current events; also, stereoscopic vision really freaks me out sometimes

The second half of this entry’s title was a note I emailed to myself more than 3 years ago under subject “blog not tweet.” Actually, the email’s subject line reads, “blog not twwet,” but Ima chalk that up to typo-ing. As it turns out, there are twelve emails nested under that subject, so I’m sharing their content here. YOU’RE WELCOME.

Blog Not Twwet, Because Clearly I Can’t Spell

It is not a happy thing when the baby eats a dead bug. *SIGH*
(2016 Note: This, too, is a message catapulted into this future from about three years ago. The baby has since turned into a preschooler, apparently suffering no ill effects from having consumed dead insect carapace.)

HEY I JUST MET YOU, AND THIS IS CRAZY
BUT LET’S TELL RIDDLES AND I’LL EAT YOU MAYBE.
(2016 Note: I’m assuming this references Gollum.)

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

(This one’s emphasized because: important.)

Sometimes you just gotta take a few minutes and shave your legs.
(2016 Note: NO.)

Floor messing with head PIC
(2016 Note: I have no idea what this means.)

And now, it seems, quotes:

“@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.”

“@BenHoward87: Peanuts cartoons + Morrissey lyrics = the hilarity of existential despair

“@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”

Remember when Scully wore shoulder pads?

Remember when desktop monitors were the size of anvils?

Remember when we couldn’t Google anything?

Remember when payphones?

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

Wher in the worlde ys Carmen Sandiego?

Just so you know, kinesio-taping your stomach to pull your abs together is not for sissies. #diastasisrecti
(2016 Note: I have a blog post about this. Search for it if you will. I’m too lazy to link to it right now.)

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.
(2016 Note: It’s now been 10 years. I miss singing for audiences.)

Rain. Thunder. Contented. Sigh.
(2016 Note: Weirdness: As I’ve been copying & pasting the last ten lines or so, I’ve been listening to “Love, Reign O’er Me” by The Who. I didn’t know this line was coming up.)

I own a banana slicer and I am not ashamed.

In other news…

As part of my 2016 endeavor to read only women writers, I am currently in the middle of Naomi Novik’s UPROOTED. It is UTTERLY BRILLIANT. It’s one of those books that makes me want to do nothing but read. I resent Thanksgiving Day tomorrow because it will steal me away from this novel. I need to be working on my own WIP (newly retitled THE ELVEN DEAD AND OTHER LEGENDS OF THE LIGHT-WALKERS), but I’d rather read Novik’s book than work on my own.

DASH IT ALL.

P.S. In addition to random “blog not twwet,” I also ran across various Consortium emails from five and more years ago. I let them suck me into reading them, and now I just feel sad. I miss the Consortium-in-its-heyday so much. Being continually involved and multiple-times-daily connected with other artists was a balm to my soul and a life-giver to my spirit. Author-publishing is a lonely business. I desperately miss all-but-living-with other artists, back when everything was running smoothly. We made magic.

Help an Artist and Get Cool Stuff! WOOT!

Click to embiggen cramazingness!

Hey kids,

If you’ve been paying attention (and I know you have, because that’s just the kind of splendiforous dears you are), you know that I belong to a non-profit organization designed to support artists to support the arts. The goal is to pay artists for the time they spend putting beautiful, wonderful, silly, and cramazing things into the world — so that they can continue putting beautiful, wonderful, silly, and cramazing things into the world.

The artists get resources and the means with which to live, and communities all over the world get fantabulous works of art.

EVERYBODY WINS.

In keeping with this, ’tis my pleasure to recommend to you the Kickstarter campaign for author Aaron Pogue’s The Dragonprince’s Heir (Book 3 in The Dragonprince Trilogy).

Kickstarter is a fundraising platform for creative projects. If a project meets its fundraising goal within the allotted time, then the project is fully funded. If a project doesn’t meet its goal, then none of the donors are charged for the amount they pledged.

