Thursday, December 30, 2010


Tron Legacy was absolutely nerdgasmic.

This is the HISHE rap from the makers of "How it Should Have Ended." This is about the original Tron movie and is also awesome.

Hold up, wait a minute, let me put some quarters in it...

Where to start? First of all, let me say that I owned Tron on the Beta machine. Yep, I was born in 1982 when the original Tron was made. So, the thought of a new Tron movie was nostalgic for me as I'm sure it was for a lot of people. Still, I never expected what we got...

The film was absolutely awesome. The storyline was interesting. The characters were good. (Though, some of my friends felt that the characters needed to be more developed. Still, I felt like they did a good enough job. The focus of the movie was action, and the characters were still very likable.) The effects were very cool, and above all, it had the feel of the original movie, only somehow even more awesome.

First off, let me say that I think critics judged this movie a bit too harshly. People who wanted to see this movie got exactly what they wanted. It was a continuation of the original Tron movie. It's assumed that people going to see this movie know about the original characters involved and know the general plot of the first movie. For those who don't, I suggest you get the movie "Tron" from Netflix and check it out before watching this film. Tron is also basically an action film for nerds, and critics tend to dislike action films and judge them harshly, the same way that they do horror films. Now, that being said, there are some very interesting things they did with this movie that separate it from the original.

I guess I should start with the new storyline. The basic storyline is that Flynn disappears unexpectedly one day while his child, Sam, is seven. Sam, is left behind, wondering what happened to his Father. He grows up as a bit of a rebel. While he owns most of the company that Flynn left behind, the board of directors really run the company and want to sell their software to make more of a profit. The movie starts with Sam sabotaging the company so that their new software is free to download, something his Father would have wanted. He never has gotten over the loss of his Father, and it shows in the fact he doesn't have many friends and is very reclusive, spending most of his efforts counteracting the board from his Father's company, yet not caring enough to take it over. When Alan gives him the message that his Father paged him, he goes to Flynn's old arcade, only to find a computer running. He accidentally activates the laser behind him, and is transported into the digital universe. He's rounded up as a rogue program and forced to participate in the games. When he's wounded by the program "Rinzler" he bleeds in the game world, proving him to be a "user." He's then taken to Clu, Flynn's program, and sentenced to death via the game grid. However, he is rescued by a program named "Quorra" and taken to his Father. He finds out he only has eight hours to escape from the game universe or he'll be stuck there forever like his Father.

The game grid is much more interesting than in the original movie. They added ramps to the light cycle game, and the ability to mess with gravity to the disk game. The sequences in the game grid seemed a lot more exciting. My only criticism is that I wish one of the other players had survived the light cycle game, but that was just because of nostalgia reasons regarding the first movie.

The concepts in this movie were a lot more abstract. There's mention of new life springing up from within the digital world, a sort of artificial intelligence that contained more wisdom than mankind could comprehend. There are also many allegories for religion which surprised me. Flynn was more like a God figure, and his program Clu was more of a Satan figure. Clu was trying to create a world of perfection, which became a world of tyranny as he started realizing that he and the real Flynn differed on ideas of the perfect utopia. Clu actually is a digital representation of Jeff Bridges (the actor playing Flynn), making him look young (it was a very impressive effect), while Flynn looks the age he's supposed to be in the movie, but he somehow seems more spiritual, sitting back and watching things unfold.

My one complaint with this movie was that I wanted more. I was disappointed with the ending because it is kind of open ended and there are a lot of unanswered questions. For one thing, though this is a small detail, I wanted to find out how Quorra met Zuse. I also am not sure what happened to Zuse. Though I think we're supposed to assume he is dead, but he seemed a bit too smart to have fallen for that trap. Also, what happens to Tron? What happened to the rest of the game world? And, though this is a bit of a philosoraptor question (if you don't know what philosoraptor is, google it), if a digital program goes into the real world, when it bleeds does it bleed pixels? What are the repercussions of something like that being in the real world? And, finally, what happened to Lora and her program Yori? They just kind of cut them out of the movie and she was an important character in the first film. I have to assume that Lora died in the real world and Yori was derezzed in the game world since neither of them are ever mentioned, but it would've been nice if they mentioned what happened to her so you don't have to just guess.

Still, those are my only complaints. This is an excellent movie and I highly recommend it to anyone who liked "Tron." This is just as good if not better.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Blarg...busy month.

Hello again,

This month has been so busy! I've been decorating the house, throwing Christmas parties, and working on a role-playing game that involves me making more than one character (and I overdid it as always). I am also getting ready to attend two birthday parties, and hopefully see Tron this weekend. (I'll probably do another movie review for a change of pace if all goes well.)

Anyway, sorry I haven't been blogging much. This month has flown by, so I'm going to sum up briefly what I've been up to.

So far, the writer's block is still plaguing me, so I've been writing some very detailed and long character histories and tormenting my GM's with them. To be fair, I have told them they don't have to read the long epic tome I present them with, that I can paraphrase it, but thus far they've still read it anyway. I might post a section of one of those if I deem it to be good enough, but otherwise it won't see the light of day.

I'm using the opportunity to experiment on writing in the first person perspective, since I usually write in third for just about all of my stories. The character history I'm working on now is actually pretty dark. It's also set in a general fantasy medieval time period, so I might be able to publish it if I do a good enough job. Still, with writer's block, usually these sort of stories are just written to keep me from getting too rusty.

I threw my annual Christmas party last week. It was a big success. I think everyone had a good time. There was more than enough food, as always. We make the Christmas Party a sort of pot-luck dinner. We all had a good meal, watched Christmas movies, and played Rock Band. Mission accomplished!

This week, was probably one of the worst weeks ever for me. A stray pit bull showed up in our yard. He was slightly aggressive and very nervous about people, and he was practically starving. He wasn't so thin that he was a skeleton, but he wasn't a healthy weight. He warmed up to me and hated my husband, and since we have cats (and I couldn't be sure he was healthy since he wouldn't let me close enough to put a leash on him) I couldn't let him inside. Also, our yard isn't fenced in so I couldn't keep him if I wanted to.

Long story short, I had to call the pound on him because he seemed a little too dangerous, and honestly, it was far crueler to do nothing and let him starve or freeze to death. I'm so softhearted when it comes to animals, it tore me up to do it. I tried to find a no-kill shelter, but no one seems to be taking new animals, especially pit bulls. It was one the hardest things I've had to do and I still don't feel good about it. Still, there are children in this neighborhood and the dog was obviously abused and slightly aggressive--being responsible sucks ALOT. FML.

Still, that incident has made me think about getting a dog at some point. I'm thinking of rescuing a racing greyhound when the time comes. Still, we'll need the yard fenced in entirely, and possibly an addition on the house before that happens. It'll have to be after the baby, but it is something to think about.

Well, that's about it. I've been busy busy busy. I'm thinking at this point that my new years resolutions will be to have a baby and beat the writer's block, both goals that I think are attainable for next year.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WoW fanfic...

Since this didn't win the World of Warcraft writing competition, I'm going to put it up as a writing sample for you to enjoy. I'm pretty sure that fanfics are covered under fair use, but if Blizzard decides they don't want me to list it, I'll take it down. In the meantime, please enjoy my story in the World of Warcraft Universe (tm Blizzard Entertainment Company), "Coping With Death."

Bramwell said a silent prayer to the Light as he strapped his sword onto his belt. It was dull around the edges and a bit rusty. He just hoped it would be enough to protect his family. He could hear the creatures’ pitiful moans outside his door as they scratched at the wood, too weak to do much more than make a shallow scratch. The sound made a shiver run down his spine as he imagined the splinters beneath their weathered fingernails, and as he heard the clinking of their skeletal joints. It had been a long time since he’d seen any undead in Ravenhill Cemetery, much less since he heard them clawing at his own door.

Grace said in a terrified whisper, “Please, don’t. Maybe they’ll go away.”

Bramwell sighed, “I’m sorry, Love, but it’s part of my job. Besides, you know that they won’t, and I’m not going to let anything happen to you or the boys.”

Grace asked, “But, why are they here?”

Bramwell said, “Not sure. Maybe a tree’s roots were encroaching on a grave or two. I’ll take care of the problem and then hopefully the others will rest easy.”

Bramwell’s children were staring at the door in rapt fascination. Garret, being nine, was more excited than scared, but Bertram hid his face in his older brother’s arm and whimpered slightly, especially when he noticed a few flecks of wood and sawdust fluttering to the ground like snowflakes on Winter Veil. The skeletal nails were making progress, creating a very small scratch mark through the wood, almost enough to see through.

Garret whispered to his five year old brother, “I dare you to go touch it.”

Bertram said, “No. You touch it.”

Grace snapped, “Both of you stay away from that door and away from the windows.”

Bramwell said, “I’m going out back. You two listen to your Mother, and no matter what, you keep that door and the windows locked.”

Grace muttered, “Please, be careful.”

Bramwell kissed her and whispered, “I’ll be fine, Grace.”

Bramwell walked out of the back door of his house. The first thing that struck him was the smell. It was the earthy smell of fresh grave soil combined with the sickeningly sweet stench of rotten meat. It was coming from a corpse that was limping towards him in the distance. The first two were still clawing at his front door, but this one was ambling around the house to search for another way in. The corpse in front of him looked so decomposed that it wasn’t even recognizable. He was glad. Bramwell buried half of the people in the cemetery and he didn’t like the thought of seeing one of them as a monster.

“Small favors,” Bramwell grumbled.

He reached for his sword at his side and waved his other arm in the air, yelling, “Come on, this way, Beastie!”

The creature’s dry eyes seemed to gleam with its ravenous craving as it shambled faster in his direction. It reached its arms out towards him, revealing thick exposed cords of sinewy muscle that made Bramwell feel like retching. Still, he stood his ground.

