Monday, July 25, 2016

Return of the Mummy Hand And Other Fun Tales

Back in May, I wrote a post likening my never-ending editing experience to a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode—the one where she works at the magic shop and does battle with an uncooperative mummy hand. (Life Serial—Season Six, Episode Four) You know, the one where she looks like this:

Coincidentally, this is what I currently look like on the inside.
And maybe the outside, too. Whatever.

In that post, I said my revisions were like that uncooperative mummy hand, and that I was failing in my attempts to tame said mummy hand.

But eventually, I found my way through to the end. And for almost one glorious month, it stayed that way.

But then...the mummy hand returned. With a vengence.

It all started when I received emails from my betas saying, "Hey, here's a typo; you should go fix it." And I did that. I opened the manuscript to fix said typos, and ended up catching sight of a sentence whose structure made me do this:

So I decided to fix that, too. And then things sort of snowballed from there. Or, you know, avalanched from there. Whatever.

The bottom line is, I think I have forgotten how to write prose. And now I need to correct it. If I can.

It's been a slow process, which has been exceedingly frustrating. I have fifteen chapters left to go through, and more often than not, it feels like I'll never get there. This is, of course, not true, but it still feels that way.

I literally am spending every single moment I can on this revision—often foregoing things like eating and sleeping and exercising, and blogging and reading books written by other people—but those available moments are about to shrink big time because in a couple of days, I am...


That's right. I am going home. To New England. For the first time since I moved to this godforsaken swamp state Florida. Sadly, it's just for a week, and not, like, you know, forever, but I will take what I can get. Which is a week with much-missed family and friends in a land where the temperature may actually drop below 90 degrees once in a while, and there are very seldom any lizards camping out in the mailbox.

It's going to be great.

Which brings us to the moment where I ask a favor:

Part of my adventures that week will be a visit to my old writers group where I will be talking a little bit (in front of the group, even) about blogging. But because I am a notoriously inconsistent blogger, I turn to you, gentle readers, to help me out with this.

What advice would you give to an aspiring blogger? 

Then, provided I survive my brief public speaking experience, The Man and I will be playing host to family the next two weeks, which will be equally great, but does mean that my revisions will be on the back burner until the end of August. and this blog will once again become a ghost town. (And I started off the year so well, too.)

Which may sound like a complaint, but really isn't. A little forced time off will likely be good for me. And while I'm sure I'll fight it at first, I'm sure I will quickly embrace my freedom.

And probably spend every spare moment watching this over and over again:

And on that note, I'm outta here. Thanks for stopping by today. See y'all again in August...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Baby Monitor Tales

Hey, everyone!

I have been swallowed whole by a mass of unexpected revisions, but fortunately, Tamara Narayan is here today to prevent My Pet Blog from becoming one of those deserted desert landscapes filled with nothing but bleached animal bones and tumbleweed.

Thank you, Tamara!

Take it away!

When my daughter was a baby, loud puppy barks woke me one morning. We did not have a dog. I couldn’t believe my husband would get one without consulting me. Furious, I ran downstairs and found . . . nothing. I was hearing our neighbor's dog through the baby monitor.

Pretty funny, huh? Sadly, more sinister things can happen with shared frequencies. One couple watched their monitor in horror as a woman walked to their crib and removed their baby. Luckily the images came from a neighbor’s house. Other parents have notified the police after hearing or seeing children being abused on a shared frequency.

Source: Phillips Communications; Screenshot from Phillips Smart Baby Monitor digital innovation

Today’s media-savvy parents can use an internet-based monitor, but they risk getting hacked. For example, a Minnesota couple found pictures of their baby online taken from the monitor's camera. A San Francisco couple’s 3-year-old was scared to sleep alone because the “phone” would talk to him. Just an overactive imagination, right?

