Dementors, Cough Drops, and a Book Update


My nose and throat have been very dry at night lately, so I’ve been sneaking into the kids room to huff air straight from their humidifier in the middle of the night. I wear a dark, oversized bathrobe, and the kids’ humidifier looks like a little frog. Basically, it looks like a dementor delivering the kiss of death to a small amphibian.

What is it with me and frogs lately? I have no idea.

The past few nights I’ve ended up just sleeping on the kids’ bedroom floor, since the air in there isn’t quite as dry. Last night, about 4 AM, I was in there and started coughing pretty bad. So much that my three-year-old daughter finally said:

“Daddy, I think Mom put some cough drops by your bed, for you to have them during the night. Why don’t you just go get one of them?”

I really was fine–just a little something caught in my throat at that point. A few more coughs and it would be done.

Then my almost-two-year-old son said, “Sister said cough drop. Sister said cough drop.”

I guess I was bothering them or something.

Fortunately, the coughing stopped. Half a minute later, my son said, “I want chicka-boom-boom.”–referring to the alphabet classic, Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom, where the letters all climb a coconut tree. Haven’t read it? Get it. It’s great.

Anyways, I guess he wanted to cuddle with that book. So, I got up and handed it to him, then laid back down on the floor.

What happened next requires a refined sense of humor to appreciate. Just a warning.

All the coughing and standing up and laying back down had caused quite a stir in my bowels. So much so that it had created a gas bubble in my guts, which I passed rather noisily.

Both kids started giggling. Then my son said, “Hehehe…. Elephant fart.”

Sometime after that, we all fell back asleep.

In other news, editing Happily has been going very well. I write very clean rough drafts, and kept notes of changes and areas that needed to be retouched. By Saturday, the first copies will go out to my invaluable team of alpha readers.

I’ve also been considering writing a short series of blog posts on writing and storytelling tips. I’m not a master at either, but I believe I have some information and little tidbits that could be very helpful to others. I probably wouldn’t start that series for a little while, though. Not until Happily was safely on its way to launch.

As always, any book bloggers out there interested in an ARC copy of Happily, or a review copy of any of my other books, need only ask. It is literally my pleasure.

Happy reading, friends.

Perspectives on Fantasy and Horror

Happy 2018, one and all! For those who are curious, we celebrated the new year by putting the kids to bed and then playing a couple board games. We like to party pretty hard, obviously.

The other night we had an incident in our home, which made me consider what the differences are between horror and fantasy.

Becky and I had just tucked the kids into bed. While she stayed behind and sang them a lullaby, I stepped outside to get some firewood. When I opened the door, I was greeted by the crinkly frown of a cold, dead, frozen frog.

I’m still curious how it got there. Frogs don’t belong on porches in December, not in my neck of the woods. It’s much too cold.

Without thinking twice (and perhaps only barely thinking once), I bent and picked up the little amphibian carcass, then brought it back inside, put some lukewarm water in a dish on the counter, and set the frog floating in the middle of it.

Then I got in the shower. I doubt a minute had passed before I’d forgotten all about the frog.

Now, I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but I have a fear of something happening while I’m in the shower–the house catching on fire, someone having a medical emergency, an earthquake, etc. Some situation that would force me to decide whether or not getting clothed again was worth the time. And that night, I thought that was exactly what happened.

My wife screamed. Not a normal scream, but a full-blown scream, a shriek of unadulterated terror.

I just about stumbled out of the shower, assuming that something completely terrible has happened. I stopped when I heard my wife (rather angrily, and still kind of screaming), “Why is there a dead frog on the counter?”

It honestly took me a second to process what she was talking about, I’d so thoroughly forgotten about the desiccated little thing. When I remembered the dead frog, I felt more than a little bit silly.

Still, she deserved an answer. So I gave it to her.

“I wanted to see if it would come back to life.”

My wonder and curiosity–elements of fantasy writing–turned into my wife’s surprise and horror–elements of horror writing. Of course, stories should have a blend of many different things, but it was interesting to me to consider the way that people’s introduction to things can flavor their emotional response. Not groundbreaking, I know, but it gave me something to think about.

Also, for those who are concerned, I’m not totally insane. Frogs can and do recover from death by being frozen, and from drying out. This particular one, however, did not.

In Other News….

  • I finished reading Unraveled, and have posted my review to GoodReads. It’s a light fantasy that proved quite predictable but was nonetheless enjoyable.
  • I finally coaxed my wife into letting me get pet rats (one for me, one for our daughter). I’ll put some pictures up at some point, because I’m positive that the one thing that the world-wide web needs are some photographs of my fancy rats floating around in it.
  • I’m quite close to finishing Happily (which I may have referred to earlier under the project title of The Glass Heist). I’ll soon be on the lookout for willing ARC readers. To any and all who read this, if you’re wanting/willing to be an ARC reader, don’t be shy! Just ask (either in a message or in comments).   🙂