Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Vancouver Adventure!

I've had some adventures.

There are several of you who read my blog that have shared adventures with me: Those of you who are still alive, and still have your eyes, or can still make sense of letters put together in some semblance of order.

There are some of you who probably don't believe all the adventures I've had. (I'm having.) Which is the way it should be. I'm a FICTION writer--I'd feel bad if everyone believed every story I tell.

But here's an adventure with living witnesses, people that I still know where they are, and THAT they are:

Vancouver--last weekend.

Now, I remember spending an entire summer rafting every day. I almost drowned three times, was bit by a black lab, nearly fell off the cliff I had to scale--at least twice, and then had to jump off the same cliff back into the river to make it to the raft that was departing from where my friends had last seen me take the plunge, struggle to swim against the Snake River's current, and drift around a corner, headed toward a set of rapids called Rattlesnake with only my lifejacket to hold my head above water. (that was one trip down-river.)

Adventurous. Fairly typical, though, for my life in my twenties.

I drove a 1969 Mustang. I traveled a lot. I was always stuck somewhere. (and that was before cell phones.)

I wouldn't think that an overnight trip four hours away, in someone else's car, for a thrilling business trip would be any sort of comparable adventure.

Thing is, I wouldn't THINK a lot of things.

I wouldn't think that I'd feel like such a superstar after that long, long overnight trip was over, either. But I certainly do.

So there's this magazine that has graciously bought quite a bit of my writing. You may have read me write about about them.... :) Every Day Fiction launched their anthology, The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008, this past Saturday. I have four stories in it, and I was very excited to attend their launch party.

My then online aquaintance, fellow writer appearing in the anthology, and now friend, K.C. Ball, lives in Seattle. I met her there, and she drove us to Vancouver.

First she drove us to Blaine, Washington. It's the border town. There her SUV began making the familiar screeching sound of a burning belt. When we limped to the Blaine Mini Mart, we found the belt and what looked like the alternator, smoking and screaming at us.

So we went inside to see just how screwed we were.

The lady behind the counter was very helpful, but was also pretty sure that since it was Saturday, we were fairly screwed. Her mother, however, a nice little old lady standing in the aisle said she thought not.

She took us to the local mechanic who happened to be at his new shop just because he was moving into it. Now, K.C. will tell you that this little old lady--who's 83--is named Maureen. I wrote down Marlene. I hope I'm the right one, because that's what I wrote in the copy of the anthology that K.C. and I signed and gave to her. Marlene/Maureen was kind enough to take us the 30 miles south to Bellingham to rent a car, too, after Rich the mechanic assured us that he'd take care of us and call when the car was ready. Rich is a good dude--he did just what he said he would. And he wants to sell my t-shirts in his store.

So Marlene/Maureen took us to pick up her son, (John?) who is recovering from recently being buried alive in a construction accident. He broke every rib on one side of his body, along with three parts of his spine and his femur pushing his face out of the dirt. But he's alive. He's a card-carrying pot smoker who'd worked in the same little dinky towns in Colorado that I did. Anyone else here ever heard of Parachute or Rifle? Not many of you, I'm sure.

We rented a little white car, and were back on our way at just the time we'd expected to arrive in Vancouver.

So we called our fellow writer and friend, Gay Degani, who was planning to eat lunch with us, and told her we'd be there about an hour later than we thought.

Then we hit the border.

Now, you know I cut my hair, right? I'm clean cut. All-American, even, as long as I keep my mouth closed.

I used to get pulled aside at the airport--"Excuse me sir, could you step out of line, please?" But not lately. Not with my hairstyle and all.

Apparently I'm still very suspicious to the Canadian border guards. We were told by a very serious woman to pull over our car and go inside the guard station. Where we were asked VERY personal questions by another serious guard. Then we sat with suspected terrorists and drug smugglers--seriously, one got arrested right beside us--for nearly an hour. They searched our car. Finally they gave us our passports, stamped a piece of paper and said, "Thanks, you two, welcome to Canada, have a nice day."

