The world I want to live in

I want to live in a world where I can be unrestrained, passionate, an artist, a writer, a poet, a sci-fi/fantasy/superheroes geek, a quantum physics dabbler, a Jesus-follower, a wife, mother, a daughter, a friend, a sister, a photographer, a foodie, a singer, a collector of ridiculous junk, a lover of everything about the cramazing human body, a tinkerer, a plotpantser, an advocate of even the most difficult truths, a ray of sunshine.

I want to live in a world where it’s okay that in addition to most of those roles, I’ve also been a mentor, a counselor, a mediator of conflicts, an innkeeper, an events organizer, a language instructor, a treasurer, a dollmaker, a carpenter, a construction worker, an archivist, an historian, an editor, a vice president, a genealogist, a hair stylist, a caterer.

I want to live in a world where functioning in all of these ways does *not* mean I’m “indecisive,” “rootless,” “aimless,” “absent-minded,” “careless.”

I want to live in a world where it’s okay to be whomever the spirit leads me to be at any given time.

I want to live in a world where it’s okay to be me.

I want to live.

This is why I should stay off of Pinterest.

Ed: What are you *doing*?

Me: It says to reblog this with my tongue.

Ed: Okayyy….

Me: According to this, 95% of people can’t do it.

Ed: I don’t doubt it.

Me: My touchscreen won’t respond. I have to dry my tongue first. How do you dry your tongue?

Ed: You probably don’t.

Me: Nnng. Mmmp. Guh. Shoot, I have to start over.

Ed: …

Me: There. I did it. I am so superior to 95% of people.

Ed: *sigh*

Dancing on the edge of oblivion: podcast and pubbed!

I got into a pod, and somebody cast it. Or something like that.

Hey cuties,

As I promised last week, Hulegaard Books’ interview with me is now live and awaiting your eager-to-listen ears! Again, I am indebted to David for the opportunity and for his mad interviewing skillz that kept me from feeling nervous and resulted in my sounding like I have an inkling of a conceptual hypothesis of what I’m doing. So listen, enjoy, give feedback, share the podcast with EVERY SINGLE PERSON YOU KNOW, and so forth. It’s there for your ravenous consumption.

Suddenly, I feel a quote from Arrow‘s “Felicity Smoak” coming on.

felicity-smoak-arrow

 

“It feels really good having you inside me. And by you I mean your voice. And by inside me I mean my ear. I’m going to stop talking right now.”

 

 

So there’s that. Go listen.

EDGE OF OBLIVION Anthology and Its Proceeds

Here’s a quick recap of the Writerly Goings-On that I’ve got my bangerang switch flipped and my verge swung over:

WHAT: EDGE OF OBLIVION, a brand-spankin’-new speculative fiction anthology
WHO: Editor Tony Healey and a kaboodle of fabulous independent authors
WHERE: on Amazon
WHEN: NOW
HOW: with a click of your mouse and a small amount of cold, hard cash, baby
WHY: because you’ll be getting some great quality reading EN-TER-TAIN-A-MENT and, even better, the money you spend on this book will be donated to the The Cystic Fibrosis Trust; READ: you’ll be helping sick kiddos.

EDGE OF OBLIVION cover art by Bruce Pennington and Keri Knutson.

EDGE OF OBLIVION cover art by Bruce Pennington and Keri Knutson.

Just for fun, here’s a list of the authors and their stories:

  • The House On Lantern Lane by Bernard Schaffer
  • Still by Simon John Cox
  • The Tunnel by David K. Hulegaard
  • Dinner by Jeff Provine
  • Jingle, Jingle by Keri Knutson
  • The F*cker Out Of Space by Tony Healey
  • The Torch Singer by Nathan Yocum
  • Box 2013 by Brendan Swogger
  • Remotely Viewed by David Cederbaum
  • A Taste For Eyes by Jay Wilburn
  • How We Left The Desert by RJ Astruc
  • Bloodline by Kevin Duncan
  • Higher Order by James Wymore
  • The Last American Mortal by Michael Shean
  • The Mercy and the Schadenfreude of the Soulless by Courtney Cantrell
  • Angel Eyes by William Vitka

Read and hear more from the Edge of Oblivion authors:

BONUS:

Lots of excitement around this project, y’all. Jump in and join the fun! The water’s great!

#MANifeellikeawriter

So, I got interviewed: Of Podcasts and Podpeople.

UPDATE:
PEOPLE! Anthology editor Tony Healey has given the word, and the word is TODAY!!! Speculative fiction anthology EDGE OF OBLIVION is live at Amazon, which means you can buy it! And read it! And review it!

