The Continuing Story of Jane Storegoer and the Cone of Evil: Part 4

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freezerParts 1 & 2; Part 3. And now, our adventure continues:

“The what?” Jane said, trying to gather her haphazard limbs into some semblance of decency. With her palm, she rubbed at the gloppy coating on the right side of her face, smearing it more than anything else.

“We ask the questions,” said the one who appeared to be the leader, as his hat — a stovepipe made of macaroni noodles, a wholewheat spaghetti ribbon and a carrot brim — had a fancy red pepper flourish.

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” taunted the cone, whose name we recently learned was Barry. “Wait, what? What’s going on down there? I can’t quite see.” It shifted over the hole, blocking the light, narrowing the light, blocking the light, and narrowing it again.

“I said we ask the questions,” said the leader, jabbing his spear up in a wobbling arc as his hands were rather jiggly. “And will you stop doing that, because it’s kind of annoying.” His head landed back into a neutral position with a squelch, and he fixed his olive-slice eyes on Jane. “I will not ask you again. As the Grand Fermenter of the Tufurati, I demand you explain yourself.”

Jane flipped herself over and sat up, her hands behind her, the left one now in the puddle, the sauce oozing over to the back sides of her fingers. The leader’s lackeys loomed above her, appraising her coolly with their own olive slices. Except for the one in the in the corner. Jane got a glimpse of those pimento pupils and shivered.

“Hey,” said Barry, trying to maintain a tricky angle for a pointed cone, “I shrank her, so technically she’s mine.”

“Your what?” said Jane.

The leader straightened his non-shoulders and tightened his black bean lips. The growing rage floated from him, along with the tang of tamarind. “Pardon me, sir–”

“Uh, I would like to point out that I, like all ice cream cones, do not have a gender.”

“Fine,” said the leader, a flush of red pepper rising to his tofu cheeks, “Pardon me, Cone–”

“That’s better. But you can just call me Barry.”

“Berry?” said the Grand Fermenter of the Tufurati.

“BA-rry. Sheesh, why is this so hard?”

“Uh, hello?” said Jane. “Remember me? I just want to get out of this freezer.”

“That will not be possible,” said the Grand Fermenter. “As you have illegally crossed the border into Vegania, and from here there is no return.”

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, Me Inside Me Presents: “Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28 in Donny’s Skybox Theater. Tickets $13; Students $11 SCTC Students: $7  Click here for tickets.

Want to know what happens to Jane Storegoer before everyone else? Sign up for my spamless newsletter, and get new episodes in your inbox on Fridays!

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

 

H is for Her (Cousin, Much Removed)

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Sorry folks. It had to be done. I know, I know, it’s all kinds of self-promotion-y, but sometimes you just have to do a little horn tooting, break out the old soapbox and wave your carnival cane. A carnival cane is a thing, right?

Anyway, with H we are talking about my cozy mystery, Her Cousin, Much Removedwhich is available for Kindle, and free to read with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime.

What’s that you say, hypothetical reader? I seem to be doing the bulk of the talking? Point taken. Now please let me get on with flogging my wares.

Venetia Shipman only wanted her platter back, the one she lent her sorta cousin, Delenda. But now Delenda’s been murdered, and that’s only the beginning of Venetia’s problems. Yep, Delenda was up to some not-so-great stuff, and Venetia’s the one who’s paying for it.

See? Was that so terrible? What’s that, hypothetical reader? You can’t wait to read Her Cousin, Much Removed? It sounds like a fun, mysterious romp with twists, humor and, of course, platters? Oh, stop, hypothetical reader. You flatter me.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only), and the sequel, Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

And the Series is Called…

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Honestly, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m getting ever closer to making the Aunty Ida sequel available for pre-order, and I’m so excited. And nervous, if I’m being honest.

This will officially be my first series. And here’s the funniest part about it.  When I wrote Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) I assumed it would be a standalone novel. A series? With that bunch of lunatic characters? How could it be?

And then Aunty Ida started nagging. And nagging. She popped up in short stories, which you can find in Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities (you can pick it up for free, if you’re interested). But short stories weren’t enough for Ida. Nope.

She wanted another book. And more, I’m sure. She’s not the kind of character to let things go.

So I’m off into brand-new (for me) territory. Hopefully everyone who enjoys that funny, strange world will enjoy the sequel, I think it’s another weird, good time.

Oh, and I promised you the series title, and here I am nearly forgetting to put it into the post. So, once again, please get your imaginary drums ready. The series shall be named “An Aunty Ida Comedy Invention.”

Because it is all of those things.

So I have a few more tasks to cross off, and then before you know it, Aunty Ida will be showing off her new adventure. I can hardly wait.

Check out  my full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only). 

