Work is Raunchier than Fiction

Note: Image above used in a real webinar.  Transcript below has been adjusted to better align with the image’s message. 

Ally:  Okay, so there was a question about the potential fueling options in the New York Metro area.  Johanna can you do a quick on-the-fly evaluation?

Johanna:  Sure!  Let me zoom into the region.  Remember earlier we showed an analysis indicating that natural gas has some penetration in this area, so I’ll turn on the natural gas layers.  As you can see, there are three distinct strategic thrust areas:  the areas outlined in blue.  Those shafts indicate where we have a deep penetration of natural gas stations — indicated by the blue dots — along an interstate.

Johanna:  First consider the shaft from Scranton heading east.  There we have an exciting opportunity for double penetration into both New York and New Jersey.  Next, while there is only a single station in White Plains, with some attention that shaft could rise and stimulate the upstate New York market.  Finally the shaft along the Long Island Expressway has so many stations it almost seems to be ready to explode with potential.

Johanna:  This map makes me so excited about the growing opportunities in the New York region.  Transforming these shafts into natural gas corridors isn’t going to be easy — in fact it’s going to be hard, very hard.  In the end, with a little political and technical stroking, I know our strategic thrusts will climax into a robust natural gas fueling infrastructure in this region.

Ally:  Gosh, you’ve got me worked up!  I can’t believe how huge this opportunity is.  That was a stimulating question and a really deep analysis by Johanna.  Thanks!  Are there any other regions folks would like to explore?

A Continuing Knit Dilemma of Presidential Proportions

Frustrated with their tiny knit presidential candidate situation the bad guys and evil Lego figures took matters into their own molded plastic hands, as evildoers so often do.  If no tiny knit Trump was going to be an option for them, they were going to create a leader they could follow.  As a surprise to everyone, mad scientist Lego has some pretty decent skills with the double pointed needles.

Voila!  Tiny knit zombie is complete and was presented to the leaderless toys, but something didn’t seem right.  While tiny knit zombie was evil and green he just didn’t seem presidential.  How would he attract undecided voters?  Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a zombie – even a mouthless zombie who can’t eat brains – as president.  They needed to do something to improve his image.  

Mad Scientist turned to the real human election for inspiration, and with just a few stitches tiny knit zombie became a viable candidate.

Complete with red tie and a distinctive toupee, the toys present tiny knit Trump-like zombie candidate!  Now there is a brain enjoying leader any toy can support, or that’s what these guys hope.  Let’s see how he does against tiny knit Hillary in the debate.  In the meantime, we are going to keep him away from the baby toys, because the way he “kisses” their head makes the mommy toys a bit uncomfortable.  It’s like he’s smelling veal as he caresses their little heads.  Hopefully he can overcome that flaw.

Third post in a potential series of tiny knit presidential dilemmas.  See the second post here, and the first post here.

Thank you to Anna Hrachovec for the amazing pattern!  Please see for the zombie pattern and visit her site at

AAA Battery Emergency – Adult Version

Cynthia dropped her purse on the floor shedding her date clothes from one end of the apartment to the other, heading to the bathroom to wash off her makeup.  The care she had taken to look her best was just embarrassing now.  It was the third date, and she’d even put on an itchy lacy thong and matching itchy push up bra thinking tonight she and Sebastian were going to take things to the next level.  Well, she wasn’t wrong about that, but when the check came and Sebastian didn’t pick up the tab alarms started to go off, and built to a crescendo when he started the tired, “It’s not you, it’s me” let-her-down-easy soliloquy.

The worst was that she didn’t even like him, but she was lonely and was looking forward to feeling pretty and satisfied for a night.  In her secret heart she had even looked forward to ending it herself after a few nights together, but spiky haired Sebastian had beat her to the punch.

Reaching for a hand towel to pat dry her clean face Cynthia knocked a small box out of the linen closet.  She reached down to pick up the object and saw that it was the lipstick sized vibrator that she’d been given at a bachelorette party last summer.  She’d been so embarrassed by it that she’d shoved it behind the towels, but not before rolling her eyes at the “perfect for travel” splashed across the front of the package.  All she could imagine was some blue shirted TSA inspector finding it and turning it on in front of a pack of disheveled travelers.