With one quick pull, Bramwell freed his sword and it went arching through the air at the creature’s head. The beast didn’t have time to react as the blade severed its head from its shoulders. The body swayed for a moment, and then the right arm swiped at Bramwell before the corpse fell unceremoniously to the ground. The blow was enough to leave a nasty gash across Bramwell’s chest.

Bramwell touched the wound gingerly. It was shallow, but it burned.

Bramwell thought, “If the rest of these things don’t do the job, Grace is going to kill me.”

The sound of the struggle was enough to draw the other creatures from the front of the house. One of them was the corpse of a young woman. There was still enough flesh on her bones that Bramwell recognized her. She was the daughter of the Town Crier. She died when she was thrown from her horse, and the disturbing tilt of her neck gave her away. The other was an old man that was entirely skeletal, probably a corpse buried before Bramwell became the caretaker.

Bramwell shouted, “Come on. I’m ready for you.”

The skeletal man ran towards him first. Bramwell just managed to dodge out of the way, cringing as the corpse’s sharp nails that just barely missed his eyes. He struck it with the sword and managed to cut one of the arms off, but that wasn’t enough to stop it. The creature lashed out again, this time much faster than he expected, and its nails went deeply into his arm. Bramwell screamed in surprise and pain as he swung the sword directly into the skeleton’s spine, slicing it in half—but, not before the woman grabbed him from behind, and sank her teeth into his shoulder. Bramwell shrieked and tried to pull away, but her grasp was surprisingly strong and he found himself unable to move.

Bramwell thought, “Is this really how I’m going to die? Killed by one of the people I buried?”

Grace shouted from behind them, “Let go of him!”

There was a sickening squelching sound as Grace slammed the end of a pitch fork through the woman’s back. The edges of it nicked Bramwell’s back as the prongs exited through her chest. Grace turned to the side, using the leverage of the pitch fork to swing the woman’s body away from Bramwell, giving him an opportunity to attack. The sword came down on the woman’s broken neck and she toppled over.

Bramwell grinned and said, “Didn’t I tell you to stay inside?”

Grace said, “You told us to keep the front door or the windows locked—and don’t sass me, Mister. You said you would be fine. Look at you!”

Bramwell touched the wound on his shoulder and grinned sheepishly.

Grace muttered, “Are there any more of them?”

Bramwell said, “I don’t think so. They would’ve made their way to the house by now, poor things.”

Grace said, “Poor things? They’re monsters!”

Bramwell said, “I think they only come towards houses and settlements because somewhere deep down they remember what they’re missing.”

Grace asked, “Then why do they attack?”

Bramwell shrugged, “Bitterness, maybe? Maybe they’re attracted to the warmth of our flesh too. Either way, I need to find out what disturbed their sleep.”

Grace said, “Not tonight. You need to be bandaged, and you need to rest.”

Bramwell sighed and said, “You’re right. But, first thing in the morning I’m going to Grand Hamlet to get the priest. I’ll feel better once the ground is consecrated again.”

Grace glanced at the woman’s body and said, “That’s the Crier’s daughter, isn’t it?”

Bramwell said, “I believe it is.”

Grace asked, “Are we going to tell him?”

Bramwell said, “I don’t think we should. I’ll take her ring to put in the coffin and bury the others’ possessions, tomorrow. We have to burn these bodies tonight, though. It’s the only way to be sure that they won’t get back up.”

Bramwell grabbed the few possessions the corpses’ still had. He took the woman’s ring, the decomposed corpse’s belt buckle, and the old skeletal man’s dagger that was still strapped to his waist, unused. He had heard rumors that some undead used weapons, but in his experience they all seemed like mindless animals, fighting more on instinct than with any real skill. The boys peered out of the door behind them, looking with morbid fascination at the pile of bodies.

Bertram asked, “Are you really going to burn them, Daddy?”

Bramwell said, “I’m afraid so, Son.”

Garret asked, “Can we watch?”

Bramwell glanced at Grace. She slowly shook her head. Still, Garret would probably one day be the caretaker when Bramwell was too old. He needed to see the process.

Bramwell said, “Okay, but after that it’s off to bed for both of you.”

Grace scowled at him but shrugged and headed inside, muttering about preparing the bandages. Bramwell understood why. Burning bodies was nasty business. The smell was sickening and the sight was worse.

Bramwell sat watching the fire with his arms around his boys. His wounds were aching and he was starting to feel feverish. Still, he felt a solemn peace as he watched the bodies burning away, knowing their souls were finally at rest. He was never very religious, but he was always proud of his job and the respect he showed for the dead of Ravenhill. A graveyard was supposed to be a peaceful place, and he intended to keep it that way.

As they retired for the evening, Grace dressed his wounds. She used a salve she made from Silverleaf and Peacebloom to speed up the healing process. Even though she knew about herbs, Grace never knew how to actually boil them into an elixir. Bramwell was grateful that tonight she didn’t try. Supposedly if the two ingredients were boiled together they would heal almost any injury within the day. Still, Bramwell knew from experience, if brewed incorrectly, they would cause terrible stomach cramps and violent vomiting. Even if the salve didn’t heal the wounds, it dulled the pain, which was enough.

Grace muttered, “You’ve got to be more careful. What would the kids and I do without you?”

Bramwell laughed, “You looked like you took pretty good care of yourself out there without my help.”

Grace said, “I’m serious. They could’ve killed you tonight. You’re feverish. I
want the priest to look at you before you bring him here.”

Bramwell rolled his eyes, “He’s got more serious things to worry about than taking care of a few minor cuts and bruises.”

Grace said, “These aren’t minor cuts, Bramwell. They’re red and infected and there’s green pus in them.”

Bramwell looked in the mirror and flinched. She was right. The cuts looked gangrenous even though they were fresh, especially on the bite mark. It was unnatural…

Bramwell said, “Okay, I’ll have him take a look at them too.”

Grace muttered, “Bramwell, I’ve been thinking. Do you think the Defias are right?”

Bramwell asked, “What? Why would you even think that?”

Grace said, “I heard one of their representatives talking last time I went into town. They said that Stormwind doesn’t care about our city and that if something bad ever happened here they wouldn’t even send help. Do you think that’s true?”

Bramwell said, “No, of course not. We’re loyal servants of the King just like everyone else. We pay our tithes to the church, the taxes to the city. If something happens, I know they’ll send someone.”

Grace sighed and said, “It’s just, you’re the caretaker of the graveyard. It shouldn’t be your job to fight those things whenever they show up. Shouldn’t there be a guard or something?”

Bramwell said, “There won’t need to be once the priest consecrates the ground. Don’t worry.”

Grace asked, “Will you just humor me and send a letter to Stromwind asking for a few guards? I have a really bad feeling that things are going to get worse. There haven’t been any attacks in months. Why are they starting up now?”

Bramwell said, “I don’t know. But, if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll send the letter tomorrow.”


Bramwell felt worse when he woke up in the morning. The sheets were moist with sweat, making him feel as though he was coated with slime, like a snail retracing its path. There was blood on the sheets where his wounds had reopened in the middle of the night. Still, at least the day was bright and it looked like good weather for travelling.

Bramwell wrote the letter to Stormwind and sealed it, putting it in his coat pocket. Then, he made his rounds in the cemetery and found the three unearthed graves. It was easy to tell them apart and he finished his small burial ceremony for the retrieved objects in a solemn silence. He also carefully scattered the ashes from the human bonfire from the night before, reciting a little song he heard from his Father that was supposed to protect against evil. Still, as far as Bramwell was concerned, the song sounded more like a necromancer’s chant.

Bramwell’s Father also used to say, “Pray to the dark or the light, Bram. The result is really up to you.”

It made him wonder about his Father…

When Bramwell finished, his boys were up and eating breakfast. He joined them at the table.

Garret asked, “Did you bury the stuff from last night?”

Bramwell said, “Yep, and scattered the ashes.”

Garret asked, “Are you really going to Grand Hamlet?”

Bramwell said, “Yes. I’ll probably be home by nightfall with the priest. Don’t wait up for me though. It really depends on if the weather holds out, and when the priest can leave.”

Bertram asked, “Can you get me some peppermint candies?”

Bramwell asked, “You’ve been talking to the Sven boy again, haven’t you?”

Bertram blushed, “Well, his Dad always brings him back candies when he goes.”

Bramwell chuckled and said, “Well, if you promise to be good for your Mother while I’m away.”

Bertram beamed and said, “I promise!”

Garret asked, hopefully, “Oh, and maybe some fireworks?”

Bramwell said, “We’ll see. What about you, Grace? Should I bring you back something special for putting up with me?”

He winked.

Grace laughed and said, “Maybe some beauty crème for all the wrinkles you give me.”

Bramwell grinned and said, “Love you, Grace.”

Grace smiled, “I love you too. Promise me something…”

Bramwell said, “Anything.”

Grace took the pendant from around her neck and walked over to Bramwell, putting it around his.

Grace said, “Wear this for luck. It was Dad’s. It’s just superstition, but he said this pendant used to keep him safe.”

Bramwell said, “I’ll wear it, but you’re really worrying too much. I’m just a little tired from the work this morning.”

Bramwell wiped the sweat from his brow with a napkin. He hoped that his lie would be enough to convince her that he was okay. He was starting to get chills and he still had a fever. The bite mark was burning again.

Bramwell finished his breakfast and then went into his tool shed to sharpen his sword. Even though he hoped he wouldn’t need it, it was dangerous to travel without one. The animals were becoming more aggressive, the Defias had a presence in the land, and there were even reports of Ogre sightings in the lower sections of Duskwood. The more he thought about it, the more he began think his wife was right. Maybe it was about time that one of the citizens wrote a letter to Stormwind. He just hoped that his letter wouldn’t be ignored.


As the cart hitched down the road towards Grand Hamlet, Bramwell began to feel uneasy. Something about the road was too silent. He could hear the clop of his old horse’s hooves on the cobblestones echoing down the road like the beating of a drum. His head pounded with every hoof beat. He had a high fever now and his wounds ached with even the slight movement of the cart. Bramwell expected to see more people on the roads between Ravenhill and the city, but the streets were practically deserted.

