Never again will I take my hot water and music for granted. I love both, need both, and missed them dearly during the Great Power Outage of 2018. I am, of course, speaking of Winter Storm Riley who tore through northern Virginia like the beast it was.
The tree pictured fell at the end of my street, taking out power for a grand total of 81 hours. Yes, you read that correctly, 4.5 days of NO POWER. My children nearly died. Their withdrawal from technology was great, their attitudes less than stellar. It was cold, everyone was stinky, food was lost, too much money was spent on eating out or buying more gas and firewood and very little got done. All of the things I wanted to do or had to do were dashed because wind. WIND. Not pleased.
I very nearly clipped all of my hair off cuz I’d rather do that than take a cold shower and there isn’t a dry shampoo on the planet that will help the wild mop of curls on this head. We did take a very long, extended visit to our local library. The kids were stunned to find that books do not require a power cord! To my great pleasure, the library was having their monthly book sale so I got a lot of cheap entertainment to survive the Great Power Outage of 2018. We also indoctrinated our youngest two and the neighbors into the vice that is Pathfinder (D&D for those not hip on the new things) which helped to pass the time.
However, now that power has, blessedly, been restored what was once interrupted now must resume. All of those things I could not do over the weekend have now piled up like my mountains of unwashed laundry. Deadlines do not care if we suffered through the literal dark ages for 4.5 days. Additionally, all of my hobbies took a wild break because one cannot paint, draw, or hand crochet in the dark (or with four very bored children around), nor can one use the sewing machine for doll clothes or make armor for tiny resin humans. It just doesn’t work!
All those guys up there require attention! They each have their own story and provide a great deal of my inspiration for my written work. In fact, I have planned photo stories for each of them – – none of which can happen in 80+ mph winds or without power!!!
Life was interrupted, folks. I know I can survive any impending apocalypses now, but I’m really ok being a modern girl with all her geeky things and hot water. Life will get moving again, I suppose. We’ll just push things back some and take it one day at a time cuz, you know, we’ve got another storm heading our way later today. Aren’t we lucky?!
So, this was us this past weekend. We had weather in the 70’s straight up to Saturday and then BAM! Sleet. Further north of our little overlooked city it snowed. Snowed!! Then, as if nothing at all had occurred, back up into the 50’s and low 60’s on Sunday. We’ve since been enjoying the lingering warmth, with temperatures predicted to be close to 80 today.
Uhm… Winter does realize it’s February still, right?
No, I don’t think he does. Way to go, Winter!
Outside of the incredibly bizarre (and annoying) weather patterns we are experiencing on the east coast, life continues on in a mostly normal fashion. The annual Corrugated Sky face-to-face meeting took place over the weekend along with the absurd sleet. Many things were discussed, much wine was consumed (cuz, what else is one supposed to drink when discussing marketing strategies, upcoming publications, and projected sales), and cookies were eaten. Result: we gon’be busy!
Yeah, I know, a little self-indulgent to operate a small publishing house, but that’s sort of what indie-publishing is all about. Besides, a lot of the work is trying to figure out what pretty pictures we want on book covers and how to sell more books. It’s harder than one might think, let me tall ya.
Along the lines of books to sell, Hellfire is coming up on the ‘edited’ status which will then plant it firmly in the ‘throw out to beta readers’ realm. There are steps to publishing, folks; lots and lots of steps. Lots of planning, lots of deadlines to hit and, yes, it is still February despite the flip-flops and short-shorts that were making their debut this week.
The season will change soon enough, however, no matter what that Pennsylvania rodent says, and it will be time to gear up for the April edition of CampNaNoWriMo. I’ve got zombies on the slab for that as well as a planned trip to Williamsburg for RavenCon at the end of April. I’ll be the weirdo with the wagon. You’ll see me. And, watch, the weather will be just as ridiculous in April as it is now. In fact, if it’s anything like last RavenCon, we’ll be seeing temps in the 90’s right before a nose dive into the 40’s with lots of rain cuz, why not? No global warming here… *headdesk*
There’s a piece of terrifying fiction for you: a place with actual seasons!! The humanity!! Stupid weather. Oh well, back to work! Stay… toasty? Cool? Adjust accordingly to the messed up weather patterns, everyone! Welcome to cHaOs.
