5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats

And Now for My Next Trick: A Newsletter and Kickstarter!


Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.  (If you could look down, you'd see the cliff face)
Cliffs of the Neuse State Park. (If you could look down, you'd see the cliff face)

Earlier today I got one of those rare LJ pokes from basefinder reminding me it has been several months since I wrote anything here.  (Thanks, btw)

Shortly after I posted the last audio chapter of the free, serialized podcast of my book, a former LJ friend/current FriendFace friend of mine contacted me. Was I interested in self-publishing a print version of the book through her very small press and raising the up-front costs through a Kickstarter campaign?

I was not, actually. Well, yeah, I wanted to see a print version of my book, but self-publishing means a whole lot of self-promotion, which is something I'm not overly comfortable with (read: not comfortable with) and I knew nothing about Kickstarter. 

Besides, there was a nasty Catch-22 that I couldn't resolve: In order to get people to contribute to a Kickstarter campaign the book needed a professionally illustrated cover.  However, we weren't going to have the money to hire an illustrator until after the campaign raised enough money for one.

Said friend/publisher also runs a writing space in MA and, as a result, knows a lot of writers and illustrators. She's managed to barter web site redesign work and managing a future Kickstarter campaign with an artist in exchange for a cover illustration.

And suddenly I didn't have any good excuses to keep saying, "No."

So, I said yes.

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5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats

In Which I Turn My Unsold Manuscript Into a Serialized Podcast


To make a very long story short, about 10 years ago I wrote a middle-grade Steampunk Fantasy book that was good enough to get me a proper literary agent, but not a publishing contract.  The process was emotionally exhausting and left me unwilling to write much of anything for years.

Way back when, I used to be an elementary school librarian and got pretty good at reading kid's books aloud.  When COVID-19 started shutting things down I thought I could make at least some lives better by reading kid's books and posting them to The YouTubez.  This, however, only works if your famous.  Otherwise it's considered 'a performance' and 'copyright infringement' and 'takedown orders are issued.'

It eventually occurred to me that I did own all of the rights to one book.  It may have gone unpublished, but it is still mine to do with as I please.

So, I'm offering it as a serialized podcast.  For free.

Should you be interested, serialized chapters can be found through the following podcasting sites:
Please pass the links along to anyone you know who might like the story.  Or, just hearing an American doing a variety of really awkward British accents.

And let me know what you think.  Please.

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5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats

Yeah, so...

I've had this blank page up on my computer all day, thinking I'd figure out what to say.  So far, it hasn't happened.

The other day drood wrote on FriendFace and IG to encourage everyone to write out their thoughts during these days.  The world as we knew it is changing; many things will not go back to the way they were. Workplaces that just weeks ago were claiming they'd never envision a time when they'd allow their staff to work from home are now scrambling to make that happen.  Food is getting harder to find — and will only continue to do so as production slows and the channels of distribution become harder to complete.


"But that's not what I came to tell you about.  I came to talk about the draft."

Well, not exactly.  But it's the line that often comes to mind when I spiral off into unrelated tangents.

I'm still at werk.  I work for a University Press, one that publishes about 120 books a year, most of which you've never heard of.  I don't put us high on the list of Essential Businesses, but our CFO (my boss) and the Director had a hard idea understanding how I and my desktop guy could ever work from home.  (Despite the fact that most staff were working from home.  Including the Director.)  I wrote up a decidedly professional description of how it would work.  Then I waited.  My boss finally asked if we could wait on the plan until all of the newly purchased PCs were set up and given to the necessary staff to take home.  Sure.

Desktop Guy and I will be splitting days: He'll be in a day; I'll work from  home that day.  The next day he'll work from home and I'll be in the office.  We'll do that until the governor issues a Stay at Home Order or the University officially shuts down all of their buildings.

I didn't really come here to talk about any of that, either, though.  (basefinder asked, so I figured I'd fill in some of the details here)


I'll try to get to all of that tomorrow.

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5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats

I Recommend Pleasant

I Recommend Pleasant
I Recommend Pleasant


To quote again from the movie:

"Wilson: [reading from an encyclopedia] "P O O K A - Pooka - from old Celtic mythology - a fairy spirit in animal form - always very large. The pooka appears here and there - now and then - to this one and that one - a benign but mischievous creature - very fond of rumpots, crackpots, and how are you, Mr. Wilson?" "How are you, Mr. Wilson?" Who in the encyclopedia wants to know?"


The thing about Harvey is that only Elwood can see Harvey. Elwood talks to him, describes him to the people he meets, speaks for him, listens to his stories.