So we called Gay and let her know we were skipping lunch, and that we'd probably make it to the hotel just in time for the event, which began at 4PM. And how right we were. We made it to the hotel at 3:40. We'd expected to arrive at 12:30, I'd even set up an early check-in.

It turned out that my room was next to Gay and her husband Tim's. I gathered her, K.C. met us, and we whisked off to the bookstore. We were ten minutes late.

I didn't eat all day. I had one rootbeer.

The event was excellent. And they fed me coffee.

I'd fallen in love with Every Day Fiction a long time ago anyway. But meeting the staff in person made them so much more my favorites. Jordan, Camille, and Steven made my first book signing and reading a thrilling, fun, comfortable event.

They are amazing.

I'm seriously enamored. And so happy for the way they treated us while we were there, and for all they did to make the event so excellent.

Jordan is gracious and humble, though he's an amazing writer who just placed VERY HIGH in the Writers of the Future Contest--he won it!--which is a really big deal. Camille planned everything, as it seems she does, with grace. It was lovely. Steven is an excellent dude. He runs the website most excellently, was friendly, cool, and a total stud.

It was a fabulous time.

Launch party, dinner, drinks. FANS! (I signed books!!) What more could a writer ask for?

It was nothing less than an excellent adventure.

And the way home was mellow. Except the blizzard.....

I didn't take nearly enough photos--it was seriously crazy. But here's what I did manage:

Gay and K.C. outside the bookstore when we arrived.

This is a shot of seriously important heads.

Every Day Fiction! Jordan, Camille and Steven. I LOVE these people.

This is Andy LeBlanc on the left. He is one of the funniest people I've met. (and you all know how funny YOU are!) Peter Tupper is on the right.

A view from my room. I had a pretty good set of views.

Here's me.


Adventure. Thank you Every Day Fiction!!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Whew! I thought these were lost.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mean Spam

Usually, if anything, I'm mildy amused at the subject lines of mail in my junk box.

You know, it's usually about male-enhancement. Names like Rod Manworth or Jenna Star trying to assure me that it's going to be okay. They've got a product to make my penis bigger, harder, and smarter.

Or Tom Bosly (Bosley, Boslie) talking about hair replacement.

Funny stuff. Mildy funny.

But what about MEAN spam? How often do you see that?

I have to say....

Not that often. Not ever before, actually.

I deleted it before it really hit home what it said, so I can't tell you the name of the author of the spam. I wish I knew. But I wrote down the subject line of an email I received not long ago.


Make Money Humiliating Other People's Pets!


I really, REALLY wish I'd have opened that one.

So there you go: The first piece of mean spam I've received. At least that I've paid attention to.

And please.... even for money....

Don't humiliate other people's pets. Keep it in the family.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Missionaries and How I Love Them

No, it's not an invitation to ring my bell.

It's an invitation to read my story.

My flash fiction bit about missionaries and their motivations, Mission Accomplished, has been published today at Every Day Fiction.

I'm happy that it's being well-received so far this morning.

Please drop by and check it out if you've got a few minutes. You can tell me what you think about it right there under the story.

Thanks for reading and have a rad day filled with toothy grins and neck-rubs.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Little Slow on the Uptake

I believe there was a time that I was whip-crack smart. I could snap out comebacks, zingers, stingers, epic moments and fuck-you's with the best of 'em. I could pick out the fly on the wall and coax it into the mosh pit with a spark from my eye. I could count the stars. Now I'm a casualty of attention. I think I payed too much at one time, and now I'm low on fundage. Sometimes it takes a while for me to get it.

It turns out I write what's called Bizarro Fiction. Yup. I had no idea.

I've been doing it for a loong time.