Bramwell thought, “It’s just my nerves. The quiet is getting to me, or the fever.”

Still, as he continued onward, he noticed something that gave him pause. There was a person running in the woods on the side of the road. He stopped the cart and reached for his sword, thinking it was one of the Defias Brotherhood, a bandit. Then, he saw the green sheen to her skin and realized he was seeing an Orc for the first time in his life. She paused and stared at him for a moment. He stopped the cart and stared back, bewildered.

Bramwell thought, frantically, “What is an Orc doing in Ravenhill?”

The Orc sneered at him and released series of sharp grunts. Its voice sounded like a wild Goretusk trying to attract a mate. The very sound of the creature disgusted him. Still, he realized far too late that the Orc wasn’t looking at him, but was calling to the group on the other side of the cart.

Bramwell heard the bushes next to him rustling and grabbed his sword, but the group was on him immediately. Two more Orcs came out of the underbrush, followed by a large creature that resembled a rough cross between a human and a bull. Two creatures which resembled the undead he fought the previous night were also there, but they were waiting in the bushes. These had daggers and were brandishing them as though they knew how to use them quite well.

Still, Bramwell didn’t have time to take in the entire scene. By the time his sword was unsheathed and he was standing up to fight, the black, bull-like creature was already on the cart with him. The last thing Bramwell saw was the head of a huge hammer rushing towards his face with enough power pushing it forward to splinter a sapling.

Bramwell heard a sickening muffled snap, like the sound of a bone shattering inside of a dog’s jaws. He knew the sound came from his neck. Darkness was closing in around his eyes, but then he thought of his family. If the group of Horde creatures ended up at his house, his family would be helpless. They didn’t have even a sword for protection or another horse to use to escape. The thought made his blood boil and even as his mind seemed to drift away, somehow he realized that his body was still moving. He could hear the surprised grunts and squeals from his opponents and the thought gave him sick satisfaction. Everything was tinted in red and the thick smell of copper was misting in the air around him. Slowly, the red sight and smell overcame all of his emotions and thoughts, and Bramwell fell into darkness.


A woman’s scream awoke Bramwell from what felt like a terrible nightmare, he was lying down on a metal table and looking at a high stone ceiling. He tried get up, but his hands and feet were strapped down. Glancing around him made him want to panic. There were body parts hanging from the ceiling, littered around the room, and a giant abomination of flesh and bone was lying on a table next to him. Even though the creature appeared to be lifeless, for some reason he could easily imagine it getting up and lumbering around, and if it did he felt as though he would lose his mind.

Bramwell heard the woman screaming again, and an impatient voice said, “Just take the potion you stupid wench!”

The woman must’ve taken the potion because after a sick gurgling sound there was nothing but silence.

The voice said, “Interesting reaction.”

Bramwell strained to see who the voice belonged to, but he didn’t have to wait long as the voice’s owner approached him. Bramwell immediately recognized that the man was one of the living dead, like the ones he fought occasionally in the graveyard, but this creature was like none he had ever seen. He was a tall dead man with wild white hair sticking out in all directions and tinted green flesh. His eyes glittered with malice and intelligence and they seemed to glow yellow in the darkness. He was carrying an empty vial in his hand and was preoccupied with the alchemy set next to the table, but only for a moment.

He turned to Bramwell, “Awake at last, I see.”

Bramwell stammered, “Where am I?”

The undead creature responded, “You’re in the safest of places, My Friend. You’re in Undercity under the watchful eye of Our Lady. My name is Apothecary Grayson.”

Bramwell asked, “Have you been torturing me?”

Grayson said, “I see you don’t remember, as expected. No. I’ve liberated you from what you once were. You were what we call a Scourge, a mindless undead being controlled by demonic forces. You are now one of the Forsaken. You’re free.”

Bramwell frowned. He could vaguely remember feeling a savage rage and the thick taste of blood in his mouth. At the time, the taste was heavenly as though blood and flesh was all he wanted to live for—he shivered.

Grayson grinned and said, “I see you can remember a little.”

Bramwell shouted, “Where is my family?”

Grayson frowned and said, “You were alone when we found you. You died during our ambush, but none of us expected you would turn into a Scourge. Since you were so exceptionally strong and savage, I just had to have you. You killed one of the Orcs and nearly cleaved the Tauren in two before we could restrain you.”

Bramwell asked, “Why were you in Ravenhill?”

Grayson said, “We were on a mission from The Lady herself. She asked us to investigate reports that the Scythe of Elune was in the area. A female Night Elf was supposed to be travelling through Duskwood with the weapon.”

Bramwell asked, “But why did you kill me?”

Grayson said, “You were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were checking the roads to see if she was there and were about to meet up to report our findings when you saw one of our scouts. We couldn’t just let you go. It would jeopardize the mission.”

Bramwell snapped, “Well, was it worth it? Did you find it?”

Grayson shrugged and said, “No. You died in vain. One of your kind found the Scythe first. It had detrimental effects on the entire area. But, at least my personal project of freeing you was a complete success…”

Bramwell asked, “What do you mean it had detrimental effects? What happened?”

Grayson rolled his eyes, “It would only depress you.”

Bramwell said, “I have to know! Tell me, or I swear when you turn me loose I’ll kill myself and ruin your little project.”

Grayson said, “There’s no need to be dramatic. The Scythe summons wolf-like humanoids that are called Worgen. When the man found it, it started summoning them everywhere. Then, a wave of negative energy discharged from the weapon, coating the entire land. All of the trees died, and all the dead rose from their graves as Scourge.”

Bramwell asked, “The dead rose? How many? Where?”

Grayson said, “All of them, in every grave.”

Bramwell began to scream.

Grayson said, “I see. You must’ve been one of the caretakers of a cemetery. That would explain the bite that changed you. If you had a family, it would be best for you to forget them now. They can’t be alive if they lived anywhere near Ravenhill.”

Bramwell said, “That’s not true. You don’t know my wife. She’s strong. She would’ve saved my children. I have to get back.”

Grayson said, “Stop that struggling. You’re in no condition to travel back to Duskwood.”

Grayson’s eyes grew large as the restraints holding Bramwell began to break loose one by one. Bramwell screamed in pain as he pushed his muscles to the breaking point, and then pushed them even further.

Bramwell shouted, “I’m going even if I have to tear my own arms off!”

Grayson snapped, “Will you calm down for just one moment? Fine, I’ll let you go. But, you need to know where you’re going before you rush off and get yourself killed. I worked too hard to have you eaten by a wolf or something.”

Bramwell said, “Alright. But I’m going back to Duskwood no matter what you say.”

Grayson muttered, “You’ve yet to see what you look like. Even if your family is alive, they’ll never accept you.”

Bramwell asked, “What do you mean?”

Grayson said, “You’re one of us now. Allow me to show you.”

Grayson took a silver mirror from his desk and held it up to Bramwell. At first Bramwell wasn’t sure who the person looking back from the mirror even was. His skin was alabaster white. His eyes were mostly gone, but the sockets glowed like Grayson’s with a strange yellow light like the eye shine of an animal. His hair was still brown, but it was frayed. Still, his features were mostly the same.

Bramwell said, “You don’t know my family. They’ll accept me no matter what I look like.”

Grayson muttered, “I don’t know your family, but I know the living, and I know much better than to trust them. It seems you’ll learn that the hard way.”

Grayson removed Bramwell’s restraints, cursing to himself. Bramwell didn’t struggle and simply sat up when the restraints were gone.

Grayson leaned against his lab table and said, “I wanted to do The Lady a service by creating someone exceptional. I could tell that you have an iron will. That’s why I took you under my wing without simply dropping you off at the Sepulcher. ”

Bramwell said, “I’ll never be in your service.”

Grayson said, “You need to accept that you’re a new being now, like a newborn baby. Within days you’ll be able to pick up on all of the Horde languages, and forget the Common you’re speaking now.”

Bramwell said, “I find that hard to believe.”

Grayson said, “Believe what you want, but you’ll soon find everything I’ve said is true. It’s been three days since I saved you, and I was only able to get here that quickly because I knew a mage that owed me a favor. Ravenhill is already lost. You’ll be lucky to get there in a week. Do you still want to go?”

Bramwell said, “Yes. I have to know what happened to my family.”

Grayson sighed and said, “I don’t want my hard work to be in vain, otherwise I’d let you go without any help at all. There’s a town called Brill close by. I have a horse there…”

Grayson scrawled a note onto a piece of parchment and handed it to Bramwell then continued, “Take this to the stable hand and the he’ll let you borrow my horse for the journey. The safest way will be by zeppelin. You’ll see the zeppelin post nearby.”

Bramwell asked, “Wait a minute, a zeppelin? We’re across the sea?”

Grayson ignored him and said, “Stay on the road on the way to the post. Get on the zeppelin to Stranglethorn Vale and ride my horse all the way to Duskwood. I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay on the road.”

Bramwell said, “Okay. Go to Brill, get the horse, take the Zeppelin to Stranglethorn and follow the road up to Duskwood.”

Grayson said, “My horse is fast. You may be able to shave a day or two off your journey if you don’t stop for any reason. I just want you to promise me one thing in return.”

Bramwell asked, “What?”

Grayson said, “When you realize I’m right, I want you to come back to me so I can train you. And for The Lady’s sake, don’t trust the humans. They’d sooner kill you than see you back with your family.”

Bramwell said, “You’re wrong. But, if my family is dead, I promise I’ll come back.”

Grayson said, “Then I’ll see you sooner than you think. Follow the signposts out of the city. Good luck.”

Bramwell rushed out of the room, only to be overwhelmed by the city around him. A slimy, green moat was so close in front of him that he almost fell into it. The area that he had just come from looked as though it was somehow alive, sporting a roof like the stomach of a terrible monster. Still, what shocked him most was seeing all of the Forsaken around him.