Cynthia paused before putting the small box back in the linen closet.  She was lonely, and had been hoping for some…attention…tonight.  Maybe this was better than the Sebastian solution.  She couldn’t cuddle, but she could be satisfied.  With a flick of anticipation in her stomach she turned the lipstick base, and nothing happened.  She looked for a switch, or some other way to turn the device on, but nothing happened.  Suddenly the vibrator broke into two pieces and a single AAA battery fell to the floor.

Cynthia leaned over to pick up the battery, but the process of straightening back up reminded her that she had to get out of the damn thong.  She dressed in her favorite yoga pants and a soft well-loved tank top and turned on the TV.  A late night commercial blasted from the speakers.


Less than fifteen minutes later there was a strong knock at the door. Cynthia slipped her lipstick sized toy into the small pocket on her tank top and looked up to find Adonis on her doorstep. His thick dark hair curled around his ears and was just a little too long for a man, ending right above his name tag: which read “Adonis.”  His aquiline nose split two ice blue eyes and his full lips stretched into a smile revealing perfect white teeth. “AAA Battery Delivery and Installation at your service ma’am. May I come in?” His breath had an intoxicating minty cinnamon scent. Cynthia stood aside, speechless, and motioned him in. She glanced outside and saw his truck, proving that this man was from AAA Batteries.


His perfect butt was somehow highlighted by his jumpsuit and a pair of what looked like gun belts crossed his hips. Instead of bullets his belt held rows of AAA batteries. Cynthia couldn’t stop staring as he slowly turned and asked, “Now, how can I help you?”

“I…I need an AAA battery.” Cynthia stammered.

Adonis said in a satiny voice, “AAA Batteries, Delivered and Installed is our motto, ma’am. I can’t just give you a battery, I’ve got to install it for you too.”

Cynthia flushed and reached into the pocket of her tank top, both afraid of this god-like man’s reaction and longing for him to respond to her needs. She held out the small device and he took it from her and professionally installed a single new AAA battery from his belt. When he was done he stared into her eyes and gently twisted the lipstick base and a quiet humming filled the air. He stepped toward her and asked, “Now, is there anything else I can do for you tonight?”

Cynthia said nothing but softly moaned….


The second, and more adult version of my AAA Battery Emergency series.  I’m vaguely obsessed with all the potential AAA Battery Emergencies, but when the idea of the gunslinger-like delivery man popped into my head I couldn’t help but write the story.  I leave it to your imagination how the evening ends.  Did the battery belts stay on, or come off?



Finish Something, Again – The Writer’s Digest Version

Here I go again.  I’m sending my short story, The Fisherman, out into the world to see if it can find love and acceptance. I like shooting high, so this time I’m trying for the Writer’s Digest Short Short Story competition.  The word count limit is 1500, and I come in with plenty of room to spare at 1247.  I won’t find out until February if it gets accepted, so once this goes out I’ll turn my attention back to the second draft of my novel, which really needs some attention.

I’m amazed at how the story has morphed with each submission.  I like it better this time than I did with the Glimmer Train draft.  It’s more direct, and more intimate and that’s really a better voice for me.  Having already developed callouses from my first rejection, I’m not as excited this time, but I’m feeling more like a real writer.  Oh yeah, I’m just resubmitting to another contest.  I’m getting it out there.  You know how it is with writing.  I’m so blase.  (How do I make the ticky thing over the e in blase?)  Maybe this time I’ll even forget about the day the winners are announced and not go crazy as the day gets closer.  (Yeah, right!  Winners will be notified by mail by February 29th.  I’m sure if I haven’t heard by then I’ll be stalking the poor postman.)

Stay tuned blogging friends.  In a mere 3 months and 15 days I’ll be a crazy person again, but I’m doing what my BFF Neil Gaiman told me to do.  I’m finishing things and getting them out there.

