First Date Fail

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

bunnyIt’s been a while since I tossed a Thursday question out to the cosmos… But it was fun and I need to come out of my cave a little, so let’s try one of these and see what happens. I’m rusty, out of practice, and yes, I know it’s Friday. But Friday is traditionally date night, so let’s take that idea and run with it with First Date Fail.

Yes, fail.

Not because the relationship failed, not because you never called them again, but because, in hindsight, that particular date maybe didn’t go as well as you had planned, hoped, or expected the universe to write for you like a hollywood moment. Yeah, that date.

While not every relationship succeeds, they all have a unique beginning. From a 50-year marriage to a blind date you can’t wait to forget, they all have some shred of a story to tell. Here’s your chance. Let me oil these squeaky hinges and give you a giggle before I bat my eyelashes and ask you to entertain me back.

A boy once asked me out while I was working—while I was at work. I said no. He asked again an hour later. I said no. He told me we could just go to a graduation party for a mutual friend and nothing else, just spend time together. I hemmed and hawed and said “Fine. But I have to be back here by 2am.” After all, my car was parked there at work and I would need it. Eventually. Right?

So we went to the party, talked to other people more than each other, and got back in the truck. We did not go back to my car. Instead, we decided we hadn’t really gotten a chance to talk to each other, so we drove around. Now mind you, I was new to this town and within five minutes was completely lost on the backroads he seemed to wander down like he had personally named them. I didn’t know if he was a serial killer taking me to my final resting place or not, and caught myself sizing him up to see if there was a chance I could take him. I didn’t think so. I was doomed. And the conversation continued as he distracted my pessimistic thoughts with interesting topics and comments that made me laugh. It was actually going fairly well…

Until the rabbit.

Those backroads were dark. The wildlife doesn’t understand roads are for vehicles, not them. And before I could gasp and he could brake, there was a *thump thump* as the front and back driver’s tires turned bunny foo-foo into road pizza. Now, things happen. Animals get hit. It’s not unusual. But when he stopped to make sure it was dead, to which I found him chivalrous as he didn’t want the animal to suffer, I learned this was not only unusual but the chivalry was questionable.

He got out and reached into the bed of the truck, pulling free a mini baseball bat.

“What is that?” I’m pretty sure my eyes were about the size of the moon.

“My little thumper.”

“Your what? What’s that for?” (Did you know if you furrow your eyebrows hard enough it actually hurts?)

“In case it’s not dead.”

“You’re going to kill it again?”

I’m pretty sure he answered, but in the years since, it has become part of the blur that followed. I buried my face in my hands and began rethinking the serial killer questions. I tried to block the world out, but from outside the truck I heard *KER-RACK!* followed by a slew of profanity and the most horrible noise I’ve ever heard.

A dying bunny does NOT make a happy noise. Nor can it just die quietly like an over-acting B-movie star hoping to get noticed. Oh no. It makes this hideous cry and sounds like rubber bands snapping against rocks inside the throat of a child being throttled while their toddler sibling stands nearby screaming at the top of their tiny lungs. To reiterate, it is NOT a pleasant noise. There was another *thump* sound and the horrific noises stopped.

A double bang in the bed of the truck and the door slamming pulled me from the happy place I had forced myself to go.

“Oh my god.” I looked at this boy. He was tall, he was dark, he was nice, and he had just destroyed an animal on our first date.

“I know, right? Pisses me off.”

“What?” I was so confused at that point I likely looked like a teenage boy in the girl’s locker room—both confused and intrigued.

So it turned out, the *ker-rack* I had heard was him missing the bunny, hitting the road with his “thumper” instead of hitting Thumper, and breaking it in two. He was mad because he broke his little critter club. He hit it cleanly with the second attempt and only half the bat, thus putting it out of it’s misery.