It seemed to him they were speaking gibberish at first, but he found the more he heard them, the more words he was able to pick out, as though the language was a bastardized version of Common. The undead seemed strangely human; selling wares, running errands, and going about their business. There were even other Horde races scattered among them, dancing, joking and talking.

Bramwell thought, “Maybe we were wrong about them. They don’t seem like animals now. No, I’m starting to think like one of them. It’s this disease rotting my brain. They’re just evil beasts that need to be put down.

Bramwell wandered around, following the signposts until he approached the gate out of the city. The strange sights around him made him feel dizzy. For a moment, he thought he might be still feverish, that everything he was seeing was just a dream and in reality he was still trundling along the road in his cart. Still, he knew in his heart that everything was real.

Bramwell thought, “What Stormwind wouldn’t give to know about this place. Why, I know where I am, I’m in the ruins of Lordaeron. This is the throne room where Prince Arthas slew his Father. I’ll be a great asset to Stormwind. I can tell the King about the defenses here. They could even plan an assault through the cavern where those giant bats are ferrying people inside. I’ll pay Stormwind a visit after I find my family…

Bramwell followed the road to Brill in thoughtful silence. When he reached Brill, once again he was struck by the fact the undead settlement looked just like a human township. There was an inn, shops, and even a city hall. The stableman gave Bramwell a suspicious glance as he handed him the paper. Then, he shrugged and pointed to a large undead horse with long spiral horns attached to its skull like decorations on steel barding. It seemed to paw at the dirt with eagerness as Bramwell hoisted himself into the saddle.

The Zeppelin Station loomed in the distance like a giant obelisk grave marker. Bramwell closed the distance easily on the swift creature and sighed with relief as he saw he was just in time to get on the zeppelin to Stranglethorn Vale.

A female goblin said something to him in the language of the undead. He didn’t catch it, but simply nodded his head as though he did.

She cleared her throat and said in Common, “Hon, you’ll have to stable your horse below deck for the trip.”

Bramwell said, “Okay. Sorry.”

She chuckled, “You ain’t from around here, are you?”

Bramwell said, “You could say that.”

She said, “Name’s Sasha Zimbolt. Yours?”

Bramwell muttered, “Bramwell.”

She said, “I’ve never met an undead that didn’t know Undercommon, but who am I to judge? Anyone’s money is always welcome.”

Bramwell felt around in his pockets, realizing he still had his money pouch.
He quickly pulled out a handful of copper and said, “Could you please tell me any news you know about Duskwood?”

Sasha’s eyes glittered with greed, and he noted that she had an almost attractive smile if it weren’t for her shark-like teeth.

As soon as the money dropped into her hand she said, “It’s a terrible place now. There are nothing but Scourge, Worgen, and criminals around Ravenhill. There’s still Grand Hamlet, but they call it Darkshire now.”

Bramwell said, “Suppose someone like me had to sneak in? What advice would you give him?”

She grinned again and said, “Well, first, I would tell him to put on a dark hooded robe so that no one would see his face. Then, I would say he should wear some cologne to mask his scent. And last, if he was riding a horse like yours, I’d say he should leave the horse behind when he gets there.”

Bramwell asked, “Where would he find those things?”

Sasha asked, “How much money do you have in that pouch?”

Bramwell said, “Only a few silver.”

Sasha said, “Look no further, then. I have perfume and cologne, and I have enough material to make a cloak on the way.”

Bramwell paid her the money and said, “Thank you. I think I’ll need all the help I can get.”

Bramwell mostly watched the ocean beneath him as he counted the days until they would arrive at Stranglethorn. Sasha talked to him while she worked. She seemed just as happy to hear his story as he was to tell it. She used an extra linen canvas for ship repairs to make him a cloak. By the time she finished dying the material black, he was surprised to see the ratty old canvas transformed into a well-tailored cloak and hood.

When the Stranglethorn coastline was in sight, Sasha said, “I hope you get to find your family. But, I have to agree with Grayson. Even if you find them, the other humans will never accept you.”

Bramwell said, “Humans are different than you think.”

She said, “I hope for your sake you’re right. Remember what I said about the tigers. If one follows you, eventually it’ll tire of chasing you. But, the jungle trolls are worse. A few arrows to your back won’t kill you, but trying to fight one of them will.”

Bramwell was sad for a moment as he waved goodbye, but the moment quickly passed as he entered the jungle. He could tell that Grayson had indeed saved his life by lending him his horse. Tigers chased him down narrow paths, clearly carved into the jungle with nothing but a machete. The jungle trolls chased him until his back felt like a pin cushion, but he didn’t even look back. After two full days of riding, he finally reached his destination, the edge of Duskwood Forest.

Sasha hadn’t exaggerated at all in her description. If anything she was being kind. Bramwell urged the horse in the direction of his house, ignoring the shambling hordes around him. Still, it seemed there wasn’t much left of his house to investigate. The roof had caved in, as though the very boards had decayed with the withered trees around it.

He opened what remained of the door, afraid at what he would find. The furniture was overturned, but there was no blood, so he quickly went outside. There were deep grooves carved into the muck near the house, meaning at least someone in his family probably escaped on horseback.

Bramwell froze as he heard a familiar voice behind him say, “Halt! Who are you stranger? What are you doing here?”

Bramwell didn’t turn but asked, “Sven, is that you?”

Sven stammered, “Bramwell? I thought you were dead.”

Bramwell turned slowly, “I am.”

Sven immediately reached for his sword, but Bramwell put his hands up and said, “I didn’t come here to fight. I just want to know what happened to my family.”

Sven asked, “Why should I trust you, Monster?”

Bramwell said, “Because it really is me. I’ll let you kill me if you have to, but tell me what I need to know first.”

Sven sighed and said, “Fine. After you disappeared, all Hell broke loose. Wolf monsters popped up everywhere, dead bodies started rising from their graves, and the Defias took advantage of the situation.”

Bramwell asked, “What about my family?”

Sven said, “They survived, but your wife took it really hard. Your children have become wards of Stormwind City. Even though you’re wife is alive, she can barely take care of herself.”

Bramwell asked, “Are you certain?”

Sven said, “Yes. Your wife managed to get the children on your horse and they rode all the way to Grand Hamlet. After what happened, well, it’s understandable how she reacted.”

Bramwell asked, “Where is she now?”

Sven said, “Stormwind as well. She’s become a priestess of the Light. She’s taken a vow of silence, but she hasn’t spoken a word since you disappeared anyway.”
Bramwell asked, “What happened to your family, Sven?”

Sven began to shake, “They were all murdered. I don’t know exactly what happened, but when I came back…”

Sven sobbed.

Bramwell said, “I’m sorry.”

Sven said, “Stormwind abandoned us. They didn’t send any help. So, we created the Darkshire Watch, and we take care of ourselves now.”

Bramwell said, “Thank you for telling me. Don’t worry. Stormwind will change their tune when they hear what I have to say.”

Sven said, “You’re not going to Stormwind.”

Bramwell said, “I have to…”

Bramwell ducked just in time as Sven’s sword whistled through the air, right where his head had been a moment before.

Sven snapped, “You aren’t Bramwell. You might look like him, but you’re just like the rest of these monsters. I pity you, but not enough to put those poor kids through seeing a mockery of their Father!”

For a moment, Bramwell wanted to fight Sven, to tear at him with his bare hands until he was nothing but a tattered lump of flesh and bone. Instead, he ran to the undead horse and galloped as fast as he could away from the graveyard, trying to let the rage that was clouding his judgment fade away as he went. As he reached the border between Duskwood and Westfall, he realized Sven was no longer following him.

Bramwell thought, “Grayson was right. Even if my family accepts me, the other humans will never allow me to stay with them. But, I can’t leave here without saying goodbye to them either. I’ll write a letter to them, and if I can get Sven to send it, I’ll let him kill me afterwards.

Bramwell carefully kept to the shadows, keeping his glowing eyes pointed at the ground. Eventually, he saw a light ahead, and realized it was a group of the Darkshire Watch. He was about to sneak around them, when he heard his name, and decided to listen, instead. Sven was talking to his best friend, Lars.

Lars asked, “But what did you tell him?”

Sven said, “What could I tell him? I lied and told him his family was in Stormwind. You didn’t see him, Lars.”

Lars said, “But his wife is only staying in town because she thinks he’s still alive…”

Sven said, “Don’t worry. He doesn’t know. I told him she was mentally incapable for caring for the children and joined a convent.”

Lars said, “Good thinking. Can you imagine if he showed himself to her?”

Sven said, “Better for her to die not knowing than to live with the shame of it.”

Bramwell shook with rage. As he did, he noticed a strange ball of black and green light growing in his fingertips. He had a feeling that he could hurl the ball at one of the people in the group and their conversation would stop along with their heart. Still, he somehow managed to calm down, and the light faded away.

Bramwell thought, “My Father was right. It seems Darkness is serving me now...

Bramwell moved with single-minded determination towards Darkshire, staying in the woods to make sure he wouldn’t be seen. When he saw the lights ahead of him, he gave the city a wide berth until he reached the back of the inn and dismounted from his horse.

Bramwell thought, “I’ll sneak into the cellar. If I can sneak past the cooks, I should be able to blend in with the other customers.

Bramwell opened the cellar door, shivering at the quiet and darkness around him. Even though he could easily see through the darkness, it was as though the every footstep he made echoed around him. Still, he snuck halfway up the stairs. He could see the cook busying himself near the fire. As soon as his back was turned, Bramwell skirted up the rest of the stairs and rushed into the tavern area.
The tavern was strangely silent. For a moment, Bramwell entertained the idea that Sven had somehow known he was listening in on their conversation and had set him up. Then he noticed the demeanor of the guests around him. Everyone at the tavern was staring into the bottom of a bottle. All of them had lost more than they wished to talk about. The only conversation came from Innkeeper Trelayne, who was gossiping to someone who had walked into the front door. Bramwell simply stepped towards the staircase to the rooms, glancing at the floor and shuffling his feet as though he was tired. No one stopped him.

