tapped it. It squished just like always.

There had to be an explanation. If not a good one, then at least something to convince her that she hadn’t lost her mind. She touched the place the knob should have been—

—and fell forward into a room blacker than black. The door that wasn’t there slammed behind her.

Caroline stopped her barrage long enough to ask, “You okay, darlin’? I heard a noise.”

Chloe peeled herself off a cold, hard floor and adjusted the headset. “Fine. What was it your sister said about yard gnomes?”

Caroline scoffed. “As if they had anything to do with when the package was delivered. How was I supposed to know the delivery man was skittish? It’s not as if I talk to them, invite them in for lemonade and a drink, if you catch my—”

Having bought herself some time, Chloe stared into the darkness, willing her eyes to adjust. It was like trying to see through ink. She stuck her arms out, nerves itching to feel something, anything, other than cold nothingness. She couldn’t see her breath, but knew it was coming out in clouds.

She clicked mute. “Hello?”

She expected an echo, but her voice was swallowed.

A single violet spotlight clicked on above her head, revealing a blackboard on shaky wooden stilts. A piece of chalk floated up from the sill, twitched and struck the board with quick, stabby movements.

“—cat videos, not that I watch of course, but—”

Chloe barely heard Caroline’s voice as the chalk smacked the board, clouding the room in white dust. It took ages to clear and when it did, the message on the board read: So you want to know about Liquid Innovations, Inc? Below it, two boxes had been drawn—Yes and No.

There were stories, of course, because for as long as there had been Things that People Shouldn’t Do there were stories of people who’d done them anyway. These stories rarely had happy endings.

For the stories involving Liquid Innovations employees who’d decided they really needed to know what it was that Liquid Innovations did, there were less than unhappy endings. There were no endings. People were there, asked a few questions, and then they weren’t. Any suggestions that these people had simply been fired or quit were met with ugly grimaces and the classic spin-and-spit warding off of curses. There was the odd rumor, obviously. Chloe’s favorite involved a man who’d been tricked into becoming a fish in the company fountain because of a sandwich, but even she knew it was all nonsense.

There were certain questions that just shouldn’t be answered. Surely the boss could understand why she had to hang up on Caroline and walk directly out of there having forgotten completely about the wandering breakroom and the chalkboard and mysterious boxes that stood up to really good steak knives.

But when her finger grazed the disconnect button, she hesitated. Just for a second. A millisecond.

“Not tryin’ to be rude here, darlin’, but the box is, um…”

“Yes?” Chloe prodded, though every cell in her body lit up like Bad Idea sirens.

“It’s movin’.”

She snatched up the chalk before she could change her mind and drew a furious circle around Yes.

“Totally normal,” Chloe said, not even bothering to try to sound convincing.

“If you say so. Only I’ll just leave it on the porch for now because it’s making a real racket and my orchid is a light sleeper. My daughter-in-law thinks I’m off my nut, but you don’t see her orchids bringing home blue ribbons, do you? The thing to remember is—”

The edges of the chalkboard began to weep at the sides, melting into a kind of black soup. Chloe jumped back as the puddle reached her shoes.

She covered the headset’s mouthpiece. “I changed my mind! I don’t want to know anything!”

The walls shook, like the room was laughing at her.

Rude, she thought.

The puddle sizzled at the edges, eating away at the floor until giant chunks of it crumbled inside itself. The hole widened faster than she could stumble away and with one misplaced step, she





—until it wasn’t so much a fall as a gentle drift down. The line crackled in her ear.

The darkness was so thick it was like swimming through a black lake, with shiny black ripples issuing away from her as she flailed her arms, looking for purchase. Soon a light appeared below, soft yellow. It let her see the walls of the tunnel, white ceramic tile with marker scribblings she could only read the first or last halves of.

Monica eats—

—and I never said it.

Touch the red—

—don’t listen to him.

“Whoa.” Her voice echoed down the length of the tunnel.

Caroline’s horrified voice came through the receiver. “Are you in a bathroom?”

“No! No. I just—the line is wonky.”

“Because germs can travel in ways we will never understand. I read that they can leap over a hundred feet if given the proper motivation.”

Chloe wondered out loud what the proper motivation might be, setting Caroline off. It gave her time to panic.

Though not for very long. Like a tape on fast-forward, the light rushed at her and she finally hit the bottom hard enough to knock the wind out of her.