Finish Something: No Glimmer of Hope

Sometime this afternoon the status on my submission to Glimmer Train went from “In Process” to “Complete” which means they aren’t going to publish my story.  Winners were to be notified this week and my hopes were high when I was still “In Process” yesterday.  Sadly, I am not a prognosticator, but just a dreamer.  Am I disappointed?  A little bit, but I have to admit I had a lot of fun the past week imagining the scenarios:  receiving the e-mail telling me that I was actually going to be a real live published writer, telling my friends and family the wonderful news, and seeing my story in print.  Having something to be excited about is fun, even when it doesn’t turn out the way you want.  (Also, a little teeny tiny bit of me is still hoping I make the top 25 list even if they aren’t publishing my story.  I’ll have to wait for November 1st for that list.)

Now that I know, I can move on to submit my short story, The Fisherman, to the next two contests I found: The Master’s Review Fall Fiction Contest and The Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest.  First thing to do?  Fixed my pronoun agreement error in the first paragraph.  Sheesh, what a rookie!

The Master’s Review wants “strange, scary, disturbing and weird” from emerging writers.  The Fisherman nudges into all of these categories, so is a good fit.  However, they accept up to 7,000 words and at 1,242 words my story is a sliver of the length limit.  That said, finalists will be announced November 15th, so I’ll immediately have something to be excited about again.  Yippee!

Writer’s Digest wants a short short story with a limit of 1,500 words.  I make that cut off length with ease.  It’s an open competition though, so it’s me versus the world of published and established writers.  They award through twenty-fifth place.  This closes November 16th, so I’ll have one day after the Master’s Review deadline to submit here.  The Master’s Review accepts simultaneous submissions, but I don’t think Writer’s Digest does.  (I’m not sure, because Writer’s Digest has a lots of pages of rules.)

I’ve got a plan!  I hope someday I write another short story that I feel is a fit for Glimmer Train.  I enjoy reading the stories they publish and would love to be able to say I was featured on their pages.  Someday…

7-7-7 Challenge

Seventeen.  I have seventeen draft blog posts.  Some of them are deep and need time and effort to covey what I really want to say.  Some of them need a picture.  One needs some graphs.  One needs me to give a present first.  The blog posts are stacking up and I’m feeling drowned by the bits left to finish them off.

Ta da!  One of my favorite bloggers, A Funny Thing Happened When I was Learning Myself to the rescue!   She nominated me for the 7-7-7 challenge, which I love!  Thank you!  Here are the rules:

Go to the 7th page of my work in progress. Find the 7th sentence on that page, then paste the following 7 sentences into my blog post. Finally, select 7 other writers for the challenge.  It does not have to be fiction, I am interested in reading anything you’ve got!

What?!?!  How fun is this?  Since I have two works in progress over seven pages, I’m sharing them both.  From my first, yet to be completed, nameless novel:

Ingrid gasped, “Oh no, we use nothing but organic, free range eggs in this household.”

“Joke mom” Grant said and sat down on the dove grey love seat in the living room.  Anna joined him, and set Ingrid’s cup of non-alcoholic eggnog on a silver coaster.  Anna watched Ingrid as she took a sip of Anna’s eggnog.  What on earth was going on?  Ingrid was a germaphobe and she was drinking from a cup with a smear of Anna’s lipstick on the edge.

“So, what news do you have for us?” Ingrid asked and raised her eyebrows at them.

The second 7-7-7 series comes from my completed novel, Hallejulah.

Golden, grey and silver buildings lined the street in a variety of shapes and sizes.  There were Tudors next to low rise apartment buildings next to mansions; yet the street did not look odd with all the conflicting styles.  There was a gentle breeze and he could hear the leaves rustling in the trees.  No one walked the streets.  It was quiet.

“Welcome to the residential sector,” Petra said. “Here you will find all the residents of Heaven, and each new member is assigned living quarters based on their soul characteristics.”

Now for my seven nominees.  It appears as though my nominator and I share many favorite blogs, but there are a few I enjoy that didn’t make her list.  I’m leading with my “Hanna” derivative sisters.

  1. JoHanna Massey
  2. Proofreader Hannah
  3. K E Garland
  4. Spontaneous Whimsey or Socrates Underground (It’s the same author on both blogs!  So sneaky!)
  5. Alexand Knits – She’s mostly a knitter, so maybe she’ll provide us with a picture of the seventh stitch on the seventh row of some knitted object.
  6. Duck and Cover
  7. Amie Writes – who hasn’t been writing much and I miss her!