Bramwell walked down the hall and paused when he saw her through the crack in the door at the end of the hallway. His wife was sitting at a table in the study, resting her head against her arms, asleep. As he gently pushed the door open further, he could see the boys asleep in the bed in the adjacent room. There were dark bags under Grace’s eyes from crying, and for a moment Bramwell almost walked out of the room, thinking Sven was right. Before he could, she opened her eyes.

Grace stammered, “A ghost…”

Bramwell said, “I’m not a ghost, Grace. It’s me.”

Grace asked, “Bramwell?”

Bramwell said, “I had to see you. I knew I couldn’t rest until I did. I shouldn’t have come.”

Grace rushed towards him and embraced him. Her warm flesh made him gasp in surprise, just as his cold flesh made her gasp as well.

Grace said, “You’re alive. The children will be so happy…”

Bramwell said, “I can’t let them see me like this. Grace, I just came to say goodbye.”

Grace said, “Like I would let you go.”

Bramwell said, “Look at me, Grace.”

Grace looked up at him, and for a moment she flinched away in fear. It was as though she was really seeing him for the first time.

Grace’s eyes welled up with tears, “I see. But, I don’t care. I love you.”

Bramwell said, “I love you too, but you know we can’t be together. I want you to tell the children that I love them, and I want you to tell them that I came to you as a ghost to bring this back.”

Bramwell lifted the medallion from his neck and put it around hers.

Grace looked at the floor and muttered, “Okay.”

Bramwell took his money bag from his pocket and said, “There isn’t much left, but use what’s left to buy Bertram’s peppermints. I promised…”

Grace said, “You have to say goodbye to them, Bram.”

Bramwell said, “I want to, but what if they wake up?”

Grace said, “They won’t. They’re exhausted.”

Bramwell went into the room and walked slowly around the bed. He kissed Garret on the forehead and Bertram on the cheek. Bertram stirred in his sleep and pulled the covers closer to his face.

Bramwell whispered, “I’m sorry. I know my lips are cold. I love you, Boys. Take good care of your Mother for me.”

Grace whispered, “They won’t have to. I’ll make sure all of us are safe. Now that I know what happened to you, I can take them away from here.”

Bramwell said, “I love you, Grace. I’m so sorry.”

He kissed her gently on the lips, the way a person might kiss a corpse goodbye, and then walked slowly out of the room, but not before he felt Grace put the chain back around his neck, and dangling from it was her wedding ring.

Grace said, “I love you too. Please, wear that so you can remember me.”

Bramwell said, “I won’t ever take it off.”

Bramwell continued down the staircase, with feelings of peace and numbness spreading over him. He didn’t even look at the men at the tavern or bother to stay away from the cook. He was sure that if they did notice him, they didn’t want to acknowledge what they saw. He rode away in a trance, wandering for days until he reached the zeppelin post and boarded the zeppelin back towards Undercity.

Sasha asked, “Did you find them? Were they alive?”

Bramwell muttered, “Yes, but you were right. The others didn’t let me stay.”

Sasha asked, “But, you got to say goodbye?”

Bramwell said, “Yes. It helps to know they would’ve accepted me.”

He clasped the ring around his neck, wishing he could weep.

Bramwell said, “If I wasn’t such a coward I would’ve let Sven kill me before I left.”

Sasha said, “Don’t think of this as the end, Bramwell, it’s a new beginning.”

Bramwell concentrated on his hand for a moment and noticed the strange ball of black and green light was beginning to form again.

Bramwell muttered, “You know, maybe you’re right.”

As Bramwell entered the Alchemy lab, Grayson dropped the potion he was holding in surprise.

Grayson stammered, “You came back. Did you accomplish what you wanted?”

Bramwell said, “Yes. You were right. My family was dead, and I’ve coped with my death. I’m here to stay.”

Grayson grinned and said, “Excellent. Let’s get started.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Muse Concert, Rifftrax, and Halloween

Sorry it's taken me so long to write this. I've been so busy lately! First of all, let me tell you about the Muse concert.

Muse is definitely my favorite band. For those who don't know about Muse, they're a British band and they have a very interesting sound. I really don't know how to describe their sound or the genre of their music. If you want a good example, look up either "Knights of Cydonia" or "Hysteria" (those are two of their hits in the US.) Their music inspires me, their music changes with every new cd, and they are terrific performers. And, recently, I got the opportunity to see them in concert in North Carolina. Let me tell you, it was well worth the drive!

I think that was the best concert that I've ever seen. They played all of their popular songs in the US, along with most of the songs from "The Revolution" album. What also impressed me was they included a very advanced stage show with lasers, rotating platforms that lit up with a collage of images depending on the song, and a few fireworks in the finale. The screens on the rotating platforms also showed images of the band as they were playing, which was helpful since there wasn't a "jumbotron." Their music sounded just as good in concert as on the CD, and they all had a tremendous stage presence. I bought a Muse poster that I'm going to frame, as well as a guitar pick necklace with the band's name inscribed in it. I wish I had time to get autographs, but by the time the concert was over, my husband and I were too exhausted to stay, and the entire theater seemed to be headed to where the band would be ahead of us. ::sigh:: I suppose that I can always write a comment on their website. They probably hear "your music inspires me..." all the time from way hotter fan girls than I am, but I still wanted to tell them how much I appreciate their music. Oh well, maybe next time.

A few days later, I went to see "Rifftrax Live" and I think it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. I laughed until I almost cried. For those who don't know, Rifftrax Live is basically a taped live broadcast of the comedians who were responsible for Mystery Science Theater 3000. I've always loved that show. You watch a movie in the theater and they play the taped recording along with it. I hear the one for Twilight was particularly good.

The first two skits were based off of a very old commercial about saving money on groceries with "the grocery witch" who was basically a take off of "Bewitched." The second looked like a very very old educational video about a talking paper bag telling a child how paper is made. (I know, it sounds trippy and it was trippy, but I don't have enough imagination to make up something quite that messed up.) They tore those scenes apart. Then, it went into the main feature, the original "House on Haunted Hill." It was just as funny as the skits. I like House on Haunted Hill, but I can definitely see how you could poke some fun at it. Long story short, it was a good movie, a good evening, and if you haven't seen Rifftrax Live, look it up and buy tickets for a theater near you.

And, of course, I have to tell you about the Halloween party. I think everything went very well. It really couldn't have gone any better. For the most part, it wasn't very stressful getting ready for the party for a change. I had plenty of help. We finished the cooking early, finished the decorating shortly afterward, and the only thing that was last minute at all was setting up the table and making the punch. The food was good, though as usual we had tons of food leftover. The crowd was pretty large and people brought even more food when they came. The two movies I remember watching were Zombieland and Silent Hill, though I didn't really watch Silent Hill since that movie is a bit intense for my tastes. I played a lot of Rock Band 3. Between refreshments, movies, Rock Band 3, and just talking and hanging out, I think everyone had something to do and had a good night.

The next evening we went to yet another party that was also lots of fun. We were going to go to two parties, but between cleaning up the house and unwinding from the previous night, we were just too tired to get to the one that started earlier. (Not to mention we were slightly late to the other from rushing around to get our costumes on.) The second party was very fun as well. It was alot like ours. There was a lot of Rock Band 3, lots of sweets, and a lot of talking and relaxing. I have to admit it was very nice going to a party after throwing one.

For once, I was actually ready for Halloween to be over. ::gasp:: I don't usually have that feeling, but I just did so much that the next week I was ready to get the decorations down, and I worked hard enough to do it. Parties are fun, but they take alot out of you. I also spread out the fun activities enough that the entire month of October felt like Halloween. It was pretty nice.

I can hardly believe we're already halfway through with November. Life certainly doesn't slow down. The months have been flying by lately. Still, at least I finally got to do this blog entry. I think next time I'll post another writing sample. As expected, I didn't place in the World of Warcraft writing contest, so I feel no guilt in showing a section of it as a simple writing sample. It's just a fan fic, and I don't think it's bad writing.

In other writing news, I'm throwing around the idea of submitting my first novel as a free sample for e-book readers on either the Barnes and Noble site or on Amazon. I'm thinking of it as free advertising. If I get enough downloads and people actually start enjoying my work I might be able to sell the other two novels of the series and get a larger fan base. I still think those novels aren't bad, but I recognize that my writing style is getting better, and I have a lot more in the works that just that first trilogy. (Plus, I also have submitted it to all of the agents that seemed interested in that sort of genre and haven't had any luck.) I want someone to be reading my work, and this might be a way that I can make that happen. Still, I'm going to look into it a little bit first to make sure the idea is legitimate. Wish me luck.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Hello everyone,

I'm just writing this blog early since I know this week is going to be crazy busy, and I know I need to keep up with this better than I have been. So, here we go with more adventures in the world of Nancy.

Wow, this is going to be such an awesome week! I get to go to the Muse concert on Tuesday, play Rock Band three on Wednesday, carve pumpkins on Thursday, see RiffTrax live for "House on Haunted Hill," Thursday night, have my Halloween Party Friday, go to (possibly) two Halloween Parties on Saturday, and maybe go by the church for a Halloween celebration Sunday. (A run on sentence for a run on week...) The point is, though, I probably won't have a spare second. Even now, I'm taking a break from working around the house to write this. I'm hoping to have as many of my chores done as possible now so that I just have to touch up a few later in the week when I'm working out the final preparations for the party.