“—and just because they don’t have proper brains doesn’t mean that don’t want revenge for—”

She groaned into her shoulder. Nothing felt broken, but her lungs ached with the effort of breathing in. After testing first her legs and then her arms and finally the mobility of her neck, she gathered herself together enough to stand.

The room was a larger version of the tunnel, with white tiled walls and a chilled linoleum floor. The light she’d seen while falling came from a sign near the ceiling. Brighter than neon, it hurt to look at, but she forced herself to make out the words the twisty bulbs spelled out.


A crooked arrow in black paint pointed from the words to a table that, if pressed, she would swear hadn’t been there a second ago. A plate of stale donuts sat at the center of the table. The iced ones looked like someone had swiped a finger through the frosting.

Her thoughts went back to that leftover pizza she never got to eat and her stomach snarled. A donut would go a long way to stanching the pain in her middle, but eating office food—even ancient, awful-looking office food—was like eating from the hands of a fairy. One bite and she would be enslaved for life.

But she was so hungry.

And glazed with sprinkles were her favorite.

And it wasn’t like her employers were actually fairies. Devious, twisted, and occasionally seen at the bedsides of infants, yes, but not pointy-eared, iron-fearing, revel-dancing fairies.

At least, she didn’t think so.

As she pressed the chewy, sticky pastry between her lips, she struggled to remember a time she’d heard anything about her employers, normal, round ears or otherwise.

“—and so I says to her, ‘Sweetie you can’t sit on that porch forever. You’re liable to get a blister in your backside before too long now get in this car or so help me Lord—”

Too right, Chloe thought and bit into the doughnut. Saliva flooded her mouth and she moaned in sugary ecstasy.

The line went deadly quiet and for a frightening second she thought she’d been disconnected.

“Are you… eating? Now?” Caroline asked, incredulous.

No sooner had she swallowed in order to answer than her arms and legs shot out from her trunk like they were cartoon limbs, stretching and widening with, not exactly pain, but adjacent to pain. She wasn’t comfortable, that’s for sure. The headset snapped and the phone base clattered to the floor, which was getting steadily further and further away, though she could still see her feet (albeit barely) still planted on the ground.

When the growth finally stopped, with her head pressing against the ceiling and her neck bent at an odd angle, she bit down on her tongue to gain a little focus. The room felt like it was spinning and each time she reached out to touch the walls her body moved with such exaggerated slowness that she nearly toppled over, disoriented.

Caroline’s voice came from somewhere below, tinny and squeaky as a mouse.

“I’m still here!” Chloe bellowed in a voice much deeper than her own.

She didn’t know what kind of hallucinogen they’d slipped into those doughnuts, but she was damn sure they’d be paying for the therapy it was going to take to get this nightmare out of her mind.

She was the kind of dizzy that settled on her after a night of drinking, when she knew closing her eyes was a bad idea, but she couldn’t look anywhere without a wave of vertigo knocking her off-balance. It made her edgy and anxious. Worst of all, it made her cry.

Chloe hated crying.

She squashed the sniffles beneath her giant hand—God, what if it stayed that way? How was she going to get back into her apartment?—and bit back the worst of the sobs. But still the tears came; fat globs of wet that streamed down her face before puddling at her feet. And the more the puddle grew, the more she cried, an awful damp cycle that didn’t show any signs of stopping until she got a grip or drowned.

Drowning was looking more and more likely and she probably would’ve resigned herself to it if a bottle hadn’t fallen from the ceiling, bonking her directly between the eyes. She gasped in surprise, her mouth opened just enough, and the bottle fell in. A tag reading DRINK ME fluttered by, as small as her fingernail.

Against her better judgement, she swallowed.

Her insides felt like they were on a rip-cord, springing back with a ferocity that sent her reeling. She hit the water—SMACK—and, arms wrapped around her stinging middle, it was lights out.

The last thing she heard before darkness took her was Caroline’s incessant hello-ing as it turned to gurgles under the waves.




“Hello? Hel-LO?” Caroline pulled the phone away from her ear to check the connection. She frowned, wondering how it’d gotten so damp. She wasn’t usually a big sweater, but this heat and Lord how she’d gotten herself all worked up over a little ol’ box…

She waited on the line until it clicked off of its own accord. She knew how these companies worked. If she hung up, they’d have no qualms with making her go through the whole rigmarole of robots and things before telling her there was nothing they could do. They’d hung up on her, which meant she was owed something. And no one had ever wriggled out of settling debts with Mrs. Caroline Dollaker.

