Archive for February, 2022

Stuck on Horror

Hi, squiders! How are you? I’ve got the small, mobile ones’ Pinewood Derby cars finished finally (they did most of the work, I just had to attach the wheels and the weights, but we haven’t had time to work on them because we’ve had rehearsal every day for hours on end and impound is TODAY and aghhhhh) so that’s one thing that’s really been stressing me out done.

(Assuming they get checked in okay. A friend is taking the cars to impound because we have dress rehearsal tonight and can’t go. I’m trying not to worry too much.)

And, yes, it’s dress rehearsal tonight, and we open tomorrow, and Saturday we’ve got the Pinewood Derby, a Girl Scout cookie booth, AND the show, so that will be madness.

But it’s got to be better than my spouse being in the hospital and me having to go back and forth between the hospital and performances, like last show (Feb 2020). So, hey! I’ll take it!

Anyway. Enough of that.

Over at Turtleduck Press we’re working on an anthology project. We each provided artwork and/or photos as prompts, and using those, we’re going to write short stories on the theme of “connection.”

So I’ve been trolling through my idea files and looking at my prompts, and I finally came up with a story idea and wrote an outline.

But, let me tell you, it was SO HARD not to go horror with it. I actually had to set a guideline for myself that the plot could not involve ghosts or connections across death in any way.

It was kind of surprising, actually, how difficult this was, and it made me realize that so much of what I’ve written lately is horror. There’s my scifi horror novella, and the Gothic horror novella I just finished, and I wrote that murder mystery (a cozy, though, so not too horror-y), and even a lot of my short fiction lately has had horror elements if not been fully horror.

And it made me realize that, hey, maybe this is how I’m coping with the pandemic and everything else that is falling apart around me. Horror is a genre based on fear, after all.

That being said, I don’t want to write just horror, though. I do like horror–though I think I like writing it more than reading it–but I also like more traditional forms of science fiction and fantasy, and I would like to get back to writing more of that.

Anyway, I guess we’ll see how this goes.

Wish me luck!


Being Productive, Yet Not

Good afternoon, squiders. It is snowing YET AGAIN, which is in theory a good thing because I don’t want any more of the state to burn down, but is also annoying because it keeps snowing when I have to go and do things.

Since last week I have done my serial and started poking my anthology story. Only started, because I keep having to do other things. Right now I’m still trolling through my idea files and throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, which shouldn’t take very long except I keep getting interrupted. Alas.

I’m starting to get really anxious about not getting to Book 1 yet. We’re already two months into the year! And February is so short you blink and it’s gone (or lasts forever, depending on pandemic levels). Despite finishing my novella draft and my serial, I feel like I’m not getting anywhere, which is a VICIOUS LIE and brains are horrible.

We’re a week and a half til opening on Pirates of Penzance, and tonight (in the snow) is the time rehearsing on the actual set. I am excited to finally have stairs to go up and down instead of benches representing the stairs which are ALWAYS in the way, but on the other hand I am also freaking out that we open so soon and are only just now getting into our space.

Logically, I know we do this almost every show and that everything is always fine, but right now it doesn’t feel like we’re going to get there. Which, again, happens every time.

Hopefully, after tonight, everything will feel better.

I may take my idea files with me and troll through them, since I’m not on in Act 1. I’ve been reading a book — The Literary Ladies’ Guide to the Writing Life — but sometimes that means I’m not paying good enough attention to what’s going on.

That’s the secret. Work where and when you can.


Hope you are doing well! I’m surviving the chaos the best I can over here.

WriYe and Romance (Again)

Hello hello, squiders.

I almost don’t want to do this one. I feel like every February, the WriYe blog post revolves around romance.

(No, I’ve gone and checked, and one was about motivation, and another about inspiration. 2019, however, was definitely about romance. Ah well. Maybe I’m projecting.)

(Although there is some repetition in the monthly prompts in general. I suppose that, too, is to be expected. Maybe this is the last year we do the WriYe prompts.)

Again, like I noted last month, they’ve changed the prompts this year so they’re just a statement instead of a series of questions. February’s is The role of romance in your novels.