I'll be sure to blog later about the Muse concert. Even if I don't get a chance to blog on that this week, I will be sure to next week. I'm very excited about it. It's been a long time since I've gotten to see a good concert and Muse is one of my favorite bands. It makes me wish I had enough money to buy a decent souvenir. I'll try to buy a small one anyway. Hopefully I'll still get to go to bible study Wednesday night, but I'll have to see how tired me and my husband are when we get back. Not only will we be up late on Tuesday for the concert, but we'll be driving back from North Carolina on Wednesday morning. We'll see. At some point that day, probably shortly after we get back, we'll also be rocking out to Rock Band three. That will take some energy as well.

Even though it isn't looking like I'll be able to write much this week, I'm not complaining. I'll be busy with lots of fun, and sometimes a week of fun is enough to spark a little bit of inspiration, especially when you're writing a horror novel and it's around Halloween. We'll see about that as well.

Well, since I probably won't get to write again before then, everyone have a happy and safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This is Halloween...

Once again, sorry that I haven't been keeping up with the blog like I should. I've been crazy busy lately. I'm always crazy busy in October because there's a lot to do around Halloween.

This weekend was the big Halloween party that my friend Gini throws every year. Once again, it was a lot of fun, and her awesome decorations once again put me to shame. She had candles suspended from fishing line in her living room as though they were floating, ravens suspended the same way in the bathroom like something out of a Hitchcock film, not to mention the large cloth hanging from the ceiling in the living room like the nest of a giant spider, including said giant spider. Gini's decorations always impress me. And, as always, the refreshments were awesome, the music was good, and there were movies playing outside projected on a big screen and inside on the big TV. She puts a lot of thought into her parties. It's nice to go visit her and I feel like I've become decent friends with some of her guests as well, even if thus far I only see them around Halloween. It's always fun to meet new people and hang out with friends that you don't get to see very often.

There are a lot of parties for me to attend this year. It sounds like, aside from Gini's party, there are two more parties being thrown by friends of mine that I don't get to see very often. I'm hoping that I'll get to go to both parties, but since they're being thrown on the same night, I'm not sure yet. I'm going to try, though. Aside from both of those, I'm throwing my party on October 29th, so I have a lot of work to do around the house to get ready. I also just need to sit down and plan for it. I have the rough theme of zombies and undead, even though I'm not dressing as a zombie this year. The theme at my party really doesn't dictate costume, mostly just the movies shown, the pumpkin designs, and sometimes the food. As long as my friends come in costume, I'm not very particular about what they come as, assuming it's tasteful. This year, I'm dressing as Carmen Sandiego, and my husband is dressing as Waldo from "Where's Waldo." I think the costumes turned out pretty good.

Other than Halloween parties, I've also just finished my "Everburn" synopsis, so at some point today I'm going to send it in to the publishers that my friend Josh suggested. Wish me luck on that. I really want this one to work out. Honestly, I think I like this book much more than my first trilogy, and there's plenty of potential for a trilogy with this novel as well. I just need someone to give me a chance. My writer's block is still here, but it's slowly disappointing. I'm hoping to do some sort of writing work this week to make up for all of the time I've lost. Some people can get over writer's block by writing, but I don't think I'm one of those people. I usually just end up producing something that seems like regurgitated trite, which makes me feel bad about myself. Like I said, though, I'm thankfully getting over it now.

Well, I'd best be off to do some decorating and to send off that proposal for "Everburn." Wish me luck. Maybe at some point today I'll also get to finish up the sixth book of the Dresden Files. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's Up?

Well, sorry I didn't get around to blogging last week. I've been working very hard trying to finish up my summary of "Everburn" so I can finally start submitting it to publishers and agencies. I should have it done by the end of this week, or the beginning of the next. I have higher hopes for this book, and I'm really not sure why I didn't start working on the submission process sooner. I guess I've had other things on my mind. The writer's block also was making me feel down on myself again, which never helps.

I still have writer's block, by the way, but it's starting to go away. I was able to pick up my horror novel last week and managed to add another chapter. I know that doesn't sound like much, but for someone who hasn't written a story in at least a month (I think it's been more like months), it was heaven. I swear, it's like my creativity took a swan dive off of a cliff and now is looking for footholds to crawl it's twisted zombie ass back up, but can't quite find any. I really hope the writer's block ends soon.

Still, I guess this is a good month for it. It's October, which means I've got several things coming up to look forward to that would normally eat into my writing time (if I wasn't having trouble writing). For one thing, my friend Gini's annual Halloween party is coming up. It's always fun and I'm really psyched up about it. Then the Muse concert, then my annual Halloween party, and possibly one other. I've got lots of decorating to do this week. I also really need to think about the details of my party, like what theme I'm going to use, what I'm going to carve on the pumpkins, what I'm going to serve in terms of food, and possibly about making another Halloween song mix as well.

There's always a lot to do in October. I'm a little sad that I won't be able to attend Halloween Horror Nights this year, or Walt Disney World, but it's for the best. We're saving money for more important things, and sometimes you have to be responsible. I'll get back there one day. Probably not next year, but sometime soon enough I'm sure.

In the meantime, I'm going to finish the Everburn summary and submit it, work on my new book, keep my house clean, decorate for Halloween, finish reading the Dresden Files (I'm on book 6) and get back into my exercise routine (I've gotten a good start on that the last few weeks). Wish me luck. Keep reading and writing!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ghost Hunting in Charleston

Well, I finally got to go ghost hunting in Charleston this weekend. It was a lot of fun. Part of the fun (in fact most of it) was just getting to go with my friends to Charleston again after all this time. It is a beautiful city. There are so many restaurants, shops, and interesting historical sights, that it would be impossible to see everything in just one day. It keeps you wanting to come back for more. Still, we did discover two new places that we will definitely need to revisit next time.

First of all, to get this out of the way, as usual we didn't find any ghosts. That's why there's no picture in this particular post. We didn't even do very much ghost hunting. At the end of the day we went on a "ghost tour" that was featuring some of Charleston's most famous haunted graveyards. Our tour guide let us in and explained what some of the symbols on the graves meant and told us a few famous Charleston ghost stories. She was an ex-school teacher, and it showed in the way she emphasized certain words, etc. It gave me a warm fuzzy, making me remember when story tellers would come to tell folktales at my elementary school. Anyway, we heard the story of the Fisher couple, some murderers who preyed on travelers new to Charleston in the early 1800's, the sad story of a girl sealed into a tomb prematurely, and a few other stories of premature burial. We also saw a picture taken in one of the cemeteries we couldn't tour of an apparition kneeling at her own tomb. The last stop was Philadelphia Ally, and I have to admit, the place gives you a very creepy feeling. Here we were told the story of "The Whistling Doctor."

We thought we caught something in a picture taken in Philadelphia Ally (the "Dueling Ally"). We zoomed in on a spot in the picture that looked like half of a face, a green skeleton grinning in the top corner. We got all excited, but then as we looked at the other pictures, we realized it was just a clump of green leaves that just happened to be clustered together in such a way that it looked like a face in that particular picture. Since the green spot was in the same place in all of the pictures and didn't look like anything in any of the others, it had to be leaves. Bummer.

Still, it was a very fun trip. We spent the first part of the day walking towards the Battery. We didn't actually go there, but we walked along a nice shaded trail in a park that overlooked the Harbor. We saw what appeared to be a boating class practicing in the harbor and I dubbed the term "Sailboat Jousting" because it seemed that the boats were actually trying to hit each other. We walked around for a while, reading monuments, looking at houses (there were so many for sale, it made me really wish I was rich enough to buy one), and taking in the sights. Then, we headed back towards the main drag and decided to eat in a restaurant/pub/museum (I kid you not, it was also a museum) called "The Buccaneer." We have to go there again.

The Buccaneer is dedicated to the early days of piracy. The floor was stone/cement, the tables look like something in a boat, and there are relics and pirate themed pictures hanging everywhere. The only thing that wasn't pirate themed was the music (which sadly was nineties pop at the time), but still, it was awesome. The food was good, the drinks were good, and the atmosphere made me wish it was "Talk Like a Pirate Day." We just missed it too, because "Talk Like a Pirate Day" would be Sunday, the next day. I won't lie, we did a little talking like a pirate anyway.

After that was over, we dropped by the parking lot to get my purse, and there was a very sudden and very bad rainstorm. So, we hung around in the parking lot and talked. It was kind of a nice break from walking around and gave us a chance to unwind a little and kill a little time before the ghost tour. Plus, thankfully the rain dropped the temperature significantly so we finally got to cool off.

When it stopped raining we made an appearance at the tour office so that they would know were were coming and then went to an old-timey looking general store nearby to wait. I don't remember the name, but the theme there was moonpies. There were moonpies everywhere, but that wasn't the best part. In the center of the store was an ice cream/malt shop sort of area and it was here that I discovered "Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream." Best discovery ever. That had to have been some of the best ice cream I've ever had, so next time we go we have to drop by there again.

After that was the tour, which I already mentioned. It was fun too. I didn't expect to see any ghosts on the tour, but by the time it was over we were all too exhausted to do anymore ghost hunting. We decided to go home and review the pictures. While we were taking a few of our other friends home, one of our friends told us some real ghost stories that happened in his family, and let me tell you, they were far more frightening than the ones that the tour guide told us. It made me kind of happy we were going home. I'm reasonably certain that my current house isn't haunted. Getting home safe and sound is part of the fun of ghost hunting. It's an adventure that you return home from feeling more appreciative of your non-haunted house.

Anyway, we'll have to go back to Charleston again sometime soon. I think next time we'll do a bit more ghost hunting, but we'll have to at least revisit "The Buccaneer" and that General Store. Next time, I would also like to browse some of the antique stores and pay more attention to main street. But, we'll save that for later. In the meantime, possibly in a few months, we're thinking of inspecting a different sort of ghost tour. In Savannah, they have a "Haunted Pubs" tour. Sounds like a plan for the near future.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Well, it's been a little while since I've written on my blog. Remember how I said, I'll have the comic done by the end of the week, barring a family emergency? Well, sadly there was a tragic family emergency recently. My Uncle died of cancer. The funeral was this last weekend, and it has made me pretty depressed. He was a good man and loved his family. He's been struggling with cancer for about two years now, but it continued to spread. He's endured painful chemotherapy, discouraging test results, and having to cope with knowing there wasn't anything more he could do. I can't imagine... I'm trying to be here for my family and be supportive of them. Seeing what they're going through has given me a new perspective on things and how I need to live my own life.