She dumped her phone in a bag of rice (because those phone company yuppies weren’t any better; one hint of water damage and they’d take her for all she was worth over replacing it) and fixed herself a cup of coffee, stirring in a bit of extra cream. She deserved it, what with the afternoon she’d had.

Once the caffeine buzzed kicked in, she decided to take another stab at the box, this time with her Pioneer Woman cleaver, specially ordered last Christmas when George got all excited about some bird-monster thing he’d wanted her to cook up. Turducken, it was called. Devil’s work, more like, but she’d made the damned thing and they all ate it up like they were the ark oOne’s own. But they were happy, that’s what had mattered.

The box jumped a little as she approached, but she whispered to it, she wasn’t going to hurt it, this big knife wasn’t for it, then when it’d just about reached a point of complete calm, Caroline jabbed the tip of the cleaver into the tape and dragged down, tearing the lid completely apart. A whimpering sound came from somewhere nearby, but she figured it was only the neighbor kicking his dog again. Heathens, everywhere she looked. It was unseemly.

She folded the flaps aside and reached in. Part of her already guessed what she’d find, but she didn’t like to presume.

The figure was about the length of her forearm, with an expression painted on its face somewhere between pain and awe. This one was a girl, with hair carved into the shape of a long ponytail. There was a plastic headset glued on her head, with a moveable mouthpiece. It didn’t look as nice as the others, but was just as lifelike. Caroline smiled, content, as she stood the figure on the mantle with the others. That made seven, now. She’d amassed quite the collection.



How the F*** Do I Back Up My Work?

How the f*** do I Wednesdays are a time for all of us to gather around a burning pile of rejected manuscripts and discuss The Things You Need to Know. On today’s episode: How the f*** do I back up my work?


Angry typewriter is angry.

Seems an innocuous thing, doesn’t it? We’re of an age where we just assume the things we’ve typed on the tap-tappity machine will always be there. THE INTERNET IS PERMANENT, the pearl-clutchers tell us. COMPUTERS KNOW EVERYTHING. True, that half-naked photo your idiot friend Barbara took on your birthday is probably being passed around an African internet café right about now, but that doesn’t mean those three-thousand words you wrote in a caffeine-induced rage will be there when you pry your drool-slicked mouth from the desk in the morning.

I’ve been the victim of lost work more times than I care to think about. I’ve misplaced flash drives, had flash drives corrupted by library computers, had computers die in the middle of a marathon writing session before I’ve had the chance to save anything… It’s brutal. It’s earth-shattering. It’s avoidable.

Thumb drives are like the Windows ’97 of back-up methods. They work, in theory, but are glitchy as hell and aren’t exactly reliable to those of us who lose everything that isn’t taped, stapled, or strapped to our bodies. If you’re hell-bent on using a thumb drive, make sure it’s obnoxiously big and shaped like an embarrassing cartoon character (so you’re less likely to misplace it) and use one of the other backup methods mentioned below.


I googled “thumb drive” and was not disappointed.

Years and years ago I printed everything out. I still do this for editing purposes, but final drafts are kept in their prospective digital hidey-holes. It’s useful if you like having your hands on your work, and should the worst happen (BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH) you’ve got a hard copy immune to those perils. The downsides, of course, are the millions of hours you’ll spend retyping everything and the rainforest cut down by your paper usage.


Still haven’t found that short story from 2001.

There are external hard drives, too, but those are expensive and ugly and for people who have more than a couple hundred word documents. They’re for scary people with Lists and Data and Weapons Plans.

Gamers like them, too.

Really, the only good option (and I use good loosely, considering the hacking bullshit that apparently is a thing now) is to store your work in some kind of online cloud. Google has their own version (because why wouldn’t they), but if you’re a paranoid sonofabitch like me, you’re not quite ready to dedicate your entire digital life to the Google overlords. My favorite is Dropbox (despite the above link) for a number of reasons. First, it’s free up to a certain memory capacity. I love free things. I face parades and the unending fart and B.O. smell to get free things. And luckily, word documents don’t take up much space. You’ll be well into your wine-and-dine-me career before you need to splurge for the extra space.


Most of you (I hope) will be all, but KATRINA, I KNOW this already.

Good. This isn’t for you.