Oh yeah, that needs to be a big picture. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate?? A lot of people, actually; weirdos. No, not really. They’re not weird. While I have a fondness for chocolate, I am not one of those ‘eat all the chocolate all the time’ folks. A piece or two here or there is good enough for me.
Today is Valentine’s Day! Today is, arguably, the single most chocolate-infused holiday in the U.S. I can’t speak for other countries but, if Valentine’s Day is celebrated in other places, I’m sure it is also chocolate-infused. Why? Well, chocolate is an aphrodisiac; sort of. You have to eat a stupid ton of it for any of those kind of feelings to kick off in the brain and, by that time, your stomach has decided to stage a coup against you for the abuses you’ve enacted upon it’s soft tissues. Honestly, I don’t know why chocolate is the candy of the season. Every other holiday seems to get a nice mix of sweets and fun treats. The BIG RED, however gets CHOCOLATE.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me a good chocolate covered strawberry or one of those little boxes of Godiva truffles as much as the next person, but unless that chocolate comes with a bottle of good red wine and a coupon to stay in my jams all night long while cuddling on the sofa, then I’m not all, like, ‘oooooooh chocolate!!’. It’s just not my thing. Slight lactose intolerance might contribute to that (thanks a lot mid-thirties).
I will tell you what chocolate is good for though: words!
Yeah! The days after Halloween and Valentine’s Day are two of my favorite days ever cuz all their candy goes on sale! Halloween offers a little more variety than just chocolate, which is nice, but the stockpile of sweets is necessary to get through NaNoWriMo with some semblance of sanity. Valentine’s Day is also good for this, though admittedly more chocolate-flavored than Halloween. Sugar gets the brain synapses firing off at a rapid pace and helps those words just flow right out of you. Or, at least, it does for me.
No, I don’t have to wait for post-holiday sales to buy my candy, but when I can buy a whole bag of tiny sweet goodies for the same price as a single bar, you better believe I’m gonna wait for the after-holiday sales! Budgeting, people; I have four kids to feed!
This run of on-sale candy will (hopefully) get me through the entire doldrums of editing/rewriting Hellfire. That will then put me firmly in the Easter range of Holidays (and thus another rush of candy sales) just in time for the April session of CampNaNoWriMo where I can work on polishing up Clockwork Gods.
See, I have plans, y’all; plans, I tell you!! But all these plans require sugar (and usually some kind of caffeine and/or booze and no a combination of the three is not the answer; that’s just plain cheating).
However, while y’all are waiting for these plans to come to fruition, feel free to take a little stroll over to my Smashwords page and pick up one of those little gems waiting there or head over to Corrugated Sky’s landing pad to grab one (or both) of the anthologies featuring me! You know you want to. Books go great with chocolate and wine, by the way. True story.
Until next week – have a very happy Valentine’s Day in whatever capacity you may enjoy it!
You thought this was going to be about dreaming, didn’t you? Fooled you! Dreaming requires actual sleep, which I get very little of.
No, these are all the little thoughts that happen right in that blessedly odd moment just before sleep hits; when my body says ‘stop’ and my brain says ‘but wait!’. New ideas crash through the curves and turns of my little pink wrinkles, prolonging my pathetic need for sleep until finally, I simply give up and let nature take its course (which usually means I stare at crap TV until 3am with my Kindle in hand to type out notes when they hit me). There are ‘moments’ of sleep – time that can be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours – and then BAM! just like that, I’m awake again with all of those chaotic little thoughts rushing to the surface in the tiny moments right before my eyes pop open (or my alarm goes off, whichever comes first).
Many people cannot recall dreams, let alone thoughts they had the previous night before sleep. I like to think of it as hitting the play button just before I wake. My brain won’t let me drop what I had going. Instead, it immediately jumps to the last thing we thought about. Recently it has been all the projects building up on my desk whether those are self-imposed or handed down by someone else. Everything from zombies to elves to paint choices, taxes, or what kind of font to use on the next flyer I need to put together. FONT! Why do I care about these things at 11p or midnight when I know I need to get to sleep or become one of those zombies running through my head the following morning???
Because cHaOs. It is the only explanation. It reigns supreme not only in my house, but in my mind as well.
