Friday, July 31, 2015

Creature in the Kitchen

Recently, my wife cracked open her grandmother's box of recipes.

Many interesting items lurked within. Fudge made from cheese, anyone?

But there was one item that stuck to me like peanut brittle between the teeth: "Herman."

Here's the deal...Herman is an ongoing project. A beast that's kept around in the kitchen, one you need to constantly feed yeast, sugar and other sundry items to keep it growing. And, like sea monkeys, you need to tend to it over an extended period of time, an on-going project.

Frankenstein's recipe.

The nightmarish qualities of something you need to feed, growing on the counter-top until it's chow time sorta freaked me out.
I couldn't help but anthropomorphize the dang thing. I've watched a lot of horror films. Not in a good way.  Tendrils of snaking dough, crusty brown teeth, dead cooked eyes. I tend to not want to eat things that may eat me in the middle of the night.

But is Herman much different than fattening pigs up for barbeque?

I think, yes. With pigs, you know what you're gonna get. (I just don't want to be around on slaughter day). A squeal, bloodletting, a guilty conscience over your fulfilled tummy and satisfied taste glands. Plus, pigs are kept outside. (Unless you're one of THOSE guys.)

With "Audrey" growing on the kitchen counter? Yow, scary stuff.

Herman haunts my dreams, sours my stomach. It stares at me from the counter, mesmerizing me...mentally invading my brain, saying, "Feed me!"

Where will it end? Could there be a growing conspiracy of fellow "Hermans" waiting to devour us, an invasion from within?

And, why in the world did someone name it "Herman?" Humanizes it a bit much, I think. (Although, I wonder if "Herman Munster" played a factor back in the day).

I've got my eye on you, jar of ewww, sleeping with the other eye open.

For other scary things (both inside the house and out), check out the trailer (provided by author extraordinaire Meradeth Houston) for my new suspense thriller, Ghosts of Gannaway:

Get the book here:  Ghosts of Gannaway and others at my Amazon author's page.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Recently, my wife brought to my attention (and it takes a lot this side of a tire iron upside the head) that I've been responding by saying "huh" a lot. One little word. Not even a word, really, more like a caveman's grunt. Where'd I pick up this habit?

Lightning struck me, not the usual cartoon bulb of enlightenment either. My mother uses the word, wielding it like Thor's hammer.

Mom will ask me, "Are you going to church tomorrow?"

"No, Mom, sorry. Other plans."


Boom! There it is. Hauls more weight than a big ol' sixteen-wheeler careening down an ice-covered highway.
Joan Crawford: Founder of the Clever Mother Society
As a writer I'm ashamed to say I can't conjure up any wordsmith that could possibly match that one word's severity. It's a sound that makes me grind my teeth.

But the word works on me. Oh, yes, it works.

"Mom, we really need to look into your TV options. You can't get free cable forever."


I think Mom just lucked into this superpower. It's not intentional; she's a loving, kind person. But it's definitely my Kryptonite. Sure Mom uses other catch-phrases, all of them potent, such as "I think it would be nice if...." and "I think it'd be fun for you if...(and, of course, this leads into a suggestion that is usually anything but "fun")." But those I can deal with. Just not "huh."

It's the sound that destroys worlds, reverses face-lifts, causes dolphins to bark,  turns lima beans yummy, makes kangaroo pouches envelop their owners. The utterance that has won wars.


My mom's a better writer than I am with one simple word.

For something even scarier, check out the trailer (provided by author extraordinaire Meradeth Houston) for my new suspense thriller, Ghosts of Gannaway:

Get the book here:  Ghosts of Gannaway and others at my Amazon author's page.

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Fine Art of Spatchcockery

My wife told me she wants to "spatchcock" a turkey. After my initial giggle-fit ended, she explained that spatchcocking's a method of cooking poultry by cutting out the backbone and flattening the carcass. It's supposed to cook more evenly. Or something.
Miss July from Spatchcock Monthly
That doesn't matter. What does matter is I've found a fabulous new word. I'd like to "trend" the word. I wanna' make it rain with spatchcockery.

Spatchcock. Everyone take a minute and say it out loud. I'll wait. Done? It's fun to say, isn't it? Rolls right off the tongue. I find it kinda' cathartic, too. Violent sounding without the physical fall-out. And wonderfully vulgar. Plus it makes the twelve-year-old boy in me laugh because of its inherent naughtiness.

But the word can be used in many more creative ways. The next time the office clown gets on your nerves? Hit him with, "I'm gonna' spatchcock that smile right off your face!" Or how about this? "Looks like you stepped in a deep pile of spatchcock now." Or "I'm gonna' spatchcock the crap outta' this yard." See what I mean? A multifaceted word, guaranteed hours of fun.
A painful looking display of human spatchcockery.
Where in the world did this awesome word come from? Mr. Wikipedia wasn't much help, nor Ms. Google. I wonder if some guy went postal on his turkey, ripped out the backbone in a fit of cooking rage, and screamed, "I'll dispatch you yet, cock!"

