Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A (sub)Standard Word with Author Dana Fredsti

Today I have invited the ever awesome Dana Fredsti, author of Plague World and other amazing stuffs, over for a standard interview. Of course, you know good and well that everything around here is substandard. So here is Dana, answering my substandard interview.

 1) So, what are you wearing right now?

Black leggings, a long royal blue tunic, over-the-knee brown boots (very military chic), and a wide brass and leather Moroccan belt.  Normally the answer to this question is either yoga pants and a T-shirt, or flannel jammies and a thermal.  You picked a good day to ask! 

2 ) If a chicken and a half took a day and a half to lay an egg and a half, how long would it take a one legged cricket to kick all of the seeds out of a dill pickle?

You didn’t specify the size of the dill pickle. How am I supposed to answer this question if you don’t supply me with all the relevant information?  And what kind of chicken and a half are we talking?  Jeez… 

3)Who’s that girl?

That would be Pogeen, my dog.  Or possibly one of my cats.  I really have no idea.  

4)Seriously, what are you wearing? You look gorgeous!

I swear upon the heads of my twelve felines that I told the truth when answering question number 1. 

5) Tell us your favorite celebrity story.

I was visiting my then boyfriend on location for Star Trek V, they were filming at night, it was butt-ass cold and I had to pee.  DeForest Kelley graciously offered to let me use the bathroom in his motor home and hang out there while he and the rest of the cast were filming. Gotta love a celebrity who’ll extend that kind of hospitality! 

6) There is no rule six!

And I am not a number!  Points to whoever gets that relatively obscure reference… 

7) If you could hear in one color, which color would it be?

Red. I think that would cover flamenco music and the Russian composers, all passionate and stuff. 

8) Mr. Wiggums says hello! Say hello to Mr. Wiggums!

WHUZZZY WHUZZY Mr. WIGGUMS CUTIE BABY!!! I want to hug him and stroke him and make him my friend!

9) Number nine. Number Nine. Number Nine.

I told you, I am not a number.  I am a human being.

10) Boxers, briefs or commando?

For men?  Briefs.  Unless he’s wearing a kilt and then definitely commando.  

Thanks for talking with us.
Be seeing you, Dana. 
*insert maniacal laughter here* 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Today in our Another Writer's Work series we bring you LIFE AFTER THE UNDEAD, by Pembroke Sinclair. Zombies man, zombies. Come get some. 

The world has come to an end. It doesn’t go out with a bang, or even a whimper. It goes out in an orgy of blood and the dead rising from their graves to feast on living flesh. As democracy crumples and the world melts into anarchy, five families in the U.S. rise to protect the survivors. The undead hate a humid environment, so they are migrating westward to escape its deteriorating effects. The survivors are constructing a wall in North Platte to keep the zombie threat to the west, while tyranny rules among the humans to the east. Capable but na├»ve Krista is 15 when the first attacks occur.  She loses her family and barely escapes with her life. She makes her way to the wall to begin a new life. But, as the undead threat grows and dictators brainwash those she cares about, Krista must fight not only to survive but also to defend everything she holds dear—her country, her freedom, and ultimately those she loves.



Pembroke Sinclair is a literary jack of all trades, playing her hand at multiple genres. She has written an eclectic mix of fiction ranging from horror to sci-fi and even some westerns. Born in Rock Springs, Wyoming--the home of 56 nationalities--it is no wonder Pembroke ended up so creatively diverse. Her fascination with the notions of good and evil, demons and angels, and how the lines blur have inspired her writing.
Pembroke lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with her husband, two spirited boys, a black lab named Ryder, and a rescue kitty named Alia, who happens to be the sweetest, most adorable kitty in the world! She cannot say no to dessert, orange soda, or cinnamon. She loves rats and tatts and rock and roll and wants to be an alien queen when she grows up.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Forever Perfect

If you don’t know about it, Chuck Wendig over at Terrible Minds sets up a flash fiction challenge every week or so. I usually just read the entries and chuckle at folks’ wit, but this time I decided to try my hand at it, only because of the particular challenge. First, he posted the new cover for Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And if you haven’t seen this monstrosity, here it is:

I know! *squirts a ton of bleach into eyes* What has been seen cannot be unseen! ARGH!

But back to Chuck. He asked folks to write a flash story based on the cover alone. We were free to ignore the title, which I did. So here we are. Mine ran a bit over the 1k mark. Oops. Enjoy!  

Forever Perfect

Harold looked up at Emily sitting on the shelf; his perfect blonde angel. Everything about her was perfect. Her hair, her eyes, her smile. Granted, Harold had to replace her teeth with porcelain because the accident knocked out about half of her natural ones, but that didn’t matter. She was still perfect.

The dolls that sat to the left and right of Emily paled in comparison. Their labels read Betty and Marsha. Harold didn’t know their other names, just like he didn’t know Emily’s other name, and hopefully he would never find out. Knowing their real names ruined their value, and it made Harold sick to his stomach.

“She’s very beautiful,” the woman said.

Harold nodded, almost forgetting he had a client. Emily was very beautiful. Pretty blue eyes. Pretty pink bow. Harold dressed her in a cute pink outfit complete with a fuzzy, soft boa. At first he was afraid it would look cheap, but now that she wore it, he knew it was perfect.

“And she is the same price as the others?” the woman said.

He nodded again, though he grew unsure if he wanted to sell Emily at all, now that he had seen her sitting on the self.

