Booty-Gouty Flips My Bangerang Switch

So. If you are…

…one of my followers on Twitter,

someone considering following me on Twitter,

or someone considering joining Twitter and then following me…

…I feel it’s only fair to let you know what you’ve gotten / what you’re getting yourself into. You see, sometimes, on Twitter, it starts out simple. Like a conversation with a fellow Twitterer named Kris (@PrettyAllTrue) about the innocent and vital-for-survival-of-human-species activity of typo correction. The beginning of the end might start out thusly:

Dearly beloved, that’s really all it takes to trigger a certain switch in my brain. That switch is labeled “Filters Off, Engines On, Shenanigans Go, BANGERANG.” Eyes widen and glaze over. The fingers twitch. The maniacal grin tugs at one corner of the mouth. And then this happens:

By now, the fingers are no longer typing. They are dive-bombing the keyboard. The maniacal grin spreads to cover the face as the kamikaze fingers drop payloads of ridiculousness into the computer:

 

Somebody, Please, Stop Me Whatever You Do, Don’t Stop Me

Further banter ensues, and I quip a we’ll-always-have-Paris-esque line about having my booty-gouty, and Kris giggles and calls that a comfort. I’m pretty far gone by now, and the image of a booty-gouty Snuggie pops into my head. It pushes me over the edge.

Why? Why, wherefore, and howso? Nobody knows. But the reasons don’t matter. The important thing is that there is now booty-gouty in the world. Can I get an amen? TESTIFY!
 

ODE TO THE BOOTY-GOUTY*

by Courtney Cantrell

If your booty is so gouty
you can’t hurry up the stairs,
if your booty’s kinda shaky
and is growing several hairs,
then join me in rejoicement
as we shout what is so true:
“WE LOVE YOU, BOOTY-GOUTY!
BOOTY-GOUTY, WE LOVE YOU!”

We don’t know where you came from
or really what you are.
From the way you drag behind you,
we assume the way was far.
But though you look bedraggled
and you’re missing some spare parts,
you keep our giggles going
while we wave away your farts.

(It’s like a poem in an un-children’s-book. I don’t understand why this is happening.)

How long will you stay with us?
Booty-gouty, we don’t know.
We can’t take you into school;
you’re no good for Tell & Show.
We’ll enjoy you while you last,
’til you have schlepped yourself away.
Thanks for sharing, Booty-gouty!
Thanks for brightening the day!

___________________

If anyone actually comments on this, you get the Brave Or Merciful Soul Of the Year Award.

*No alcohol was consumed in the making of this poem. I swear.

 

Extra! Extra! Get Your Sneak Peek Here!

As I promised yesterday, here’s an excerpt from my upcoming SHADOWS AFTER MIDNIGHT (Demons of Saltmarch #2).

In this scene from Chapter 7, Peter (main character & narrator) and Company are looking for clues to the whereabouts of a friend they think has been taken by a demon. Their search goes awry when the demon Seirim attacks them by means of artwork hanging on the walls of a local café.

When last we saw Our Hero…

_____________________

A spiky-haired form flew past me, heading for the café’s front door. I wondered what had happened to her drummer brother. Get Daniel, I thought at her, with no hope that Jas would hear me. Only hope that she would make it outside alive.

At Owin’s side, Anne pulled at the vines that held him, her fingernails scraping green plant flesh onto the floor. She glanced up at me and yelled my name again. At her feet, Holly sprawled in a spreading pool of blood. Kneeling at Holly’s shoulder, its posture that of a penitent worshiper, a cartoon bunny lifted its face from her throat and grinned at me over her too-still chest. Its fangs and muzzle glistened with her blood.

Three normals in serious trouble—and trouble of a nature I’d never even heard of, let alone faced. This is not how this is supposed to go. For once, I needed Daniel. For once, I needed my big brother.

Dammit.

I lunged forward—and stopped short as vines thrust past my head on either side and twisted around my throat. This time, breath cut off completely as the demonic plant jerked me backward. My right foot went out from under me, and I crashed to the floor. My head smacked into something more solid than my skull. Darkness bloomed in my vision.