So! What does this mean for the things coming down the pipeline? Well, a lot actually, because I have a lot going on in this squishy matter between my ears. Ready?
Zombies: The next anthology for Corrugated Sky (to which I regularly submit to) is all zombies, all the time. The dead will rise again and become the UNdead! *gasp* Which, of course, means I get to dig deep into my binge watching sessions of TWD and FTWD to find a suitable plot for this next piece going in for publication. Naturally I have everything from a revamp of Zombie Babies (which I never finished or posted more than a few blips of) to a strange idea about the evolution of a populace after the zombie-apocalypse hits (but that might just be a little too much science for me). This lovely piece of work is due out to the public roughly Fall 2018.
Superheroes: Another project percolating right along (now at the editing stage; hooray!) is Hellfire, a novella about a world in which super heroes are real, and they’re not always nice to people. If I can get my little fingers and toes in order with the brain synapses, then I might actually get this done by March. Maybe. It’ll be pushed through my own self-pub services (aka Amazon and Smashwords) so it’s a self-imposed deadline but, all the same, March 2018 would be nice. I’ll keep y’all updated on that.
Dreamworlds: And elves, and shit. Yes, I cursed, I do that. Anyway, this particular project which has no title just yet deals with a DreamWalker and his misadventures. He meets some elf-types, meets some not elf-types, nearly gets eaten and… and I still haven’t written the ending so it is definitely a work-in-progress. However, the aim is to work it up to a novella like Hellfire and release it for queries sometime in late Springof this year.
Aliens: As with all things that explode out of my mind in November, eventually they need refinement. This past NaNo was no different, producing a wild world of weird aliens and lost colonists. In fact, the title of it is Colony and with a bit of fluffing, some editing, and a decent tag line (which I have yet to come up with), this lovely little piece of science fiction should be ready to go by Summer2018.
Ashes to Embers: Yes, this horrendous beast has reared its ugly, gigantic head again. A great deal of my internal struggle recently has been because of this massive undertaking that likes to try to drown me in details and enough characters to fill a cruise liner. However, since the crazy thoughts that attack just before sleep have been about how to fix some of the insanity of this massive project, I’ve been writing them down like a mad woman. Post-its and napkins are, once again, my friends (tissues were, but since I’m still battling this lingering cold, that quickly changed back to napkins). There is still no release date for this since it is a planned trilogy but, suffice to say, it is resurfacing.
Steam: While all of the shorter pieces are underway progress continues to be made on Clockwork Gods. We are nearing the end! Hooray for an almost completed draft!! There are also some ideas percolating for a follow up story to Heart of the Matter which was published last year in Corrugated Sky’s steampunk anthology. If all the stars align properly, Clockwork Gods should see our intrepid twins getting more screen time by the end of the year along with the follow up story that has no working title yet because the ideas only just started.
Smut: Yes, I write that too. I mentioned as much a few posts back. I write it under a pen name, but I write it nonetheless. It has not left my radar. There are unfinished pieces that still need finishing but I will kick that information over to Noa’s blog if anyone is interested.
There it is, the grand list of all the things. Plus, I am painting the furniture in my office, hand-knitting a blanket for the Tyrant, and working part-time helping a friend with marketing.
Oh yes, it is the season of the #momfail which then translates to the season of the #wtfdidijustdo otherwise known as the #EVERYTHINGfail.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, dragging NaNoWriMo right along with it. It was there, then it wasn’t and this was probably one of my worst NaNo’s to date. I still “won” but that is such a loose term it is nearly laughable. I made 50k words, for sure, but spanning 3 different stories and at the sacrifice of doing things with or for my kids cuz I had NO time otherwise. I spent so much of my November playing taxi cab that when I did have a miraculous free moment, it went to words instead of movies with the spawn or whatever it is that other moms do with their kids.
I am not that mom. We don’t do arts and crafts together unless it is delegating someone to cut strips of tulle for me (don’t ask, it’s a mess in here right now). We watch TV together sometimes if we can all agree on the same show to watch which very rarely happens and, nine times out of ten, I’m yelling at them to pick their shit up off the floor. Meanwhile, I’m trying to maintain some semblance of order in the house, write, market my writing (lets not even GO there), do the crafts that need doing for our Holiday trip to Florida (yeah, looking forward to that but I probably should have really given more thought to the matching outfits I decided we need to wear 4 days out of the 10 that we’ll be there).