Or maybe some chef had the misfortune of being named "Spatchcock," a minor footnote in cooking history.

But, as I said, none of that matters. Do please use this term, incorporate it into your daily vocabulary. Then sit back and watch the puzzled looks and dumbfounded responses.

I'll update once (if?) we ever end up spatchcocking a turkey. In the meantime, I've gotta' go spatchcock the dog. (Tee hee.)

Bam. You've been spatchcocked. 

No spatchcockery to be found in my newest suspense thriller, Ghosts of Gannaway. However, plenty of Hitchcockery is on display.

Now for the limited sale price of .99: Buy it here!

Friday, July 10, 2015

My little cubby-hole of clothes

My wife has ample closet-space. I, on the other hand, have very little. I've been downgraded, my clothing relegated to a tiny nook, a teeny-weenie black hole filled with dust and moths and Hawaiian shirts that haven't seen the light of day since the 80's.

Of course I don't have as many clothes as my wife. I don't need them. Seven pairs of underwear (are they "pairs?" If so, why? Seems to me they're in one piece), boom, laundry day. Works out just fine, clothing minimalism at work.

Shoes? Green tainted lawn mowing shoes and hanging out kicks. That's it.

My wife has a battalion of shoes, an army of feet covering. If it please the court, I submit that shoes should be functional. Provide protection. On a rare occasion, shine at weddings. Actually, most women's shoes don't look comfy. Which should be of the utmost consideration. Walking on spikes has gotta' be killer on your back.

I didn't think relinquishing closet space would be so bad. I mean, years ago I'd already sacrificed my totally awesome bachelor furniture to the dumpster gods: a cardboard, life-size beer girl; a leaking bean bag; an inviting sofa with my butt-prints fossilized upon one end. And, granted, I never did use much of the closet space to begin with. But...but...

When I told my wife I was going to blog about this topic, she basically said, "Good luck. You won't get any sympathy."

I'm not out for sympathy. I'd just like to reclaim the night, grab an extra shelf. Quit having my clothes so compacted they come out more wrinkly than a prune. More often than not, I look like a saggy, baggy elephant.

I know most of my blog readership is comprised of women. But, please, ladies...if you have a significant male other, consider his closetary needs. Give space a chance. Can't we all just get along?

For other horror stories, check out my newest book Ghosts of Gannaway and my Amazon author's page.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Picher, Oklahoma: Bringing the Ghosts to Life

My new book, Ghosts of Gannaway, is a sweeping historical ghost tale full of curses, Native-American rights, one of the first feminists, greed, hissable villains, noble heroes, hippies, union strikes, violence, animated statues, haunted museums, pollution and love that transcends death.
But mostly it's the tale of Picher, Oklahoma. Oh, sure, I moved the events just over the borderline to my fictionally created tale of Gannaway, Kansas. And the characters in the book aren't real. But some of them do represent archetypes of the long passed citizens of Picher, Oklahoma.
Very few people reside in Picher now. They can't. Because of the zinc and lead mining boom of the '30's, the town is now a death-trap. In more ways than one. The water's tainted. The air is polluted with poisonous particles lifted off the chat piles. The very few structures still standing have been torn apart by tornadoes. The township were forced to move. Or die. Of course there're still a few stubborn folks who reside there. None too friendly either, I might add. You might just see a few Confederate flags flying high in the dilapidated living quarters, good reason enough not to linger.
But Picher was once one of the most prosperous towns in the Midwest. How do I know? I researched it. It was the most exhausting book I've written yet and I won't be attempting that amount of research again. Not only does the book take place in 1935 but there's a dueling timeline in 1969 with all sorts of characters, plot-lines and ghosts crossing paths. Whew. During the final edit, I nearly had a panic attack when I caught a character in 1969 saying, "That sucks!" Um, no, just wasn't done. 
So...stupidly, I set the tale in two timelines I knew next to nothing about. I researched clothing, slang, lifestyles, food, autos, the effects of the depression. Then I had to find out about mining! Would you like to know about mining? Neither did I until I realized the book called for it! Now that info's stuck in my head! (Don't worry. I detailed only the pertinent information to the story, no boring lesson on mining here!) I found out about hippies and soul hand-shakes and the movements going on. I dug deep into unions and the violent labor strikes of the '30's. I learned about the plight of the Native-Americans in the Midwest going back years and years and years and...
Just too much. But I hope the research paid off. I tried to make my ambitious tale thrilling, chilling, exciting, action-packed, scary, even a little romantic. Let me know if I succeeded!

Act now, tell me later! For a small window of time, Ghosts of Gannaway is available for .99! That's a whole lotta' research and thrills for under a buck: One click away!