Father’s Day Bird Update!

Happy Father’s Day!

On May 21, I got pictures of a Carolina wren nest we found that had four eggs in it. Fourteen days later, on June 5, we checked in to see how things were going. There was a sleeping baby–at least two sleeping babies! The other two we couldn’t see, but there was a chance that they were snuggled up underneath the others. They didn’t have feathers yet, so they needed to huddle together to keep warm. Still, there was also the possibility that the other two eggs didn’t hatch, or that the hatchlings didn’t make it. Here’s a photo of the front most sleeper (I drew a thin red circle around his little developing beak).

Sleeping Baby Carolina Wren -- not more than two weeks old - CLOSE UP COPY

Today, we have confirmation that at least three of the fledglings survived! I wish I’d gotten a picture, but Nathan didn’t have his camera. There were three fluffy, grumpy-looking baby wrens (that’s how you tell, other than the fact that they waggle their wings, make a lot of noise, and beg for food), and they were being fed by Mommy (Daddy–whom we call Fattypants–was singing elsewhere). We are very excited to welcome these little ones!

Also, Carolina wrens usually breed twice in a summer, so hopefully there will be another batch in a few weeks!

UPDATE: It’s confirmed–there are three little ones, but there was one egg left in the nest, which means it probably was inviable. I’m glad those that hatched are all alive and happy! Here’s the egg that was left:

Carolina Wren -- Dead Egg in Nest 06-22-21

Story accepted and I went and did THIS yesterday …

Yesterday was interesting! I got a short story accepted (cannot release details yet), I went over a friend’s and she made me a genuine malt (that tasted like the way my dad used to make them!), and … I did this…

Blue Hair 06-13-21

I love my recent X-Men’s Rogue-inspired hair, so I’ll definitely go back to that, but I wanted to try something different for summer. I wanted something a little lighter, but this’ll fade as I wash. I’ve never tried crazy color before, but I figured, why not?

On another note, post-Tidings, I have an idea for a second Romantic Ecothriller, one that involves the sea. I thought it might be cool if my main chick has this color for hair.

It’s finally here: “Ghosts on the Sand”

Lovecraftian MicroFiction 2020 COVER ART JPEG

I’m pleased to announce that my story, “Ghosts on the Sand,” was one of twenty-six winners in the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival’s 2020 Microfiction Contest last October … and the anthology of winning stories is now available!

The anthology also includes the “Challenge from Beyond” round robin cosmic horror story, which features the grand prize winner and a stunning line-up of writers and artists.

This special double book is only $10, and it supports the annual Oregon festival, which features indie filmmakers from around the world. If you’re a short film buff—especially in the horror genre—then it should, at the very least, be on your radar.

“Ghosts on the Sand” can’t be read anyplace else, so if’ you’d like your copy, you can pick one up here: https://arkhambazaar.com/books/the-challenge-from-beyond-2020-lovecraftian-micro-fiction-double-book/

Only 250 copies were printed, so once they’re gone, they’re gone! Be sure to get your copy today if you enjoy cosmic horror.

Meet my most recent paginated lover …

A Fall of Marigolds

I have started reading books only to break up with them a couple of chapters in (you will never hear me say, “that book was okay.” If it’s not blowing my mind, I stop). For me, a book is like an amazing lover: it has to rock my universe. It has to suck me in so completely that it becomes my world, my be-all, until I’ve finished it—and that’s often in as few as two days, or, at most, a week. I have to have a serious romance with it, to the point that when I finish, I go into a strange state of grief.

On a break from work last week, an article about unique historical fiction reads popped into my feed, and I was lucky enough to stumble onto A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner.

From “7 Unique Historical Fiction Reads That Put a Twist on the Genre,” by Chris Gaudio over at Off the Shelf: “Historical fiction inevitably features tragedies of the past, but what’s so unique about Susan Meissner’s A FALL OF MARIGOLDS is the thread that connects two such events: Read the rest of this entry

We have a nest!

…thrilled to announce we stumbled onto our Carolina wrens’ nest (they found a cozy spot inside the cover of one of our generator’s propane tanks)! Mommy wasn’t happy when we came by to get a photo, of course–so we had to be quick which means these aren’t the best pix, but we’re hoping to see fledglings soon!