So go do that. NOW. Or I’ll send my Black-Ops-ian team of evil elves to tattoo “I’m a nerd” on your forehead.

BUY IT NOW.

*grins at you maniacally*

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this:

Hile, beloved inklings! I hope you’re all staying warm and cozy out there to whatever extent warmth and coziness are possible and comfortable for you. (I assume you’re all the out-there type of people, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this. And some of you likely prefer cold over warmth, which is just WEIRD. Buncha supermurgatroid alien podpeople. Sheesh.)

Anyway. If you’ve been paying attention — which I know you have, because that’s just the sort of dear, attentive lovelies you are — you know that what little writing time I’ve had lately, I’ve devoted mostly to writing and posting short stories. This means that there’s been a dearth of non-story posts around here. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless you guys don’t WANT free short stories to read. Which would be REALLY WEIRD and also somewhat DISASTROUS in blog-traffic terms.

But then, since I still haven’t been able to get Google Analytics to work with my blog, I have no idea what sort of traffic I’m getting or not getting, so that point is pretty much moo*.

Edge of Oblivion cover art by Bruce Pennington and Keri Knutson

Edge of Oblivion cover art by Bruce Pennington and Keri Knutson

ANYWAY. One of the things that’s been going on outside of short-story-penmonkeying is that I’ve been getting ready for the upcoming publication of my short story “The Mercy and the Schadenfreude of the Soulless” in Tony Healey’s anthology EDGE OF OBLIVION (EoO). See the pretty, pretty cover art?!

“The Mercy and the Schadenfreude of the Soulless” is, as I’ve mentioned before, a Grace & Jack story. If you follow that link, you’ll find a plethora of info on those two crazy lovebirds.

But there’s more info coming up! One of my fellow EoO authors, David Hulegaard, is doing a series of podcast interviews with the rest of us. David asked me to come on the show, and in spite of my nerves regarding public speaking, I said yes.

Of course, there was nothing for me to worry about. David put me completely at ease with his excellent writerly questions and his engaging interview style. We had a blast, and I’m hopeful that this won’t be my last Hulegaard Books Podcast. It was that much fun. : ) He sent me a preview — or is it a prelisten? — and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. David made me sound like I know exactly what I’m doing. BANGERANG.

So far, besides me, David has interviewed anthology editor Tony Healey and authors Brendan Swogger and William Vitka. Those interviews are excellent, and I highly recommend you go check them out here (Tony) and here (Brendan and Vitka).

The anthology itself, EDGE OF OBLIVION, officially launches this coming Monday, February 3rd. (EGAD, it’s almost February. WHAT?!) I’ll be posting more then! In the meantime, get your appetites in gear for hearing me talk about: Grace & Jack, how one juggles motherhood and writing life, and how writing short stories is like foreplay.

(Yeah, I really said that. And I let someone record me saying it. Oy vey.)

If you don’t hear from me sooner, have a great weekend!

________________________

*”It’s like a cow’s opinion. It just doesn’t matter. It’s moo.” –Joey Tribbiani

________________________

Did you go buy the anthology?

EDGE OF OBLIVION in US Amazon store.
EDGE OF OBLIVION in UK Amazon store.

*continues grinning maniacally*

Works-in-Progress Update and Getting Naked

Sci-fi novel Elevator People

First draft still in-progress. Still one to two chapters away from completion. I spend more time thinking about why I can’t finish the story than I do trying to finish the story. Which is a stupid way to spend my time. But there you have it. My theories as to what my problem is:

(a) I don’t want to kill off the character who’s probably gonna die in the last chapter.
(b) I’ve been spending too much time on social media, and it’s rotted my brain.
(c) The antagonist kicks the bucket too soon, and that’s made me lose momentum.
(d) Part of me thinks I should slog through and finish the first draft as-is, then go back and fix the problems.
(e) Part of me thinks I should fix everything I can fix and then finish the story.
(f) I keep wanting to play with sparkly new story ideas for my Legends of the Light-Walkers universe.
(g) I have ennui.
(h) ALL OF THE FREAKING ABOVE.

Dash it all.

Sci-fi short story “The Mercy and the Schadenfreude of the Soulless”

Yes. That is the actual title.

My beta readers have finished the story, and their response has been overwhelmingly, blush-elicitingly positive. Which, of course, makes me panic that these two people, whose opinions and clear views of life I generally trust, are, just in the case of my story, wholly blind to reality and deceived as to the merits of my story. Which makes me an angsty, ego-driven writer, I suppose, but then, what else is new?

