Big Foot Saved Me from Killing People

I have nothing to write about. It’s NaNo time, and all of my free brain cells are taken up with trying to rein myself in on the body count in this book. I have to weigh my options carefully and think to myself, “Does this person really NEED to die?” Sadly, the answer is usually, “Yes. Painfully.”

Having said that, whenever I need a break from killing not-so-innocent bystanders, I come back down to Earth with stupid television. My favorite stupid television right now is that show where the people go out into the woods in the middle of the night with night vision cameras strapped to them that look all Blair Witch Projecty and they hunt for Big Foot. There have been about four seasons of this show and they have never once found Big Foot, but yet, at the end of every episode they a) high five each other and congratulate each other on another successful reconnaissance mission and b) they show teaser clips from next week’s episode. I am horribly confused:

1. I cannot tell what differentiates a successful mission from an unsuccessful mission, other than no one fell over a log in the dark and needed stitches. It sure as hell doesn’t involve actually finding Big Foot.

2. I take serious issue with the fact that these “scientists” apparently were allowed to skip their English credits in college because they keep using the term “Big Foots” as the plural of Big Foot when it should obviously be “Big Feet.”

3. The logo on the show is very disturbing and I’m pretty sure it’s racist against Big Feet. It’s an artist’s rendering of a Big Foot screaming in rage. There has been zero evidence from any of the sightings that Big Foot has either beaten, raped, or killed anyone, but these people are furthering the stereotype that large hairy people who live in secluded sections of the wilderness must be violent. Goofy went camping all the time on the cartoons, and he was a veritable gentle giant.

4. You “researchers” (quotation marks means I think it’s doubtful you are actually researchers) are never going to find Big Foot because you’ve got the cameras turned around to record your own faces. It’s sixty minutes of you opening your eyes in surprise and hissing, “What was that?” and looking like you’re going to poop. Joke’s on you, butt munch, THAT was a mountain lion and you very well might be eaten.

Just once, God, PLEASE just once, let Big Foot come out, do a little Magic Mike strip tease dance, then beat the crap out of these people. Please. I promise to kill fewer people in my book if you can just let that happen on ONE episode. Amen.

UPDATE: I tried to find a great video of Big Foot dancing, but they were all stupid and obviously fake. One guy didn’t even try, it was just him dancing in front of a a tripod camera in a gorilla suit. I DID, however, find out that there’s a strip club devoted to Big Feet. Apparently, the fine folks at got tired of Big Feet being exploited for money on TV and have decided to exploit them for a little bit of money on the pole.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I just clicked on the link and I’m sorry to say, I didn’t see any photos of Big Foot working the pole. They might be misleading us, just like the Big Foot researchers. And the website’s grammar is horrible…they have decided to make a compound word out of Big Foot. You were warned.

It Can’t Be Done Without Glitter

Writing a book is a real bitch. Unless you’re really good at it, then I guess you might argue with me. Oh, and unless you’re JK Rowling and it doesn’t matter what weird crap you stick between two book covers, people are gonna buy a million copies before the thing even hits the shelves. I guess writing a book would be a lot of fun in those cases.

But I am neither JK Rowling nor am I good at it. Writing a book for me is like taking a cross-country car trip with eight toddlers and no DVD player or Vicodin. It’s tedious, it’s loud, it’s sweaty, and there’s usually a lot of crying.

But since November is just days away, I’m gearing up and steeling myself for NaNoWriMo, or as my husband calls it, “That thing again where you quit cooking?” I’m training like I’m running the Badwater, practicing setting aside time for writing, organizing my thoughts on paper this time (instead of on graham crackers like I did last year…the plant to eat the graham crackers every time I completed a notecracker as a form of motivation didn’t turn out too well because I got hungry and ate all my notes by Day Two), even naming and getting to know my characters. I’m so psyched!