I write this this stuff that my wife won't read. Well, I write a lot of that--science fiction, horror... But she especially doesn't like my bizarro comedy. She's always called it "that stuff". I think bizarro is a much cooler word.

Mostly I'm glad to know that there's a name for the stuff. Mostly I'm glad I finally found out someone named it. And that other people write it. I feel so less dirty.

I found this place yesterday: Bizarro Central It is deliciously insane. I hope to place some writing there. I'll try until I do, I think. In the meantime I'll read the writing there. What I read last night was excellent, and my type of soup.

Speaking of soup:

I'm headed to Vancouver on the 24th of this month for The Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 Anthology Launch Party! Wooo hooooo! I'm totally stoked. Reading and signing--the editors of the mag, the web dude.... I might swoon. I probably will swoon later, because I absolutely plan on inviting everyone to the hotel lounge after the bookstore. Bwah ahahahahaha!!

I'm very happy to be included in the book. I'm very happy to be making my way to the launch party. Here's the details, in case you're planning on going and don't yet know where to go--

Saturday, January 24, 2009
4:00pm - 7:00pm
Location: Spartacus Books
684 East Hastings StreetVancouver, BC

It's good soup--100 flash stories from lots of great writers. I love it. I'm still waiting for my hard cover to arrive.... hm.... But I've got a soft cover rapidly developing dog ears.

(click this to buy it!)

So what have we learned? I went bizarro and just noticed. I'm going to Canada. I hope they let me back in.


Monday, January 05, 2009


Like a number of people I know, the past month saw me retreat from life online. I've decided that rather than bore you all to death with my reasons why, I'd present them to you visually with as little written distractions as possible.

So here's my last month or so, and a few of the reasons why my attention was directed away from time online.

It started snowing. It doesn't do that much here, so we thought, "Cool! Snowmen and slushies!"

But then it kept snowing. Check out the top of our gazebo-thingy after two or three days of snowstorm. At least we built a fort in its ruins.

We spent some time inside, drawing...
And makin' ornaments... Stuff like that.

We played games. Guess what Zane is.
It finally stopped snowing.

So we got down to New Years Eve partying.

And now we're all caught up.
I'll post some more words next.
Happy New Year!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's EDF's ToC for January:

January’s Table of Contents

Jan 1 Sarah Hilary The View from Olympus
Jan 2 Tels Merrick All I Want For Christmas
Jan 3 Anne Marie Gomez Newspaper Please
Jan 4 Michael Fontana Thirty Days
Jan 5 Jadon Rempel Ostriches
Jan 6 Oonah V Joslin Open and Closed
Jan 7 Aaron Polson The Sub-Basement
Jan 8 Lori Ann Bloomfield What the Painter Saw
Jan 9 Kevin Shamel Mission Accomplished
Jan 11 Rupert Merkin End Of? An Interview with Harold Salt
Jan 12 Frank Roger Irretrievably Lost
Jan 13 Guy Anthony De Marco Steaks
Jan 14 Ragna Brent Thirteenth Guest
Jan 15 Erin M. Kinch The Care and Feeding of Your Sleeping Knight
Jan 16 Kaolin Fire Altered
Jan 17 Jann Everard Intermission
Jan 18 Andrew Boden Dry Fire
Jan 19 Mel George Dear Esteemed Friend
Jan 20 Stu Andrews A Magic Sword
Jan 21 Gustavo Bondoni The Candidate
Jan 22 K.C. Ball Upon the Doorsteps
Jan 23 crystalwizard Bar Fight
Jan 24 Stephen D. Rogers And Baby Makes Two
Jan 25 Rob Haines Shadows in Flight
Jan 26 Carol Ayer Parfait Surprise
Jan 27 Fred Warren For Fashion’s Sake
Jan 28 saintsally Paternalisms
Jan 29 Barbara A. Barnett Monkey Love
Jan 30 James Lecky The Song the Soldiers Sang: A Fable
Jan 31 Krystyna Smallman Monster