With the little air I had left, I tried to yell Holly’s name. But I only made a thin whistle. Banegold in my hands, I grabbed the vines encircling my neck and pulled. Plant flesh sizzled, but the pressure only increased. More vines whipped down from somewhere above, replacing the ones I weakened. I couldn’t see the doll anymore—and then its face slid over the edge of the bar high above my head. Its bland expression hadn’t changed. But its eyes were different. Too large for a doll head, the emerald eyes of Owin Moran stared down at me as though a plastic surgeon with a sick sense of humor had excised the twin green orbs and stuck them in the doll’s face.

“Greetings, Peter,” said the doll.

The voice was jovial and scratchy, like that of a favored uncle in some piece of classical British literature. But it didn’t issue from the doll’s pouty red lips, which remained frozen in their perpetual, inane smile. As though exuded from enormous pores, the voice came from the dozens of fanged mouths studding the mother vine.

“This day has been so very long in coming,” it said.

Owin shouted. Anne screamed. The barista sobbed on the other side of the counter. I raised my hands, hoping banegold still stirred at my fingertips. Black blossoms splotched my vision, so I couldn’t tell for sure.

A staccato giggle issued from the mouths in the vine. “How’s your leg?” asked the demon Seirim.

I shot banegold. Shot blind—but I heard wood splinter and vine shriek. The demon’s grasp on my throat eased just enough for me to suck in a short breath. Like the black blossoms in my vision, pain flowered in my chest. I tried to roll away from the counter. Tried to roll away from the pain. The pain followed me. As I flopped to my stomach, the demon doll landed on my back, its weight much more solid and crushing than it should have been for its size. The concussion drove my precious, salvaged bit of breath from my chest.

Pain morphed into a vise as vine fingers dug their claws into my scalp and pulled my head up. I felt banegold spark like electricity at my fingertips, then fizzle out. A vine snaked around my head. I felt its weird, alien lips pressing against my left ear, almost intimate.

“Look, auguren,” the demon whispered. “Look on them, these ordinary humans, and see the chaos you have wrought.”

I had no breath left. I couldn’t have said no even if I’d tried.

On the floor ahead of me, Holly was conscious. Her dark eyes rolled wildly as she fought off the demon bunny with one hand and held the gaping neck wound together with her other. Blood flowed steadily through her fingers. The creature cackled and swiped at her hands with its claws, but it wasn’t pushing very hard to reach her. No. It was playing with her. It wanted to watch her struggle to get away while it came on a little bit at a time, relishing her panic and her pain. Her legs fishtailed on the blood-slick floor as she tried to slide backward away from the thing. But her back was pressed against Anne’s legs. Holly had gotten as far away from the bunny as she could get—and Anne couldn’t move to help.

Vines held Anne’s arms trapped at her sides. Though her feet remained on the floor, the vines strained to lift her up—and into the painting. Owin’s left shoulder and arm had already disappeared into the canvas. I had a weird moment of vertigo, seeing most of Owin real on the outside but part of Owin flat and two-dimensional in oil paint. Even worse, the flat part of him was moving within the painting, his arm flailing to avoid the crushing grasp of the circular plant maw that I now knew was a manifestation Seirim.

How? I wanted to ask. I’d never seen a demon manipulate inanimate objects this way. In Saltmarch, maybe, but not in our world. How is it doing this? And where was Daniel?

A huge flower the color of my own midnight opened one blinding petal at a time in the center of my vision. As I lost sight of Holly, Anne, and Owin, a scream sounded that could only belong to Jas. Jas—not outside? A shout of rage arose in response. Bryan? My ears were ringing, and all other sound was muffled. But still, I could distinguish the demon’s voice as its damp, spongy lips pressed against my ear.

“You can’t save them,” it whispered. “They belong to me now. I shall gulp their blood and devour their flesh and gnaw their bones. You cannot save them.”