Of course, one of my NaNo traditions is the giant plot poster. It has all kinds of helpful information and charts and graphs and government secrets, but the best part is it’s covered in glitter. I never allow glitter in my house because it’s evil, but once a year the kids get to break out the glue and take my notes into the yard where they sprinkle away like it’s actual magic fairy dust. They like it because they never get to use glitter, and I like it because it gives me something to look at and remember them by when I’m ignoring my entire family for the month.

Happy writing!

Lorca’s Week In Review (Sports Edition)

Well, that settles it. My offspring were slow runners in the family’s first-ever attempt at organized cross country running, my college football team barely got through in OVERTIME in a game that should never have made it to overtime, and I’m pretty sure people still think ping pong is an Olympic sport. I give up.

I rounded out the week by breaking a computer that I didn’t think was even more breakable, finishing the writing of my latest book (woohoo!), and drinking celebratory wine that was imported all the way from Birmingham for the occasion. Fortunately, I remembered to dye my hair BEFORE the wine this time.

I still found time to Pin funny stuff, and here’s the proof. This video is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in years, even if I am going to burn in hell for laughing at it.

And no, angry commenters, it’s not a funny video because he’s scared or because he’s overweight, it’s funny because his aunt’s the only person in his life willing to say to the kid, “Get your butt up on that ride! NOW!”

I reviewed another grown-up-like book for my day job, and it was another one of those books that pulls you in from the very beginning. Cascade was worth every penny and every minute.

In unrelated news, I figured out today that it is almost October, which means two things: Halloween and NaBloWriMo. Only one of those things is sexy, and I’ll let you use your imagination to figure out which one it is. Have a great week!

I Can’t Believe It’s Over

This totally beats Janet Hardy's second place spelling bee trophy from third grade. Suck it, Janet.

It’s over. I did it. Book number five, my NaNo novel, is finished. The T-shirt has been ordered, the winner’s certificate printed out and hung in my office. It’s some of the worst angst-ridden crap I’ve ever written, but at least it 50,000 words of angst-ridden crap so that makes me an official 2011 winner.

And let me tell you, November this year was a bitch. All novels and their deadlines aside, work was tough, the kids were tough, the holidays with family were even tough (I seem to recall my mom waking me up on Thanksgiving by saying, “Don’t be a diva just because you’re a published author now,”…as I slept on her couch. I think all published authors have to sleep on their parents couches at some point or another, but divas we are not.)

The sad thing is now that NaNo is over, there’s nothing to do but start another one, hopefully one with a smaller body count. (I told you November was a bitch…at one point, an entire town is slaughtered. All of them. Even the pets.)

Maybe this time I’ll write a nice, pleasant, Austen-esque novel about men with noble titles and love gone wrong and snobby British aristocracy who couldn’t possible lower themselves by marrying badly, even if it was to save the entire from being slaughtered by ruffian outlaws who lined everyone up for a mass execution as a warning to the other towns not to mess with them. Oh wait, that was so last November.

The NaNoNess Continues…

“Raina, look at me. No, look at me. We’re going to be okay. I know we will.”

“How?” she asked him. “Just tell me how and I’ll believe it. I’ll throw myself on the fire to put it out myself if you can just tell me how it will be okay.”

“I can’t answer that yet, but I just know it. Can’t we hunt around here? Is there anything we can find to eat? C’mon, you’re the Find, remember?” She did smile a little at his remembering her job back in Refuge.

“I’m the Find,” she sighed. “We’ll hunt. Come on, I’ll need help bringing back whatever we kill.” She stood to go, grabbing up her slingshot rifle and pocketed some shards of glass out of a pouch on her pack. Xander made to go with her.

They walked a good ways from their makeshift camp to a thicker part of the woods, hoping animals might be more plentiful away from the path and where the trees would hide them. Raina crouched low suddenly, holding a hand back towards Xander to make him stop his walking. She squatted close to the ground and held both hands to her mouth, using their twisted shape to whistle a bird call. Xander whispered a scoff.

