Moody gives a thumbs up

maybe it’s the tea.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

Two weeks and a day ago i bought gerbera daisies at the IGA. Thought it was a Sobey’s because I want the free breadknife that comes when you collect the stamps, but apparently just because you are owned by a thing doesn’t mean you get the benefits of the thing.  The daisies, purple and yellow, smaller than the width of my palm and stored in a canning jar, don’t seem to want to wilt. It’s winter, anyway, and they’re up and sturdy and taking up the same amount of space as they did on the day i brought them home, when i was walking around the grocery store, mostly numb and crying.

I miss Dexter. I miss his little chirpy face. I miss his obnoxious chirps and his little fuzzy bum and his wet-bird smell. I miss the way he would grow 3 sizes when he was happy to see me, and I and his tilty-sleepiness when he would sit on my laptop because it was warm and try not to topple over while doing the snoozy head bob. I miss how he would fall asleep in my hand because all he did was sleep because he was old and didn’t want to tell me he wasn’t feeling well, so he did his best to look strong and happy. He pooped and he ate and sometimes he chirped and he never looked scared and tried, always to climb to the highest part of me because that’s what birds are supposed to do. Be High.

He was a really good bird. I know we’re supposed to love our pets. I know we’re supposed to tell the world that they’re the best pets, that no other pet in the history of pets was as good as This Pet.

But, seriously. Dexter was a fucking great bird.  I can’t tell you how much I miss him.  I went to pick up his tiny little cremated bits and it was all fine and dandy until I walked out of the veterinarian’s office and exploded with grief.  5, 480 days, minus vacation and a couple of sleepovers is a long time to be with someone.  Double that if I include every good morning and good night, if you count covering and uncovering his house with his bunny blanket. Triple, quadruple that to conversations, to snuggles, to him dancing on the back of the sofa when he was a little guy, trying to woo me into being his lady-love (I’m not sure he ever understood the interspecies thing doesn’t usually turn out that great), or hanging upside down from my glasses,  or sitting on my knee in the bath because he really liked baths and he liked to sit on my head after, soaking wet and stinking like a wet bird does, all oil and musty weird. It’s strange, he smelled exactly the same after he was gone, warm and stuffy,  wrapped in a dishcloth I’d been sent from asia, so that was all good memories, too.

it’s strange, the way we are. I was reading, last night, about a restaurant I was in yesterday morning (we did a drive-by) was suddenly closing after only been open 11 months. Normally I don’t get nostalgic over such things, but in version 1.0 of this place, I had so many great conversations and experiences (like joining an imaginary rock band, and having our own section with the server (I hope school is going well, Steph!) we liked the most and the charming host/maitre’d who was always happy to see us), and although it’s a brick and mortar thing, it’s people too. People who try to do a thing that is of their heart, and for a while it’s there and strong and vibrant and then the wind changes, and blows it off, into the ether, and then it’s memory and a feeling that everything has a time. That we’re here for a bit, and then we’re gone. We waste so much time trying to be a thing that other people like or want or respect. And, yeah, I know it’s a bit bananas to compare people to a bakery that also served dinner, but at the same time, it’s all the same need: make a mark, set your stake or wave your flag.

Remember me.

You know?

I’m drinking earl grey tea out of my heart cup.  I was supposed to be  editing Gingerbread, because I finished it about 3 months ago and it’s time to go back, but I found myself here, instead. Full of sniffles and missing my little dude and thinking about the transitory nature of all of it.

anyway. I should go do a thing.  I hope you’re having a great day :)


Moody gives a thumbs up

witch which is which.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

in which we have a snippet:


Fig’s foot is wet with blood. I pull his sock off, and grab at the hem of Yegor’s dress, I tug and tug until the fabric gives and then I’ve got a bandage. “Pressure will help but if you got broke bones then -“

He covers his mouth with his hand, wincing as I tug on the fabric, make a knot, tucking the ends under so it won’t come loose. “I’ll just slow you down.”

I shake my head. “It’s okay, Fig.” But it’s not and he knows it.

“I wasn’t lying when I said you kill me if you want.”

His hair’s a tangle and there’s still water in the corners of his eyes.  I don’t apologize for falling asleep. For saying one thing, then doing the other. “Not a thing I’m doing. Witch’ll help.” I’d seen Yegor heal up worse.

