Winter static

In winter, it’s dry inside, and static electricity comes to call. I stand up, I touch something, and I get shocked. It doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s the stair railing, a book, or another person — ZAP!

But I’m the only one in the family that it’s happening to yet, so my son asked me this morning if I had some sort of metal core that made me more prone to conducting electricity. I joked that it’s the metal screw in my foot. (It goes up from my heel through my ankle.)

Which, of course, with us being the kind of family that we are, led to joking about Wolverine and his skeleton. Do you know why he doesn’t shock everyone he touches? It’s the costume. You only think it’s Spandex; it’s really rubber to prevent the electric discharge.

What sorts of silliness have you been up to lately?

We can all use a laugh

I love laughing. Who doesn’t? While reading Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld book, Snuff, I came across the following, which made me laugh because I saw both sides of the exchange clearly:

Miss Beedle led the way out of the hall and into a room in which chintz played a major part, and drew Young Sam over to a large bureau. She opened a drawer and handed the boy what looked like a small book. “This is a bound proof of The Joy of Earwax, and I shall sign it for you if you like.”

Young Sam took it like one receiving a holy object, and his father, temporarily becoming his mum, said, “What do you say?” To which Young Sam responded with a beam and a thank you and a, “Please don’t scribble on it. I’m not allowed to scribble in books.”

Has something made you laugh today? Share in the comments. Or let us know what you’re grateful for today.

Winter White for sale

cover for Winter White short storyHvinde’s stepmother truly is the fairest of them all, goddess of beauty and ruler of the kingdom. Her priests, however, think it’s time to give somebody else a chance at the title of fairest, and at least one thinks Hvinde has a shot. What’s a girl to do when she’d much rather play bridge with the guards than primp for others?

As is probably obvious from the blurb above, this is my retelling of the Snow White tale, without hearts cut out, poison, or wicked stepmothers being forced to dance in red hot shoes made of iron. Read an excerpt below. Continue reading

Friday Flash: Chosen

Hargold the Chosen One strode up the hill to meet his destiny, wondering at the lack of a castle silhouetted against the sky. At the top of the hill, a hole led down into darkness. A sign beside it read, “This way to the dungeon.”

He’d never heard of a dungeon without a castle or a ruin atop it, but the evil within must be dank indeed to be imprisoned so far from any habitation.

The steps that led down into the hole were straight and true, the walls uneven and dry (and patently free of cobwebs), and the torches in their sconces burned with little smoke. Doubt niggled at Hargold.

The ground leveled out, and the short hallway passed through an arch (no door, he noticed, and wondered how a dungeon worked without a door) and opened into a cavernous space with a line of people — and other beings — snaking their way into the darkness. The line didn’t appear to be moving.


He snapped his attention to his left, where a woman dressed in green velvet lounged on top of a desk. Doubt stopped niggling and started shouting.

“Excuse me?”

“Name?” She waved a clipboard at him. “I need to verify who’s been called.”

“What are all these people doing here? This is my quest!” He glared at the line, trying to decide whether he had truly seen a metal woman. “I am Hargold the Chosen One.”

“Hargold, Hargold, let’s see . . . ” She ran her finger down the clipboard. “Here you are. Just sign here, please, and wait your turn at the back of the line.”

He finally decided to pay attention to the doubt. “Wait in line? But I am the Chosen One!”

“Honey, everyone here is chosen. He’s been chosen to kill his cousin. She’s chosen to look for someone who made a grave mistake, but what she finds is going to surprise her. That one there? The squid? He’s chosen to haunt a freshwater lake. You’re all special, you all have stories, and you have to wait your turn.”

Doubt or no, he would not whimper that he was chosen. Casting about for something else to say, he saw darkened niches around the edge of the cavern. The people inside them glared back at him, as annoyed as he. “What about them? Are they chosen, too?”

“They were. She threw them back, gave up on them, or otherwise rejected them. They stay on, hoping the line will vanish and their turn will come again.” She thrust the clipboard at him. “Now, sign here.”

He looked around the dungeon once more, at everyone in the unmoving line. “I think not. I may be Chosen, but I can also choose.”

As he stepped through the archway, the woman behind him laughed. “No one leaves until she decides. You’re just lucky she’s done with you already.”

His doubt left behind, Hargold mounted the steps, wondering if the baker would be willing to take a formerly Chosen One as an apprentice.

— The End —

Q is for Q & A about Q & A

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so I’ll lay down the ground rules for anyone who’s popped in recently without reading the archives (because, really, who would read everything ever written in a blog, no matter how entertaining?). I write a short introduction, then I ask and answer questions related to the topic, generally in the most tongue-in-cheek manner I can manage.

Q: What makes you think people want to read you talking to yourself?

A: They’re on my blog. Also, I tend to get good comments for these posts.

Q: So why did you stop?

A: I didn’t stop. I’m doing one right NOW.

Q: Okay, then, why take a break?

A: I couldn’t think of a topic? Or maybe I was busy. Anyway, I’m doing it now, as I think I mentioned.

Q: How often do you do these?

A: When I remember, once a week — used to be on Fridays. We’ll see if I can get back to that.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: If others have questions, they can leave them in the comments.

E is for . . .

Editing. (As in copyediting and proofreading, which I should be working on right now, instead of writing a post.)

English Breakfast tea. (Current beverage, decaf variety.)

Enough. (Although if we’re looking at the list of things I’m working on, I passed “enough” about ten items back. Or maybe fifteen.)