Tonight’s blog post is, apparently, brought to you by Courtney’s Penchant for Commas. You’re welcome.

Anyway, edits on TMatSotS are going well, and I plan to have it done and turned in to Tony by the end of the week. BANGERANG.

Advice

Especially in the shower.

Especially in the shower.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Resource: Ent Larva and Dances With Testicles

Or: Writerly shenanigans with words, cuz that’s how I roll.

In case you didn’t know, I grew up in Germany and speak German fluently. I also speak a fair amount of French and a smattering of Italian, and I’ve had four years of Ancient Greek. This is the reason why in many of most of my novels, I make up words such as “Saltmarch” and “banegold” and have characters who speak in dialects. (I’m trying to dial back the dialect stuff, since it turns off some of my readers. See? I love y’all enough to kill my darlings!)

*ahem* Where was I?

Oh. Languages. Yes. Well, today I read something German that included the word “heimsuchen.” I’ve always considered it a peculiar word. It’s used to describe uncomfortable or scary events, mostly related to natural disasters. It’s translated as beleaguer, infest, devastate, afflict, obsess, haunt.

So, a stalker “heimsucht” a victim. Or Moore, OK, was “heimgesucht” by tornadoes on May 11th. Or the spirits “heimsuchen” the graveyard. Et cetera.

But directly translated, “heimsuchen” means “homeseek.”

That just flips my bangerang switch penchants all over the place. Homeseek. It could be a verb: the action of a specially programmed missile. It could be a noun: a tiny creature you carry around with you on your quest, only for emergency use when you’re hopelessly lost in Thornbird Forest. It could even be an adverb, although I don’t recommend those and don’t know how you’d use “homeseekily,” anyway.

Ooh. A title. Pillars of the Twelve: Homeseek (totally arbitrary number). Go do something with that.

The more I thought about this strange word “heimsuchen” and its incorrect translation “homeseek,” the more excited I got about finding other German words or phrases to translate into fantasy/sci-fi inspiration. So I did some pondering and came up with the following. Use at will–it’s all free inspiration! Credit me if you like, or not. But don’t be surprised if I use some of these myself. ; )

German word: PECHVOGEL

Correct translation: jinx, unlucky person

Direct translation: tar bird

A mech bird that dumps tar or something equally unlovely upon citizens for public infractions? A bird made of tar, created by a wizard to plague people?

German word: SÄUFERSONNE

In this case, the correct and direct translations have to be one and the same, because I don’t know of an English phrase for this. The word translates to “drunkard’s sun” and refers to the moon: Either the person is too drunk to tell the difference and thinks the moon is the sun; or s/he spends the day sleeping off a hangover and never sees the actual sun, so the moon must suffice.

But it makes me think of the phrase “drinker’s sun,” which leads to “drink the sun,” which could be really creepy in some evil ritual by the bad guys in a fantasy story.

German phrase: HEILIGER STROHSACK

Correct translation: Holy mackerel!

Direct translation: Holy straw sack (Batman)!

German word: HEUSCHRECKE

Correct translation: grasshopper, locust

Direct translation: hay scare

German phrase: SCHWEIN HABEN

Correct translation: to be lucky

Direct translation: to have pig

I think this would be awesome in a fantasy novel with villager characters. : )

German word: EISBEIN

Correct translation: knuckle of pork (in cooking)

Old usage: ice skate (noun)

Direct translation: ice leg

German word: ENTLARVEN

Correct translation: to unmask

Direct translation: to de-larva

Maybe Tolkien’s ents start out as larva? I dunno. O_o

German word: ELFENBEIN

Correct translation: ivory (the dentine, not the color)

Direct translation: elf leg

What’s the connection between elves and elephants? Write it!

German word: HOTTEHÜ

Correct translation: horse (babytalk)

Direct translation: rightleft (noun)

German word: FRIEDHOF

Correct translation: graveyard

Direct translation: peace yard

German word: EIERTANZ

Correct usage: to beat around the bush

Direct translation: egg dance

BONUS: can also translate to “testicle dance” O_o

German word: JEMANDEN MUNDTOT MACHEN

Correct translation: to muzzle someone, to shut someone up

Direct translation: to make someone mouth-dead

So there you have it, folks! Some of my favorite, inspiring mistranslations. Feel free to share which of these inspires you — and then go write it! Or draw it, or paint it. Whatever you want!