This is for the dumb dumbs who need a hammer to the head before viruses snatch up that 200k word whopper of an epic fantasy and reduce it to unreadable lines of code. Or worse, their daughter spills pop on their computer. Again.

So go forth and backup your work. Twice. Then come back and tell us your tried and true methods to making sure your stuff lasts until the aliens take over.

Monday Motivation: Writing Prompts

A lot of important things happen on Mondays–diets, goal development, laundry–so it seemed only RIGHT to begin a revamp of this blog on a Monday.

For me, as a writer, it’s hardest to get going on Mondays. I take the weekend off (because I’m ALLOWED) and when Monday finally rears its bulbous head, the gears take a minute or twenty to start moving again.


How did I get here? What day is it?

If you’re anything like me, Monday Motivation is a thing you need in your life. While there are a TON of cool affirmations under the twitter hashtag, sometimes we need something more.

Here are ten writing prompts to get you going. Meet back here next week for another ten, and possibly mimosas because I’m getting married soon and booze helps the freak-out go down (but that’s another post. ;))


Down the hatch, madam.


  1. Rewrite a scene from your favorite book from an outsider’s perspective. (For me, that would be the “battle scene” from THE NIGHT CIRCUS from the POV of one of the red scarf club members.
  2. Describe the world’s WORST weather for a barbeque.
  3. What does December smell like?
  4. Write a scene from your main character’s childhood.
  5. Write a scene (or a whole story!) using only dialogue.
  6. Rewrite a scene in your work in progress as a different genre.
  7. Write a scene in which your main character and Death have dinner together. (I imagine Death ordering a Juicy Lucy with extra cheese and a micro brew beer. None of that corporate shit).
  8. Describe a summer sky without using the word “blue” or anything blue-adjacent.
  9. Write a scene about a woman who only speaks to people wearing hats.
  10. Write a conversation between two blind characters (emphasis on what they smell, hear, taste!)


That does it! Get writing and feel free to share your results (or epic fails) in the comments!

New Release: A Tale du Mort

What has it been? Months?

Sorry ’bout it. I’ve been busy. *wink*

Today, the kindle version of my new book, A Tale du Mort is ready and waiting for your eyeballs. For those of you print-a-holics, the print version will be available next week.

Kindle cover final

I’m especially proud of this brain-child because I really let any expectations of what it SHOULD be go and wrote whatever I wanted. It’s also my very first self-pub adventure. I even designed the cover myself!

Thanks SO much for sticking with me despite my silence. I’m making it a point (as of THIS MOMENT) to blog more, even if it’s just me, throwing my voice into the wind.


*flails into the distance*

Cover Reveal– STATIC HERO (Wuuuuut?)

Yesterday, I was having a REALLY bad day.

Among a thousand other personal things, my latest manuscript, STATIC HERO, was rejected by another publisher. Not for reasons of being a bad book, though. In fact, it was pointed out that the story and writing are good.

Hey, things happen, no hard feelings.

Except, there WERE hard feelings. I’d just compiled a list of over 70 agents I’ll be sending a new work to. The task I’ll be undertaking is, in a word, FUUUUUUUUUUUCK. The fact of having a manuscript rejected that you’ve worked hard on and kind of love isn’t a giant deal in and of itself–we’ve all been there, done that, wrote ANOTHER book–but the timing sucked.

I took to the super secret cave inhabited by my two favorite writer ladies and vented.

And vented.

And vented.

Not only did these ladies empathize, they JUMPED to the task of helping me make STATIC HERO a reality.

That’s right. I’m self-publishing this book. And I’m not taking the task lightly. The folks over at Deadpixel Publications will help me edit the SHIT out of it, I’ll get help formatting, and the cover will be professional-grade, thanks to my friend, Hanna Elizabeth.

Behold, Hanna’s GORGEOUS cover work:

3Static Hero Final

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

I hope this cover makes you as excited for the book as I am. It’s going to be scary, but we’ll make the journey together.

To tide you over until I figure this all out, here’s a tentative blurb:

Dwight has always had a problem with static electricity buildup, but never thought of it as a “superpower.”

Then he meets Naomi who introduces him to a group of people with weird abilities like him—dust manipulation, the ability to speak with animals, and even someone who can bring insects back from the dead, but only insects. They have a mission: to find the villain called The Mauve Hand and bring him to justice.