Also, a shout out to Mom Who Runs, who nominated my nominator.  Gotta love the blogging community!

Dream or Prophesy?

On September 13th I had a dream.  (Yes, I know, I hate hearing about other people’s dreams too.  There’s a point.  I’ll be quick.)  I’m holding in my hands a book, well, not quite a book.  It’s papers with book-like organization and book like shape and it has my story in it and pictures of me.  Not quite my story, there are differences, but my story and weird pictures I don’t ever remember being taken, but they are of me.  I flip through the unbound pages to the cover.  Glimmer Train.  “Oh,” a woman’s voice says, “You aren’t supposed to see that yet.”  The story is The Fisherman, which I submit to Glimmer Train for their Short Story Award for New Writers award the end of August.  In my dream I saw my story in the magazine.

I have read countless articles and books on writing.  Get it out there, they all say.  Just keep submitting, they all say.  Then they always say, “I didn’t even remember I had such-and-such story out there, when I found out I got published.”  Okay, I know I’m a newbie, and I know this is my first submission but WHAT?!?!  I’m going crazy here.  I have a full time job, I’m a mom, I’m fostering two kittens from the animal shelter, I’m coaching my daughter’s soccer team and I still check my e-mail several times a day to see if I’ve heard from Glimmer Train yet.  Are these other writers beings with hearts and souls of stone, or am I just nuts?

It’s kind of fun.  The site says, “Winners will be contacted directly the week before the public announcement in our bulletins” and the bulletin is due out November 1st so the longer I don’t hear something the more giddy and butterfly-stomachy I feel.  Sixteen days….but if I don’t hear in nine days is that good news by default?  *flutter flutter*  Then I tell myself, “They just moved to a new computer system.  You know how that goes.  It’s what you do for a living.  They are probably just doing a batch update in the old system and that’s why you don’t know yet.”  *flutter flutter*

I’m trying to keep my rose colored glasses on.  I know the odds are slim.  I know they get tons of submissions.  I know no one gets published on their first submission.  Why did I have to be the one who submit a story when they got a new computer system?  But I haven’t heard anything yet so the excitement builds.

They probably just lost it.  It’s stuck in some bit or byte and they don’t even know it’s there.  November 1st will come and go and I won’t hear anything, and I’ll miss my chance to submit to the Writer’s Digest competition I’m eyeing.  I’ll be that awkward whiny person who e-mails them, “Uh, did you ever read my story?”

Gasp.  Maybe they like it.  Maybe I’ll get published.  Maybe it really is good.  I think it’s good….sometimes.

It’s like a writer’s Christmas Eve, but this time Santa really might not come, or he might bring me coal.  Do you hear the reindeer’s hooves?

I just checked.  Still no e-mail.  Still no update on my submission status.  I’m still In Process – Your work has been received and is in the review process. Check guidelines for response times.  Of course the guidelines are gone, because of the new system.  This is like every user I’ve ever programmed for paying me back for moving stuff they want to find on a website.  When will I move to Complete or *flutter flutter* Accepted for Publication?

Nine more days, or sixteen….

*flutter flutter*

“The End” Part 2 – The Heartstrings

I’ve often thought that there is a magical moment when something really good happens in my life and I’m the only person who knows.   It’s a special time, when the good news is all mine.  No one has reacted in a way I didn’t expect.  No one has said anything weird, or worse, mean.  The good news is a flickering glow that is all mine.

That was how I felt on Sunday night when I finished my book.  I started crying as the last words were typed.  Not a big sobbing cry, but just tears welling up.  A happy cry.  A sigh of relief cry.  A quiet amazement cry.  These people and their story that had been rattling around in my afthead for so long were out.  Their story was done, or at least the first part of their story was done.  I knew what happened.  They knew what happened.

I wrote “The End.”  I saved the story.  I backed it up, twice.  I calculated how long it took for me to write the book, and wrote down how many pages and words a little piece of paper.  I’m bad at remembering numbers, and if someone cared enough to ask how long my book was I wanted to have that information at hand.

