Tag Archives: holidays

Signal Horizon reviews “Jamcoi”

“Violence that isn’t designed to drive us apart but designed bring us together.”

Signal Horizon was kind enough to review a story I read for Pseudopod called “Jamcoi,” by J.M. McDermott, a tale about feast-prep for the holidays.

Fun fact, “Jamcoi” was challenging to record because
1, I couldn’t stop laughing
2, my stomach kept growling, and
3, I had to find the right balance between horrified screaming and not blowing out the recording levels.

All hails to Pseudopod and the inimitable J.M. McDermott for putting together this story. Thank you, and happy feasting.

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How Editing is Like Hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner

I’m in the midst of preparing menus for two parties. First, an orphan thanksgiving for local friends, and then traveling to a family dinner.

Have you noticed that despite the fact you you celebrate Thanksgiving every year, it’s never the same as last time? Sometimes there’s a little change, like adding a new side dish to the turkey feast; but sometimes there are massive changes.  Maybe you can’t stand turkey anymore and went for Chinese.  The core ideas were the same — family, feasting, gratitude — but you went about it a totally different way.  It’s a lot like re-writing and revising. 

You know the basics of what’s going to happen.  Thanksgiving has traditions and a theme, and your story has traditions and a theme.  The more experience you have planning the party [or re-working the manuscript], the more your skills and confidence will improve.  Change is necessary, and it’s up to you to say what stays and what goes.

Start small.  Tweaking your dialogue is like tweaking a recipe.  Adding a scene is like inviting a new group of people over.  Then move on to the big stuff.  If your manuscript is too long, think of it like cutting your guest list.  You love your writing, like you love your friends and family—but if your friends and family don’t mesh, one of them can’t come to the party.  Don’t be afraid to hurt feelings, or cut things you’re really proud of.  They can always get their own party later.

You owe it to your guests [readers] to make it the most fun, the most touching, and the most memorable party [story] you can.  Now buckle down and do it.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity…
— Amelia Earhart

TG

Ninjabread Men

There are a lot of ninjas in my life to varying degrees of severity — by which I mean martial-artists and survivalists; not marketing-ninjas, accounting-ninjas or social-media-ninjas.

It’s not that strange to get a phone call from a buddy, chat about old ‘family photos,’ and find out someone still has that weapon in the trunk.

What IS strange, are the cuddly ninjas that keep cropping up in my day-to-day.

This little guy you may recognize from my banner. He comes with me whenever I travel.

I got a bit of a giggle out of this martial arts and crafts t-shirt.

The next step of cuddly are these cookie cutters my dad sent me for Winter Solstice last year.

Then, this showed up in the mail from my aunt today.

I must figure out a way to take the ginger out of gingerbread men. I think that’s why I don’t like them. Somewhere on some lonely mountain, or deep in the pulsing heart of the greatest citadel — a kitchen-ninja can teach me how to manipulate spices instead of knives…

…to transmute ginger into cardamom…

With my mind.