I nervously laughed about the whole thing and we drove on, getting me back to my car eventually—though 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. are not the same thing. I nervously laughed about it for a couple years actually. Eventually, I started wondering if that hadn’t been my warning, my red flags, my runanddonotlookback moment for this relationship. But then I wouldn’t have my two beautiful children. Yeah… that was their dad for those of you who know him. For those of you who only know “of” him, you’re not shocked, so don’t pretend.

I don’t remember much of that first date, other than the sound of a dying bunny and the truly deep-seated desire that developed to never ever ever hear that noise again. Red flags I ignored? Blood, murder, mayhem, and the possibility of being victim to a serial killer? Yeah, I’m going to call that ‘first date fail.’ But it makes for a fun story, sorta.

Now then, entertain me… red flags missed on a first date? Horrible first date you ran from and never looked back? You know you’ve had at least one horrible evening you may have actually paid for the privilege to have. Share with the class…


A Rose By Any Other Name…

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

roseBut what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
~ “Sympathy for the Devil” The Rolling Stones

Well, it seems my muse is trying to deal with shit. It’s used to bleeding on the page. It’s used to borrowing my keyboard to help me process things. But apparently, there’s no way I can process certain things with blood. I need tears. An ocean full of them—found on a lovely little vacation I was offered. And after a couple weeks of conversations with the surf, feet in Caribbean waters, and many evenings with a talkative moon, my muse has lost her mind.

So rather than working on the semi-sorta-not-really sequel to Live Specimens (Floaters), or the actual sequel to Waiting Out Winter (The Hatch), or even my coming of age, going home again, dedication to a lost friend that will teeter the line of thriller and horror in a whole new way, I’m playing dodge ball with a muse harboring a romantic streak. Stupid thing. And wicked aim. She’s been covered in blood and bandages for so long, she’s blinded and has no idea how much I don’t know what to do with this.

Which means I’m doing what I’m supposed to do—shut up and write. She speaks, I type. She whispers, I type. She screams, I get the headphones and type until she quiets down. I have no choice. I know this. I’ve tried ignoring her before. It never ends well…

So the question is, if a thriller/horror writer is suddenly taking a sabbatical from the creepy and cooky, does she do so under a different name? What say ye, oh faithful readers. Would you want to know and thus read or recommend the softer side of the Gypsy? Or should I hide this under a pseudonym like the dirty secret I’m still holding onto since second grade? (It’s okay, Mrs. Johnston, I’ll never tell anyone!)

Coming soon to a bookstore near you… a new Owen book. Sorta. With a severe lack of dead bodies, blood, and including ohmygodwhatiswrongwithme romance. And the burning question isn’t even WTF anymore, it’s whether or not to use my name or give this side of the muse a new moniker. A whole different genre, different feel, different audience, different pre-readers… so the name? Hmmm… Whatcha think?


Empty Pumpkin Syndrome

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

hall04bridehorsemanDouble, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn, and caldron bubble
~ Shakespeare (Macbeth — witches’ spell)

A long time ago, in a land far far away, I was a kid who loved Halloween. I loved all things spooky and ooky and on that one glorious day of the year, I was allowed to act it out any way I wanted to—costumes, parties, movies, you name it. Over the years, I’ve had a veritable cornucopia of costumes—my earliest memory is the sheet-ghost, in which I face-planted in a mud puddle and accidentally turned into a swamp monster. As a young adult, I still dressed up but went to parties instead of trick-or-treating. Then I had two little creatures of my very own and Halloween became about their costumes, even though I was still dressing up with them to chaperone their candy-begging activities at strange houses which were suddenly deemed safe just because the owner has a porch light on and a bucket full of fun-sized* chocolate bars.

I often started their costumes in July. After all, this was Halloween, and that meant serious business. My little creatures were every classic monster over the years, as in the picture—some amazing, some I still get grief for (how many times can I apologize for the mummy vs. hot glue incident?). They dabbled in modern horror, with Carrie and Edward Scissorhands. They enjoyed the trick-or-treating, the costumes, the decorating (as my mother once said, “only in your house is it normal to hear someone scold a child and tell them to get out of a coffin”). They loved all of it with me. The spooky, the ooky… the energy.