Each donation amount has a reward attached to it. For instance, if you pledge $20.00 toward Pogue’s The Dragonprince’s Heir, you’ll get digital copies of the entire Dragonprince Trilogy, as well as Pogue’s dragonswarm short stories. Pledge $55.00, and you get a signed paperback copy of the trilogy as an omnibus edition. A pledge of $250.00 garners you a visit to The Consortium offices and an afternoon of picking Aaron Pogue’s brain. And so forth.

But, alas, no one gets any of these nice things if Aaron’s project doesn’t get fully funded by Thursday, June 21, 2012.

The funding goal is $30,000.00. There are nine days left.

Why $30,000.00 for the publication of one novel?

Because once the $30,000.00 goal is met, Aaron intends to release the novel into the public domain. Any money the book earns beyond that will belong to The Consortium and to its artists — who, if you recall, are making more beautiful things for you. Once again, everybody wins.

To see the rest of the rewards and to read the full story behind all of this, visit Aaron’s Kickstarter page. The hows and whys of donating are all there and easy to follow.

Support this artist to support the arts!

Books I Read in 2011

My To-Read Shelf for 2012 -- not counting ebooks!

Well, my lovelies, ’tis the last day of the year! Thus, it’s time for me to share with you the list of books I read this year.

I’m slightly disappointed in myself, because this year’s count is lower than last year’s.

In 2010, I read 58.5 books.

In 2011, I read 42.

What made the difference? Well, becoming a published author, for one. By necessity, I had to spend more time working on my own books than reading others’. There were days when I was so worn out by the time I finished my writing and editing, I had no mental capacity left over for reading. Sleep and vegging in front of Netflix had to take precedence.

I know, I know. What kind of writer am I, choosing a movie over a book? Sheesh. Mea culpa.

But another thing that cut into my writing time was becoming an acquisitions editor. When it comes to my own novels, Consortium Books is my indie publisher. But when it comes to novels by our Consortium artists, my job as acquisitions editor requires me to read each of those novels and (a) approve it for line and copy editing if it’s ready or (b) work with the writer on getting it ready if it’s not.

This, too, takes time. Sometimes, it means I’m reading the same book two or three times. Always, it means I’m reading fewer already-published works.

However, I have no complaints about devoting time to my own writing or to the writing of my cohorts. I’m helping get new works out into the world and into readers’ hands. That’s at least as valuable as reading works that are already out there, if not more so.

So, when I look at it from that perspective, I guess I’m not so disappointed in myself, after all. : )

(Not to mention the fact that a books-read count of 42 [aka answer to life, the universe, and everything] is not something I can argue with.)

Thus, without further ado or adon’t, here’s my 2011 list of books!

Books I Read in 2011

An asterisk indicates a favorite read for the year.

  1. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
  2. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
  3. *Lilith: A Snake in the Grass by Jack L. Chalker
  4. *Cerberus: A Wolf in the Fold by Jack L. Chalker
  5. *Charon: A Dragon at the Gate by Jack L. Chalker
  6. *Medusa: A Tiger by the Tail by Jack L. Chalker
  7. *Absolute All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Neal Adams
  8. *Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  9. Black: The Birth of Evil by Ted Dekker
  10. Relentless by Dean Koontz
  11. The Folk of the Fringe by Orson Scott Card
  12. Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
  13. The Cure by Anthony Marais (not finished)
  14. Taliesin by Stephen R. Lawhead
  15. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
  16. *The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  17. Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks
  18. Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist
  19. Magician: Master by Raymond E. Feist
  20. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  21. Ghost Targets: Restraint by Aaron Pogue
  22. The Walking Dead, Vol. 11 by Robert Kirkman, et al
  23. The Walking Dead, Vol. 12 by Robert Kirkman, et al
  24. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  25. The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter by Sue Denim and Dav Pilkey
  26. Serenity: Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad
  27. Serenity: Better Days by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad
  28. *Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub
  29. *Snow in August by Pete Hamill
  30. Conan, #1 by Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, Lin Carter
  31. Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1) by Jim Butcher
  32. A Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1 (Fall Issue) by Consortium Books
  33. Death and the Dream by J. J. Brown
  34. Yesterday’s Gone, Episode 1 by Sean Platt and David Wright
  35. The Zombie Bible: Death Has Come Up into Our Windows by Stant Litore
  36. *Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
  37. Secret Life of a TEEN Agent by Joshua Unruh
  38. Taming Fire (Dragonprince Trilogy, #1) by Aaron Pogue
  39. *The Dragonswarm (Dragonprince Trilogy, #2) by Aaron Pogue
  40. Resistance Front by Kindle All-Stars
  41. *Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
  42. *Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