Me, I’m having visions of mouth-dead elves made of ice, tending to peaceyards full of larva that hatch into tiny trees, all whilst dodging the tar birds sent to drink the sun.

Dances With Eggs. Because really, why wouldn't you?

Dances With Eggs. Because really, why wouldn’t you?

I own a banana slicer. And I am not ashamed.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I took a day and instead of tweeting, just emailed myself everything I would’ve tweeted. I did this knowing I would eventually blog it all. I don’t know why. There’s no particular goal of this, just the fact that the blog is a laboratory and I get to mush stuff together on it and see what goes kablooey.

So here are my tweets, including the stuff I would’ve re-tweeted (RT). Make of the mess what you will.

kablooey1

Stereoscopic vision really freaks me out sometimes.

It is not a happy thing when the baby eats a dead bug. *SIGH*

RT @lecrae: Peace doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. It’s means problems won’t have you.

HEY I JUST MET YOU, AND THIS IS CRAZY
BUT LET’S TELL RIDDLES AND I’LL EAT YOU MAYBE.

(I tweeted this one after all. Had to.)

(I tweeted this one after all. Had to.)

RT @scalzi: Most nerdy t-shirts just don’t seem that clever to me anymore. Clearly, my next t-shirt should read WHY ARE YOU ON MY LAWN

Your choices change the direction of other people’s lives. You are not isolated.

RT @AdviceToWriters: There’s a word for a writer who never gives up: published. JOE KONRATH
#amwriting #publishing #writing

RT @BenHoward87: If you see a centaur, remember it is not your friend. It is a mythical creature and as such does have the capability for rational thought.

Sometimes you just gotta take a few minutes and shave your legs.

Me too. RT @YMinisterswife: Sometimes I am compassionate. Sometimes I am not.
I am working on it.

This floor is messing with my head.
tilefloor

RT @PassiveVoiceBlg: Misguggle http://t.co/h8dCtF0HCM

RT @BenHoward87: Peanuts cartoons + Morrissey lyrics = the hilarity of existential despair http://t.co/DkfxO50Kw6

I am in my favorite place in the entire universe. Walmart checkout. #notreally

I’ve been beta-reading things for people lately. Good to work on #amwriting stuff, even if it’s not mine.

RT @LeVostreGC: Thou: subjecte. Thee: objecte. Thy: possessif (:thyne, yf yn front of a vowel). Now thou knowst, and the knowinge ys wel half of the battel.

Trying to clean my carpet with baking soda and vinegar.
baking soda and vinegar carpet

I own a banana slicer and I am not ashamed.

Remember when Scully wore shoulder pads?

Remember when desktop monitors were the size of anvils?

RT @pattonoswalt: Be a warrior, that your son may be a doctor, and his son a poet, and his son a podcaster, and his son a resentful Libertarian.

Remember when we couldn’t Google anything?

RT @LeVostreGC: Siri, wher ys the horse and the ridere? Siri, wher ys the horn that was blowinge?

.@LeVostreGC Wher in the worlde ys Carmen Sandiego?

Remember when payphones?

Just so you know, Kinesio-taping your stomach to pull your abs together is not for sissies. #diastasisrecti

That awkward moment when you look in the mirror and there’s an ant crawling in your hair.

It occurs to me that I haven’t performed a solo in 7 years.

Rain. Thunder. Contented. Sigh.

RT @BenHoward87: If I blame everyone alive for all the things that have happened in existence, will the internet still have a reason to exist?

Dragon Vs. Turkey, Death by Hamster, and Writing Advice

Um. Hi?

I feel like I should be tiptoeing in here, and it’s my own blog. I’m sorry for the extreme silence lately, y’all. Honestly, the only thing I can tell you is that I’ve been pureeing pears and prunes. Seriously. Since the Itty Bitty started her foray into solid foods, I’ve felt as though I’ve been living in the kitchen.

Fortunately, I shall soon acquire a brilliant gadget unfortunately named “Babycook,” which shall do the cooking and pureeing for me and is, fortunately, not made from real babies.

Furthermore

My grand and good intention is to get back into blogging regularly — at least once a week. There won’t be another month-long hiatus if I can possibly help it (and I do think I can, Pauly). In the meantime, I’m also planning an updateish post to let you know what’s been happening in my writing world.

But that’s for later. Right now, I’m in the mood for silly, so silly is what you’re gonna get. Specifically, silly related to keyword searches.

You people are weird, and I love you for it.

Without further ado or adon’t, here are some of the keyword searches that, according to Google Analytics, have recently led y’all to my blog. And also my reactions to said keyword searches. BANGERANG.

