Well . . .

A few things to know:

For a couple of years I was working “J-O-B-S” to pay the bills and give me some emotional energy for writing.

At the end of Summer 2018 I returned to my (emotionally demanding + weird hours required) profession.

Consequently, writing (incl. blogging) has sloooooowed down.

But it hasn’t stopped. (Go me!)

Right now I’m working on:

  • The Blood Rain sequel, Blood Down the Bones
  • A YA novella called Gaia Shrugged
  • A second volume of short stories in the Fables series

In other news, my publisher, Filidh Publishing, advises that Blood Rain is no longer available on Amazon. Apparently this is because of recent US legislation that has had a chilling effect on  what kind of books Internet bookstores feel comfortable offering. It’s easier for them to simply not carry certain titles than it is to fight the power.

Apparently the child trafficking theme in Blood Rain is a no-no. For the record, I’m against child trafficking. That should be pretty obvious to anyone who actually reads the book.  That said, keyword searches for (what some think of as) objectionable content are not context-sensitive, so it would seem the fact that child trafficking is a theme is a problem, regardless of the frame placed on it by yours truly.

Trying to figure out work-arounds. *sigh*

Uh . . . runs in the family, I guess?

My adult daughter, who is also a writer and visual artist, sent me this. She knows me well. Apparently the weirdness and desire to kick at the daylight until it bleeds darkness is genetic.

It has given me several interesting ideas for short stories, so down the rabbit hole I go.

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ABOUT THE FEATURED IMAGE: to my knowledge, the featured image is an archival photo of no recorded authorship, nor is it under any copyright. If you know something I don’t, tell me and I’ll take it down, cite the photographer, or whatever else is needed.

Writing is Weird

There I am, sitting at my desk, working away on the sequel to Blood Rain, working title Blood Down the Bones.

Beautiful summer day, not too hot, gentle breeze, nicely sheltered from my mortal enemy, the sun. Cat sleeping on his perch nearby, spouse tending me with cups of hot and iced coffee. Perfect writing day, yes?

I finally make a decision I’ve been mulling for a few weeks, whether to kill off a certain character from Blood Rain.

I draft the scene.

Then I am overwhelmed with sadness. I had actual tears in my eyes. Sheesh.

like the character I just murdered, and didn’t want to kill them, but it was the only way to move certain pieces into place in the sequel.

How does George RR Martin cope? I don’t know. Is he a secret (or not-so-secret) sadist?

R.I.P. imperfect but noble character, you died a good death. I’m sorry I had to murderize you. And in such a pitiless, horrible way, too. The motherfuckers. How dare they do this to you?!

_________

Photo by Simone Dalmeri, used under a CC licence. I salute you as well, generous photographer

Reviewers Needed!

Hey y’all, I need some reviewers! 

Here’s the deal:

  • I send you an epub or paperback copy (your choice)
  • You post an honest review without spoilers on Good Reads or Amazon.ca (Canadian author, eh?) within thirty days of receipt
  • You send me a link to your review via email [ chloe(dot)a(dot)cocking@gmail.com ]
  • I send you a nice “thank you” note

Be advised that Blood Rain contains violence, gore, and other stuff not suitable for sensitive adults. If you enjoy horror, this is the book for you. If you don’t enjoy horror, give it a wide berth.

The short stories in Fables, Fictions, and Fantasies: A Compendium range from humorous to drama/action/adventure and back. There is a some cursing and a bit of (what I think of as) mild violence. It’s a much lighter read than Blood Rain, so it’s suitable for general adult readership.    Continue reading “Reviewers Needed!”

Fur like Gothic Cotton Candy

Our cat Smokey, otherwise known as “Empress Smokey Jade Mountain, First of Her Name” (doesn’t everybody give their cat a grand long nonsensical name?) died abruptly and unexpectedly yesterday, June 16, 2018. She was aged only ten years (give or take–she was a rescue, so we don’t know for sure).

Though my partner Rob was clearly her favourite human, she had room in her heart for me too.

My partner and Smokey in happier days
My partner and Smokey in happier days. His shoulder was her usual perch.

She often served as a muse for me:

  • there is a cat based on Smokey in my novel Blood Rain
  • in Fables, Fictions, and Fantasies: A Compendium she appears as herself under the pseudonym ‘Small Cat’ in the story called “Feed Me”
  • she was the inspiration for a poem I wrote called “Ergot Incantation for a Cat” (that poem is included in at the end of this post)

My very small human and animal family is still in shock at her abrupt passing.