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Since You Asked…

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Have you joined Kindle Unlimited? If you have, my books are free to read. What’s that, you say? You are so subtle with your self-promotion that I had no idea that you had books available for reading? Yes, hypothetical reader, and thank you for that remarkably, spontaneously perfect question. I have two offbeat humorous sci-fi books, a less-offbeat, humorous cozy mystery, and a collection of, hmm, unusual flash fiction short stories (which is free free on Amazon.com).

Sorry, hypothetical reader, I couldn’t quite hear you over the hammering/drilling combo I have going on today, you’ll have to speak up. What was that? Oh, you’d like to know more about these books? Oh, stop, hypothetical reader, you’re embarrassing me!

But if you insist…

Humorous Science Fiction:

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)

The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management

Cozy Mystery:


Her Cousin, Much Removed

Short Story Collection:

Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities

 

Why Enthusiasm for Your Own Work Matters

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I have some exciting almost news today. There will be an announcement about our favorite slightly unbalanced scientist, Aunty Ida, a little later on in the week. What’s Monday without a little mystery? So stay tuned, or come back, or whatever it is you can say with blogs, to find out what’s coming.

With that bit of business out of the way, I was reading a book I’d borrowed from the library, by an author I’d always relied on for a quick, funny read. Only this book wasn’t quick–I felt as though I was wading my way through it–and it wasn’t very funny. There was a distinct lack of life in it, for someone who, generally, is a very lively writer.

I couldn’t help but wonder if he had tired of his usual genre, tired of its usual format, and was continuing to write them anyway, for reasons we can’t know on this side of the word processing program. It felt rote and cardboard. Even the characters seemed less than engaged in their own story.

So what do you do when you reach that point? He’s extremely successful, and he’s successful for precisely this kind of book. It’s a problem that we see across the arts; something as intangible as creativity forced into perfectly stacking cubes. Those books of his are the ones that sell, and so the business side of things wants him to keep selling them, I’d imagine.

But what about the writer side? Where is the room for creativity when the business is nearly all that’s there?

It’s a tough equation no matter where you fall on the writing map, and something we all need to keep in mind. Sure, the point is selling books, but when you stop connecting to your work in a way that’s so overt, maybe it’s time to try something new. Yes, sales may decline, but on the other hand, if you turn out work that shows such a lack of enthusiasm for itself, you’ll lose them anyway.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

Grappling with Word Choice

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I am not one who wants to live in the past. I love the future and all of the toys that it’s given us, but today, for just a minute or two, I was jealous of the Victorians. Yes, the Victorians.

Not because of their clothing, and certainly not because of the corsets, which seem like they would act as portable prisons, but because of the language. Sure, to us it sounds pompous and overly-flowery, but there was a freedom for precision in Victorian writing we don’t really have. So much so, I often find myself making up words just to convey exactly what I mean (and it’s fun. Really fun).

Lets say, for example, you wanted to describe Chicago’s lakefront on a distractingly beautiful day. With Victorian English, you could say, “The trees, verdant in late summer, frame themselves against the undulating sheet of unceasing water.”

I think that paints a pretty clear picture, though one that’s a bit overwrought for modern prose. Still, it’s precise. I’d pare that down to: “The August trees, still deep green, frame themselves against the vast, changing water.”

Is the image the same? I’m not sure, the more formal, more stuffy Victorian language covers everything in a coat of sepia in my mind. It seems grander somehow. Then again, I’d probably lose the interest of most modern readers at “verdant,” even though it’s a fabulous word that means exactly what it should.

Word choice can shift the entire tone of a piece, pulling a reader in, or pushing one out. If a sentence always sticks when you read it through, try changing out a word and see if that puts you back in the era in which you belong.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

The Paperwhite Made Me Buy It

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I’ve tamed the noisy beast. With a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and an hours-long playlist of classical music, I should be good to go today. Why didn’t I do this yesterday? Who knows, but this is much better.

By the way, if you are dealing with problems getting your own work done for one reason or another, you might want to go check out my friend Jon’s blog today, he’s got a great post on the topic.

So I broke down and bought a Kindle Paperwhite this week, Amazon had a $20 off discount. It is glorious. I mean, I don’t want to insult my prior Kindle, the bulky one with the keyboard, but it was, well, bulky. This one is sleek and small, the text so crisp I’d swear I was looking at a printed page if it didn’t do this morphy thing when I turned the page.

It also has a fun toy in the form of a vocabulary builder, which I wish I had sooner, because I tend to look up words (generally keeping Scrabble in mind) and then not hold on to them. Now I can learn them. Although it thought I was highlighting the word “to,” which I think is one I’ve got down. I don’t think I need a flashcard for “to,” but then who could be sure?

Anyway, I was too excited not to share. In fact I wish I was reading it right now, but now that I have shielding methods to recombobulate my head, I should probably get back to what I should be doing. Unless what I should be doing is reading. Hmm, maybe that’s an angle I can work.

Need something to read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!