Evil muse. (She finally gave me the last line to go with a first line from a couple years ago, so now I have another story on my to-do list.)

Energy. (The running is really helping with that. I’m getting done with the runs and feeling positively exhilarated. Not necessarily wanting to sit down and set to work, but that’s a different issue, now isn’t it?)

Elephants. (At one point in elementary school, we had to create fictional restaurants for ourselves. Mine was “Erin’s Elephants,” and the restaurant was housed in a building shaped like an elephant, where the legs were elevators to get people and supplies up to the actual restaurant. Steaks were expensive, ice cream was cheap, and salads weren’t on the menu.)

Eggplants. (Which if you peel and cube it, then boil and mash it, makes an excellent thickener for all sorts of tomato-based sauces.)

Excuses. (None allowed.)

Empty. (As in my brain, when trying to pick a single topic for this post.)

Resolution Q & A

It’s January. Of course, the topic is New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone’s either doing that or a top-10 list from 2010. I don’t have strong enough opinions to have a top-10 list. Either that, or I can’t think of 10 anything I’d put on such a list. You decide.

My dad always had two fall-back resolutions:

  • I resolve not to punch any tigers in the teeth.
  • I resolve not to make any other resolutions.

They worked well for him, but he always thought he didn’t need to improve at all. As it’s true that he excelled at being himself, he may have had a point.

I’ve made resolutions in the past. I’ve also written myself letters to read five years in the future. (I really should find those and read them, since it’s been over fifteen years now — maybe even twenty.) Currently, I tend to create goals, rather than resolutions — it gives me something more concrete to work toward, and a single mis-step isn’t a failure.

On to the questions:

Q: Shouldn’t you have posted this last week, before the new year started?

A: Would it help if I resolve to be more timely at the end of this year?

Q: Should I tell other people what my resolutions are?

A: Only if you’re willing to listen to them mock you.

Q: My friends/family/significant other wouldn’t do that!

A: If that’s a question, you’re not going to like my answer.

Q: Should I make SMART goals and resolutions?

A: Well, that would beat DUMB ones, wouldn’t it?

Q: Are you ever serious?

A: Yes. Second Tuesday of every week. Also, when facing a stack of bills.

Q: Do you have any resolutions this year?

A: Sure. I’ll resolve not to punch any tigers in the teeth.

If you have any questions or thoughts, leave them in the comments. As always, thanks for reading!

Halloween Q & A

It’s a bit of a trite idea to write about Halloween this weekend, I know, but I’m not going to stay away just because all the popular kids are doing it. Or because they’re not. As a quick trip to Wikipedia would tell you, Halloween is our current form of Hallowe’en, from Hallows, Even, from All Hallows’ Eve — in other words, the night before All Saints’ Day. Yes, this wonderful day is rooted in Catholic tradition, including the tradition of taking customs that existed before they converted the locals and putting a Catholic spin on them.

This week’s questions:

Q: What’s your favorite Halloween moment?

A: That’s easy — I met my husband at a Halloween party.

Q: How old were you when you stopped trick-or-treating?

A: Stopped? Wait, you mean I’m not supposed to carry a bag, too, when I go out with my kids?

Q: Seriously?

A: Okay, okay. In grad school. I took the kids out for the family I lived with, and I wore a costume, too. I wound up giving my candy to the little girl, who had dragged her bag on the ground.

Q: What’s your favorite candy to get?

A: Can I pick two? Smarties and miniature Reese’s.

Q: And to give?

A: Oddly enough, that’s what I have to give away, too. That way, if we don’t get too many trick-or-treaters, I’m set!

Q: Favorite bit of Halloween trivia?

A: Nevada was admitted to the Union as a state on October 31, 1864. Thus, Halloween is a holiday — Nevada Day (a fact I appreciated growing up!).

Q: Are you wearing a costume this year?

A: I just found my pointy ears, so anything’s possible.

That said, trick-or-treating here is Friday night, so I need to make sure my kids are ready. Have a safe weekend, everybody, and as always, thank you for reading!

(Don’t forget — you can still enter my Hadley Rille Books book giveaway!)

housecleaning Q & A

Housecleaning, I hear you asking yourself, really? Well, yes, but mostly because I’m going to run off to do some (guests coming over) and realized I hadn’t posted a Q&A today.

Again, doing the mock-interview format.

Q: Do you dust or vacuum first?

A: What makes you think I do either? I might swipe a dust cloth when people are coming by, but there’s a good reason to prefer hardwood floors to carpet: I don’t have to vacuum!

Q: Hardwood floors? How do you keep those polished?

A: The kids run around in socks, which does wonders for the floors.

Q: Do you wash dishes by hand or with a dishwasher?

A: By hand only if it can’t go in the dishwasher — crystal, cast iron, the pizza pan that’s too big to fit, that sort of thing. I’ve got better things to do with my time than stand at the sink. Besides, dishpan hands are hard to type with.

Q: Do the kids help out?

A: Define “help out.”

Q: Do they do chores, pick up, that sort of thing?

A: The younger one is better about cleaning up, except she seems to think toys belong on the floor, not in the box. The older one is very good about specific chores (except the bathroom and his bedroom), but sort of ignores the rest — kind of like his mom, who figures that if there’s food on the table, dishes to eat it on, and clothes to wear, she’s done her job.

Q: What about yard work?

A: What about it? We’re talking about housecleaning.

Q: Do you do windows?

A: No, I’m a Mac person.

Q: What about –?

A: Sorry, gotta go. The house won’t clean itself, you know.