Carolina Wren Nest 1

Carolina Wren Nest 2

Today’s the day: StokerCon 2021

StokerCon Logo for FB

Very excited to spend the next four days attending StokerCon 2021–the Horror Writers Association’s annual conference. It’s being done virtually, and the amount of work that went into planning this was probably gargantuan. I’m so grateful!

The conference runs through Sunday. There will be three hang-out bars (like Zoom calls where you basically pop in and pop out to have cocktails and socialize with other con-goers), and over 200 programs, both live and on-demand. They cover the gamut from academics to the writing biz, the horror genre, and the craft. I’m especially excited to attend Horror after COVID, Financial and Literary Estate Planning for Writers, Portrayals of Mental Illness in Horror, and A Revelation in American Horror film: Intergenerational Traumas and Transmissibility in Ari Aster’s Hereditary. Right now, I’m watching a YouTube tutorial on StokerCon 2021 Spirits (cool mixed drinks to enjoy with the con–I may have to try that Blood Orange Bourbon Sour)!

I also can’t wait for the Final Frame Film Competition–14 short horror films (I love me some horror shorts!). I’ve got my Jiffy Pop at the ready!

What happens when someone overhears you in the grocery store …

Friendly's Ice Cream haul 05-19-21

It was a beautiful day here in Connecticut—finally, hot! I’ve been eating a lot of ice cream lately. Mostly because I love it, life’s too short, and I’ve been in a very happy place for over a month.

My three favorite flavors are vanilla (because, you know, back in the 1970s, you didn’t have a whole lot of choices except for Neapolitan and coffee and I wasn’t a fan of chocolate or strawberry), Butter Crunch (because my dad always took me out to Friendly’s for that) and Summer Breeze, a pleasing, summer-only edition blend of vanilla, lemon candies, and graham cracker. This last one I discovered in 2019 when it was on sale in a grocery store near East Providence and I wanted to try something new.

I put the Summer Breeze in my cart. I’d only planned on getting two cartons, so I tried to make a choice between the Butter Crunch and the vanilla.

Suddenly, I said—louder than I’d intended—“F— it.” I grabbed them both.

I heard a woman’s laugh from down the aisle. She was standing in front of the cases where they keep all the frozen treats.

“I was just thinkin’ f— it myself,” she said. “I can’t decide. I think I’m gettin’ a few! F— it!”

We wished each other happy eating, and I headed to the check-out.

You’re probably wondering why I’d put this on my blog, but it was just one of those perfect moments in life in which you just bond for a second with a complete stranger. And after the rough year or so we’ve survived, it was comforting. It was a reminder that yes, eventually, we’re going to be okay.

And now … which carton should I mine first?

Until we meet again, Auntie Del

Delores Thanksgiving 2012

Auntie Del at Thanksgiving at my house in 2012.

My mother’s last surviving sister, my Aunt Dolores, passed away on April 20, 2021 (interestingly enough, her late husband’s birthday). She was a very special lady—quite the card. Here’s the eulogy I wrote, and a smattering of photos and a snippet of video. My brother Chuck’s eulogy is also included as a PDF. Read the rest of this entry

34 ORCHARD ISSUE 3 IS NOW AVAILABLE!

Issue 3 is now available for download! You can get it here: https://34orchard.com/issues/issue-3/, or here, which also has links for Issues 1 and 2: https://34orchard.com/issues/

34 ORCHARD Issue 3 Cover

 

Recommendation: Marlena, by Julie Buntin

I just finished reading Julie Buntin’s Marlena.

The novel tells the story of Cat and a dark bond she shared with her friend, Marlena, when they were high schoolers in Minnesota. As an adult living a swank life in New York City, Cat thinks she’s left it all behind—until one day, someone from their shared past asks to meet. As those unsettling months resurface, Cat learns that, thankfully, it really is true that you can’t go home again—but sometimes, just remembering is bad enough.

Oddly, the reason I found this book was because I was working on a short story, and I needed a novel that my main character could read that would contribute to my piece’s single effect. My plan was just to grab a title that’d make sense, but I popped open the Amazon preview and was sucked right in (I know this book has been listed for prizes and has also been named Book of the Year in several media outlets, but honestly, I don’t go by that. Suck me in and keep me there. That’s the only thing, for me, that counts).

Marlena flows Read the rest of this entry

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