All of this just sort of exploded in November and now, a month later, I’m finally getting back to my blog. I have zero plans, only semi-solid deadlines for the words, partial thoughts to go back to work or else find something to re-open my Etsy shop with. I dunno, too many things swirling around and we still need to get through the new year.
And what the hell does all of this have to do with writing?? Well, a lot, actually, cuz not much writing is getting done now that NaNo is over. Yes, December is usually for rest (or really slow edits) but not even that’s happening on the regular. But my office is full of tulle and piles of colorful shirts!
Did you know my steampunk story, Heart of the Matter came out? Yeah, it did. You can find it here. Did you know I put out a short horror story too around Halloween? Yep, did that too. Did I market it? Of course not because there is just too much #FAIL happening around here lately but that can be found here if you’re interested.
I have several dozen gluten free sugar cookies to make for next Tuesday. Kicker? I’ve never made gluten free sugar cookies. Like, ever. I usually buy pre-made ones or drive my happy ass the 15-45 min (depending on traffic) south to the nearest Wegmans for the tub of it that Pillsbury has been so kind to make for me. I have 3 more tutus to make. I have a kid concert tonight, a vacuum to clean out, 12 more shirts to make, a snack plan for Orlando to come up with, a first draft of my current short story that’s due next Friday, and a freakin’ partridge in a dammed pear tree!!
Seriously, where is my wine? And why are there no emojis for WordPress??!?! *frump*
Got your attention, didn’t I? GOOD!! Cuz I have done another thing!!
Black Eyes: A Demon’s Curse was released for publication over the weekend. While it is only a short story, it is definitely something and it is all mine. Quite exciting. I quit full-time work to do this full time and, thus far, life has intervened in every way until now. It is also available on Smashwords along with some of my other works that I am no longer concerned about sharing with others. I write many things, erotica being one of them, though I opted to write that under a pen name and set up separate things that over complicated stuff and now I’m just saying $@^!% it and y’all can just deal with the fact that I’m a writer of all genres. BUT, for anyone interested, that stuff can be found on Smashwords and Amazon as well or just look up Noa Rose – that’s the other me.
Additionally, I have a piece in the Corrugated Sky Publications, Inc. anthology Tales of the Black Dog, available in print and ePub formats. Plus, Corrugated Sky will have their new anthology, Smoke and Steam, premiering soon in which I am also a feature author. *insert giant cheesy smile here* Where are the emoticons on this thing when you need them?
So, now that I have my shameless plug inserted into the post, what in life precludes a writer from writing?
All. of. the. Things.
And, when I say all of the things, I mean all of the things. From the insanely mundane, to the insanely complex, there is a reason I have coined myself as the Tamer of Chaos. I’ve mentioned it before, but it seems to have given itself its own preternatural existence in the last few weeks. It just won’t end!
I have learned to work out of my mother’s car (since my van is still being used as a fabulously expensive lawn ornament accumulating its own Halloween decorations at the moment) while waiting for people to do what they need to do, getting in words here or there as I am able. I have, miraculously, managed to plan for this year’s NaNoWriMo event in November (Who else is doing it with me!? Hook up with Tatsuyuri – that’s me – if you are!), push a new short story out into the world (see above if you haven’t already), and begun the excruciatingly long process of planning and plotting not one, but two different novels hopefully due out next year (if life calms down some, otherwise y’all are only getting one novel).
Bottom line: I am tired. But rest is for those buried six feet under and novels (or stories) do not write themselves. Thus, onward and upward!! The race is on to keep writing, keep publishing, and just. keep. going!
Black Eyes: A Demon’s Curse – Available NOW!
Tales of the Black Dog – Available NOW!
Smoke and Steam: A Steampunk Anthology – Fall 2017
NaNoWriMo 2017 – In the planning phases (whew!)
Demons – Winter 2018
Clockwork Gods – Fall 2018
Ashes to Embers – Fall 2019
More as it comes, of course. There are more stories in the works, both normal and erotic (which will maintain its own page). Don’t forget to follow on FB, Twitter, Tumblr, and even Pinterest if you’ve got it!