_____________________
How ’bout y’all? How many books did you read this year? What was your favorite? Tell us in the comments!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

35 Hours ‘Til the End!

You! Yes, YOU! Diligent, lovely reader of my blog! I have an opportunity for you. Trust me, you don’t wanna miss this.

Whatsit?

It’s a Kickstarter.

What’s a Kickstarter?

Well, it’s a starter the operates by a downward kick….

Wait. No, we’re not talking motorcycles here. We’re talking Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects.

Artists get to present their projects.
Beautiful people like you get to help bring those projects to life.

My friend and fellow writer, Aaron Pogue has a best-selling indie fantasy novel: Taming Fire. It’s a fun, rollicking adventure story of magic and dragons and love and redemption and some surprisingly gritty moments that make ya think.

The Dragonswarm is the sequel to Taming Fire, and lemme tell ya, this book is gonna be a read-and-a-half. I’m helping to edit it right now, and it’s so epic-fantasy-yummy, it’s addictive.

What would you say to throwing a few bucks at The Dragonswarm to help get this novel into your happy reader hands? Aaron’s got a Dragonswarm Kickstarter just for you!

Here’s what Aaron has to tell you about it:

The goal of the campaign is to pay the production costs of publishing an indie novel. I won’t beg and plead with you to share your hard-earned money, because I’ll be publishing this book even if the campaign isn’t funded. I’ve been covering the costs myself for more than a year now.

No, this campaign (and every one that will follow) is an opportunity for those of you who want to be a part of it.

For those of you who want to see me (or any of our other writers) getting to be a full-time writer instead of holding down a day job to pay the bills.

For those of you who want to support a community that creates art as a thing of worth (not a thing of commercial value).

In short, if you want to help me keep doing what I’m doing, KickStarter gives me an easy way to accept your support. And it lets me respond with some very cool rewards. If you want, you can just look it as a way to pre-order your signed copy of The Dragonswarm, sent straight to your door.

Did you catch the part about rewards? Oh yeah. There are rewards. And they’re all book-related. (And some of them involve this [by lil ol’me!].)

So click on over to Aaron’s Kickstarter, watch the video, and help make some cramazing art.

And hurry! The Kickstarter ends in only 35 hours!

Support the artists to support the arts.

The Consortium

In the Beginning (Consortium Roots)

Hile, inklings! I hope you’re all having a cramazing life today.
: )

At the end of a blog post on her Go To El, the fabulous El recently posed the following question:

Did you ever walk into circumstances and come out with a lot more than you bargained for?

I posted the following as my response, and I felt it worth sharing here (especially for the benefit of MY NEWEST READERS, WHOM I WELCOME WITH MOST HYPERACTIVE JOY!!!):

“Did you ever walk into circumstances and come out with a lot more than you bargained for?”

Yes. ; ) Here’s the story:

Shawn: Courtney, you know Aaron Pogue? He likes writing, you like writing, our friend JT likes writing, and I like writing — we should form a writers’ group!

Me: Um, sure!

Me: Hi, Aaron and JT. Shawn says we should form a writers’ group. What do you think?

Aaron, JT: Um, sure!

*many writers’ meetings happen*

Aaron: Hey, Courtney, we should start a nonprofit organization to support the arts, and you should be the head of our writing school.

Me: Um, sure!

*shortly thereafter*

Aaron, Hey, Courtney, part of this nonprofit should be an indie publishing house, and we should help each other and all of our writer friends self-publish our novels.

Me: Um, sure!

Aaron: And Carlos and Julie want to help us with cover art.

Carlos, Julie: Yay!

Me: So does Amy!

Amy: Yay!

Aaron: And Jessie wants to be our editor.

Jessie: Yay!

