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DECEMBER (sans ranting) #maybe

Howdy.  How is your Christmas season going?  Was Hanukkah enjoyable?  Are you prepared for the Solstice?

Weather is finally December-like and I have finally acquired gloves.  Have worn out a pair of mostly green ragg wool glittens the past three winters so replaced them with something I can drive in.

Just finished a test run  of Henry V, a table read that only took 2 hrs and 32 minutes and had everyone commenting on how funny it was.  So now pondering how to work it effectively into the Theatre Under The Trees future schedule.  This summer, we are doing As You Like It and as it has been so long since I’ve directed it, it practically counts as new.

A little more than a year ago, I put In The Bleak December up on Amazon. This year, I attempted to spin it out to more outlets via Draft2Digital, but ran into formatting problems once again so I have decided to just return it to being exclusive to Amazon so people can borrow it through Kindle Unlimited.  I also revamped the blurb and found new cover art.


New blurb:  “Soon, she would be his again.  He had been a fool to let her go the first time. It had been so perfect, so right.  Her laugh, her smile, her light had shone briefly into the dark tunnel of his madness, for he knew it was madness now, madness to be without her, to deny and bury the feelings that she stirred in him, the fine, glorious feelings that vibrated through him like music reaching down from celestial organs to play for his ears only.” 

Christmas 1888: Mary Merriton is unsettled, ill at ease. Unaware that she has attracted the interest of a madman, she tries to survive a difficult holiday season. Her father has fallen ill, her fiancé, John Drew, is absent. When her beloved cousin, Doctor Jane Holloway, has difficulty returning to Baltimore from the western frontier she exiled herself to, Mary reaches out to one of her best friends, Sally Van der Veer, a bright, talented musician and Bryn Mawr Classics scholar. Sally rushes to Mary’s side, acting with bold confidence, only to be confronted by a hardened and wary Jane once the doctor arrives. Mary grows increasingly fearful of an unseen presence, whose intentions are revealed as the crisis moves closer to climax. Does Mary’s former fiancé Nickie Anstruther intend her harm? Can Jane unbend enough for friendship and collaboration with Sally? Will Sally discover she wants more?

I have had a couple of false starts at the sequel, but I have yet to find something to replace the Poe element, which is what brought everything together for me when I was writing In The Bleak December.  But the advantage to having attempted is that I have a much better vision for Sally and Jane’s future collaboration.

An author I rediscovered this year is Elizabeth Watasin, who wrote one of my favorite comic series and has turned to writing novels and short stories, some of the steam punk variety, some of a darque cyber punk science fiction future and some a continuation of her Charm School comic series.  One of Watasin’s short stories, The Girl Who Set Forth to Learn Fear, a Faerie Tale For Sapphic Girls, triggered a whole chain of thinking and I pulled a fun Christmas noir spoof I wrote on Twitter out of the archives. A very sexy Mrs. Claus targets the hapless narrator for a nudge to the Naughty List.

I had a lot of fun editing Which List For The Mrs?  Short stories always worked better for me both as a writer and a reader.  I also had fun sorting stock photos to try to figure out a cover, a process which convinced me I need a better graphics program before attempting to put together a collection of haikus. Which reminds me, I owe you haikus.  I’ll talk to Santa.  Probably best to avoid the Mrs.


What else:

Dropped our sports channels so suffering soccer withdrawal. Last chance to get in on The Dollyrots new album: The Dollyrots: Live In The USA.  They also recorded a 3 song EP of NEW songs that will drop in digital stockings Christmas morning so that’s exciting.  There is also a cassette.  When I drive the touring van in the summer, the only cassettes I have I made for Gayle and my buddy Byrd in college.  So newer music will be nice. Haven’t see Star Wars:  The Force Awakens yet, although I am looking forward to it.

Pandora has switched to jazz and I’m yawning so I hope this is enough to tide you through the night before the shortest night of the year.  Take care and thanks for stopping by.



Have been mulling what to tell the people stopping by my Facebook Author’s Page.

In The Bleak December

Steering The Craft

Notes From The Garden of Lilies

Their Story




Joan Jett’s birthday was today, yesterday I guess, if you don’t wait like me until rolling out of bed to start a new day. So happy birthday to Ms. Jett. Thanks for inspiring me.

Currently, I am on a yuri manga bender, carefully avoiding the very NSFW ones as well as those with too much of the big eyes/short skirts leanings.

Top Five:


Fluttering Feelings

Their Story

A Kiss and A White Lily


Elizabeth Watasin has just released Monster Stalker, the first volume in her new series, The Darquepunk novels. 3.5 stars from me. Watasin has created an amazing, imaginative world full of bright, sexy people. But horrible things happen there. The protagonists are brave and determined enough to be bold in the darkness but whether or not you enjoy this book will depend partly on your tolerance for horrible things. They are not dwelt on, but they are there. Watasin handles violence swiftly, and without much glory or mess. The characters charm and intrigue, but some of the later interactions seem rushed. However, the opening is a well paced stroll through a new and interesting world, led by a tour guide with a sense of humor and mischief. You might get caught up.

Band Perry has a new song, Live Forever. I always like to see what they are doing with their videos. This one errs on the side of bright and energetic.