No! You won’t

In the confines of my thoughts, the words sounded powerless. My fingers tore at the vines around my throat, while the rest of me thrashed back and forth, bucking beneath the weight of the creature on my back. My body made these efforts without me, and I watched from somewhere far away. The only immediate sensations were the agonizing pressure in my chest and the horrible brush of the demon’s vine lips.

“But you can save the lodestone,” it said… . “You can still save her, auguren, if you are willing to pay my price.”

What price?

And in the most hideous moment I had ever experienced, a moment that out-hideous-ed every other awful memory I’d hidden away, the thinnest tendril of vine slipped into my ear, threaded its way into a cold pain that stabbed the side of my head like an iron icicle, squirmed past—through?—my eardrum, pierced my brain, and spoke to me with horrible intimacy as its tiny plant fangs gnawed at my gray matter.

That’s what it felt like, anyway.

“Yourself,” said the demon into my head.

___________________

Inklings, I hope you enjoyed this. Feedback is always welcome. : )

Book Release Party: SHADOWS AFTER MIDNIGHT

Hello, my dear inklings, and welcome, Saltmarch fans!

Saltmarch, Where The Demons Live

As this unbearably hot summer hangs on tooth-and-nail to its ridiculously sweltering temperatures (here in Oklahoma, anyway), let us turn our mind’s eye to the near future, a future most glorious in its cooled-off-ness (we hope) and in its bringing of a near-and-dear-to-my-heart event, yea verily and forsooth.

 

That event, my little pumpernickels, is the BOOK RELEASE PARTY

for my second novel, SHADOWS AFTER MIDNIGHT (Demons of Saltmarch #2)

on SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8th, at 6:30PM

at VINTAGE TIMELESS COFFEE (900 NW 150th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73013).

And you are all invited! Tally-ho, zounds, and bangerang!

If you’ve not yet delved into my Demons of Saltmarch Series, please check out COLORS OF DECEPTION (Demons of Saltmarch #1). Buy it for $2.99 on Kindle or $12.99 in paperback!

If you are already well-versed in the Demons of Saltmarch world, come back to courtcan.com tomorrow for a sneak peek at SHADOWS AFTER MIDNIGHT! (And yes, this will be more than just the sample you found in the back of your COLORS copy.)

Dante and I hope to see you soon. ; )

10 Things I’d Rather Do Than Fight a Zombie Elf

 

  

 This post is brought to you by the letter “Z” and was inspired by Consortium Books‘ upcoming short story e-zine, Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1 (in which you can read my zombie elf short story “Dead Reconning”). 

  
 

10 Things I’d Rather Do Than Fight a Zombie Elf

In random order:

  1. Fight a living elf
  2. Make out with a non-sparkling vampire
    We all know how that would end, and it doesn’t involve vampiric vegetarianism.
  3. Take afternoon tea with Gothmog (“Elephant Man” orc in LoTR film The Return of the King)
    Talk about one lump or two. Have you seen that guy’s face?!
  4. Engage in a Worst Poetry Contest with a Vogon
    Internal hemorrhaging, anyone?
  5. Listen to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” until my ears bleed
  6. Work out to Richard Simmons’s Disco Sweat
  7. Play hide-and-seek with Darth Vader
    “The stupidity is strong with this one.”
  8. Clean the cats’ litterboxes
  9. Catch a dragon by the toe
    If he hollers, you’re dead. Because he breathes fire and all.
  10. Try to write a novel without any coffee

_________________

What about you? What would you rather do than fight an undead zombie elf?

Zombie Courtney created with “George A. Romero’s App of the Dead” app for iPhone.

In Which I Think My Navel Is Helpful

Hile, inklings!

If you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have, because that’s just the kind of sedulous inklings you are), you know that I generally post something on this blog every Tuesday and Thursday —

— and you’ll have noticed that I missed Thursday last week.

You’ll also have noticed that today is Wednesday. At least, it’s already/still Wednesday where I live.

Wednesday usually means no courtcan.com blogpost, except that today it does mean a courtcan.com blogpost.

“I’m explaining to you because you look nervous.”

(Odds bodkins, but I love that line.)