“The two of us are going to eat sparrows? Are you going to call the little woodland birdies to your hand like the princess in the story?” He managed to hold back his laugh, but only because they were hunting. Raina sighted something through the trees and immediately shouldered her slingshot and fired in one fluid motion, then darted off into the thick patch of brush and trees. Xander simply stared after her, afraid to follow her and risk making a noise that would scary off any potential dinner.

She returned only minutes later with a largish dog thrown over her shoulders, its neck dangling at a nauseating angle, blood seeping from where her glass shard had hit it directly through the eye. She tossed the dog over her head and off her shoulders, letting it land directly in front of Xander.

“No, we’re going to eat the coyote that thinks we’re birds. Now carry that back to the fire.” She turned her back on him and slung her slingshot up on one shoulder, walking with a cocky saunter. Xander couldn’t see her face with her back turned to him, but he knew she was smiling that annoyingly smug grin of hers. Again.


NaNo Novel: Excerpt II

Xander made his way over to a rotting tree with a fallen log across it, half-dragging Raina as he went. He shoved her under the log and up into the cavernous tree then followed her in. He lowered himself to sitting and pulled his injured legs up around him, letting Raina climb into his lap and burrow her face into his shirt. He put his arms around her awkwardly, unsure how good manners would dictate comforting an unfamiliar little girl in the face of dozens of dead people swaying from trees, their arms and legs askew like so many wind chimes. Xander wished there were someone to cradle him in a comforting hug.

Raina eventually slept in his arms but Xander stayed awake for the next several hours, listening to the sounds around him. Every movement of the leaves or crunch of a twig outside the tree caused him to sit up straighter and prick his ears in that direction.

And That’s Why I Love The Internet

Which wine should I serve with this? White or red?

So if you didn’t accidentally find this blog by typing “stuff my cat ate” on Google, you might already know that I’m ignoring your humor needs completely as I write my fifth book. Everything is, in fact, all about me.

But yesterday I learned one of the great things about being a writer, even an unloved/unpaid one. We get to search for the craziest shit online and call it research. The only downside is we have to make sure all of our searches are spelled correctly or we get sent to porn websites. And I defy anyone to tell me that my hour and a half reading up on bugs was not research.

Step One: Google the question, “What do bugs taste like?”

Step Two: Find a search result called and read everything on their site. NOTE: wipe tongue with a dry washcloth the whole time you’re reading that site because you’re going to start imagining insect legs stuck to the roof of your mouth.

Step Three: Decide the all-encompassing website on eating bugs wasn’t quite all-encompassing enough, and go to the Contact Us tab to email them with several bizarre questions, making sure to mention that you’re not just a weirdo or that you’re not mocking them, you’re actually writing a book and thank you very much.

Step Four: Wait until the owner of the website gets off work (he has other monetary needs besides food, since his foods needs have been met by crickets) and emails you a lovely response:

Hi Lorca Damon

Interesting questions. Allow me….

1) In a society without electricity, running water, etc. (think Mad Max), how would they “grow” bugs (ie, housing needs, water needs)? What would I feed them?

Bugs don’t need what humans need – they don’t need electricity or running water. Insects suck nutrients (water) from a wide range of flora. Plants and trees grow in even the most arid of regions. There will always be life. Where there is life there is water. The bugs will find it. They burrow inside bark and other forms of flora. They don’t need us to feed them. I imagine in a society without electricity or running water it would be vital to keep moving and searching for water and food, so it wouldn’t be prudent or productive to farm (anything), unless one were to harness wind to produce power from rain water. But that’s stretching one’s chances.

2) How would they be prepared in order to get the most nutrition out of them? I know about toasting them, but wouldn’t that deplete any water left inside them? In the setting of my novel, wouldn’t my characters see that as a waste of water?

Eat bugs raw. In the time your novel is set, eating bugs will be where sushi was thirty years ago. Raw is the new cooked.