Comics: currently enjoying Jem And The Holograms, Princeless: Raven, The Pirate Princess (the name has confused my comic book guy on several occasions, too bad they didn’t just opt for Raven: The Black Arrow). The art team on Raven, ten bandits​ and unassuming pumpkin,​ reign as my current favorites; I had them do a commission for me (see below). I love the flow of their action scenes. That’s a big part of what I like about some of the mangas listed above, the moments of actions, although Fluttering Feelings is more full of the breathless pauses when you realize this moment feels different because of the person next to you — or across from you, but you might not be sure exactly why.

Hmmm…what else? Mulling sequel thoughts for my thriller, In The Bleak December. Reading manga has been an emotional education in how to get a relationship started. I’m hoping eventually my own version of that discovery will want to break out and I won’t be leaving Jane still standing in the doorway.

Working on costumes for Seussical. Horton and the Sour Kangaroo fell to me so I’m going for mad contrast. Continuing Robot and Turtle and Surfing Lightning adventures. Enjoying monarch butterflies dashing about where I go for walks. Love flashes of orange in the wild.

Didn’t get to spx but might get down to the Baltimore Comic Con this weekend. I enjoyed wandering the Artist Alley there last year.

And that should tide you over for awhile. Enjoy your September. Relax a little.


Raven by unassuming pumpkin and ten bandits​ (writer and creator princelesscomic‘s Jeremy Whitely is also to be lauded for pretty amazing stories and characters, but I’m in an art mood currently.)


Triggered Memory Haiku: Moon Night Lost Light Lake/Details scream in outside me/Drop Pray Sun Silence  


New Tumblr ramble.


Right blog post. Let’s go.

Posting videos on Twitter for songs I put on a mixtape for Gayle the year before we started dating. My senior year of college (and the summer after) was a time of poetry (Muses and Moonlight Reflections), wandering the Northwestern Lakefill, brunettes (’Help Me, Rhonda’), liquor, friends, a social worker who helped me deal with the “I don’t want to graduate because everyone graduates, puts on a suit and changes their personality’ issues — I couldn’t claim distress over figuring out I was gay, nope that was just an ‘oh yeah, duh” moment. There was also Israeli folk dancing, not dating, more not dating, accidental dating, telling my actually gay alt best friend’s girlfriend he was leaving for the Navy a week early so we could have a real party before he went (he spent the entire period post party to breakfast locked in the bathroom dealing with too much alcohol in his system), exchanging letters and religious arguments with Gayle who was off in Kentucky lifeguarding at Bible Camp while I lived off my small store of money and tried to figure out what to do next. Didn’t type fast enough for The Windy City Times so I went to work for nuns as an ER Admission clerk and spent quiet after midnights doodling, starting stories, and making friends, one of whom would get pregnant on the night her boyfriend broke up with her. Cue: Labor Coach Michelle.

And this is not what I was planning to blog about. I’ve just had a lot of stuff rolling around in my head after Twelfth Night finished (it was EXCELLENT; the cast aced it. I am so proud). There have been too many 8 a.m. future of the theatre meetings and emails. I usually hibernate after a show’s over, at least for awhile.

I have been reading yuri manga and discovering that emotions are much more understandable for me when you add a movement component, even if it’s a 2-D drawn one. Gestures add volumes. Probably why I love musicals (the Fred Astaire type) and martial art movies. So I’ve been considering the writing-art split in my brain and how theatre (and poetry) seems to be able to merge them. And wondering if, with this new understanding, I can write something with the emotions of a manga but describing gestures, not showing them. I’m also considering if I might get somewhere on the In The Bleak December sequel if I storyboarded it like a movie first. To finish it originally, I treated each chapter almost as if it were a short stand alone story. Perhaps I just need to ask myself, what would Sally do. And maybe read Nathaniel Hawthorne or non Sherlock Arthur Conan Doyle.

Although my current to read list is Seducers in Ecuador and The Importance of Being Earnest.

An Interview with Theatre Under the Trees Director, Michelle Denise Norton

An Interview with Theatre Under the Trees Director, Michelle Denise Norton.


To quote my Facebook Author’s Page:

I zinged through a couple of In The Bleak December sequel starts awhile ago and showed them to my wife aka Gayle. She was horrified at how fast I was taking things. I blame Western month at the Goodreads Lesbian Book Club .

So I went back to steeping and searching for an inspiration to replace the Poe part of the book writing mix. And then I started directing Twelfth Night and theatre related hecticness happened. And Korean drama suggested by the little brother aka Beau distractions* happened. And the Pirate Princess aka Raven The Black Arrow comic books happened. And the Women’s World Cup happened. Which got me thinking about teenage me. Which let to me reading yuri manga and mulling the period before you actually manage to kiss someone you like. It’s a little bit terrifying.

And all of that has currently turned into launching an unexpected comic called Surfing Lightning. Here’s the start. Enjoy.

*List of Korean dramas so far, in order of enjoyment:  The Greatest Love, Detectives of Seonam Girls High School, Tomorrow’s Cantabile, Protect The Boss…next up:  My Girlfriend Is A Nine Tailed Fox


Yes, I did grump about the coaching, but I am very happy for the players. Although I do feel for the Japanese goalie. Bad location and time of day to lose a coin flip and get the sun in your eyes. Congratulations to the USWNT on their World Cup victory!