“That’s not the point!”
“So, what is the point?”
“The point is…the point is…I’ve forgotten the point.” (Love those ones, too.)

The point is, I’m blogging off-schedule, and I’m enjoying it, and I’m doing it today because I wanted to share links with you.

These links are to posts I’ve written for friend and colleague Aaron’s Pogue’s Unstressed Syllables. I want to share these particular ones here, because as I re-read them, I feel encouraged and enlivened.

Ha! That sounds awfully navel-gazer-ish. ; ) But I’m not talking about energizement based on my own writing. I’m talking about remembering how people and ponderings brightened a corner of my writing world. If there’s a chance such blogpost remembrances can brighten someone else’s corner, I don’t want to pass up an opportunity to share those remembrances here.

So. Here they are in random order:

1. What I Learned About Writing This Week…from Twitter, in which I showcase some favorite tweets that rally us all to be more passionate humans and bolder writers.

2. What I Learned About Writing This Week…from My Writers Tribe, in which, for the first time, I chronicle the pitfalls and possibilities of being around people who don’t think my writerly brain qualifies as mental ward material.

3. What I Learned About Writing This Week…from Getting Edited — oh, the horror? Just how bad is it for someone to spirit your baby (READ: novel) away and vivisect it?

4. What I Learned About Writing This Week…from Taking a Shower
Even writers have to get clean sometimes. (Yes, we must needs leave the house occasionally and be presentable so as not to frighten the children.) But what about the purification of the writer’s soul? Our spirits need uncluttering, too. How’s about a fresh start to everything?

5. What I Learned About Writing This Week…from Observation, Redux
Watch them when they don’t know you’re looking. It’s fascinating, and it will open your heart to the poignant beauty in everyone around you.

So click through, read, enjoy, ponder, commiserate, decry, invigorate, challenge, rejoice. Leave comments over there, or come back here and share your questions, comments, concerns, and cookies! I’d love to hear from you. : )

Have a cramazing day!

This Is Named “Rose,” Mr. Shakespeare

As many of you already know,
the husband and I recently moved into a cozy  
 

 
 

  

  

 
At the front of this  
  

  

  

 are several

 s.
 

  

  

  

 
And in one of these 
 

 s, to my utter delight and surprise,  

  

 
I have discovered a  

  

 

 It’s really nice to see such a beautiful little life flourishing in spite of the drought.

I am thankful. : )
 

  

  

 
P.S. Please forgive the iPhone photo washed-out-edness of the rose photo, as well as the unsightly purple in the house photo. We don’t really live in an encroaching purple fog; that was just my iPhone cover slipping inconveniently about. *sigh*

Demons, Daftness, and Deadlines — OH My

So, I’ve got two exciting things to tell you about. I’m gonna try to tell you these things coherently — but, alas and alack, the lovely storm that rolled in this evening has bequeathed upon me a vision-blurring, brain-mushing headache. Thus, if I don’t make sense or if everything I write comes out weird, I’ll have to ask you to bear with me.

But exciting things! The first one, my darlings, is that a few weeks back, Julie and Carlos Velez of Julie V. Photography shot the cover art photo for my SHADOWS AFTER MIDNIGHT (Demons of Saltmarch #2). And it was bonkers fabulous.

I know that after Book 1’s cover art shoot, I shared all manner of cool photos with you. Sorry to disappoint, but I won’t be doing that this time. For one thing, we shot our male model against a white backdrop, and the cool Saltmarch background will get Photoshopped in.

For another, I want to keep the appearance and identity of our male model a secret (though you already know who he is and what he looks like, if you’ve been paying attention on Twitter.) He’s gonna look cramazingly cool on the SHADOWS cover, and I want the whole thing to be a surprise.

In the meantime: MODEL! You know who you are! And I thank you once again for your fabulous work with our photographers!

I know so many cool, talented, and just plain nice people. : )

And that, my beloveds, was Exciting Thing One.

Exciting Thing Two is that I have officially completed my final draft of SHADOWS AFTER MIDNIGHT and have submitted it to my editor for official, editor-ish “nurturing.” And as I peruse my Google Document, I see by her notes that the nurturing is already well underway.