3) I’ve got my more resourceful characters grinding insects into a paste and mixing it with animal fat and broth to make it as palatable as possible. Is that a likely scenario? And is that a nutritious way to eat insects? (this particular group of characters are the more sensible, survivalist people)

Insects can be incorporated into any type food stuff. The fresher and least cooked, the more nutritious. If one wishes to truly survive in an era of Mad Max type climate and social upheaval and potential violence, one rule of thumb that all humans must be aware of is that it is best to avoid brightly colored and spiny/barbed insects. They are likely a death knell.

Good luck. When (notice I did not say “if”) you finish the novel, thank me somewhere in some way, if you feel my responses were effective. I wish you well.


Marc Dennis
Founder, Insects Are Food

I particularly appreciated Mr. Dennis pointing out that neither my characters nor I should ever come in contact with anything that is either pretty or stabby. That advice applies on so many levels.

NaNoGate: Day Four

Due in large part to having two of the worst math teachers ever, having a brother who regularly used to receive phone calls from Stephen Hawking asking him to clear up a few fine points on worm holes, and due to one parent being so good at math that he couldn’t explain it and the other one barely even able to handle enough geometry to drive the car in a square by making four right hand turns, I suck at math. See how I didn’t take any of the blame on myself?

The weird thing is I really enjoyed algebra class. I never knew what was going on, but it was pleasant to be there.

So thanks to being so inept at basic addition and subtraction (or in this case it might be multiplication, I don’t even know which math tool to use here), I am way behind on my NaNo novel. No, I didn’t get sidetracked or have a lazy moment, I thought I was right on target with my daily goal. Turns out, I forgot to carry the one. A couple of times.

Therefore, nose to the grindstone and all that.

NaNo Novel : Excerpt One

The clicking of the guards’ heels on the pristine tile floors was the only noise as the trio made their way through twisting hallways under the glare of industrial lighting. Xander wanted to look back to make sure no one else had joined them. Obviously someone would have to be coming to stop them. This had all been too easy, or easier than he had been told to expect.

The last time he had walked a gleaming hallway like this between two armed guards in crisp uniforms, it hadn’t gone well at all. At least this time he wasn’t wearing handcuffs. Still, he couldn’t help clenching and unclenching his fists as if preparing to fight off the two soldiers flanking him.

“Aren’t there any guards from their side coming to meet us? Don’t I need to show my paperwork to someone over there?” Xander asked, trying to make small talk with the soldiers who had been strangely quiet ever since his approval for escort.

“They don’t have any guards, senor.”

Buh-bye. Buh-bye. Thanks For Flying. Buh-bye.

Forget a coffee mug, I want this as my state-issued license plate.

I did it. I set out to see if I had the willpower and the brain cells to blog every single day in October and the end result is, yup, I do. It wasn’t always brilliant, and occasionally I cheated by taking a picture of something stupid and writing a few sentences that made fun of the picture, but it was the effort that counted.

Sadly, this blog will be abandoned for a while as I investigate whether or not I have the willpower and the brain cells to write a full-length novel in November. That’s writing almost 1700 words per day, and apparently the rules very clearly state that you can’t keep using the word “very” over and over. I overuse that word even when I’m NOT trying to stretch a word count.

I’ve had a run in with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in the past and I am proud to say that last year I completed my full novel with very few “verys.” But I wasn’t a blogger to distract me. This year I’m worried that my dedication to my forty-five fans will keep me from finishing my book. I hope all of you can live with yourselves.

Essentially, there probably won’t be a blog-post-a-day in November (you’re welcome), and when I am here I’ll be really bitchy and snarky, and probably whining about the book I’m trying to write. I’ll make it up to you with sneak peeks at what’s happening in the book, for which I’d love comments on the plot line that MIGHT even make their way into the story! Just use all your brain cells and not a lot of “verys.” Thanks.