Monthly Archives: November 2012

Proof My Inside Taste Isn’t As Tacky As My Outside Taste

Christmas Decorations 2012

I spent the day after Thanksgiving decorating the house. We have brown wooden trim around the brick and when I put up my giant multi-colored Christmas lights it looks like the inside of a Hooters and I like it that way. But inside is more subdued and classic.

We raided my parents house this weekend since they’re moving into an apartment and I grabbed a few things to make this room warmer. It’s the only part of our house that’s on a slab instead of over the basement and it also has a sliding glass door and a fireplace that are heat sucks. So we took my parents electric heater and that area rug to help make it warmer and so far it seems to be working. We’ll see how it holds up over the course of what I hope is a snowy, cold Michigan winter.

In Which I’m Thankful and Such

I am incredibly blessed, incredibly lucky, and very well aware of this. Aside from the biggies like having a great wife, great kids, a HEALTHY wife and healthy kids, good friends, good family both immediate and extended, a good job, a nice house, a dog, a cat, and high speed Internet service, I’m very thankful for everything the crime fiction community has given me. I’ve been given a voice for the ideas in my head, cash money for stories, potential for a long career, great friends, and some entertainment during the rough patches of life.

So to everyone and everything good in my life: Thanks!

Annnnnd….We’re Out

Four years after I finally committed to writing the damn thing, I finished the final draft of MURDER BOY tonight. I’ll have more on Friday (or possibly tomorrow depending on how bored I get on Thanksgiving) about the writing of it and my plans for it, but this is a huge book for me. The book I was meant to write. I haven’t had so much of my self in a book since my very first novel, LUNCHBOX HERO. I’ve been working on this book in some form or another for almost six years, before I had a wife or kids or a house or a career. I finished the first draft in 2009 right after Holly was born and I’ve been figuring out the best way to tell that story since then. Now it’s told. And it feels AWESOME.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Turkeys and Toddlers

I’ve decorated the header again, this time for Thanksgiving. I thought about putting up some Christmas decorations because the stores and malls have already done it and that’s what I’m listening to on the radio but I decided to wait until the day after Thanksgiving when I put up my real decorations at home. So for now enjoy the gobbler-themed merriment.

I hope to have some exciting news here after Thanksgiving but until then you’ll have to use your imaginations. If you need help with distractions, maybe check out this Thanksgiving-themed story I wrote years ago for the old Flashing in the Gutters site.

Speaking of toddlers, I haven’t talked about the kids in a while. They’re delightful, thanks for asking. Halloween was a riot but I don’t think they care at all about Thanksgiving except that it’s one more holiday where the guy across the street from us fills his yard with an overwhelming number of those inflatable character monstrosities. I think they look tacky but the kids just absolutely adore them and it gives me one more thing to hold over them and take away if they don’t behave. Right now there are only four turkeys, which I think is quite a reasonable amount but soon they’ll spawn and overrun the lawn and the neighboring lawns.

Christmas on the other hand is exciting/annoying. I try not to let the kids watch a lot of TV with crappy kids toy commercials (I’m looking at YOU Nickelodeon and Disney Channel) mostly because I hate how the kids ask for everything they see. This is mostly Spenser more than Holly, but she’s done it enough to worry me. I already told them that flat out asking for those things is the quickest way to not get them and then thought I was being cool and creative by telling me to say they like the toys not that they want them. The effect though has been the same.

I don’t think either of them do it out of a sense of greed and they aren’t going to revolt on me if they don’t get everything they ask for on Christmas morning but still, it’s not behavior that needs to be encouraged. I’m not helped at all by the fact that both kids are at ages where the toys being marketed to them are toys that I want to play with. When daddy’s telling mommy how much he wants the Lego Batcave adventure set it sets a bad example.

Beer, Sausage, Cheese, And Writers

I’m in Milwaukee/Muskego this weekend for Murder and Mayhem which has turned into my most favorite small conference. Things worked out nicely that I was able to get a room at the famed Iron Horse Hotel which is gorgeous, but I still miss crashing on a couch at the Jordan’s house. I had a great dinner last night with Frank Wheeler and his wife about all of the things you’re not supposed to talk about in polite company like religion, politics, and how much we hate certain writers. It was great. I also spent a ridiculous amount of time at the Lego store in town which was a squee and a half.

Something that I’ll probably address in a post of it’s own later though caught my eye. I was looking at the latest edition of Best American Mystery Stories and was shocked to see that not a single online story made it into the collection and there weren’t even any in the notable stories. That kind of depressed me and made me wonder, once again, if the crop of new zine editors and writers are interested in exposing their work to the broader crime field of if they’re happy to keep it amongst themselves. But as I said, that’s for a later post. For now, here, have a picture of the view from my hotel room.
Milwaukee Hotel View 2012


Today is election day and when I get out of work Becky and I will take the kids and go vote. Holly and Spenser have both been to every election that’s happened since they’ve been born. I think it’s important to vote even if you don’t like the major two party candidates. Your vote may not make a tangible difference, but I believe it’s ¬†important to partake of the process to keep it vibrant kind of like copyright holders who have to actively enforce their copyright so they don’t lose it.

I don’t believe crap spouted about how people who don’t vote don’t get to complain. For one, that’s really not going to stop people from complaining, and also it’s not true. Part of the free speech principle is that people can spout of their opinions and ideas for the country without voting. Go America. But those people are ignorant and really, who wants to be ignorant? So go vote.

I really wanted to post a political cartoon I think about every election but I couldn’t find it. It’s three panels and in the first two are revolutionary mobs with signs that say VOTE! and then in the third panel is a guy asleep in his recliner in front of the TV and on the TV is the word Vote.

Pancake Story Problems

We’ve been bad parents and unfortunately trained our kids to want pancakes from McDonalds every Saturday morning (even though it’s usually Sundays that we go) so when Spenser woke up this morning that’s what he was asking for.

I wanted to be a good parent so I decided to make pancakes which wasn’t really all that bad. I’ve made them once before and they turned out fine so I figured I could do it again. Unfortunately we haven’t gone grocery shopping yet (and I say we but I really mean Becky because she won’t let me go grocery shopping by myself because I take too long. To my credit, I come home with far less extra items not on the list than she does) we didn’t have the exact amounts of everything I needed. This involve doing quite a bit of math which sucks on a Saturday morning.

Also, we didn’t have any¬†vegetable oil so I took to the Internet to see if I could substitute olive oil instead. That seemed to be a bad idea because even though it would technically work, many people noted it flavored the pancakes in a funky way. I don’t like funky pancakes. So I tried a different suggestion which was to use melted butter. That worked well and I’m always looking for more ways to add butter to my food.

The pancakes turned out great and we added a nice batch of microwaved sausage to cap it off. I thought about taking a picture but the kids were screaming for their food and the cat looked ready to pounce on them the minute my back was turned so I’ll let you use your imagination.

Anybody else doing math on a Saturday?