Other people have no idea what to make of Harvey, much less Elwood. Still, Elwood knows what is true to him.

He also knows that being pleasant is more important than being smart. Smart might explain a great many things, but there's no explaining Harvey. Harvey, who surprised Elwood one day and never left, is beyond explanation.

It is good to have mysteries in life. Pookas included.
  • Current Music
    Christmas Must Be Tonight - The Band
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Brickify'ed Album Covers


Can You Guess the Title of This Classic
Children's Book from the Brickified Cover?


A Big Tip o' the Hat goes out to Travis Jonker, Children's Librarian and author of the School Library Journal "100ScopesNotes" Blog. Today, his posting of "Name that LEGO Book Cover" was not only shamelessly copied by me on my occasionally remembered writer's blog but also prompted this, even more rare, LJ entry.

I'll invite you all to play along: go to Brickit and Brickify/LEGOify 5 of your favorite albums from Back in the Day and post them to your LJ (or FB or wherever) and post the URL in the comments here so I can see if I can figure them out.

Here are my five. Leave your guesses in the comments section as well.

Album Cover 1



Album Cover 2



Album Cover 3



Album Cover 4



Album Cover 5




How many did you guess right, eh?


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  • Current Music
    Good For You - Darlingside
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(no subject)


Detail from Artwork at the Entrance to Our Local Emergency Room
August 2015

Last Saturday we were part of a nine or ten car accident on the highway.  My guess, from the look of it, was that a driver was texting and looked up to see the cars in front of him had slowed down considerably.  He hit the brakes, weaved to the right, then to the left, then shot out into the middle lane and disappeared -- leaving a chain reaction of cars hitting each other in his wake.
Bonn was driving and working together we managed to not hit the car in front of us (by inches) but we did get hit from behind.  Bonn saw the driver in the rear view mirror and tensed up just before the impact so she was hurt worse than I was.
Despite the fast-lane-on-the-highway speeds, all but one of the cars involved was able to drive away from the scene.  Bonn's 4Runner wasn't damaged at all -- the car behind us hit the tow bar and never made it as far as the body of the car.
After a long afternoon spent on the side of the highway and at our local Emergency Room (Bonn experience numbness down her left arm) we got home and collapsed from it all.
We were certainly lucky.  The accident and our injuries were relatively minor.  It was one of those Blink of an Eye moments that could have changed -- or ended -- our lives for the worse.
________________________________________
An Additional Tip o' the Hat to the cops and the EMS on the scene and the hospital staff.  I know this was a fairly common occurrence for them but they handled the situation and the people professionally and with concern for our well-being.


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  • Current Music
    Ryan Adam: Two - Darkbreaker Live
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(no subject)


Skyhouse Apartments
Downtown Raleighwood
August 20, 2015

I watched these apartments being built over a period of months. They're across the street from the central bus hub in Downtown Raleighwood.

I'm rather fond of this photograph.

5 Long-Necked Blinking Cats

Funny Face Drink Stand


1966ish. There was a mail-away contest in the local Sunday comic section. If you colored in the Funny Face ad (a Kool Aid competitor) and sent it in you would be entered in a contest for your very own Funny Face Drink Stand.
In one of those harmonic convergence moments, I knew -- I KNEW -- I was going to win this contest. My mom tried her best to explain how unlikely this might be, but I held firm to my rock-solid belief that I was going to win.
Sure enough, several weeks later, a delivery man knocked at the door and dropped off a long cardboard box filled with even more cardboard.
My bewildered mother agreed to fill a tupperware jug with some sort of drink mix, and a styrofoam urn with ice and I set up shop outside our front door. 2¢ a Dixie Cup, as I recall.
After a few times setting up shop the appeal wore thin and it was relegated to my parent's basement where it met with an unfortunate cardboard fate as a fort, dueling swords and other follies of youth.
(The stand in 1970's faded color -- although I don't remember it being orange striped)

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[NOTE: Like many people, I signed up for an Ello account when they first came online.  (Was that a year or so ago?)  It was touted as an ad-free alternative to FaceBook but has largely been forgotten by most of my contacts who also signed on in the early days.

I've been posting there fairly regularly.  Most often just photographs or screen grabs of cartoons that I enjoy.  I've found that the silence there appeals to me.

I have been using IFTTT to automagically copy my Instagram photographs over to both FaceBook and Flickr.  I had hoped someone would come up with a IFTTT 'recipe' to do copy my Ello entries over to LJ.  Alas, that has yet to happen. (and I certainly don't care to learn enough programming to make that happen myself)  I suppose, then, that it's time to finally start doing so manually.]