Aaron, Courtney: And here are all these other people who want to help and whom we can help in return!

Everybody: Yay!

18 months later, the Consortium has published 6 novels, 1 speculative fiction magazine, and a stand-alone short story.

It’s unimaginably more than I bargained for. And it is wonderful. : )

_________

And you, dear readers? When did you get more than you ever dreamed possible? Share in the comments!

Also, I know that when we get “more than we bargained for,” the “more” isn’t always good. Sometimes, it’s pretty bad. Please do share those times with us as well, if you’re so inclined.
After all…”shared pain is lessened” (Spider Robinson).

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.

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 Grooming Habits of Agents

Or: A Brief History of My Journey to Indie Authordom

Photo by Julie V. Photography


Once upon a two-years-ago, I met a real live acquisitions editor.

I’d let my mother talk me into attending an Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. Conference at a hotel in south OKC. Introvert and publishing world n00b that I was, I required a lot of convincing. The carrot that got me was Mama’s offer to pay for the whole thing. So, off I went to the writers’ conference.

After I got over myself, I had fun. Some neat people talked to me, so I tagged along with them all three days of the conference. One of them had published a few novels with a Christian publishing company, and he introduced me to his acquisitions editor.

My face was all polite smiles and wittiness. Inside, I was thinking,

“Hmm. Acquisitions editor? Foot in door? Is this it?!?”

Eventually, during a break between lectures, there was a little circle of conversation at the hotel coffee shop. I don’t recall how it happened, but something I said about my in-progress novel led to this editor’s turning to me and asking, “So, Courtney, what is your book about?”

Inside, I said, “Um.”

Back Story

Before the conference, I’d signed up to pitch my epic high fantasy novel Triad to one of the agents who’d be at the conference. Now, I had with me a carefully crafted cover letter and the painstakingly polished first three chapters of said high fantasy novel.

I had not come to this conference prepared to talk to anyone about my Christian fantasy novel, Colors of Deception, which was then in first draft stage.

Fast-Forward

So, when Acquisitions Editor Attached To Christian Publisher asked me what my in-progress novel was about, I had about half a second to come up with a pitch.

Inside, I thought, “Um.”

And then, I thought, “This IS it!!!

Outside, I said, “My novel’s about a group of Christian college students who are being stalked by demons.”

To which Editor Attached To Christian Publisher replied, “I’d like to see that.” And she gave me her business card.

Outside, I said, “Great! I can have the first three chapters ready for you in a few weeks.”

Inside, I said,


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Happened Next

Not long after that conference — and with manic re-writing in-between — I sent Benevolent Acquisitions Editor an email, asking in what form she’d like the first three chapters. She replied with instructions to mail her a hard copy.

I did that.

I waited two months.

Then, I received her email thanking me for my submission and stating that my story was not what her publisher was looking for at this time.


 

 

 

 

 

Turning the Beat Around

I felt crushed. Beaten. I didn’t understand. Why would she show such interest in my story, if it wasn’t the kind of story her publisher was interested in? Why did she get my hopes up like that? Shouldn’t she know better than to treat a fragile, sensitive writer’s heart this way?!

Of course, with hindsight and a bit more education about the publishing world, I now understand it was nothing personal. Either my writing style wasn’t what she was looking for, or my story really wasn’t the kind of story her company was interested in, after all.

Of course, the notion that my writing was, at that point, simply not good enough is completely preposterous.

*ahem*

Anyway, by now it was fall of ’09, so I made an early resolution: 2010 would be The Year I Found An Agent.

A flurry of agent-y research ensued. There was intense poring-over of submission guidelines. There was much flipping through of novels to see which authors credited their agents. By February 2010, I’d compiled a database of 35 agents, their preferences, their guidelines, their faves, their published authors, their grooming habits, and their agencies. All I needed was to re-visit my query letter, perfect it, and start sending it out.

If You Need Something Done Right…

Then, in March 2010, my friend Aaron approached me about founding a non-profit organization to support the arts. How he talked me into it and how The Consortium came to be is another story and shall be told another time…

…but the end of the matter is that instead of getting an agent, I got an indie publisher. I got a published novel. Colors of Deception, that story about Christian college students stalked by demons, is in the hands of readers who, by all reports, are enjoying the heck out of it.