20170922_200510_HDR
Smokey was deeply suspicious of the clothes dryer and frequently inspected it to make sure it wasn’t in any danger of becoming . . . I dunno a hell-mouth? portal to another dimension? I was never sure why she was inspecting it, but she took her job very seriously

I will never forget her sweetness, her ferocity, her weird obsession with the clothes dryer, and the feel of her featherlight fur on my skin. It was like Gothic cotton candy.

I know that not everyone is “an animal person.” I am also aware that our world has much bigger problems than one dead companion animal. Y’all, those are bigger problems for other days.

Today I ask that you share some of your kindness and compassion with me as I grieve for the most dainty and ferocious fur-child I’ve ever had. 

Then please offer a gesture of love tonight to your own dear ones, regardless of species.

If you’d like a free-of-charge epub of the recently-released Fables, Fictions, and Fantasies: A Compendium sent to your very own email inbox, just email me and I’ll forward it to you as soon as I can. (Don’t like to be crying and on the Internet at the same time, so it might take me a couple of days to repond. Crying while Interneting it’s almost as dangerous as drinking while Interneting.)

email: chloe (DOT)a(DOT)cocking@gmail.com for your free book.

Thank you!


Ergot[1] Incantation for a Cat

steely blue with

claws and teeth, claws and teeth, claws and teeth

steely blue with

claw and teeth

asleep, a-twitch beside me

 

mealy brew with

paws and heath[2], paws and heath, paws and heath

mealy brew with

paws and heath

a-peep, an itch inside me

 

freely flew with

slaws[3] and sheath[4], slaws and sheath, slaws and sheath

freely flew with

slaws and sheath

a-creep, a witch bestride me


Sometimes when writing poems I use unfamiliar or less common words. When I do that I like to include a few footnotes to help all y’all out, just in case you’re like “Ergot, wtf is ergot?!” If you are a smarty pants and know all this stuff, well, all I can say is “good job, guess you can skip the footnotes.”

[1] Ergot is a small black mold that can infest stored rye grain. It has hallucinogenic properties. Some believe the women, men, and children who “confessed” to cavorting with the devil, riding broomsticks through the sky at night and so on during the European Witchhunts (aka The Burning Times) were describing ergot hallucinations to the inquisitors.

[2] Heath is a plant common in many parts of Europe. You could cook it up in a cauldron for some ‘boil boil/ toil and trouble’ action if you want, but I’d advise you add in a few (ethically sourced) animal paws for good measure.

[3] “Slaw” is regional contemporary North American slang used to denote “a slut” or anything that is “broken down, beaten up, or worn out”. I don’t have the energy at the moment for a feminist polemic about the connections between so-called “sluts” and witches, so : : Hundreds, if not thousands, of books and articles have been written about this topic by humans much smarter and more accomplished than me, so happy Googling.

[4] “Sheath” has, in some historical contexts, been used to refer (rudely) to women’s genitals, much as “sword” has been used for male genitals.

 

What I’ve Been Doing & the Difference between Aspiring Writers and Writers

What I’ve been doing:

I spent April getting ready for the Creative Ink Festival, working on some pay-the-bills projects,  and doing final edits on manuscripts.

More of the same in May until the festival itself on May 18, 19, and 20. The festival attracted people from everywhere. Some of them came on planes. I can never get on a plane without somehow catching a cold. It’s been this way for years.

I’m not French kissing everyone on the plane, nor am I chewing their used tissues, nor do I create opportunities to lick door handles, so I blame the air-recycling systems used on planes for bathing me in a pestilential miasma.

Apparently I am now such a delicate petal that I cannot be in rooms with people who have recently been on planes without catching cold. (And again, before you ask: I didn’t French kiss anyone–not even the bartender who kept refilling my wine glass for free– nor did I chew tissues or lick doorknobs.)

Since then I’ve been trying to recover from what I suppose is just a garden-variety cold, complicated by my asthma and allergies. It’s been *seventeen* days. Argh.  I keep coughing up things that would not be out-of-place in the movie Alien.

The Difference between “Aspiring Writers” and “Writers” . . .

aspiring vs actual

It’s funny, but the solution, while simple, is not easy.