But as Dwight digs deeper into the identity of The Hand, he gets caught in a mob war between two families—one led by a drag king with a personal vendetta, the other, by a man just as inclined to design a man’s suit as to bury him in it. Dwight wants to abandon the mission, but both bosses know who he is and what he can do. They each approach Dwight with a proposition to destroy the other, or face the consequences.

Now Dwight has a dilemma: Continue the mission and probably die, or save himself, but sacrifice his friends.

Calling All Bloggers–The OFFICIAL Sacrificial Lamb Cake Tour

With Sacrificial Lamb Cake out in the wild, it’s time to start TALKING about it!

Interested in chatting with me about that time in Winnepeg I had a little too much whiskey and…

Wait. The book. We’re talking about the BOOK. (Though, I wouldn’t mind retelling that story. See, what had happened was–)



Anyway, if you’ve got a blog and would like to talk about books n’ things -or- if you’d like a copy of Sacrificial Lamb Cake to review on your blog, click here to opt-in to Red Adept Publishing’s mailing list. Invitations will be going out soon to schedule stops for the blog tour and you DON’T want to be left out.

You Might Be An Asshole If…

Fair warning.

I’ve had a bit of the devil juice (sangria–sang, meaning blood. Ria, meaning… something).

I may say a few things SOME people might find offensive.

You aren’t those people. I can tell.

FUCK those people.

See? Warned you.

A while back (I’d link to it, but I’m lazy) I posted a blog about the different kinds of writers. As I’ve been dragged deeper into the publishing world, gotten some good experience (and some bad) under my belt, and infiltrated circles of writers I’d yet to discover, I’ve realized that list needed an update.

A good hacking with the ol’ ax, really.

Hack them all except two.

There are two kinds of writers in this world.

Those who know nothing, and those who KNOW they know nothing.

Those who know nothing are the worst. The mother-fucking, dog-shitting, ape-sucking, jiz-guzzling worst. Their work, their “writing,” their foray into the publishing world is overwrought with bullies. These bullies will go so far as OFFERING ADVICE and CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. How could they? Those who know nothing know EVERYTHING. They may ask for a hint or two… maybe something that would improve their characters or marketing strategy. But really, all they want is a good, long stroke.

The Know Nothings thrust their egos into the already bullshit-soaked social media and beg for a tug. Just a little one to get them through to their next BORING release party.

This group–The Know Nothings–is home to the majority of the writing community. They don’t want to improve. Their projects are God’s gift to the world. Everyone else is wrong.

Thing is, though, everyone else thinks they’re assholes.

And they are. These writers…


I know, as writers, we’re not supposed to shit on our kin. It’s a tough road to sow as a creator and we should be charging forth as companion soldiers in the war.

But, FUCK.

Okay. OKAY.

There’s this other group though, the rest of us, who know that we know nothing.

Literally, nothing.

Sure we can breathe. We can stuff food-shaped things into our mouth hole. We can (usually) find a toilet when we need to piss.

But when it comes to the craft, we know that there is ALWAYS



Something more to learn. To know. To cram into the brain meat with a shoehorn.

For us, the Know Nothing Assholes grate on our nerves.

On my nerves.


And that’s it. I know you were expecting some point or moral here, but all I’ve got is this:

Don’t be that guy.

Don’t be the asshole that thinks his writerly shit doesn’t stink.

Don’t think for even a microsecond that you know enough.

Most of all, don’t encourage those asshats that need coddling. Don’t stroke the ego.

Don’t. Stroke.

Merry ChristmaHanukwanzaNaNo Or: Why NaNo in November was a TERRIBLE Idea.

Halloween is over and with it your Very Good Excuse to wear that hairless boner costume. Candy sits in half-eaten piles on your counter and in your bed (I promise we won’t tell). The sunny days of Autumn have been replaced by “snow/rain” mixes in the forecast and a cloud cover that’ll last until April.

That’s right. It’s November. For REAL. For most of us, that makes it National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Last I shouted obscenities at you and called it a blog post, I told you all I’d be participating.

I lied.

No, that’s a lie.

I didn’t lie, so much as change my mind because NaNoWriMo in November is the most insane, terrible, MASOCHISTIC idea ever.

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. When retail stores set out their Christmas decorations bright and early on November 1st, it’s not JUST because they want you in that frenzied, buy everything NOW while it’s at a LOW, LOW COST as soon as possible. It’s also because the holidays STAMPEDE toward us at a pace that’s immeasurable in this dimension. Blink, and you’ll find yourselves sitting across from Great Aunt Marge who likes to make kissy faces at your husband (or wife, whatever) after a few glasses of the cooking sherry.