Is it just me, or does that word look funny to anyone else?
New week, new post. We, here, at ChAoS attempt to maintain a regular posting schedule with regular things sent to the medias of socialness. It doesn’t always work though. Life is just too damned hard with way too many demands. Some might be self-imposed demands but that is entirely beside the point. On to the updates!
A few pages updated here on the website with new or corrected info (why don’t you people tell me when I have typos and lame shit all over the place?!). I have removed some blog posts that were not going anywhere. We had a very productive weekend here at ChAoS, cleaning things out and getting stuff organized. It was entirely exhausting and I hated every minute of it but, such is life.
Words were written both by hand and by keys. It seems to be working well to do it that way even if the stuff by hand takes much longer to write in that capacity. Words by keys is producing a nice story that should be ready for publication by the end of October – quite excited by that so I will be ramping up for that in the very near future.
Words by hand is producing Clockwork Gods at an excruciatingly slow pace but this is, ultimately, a good thing. Trying to produce it by keys was making no sense at all because my brain just went ‘BLAH!’ and then there were words and things and none of it worked together because scenes didn’t make sense – it was awful; total anarchy.
Timeline for Ashes is finally starting to take shape. And, let me just say, that timelines are really, really HARD. I mean, seriously, wtf? I understand it’s my world and my characters and blah, blah, blah but Jesus! Sooooooo many things. That will be a work-in-progress for the next ten years at this rate.
Then, of course, in all of this updating and cleaning of things, I come to realize that we are already halfway through the month of September. Like, what!? When did that happen?? Apparently when I wasn’t looking. So, now I have all the tubs for fall taking up space in my newly rearranged living room and making my house look like some underground laundry monster threw up all over my furniture. It’s amazing. Or something. This, of course, also means that it is time to decorate for Halloween (YAY!!!!) which then reminds me that I have a month and a half until NaNoWriMo begins (GAH!!).
I have NO clue what I’ll be doing for NaNo; none; zero; zilch. I hadn’t even thought of it until a writing friend began lamenting her lack of idea for this year. My tiny mental voice suddenly went ‘Well $*&@^!’ because there is just a giant empty void there for something that I am normally planning in June. #failwhale
AND I’ve totally dropped the ball with the work I do under my pen name for all things erotica (yeah, I write that stuff too – – or, did; do when I have the wild hair crawl up my posterior to do so). #doublefailwhale That sucks too cuz that was actually bringing in a nice little side income and now, because my brain is uncooperative and entirely unpredictable, those particular brand of words has ceased and I’m just thinking of closing that entire thing down entirely. We shall see.
And, now, of course, there are school meetings and volunteering, and practices, and appointments…
My brain requires a vacation.
Black Eyes – October 2017
Heart of the Matter (part of a Steampunk Anthology) – Fall 2017
On this rare occasion in which I allow you all to take a glimpse into my life, I will weave for you a tale of what happens when I try to travel.
On Saturday (June 17, for those keeping track of what day it is), I arose at the unholy hours of the morning to meet my very courteous cab driver in order to begin my journey. What journey? Why to the Magical Kingdom itself, of course! You see, my beloved husband had been in Orlando since the 9th at this point, enjoying the bounties of this Kingdom as well as getting his charm on with the ladies and gentlemen of InfoComm (it’s a big geeky-type tech convention; part of the biz). His stay extended through to Monday the 19th so he says to me ‘The Chelle, come down to Florida and we shall enjoy the fruits of the Kingdom together!”
This was my reaction:
So, I ditch my spawn, pack my things and beat feet to that airport post haste… only to wait for FOUR HOURS thanks to a delayed flight. FOUR. HOURS. I drank a lot. Mimosas are $14 each at the airport – did you know that? Well, they are but I had nothing better to do so down they went! My conveyance eventually arrived and off I went to Orlando with more mimosas, this time free of charge, consumed on the way there.
I arrive in (not) sunny Orlando and the vacay begins!! Please reference the picture above for my reaction to visiting Disney World in (almost) all its glory. We visited the Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom over the course of Saturday (what was left of it) and Sunday. Here is where things will now get lengthy as I describe my first visit to this place of wonder.