And then they grew up. My daughter is celebrating her first Halloween as a mother this year. She’s in charge of the costumes and trick-or-treating now. My son is back in that land far far away for the season, third year running unfortunately. And I’m here. Buying candy and preparing to sit on the porch and ooh and ahh at all the little costumed monsters who come begging for my wares. I’ve got a costume to wear while I peddle my fun-sized treats. And while there’s some minor decoration, I was out of town for a good chunk of October, so for the first time in what feels like my entire life, there is no graveyard in my dying grass.

It’s Halloween. It’s October. It’s horror madness 24/7. But something just doesn’t feel right, and it’s not the lack of a graveyard. It hasn’t felt right for a couple years. Last night, I finally figured it out. I have empty pumpkin syndrome. I’ve entered the next stage of Halloween and find I have no idea how to celebrate. It’s a strange feeling. I don’t like it. I have no monsters to dress up and take trick-or-treating. I have no parties to attend. I feel as if I’m celebrating the same holiday as everyone else, but from a strange bubble. If I’m lucky, in the next 24 hours, I’ll figure out how to feel like I’m a part of the holiday I love, rather than feeling like a bystander. An interloper. A ghost.

In the meantime, it’s still my favorite holiday. I won’t go to the day job on this sacred day (I’ll work Christmas, I do not work on Halloween). I’ll watch the traditional movies during the day while I’m setting up, and end the night with my beloved Michael Myers. In between, I’ll hand out candy and take pictures of the best costumes… and in case I don’t come online again until November, may all of you have a magnificent Halloween — full of costumes and candy and that one moment when you truly jump at something, because after all, “It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”

*Nod to my nephew, who once claimed Halloween candy is NOT fun-sized. “If it were the size of my house, then it would be fun size!” He had a point and I’ll never forget that comment.


Readers Old and New

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

IMG_5971Just a quick thank you to everyone who took advantage of the 99¢ Sale while I was gallivanting around the high seas. I appreciate the support of old readers and curiosity of new — and hope you all enjoy your goodies.

Of course, now I’m back. Herbert has been blocked from the computer, and the prices will be returning to normal today. I did however write every morning while gone (see picture? best office ever!) and you’ll be getting new treats to read very soon…

Again, thank you for all the support!!


Sale Ends Soon

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

readbeachI’m going to be home any day now, and as soon as I coax Herbert from his hiding hole, all those ebook 99¢ sales are going to vanish. Grab my available library for dirt cheap while you can… get something for yourself, or send to a friend who might enjoy it, but hurry. Time is running out!

Waiting Out Winter – It was supposed to fix a problem, instead it caused the apocalypse. (Loosely based on true events)

The Neighborhood – A novella following clues, blood, missing persons, and murder through the eyes of the children.

Six Days – Somewhere between horror and suspense are memories and personal demons hiding inside our own darkness.

White Picket Prisons – An eye for an eye is a helluva way to fix the justice system… until it’s your eye in question.

Live Specimens – They escaped the lab, can man escape them?

Black Bubbles – Short story collection that covers all tropes, genres, and blood types.

Grab ‘em while you can!


The Everything Sale

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

booksale1I’m on the road heading out of town for a couple of weeks. While I’m gone, I’ve left my new pet, an invisible monkey-fish named Herbert, in charge of the shop. The first thing he did? Lower the prices on all my ebooks! I’ll have to find him a special treat while I’m gone… Meanwhile, enjoy the special treat he’s given all of you: my entire ebook library reduced to 99¢ until I return…

Waiting Out Winter – It was supposed to fix a problem, instead it caused the apocalypse. (Loosely based on true events)

The Neighborhood – A novella following clues, blood, missing persons, and murder through the eyes of the children.

Six Days – Somewhere between horror and suspense are memories and personal demons hiding inside our own darkness.

White Picket Prisons – An eye for an eye is a helluva way to fix the justice system… until it’s your eye in question.

Live Specimens – They escaped the lab, can man escape them?

Black Bubbles – Short story collection that covers all tropes, genres, and blood types.

Enjoy. See you in a couple weeks…



Originally published at Please leave any comments there.


“She makes me want to believe in heaven.”  Those actually came out of my mouth after reading this book, but we’ll get back to that…

Anyone that knows me, knows Audrey Hepburn has been my favorite actress forever…and by forever I mean since I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s one Saturday afternoon as a preteen. Those on my personal facebook page know she occasionally graces the page there as my profile pic. I’ve always loved her work, and I’ve always thought she was an amazing woman. She defined grace and style, and while she wasn’t the creator of it, to me, she is synonymous with “the little black dress.”

Then I got this book for my birthday. Best birthday present ever.

I couldn’t read it right away, because I made myself a promise—finish deadlines, get through certain tasks, and then reward myself with some downtime with Audrey. I finally started it. And finished it. And found myself in tears as I closed the book.

An amazing woman, who not only survived a helluva a childhood, but experienced quite the life. And she did it, ups and downs, with style. She had more grace in her little finger than most of us have in our entire body. If I could have just half her grace on my good days, that would be awesome.

And yes, I said—I told you we’d get back there—she makes me want to believe in heaven. That’s quite the phrase coming from a known dirty rotten atheist. Why would I say that? Simple. Because if there was a heaven, there’d be a chance I could meet her someday. And any time I’m asked “if you could meet anyone” or “if you could have anyone over for dinner” she’s the answer. This book only made me wish I could meet her even more.

I haven’t done a book review in a bazillion moons (since I sold that website, nudge nudge, you know, that website), but if you’ve ever adored her movies, or thought she was a great person, or admired her for any reason whatsoever, you need to read this biography. My words can’t even do it justice. But seriously, I cried when I finished it? That’s gotta hold some water (no pun intended). Amazing read that I’ll re-read.

Available on Amazon

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And on Goodreads


Broken Threads

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

Spider-web-1“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly…
~ Mary Howitt, 1829

Even if you don’t like spiders, you have to admit the beauty in their work. Their webs are creations of invitingly dangerous intricacies. To a small insect, they are death’s door. To a human, they are simply ninja training (as so eloquently quoted by anonymous “why is it when you walk into a spiderweb, you suddenly turn into a ninja?”).

But take a step back. Don’t think about the trap itself, but rather the beauty it proffers to those who gaze upon it. Your first thought may be to look for the owner, but once you’ve done that and found none, you cannot help yourself but to get at least a little closer, to look a little harder at the design. The amazing details that seem so time consuming and tedious to us, but to the little guy with the silk-shooting butt, it’s just life. Or rather, life and death. The death of an insect is life to the spider. The death of his web can cost the life of the spider. It’s one of nature’s twisted little truths.

They are beautiful. Whether catching the dew drops or the glint of the sun, the patterns and hiccups in perfection are astounding to those that can let go of their arachnophobia for a moment and appreciate it. And that’s all life is, isn’t it? Letting go of any given phobia, for any given moment, and getting a little closer to something which may intrigue you? We are both the spider and the fly in this life. We weave our own webs while we are drawn to those around us. Some prefer to make (or are more attracted to) the larger more encompassing webs, other enjoy the small, almost hidden, gossamer mazes. Some like the fully shaped and perfectly spun, while others smile at those with zigzag lines and lazy loops. Each web is different. Each web offers something unique to the beholder.

And each must suffer the elements, the leaves blown by, the wind howling, and the rambunctious bits of nature that tear their webs asunder. But the spider doesn’t sit in a corner and cry about it. Even the tiniest interloper knows you cannot change what has happened, so you must adjust to it, and plunder forward—whether it be to repair or begin anew. By sunrise, there will be new lattice work to catch the dawn’s rays and hold fast to the morning dew. And yesterday’s damage will be forgotten.