I feel like as time has gone on, I’ve moved away from romance in my novels. Like, my earlier novels almost always have a romance of some sort, though it is not generally part of the main plot. The trilogy that I’ve been working on forever (and should be editing Book 1 of) has a romance in it, though I do like that one–slow building and natural feeling. My fantasy that’s alternately YA or MG based on the way I’m feeling about it (originally written Nano 2006, I think) has the start of a romance between one of the main characters and a minor antagonist (for her). My YA horror (Nano 2007) has one of the main characters pining after a friend, who returns the feelings, but they’re both too shy to act on it. And Nano 2008, which eventually turned into Shards, has romance at the very core of the story.

But more recently…I haven’t included it, unless I was working on a story for Turtleduck Press which, until recently, required a primary or secondary romance in all its works. So there is a love story in City of Hope and Ruin, and in anthology stories I wrote for To Rule the Stars and Love Shines Through.

But let’s look outside of that. From 2009 to 2019 I wrote a scifi serial about a sleepy town that’s not what it’s seems. No romance in that, though the main characters pretend to be in a relationship to avoid suspicion. In 2014 I started Excalibur-1 (which I finished in 2018), and, again, there’s no romance in there, though I believe I do set up a potential one in the future.

I did a lot of revision in the 2015-2018 time frame, so that’s all older stuff.

In 2019 I started World’s Edge (which I finished last year), which is single viewpoint, a rarity for me. There is romance in there, but not the main character’s, though the romance does drive the main plot. (If you recall, I was playing with my viewpoint character not being the protagonist.) 2020 I wrote my cozy mystery and, yeah, I guess I did set up a romance in that. A potential one, for the future, since cozies do seem to include romance. (Though they rarely actually get together. Interesting, that.) 2021 I did my now-finished Gothic Horror. No romance though. Too busy trying not to die, I guess.


Oh, there was my scifi horror novella in there too. No romance. Again, trying not to die. Death is bad for romance.

Looking at everything, I guess I do include it, but not necessarily as a main component. At least, not anymore. I’m not even sure I’ve included it as a major subplot in a while.

That probably says something. But, I think, that I kind of feel like I did a lot of romance, and now I’d like to look at other relationships, or see how a character fares when they’ve got to step up all on their own.

(Plus I do seem to be writing a lot of horror lately, and a lack of support can help the feelings of isolation in a horror story. So.)

(Hm. Maybe that’s why. A minor shift from straight speculative fiction to speculative fiction with a horror bent. I probably should think about that too, why everything revolves around horror lately.)

Anyway, huh, that ended up being longer than I expected.

How do you feel about romance in novels, squiders? A necessary component? A distraction? Sometimes good, sometimes bad?

Draft Done! (And Other Sundry)

Hooray! I finished my first draft of my Gothic horror novella yesterday! (I also sat down and wrote over 3K in less than a few hours, FINALLY, omg.)

Is it good? Who knows? It also doesn’t matter til it’s time to revise it.

Man, it feels so good to get that behind me.

Now, in theory, we move on to other things. I’ve got to write the last selection of my serial this month (only 2.5K, in theory doable in a day, already outlined and everything).

An added complication is that we’re working on an anthology project over at Turtleduck Press, and I’ll need 5-10K by mid-March. Also not hard, just need to do it.

But it’s already February, and I can see how this goes, where I never get to revising Book 1 (again) because other things keep popping up.

But does it make sense to start Book 1 only to have to change gears and switch to the anthology project sooner rather than later?

In theory, I could do both at the same time. I can normally handle one writing and one revision project without overwhelming myself and losing time to having to shift gears. But this will, fingers crossed, by the last revision for Book 1, and I want to be able to really focus on it and make sure it’s getting done correctly.

Augh, decisions.

In non-writing news, I’ve started my video game for the month. I’ve picked Jenny LeClue – Detectivu off of some friends’ recommendation. (I don’t know why Detectivu, except maybe to rhyme? It confuses me.) It’s a point-and-click mystery game that’s on the silly side, so it’s pretty much right up my alley. I’m about three and a half hours into it and we’ve just gotten to the (first?) murder.

Having trouble focusing on reading this month. Currently in the middle of three books and not making decent progress on any of them. I need to fix that or I’m not going to hit my goals for the month.

How are you, squider? Doing anything fun? Making progress?

Once Again, I Forget

Hello, squiders. Sorry for, like, just disappearing last week. I ran into this issue where I was so not looking forward to something that I found it hard to do other things.