“Ain’t a worse thing than witch,” Fig says in a sigh and I almost backhand him for being stupider than I thought possible.

“Witch might mean I don’t need to change your name to Lefty McHobbleston.”

“Lefty McHobbleston?”

I throw up my hands. “You scare me half to death again and I will leave you strung upside down in a tree with a note on your chest that’s all recommendations about what you’re good for. Understood?”

Fig nods. “Help me up?”

It’s still dark, maybe there’s enough heat the in the fire to start it up again.

I guess when I promised him I wouldn’t kill him, I should have clarified on purpose.

Moody gives a thumbs up

in which i complicate matters

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

here’s the thing, I like writing first drafts. I like stories, I like being told them, and I like telling them. Second drafts, third drafts, they’re all about fixing the story, and I don’t like them as much. I find it laborious and frustrating. Perhaps (probably) because the fixes are more craft than inspiration. Mostly, they are perspiration.  Editing tells me what I’m missing, reminds me what I need to add in, it challenges me on the characters I’ve built: do I know enough of who they are?

In truth, I don’t. I never do. I think of characters like people. I will never know the whole of who you are. In first drafts, characters surprise me. They come out of the wood work and stand there, on their awkward legs and introduce themselves and tell me a thing, or don’t, about who they are and what they want.

I know people that can mold characters into who they need to serve a purpose. I suppose my subconscious does that, but it’s definitely not happening in my forebrain. That is one of the reasons why I’m such a crappy outliner.

I wrote a framing statement for The Mourning Wolves, that was something like “in the County of Witchare, Sunday Mourning must join forces with a local wolf hunter to save the city” (it’s better than that, but I don’t have it here with me, so please just play along!).

Now that I’m writing it, however, I don’t even know if Sunday Mourning will show up. (I think Sunday Mourning is a great/hilarious name for an Urban Fantasy Heroinne, ps.) Right now, my main character is Ash, whose lover was killed by Salamander, a rogue werewolf hell-bent on destroying the county of Witchare, so he can then own the city of Saint Ailby.  Ash is on the hunt for a witch to help her both interpret the marks she found in the abandoned house she crashed in, and help her with her anti-wolf weapons arsenal.

(there’s also a second story line about Jessie and Oleander, these kids that are just trying to get by, and Paja who is half healed from a werewolf attack and, of course, Salamander. Also, who names a murderous werewolf Salamander? OH WAIT, I DO!)

so, there’s Ash, all independent and grr and lone-wolfish, who sets out from her crash house to search for this witch dude she heard was around somewhere and not but five minutes out she runs into this kid, Fig, who is wandering about looking for food and water.

He also might be a werewolf.

What the hell happened to Sunday Mourning?


Maybe Sunday is the witch dude? Maybe it’s just a delicious post dinner snack in the summer time? I got nothing.

All I know is that there is no point in me planning because whatever pre-work I put down on paper will be a giant fat lie within twenty minutes.

anyway, I guess I’m writing a novel about a 18ish year old (I’m always super bad at deciding specific ages for my characters, too. I’d rather know how they think and feel*) who decides, against her better judgement to protect a thirteen year old maybe-werewolf.

at least i’m keeping with my theme of makeshift, chosen families. That shit never gets old.

*yes, I know, thinking and feeling is inspired by our age, too.  Anyway. *hand waves*


Moody gives a thumbs up

more snippets: the mourning wolves

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

I hold the door open, Fig slips under the crook of my arm. The marks on the porch don’t trigger, wherever the witch went, she took their magic. Fig steps in and looks up, way up at the high ceilings. He turns his bag around front, but doesn’t let it go, hugs it like that, like safety.

“Bathroom’s upstairs.” I point, waving my finger.

“It’s okay?”

I nod. “It’s okay.” Except I can’t guarantee that. I reach back, scratch at my spine. Things are crawling, like a warning. Sun’s down but the moon is quiet. “Your brother, he turn?”

Fig bites at his lip, dragging a tooth along the dried, cracked skin. There’s blood, a single drop he cleans up with his tongue. “Not full.”

Not full. Halfling, half-Moon, the worst and the kindest, both. “What about you?” Because I can’t ignore the warning in my bones.

“Don’t know yet,” Fig says, so honest my chest seizes up. “You kill me, you want.” His eyes, his ridiculous blue eyes are all water.

“Go upstairs,” I say, waving him off. “Get washed up. I’ll start a fire.”