“Can I hold her?” the woman said.

Harold hesitated, thinking carefully about the transaction. Once, years ago, he made another doll named Cassey. Cassey was the height of his career, the perfect doll, the picture of innocence and joy and she sat high on the same self that Emily rested on now. She remained there until Harold saw a news report about a child’s body disappearing from the local morgue and he learned Cassey’s other name, her real name, was Kayla. Harold took her down from the coveted spot on the shelf and buried her in the backyard, vomiting in the hole twice before he was done. He didn’t like to know their real names.

He started looking for dolls much further away from his home after that.

“I am willing to pay more,” the woman said, as if sensing his reluctance.

“She’s the same price,” Harold said. He reached up and took the doll down from the shelf, carefully handing her over to the client.

The woman took Emily with a soft gasp. “She is so light. I don’t know why, but I thought she would be heavier.” She closed her arms around Emily, holding the doll to her as lovingly as any mother would cradle a child.

All at once Harold relaxed. This was right. This was perfect too.

“I love her,” the woman said, giving a nervous laugh. She wiped at her damp eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m just so overwhelmed. When I spoke to you on the phone I didn’t know what to expect.”

“It’s fine,” Harold said. “Lots of people have the same reaction.”

“Do you have many buyers?”

Harold shrugged.

“How do you, um,” the woman started, but hesitated. “No, I suppose you won’t answer that either.”

No, he couldn’t answer that, but not because he was ashamed of what he did. It wasn’t like he had killed the girl. Harold never hurt a child to make a doll. Never. He rescued them. Saved them from being trapped under the ground, left to rot and suffer. Or worse, reduced to ashes and stuffed in an urn. He understood how precious they were. He understood that such beautiful dolls deserved far better than those awful fates.

Thankfully, he wasn’t the only one.

The client sat on the couch, resting Emily on her knee. She looked down at the doll, both of their eyes gleaming with curiosity. The woman was blonde too, and Emily looked so natural sitting there. Like mother, like daughter.

 The woman cleared her throat and tried again. “Will I need to do anything special?”

“No,” he said. “Everything is done.”

“And she’ll stay like this?”

“Yes ma’am. Forever.”

“Forever,” she whispered, and caressed Emily’s blonde hair. “She will stay with me forever. Not like Mary. It will be nice to have someone stay with me. Forever.”

Harold knew there was a story there, but he didn’t ask, and hoped she wouldn’t go into details. He had heard many stories over the years and he didn’t think he could handle another sad tale. He just wanted his dolls to go to good homes. He wanted people to love his dolls as much as he did.

“Emily,” Harold said, trying to steer the conversation away from her story. “Her name is Emily.”

“Emily,” the woman said.

Harold knew Emily would become Mary the moment the woman left his house. Hell, the doll was probably already Mary, and that was okay too. The woman loved his doll as much as he did, that was all that mattered. That, and the money.

“I don’t know how you do it,” the woman said as she stood, lifting Emily into her arms like a baby. “I’ll transfer the other half into your account as soon as I get back to my computer. I would do it over the phone but I don’t trust it.”

“Of course,” Harold said. He grabbed a carrying bag, custom made to fit Emily, and held it open.

The woman furrowed her brow. “Do I have to?”

Harold nodded. He knew why she didn’t want to bag the doll; it would be like putting your own child into a sack. Maybe she had done it before. Maybe she would do it again. He tried not to think about it. The woman sighed, but put the doll inside. In a touching move Harold had seen a million times before, she leaned in low and kissed the doll on the forehead. Harold zipped the bag closed to the tune of the woman’s whimper. He handed her the carrier, and she took it with the same care as before, cradling it to her.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You’re welcome,” he said.

She turned to leave, making it to his studio door before she turned about again. “I want you to know I appreciate what you do.”


She hugged the bag to her. “I wished it didn’t have to be like this. I wished everyone understood. I wished you didn’t have to … I just wished it could be different.”

“So do I.”

“Thank you. So much.”

“You’re welcome.”

The woman left, finally. Alone once more, Harold sat down at his computer and brought up the website of a small newspaper, nearly two states away. The headline read about a poor child that drowned during a birthday party. He nearly clapped with glee at the photograph. She was a blonde angel.

Just like Emily.

Just like Cassey.

Just like a perfect, porcelain doll.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Welcome to another installment of Another Writer's Work. Today we feature FULL MOON FEVER, part of the MonsterGrrrls series from John Rose. His young adult series are strange books for strange children. WOOT! Go and get yours today!

The second book in John Rose's series The MonsterGrrls is Full Moon Fever,  continuing the spooky saga of four teenage monsters in the human world that was begun in Out From The Shadows.  As the battle between the MonsterGrrls and Clearwater High's ruling Clique heats up, savage monster-hunter Khaine pursues the Grrls by trying to manipulate disgruntled Clique member Stephanie Leland into his quest to rebuild the Shadow League.  And if things weren't bad enough, werewolf Harriet has to play her first basketball game under a full moon...

Join the fun by claiming your own copy here:
View our website at
The Grrls even have their own Facebook page:


John Rose is the author and creator of THE MONSTERGRRLS.  His day job is as a middle school art teacher, which makes him duly qualified to understand monsters.  He has had an interest in classic horror and monster movies for most of his life, which has served him well in writing the series.  He likes people, but cannot always eat a whole one.

If you are on Facebook, become a close personal fiend of John here at his author page: