March 2021

SURPRISE!

As you can see, I’ve been tweaking the website a bit. I know, you’re shocked. I never get around to updating the website.

It all started with bookmarks. Not web browser bookmarks, actual cardstock bookmarks you put in a dead tree book.

My current class uses multiple books at the same time, so I had to dig out a few extra bookmarks to keep my place. When I dragged out the extra bookmarks, I used my bookmarks (my author bookmarks), and I was reminded how I find myself reluctant to handout my bookmarks and business cards because I’m not quite happy with the website, and I’m not crazy about sending people to it. I always find myself giving the disclaimer, “Don’t mind the website, it’s a work-in-progress, ha, ha, ha” (yes, it’s a writer’s pun; I have no shame).

It’s not that the website was bad. It looked good—but not great—on a mobile. On the computer, though, there was something just not quite right about it. And, of course, the “comment on blog post” functionality was broken (in the sense that it was a function I disabled, but couldn’t get rid of the buttons). And, just like the last site design that I had for a decade or so and absolutely loved, the design was retired and no longer supported, so I couldn’t even get tech help with it. Rather than leave it with that not-quite-right feeling and a bit broken, I decided I’d go ahead and change the design again.

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with this design. It’s far from perfect, but I like it better than the last one. Of course, the perfect design is STILL the one I had for ten years or so (LOL), but this one isn’t bad. Not saying that I still might not try to replicate that perfect design someday on my own, but this new design will do for a while. And it looks good enough that I might not have to add my writer’s pun disclaimer when I hand out my cards and bookmarks! Of course, this probably means this particular template is doomed to be discontinued in the next month or two…!

You’ll also notice that I upgraded my Cthulhu dividers. Rather than doing a color-matched background, I made it transparent. Why, oh WHY, didn’t I do that months ago? Beats me. I actually used to goof around with graphics quite a bit, so, while I’m rusty, I do have some skills. I’m much happier with these little guys now, too.

Speaking of my class, I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. I’m not a history buff, but I have been enjoying the stories and poems of World War I. Also, I have discovered (RE-discovered?) that I love explicating poetry. Yes, I must be nuts. I like it so much that I entertained making a monthly poetry explication part of this blog, but then I thought better of it and decided to spare you . . . for now. I make no promises about the future.

Because I was training in a new person, I didn’t listen to podcasts as much as I usually do. I actually had to use my eyeballs to make sure I made my February reading quota. That’s good, because it was a goal I was working toward anyway, so I’ll pretend reading more (as opposed to listening) was intentional rather than something born of necessity due to the current situation. So without further ado, here’s my February 2021 #500Stories500Nights list:

  • 1: “I Let You Out,” by Desirina Boskovich (Nightmare Magazine Podcast, 1-27-21)
  • 2: “The Best We Can,” by Carrie Vaughn (LeVar Burton Reads, 4-23-19)
  • 3: “Tyrannosaurus Hex,” by Sam Miller (Uncanny 38A)
  • 4: “The Dandelion Man,” by Jack Nicholls (Drabblecast 409)
  • 5: “The Hammer-Royal Model For Making the Superhero A-List,” by Jason Kimble
  • 6: “The Lighthouse,” by Donyae Coles (Tales to Terrify 460)
  • 7: “The Spider,” by Lauren Mills (Tales to Terrify 460)
  • 8: “Irreconcilable Differences,” by “Brooke Warra (The Wicked Library 733)
  • 9: “Sleepyhead,” by Brooke Warra (The Wicked Library 733)
  • 10: “Stalemate,” by Liam Hogan (The Other Stories 54.4)
  • 11: “Bear Day,” by Kathryn LePage (The Overcast 140)
  • 12: “Teeth Long and Sharp as Blades,” by A.C. Wise (Pseudopod 728)
  • 13: “Study, for Solo Piano,” by Genevieve Valentine (Fantasy Magazine podcast, 5-2-11)
  • 14: “How to Identify an Alien Shark,” by Beth Goder (The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2019 Edition, edited by Rich Horton)
  • 15: “Fear the Dead,” by Ramsey Cammpbell (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume Fifteen, edited by Stephen Jones)
  • 16: “You Will Never Be Forgotten,” by Mary South (New Yorker: The Writer’s Voice, 1-21-20)
  • 17: “Mr. Hadj’s Sunset Ride,” by Saladin Ahmed (LeVar Burton Reads, 4-30-19)
  • 18: “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E Harrow (The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2019 Edition, edited by Rich Horton)
  • 19: “The Hanged Man of Oz,” by Steve Nagy (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume Fifteen, edited by Stephen Jones)
  • 20: “Rocket Surgery,” by Effie Seiberg (Drabblecast 439)
  • 21: “Intervention,” by Kelly Robson (The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2019 Edition, edited by Rich Horton)
  • 22: “From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review,” by Marie Brennan (Cast of Wonders 405)
  • 23: “The Seed from the Sepulchre,” by Clark Ashton Smith (Nocturnal Transmissions 95)
  • 24: “The Donner Party,” by Dale Bailey (The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2019 Edition, edited by Rich Horton)
  • 25: “Mara,” by Michael Chislett (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume Fifteen, edited by Stephen Jones)
  • 26: “The Price of a Dragon,” by Charlotte H Lee (The Overcast 87)
  • 27: “The Sea Thing,” by Frank Belknap Long (Pseudopod 742)
  • 28: “Cell Call,” by Marc Laidlaw (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume Fifteen, edited by Stephen Jones)

According to one of those date calculations apps, I will achieve my official 500th story on March 15, 2021, but I’m not going to stop there. I’m going to try and keep reading at least one short story per day ad infinitum.

Last month, I wrote one new flash fiction story (my first new story of the year! Yay, me!) and had one short story published. You can read “Nomad’s Land” in Cosmic Horror Monthly #8. It’s a modern take on the epistolary form, and it’s about the search for the Mongolian death worm.

Though I’m thrilled I finally finished a new story, I’m waaaay behind on all my other writerly duties (but, hey! Website, Amirite?). I have at least two or three stories that I started last year that still need to be finished, stories that need to be sent out to find their home, AND I should already be working on my next new story. To top it off, I’m also behind on my Letters of Lovecraft project. But I’m not going to beat myself up about it too much, and let all the fun be sucked out of being a writer (and, hey! WEBSITE, Amirite?).

That’s about all I have for this month. Until next month, Stay Spooky!