He pauses, two seconds like he’s making sure what I’m saying isn’t lying, isn’t trying to catch him up, get him off guard.

“Go,” I say and the back of my neck is warm and I should open his heart, and he knows it and I know it.

But he’s just a kid.

And I can’t.

Moody gives a thumbs up

enter title here.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

the title of the book is The Mourning Wolves – there’s a reason for this, my MC/protag, gender TBD however leaning female, at least in theory, was supposed to be named Sunday Mourning, now, at around 5K, her name is Ash and she’s met a kid named Fig, and suddenly my solo-artist has turned into a duo or group. It’s fun to write, and makes me happy and is, on some level my Little Red Riding Hood book, which means I’m covering all kinds of tales, here.

Still not sure who Sunday Mourning is, but maybe she’s the wolf-hunter that Ash meets up with later, I’m sure my subconscious will tell me (or not), because she’s good at that (hardly).

I woke up this morning at 5am, for no particular reason, if you don’t count the 2 hour sleep I had between 5 and 7pm, and maybe the magnesium that I’ve started taking before bed for sleep and the spin class that turned me into a jelly fish. Not the scary kind either, the cute cartoon kind that just sort of flop around and look ridiculous.

I got ready before my alarm was set to go off, I wrote almost 600 words and ate a scone with devon cream and drank coffee from a local roaster. I did a couple of dishes and packed my lunch and had a chat with Dexter.

now I’m at work, and in 15 minutes, I will have, essentially, been working or commuting or doing a Thing for 4.5 hours. Six hours from now I’ll go to spin class and make dinner and maybe watch a Mr Robot with the feller, and then at 10pm I’ll probably fall over from snoozings.

Tomorrow I probably won’t randomly wake up at 5am, but for today it was good that I did.




Moody gives a thumbs up

The Mourning Wolves/snippet

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

I’m supposed to be working on the book that’s 30K, not the one that’s barely 2K, but let’s stop pretending I’m in charge around here:

I hold my knife in my left hand and throw it as hard as I can. A whistle, the vibration, the sound of wood, splitting. It’s all just practice, I’m not ambidextrous. I remember you and I, we went into the woods and shot at beer bottles and tin plates.

You were so beautiful before the Moon ripped out your throat, before you bled to death in my arms.

I guess Ash laments.  Death will do that.

Moody gives a thumbs up

the first/last time we ever met.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

i noted on twitter that this book was weird even for me. And lo’ it is:

“Come,” he says as the spill of yellow intensifies. He holds out his hand and she knows better. Knew better. Knew better than to come back when she’d been tagged by the Seek, to steal from the foodStore, to listen to the Queen of some hidden Hive and all she knows is that together, separate, they’re all dangerous. But the Queen’s voice is syrup and she reaches and his hand is warm and soft and feels like morning, like sunshine.

His teeth are sharp and his eyes shimmer blue to black and back again.

“Not today,” and she’s not even sure what he means but there’s a tug and a puff of goldenrod, all powder like a flashbomb favour, blinds her and the air is all tacky-syrup pollen and flowers as he pulls her through the store into some black corner, his other arm out and a door she didn’t know was there and a step



into pebbled ground and asphalt, tar-black and she stutters out some plea, but not. Some sound of strangeness.

As her eyes adjust to the new inky dark and she looks around.

And the alley is unfamiliar.

And the Queen is gone.

it’s very first drafty, so doesn’t have to make a lot of sense. But holy biscuits and gravy I’m all: o.O

also, this cover version of “In the Air Tonight” by Dead When I Found Her is lovely.

Moody gives a thumbs up

i made thinkings

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

as a short story, The Mourning Wolves is a meagre couple thousand words. It doesn’t really do much except introduce three characters in three different spaces worried about three different, but also the same things.  I moved pieces around and turned the first three scenes into three chapters, ASH,  PAJA, SALAMANDER.

