Want to control time?


These days, who doesn’t? It would definitely come in handy. Unless it goes like this.



End of Days Over Easy


By David Revoy / Blender Foundation (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

If these were ancient days, we’d be expecting the end of the world. Actually, let’s back up. Even now in the 21st century it kinda looks like the end of the world.

Hurricanes and earthquakes and mudslides and fires. Entire islands decimated, formerly lush green paradises now without a speck of green. And let’s not forget, this terrible streak started with an eclipse and, here in Chicago, a corpse flower.

So if we were superstitiously-minded, or fundamentally religiously-minded, we might take all of these events, piled on top of a regime terrifying in both its ineptitude and cruelty, as a sign.

But some of us are science-fictionally-minded. And we take it as proof-positive that someone’s been messing with time and time is not happy about it.

Not happy at all.

I’ve written about time before, in the seldom-loved but extremely long-titled The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management. The thing is I didn’t think it would become a manual of any kind.

After much research into a topic that is far more complicated and impossible to understand than you might think, I realized one truth: Time does not like being messed with. Not at all.

And we’re seeing that now.

Do I really think that someone got a time machine and stepped on a gum wrapper meant for someone else thus unraveling life us we know it?

Nope. But that’s a pretty good concept, I think.

I guess my point is that we have to process what is happening in the world right now whatever way we can. For me, imagining nefarious science-fiction underpinnings makes it just a hair more tolerable.

But hey, fantasy may be your genre. In that case, I’d blame the dragons.

It’s always the dragons.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

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

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

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

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

In with a Solar Eclipse, Out with a Hurricane


Thumbnail for version as of 23:39, 18 July 2005So this week came in with a solar eclipse and out with a hurricane. If you don’t think the universe is talking, and talking loudly, it’s probably time get the fingers out of your ears and stop saying “La la la.”


I can definitely tell you, if these times were Biblical, there’d be someone chiseling furiously away in stone. We’re not just talking omens, we’re talking the omeniest.

I’ll give you one guess as to why. Come on, you only need the one.

It feels as though everything is wrong, as though this isn’t remotely how things are meant to be, and if this was a movie–as it seems many days–not only would no one believe the eclipse and hurricane so close to one another, it would be around now that the time traveler would show up to try to set things right.

After probably messing up the first time. Which would explain how we got here in the first place.

So as we head into the weekend, if you’re in the path of Hurricane Harvey, please stay safe. And everyone: don’t step on any bugs, and be kind to strangers.

The future may depend upon it.

For more on my thoughts about Charlottesville and rising bigotry, please read An Open Letter to My Friends of Color.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

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

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

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

Peruse Montraps Publishing.



TV Talk: 12 Monkeys


As usual for TV Talk, no spoilers!

If you follow me on Twitter (what? You don’t? Heresy!), you’ve probably noticed my, uhmm, somewhat fanatical devotion to the SyFy time-travel show “12 Monkeys.” It’s a writers’ show, and if you enjoy fully-realized thoughtful writing, you should be watching it.

What’s that, hypothetical reader? You remember a movie by that same name many years ago? Yes, the series is actually based on the movie, but it is so very much more than that. Get your rain ponchos and umbrellas ready, because I’m about to gush.

Hmm, hypothetical reader? And galoshes? Yes, they’d probably be wise.

With the advent of streaming services, and the tendency of outlets like Netflix to release a whole season of a show at once, the very fabric of television has changed. Now, instead of episodic shows which couldn’t rely on a viewer consistently watching every single week without fail, television has switched places with movies to become the long-form of visual storytelling.

With a show like “12 Monkeys,” — like many of the Netflix, Amazon and Hulu shows — writers now usually have  about 12 or 13 episodes, totaling anywhere from 9 to 13 hours, to plot an arc. Compare that to a movie’s 2-3 hours. The opportunity for nuance of character alone is incredible, let alone intricacies of plot.

And the plotting is intricate. Astoundingly intricate. Here’s the thing with writing about time: it’s hard. Time is complicated, as I discovered when writing my own novel dealing with it. And there is an enormous temptation to cheat, because cheating is so much easier than unpicking the consequences of your knotted-up plots.

(That actually sounds like a pretty good assessment of life in general, but I digress).

“12 Monkeys” never cheats. Like all well-done science-fiction, it creates its rules and it stands by them resolutely. And yet it manages to surprise me minute by minute.

That’s not easy to do.

It takes up every inch of the space it’s allotted, and the finished product, thanks to the writers, directors, the cast, the crew and showrunner Terry Matalas, is breathtaking.