Source: mrplough; creepy baby monitor picture

Nope. One night his mom heard the monitor say, “Wake up little boy, daddy’s looking for you.” When the parents rushed into their child's room, the monitor's video camera moved on its own to track them, and the voice said, “Look someone’s coming into view.” (Source

Hackers screaming your child awake or an accidentally shared frequency can be nerve-wracking, but at least there’s an explanation. Here are two spooky tales from a Reddit thread:

Source: Matt Bargar; watching the baby monitor

A babysitter spotted a dark shadow by her charge’s crib on the monitor and heard whispering. Investigating the room, she found nothing. Later she questioned the dad, and he cautioned her not to tell his wife, having seen this shadow himself. As the baby girl got older, she spoke of a “friend” that she would miss terribly once the family moved. When her mother invited this imaginary friend to go with them, her daughter said her friend couldn't leave the house. (Raise your hand if this reminds you of Jodie in The Amityville Horror.)

Source: Consumerist Dot Com, hissing cat

Another fellow’s cat would hiss and arch her back at a certain corner of his baby’s room. Whispers were also heard through the monitor. A week after the family stopped using this room, the dad heard a voice on the monitor say, “It’s okay. I’m leaving now.” And the strange occurrences stopped.


And now for the plug. Here's a poem/blurb from my short story Monitor, one of four spooky tales in Heart Stopper and Other Stories available now at

Peppermint, mice, and a cold-as-winter voice 
A mother must make a desperate choice. 
Heeding her instincts to save the child 
What’s lost instead, the pain won’t be mild.

Perched on a mountain with a view to die for, Laura and Paul Alderson have it all: new home, new baby, and new challenges. It’s the American dream, but when the baby monitor whispers urgent warnings to Laura about the garage and the safety of her infant son, her new life takes a nightmarish turn.


Did you know internet monitors and cameras could be hacked? Did you use a baby monitor with your kids? Anything strange or spooky ever happen?

Web Sources:

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Nicest Things (An IWSG Post)

Hey, everyone! It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

This month's co-hosts are:
Yolanda ReneeTyrean MartinsonMadeline Mora-SummonteLK HillRachna Chhabra, and JA Scott.

One of the newest features of the IWSG is a question that members, if they so choose, can answer in their posts or use to inspire a post, or some combination of all of the above. This month's question is:

What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

I like the timing of this question because I've reached that oh-so-happy stage of the writing/publishing process where all I can do is think that Second Nature just will never get beyond the three-ring-binder stage. I really am working my you-know-what off to make sure that doesn't happen, but I keep feeling like I'm too far behind, and not gaining any ground, and no matter what I do, no matter how hard I may work, it just isn't going to happen.

(Which it will. I may be feeling hopeless right now, but I felt the same way about Effigy when I was trying to release that story, and it made it out into the world eventually. I'll figure things out with the second book eventually, too. It just may take a little longer than originally planned. That's all. Nothing to be upset about, she tells herself for the millionth time...)

But that isn't actually the purpose of this post. It was meant as some backstory or whatever as to where my head's at these days.

Meaning that, as much as I hate talking about this kind of thing (no matter how minor, it always—absolutely always—feels just too damn boastful to me, and I hate feeling like that.), I shall do it today because I think I might be in need of a minor confidence boost, and perhaps looking back at some kind words could help achieve this. (But more likely, I will spend the rest of the day hiding under my desk. Because I'm completely well-adjusted like that.)

So here they are—a few kind things said about Effigy, posted by people on Twitter (and Twitter only, for brevity's sake—which totally feels like bragging/boasting to me because it's like, 'Oh, my work has so many compliments that I couldn't possibly fit them all into one post!' I didn't mean it that way. I hope no one took it that way. I apologize if anyone read it that way.) who are not only not related to me, but who are also wonderful authors whom I admire greatly.

(Note: If you happen to be one of these people who tweeted these things for all of your followers to see, thank you so much for that, and also, I hope you don't mind me using them now.)

Listed in the order that I came across them:

That's going to do it for me today. Thanks to the entire IWSG community, and also to you, gentle readers. Thanks for stopping by.