Maybe I coulda been traditionally published. Instead, I’m indie published. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

________________________

My most darlingest inklings! Are you agent-hunting? What’s your process?

Are you querying? What’s your greatest query letter challenge?

How do you deal with rejection letters from editors or agents?

If you’ve gone indie or self-pub — what was the legacy-pub straw that broke your writing camel’s back?

Let’s talk. : )

The Convergence of Rattlesnakes, Angels, and Corsets

Illuminated Van Gogh by Liz Cail McElroy

You might not know this, my dear inklings — but I am involved in a grand scheme to change the world.

I know. It’s hard to imagine that an artsy culture-geek such as I would be so idealistic as to want to alter even an iota of her environment. But, alas and alack, I’m too air-headed to leave well enough alone. Hence, just over a year ago, I embarked with fellow artsy geeks upon a quest to fiddle with reality until said reality suits us.

This quest, me hearties, operates under the name The Consortium, and I encourage you to read more about it here. The basic premise is that we, the Consortium, want to change the world by supporting artists. Supporting artists supports the arts. Supporting the arts changes the world. And there you have it. Egad, Brain.

A patron studies Forever In The Lion's Eye by Courtney Cantrell

Better Than GroupThink

The Consortium has officially existed since November 2010, and this past Saturday, we had our first official function: The First Annual Consortium Arts Fundraiser. This is important because it was the first time all of our artists came together to work on one gigantic project. Much firstness and officialdom!

Over the past year, two writers, an editor, two photographers, a graphic designer, and a project coordinator collaborated to publish three books (one of them is mine, hint hint). ; ) Our director of marketing got us an article in a newspaper. We have multiple other projects in development, involving musicians, computer programmers, copy writers, and voice actors.

We’ve got a passion for producing — everything.

The One Where I Sold Three Paintings

So, we’ve got our fingers in all these yummy, creative pies…but this past weekend was the first time we got into the same pie together. (Ooh La La; Or: This Is Getting Interesting.) We put on a fundraiser: an art contest and silent auction.

And it was CRAMAZING.

We had a life-size rattlesnake sculpture. We had a painting of a world-traveling octopus. The Craftivists, our artsy allies in Topeka, donated a purple lace window illustrating the dangers of corsets. Poetry submissions represented the written arts.

Bill Weger sings They Call the Wind Maria

Photographers extraordinaire Julie and Carlos Velez set aside their cameras and entertained us with song by means of ukulele and guitar. Two Consortium members elicited much laughter with a performance of the classic skit “Who’s on First?” And a professional opera singer, whose voice has entertained audiences as far away as Germany and the Philippines, regaled us with “They Call the Wind Maria.”

I don’t know the numbers of how many pieces sold at auction or how many votes were cast for the winning entries of the art contest. But I do know that three of my paintings sold for more than I’d ever hoped to get for any of my art.

(One painting was a portal into an otherworldly realm; another, a larger-than-life lion’s eye; and the third, a translucent angel. Seeing those pieces go to new homes has made my fingers itch without ceasing for my paintbrushes!)

Carlos and Julie Velez, lookin' artsy.

Why You Should Give a Small Rodent’s Posterior

Actually, scratch that. We don’t want donations of rat tushies. For one thing, it would leave too many rats in a rather awkward position. Also, we’re not into maiming animals. (Although there was that incident with the platypus–)

*ahem*

But seriously. Dudes. You should care about all of this because, if you’re reading my blog in the first place, you already have an interest in (the) art(/s). You already care about how art affects the world and how it affects your world.

And the Consortium, my lovely art-lover, is all about affecting your world in wondrous ways. The Consortium is all about enhancing your world, your culture, your life. Our fundraiser was our first collective step from the breathless, anticipatory shadows into the light.

We are here. We are visible. We’re ready to make something happen. We are making things happen. And if you’re reading this, then the ripples are already touching you.

There. You feel that? That’s the first tiny nudge.

