Monthly Archives: February 2017

RIP Joe McBride

Joe and Kathy McBride

Joe and Kathy McBride

Joseph Boyd McBride, 68, of Weirton, WV passed away February 24, 2017.

Born in Levelland, TX on July 31, 1948, Joe was the son of Cecil Elmo McBride and Geraldine (Williams) McBride. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BSA in Agricultural Economics and later from the City University of Seattle with a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

He was a jack of all trades having worked in bookstores, pet stores, direct sales, and as a teacher. He was an accomplished motivational speaker and corporate trainer. He traveled the world with his wife, Kathy, with Toastmasters, BNI, and Spokane’s sister city program, making friends wherever he went.

He wrote training guides, speaker guides, and marketing strategies including work in Master of Sales and Master of Networking. He joined Toastmasters International in March of 1983 and remained active in the organization until his passing.

He loved to cook and experiment with different styles of food, different techniques of preparation. He enjoyed gardening, telling stories, reading and watching Jeopardy.

He is survived by his loving wife Kathy, his daughter and son-in-law Sarah and Rob Wagner, his grandsons, Dakota and Logan, his sister and her husband Sandra and Charles Whittington and nephews Barry and Wade and their wives and children, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He will be missed.

His Toastmasters district posted a memoriam online.

If you would like to hear a little speech, his district posted a video a while back from, I believe, one of the Toastmaster competitions. It should be set to start at his portion. If not, it starts at approximately 11:36.

In 2000, after a viral heart infection, the doctors said he wouldn’t get another five years. It’s a very good thing for those of us who love him that he never did much care what the doctors said. We were very lucky to get almost 17 years more. So, even though we all would have liked another few decades, we’re glad to have gotten what we did.

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Monsters and Mayhem

 

Fall 1997's Threshold containing my first ever published story.

Fall 1997’s Threshold containing my first ever published story.

I love writing about myths, monsters, and the mayhem they leave in their wake. Which, if you’ve read Hunter’s Crossing, Guardian of the Gods or Eldercynne Rising, should be pretty clear. All the main characters are monster hunters in their own way.

 

I’ve been writing about monsters from the very beginning.

My first few non-school lit-mag publications were all in the same local zine. And technically, the first fiction in that school lit-mag was monster related too – she was a Scottish death goddess, yes, but very much a monster. Apart from her, I started with vampires like any good Poppy Z Brite and Anne Rice fan. A tragic, miserable vampire in his last moments before committing suicide by sunrise because his love is dead.

At the time of its publication, I hadn’t even met my husband yet so it is under my maiden name but, I think there are only a handful of publications under McBride. I was young and the writing definitely shows it. It’s all very purple and flowery and very different from the style I’ve grown into in the last two decades.

My first fiction publication (1997).

My first fiction publication (1997).

I have always been a mythology junkie. I’ve read up on the mythology from all over the world. Mythology speaks to the primal part of me, the stories still waiting to be told that live in my brain. I cut my literary teeth on the old Grimm fairy tales and all the books I could get my hands on about Greek, Roman, Scottish, Irish, and Native American mythology. Later I’d find Japanese, Chinese, and Mongolian myths.

Not all of my monsters are actually monsters – Leilani’s BFF is a very old vampire after all – but I do love a good monster. I like to find more obscure creatures or, on occasion, create my own entirely.

We all know vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves, and djinn but what about Kitsune or an aswang (and yes, that one is just super fun to say)? Old school sirens, harpies, and Russian style mermaids. There are so many neat mythological critters out there that sometimes I  wonder what it is about the vampires and werewolves that draw us all in so. Probably because, at least on the most basic level, nearly all cultures have something similar to a vampire or a werewolf.

Do you have a favorite underused monster? Something you’d like to see in a future story?

 

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Best Misheard Lyrics

At the bus stop this morning, one of my mom friends and I were talking and I’m not sure exactly the evolution of the conversation but we got on the subject of misheard lyrics that reminded me of my favorite misheard lyric ever.

To set the stage, we have never censored much music, we have had lots of discussions about when it’s appropriate and not appropriate to use certain words (in some case, that is never) but we do give a lot of leeway where music is concerned. Also, music is very nearly always on when we are in the car.

My oldest son was about three and we were driving around. It happened that we were listening to a little Cypress Hill. Suddenly, we realize that the boy is singing. I was a little concerned for about half a second. The words he was singing were not exactly the words of the song. I turned down the volume just a little bit so my husband could hear the rousing rendition of “Kids in the Barn.”

I’m pretty sure it was more than a few years before he realized he’d been singing it wrong. It’s one of those moments where I really wish we’d had a video camera. That would be one for the highlight reels.

What are your favorite misheard lyrics?

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Twenty Years and Counting

I don’t have an exact date for this particular anniversary but it’s sometime in the beginning of February. Around this time twenty years ago, I sent out my very first submission packet. I sent a jumbled mess that very clearly showed my age, I’m sure. This was in the days before I had a proper email address or consistent access to the Internet so the big envelope was mailed off with a little envelope inside it. It was about a month later when I received my very first rejection from a publisher (and rightly so! That poetry may have been good for my age but I cringe reading most of it now!). Two weeks later, I got my first acceptance (for two poems and a short story) so that softened the blow, even if it was a local zine that didn’t pay, everyone else in that publication was much more established than I and it was a balm to my ego.

From 1997 until 2004, I didn’t keep very good track of submissions at all. There were a handful of acceptances in that time, almost all poetry I believe, but mostly there were rejections. Rejection after rejection. On at least two occasions, I very nearly quit. Until I remembered that there isn’t much else I’m good at or passionate about. In late 2003, after accidently sending the same poem to the same market twice, I started my tracking spreadsheet so it never happened again.

From 2004 until now, I’ve had acceptances, rejections, withdrawals, and dead markets. I’ve had more failures than successes but those successes make it all worth it for me. So, in the last 13 years, I’ve sent out 769 submissions, not including query letters or work for the blogs I write for. Of those, 14 markets went dead while they had my submission, 12 got lost in the ether, 6 were withdrawn, 624 rejections, 76 acceptances, 1 rewrite request, and the rest are currently under consideration. The types of publications and publishers vary ridiculously widely. There are many “normal” magazines but there are ezines, experimental publications, gimmicky publications, and audio publications in there also. They run the spectrum of genres, I think I’ve done a little bit of everything actually.

The types of publications and publishers vary ridiculously widely. There are many “normal” magazines but there are ezines, experimental publications, gimmicky publications, and audio publications in there also. They run the spectrum of genres, I think I’ve done a little bit of everything actually and I don’t see myself narrowing that too much. Except with my novels – I will probably stick to genre work because I enjoy it more.

Let’s break down the acceptances. Some submission packets had more than one item in them, at least with the poetry, some things have been published more than once. I’ve had 25 short stories (plus at least 2 prior to 2004) and 1 short story collection (Hardwired Humanity). 8 essays, mostly about my mother. 51 poems (plus at least 6 from prior to 2004). And last, but certainly not least, the three novels: Guardian of the Gods, Hunter’s Crossing, and Eldercynne Rising.

Maybe it’s not where I had imagined I’d be in 20 years, but it’s not too shabby either and it’s not like I’m done yet.

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