Having grown up in SoCal with Disneyland right around the corner, I, honestly, expected a little more out of the ‘World’ bit. Granted, I only visited two parks of the four but the two I saw were both fantastic and slightly underwhelming all at the same time.
Their customer service is greatly lacking. No, they are not unresponsive or blatantly rude or anything like that BUT… I require certain accommodations because of my disability (no ankles, just leave it at that) that are mostly covered by renting a scoot-scoot (which I did) but in some instances, the scoot-scoot just doesn’t fit/work/etc and then the accommodations are required. Except, they were not given. “Everything is scoot-scoot compatible, ma’am, you’ll be fine” – LIES! Everything is NOT scoot-scoot compatible and sitting on a swinging chain isn’t really my strongest talent! Needless to say I was rather disappointed in them on that aspect. Happiest place on Earth – if you’re normal or have a mental disability (and, omg, don’t even get me started on that one); if you have mobility issues just suck it up with your little scoot-scoot and move on! Pfft.
I am too old for the “wonder” of the Magic Kingdom. That is all.
Pandora = awesome! I LOVED the new area based off the movie “Avatar”. Everything was lit up and glowy, made awesome noises and then I got to ride on a banshee!! Yes, a banshee!! It is a VR simulated ride and they make no qualms about it being so. You are fully aware that it is a VR simulator cuz they “link you” with an Avatar so you can experience flight as if you are really there. This is what hooked me – obviously the ride moves and shifts as if you are on the back of this giant winged dragon-looking-thing but I felt the banshee breathing between my knees; I could smell the scent of the earth and water, the fungi that we flew over. Wind rushed my face, water sprayed me as we soared through it. I believed that I was flying on Pandora! It was, hands down, the single most amazing ride of the weekend.
King Ray – Who is King Ray, you might ask? Well, I will tell you. King Ray is a kind old retired navy vet named, obviously, Ray. We met him during the Lion King spectacular (very good show btw, highly recommend). We struck up conversation and he kept mentioning how well he knew the cast members, how great the show was, etc, etc. At first, we believed it all to be the boast of an old man – I mean, really, how could he possibly know all the employees and cast members of a park (several parks) the size of Disney World?? Well, because, as it turns out, the man has been coming to the park EVERY WEEKEND since 1971 except when deployed. As of 2001, when he retired and moved 10 miles from the park, he has been coming DAILY other than horrible, horrible weather or days when he is ill. Again, such a thing must be a boast, we thought… until every single cast member of the show waved to him, said hello, or blew kisses in his direction. WHAT?!?! Mind totally blown! This guy spends ALL his retired time at Disney World!! He has been “crowned” King at Belle’s castle because he is there so much and the cast decided that since there is a prince and princess (Belle and Beast, naturally) there must be a king – BAM! King Ray. Amazing.
Evening dance party in Tomorrow Land – totally awesome.
Overall, I enjoyed Disney. I prefer Animal Kingdom over Magic Kingdom but, still, I considered it to be a good weekend. We even got to see Wonder Woman (AWESOME!!) Sunday night and were prepared for our flight the following afternoon.
Monday morning rolls around, we have a leisurely start to the day, gather our things and then make our way to the airport. Rental car is returned, bags checked, we settle in to have a nice lunch since we’re definitely early. No big. I will now point out that the entire weekend (and week, from what I understand) it rained quite a bit. Not constant, but enough that it was always wet and the clouds never really left except for brief moments when the sun fought its way through the cloud cover. So, it was no surprise when we saw rain while eating lunch and a little wind.
Our flight was delayed 30 minutes because of the weather. No big, right? Cool. 15 seconds after the delay was announced, everyone at the gate starts looking at their phones (us included) – flight canceled. Come again?? What happened to delayed? We sorta skipped right over that part!
As it turns out, while we were getting on and off rain, DCA (Reagan International for those of you not in the DC area), where we were scheduled to fly into, was getting slammed with a massive storm that quite literally stretched up the whole of the eastern seaboard. Uhm… ok, then.
We, along with everyone on the same scheduled flight, promptly queued up to figure out what to do next. We managed to get a flight going out at 3:35p to Dulles instead of DCA. Can! We had some time, went to kill said time and then the phone vibrates again – flight delayed 1 hr to 4:30p.