1. would you please do me a favor

I never take requests unless asked, so yes!

2. what can be the misuses of having banana
common misuses of a banana

I take it back. You don’t get any favors. Sicko.

3. upside down scrambled cat

I don’t really understand, but okay….

scrambledcat

I didn’t know how to do the scrambled part, but perhaps this will suffice anyway.

4. what to do when your novel gets too complicated

SIMPLIFY.

No, really. Cut a character, erase a subplot or two, delete some scenes. If the novel’s too complicated, it means you’ve got too many cats in your frying pan. Toss a few of them out. You’ll end up overcooking them anyway.

5. sometimes a lady

…will have her cat cake and eat it, too.

6. should a writer listen to suggestions

For the love of all that’s good and true and writerly in this world, YES. Don’t be a precious snowflake.

7. scary hamster
hamster kiss
hamster suicide
dumb hamster
death by hamster
cool hamster

Okay, I can see why the hamsters might be kissing. Even furfaces like a little lip once in a while. And if a dumb hamster and a cool hamster are kissing, it might have entertainment value. Locking braces, awkward positions, AND SO FORTH.

But…but…why hamster suicide? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? And by Grabthar’s Hammer, what is death by hamster? Diana from “V” swallows one and chokes on it?

And why did these searches lead to my blog?!?

#whatisthatidonteven

8. novels — how long is too long

If you keep writing after the story is finished, then your novel is too long.

9. i have a bachelors in writing now what

Yes. Quite.

(READ: When I find out, I’ll let you know.)

10. dragon vs. turkey

dragonvsturkey

Here’s a poem about sacrifice, depression, and empathy. I think.

Of course, you might decide it’s about something else entirely. Interpretation is entirely your prerogative.

Anyway! In celebration of National Poetry Month — which is NOW, if you must know — fabulous Edinatrix Laurie Laliberte (@LaliberteLaurie) is hosting a Poetry Slam on her blog. Today, she happens to be featuring a poem by Yours Writerly. You can probably guess that this really swings my verge and flips my bangerang switch.

So, head on over to Laurie’s blog and read my poem that might or might not be about sacrifice, depression, and empathy.

Feedback is always welcome! : )

Witch Doctors, Jesus Christ, and the Harlem Globetrotters

Hile, you lovely people! With no more preamble than what you’re reading RIGHT THIS INSTANT, here’s a quick run-down of Courtney’s Recent Life:

  • Writing advice site UnstressedSyllables.com published my recent article on how to choose a target audience for your novel. Click that link to read and go ooh-ahh.
  • Speaking of ooh-aahs, I’ve been singing a lot of “Witch Doctor” to the baby. She finds it entertaining.
  • I’VE BEEN PAINTING. I know. I KNOW. That’s a pretty big one. I hope none of you fainted. If you did, and if you’ve since revived to read the rest of this bullet point, I’ll tell you that I’ve actually got TWO paintings in the works:
    1. an illustration of Revelation: a post-Second-Coming Christ, the church in the form of a house, and a New Jerusalem coming down out of the heavens — you know, iconic epic-type stuff
    2. an image that’s been knocking around in my head for almost two years: landscape with crimson sky and purple hills in the background, and a mysterious dark Something in the foreground. The Something might be a structure. Or it might be a person (possibly a female version of this). I’m not sure yet. But it will be black.
  • I’ve been editing Josh‘s latest: Hell-Bent for Leather, a Weird Western in which supernaturally gifted Chet Leather must rescue the soul of his friend, Dan, from the clutches of a Duke of Hell. It’s an incredibly entertaining romp with plenty of action, deviltry, tongue-in-cheekiness, and heart. Though I’m slow due to time constraints, I’m enjoying it immensely. In other news, Josh has been very patient with me.
  • In further news, Elevator People progresses apace. Our Hero is about five paragraphs and a few lines of dialogue away from his final encounter with The Villain, Carrigan Bell. I’m glad of it, because I’m ready for this story to be in editing and pre-publishing stage, and I also want Carrigan Bell over and done with. He’s a particularly nasty sort, and I always feel like I need a shower after I’ve been in his head for a while.
  • This isn’t part of Recent Life, but it’s a Recent Development pertaining to Life, so I’ll share it: I get to see the Harlem Globetrotters in April, and my brother-in-law will be on the opposing team. BAM.

For now, that is all. I’m going to bed. See ya later, dahlings! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

But if you do, take pictures.* ; )

*I picked that one up from my Grandpa. WHAT.