Ash, so far, is the protag, Paja is someone else. Antag, protag both.  Salamander is my bad boy, or he might be a bad girl or maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe that’s Ash, too. Ash tells me gender doesn’t matter, but writing agender, or gender-fluid is a huge undertaking, or feels that way. I’m such an average, middle class cis-gendered, middle-aged white lady.  When I think about writing what I know, which is an old acorn and not necessarily true, or even good advice (except when it is), I want to write not about what I know, but about who I know, my trans* friends, the folks I know, or will know who don’t consider themselves binary, my gay and lesbian friends and my straight cis-friends. My bi-friends.  But good gods I don’t want to screw it up, either.  I want the world I’m writing about to reflect the one I live in, which is the same one I lived in when I was small. Except in many ways this one is so, so much better, which doesn’t always say much.

in the untitled Gingerbread project, my MCs are ace (asexual) and bi, and they are in a relationship with each other, and it is heteroromantic, and it is not sexual, and it’s poly,  too, and I’m not sure I got it right, but I’m trying. I read a lot, through and utilized my friend google, and I’m not sure if there’s enough identification within the book, because i want it to be clear. So that’s a note-to-self. I want the reader to know who Haven and Quince are, both to themselves and to each other. Gingerbread is a relationship book; if I did what I set out to do, it’s about Haven and Quince and their little brother growing up, it’s about Haven finding a father, it’s about sacrifice and letting go.

I’m not sure it’s there yet, but the mss is with some very smart people and they will tell me.

I think The Mourning Wolves is my loner book, although so is Ellis, maybe.  Maybe also is Three-Tenths, Nine-Tenths, the languishing werewolf/baba-yaga book (oh, great, now i have TWO werewolf books. I’m using up all my themes in theme parks, here) that i think about finishing, sometimes.

I need a name for a diner.

I just started watching Dominion. Hot dudes that happen to be angels. It’s like I signed the cheque on this thing.

Moody gives a thumbs up

the weirdest thing, like clockwork

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

it’s the change in the weather, when the trees lose their green, fade to the sick sun yellow, a weird reminder of what is lost, leaves the colour of sunshine, pale like morning. I suddenly only want to work on a story that I’ve called Mourning/Wolves for something like forever. Or Mourning, Howling, Calling, sometimes. Or the Wolves or this song, anyway, that I know I mention every time the wind changes and I think about this story:

Breathe deep

Takes me
We hold fast
Won’t last
And night falls
It’s just
It’s just as well

And if we danced all night
Fell so deep
If we could live to tell
What our eyes have seen
We are wolves here
And so I held you tight
Dared to confess
So you could feel my body
Steal each breath
We are wolves here

and also:

Sleep, dear
The world has gone quiet
I know you’ll wake up again when you feel the sun
So please breathe
I know you’re pretending
There’s blood at the discotheque
So sick what we’ve become
Come on let go

And kill the lights
‘Cause they’re blinding me
I’ve been watching all the stars go by
Devil takes my hand
And now they’ve seen our blackest hearts
Now they’ve seen the hole inside
Come on take my hand

I know
You’re broken on the inside
The city is flowing through you, that’s what you’ve become
So please breathe
There’s nothing worth saving
There’s love at the discotheque
So sick what we have done
Come on let go

because this story is both of those things.  And because it was cold and because it was wet, my brain went to this place in the story, to Junior and Salamander and Paja and maybe now a girl named Sunday Mourning, and maybe it’s not a short story and that’s why I’ve never been able to finish it. Maybe it’s a novel, and maybe it’s called The Mourning Wolves and maybe it’s about a girl coming to terms with who/what she is and maybe it’s about a girl fighting to save her makeshift family and maybe it’s about a girl who doesn’t want to live forever, or close to it at least because forever doesn’t always mean For Ever sometimes it means just a really long time.

I’m reading a book right now, about a boy, written by a boy. Or about a guy written by a man or whatever it is, and I can’t think of the last time I read a book written by a male author (except a couple of David Levithan books, one was great, the other didn’t resonate…) that felt so male. I dunno. It’s weird and I’m not sure I like it. It’s a book of much applause and ppl liked it but I, apparently, just like books by women more. Except The Road. So go figure. Anyway. Mourning Wolves.

I want the structure to be weird. I’m mulling over POV and what that will look like, and how maybe I want it to read like a fable or a tale, not in the way of Ellis, Underground (which I still must finish), but in the way of darker, sharpened things.  I want to keep the beginning of the book similar to the short story, and I want the diner to be important, because there’s a diner in it, and I want to keep this sense of sadness, but maybe that’s because it’s just fall, and –

she was fall leaves and winter solstice, and he loved her deep.