Eventually, a camera may come along and capture in the abandoned broken threads, not the reflected sun or balancing dew drops, but rather, the dust which highlights the beauty that once was. And what was once forgotten, is found again. Not by the spider who has walked away from the past, but by a different set of eyes—which see a different form of beauty. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” ~ E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web



Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

I love dandelions. I don’t care that they’re weeds. I love blowing their dirty rotten little seeds everywhere. Because it’s pretty. It’s neat to watch. And I’m twelve.

And I’d like to be able to blow them into the wind in another twenty years.

And I’d like see my children’s children and grow old with my best friend. So… in order to exhale properly, one must inhale. And that means the nicotine has got to go.

Yep. You read that right. Even though the world’s leading lung doctor told me they look great. Even though I’m the female version of Coop when it comes to chain-smoking. It’s time.

I promised myself I’d do this some time ago. Other things happened instead. Then I promised someone else I’d do this… and even though promises get broken all too often, it’s time to keep this one.

Please forgive any snark, attitude, anger, outbursts, lashing out, or strangely calm and quite frightening behavior you may see for the next few weeks. I know some people get cranky. I’m convincing myself that I will not be like that. I’m trying to be smart about it—electronic to get rid of the other 3999 chemicals first, then lower nicotine each time. Eventually, it’ll be zero and i’ll be nicotine free.

I’ve always said I was allowed one bad habit… time for a better option.


Lost and Found

Originally published at Please leave any comments there.

youarehereNot until we are lost
do we begin to understand ourselves.

—Henry David Thoreau

Did you miss me? I did…

I went on an adventure last month. And by adventure, I mean I ran away from home—with no idea where I was going. I drove toward the ocean, found a nice, quiet small town, and set up camp on the beach for 36 hours. Siri was confused (see image). I wasn’t really in the middle of the ocean, but I was as close to that as I could get. And that’s what I wanted.

You see, the water is a happy zen for me. I don’t just play in the puddles for fun, I seek solace in the ripples, waves, and eddies of any and all bodies of water, big or small. It brings me peace. It clears my mind. And my mind was a hot mess. So I dropped down onto the sand and stared at the ocean. I expected to find peace. I expected my insides to calm down. I did not expect to get bitch-slapped by the very water I love so much.

I had a plan. Go to beach, talk to water, fix my state of mind. Instead, it went more like this: go to beach, open mouth to talk to water, have water grow a psychic arm, reach out, smack the crap out of me, and leave me dazed for a bit on the sand wondering what just happened. No, I wasn’t overpowered by a wave. I was overpowered by every moment in my entire life when I’d sought solace at the water. I was knocked around the psychic surf of years worth of falling victim to the circumstances when the spirit isn’t strong enough to hold up against the weight of it all.

I was reminded who I am and how I got here. I remembered and worked through the details of everything that either tried to change me or succeeded along the way—and acknowledged change is sometimes good. I was reminded of both my insignificance and greatness. I was slapped with the knowledge and reality of my own strengths and weaknesses. And I was forced to accept my good and bad qualities for what they are, who they make me, and what that means.

When I got there, the cacophony in my head covered the ocean sounds I love so much. When I left, I heard only the surf and birds and wind. I remembered my plan, put my feet back on path, and spent the next several weeks just trying to clear my head of the crap and cobwebs. Just like I’m going to clean the cobwebs out of this blog, my to-do list, my WIP folder, and my life. Time may heal all wounds, but water is my magical Neosporin and helps the healing. I’m not healed. Not by a longshot. But I’m clearer. I’m stronger. I’m even a little more (ok, a lot more) inked, with meaning and purpose, than I was before. I may have lost myself for a while in the mire of an imaginative mind and damaged soul, but I found myself at the ocean. And I’m back.

Now then, I have a novelette to finish…