Thursday, May 23, 2013


Why, oh why, must everything happen at once? First, my book came out. Then, I got a new job. Now, I'm trying to find a new house in a city seven hours away and sell my house. So much for a calm summer.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


It isn't unusual for me to have weird and/or violent dreams. I awaken - heart pounding in my neck and ears, terrified. Then, I remember who I am, where I am. The world settles. I get up, pee, get back in bed, get back to sleep. Only rarely do I have dreams that leave me shivering, almost in tears.

Last night, I had one.

Thinking over it, I know I've had dreams that were more frightening, more cringe-worthy than this one, but something about it left me so scared that I woke up Fluffy. I asked him to snuggle me and whimpered. It's one of the few times I made a point to adhere to an old wives' tale that states that if you tell a dream before breakfast, it will come true. I waited until after lunch.


Zombie apocalypse. I am wandering around my parents' neighborhood - down in the part of the loop where their house is - carrying a bloodstained baseball bat. I am a survivor. 

Fluffy is with me, as are a few other men. We have cleared the area of zombies, but they are so widespread, so pervasive, we are never safe anywhere for long. We know of a checkpoint nearby, and all but one of the men decide to drive one of the trucks that way in hopes of finding out what is happening.

The man and I stand by my parents' mailbox. The sky is gray, darkening as night approaches. A car comes up the drive from the neighbor's house, and a woman and a 6 year old child get out of it. She waves an automatic rifle and a radio.

"It doesn't look good," she says. "I hope they reach the outpost soon. From what I've heard, this area is so overpopulated, they think the only way to neutralize the situation is to nuke it. I just hope they come get us, or at least give us a chance to clear the radius."

It's dusk now, and the man has built a fire down by the hard woods at the edge of my parents' yard. I stand at the top of the yard, scanning the road, scanning how the patchy grass and moss slope at first sharply and then gently down, down to the campsite.

The child is playing, running. His mother isn't paying attention, and he picks up the rifle. The man tells him not to touch it, and the child drops it. The safety isn't on.

Bullets, rapid, everywhere. She's running to the child. They are screaming, screaming as their bodies are mutilated. I throw up my arm, as if that can protect me. Dirt, twigs, bits of moss pepper my legs, and when the pop-pop-pop stops, they are dead. Dead. Shredded,empty flesh bags - facedown in the leaves near the fire.

The man steps out from behind an oak he used as a shield. He looks at me. "My God." In the firelight, I see his Adam's apple bob. Then, I hear the moaning.

"I don't want to die," I say. "I don't want to be undead."

I awoke with tears in my throat and clawing for Fluffy's arm.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I've been absent from the writing world for the last week or so. My blog and Facebook posts have been brief (and about my hatred for airports). I've spent little to no time on Twitter and little to no time editing and writing. Instead, I was preparing for a job interview.

Interviewing for an assistant professor position is quite different than any other interview experience I've had. These things last about 8 hours. It gives you and your prospective employers a chance to see how you are over a day. You see the campus, the town, meet possible fellow employees, chat with deans, etc. It gives you a chance to say the same things over and over to different people until your nerves are melted away by fatigue.

My committee seemed more interested in Fluffy's research than mine, but I have the skill set they want. One might say this job is perfect for me, for the direction my career has taken. I would be preparing future teachers -- something I've been doing for about 6 years now -- but with the opportunity, in fact the main goal, of designing courses for the master's program. This is extremely exciting! No more freshmen who couldn't make up their minds and just picked teaching. No more eye rolls and class time spent texting instead of actively involved. Small classes!! Tiny classes -- something I haven't encountered since I taught community college -- and a dean and department that keep classes small, no matter what the student population is. 

On paper, I am a great candidate for this position. In person, I believe I come across as genuine and open. I don't make false promises or claim knowledge or experience I don't have, as those types of mistakes ALWAYS come back to haunt me.

I felt the interview was going swimmingly until the end of my research presentation. One of the professors asked me to draw a diagram. I drew it but then I couldn't figure out where all the arcs inside it should be. Without preparation, this type of figure takes some time, a good 10 or more minutes, to draw. After five minutes of staring at the paper, I called it quits. In hindsight, I realized I had the correct diagram and should've stopped. In hindsight, I realized I needed to start with a different version of the parent diagram in order to get a nice ending diagram.

The really annoying part is that none of them knew that I was right all along.  I looked like a fool for no reason. Nothing to do about it though. I can't go back and say, "Oh, hey, I was right." When the committee chair picked me up to take me to dinner, he said the committee didn't feel that my mistake was a deal-breaker. That's a relief, but I still hate looking like an ass in front of twenty people AND on video!

I think the school interviewed three other people, and I was the last. I wasn't told where I was in the hierarchy of candidates, but the committee chair made it clear to me, several times, that I am the one he wants for this job. I would feel good about working there. I always feel good about teaching, but it will be a very nice change to work for a dean who appreciates his underlings.

Now, until I know more, back to writing and peddling my book!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

E-book Away!

The e-book for Fairest is live today on Eternal Press' site. It should be up on Amazon and other retailers over the next few days. Print will be available on EP's site about 10 days from now and at other retailers a few weeks after that.

Squeeee! I'm a published author now.

Fairest can be purchased via this link.