Throw in the bullshit of first snowfalls, school vacations and–CHRIST HELP ME–three goddamned birthdays in the span of a month and that leaves just enough time to take a healthy shit and MAYBE eat a granola bar or two.

Today, I talked briefly with a friend of a mine about how writing is a stress reliever. And then my mind went to that dark place where NaNo-ers pound the keys, sweat pouring down their faces, caffeine IVs plugged into veins and snaked around catheters and MY GOD… It turns something I enjoy into something to be FEARED. Talk about TRAUMA.

Even now as I sit typing out this MEANINGLESS clutch of wordy things, my mind wanders to the laundry I haven’t done in almost two weeks.

I’m not saying NaNo is a bad idea. I think–for MOST writers–a deadline is necessary to motivate them. The community surrounding NaNoWriMo is the most supportive, cheerleading bunch of fuckers I’ve ever come across. The endless back-patting, face-smacking, coffee-filling wonderful is, well, wonderful.

Let’s just save it for another month, maybe?

Like January, when we’re all stuck inside because if we were to step foot out the door, our nose hairs would freeze and our insides would shrivel from the biting wind.

Or even February. Still cold as a holy mother fucker then, AND there’s the added bonus of blowing off a holiday no one likes because, you know, you have WORDS to write, god dammit.

See? You’re liking my idea already. Let’s see how many people we can bribe/threaten to joining us in the land of BASIC FUCKING LOGIC.

I’ll NaNo Your Wrimo

How you doin’? *wink*

I see you over there with your laptop and triple espresso heart-attack drink and baby the way you twist your face in complete despair over the idea that may or may not work this year… it just GETS to me. Lets sit across from each other, completely ignoring the other except in silent acknowledgement that we may or may not live through this. Then, later, when it’s all over, we can share a bottle of wine and plot the death of that BIOTCH Renee Miller for making us do this crapola AGAIN.


It’s like she hates me or something.

Whatever. I won’t even talk about the project I’m going to work on because, honestly, I have no fucking clue. Nothing feels right. When November 1st comes along, I’ll close my eyes and point and hope to whatever deity is listening that it isn’t shitty.

But who am I kidding? Of COURSE it’s going to be shitty. That’s the thing of NaNo. Shitty writing in 30 days of HELL. (And those of you who say that what you write during NaNo is flawless, I have a cliff I’d like to push you off of show you). Last year, I didn’t even get past the 5k word mark in the project. It’s the PRESSURE, man. Ride my ass with a word count whip and I promise I’ll collapse before we see any rising action.

Sure, we could assume that this year will be different somehow. But then we’d be OPTIMISTS. *shudders*

To those of you participating of your own free will, I salute you. I will also put you out of your misery should you ask nicely, because I care. For now, buckle those chastity belts, hook up the caffeine IV, and get ready for the longest titty twister of your life.

Let’s NaNo.

A Quickie on the Utter Bullshit That is a Writing Career

Good news:

Today, I received my FIRST EVER copy of REAPER in print. It’s fucking gorgeous and beautiful and I am not ashamed to say I snuggled it for a while.



So. Pretty.


And after we snuggled and whispered sweet nothings to each other, I thought about the release. THAT’S RIGHT. Other people (hopefully) will be reading this thing. And not only will they be reading it, they’ll have OPINIONS and shit. And while REAPER is awesomesauce with a dash of sarcastilicious (Thanks, Renee), there will be people out there who hate it. Don’t worry, I’ve got whiskey.

And then I thought, HOLY TWAT WAFFLE I have ANOTHER book coming out next year, which only leads to more rejection via review.

Which brings me to my point–

The rejection never stops.

Say it with me.





But seriously, it doesn’t. It starts with query letters, then edits that make you cut out your favorite scenes, and then reviews and THE CYCLE NEVER ENDS.

And the anxiety? I’ve got a new WIP in front of me that I’m completely in love with, but in the dark recesses of my mind there’s a voice. A voice that says it doesn’t matter what I write, because it’ll suck. It all sucks. It’s like the editor voice, but on steroids. Fucker.

It’s taking some time and patience and a tall glass of whiskey and coke in my “I ❤ BEAVER” glass to get through it.

A career in writing, or any of the arts in general, is complete bullshit. But I’ll be DAMNED if I ever stop.