Category Archives: Life

Projects, Playlists, & Purple Hair

I’ve got a new project I’m working on – the working title is Gods of the Fallen. I’ve put about 2650 words into it this weekend but there’s a lot of worldbuilding going on in my head. I’ve got some pages full of notes on the history of the planet, the science of the planet. I like thinking about how people would deal with specific things that we could find if we did colonize other worlds. How would we deal with a planet where you either never got to see the sun or never got to see the dark – both of which we humans seem to need. I’m having some fun with the mythologies but that’s always my favorite part of world building. I make the rest up as I go. I’ll note geography and characters and all of my little checkov’s guns along the way so I can keep true and make sure all those guns go off by the end.

I do have a fun playlist for this one. It’s in two parts because I’m still building up my Pandora station for it and some of the things are so not related that I don’t think Pandora would put them together. I’ve been having fun exploring the music of it though. And I have a whole bunch of new to me rocking women to listen to and you can’t beat that.

Today was more productive than just my writing. My oldest son and I planted most of the garden, I snuggled with my poor little Alfred who has a hurt toe and is absolutely milking it. Then I went to the store and caught up with an old friend and got caught in a super downpour where I discovered that there is a slight downside to my purple hair. Playing in the rain stains my shirt a little. At least it wasn’t a good shirt.

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Mother’s Day

Believe it or not, she really is where I got most of my weird.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!

I’m not a big big fan of mother’s day. I love being a mom but I miss having a mom. I’m at the point now where I’ve been a mom longer than I had one. It’s weird. I don’t really feel like this holiday is mine though. For me, it’s still hers and will always be hers (but I let my kids spoil me anyway because it’s fun and they’re awesome). Don’t worry – I don’t make sense to anyone else either.

I love being a mom. I’ve known for my whole life that I wanted to be one. My first favorite book was When I Have A Little Girl. I didn’t get girls but I wouldn’t trade my boys for anything in the world. I don’t think I knew just how big love could be until I had them. They say it’s like wearing your heart outside of your body and I think that’s apt – at least for me.

I do have older women in my life but they aren’t my mom. They don’t get my weird or understand that I’m not actually planning on growing up anytime soon or at all. Growing up is so overrated. You can still be an adult and get things done, paid, and fed without being a grown-up.

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The Neverwills

When my mom passed, there were a million things she would never get to do but only the big ones seemed to matter – she’d never see me make something of myself, she’d never meet the man I love or make my wedding dress, she’d never hold my kids or teach them silly campfire songs.

Now, a few decades later, with losing my dad, it’s the little things that dig in. I can’t help but wonder who’s going to pester me about how many words I’ve written? Who do I text to brag when I get my picky boy to eat something new? One of the worst has been final Jeopardy honestly. It was a little bit of a competition between us and to give credit, he was far more often right than I, but it was fun and silly and now it’s gone. I neverwill get to do any of those things again. He neverwill respond or pat me on the head or tell me what’s wrong with a particular plotline (or what’s right with it too).

I think with all the things going on right now, all the little transitions that are going on in my life, I’m feeling those holes in my life a little more today. I would give anything to show my mom what I’m working on using the techniques she taught me. I think my dad would be hugely proud of me for taking some of the steps I’ve taken recently with getting myself out there. I’m just missing them both pretty hard today and all the neverwills are squawking at me.

They’re terribly icky shadowbirds those neverwills.

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Post-Craft Fair

So, I’m home and (mostly) unloaded with an ouchie knee and tired feet but I’m very happy with the overall results of the day. I cannot begin to tell you all how relieved I am to have this first event out of the way! I was far more nervous than I probably needed to be but I didn’t have any panic attacks and I peopled pretty well and I didn’t even get sarcastic once! You could say that today was a pretty big deal.

It probably helps that my friend was at the table next to me.

I went in with absolutely no expectations, which I think was very helpful. I talked to a bunch of people, I sold a few books, a few boxes, a few bookmarks, an Alice in Wonderland inspired miniature topiary, and a few magnets and I bought myself a pretty octopus bracelet. I came out way ahead on the day and I’m actually even looking forward to doing it again. I’m calling today a win all over – not just for my goals but for me in general. I really did expect to have trouble with the people part of it.

For those of you playing along at home, you’ve still got a short bit of time to enter the contest to win one of my books!

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Filed under Anxiety, Books, Crafts, goals, Life

It’s Weird Now

It’s weird knowing I’m not about to get a call to tell me, again, all about this day 38 years ago, including the bit where I was fortuitous enough to go ahead and be an emergency birth so insurance would cover it and my parents would get to go home with not just a baby but a full refund because they’d prepaid all the hospital fees for childbirth. No one is ever going to tell me that story again.

Honestly, I didn’t realize just how much I talked to my dad until he wasn’t there to talk to. I’ve had a very long time to deal with missing my mom. I’m only just getting the hang of missing him too.

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Nerves in Advance

I have many days, a few weeks’ worth in fact, before my first ever table at an anything. I’m starting small, at a local craft fair to sort of stick my toe in the water and see how I do. I’ve got the books in. In fact, the last box arrived today. I’ve got some geeky crafty type stuff ready to go as well. If you liked my Nazgul or my sorting hat, and you’re going to be near Weirton on the 30th, here’s your chance!