Support the artists to support the arts. The Consortium is doing wonders, people — and lemme tell ya, these pies are finger-lickin’ good.

The Consortium in cramazing hats!

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

There is a children’s book which, sadly, I have never read. It is Judith Viorst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Although my English teacher mother and my bibliophile father kept me in English-language books whilst I was growing up in Germany, they seem to have missed this one somehow. I arrived at college in Oklahoma in 1996 to find fellow students referencing this little book all over the place. This book, and the film The Princess Bride. I didn’t know what anyone was talking about.

In the interim, I’ve seen The Princess Bride about a bajillion times — but I’ve never gotten around to getting my hands on Alexander’s story. For my purposes today, however, all I need to know about his story is the title and the cover art. I can extrapolate pretty well: Alexander’s day is starting out sucky and it’s just getting worse.

(On a side note, my fingers keep wanting to type “Aleksandr.” Apparently, I am Russian today. Yeah, baba.)

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Wednesday

Yesterday, I could relate all too well to Alexander’s story. It all started when I poured my coffee, zested it up with Truvia, and then opened the fridge — only to discover that there was no milk in any form. No cow, no goat, no almond.

I cannot drink coffee without some form of milk. My tastebuds haven’t the constitution for the purely black stuff.

So. No coffee for Courtney. If you know me at all, you know that this was pretty much THE harbinger of Doom.

The doomish trend continued when I settled in to work out our monthly budget, which I do at the start of every month.

NOTE TO SELF:

Never do a budget without having fortified self with coffee.

I shan’t divulge my budgeting details, ’cause that’s nunya. ; ) However, I will say that upon close review, the finances looked worse than I’d anticipated. In fact, I’d been anticipating good stuff. There wasn’t any. Just bad stuff. I slumped in my chair, rubbed my eyes with the heels of my hands, and plodded on.

Things got worse when I opened a bill, and it was medical, and it was unexpected, and it was for several hundred dollars, and I don’t think I should have to pay it. A phone call confirmed my fear that the only way to get out of it will be to haggle with the insurance company that hasn’t provided our insurance in almost a year.

The only haggling I enjoy is the haggling one does with European vendors who don’t speak one’s language.

Yes. I would rather stand in a dirty, open-air market and argue over trinkets at the top of my lungs with an irate vendor who is trying to cheat me and whose language I don’t speak than have a phone conversation in English with an insurance company.

But that’s beside the point.

The point is that by now, I was bawling in horrid frustration over my budget forms. This was followed in quick succession by slamming the back of my head into the corner of the kitchen cabinet and then poking myself in the eye with a fingernail.

My terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

In Which Things Get Better

Since Judith Viorst’s book was published in the more innocent, less snarky age of 1987, I’m assuming Aleksandr’s story has a happy ending and a Moral To The Story. (Word.)

My happy ending came in the form of a phone call from my mother. (How do mothers always know?) She said, “Daddy and Grandpa stopped at Sonic on their way home, and Daddy paged through a Gazette while they ate. Here’s what he found… .”

What Daddy found was an article in the Oklahoma Gazette. And the article was about my book.

As a placeholder for what you’re reading right now, I posted the following on my blog yesterday:

Odds bodkins and gadzooks! My novel is in today’s Oklahoma Gazette!

Read article “Write-hand view” by Danny Marroquin.

Cramazing!

 

Every Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Has Its Silver Lining

And that, my dear inklings, is your Moral To The Story.

Are you having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?

I’ve minimized a lot of my worries through witticism and sarcasm in this post. I won’t minimize yours. If you’re struggling with something more serious than budgeting woes and bumps on the head, my prayers and good thoughts are with you. I understand that there is darkness so deep, silver linings aren’t visible. (I’ve been there.)

But if you’re just having a bad day — what’s your silver lining?

It doesn’t have to be something like your first novel’s cover art in the newspaper. (Although that’s pretty freakin’ cool, lemme tell ya.) Your pick-me-up might be a literal ray of sunshine. A smile from a stranger. A call from a friend.

Or maybe it’s chocolate. I ate a lot of that yesterday, too. ; )

How do you turn a bad day around? Let’s talk.