Moody gives a thumbs up

imma ruminatin’

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

I hadn’t read any of Ellis for months. Gingerbread, or whatever title really is, took me just over a year and a bit to write, which isn’t fast and perhaps doesn’t bode well – but there were 3-ish drafts in there, and a couple of short stories and the general life things.

I write primarily for myself-  i think those of us that started early, when we were small things, write for ourselves first, and other folks second – it’s a way to make sense of the nonsensical, a way to put ourselves out into the great vast whatever in a quiet and deliberate way. I think it’s why, aside from short stories, I don’t have the same urgency for book-publication that some folks do, although it’s there, just in a smaller, more subtle way. Kind of. Mostly I think it’s a serious cause of OMG I WILL FAIL syndrome (I am not a risk taker at all. I’m not sure if it’s a personal failing or just means I’m SUPER DEPENDABLE (although I also get super excited when people read a thing I wrote and like it. Maybe I’m deluded). Man, is the all-caps a side-result of reading Felicia Day’s memoir over the last few days? MAYBE!) ed note: this doesn’t mean I don’t want my books published, it just means I gotta get past whatever interiorbrain hurdles are getting in my way. okay? OKAY.

I went through chapter one of Ellis this morning, building a mind map (I use mind node, now) of the chapters – i don’t use mind mapping for brainstorming because it feels too organized and too deliberate for a “storm” (as if nature isn’t deliberate, but work with me on this metaphor thingy here), but I use it as a visual way to gather my outline/thoughts/major plot points. I say this like I have a Process, but really I started using the mapping software when I realized that writing Gingerbread out of order was really, really screwing me up and I needed a way to put things in place and make fix with the jaggy puzzle pieces that upon first glance had nowhere to go.

And it helped.

So I’m using it again because it’ll help me identify the bits of Ellis – no surprise to anyone who has written a thing ever – I stalled out on it in (you guessed it!) the Middle. 29, 000 words and Bam! It’s like I’m a creative cliche or something.  But even reading the first chapter, I find I’m super happy to be back in Ellis’ world – from a writing-craft standpoint it feels way more me than Gingerbread – although Gingerbread is probably clearer and more accessible and still contains the themes I use all the time: makeshift families, atypical relationships, winter, blood, gargoyles, vampires etc. etc. etc. Oh, vampires. It’s like I never got the memo that they were old news (but I super love my head vampire guy. He’s so damn nice. Mostly). If I ever write a sequel, there’s werewolves too. Yup, that’s me, lacking originality since 1971 (not true: I rule).

There are no vampires in Ellis, ps. NARY A ONE. Oh, there’s angels though, at least in the first draft, also fortune tellers. If my writing came with a bingo card, i would win every time. There’s rain, though, and snow. And it’s winter in Gingerbread and i wonder if i should have made it more wintery, because people believe winter in Canada is made of horrid (it is, for like 2 weeks), but frostbite didn’t really work with the plan (I had no plan).

I had a point to this, I swear. I just lost it. Imagine that.

But starting on Ellis again made me think of all of the things I love about the world: the twisted Alice in Wonderland-ness, where the Alice is a city architect who built the version of the world Ellis falls into when she gets involved in the mysterious death of the feller-across-the-street. My unrequited love (he died before they met. OH TRAGIC. It’s practically Nicholas Sparks!), the Alice’s relationship with Basil & Alastar, teacups and clockwork rabbits. It has made up words and flowers are poison. It’s good times, yo. Like, it makes me want to curl up in a blanket that smells like cinnamon and burnt leaves.

(what I love about Gingerbread: that the bad guy isn’t a bad guy at all, not even kind of. My ace MC, Haven, and her hetero-romantic relationship with her one-true-love-bff, their cozy house, the vampire’s house, a blood cult hiding actual vampires, evil flowers (Oh, a theme, rose thou art sick and all that), and mysterious safehouse that might show up if I write another book in the same world. Altor!).

I’ve thought about what might come next, after these two. I had the idea of the kids who meet in high school (HEX) one of whom is related to Crowely, the other to LaVey, but after that it doesn’t go anywhere, and if you look close i hinted at Crowely in Gingerbread anyway – not the person, but the philosophy.

So what then? Another retold story? I love Little Red Riding Hood, and I’ve been thinking she’d made a nice addition to Hansel & Gretel and Alice in Wonderland, but no matter how much I dwell on it, ain’t nothin’ showin’ up. So.

I guess not.


I’m all rambly.