Which, if you hadn’t guessed, gets me all kinds of nervous as well as giddy. I actually love getting edited, because it’s an honest joy to find out stuff I can do to make my story better.

The story in question, of course, is the sequel to COLORS OF DECEPTION. If you haven’t read COLORS, I won’t spoil it for you here. But. I will say that in this second book…

  • Peter takes center stage as main character,
  • we get to meet his auguren (read: demon-hunter) family, including his arrogant big bro Daniel (sibling rivalry! woot!),
  • Holly’s got a botheration of explaining to do,
  • seductive, craven, hungry Dante Mullins is up to his old tricks,
  • somebody gets whisked away to Saltmarch,
  • and demon cartoon bunnies are rather inconvenient.

Me, I am bouncing hither and yon, alternating between breathless excitement to get this book into your hands, my loves — and breathless terror that you won’t like it once you’ve got it. Welcome back to my Author’s Mild Manic Episodes. They might become more frequent until the first week of October (read: release of Book 2).

I hope you enjoy your stay. ; )

Okay inklings, here’s your German word for today…

…and that word is lecker!

le•cker

  • delicious
  • yummy
  • delectable
  • scrumptious
  • or even scrum-dilly-umptious, if you will

A fantastic German sentence in which to use your new vocabulary word would be:

Mein Eiskaffee ist lecker!

Which brings me to our bonus German word for the day…

EISKAFFEE!!!

Get Shorty

So, in case you haven’t seen me mention it on Twitter, I’m tickled pink to be involved in The Consortium‘s upcoming short story magazine publication.

In fact, I’ve been so tickled pink about it, I dug out the former prologue to one of my high fantasy novels, intending to use said former prologue as my short story submission. After a fair bit of clean-up, you understand.

But.

After some pondering and some hob-nobbing with fellow writerly types, I’ve come to the conclusion that said former prologue does not best serve my needs at this time.

I.e., as a “short story,” said former prologue sucks.

Dash it all.

So. There was only one solution.

Like Aaron recommended in his blog just last week, I cut the prologue. Again.

Instead of using the former-prologue-now-turned-former-short-story, I’m now writing a real, honest-to-goodness, gen-yoo-wine short story. For the first time ever.

Yeah, I’ve written “short stories” before — but they were more like interesting scenes instead of narratives with definite, short-story-like structure. In my previously penned short fiction, I have never practiced what I’ve preached, namely the principle of Learn The Rules First And Only Then Break Them.

In my short fiction, I’ve never bothered with the rules until now.

So, what rules am I following?

Well, first off, I’m obeying KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. I’m sticking to one genre — high fantasy — instead of writing the kind of horror-fantasy-scifi-thriller-literary-fiction mish-mash for which I have a penchant.

Blast those penchants. They get me every time.

Where was I? Oh. KISS. Right. *mwah*

I’m also leaning heavily on the following structure, gleaned mostly from stuff Aaron recommends and stuff one of his master’s degree profs recommends:

  • Scene (1,500 – 2,000 words): protagonist in direct conflict with antagonist; protagonist sort of gets what s/he wants, but there’s a loose end or two
  • Sequel (500 – 1,000 words): protagonist reflects on emotional impact of what’s happened; this is also a good place for limited info dump; protagonist communicates the stakes to the reader
  • Climax (2,500 words): runs the gamut of protagonist’s Choice, Decision, Action, Dark Moment (in which all seems lost), Reversal (in which most [but not all] is regained), and Reward.

I started the story on Sunday, and I finished it this afternoon. The first draft clocks in at right around 4,300 words. It’s about 1,500 words shorter than I thought it would be when I started — but my hero kind of moved faster than I’d anticipated. Ah well. We’ll see if the next draft brings along more wordage.

This is a very new sort of writing adventure for me — one of which I’ve always been leery. I’ve never delved deep into short fiction because most of the time, my short stories go from cute little hatchlings to massive, epic, flyings beasts in the space of about two days. At least in my head.