It also has one of my absolute favorite genius nut jobs on television, Jennifer Goines, played the insanely (ha!) talented Emily Hampshire. Anyone who’s been around here knows I’m pretty partial to genius nut jobs.

All that aside, it’s just plain fun to watch. And tweet; the cast and crew are always active on twitter, constantly interacting with fans, which makes live-tweeting one big time-travely party.

Have a great binge this weekend (once you start, you won’t be able to stop) and come hang out on Monday, at 9/8c!

Yes, hypothetical reader, it’s now safe to remove your rain gear. What’s that? Stop talking to you because you’re trying to watch?

Very wise, hypothetical reader. Very wise indeed.

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!

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter!

Time to Contemplate Time


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time. That’s not unusual, really, time is fascinating. Just ask the Doctor. Or Marty McFly. Or Amber in my book The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management. Actually, strike that. Don’t ask Amber, she might have a different opinion of it all together.

It’s so intractable in its dogged, forward motion that we can’t help but look at it and wonder, what if it wasn’t? What if we had some control, what if we could delve back into the foggy reaches of the past, or drive ourselves onward into the future?

It probably wouldn’t turn out so well. In fact, we can be sure it wouldn’t turn out so well. Some laws of physics are there for a reason, I guess.

For something so abstract, it sure has a concrete effect on our lives. It’s our constant companion, ticking away at us, reminding us that now will not always be now. It’s no wonder we fantasize about making it beholden to us instead of the other way around.

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

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.


The Great Paradox of P


P can only mean one thing for me, and that’s paradox. More specifically, time paradox. I was watching something science-fictiony involving time travel when, as usual, the characters took great pains to avoid seeing themselves, because doing so would create a time paradox. I couldn’t help but wonder, what happens if you face the time paradox straight on? What happens if you let the characters meet themselves?

And so The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management was born. It takes place in a world where humans have mastered time–or, at least, they think they have–and looks at how that would likely turn out, given human nature.

Not well, as  a rule.

In Amber’s universe, time is controlled in the Time Management Center, where she’s a clerk processing time files. She’s been a little bit of a bad  woman when it comes to her files, and it’s about to catch up with her.

The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management by Isa-Lee Wolf. Amazon for $2.99. Avoid the time paradox, they say. Paradoxes will rip apart the very essence of space and time, they warn.


It’s too late for that for Amber, a clerk at the Time Management Center, who spends her days filing time innies, outies and midlies. When she finds herself being hauled up the side of Mount Chicago, sprawled over the shoulder of a man she doesn’t know, she senses that something is off. Then again, it happened on the heels of one of her lowest days, a day she was relieved was over. Until it wasn’t. The Spokes, which should keep everything when it’s supposed to be, aren’t doing their job, and it doesn’t help that their coffee’s not so great either.

Even worse, the whirling cone of infinity is back in her kitchen, she keeps running into herself everywhere, and people are on to her about what she was doing—but shouldn’t have been doing—with her time files. For Amber, the Great Time Paradox is vastly overrated.

Ever Feel Like it’s Just One Damned Thing After Another?


I’ve long held that if people had power over time, we’d just mess it up. I do it daily with my tendency toward procrastination, although at a slightly smaller scale. Nonetheless, like most things it would probably be pretty funny to watch. Or read, in this case.

Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s Series) by Jodi Taylor. Amazon for $0.99. “History is just one damned thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee

A mapcap new slant on history that seems to be everyone’s cup of tea…

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary’s, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don’t do ‘time-travel’ – they ‘investigate major historical events in contemporary time’. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power – especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document – to try and find the answers to many of History’s unanswered questions…and not to die in the process.

But one wrong move and History will fight back – to the death. And, as they soon discover – it’s not just History they’re fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake …

Saving Yesterday Today


Time is a funny thing. It’s so intangible and yet creates a completely impenetrable barrier. Except when it comes to fiction, of course. Then all hands are off the clock.

Saving Yesterday (TimeShifters) by Jessica Keller. Amazon for $3.99. Her blood holds secrets she never knew existed.

Despite the fact that she acts as a parent to her alcoholic father, Gabby Creed feels pretty normal. But her life is turned upside-down on her seventeenth birthday when a bracelet appears on her wrist and sucks her back through time.

Turns out she’s not even a little bit normal. She’s a Shifter—a protector of humans and of history itself. And she’s not alone. The other Shifters believe Gabby is special, even more special than the mysterious Michael Pace. Oh, and the Shades—seriously creepy creatures who feed off of human despair—are determined to capture her.

It’s all a lot to absorb. So Gabby’s grateful to have Michael as her Trainer—or she would be if she could get her rebellious heart under control. Then again, if the rumors about her blood are true, saving yesterday will be the least of her worries.