This was now my face:
Since there was nothing that could be done except wait it out, we proceeded to kill our time only to be frantically called back to the gate at 3:35 to begin boarding the plane – – we’d been clear to fly.
Boarding begins; we are group C. Half way through group B, the check-in guy gets a call on his little red phone: something is wrong. We finish boarding and are told that in 20 minutes, they would make an announcement. Please refer to the face at the left.
Twenty minutes passes, it is announced that we are temporarily deboarding the plane as all flights have been grounded due to the wind in Orlando. Fine. Thirty minutes and a Starbucks tea later, we are allowed to board the plane again. We pull away from the gate, get the whole safety schpeal, roll out to the runway and… stop. Uhm….
DCA has grounded all flights due to weather. Plane must return to the gate and everyone has to get out; again. Yet again, please refer to the face above. We are told that we would have an announcement within 30 minutes, to hang around, blah, blah, blah. Flight is then delayed until 6:50. Time to kill more time. While we are doing so, the phone vibrates again: flight canceled.
At this point, we are tired, hungry, cranky, and ready to go home except that we cannot go home. An hour later, we finally make it to the counter for alternative options and the first alternative option is a flight that is, wait for it, Wednesday morning!
F*@& Ducks! Yes, that was my actual statement while I laughed like a loon at the absurdity of the entire situation. Please, let me now remind you that it was Monday and we would not be leaving until Tuesday.
Trapped! Stuck in the “Sunshine State” until Wednesday!! I very much felt like poor Fluttershy in this image:
Not to be detered, however, my wonderful husband tried to make the best of the very annoying, nearly enraging situation. We get yet another rental car, book a cheaper hotel (that is not covered by the airline btw cuz weather isn’t covered by their whatever whatever clause), and go to find food first since we’d not eaten a thing since noon. Check in to hotel, then promptly turn around and go to Universal City Walk for dinner as it is now, at that point, the only thing open with food. It was good food too (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co).
Tuesday, since we’re now stuck in Orlando’s grasp until the following morning, we decide we are not going to sit in our stanky, mold-infested room (which we moved out of, btw). No, sir! We are going to have fun! We are going to see Harry Potter!
Having already visited Disney and, having been to Universal Studios Hollywood on many occasions, I expected Orlando to be similar if bigger. Imagine my pure, unadulterated bliss when I learned it was better. Not only better than Hollywood, but better than Disney!
I am not entirely certain that I will be able to adequately put into words what our experience at Universal was like, but I will try. If it seems flustered and chaotic, just refer to the picture at the left because that’s pretty much how I was the entire day.
1. Universal already started off with a major win in their guest relations department. Once again, I rented a scoot-scoot and, having experienced idiocy at Disney, I inquired about their disability services so that I might be prepared for the idiocy at Universal. Except, there wasn’t any idiocy. I was assured – many times – that every ride and location would be accommodating to my needs whatever those might be. Alright, I was willing to go on faith and then had it tested…
2. When we made it up to Diagon Alley after taking tons of pictures of old cars and neat things at the beginning of the park. Diagon Alley was PACKED so, in order to not run anyone over, I opted to park at the nearest convenient location and hoof it as best I could. A kind old man named Lee standing at an open door asked as I got out of the seat why I was in the scoot-scoot so I explained. He seemed rather surprised, but didn’t really question my weird feet issues further and then asked if we were there to have lunch. We didn’t actually know where ‘there’ was until he told another group of people trying to enter the door he stood at that the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron was further down and the wait was almost a full hour. Not really hungry, I said, no we can come back another time when the wait is not so long. He then insisted, however, that he would simply walk us in through the exit, that “he was allowed to do that sometimes” and did exactly what he said he would – he walked us through, told the head host of my mobility issues and we were immediately seen to a register to order food/drink and be seated. All told, we stood for maybe 10 minutes and no one rushed us (I’m slow, like snails). I was so impressed and touched by this kind man that I gave him a hug on our way out. The food was amazing, the decor of the Leaky Cauldron impeccable. The squeaking was well deserved.