For one thing, the web comic was starting to stress me out. It was supposed to be a fun and new way for me to gain an internet presence, not something that was just another deadline. I've found myself frustrated with it, to the point I'm thinking "stupid web comic" and grumbling irritably when I think about working on it. That wasn't how it was supposed to be. Life is too short for me to be stressing myself out over something so trivial. So, I'm going to do it at my own pace and it'll be done when it is done. I already have an idea for another comic, so I'll might even put this first one down to work on that one if I continue to be annoyed with it. I'm my own boss and I need to stop being so darn hard on myself.

Also, I really need to be more spiritual. Joel and I are starting to do a bible study on Wednesday evenings in addition to going to church. I'm aware that I don't pray enough and that I don't trust in God enough. I need to let go and try to put my life in his guiding hands. I think if I can do that, I'll realize that things will always going as they should be, good or bad, and I'll be a lot less uptight and worried. Worrying doesn't do any good. I worry too much about writer's block, and the work I do in general. I need to stop worrying.

Finally, I think pretty soon my life is going to change quite a bit. Joel and I are talking seriously about having a baby. We're thinking it might even happen next year. If so, I need to focus on trying to get an agent for at least one of my completed books at the end of this year, so I can focus on planning for a baby next year. I'll need to do lots of reading... I still plan to write in my spare time, but in the future, I'm well aware that I won't have very much time for writing. Still, it will be worth it. Again, this is another reason why the web comic is a little less important than I first thought. I can still write, but Jesus and my family always have to come first.

As I've mentioned, I've been struggling with bad writer's block lately. I've been playing a good bit of World of Warcraft and then have been irritated at myself for doing it, as though maybe if I sat in front of the computer and "tried to write" it would just happen. I mentioned this to Joel and he was quick to point out that the past few months, particularly the past few weeks were very busy and different than usual for me. I was working hard to turn in my WoW story, planning several detailed sessions for my Grimm game (including drawing up maps for it), working on the web comic, and then this happened with my Uncle. While sometimes depression make me write well, usually it has a way of temporarily sapping my creativity. Deep down, I know that I can't force myself to write. You can't pump anymore water when the well runs dry. When my ideas come, I'll write them, but until then, I'm going to try to relax, destress, and cheer up. Wish me luck. I think I might need it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Web Comic Realizations...

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to keep you posted on the web comic situation. While my original goal was to have the comic done early in the week (today or tomorrow), I know now that goal was unrealistic. I'm going to tell you why, and ask you not to judge me harshly because I'm already feeling a little down on myself anyway. (I always judge myself more harshly than others do...that's just the way I am.)

1. The first comic is about the lightning strike. To emphasize the amount of destruction, I decided to make it a nine panel comic showing the various things that were broken. (It'll make the punch line much funnier, believe me.) Still, for just starting a comic, nine panels is very long and difficult undertaking.

2. I haven't done graphic design work in years. I thought it would be very easy to remember those skills. However, I was wrong. Since I haven't even picked up the program in so long, it turned out to be very difficult. The first few days were a disaster. I couldn't even remember how to make the boxes line up with one another and felt like I was losing my mind, and my skills. I'm doing much better now, but it's going to take me a little while to remember everything, meaning the comic will take longer to produce.

3. The comic is in color. This means something I could've simply sketched out will take twice as long to finish. I figured if I was going to do this, I might as well do it right. I think the finished product will look much better in color and will set a standard for my work. I just should've taken that into account when I thought about how long the comic was going to take me.

4. Writing a web comic is a very different experience than designing a sign. When you design a sign you mostly want it to be eye catching, simple yet bright and interesting enough to catch someone's eye. With a web comic, you're actually telling a narrative. You already have an audience who likes to read web comics, so you want to make it more stylized and while eye catching, more of something that is fun and amusing to follow. While I've always loved drawing, I've never drawn out a comic before, so this is a new experience for me.

5. I'm a perfectionist. Even though I really want to finish this by the deadline I set for myself, I want it to look good. Already I'm dissatisfied with the way my characters look, mostly because I should have more confident strokes on the characters, but I'm willing to let that slide. Still, there's a lot of work that needs to be done before I'll deem it "acceptable."

And there you have it. I'm setting a new generous deadline by allowing myself to be finished by the end of next week. Still, I think if I work extra hard on it, I could have it done, or close to being done, by the end of this week or early next week. I'll keep you posted. Sorry for the delay, but I think it'll be worth it. After this initial comic, I think most of my comics will be around three panels, and I'm going to try to produce one every two weeks. Wish me luck, and sorry that I accidentally lied to you. It seems I also lied to myself as well. Ain't that a B.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Hello everybody,

Just thought I would let you know I'm in a great mood this week due to the fact that I've purchased Muse tickets for when they tour in North Carolina during October. I'm totally psyched up about it. Muse is the group I listen to the most. I find them very inspirational for my writing and I've wanted to see them in concert since I started listening to them. It's very rare that I find a group where I like just about every song they sing and that is talented enough that their music doesn't sound the same every single album. I'm glad to say that with Muse I've found both.

Also, for some reason, this week has been very good for me. The weekend that led up to this week went swimmingly. The Grimm game went very well and the game later that night went well also. I've been very productive and yet I've balanced a lot of fun in with it, and Joel and I are getting along very well. I'm also almost done with all of the chores for the week already. I just hope things start going a little better for some of my other friends. It seems this week has been bad for a lot of people so far. I'll have to wait and see and do my best to cheer them up.

Also, I'm finally completely finished with the World of Warcraft story. I had to rework the ending a little bit because I realized it was way too abrupt. That's the only problem with working with word limits. If you get carried away with the story, something has to give, and usually that's the ending. I spent a few hours today trimming away extraneous sentences and working with the ending and I believe it made everything much smoother. Hopefully whoever is judging the contest will think so as well, but I'm not getting my hopes up too high.

Today, as soon as I finish this blog, I'm planning to get started on the web comic. I'm hoping to at least get the first doodles of our characters finished. That way, I can start the comic tomorrow afternoon and be finished by the end of this week or the beginning of the next. Now, that being said, barring an emergency or massive computer failure, I'm going to be held accountable. I know better than to promise something on the internet and then go back on that promise, except in the case of New Years resolutions (everyone goes back on those). So, I'm going to work on the web comic and post it on the blog as soon as I'm done. I hope you like it, but I'd better go ahead and go so I can keep my promise to you. Take care.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Goal: Web Comics

Just a brief update. Sorry I haven't been on very often, but I've been very busy. I just got back from the beach on Sunday. It was a very fun trip, but I was very tired. I think in a way I'm still recovering from it. It was one of those trips that was lots of fun, but not very restful. I was planning to do a lot of work while I was there, but for once all I felt like doing was resting. Still, I'm glad to say that I finished the WoW story on Monday, so I should be able to turn it in any day now. (The sooner the better.)

Other than that, my project for this week is mostly to plan for running my Grimm game on Sunday. (It's a table top role-playing game about children trapped in fairy tale lands, only the fairy tales are twisted into fractured fairy tales that have a horror slant.) I have lots of places to map out, so please wish me luck on finishing in time. Also, while I was at the beach, I came up with a new goal that hopefully will help make a web presence for me.

I'm going to start drawing a web comic very soon. It'll mostly be about video games, but it'll also be about movies, life, etc., anything that I find humorous. I've started character sketches and the first comic is going to be about the lightning strike that took out most of our electronics. I've already got it story boarded out. (Joel actually mostly did that for me, but we came up with the idea together.) It should be pretty fun to do and hopefully pretty funny.

Since Joel bought me a tablet, it should be a lot easier and more fun to draw on the computer. I can finally work with my left hand. I got used to using a right handed mouse when I was a graphic designer, but my left hand is the one that I usually draw with. Anyway, I like my tablet, and this is how I'm going to utilize it. This will not only hopefully get me at least a small internet following, but I can use this to sharpen my Graphic Design skills and more samples of work in case I want to break back into the industry. It would be nice to make a little money with some freelance work. We'll see.

Anyway, wish me luck on the web comic. I probably won't get to work on it much this week, but hopefully next week I'll have plenty of time. When I finish it, I'll be sure to post it on the blog. Until then, take care and keep reading!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Skeleton Crew

Well, I just finished reading "Skeleton Crew" by Stephen King. I really enjoyed it, as with most of Stephen King's work, but with all short story compilations, there were some stories I loved, some I didn't really like, and some that didn't really stand out much to me. So, to cut down on time, I'm going to review the stories I liked and didn't like the most thoroughly and will breeze through the others in a sentence or two. (Sorry, this review is going to be long.) Still, overall this was a pretty good compilation, but for some reason I liked Night Shift better.

The Mist - The Mist was the first story in the book and recently there was a movie that came out based on this story. I might have to see the movie now because the story was pretty good. Still, there were a few things about it that made it less enjoyable for me. The basic storyline is a man and his son are on a trip to the supermarket when a strange mist rolls in and strange creatures start killing people in that mist. I liked the idea because it had a very Lovecraftian feel. Also, the concept of being trapped in a supermarket in that sort of crisis is interesting because it takes out the possibility of starvation or dehydration--at least for a very long time. The thing I found to be most unlikely however, was an old crone basically convinces most of the people there that they need to preform a human sacrifice to appease the monsters outside. First off, they're only trapped for about two or three days, so even though Lovecraft's monsters do tend to unhinge one's sanity, I like to think the situation wouldn't devolve that quickly. It takes more than a few days to form a cult. Since not everyone was for the idea at first, I think it would be more likely that they would hoist her outside before they would willingly throw someone else to the proverbial wolves. The second thing I didn't like, apparently Stephen King didn't like as well, was when the main character cheats on his wife during the crisis before he knows what has happened to her. If that wasn't enough, he doesn't bother to find out if she's alive or not later on. It was more than cowardly, and made me have a distinct lack of sympathy for the main character. I like to think that he could've controlled his urges for two or three days, and would've tried a bit harder at least for his son's sake to find his wife. Still, it wouldn't surprise me if Stephen King didn't want that to happen and it just sort of did. Sometimes characters don't do the things we originally want them to, at some point it's as though they control themselves. Still, overall, not a bad read.