Very inconvenient. Must ponder how to avoid in the future.

Anyway, it’s now February, the darkest and shortest month of the year. We got a foot of snow today, yet I still had to go out in it, and will have to do again, because despite literally everything else being closed, rehearsal is apparently still going to happen.

Which brings me to the main point of this post.

In December, I tried out for my local theater company’s show, The Pirates of Penzance, because I think it’s funny and I like pirates. I spent a ton of time working on an audition song, which, like usual, was amazing at home and went way worse at actual auditions (though probably the best they’ve ever gone, so that’s something).

Oh, and the bigger, mobile one is old enough to participate now, so he came along to audition.

So, long story short (too late), we both got cast as police, which was a disappointment to both of us, since we wanted to be pirates. Also, the police are only in Act 2 so we also have to sit around for half a show, which is hard for the bigger, mobile one, who is on the autism spectrum.

Anyway, back in December we had a rehearsal where we just sang through the show start to finish (very boring, should have brought a book for bigger, mobile one) and I had this revelation while I was listening to the principals sing.

And that was that I didn’t want to be them.

Like, I’d gone to all this trouble to do a solo instead of an ensemble audition, and why? I didn’t want a solo. I never want a solo. I don’t actually like singing by myself in front of people and I don’t actually really like doing musicals, so what the actual heck?

Anyway, because the police are in the show so little, we haven’t actually had to do much (we’ve been to three total rehearsals) so it’s kind of been out of sight, out of mind and not much stress. But now we’re less than a month from the show and I’m torn between “Oh God we’re almost live and we haven’t even blocked all of Act 2 I have to practice omg” and “I don’t really care, this is the easiest part ever, I would rather be writing.”

(The bigger, mobile one is an added complication. He’s been doing a lot of complaining about the amount of time rehearsal is taking up–again, not much, not yet–and he’s having difficulty with the choreography because he’s 9 and has no training and also apparently no rhythm. He’s also easily bored and has trouble following along in the music or the script. Perhaps not my best idea. At least he’s having fun when we’re actually doing stuff.)

So I was complaining to my husband that I was never going to do another musical again, that what I really wanted to do was straight acting but this group almost exclusively does musicals, etc., etc., he pointed out that I’d said all of this the last musical (which was Music Man in Feb 2020, right before everything shut down).

And I’d forgotten. I’d completely spaced that I’d come to this realization during Music Man, that the musicals weren’t for me and I should stop doing them and focus on other things I wanted to do, like writing or finding a theater company that did non-musical shows. I’ve gone back and looked at the blog here, and I’ve got a whole post about it.

Is it because COVID happened? I mean, 2020/2021/2022 thus far are just kind of a huge jumbled mess in my brain. So would I have remembered that I had decided not to do anymore musicals if things had stayed normal? Or would I have forgotten again otherwise?

Will I forget again, and in another two years be right back where I am now?

God, I hope not.

But just in case: Kit. Do not spend time and money putting together a solo for musical auditions. You will be grumpy about not getting a real part but also be grumpy about there not being any real parts you actually want (which is a straight acting/no singing role, which is extremely rare in any musical). You will be grumpy because you were a big deal actor back in high school/college and feel like you should be able to have a role where you can show your chops but you will not get a chance to do that in this theater company. You must accept this. Let the musicals go. If they do readers’ theater or a straight play, focus on those. Otherwise, look for other opportunities elsewhere. Or, you know, just focus on your writing.

You’re already writing and drawing. How many creative things do you think you can manage? Be reasonable.

But, anyway, I may be a bit spotty this month. I have feelings, squiders. They are confusing and stupid. (It’s something like–I am having fun when I actually doing something but I am also resentful about having such a small part. I don’t know. Stuff.)

(ALSO I am always cast as a police officer. Something about me must say police officer. The first role I ever got in a show was a police officer, and I’m at 75% police officer roles with this particular theater company too.)

(I was a pick-a-little lady in Music Man, which thus far is the only non-police role. There was a police officer role, but that person had lines so of course I did not get it.)

13K for January, though, which was not shabby! I’m into the climax. I meant to start it today, but we had a snow day (except from rehearsal, apparently) so I have had small, mobile ones everywhere.

See you later, squiders!