I imagined how I would tell my family and friends the big news.  Who to tell first?  What will I say?  Should I be dramatic or off-hand?  Will they hug me and spin me around in excitement, or will they cry themselves?  My husband is on a different continent.  How will I craft the text that will be the first thing he sees when he wakes up in England?  Subtle or over-the-top?  I imagine the happiness each person will express.  Everyone will be as proud and elated as I am.

However, I am not the center of the universe and the real world doesn’t work like the little movie in my head, so before I started telling I turned towards reality.  I knew everyone would be happy for me, but in the way you are happy for someone else’s good news.

So I started.  Some people were distracted by their own life and their own situation.  Some reactions were weird.  Maybe they always wanted to write a book, but have never managed to get the words down on paper.  Maybe they just had a friend die.  Maybe they are hurt that I’ve been writing this book for two years and never mentioned it to them.  For whatever reason, they are a different happy than I imagined.

There is a flip side.  Some friends and family were happy in cool brave ways.  They said things I don’t experience outside of my deepest darkest center.  They joke about when my book will be made into a movie, like The Martian.  Of course I harbor such ridiculous dreams.  Heck!  I even have a song picked out to play during the opening scene, but I would never say that out-loud.  I want to shush them, lest they attract the attention of fate who wants to squash my hubris.  They offer knowledge and information to move me onto the next phase: sites, magazines, friends and family who can help me publish.  They want to read my book.  They tell me I inspire them.  These will be my first readers.  They are the ones I will hand a huge pile of paper and say, “Tell me what you think.”

My favorite was my daughter.  She told people, “My mom finished her book.  She read me a part once.  It was about the Wizard of Oz.  It was really good.”  I love that she understands that this is a big deal and that she knows it is special that she got a sneak peek.  Only she and my husband have glimpsed the pages of the book.  My kiddo is proud of me.  Who doesn’t want that?

Once I told all the people I walk around with in the real world, it was time to tell my blogging friends.  Really, I held out telling you because I’ve enjoyed my few days of imagining how I would tell you and how you would react.  You are in the arena with me.  You are all writers and whether it’s your quotes, your own novels, fiction, stories, or humor you are putting out there, you putting it out there too.  You are the ones who read my short story and were so wonderful and generous with your likes and your comments.  You made me brave about being willing to make something up in my head and share it.  You are the ones who will read the bits of my book that I will scalpel out in a few weeks.  The good bits that aren’t quite right for the final product.

I turn to you, just like my in-person friends, and ask, do you know what I do next?  It’s time to move to the next beginning!  Thank you for coming this far with me.  I finished my book!!!  Eeeek!!!

Favorite Lines – Jim the Boy

“During the night something like a miracle happened: Jim’s age grew an extra digit.  He was nine years old when he went to sleep, but ten years old when he woke up.  The extra number had weight, like a muscle, and Jim hefted it like a prize.  The uncles’ ages each contained two numbers, and now Jim’s age contained two numbers as well.”

– Jim The Boy, by Tony Earley

I have not been a writer my whole life: I came to that lately.  I have been a reader my whole life, and since starting to put words to paper my love of books has grown.  I will be reading or listening to a book and have to stop to re-read or rewind a passage marveling at “how they put that”.  That said, I have always loved certain books and certain lines in certain books, so I thought I’d start to share some with you.  These phrases, they are my inspiration, and I’d love to share them with you.

This one is from Jim the Boy, by Tony Earley.  I haven’t read the book in forever, but I remember loving this line the first time I read it.  I even read it to my mom, my partner in book love, so she could hear how wonderful it was this first line in Book 1 of the novel.  Earley captures the magic of turning 10 from a child’s perspective in such a unique way.  While my daughter has always talked about how many years she has in fingers or hands, I love how Earley describes it in terms of digits, and how ten has the same number of digits as his uncles’ ages: so momentous and yet a mystery there.  Why uncles and not parents?  I tried to create a similar feel in my story The Fisherman.  Earley’s is much clearer though.  There is no question about how old Jim is or what Early is trying to convey.  But this writing thing, it’s all about learning right?

The book is a great read, and I’ve tucked it away in my backpack to enjoy again.  Watch for more favorite lines in future posts!