So, come to think of it, I don’t need this new story to have a wordage growth spurt. It’s pretty fine and dandy at 4,300 words, thank ye kindly.

Part of this new adventure will be to write *more* short stories over the course of the next month or so. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

*sigh* What have I gotten myself into?

_____________________

What about you, dear inklings? Got a short story fetish? Got some short story fears? Let’s hear ’em! I’d love to know I’m not the only one with this weird hang-up. ; )

The Vulgarians Evoke Something in My Breast

This is a rant.  You’ve been warned.

Never mind the goo. That's just my skin melting.

 So, here in Oklahoma, we just had the hottest July on record. As of today — on which the official high was 108º, although, as you can see, my iPhone insists it was 111 — there’s a statewide burn ban. I’m not too broken up about that, since I’m not currently in campfire mode and never in the habit of burning my trash.

But what does burn me up — har de har har — are the pristine, emerald green lawns I viewed when I made a trip to Vulgaria this afternoon.

What, you might be asking yourself, is Vulgaria?

Well, I’ll tell you, darling reader. Vulgaria is my term for human dwellings so ridiculously, wastefully ostentatious that they’re just vulgar.

I mean, come on — you gotta have turrets on your mansion? Really?

Actually, I’m a total hypocrite here. I love the turrets. If I had money for a mansion, you better believe I’d want it to have turrets. Two, as a matter of fact. Maybe even three. And a bastion here and there. If you don’t know what that is, I’m just gonna to let you keep thinking it’s something obscene, because I feel snarky and you have Wikipedia.

😉

Anyway, I toured a little slice of Vulgaria in North OKC this evening. The husband, who works for a hardwood flooring wholesaler, had made a delivery there and knew I’d appreciate the architecture. Because he knows I’m a sucker for a good turret. We drove in through the exit because the entrance gate was closed. What can I say — we’re rebels.

The husband was right: I loved the architecture. It evoked all the classic beauty of Italy, the slight mystery of the English countryside, and the hominess of colonial American hearths. The masonry was perfect with its intentional haphazard look, and the turrets rose quite majestically, indeed. Each house evoked in my breast* a deeper, more fond sentiment than the last.

But I wasn’t so fond of their lawns.

You see, all of their lawns looked to have grown in lush, green Ireland — not blistering hot Oklahoma. And several home owners had decided to run their sprinklers.

After it rained this afternoon.

Granted, it wasn’t much rain. From what I’ve researched, it was officially 0.33 inches. That’s not a lot. Especially when you’re in a drought.

But still.

The Vulgarians decided to ignore the fact that there was water falling from the sky and, instead, get water from a hose and put it on their yards. Why, you ask, is this a big deal?

Actually, I suppose some of you are asking yourselves why I’m making a big deal out of any of this at all.

Well, lemme tell ya.

This came off the intarwebz somewhere. I hope that's okay. If not, let me know. ; )

There’s this thing called Lake Hefner. It’s a body of water smack dab in the middle of OKC. The lake is where the Vulgarians are getting the water for their emerald lawns.

That lake is also the place where my drinking water comes from.

When I was at the lake two days ago, the water line was about 150 feet from shore.

So.

Maybe I don’t understand how utilities work. Maybe the City of Oklahoma City has done all that’s necessary by leaving messages on everyone’s voicemail only to water lawns on odd-numbered days if your address is odd-numbered, even days if your address is even. Maybe I’m begrudging the Vulgarians their prize-winning grass for no other reason than that I can’t afford to water the lawn of my rent house.

Maybe I’m just being snarky for no reason at all.

But I keep thinking about that distant water line at Lake Hefner. I’m remembering the Wishing Well Water Walk I participated in a couple of years ago. I’m thinking about how money for turrets and pretty lawns could be going to help people. I’m pondering the fact that, considering the national debt, every U.S. citizen carries an average debt of $46,712.00 — and people still care to spend money on what their grass looks like.

I’m shutting off the water while I soap up in the shower. It’s not much, but it makes me feel better.

*No. You may not evoke anything. So stop thinking that. ; )