3. Being Harry Potter fans, we easily spent nearly 4 hours JUST inside Diagon Alley. Keep in mind, there is ONE ride there and the rest is shops and things to see. It was that impressive. We bought wands, drank butter beer and fire whiskey, shopped for cloaks, took pictures and all along I moved my scoot-scoot as best I could until I could not and then walked around a bit until I needed to sit. Cast members helped me find parking spots so I would not be in the way or else helped with crowd control when they saw me. We did get on the one ride there (Escape from Gringots) and asked how to queue up – normally a little buzzer is given like for dinner reservation times and you go when your buzzer buzzes. However, since I had the scoot-scoot they didn’t even give us a buzzer – we were just ushered right in and quickly accommodated without question. I was floored. FLOORED! Those who have been reading this blog know that I have been to several theme parks in the last week and I have rented a scoot-scoot each time. NONE have been as understanding, accepting or accommodating as Universal has. Even when there was a line (on the Hogwarts Express) that I could not skip through, I was allowed to sit out of the way on my scoot-scoot to wait for our turn on the train.
4. Hogsmeade was just as amazing as Diagon Alley and more time was spent there before we floated through the rest of the park. We did not get on any other rides since the majority of them were water rides and neither of us had any desire to be DRENCHED so we walked around, scoped out the park for the kids, got lost twice, and thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of Universal Studios and its employees. I cannot gush more about these parks than I already have. Everyone was having fun, every child smiling and happy, every family or group kept together – even a broken ride did not alter the joviality of the cast. We did the wave and clapped and wiggled in our seats until the ride could be fixed. It. Was. Amazing.
We ended our Tuesday evening with an early screening (ha!) of the new Transformers film which, we also enjoyed for it’s incredible humor and action sequences. I won’t spoil anything for those wanting to see it. We did, finally, make it home today (June 21), the first official day of summer, returned safely to our blessed reign of ChAoS.
It’s here!! Parents and children rejoice! No more early mornings! No more hollering ‘where’s your backpack?!’ at 7am! No more shoving them out the door only to remember you forgot to medicate them (oops, total #momfail on my part; and, yes, I medicate one of my children – it makes him not a total and complete dick; yes, I said that too, it’s really ok).
But only for a little while. The end of school means we trade one form of ChAoS for another. Instead of hollering at children to get their little behinds on the bus, I will be hollering at them to get out of my office and stop reading over my shoulder. Instead of nagging me to drive them to this practice or that event, they’ll be nagging me to take them to the mall with friends or ask why we haven’t gone to the beach (never mind the fact that once we GET to said beach they immediately start whining about how bored they are).
This is how ChAoS works. Switch one thing for another. And, somewhere in all of that, I have a novel to write, stories to edit, and an anthology to help publish and promote (plus all the normal things that I do that don’t stop just because it’s summer time. In fact, I’m positive I go get groceries more often because they eat 1700 times a day).
Summer brings about the July version of CampNaNoWriMo where I will, once again, agonize over whether I should participate or not. Ultimately, I will decide to torment myself and then curse my laziness when I fail; again.
But, do you know what I do love about summer?
Writing in my hammock on the back deck (with plenty of OFF and tiki torches all around me). Enjoying tasty, ice cold adult beverages at all hours of the day cuz I have no real commitments except to my words (and, you know, throwing a granola bar or something at the kids once in a while). Eating s’mores and shortcakes in the glow of my screen after everyone has gone to sleep with the windows wide open so I can hear the songs of nature inspire me while I stuff my face and let me imagination soar. I love going to see the big summer blockbuster movies and then tearing them down to the sum of their parts as only a writer can.
Yes, I am working tirelessly at the plotting and re-plotting of Clockwork Gods so that it meets everyone’s high standards by fall(ish) and getting everything ready for my submission of Heart of the Matter to its little anthology.
Lots of working, lots of life, lots of laundry…
So, in the midst of all that, I am happy to bring you the shiny, brand new cover to the Tales of the Black Dog anthology! Ready? Ready, ready?
Isn’t it awesome!? Look, *points up* that’s my name!
I’m allowed to be giddy over my own work, people, I’m a writer. It’s kinda what I do.
In any event, purchases of this lovely (yet slightly disturbing and/or terrifying) collection of stories can be done via this link, right here. Copies are available in digital format and paperback.
Look for Heart of the Matter, the prequel story to Clockwork Gods coming soon!