Here There Be Tygers - This one made me giggle. Let's face it, in elementary school there's at least one teacher that you wish would get eaten by a tiger.

The Monkey - This was probably my favorite story in this book. The concept itself is kind of cliche, a possessed clockwork monkey makes a living thing die every time it claps it's cymbals together. Still, the way it is written is truly terrifying. The way the monkey is described is chilling, to the point you can almost see the demonic grin on its face as it causes something horrible to happen in the main character's life. The way he describes the thing is that it's just evil, not even a conscious evil but somehow naturally that way. Also, the fact that he tries to get rid of it and it just keeps reappearing is disturbing. The little blurb at the end about the fish dying is disturbing as well...

Cain Rose Up - Sorry, I have to give away the ending to this one, because to explain what the story is about I have to. This story didn't really impress me. It's a little chilling because of the calmness the main character shows as he basically loses his mind. Still, because the character didn't seem to have a reason to shoot anyone (he was shooting random people by the end of the story), the point was kind of lost on me. Maybe that was the point, that some people do horrific things and don't even know why themselves. I really don't know, but I didn't really like this one.

Mrs. Todd's Shortcut - I found this story really interesting. Basically, it's about a woman that tries to find the shortest route possible everywhere she goes, to the point that somehow she bends time and space to get there. The woman herself isn't normal, and as she cuts time off of her route, she also seems to get younger in the process. The woman is basically the avatar of Diana, and her car is her means of expression and freedom. This story was just fun to read. The way it's told draws you in little by little. It's a slow start, but by the end, it's really interesting.

The Jaunt - The Jaunt is probably my third favorite in this book. This is a science fiction story about teleportation, taking place shortly after teleportation is invented. I won't give away the ending, but basically it's a father telling his family about how the process called "the Jaunt" was invented. The scientist tested the process on mice originally, but the mice died when they got to the other side. This was due to sensory input, the mice saw something that killed them. When they were put under they came through safely. It turns out that those who can perceive when they teleport perceive it as eternity without anyone or anything to interact with. The concept is incredibly disturbing. In fact, the only complaint I have about this story is the environmental doomsday scenario that prompted this invention seemed unrealistic to me. (I don't buy into that sort of thing very easily.)

The Wedding Gig - This was kind of a fun story about a group of jazz musicians that are forced into playing during the wedding of the sister of the head of a criminal syndicate. Needless to say, things don't go well. It isn't a bad story, it just didn't stand out much to me. I actually had forgotten about this one.

Paranoid: A Chant - This is a short poem written from the perspective of someone with paranoid schizophrenia. It starts off almost humorous but gets worse and worse as the poem goes on. I have to admit the rhyme scheme was good and as a poem it was interesting and well written--still, almost a little too well written if you ask me. (Just kidding, Mr. King.)

The Raft - Everything about this story is pretty good, except for the fact I didn't like the characters. There was only one character I was "okay" with and she died first, so it was kind of hard to finish this one after that. There was a surprising amount of blood and gore in this story. Stephen King definitely has a way of making the most mundane of monsters still seem scary. This story is about "The Blob." I kid you not. A group of college students swim out to a raft, and a large dark spot in the water starts to pick them off one by one. I had trouble taking this story seriously because all I could think of was oozes, black puddings, and gelatinous cubes from D&D. (I also kept thinking of a very funny episode of the anime Cowboy Bebop, when he leaves a lobster in the fridge until grows an intelligent ooze that starts attacking everyone in the ship--the ooze is eaten in the end, instead of eating the crew like it did in this story.) Anyway, not all that impressive to me, but you may not have the same experiences I do and might enjoy this one more than I did.

Word Processor of the Gods - This was a pretty cool story. I liked the concept and I liked the ending. Basically, the main character has lost his sixteen year old nephew, a nephew that he really wishes had been his son rather than his brother's. His nephew made him a word processor for his birthday, just before he died, out of a conglomeration of spare parts, almost like a mad scientist's invention. When the main character uses the machine for the first time, he finds that he can delete things from reality, or add things to reality simply by typing. The Processor is like Aladdin's lamp. The power the main character is given is godlike, but the processor won't last long.

The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands - I really enjoyed this story as well. This one had the feel of an old timey setting, though I don't think the year is ever really said, with a group of older men telling stories. The story this one features is about a man who was afraid to shake hands with anyone--and it turns out there's a very good reason why involving a curse from Bombay.

Beachworld - This is a science fiction story where there are two survivors from a crash into an unknown planet. The planet is filled with sand, that for some reason is like beach sand rather than desert sand. It's a story about their struggle to survive and one of them descends into madness, but is it really madness if what he is thinking is true? The sand around them is alive. It isn't a bad story, but it didn't stand out very much to me. It had the feel of man verses environment and that sort of story doesn't typically appeal much to me--tough it was interesting when the environment took physical form against the one trying to escape at the end.

The Reaper's Image - This story seemed too short to me. I liked the idea of a mirror where a person would see the image of the Grim Reaper and then disappear. The fact the person who saw the image didn't die but just vanished was creepy and different, but there was a long lead up to finding out that fact, and not enough meat to the actual story, in my opinion. Then again, I do tend to make my stories a bit too long, but this one didn't start off fast enough and ended when it had just gotten interesting.

Nona - This story had an interesting twist at the end that pretty much made the story for me. I liked the symbolism of the personification of violence made in the image of the woman Nona, and the obvious Gynophobia of the main character. Still, since the main character is a murderer, it is a bit hard for me to sympathize with him. Still, I want to believe his story.

For Owen - I'm not sure what to say about this poem. It's very odd and describes children as various types of fruit. I have theories about the symbolism in this poem but would rather hear if anyone else has any ideas about what this poem is meant to mean. I think maybe it has something to do with feeling old in the presence of a young child.

Survivor Type - Probably my least favorite of the set. This story is about a man who is a surgeon, but also a drug dealer, who is trapped on a desert island without food and is forced to do the unthinkable to survive--he starts to eat himself bit by bit. He keeps considering himself a survivor and will do anything to survive. While I think the first amputation would probably have worked, this story was way too far fetched. Surgeon or not, he would've bled to death when he amputated his second foot, and would've run out of his four gallons of water probably before eating became the biggest problem he had to deal with anyway. I'll spoil the ending--by the end he's a torso and is eating his fingers. There's just no way.

Uncle Otto's Truck - This one was pretty good because it personified and vilified an object very well. In this case, it was a beaten up old truck. This is going to sound strange, but I've always thought of old trucks as feeling angry, because when they get faded and rusty and abused, there's something about the woods overgrowing on them that seems kind of neglectful. So, the truck having a grudge was kind of a creepy thought to me. I liked this story.

Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1) - The concept is disturbing because basically it's about a deranged milkman that poisons his clients. Still, I couldn't take it seriously because he reminded me too much of the milkman in the game Psychonauts. All I could think was "What is in the Milk?" And the cheerful look on his face as the threw the molotov cocktails. Still, a good story about the vulnerability people have to those who prepare their food.

Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman #2) - I didn't like many of the characters in this game, but I'm pretty sure you weren't supposed to like them. That's why this one was entertaining to read. Explaining this story would take a bit too long. The Milkman is in it, but only briefly at the end, but his presence is felt throughout the whole story. Read it, and you'll know what I mean, but read the other first.

Gramma - This story is so messed up, but in a good way since that made me have lot of trouble putting it down. It's told from the perspective of a nine year old kid, left alone with his slightly crazy Grandmother. As the boy remembers stories about her little by little, you come to understand that his Grandmother isn't an ordinary old lady, and her past is pretty dark. His Grandmother dies while he's waiting on his mother to get home, but it seems that her business with him isn't quite over...
You can really sympathize with the little boy, and older people tend to be a little intimating to young children anyway, and this story speaks to the part of us that remembers that.

The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet - I'm not sure why, but this is my favorite story in this book. The story is about an editor talking about the strange madness of an author who gave him a story that came at the right time during his life. The madness of the author rubs off on him and he becomes paranoid. This story is amusing because the author believes that a little fairy called a Fornit lives in his typewriter and helps him come up with stories, and everyone around him is trying to secretly kill the Fornit. Still, the author's obsession with this imaginary creature pushes him to the point of trying to kill his wife, housekeeper, and her child, and eventually himself. Still, there's a question at the end of how much of this was in the author's mind. Did his belief in this creature somehow make it real, or was his madness somehow spreading to those around him. I liked the questions it posed and the story was genuinely different and compelling. It might be just because I am a writer and sometimes I also don't know where the ideas come from. I'd like to hear your opinion of this one as well.

The Reach - For some reason, I didn't get into this story at all. It's basically about an old woman who starts seeing the ghosts of friends and relatives, particularly her dead husband, beckoning to her. She thinks that she's about to die because of the things she's seeing, and decides that before she dies she'll cross "The Reach" a large body of water that separates her island community from the mainland. The reach has frozen over, so she can walk across it to get there. She's always been comfortable on the island and never wanted to leave, and most of the story is spent while she's reminiscing about old times and family lines. I found most of the story pretty slow and a little uninteresting, but the ending was touching, so I must've gotten attached to her somewhere along the way.

Well, that's it for my review. I'm sorry it was long, but I like to be thorough. I hoped you at least enjoyed it a little, and I highly recommend picking up this book.