The fact of the matter is, I’ve never done something like this before and I really am quite nervous about the whole thing. I shouldn’t be. I come from two people who could convince most people that dihydrogen monoxide was polluting our water supply. My children have that gene too – the performance, the desire for applause. I have it too in a far more introverted way. I realized the other day that I might not be as gregarious, charming, or loud as my parents or my children but ultimately, I’m after the same thing – validation from people I don’t know! That’s really what writing books is, isn’t it?

I far prefer sitting back here, on this side of my computer screen instead of on a stage or behind a table, but, it’s a little hard to get my crowing heard from inside my house, shouting into the storm that is the Internet and full of people just like me. So, out into the world I must go. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I’m expecting. Maybe it’ll actually be fun and I’ll sign on to do more. Maybe a lot of things.

So, I’m sticking my toe in the water and maybe I’ll find myself at Steel City Con or Parsec down the road a bit.

Just for a head’s up – if you haven’t liked my Facebook page, now might be a good time as I’m going to be having a giveaway on April 30th (the day of said local fair). What I’m giving away will be revealed on that day.

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Filed under Anxiety, Books, Crafting, Life, Writing

Busy Girl

Today was IEP day for my youngest kidlet. It went well, as it usually does, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a twist of nerves and flooded with research in the days leading up to it. There’s a lot going on with him and, even though he is getting better at speaking neurotypical, he’s not there just yet. There are still things he needs a little bit of help with. I’m fortunate to be in a district willing to work with me, even when my ideas maybe aren’t the most orthodox ones. I know a lot of other parents have had problems working within the system, even specifically this system, and I am so grateful that I have had such a comparatively easy road for both kids.

I’ve also been helping my stepmom go through my dad’s things. Some things hit me harder than others. I was doing pretty well with the whole thing until I started looking through his slides. He was a phenomenal photographer who had such an amazing artistic eye for framing and focus. I may be looking into what it will take to do something interesting with some of those – maybe pairing his art with mine. I wish I’d seen some of these images before – I’d have suggested this project directly to him. But it’s a long way off and there’s a lot I’ve got to do before I can do a project like what I’m thinking about.

There’s one image in particular that I’m just struck by. We were in Spokane, WA then, I think I might be four in the picture. I’m wearing a bright red winter coat and it is the only real color in the image. I’m feeding the ducks and swans in Riverfront Park with the pavilion and the clocktower in the background. There is no one else in the picture. Not the old lady with the bag of breadcrumbs. Not a single soul on the grass on the other side of the river. No one on the bridge. I cannot remember a time when there weren’t people milling about everywhere there. It was always one of our favorite places to go on his weekends, puttering around with those birds. Oh, how I loved those swans. It’s a striking image and I really want to do something interesting with it. But I suppose I need to get a print first as it is only a slide.

I’m not getting a lot of usable writing done – it’s all a little too maudlin right now – so I’m doing more editing. I’m polishing up a few things to get ready to send out. I think being in this weird zone is actually making the editing easier because I’m not being drawn to five or six other projects I want to write also.

Dad’s Nikon is a lot different than my Pentax but I think I’m going to dust them off, load them up, and teach the kids how to take proper pictures this summer. If I knew how to do developing, I might just do the whole shebang but I’ll settle for lighting, color, and composition matched with shutter speed, exposure lengths, and that sort of thing. I think it’ll be a nice thing to be able to pass that along. Plus, we’ll maybe figure out if the cameras have any appreciable difference in quality.

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Filed under Autism, Books, kids, Life, Memories

Trying to get back to things

I’m finding it very difficult to get back into my routine, into the swing of things. For the last several years, it was not unusual to get a text or three during the week to see how many words I’ve written, what projects I was working on. As much as it might have been a little frustrating because when I’m rolling, I’m rolling pretty quick. I appreciated the fact that he was interested.

He was pretty much my only cheerleader. I have other supportive people but most of them don’t read and especially don’t read the genres I write. He didn’t read fiction much until he started being my first reader. He is, was, the only person who has read all of my books, all of my stories.

I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to do now. He was my sounding board and my fact checker. I have all of these suddenly open positions and no applicants to fill them. Nor would I really want to right now, they wouldn’t stick a random “d” in the word genre or lecture me on the proper naming genders in Russian families or ramble about whatever crazy random bit of information that is absolutely integral to whatever story I’m editing.

I’m not very good at this grieving thing. I get all the steps mixed up and somehow there seem to be more of them in my stairway. Funnily enough, acceptance seems pretty low on the climb, just after blank and before irrational what-ifs. I know everyone is different but I’m a wallower. Not really in my grief, because the actual grief part is mostly done-ish, but in my memories. Certain things become so intrinsically tied to a person that you can’t do them, go there, see that without thinking of them.

I’m trying to get myself put back together and there will be brighter, shinier, happier things here soon and eventually there will be new words. I don’t quite know what to do with them now but I’ll figure it out. I was writing before he took an active interest (before I started taking it seriously) and I’ll write again soon – other than poetry which is just coming to me faster, muddier, and sloppier than usual. I’m just going to have to restructure my rituals now.

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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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