Hermithood and the Unlikely Stun Gun Incident

I have the most freakin’ awesome life ever. In the history of life, even. I get up at 4am (stop it, it is TOO awesome!) and have some coffee. I feed my fish and walk my dog. Then I go to my desk and work doing a job that I actually really like because I get to kill people without any fear of consequences other than realizing that I’ve already killed someone that way. Sometime around noon I eat lunch. Sometime when it looks darkish outside I eat dinner. Sometime around full-on advanced darkness, I go to bed.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Poop, my life sounds kind of pathetic when I get it all down in print like this.

So some time ago I decided that I needed to get out of the house more. I didn’t want to just go hang out in a random store and accost people with attempts at conversation, at least not after that time I tried it in the yeast infection treatment aisle. In my defense, I just didn’t happen to notice where we were standing at the time.

Long story short, I set out on a mission to do something different, but it had to be as interesting and awesome as my current job. Even better, rather than just meeting strangers for conversation, I wanted to do something with my powers, something that benefited society.

And that’s why I now sell stun guns for a living.

Just kidding. I now sell stun guns on the side, because my job is still really great. But stun guns are great too. See, here’s where you’re thinking, “Lorca, you’ve finally done it. You’ve finally damaged your liver to the point that it’s no longer filtering anything out of your bloodstream. You’re not even making sense.”

Yes I am! Making sense, I mean… AND filtering my blood!

I sell stun guns because who doesn’t need a great way to put a violent jerk on his butt? For those who aren’t sure they have it in them to zap a bad guy, I also sell pepper spray. The kubotans are really awesome, but if you can’t zap a guy, I’m guessing you’re not into stabby motions either. It’s all about knowing who you are as an assailant.

Anyway, you’ll be hearing lots more about stun guns and pepper spray and stabby motions and how to have an internet party, but in the meantime, if you’re interested in self-protection (and jumper cables!), comment below!

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The IRS Said I’m Not Dead Yet

I know, I know, it’s been ages since I’ve posted anything. I’ve received several kindly emails checking on my health (actually, screw all of you…only three people thought to check on me, and one of those people was actually someone who got a new computer and somehow thought she’d unsubscribed to my blog since she hadn’t gotten any new posts lately), but I promise you, I’m healthy as a horse. Or at least healthy enough to keep working and paying taxes, according to several kindly reminders from my accountant (okay, screw him too, they weren’t kindly, they were kind of naggy).

I have an excellent excuse for not writing: I’ve been too lazy. You were warned, I did tell you that was only an excuse.

Actually, it’s kind of ironic that I put some much love, devotion, and alcohol into starting and writing this blog in the hopes of one day becoming a “real” writer, only to turn my back on it and abandon it the second I do actually become a published author. It’s like I got all celebrity on my blog, and stopped returning its phone calls. (Plus, publishers really, really hate to read a lot of new blog posts about stuff you found in your bathroom drain when they know you’re supposed to be working on the book they gave you a contract for…they send kindly little reminders, too, but theirs are even scarier than the ones from the IRS).

In the past two months since I really posted anything (and let’s face it, in the past two years since I posted anything worth reading), good things have happened, and so have monkey-ass-sucky things. Writing is good! Yea! Breaking two more molars is bad! Boo! Finding a new flavor of Chapstick is good! Yea! Wiping up the poo where my idiot dog ate it is bad! Boo!

Luckily, Thanksgiving is here, and I’ll get lots of great writing done while telling my in-laws I can’t possibly stay longer since I have a deadline to meet. This is an excuse I use every holiday, but I did tell them it was only an excuse, too.

I Wrote Another Book, If You’re Keeping Track

It’s not like I need a ticker tape parade or even a NASCAR-style champagne shower, but when I announce to my family that I have finished writing ANOTHER book, it would be nice if they would at least look up and make eye contact. Instead, my husband said, “That’s nice,” while flipping channels. My daughter at least showed a spark of interest when she asked me how many people die in this one.

Yes, NaNoWriMo is over for another year. My winner’s T-shirt is ordered, my certificate suitable-for-framing is waited to be framed. And for those of you who conspire with my daughter, only one person died in this one.

When I complained about the total lack of adoration I received over my announcement, my husband had the nerve to say, “Well, it’s not like you haven’t written, like, five other books, right?” That wouldn’t sting so much if not for the fact that I’ve written eight. But hey, anything after the first three is apparently just showing off. Looking at you, Stephen King.

So now, it’s off to edit, find proofreaders, find real editors who work for pay instead of iTunes gift cards, and prepare for book number nine. I’ll be sure not to wake them when I finish next time.

See? This is what victory looks like. Sort of. Yes, I know it’s rather small, but so was the victory celebration.

Okay, THIS One Is The Shameless Commercial

Yup, my new book is out. It’s amazing how you go through the lengthy process of writing a book, and the whole time you’re writing you can’t be bothered to clean house or cook. “Honey, I’m writing my next book!”

Then you have to go through this whole process of editing your book, so it becomes, “Honey, I’m EDITING! I can’t make dinner, just put in a pizza.”

Then you go through the process of finding a publisher (no cooking, no cleaning, just LOOKING), then if you’re lucky enough to find a publisher after a year of not cooking or cleaning, you have to remain in daily contact with the publisher because a lot of stuff goes into the months-long process of publishing a book. “But honey, that’s my publisher on the phone…just peel back the foil before you stick that in the oven!”

Of course, now I have to market my book, which means interviews and blog tours and stuff. There’s absolutely no way I can cook or clean AND market my book.

This is where you would think my husband would just give up and start cooking all of our meals. But no, he’s nothing if not persistent and by golly does the man have hope. If living with me through the writing, editing, publishing, and marketing of four books wouldn’t teach him to just go ahead and buy himself an apron, then he’s never going to learn.

And on that note, my fourth book was published yesterday. I’m completely wiped out. The most productive thing I did today was to refill the salt shaker, and I only did that because I wanted some popcorn and it just seemed like the housewifey thing to do.

I don’t see how I can ever cook or clean AGAIN, so I do have to figure out what excuse I’m going to have now. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, so there are story lines to plot and characters to sketch. I dug out an old manuscript that was so bad, I probably should have burned it but it might have contaminated the fireplace if I had…that thing could probably use a few rounds of editing. Then of course, there’s marketing this new book: buy my book (I make marketing look so easy).

In total seriousness, my fourth book, Knowing Autism, is available from Amazon. It’s short, cheap, and it’s way friendlier than my first autism book. It’s actually a kind of helpful hints book for all the other people out there who interact with autistic people. Sort of like the book I wish I could make people read before they were certified to hang out with my kid. I don’t think I have that authority, but I’m working on it.

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 InsectsAreFood.com 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.

Yours,

Marc Dennis
Founder, Insects Are Food
http://www.insectsarefood.com

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.