Red-Eyed Bruise Beast, at your service

So I am having some kind of weird allergic reaction to…the world, I guess. I always knew there was something wrong with the unwashed (m)asses.


It started Saturday. Every time I went outside my eyeballs started itching. Sunday morning, I looked terrible.

Some eyedrops later, I look partially human again, but every time I went outside, I’d swell right up again.

Monday morning I couldn’t open my eyes. That is awesome. By Monday afternoon, I could barely see. One of the bonuses of working in a hospital is that when I call for a same day appointment and they have an opening in 10 minutes, I can get there.


My eyes were redder

Turns out I has an allergy. The doc said that the ragweed is the worst this year and even people who typically do not suffer from seasonal allergies (like me) are suffering. I have claritin and medicated eye drops and now I look less like this:


And more like this:

slightly less hideous today

slightly less hideous today

(So, just tired and like I’d been punched in the face.)

That combined with an astonishing number of bruises on my body make me look…less than my optimal attractiveness. So, I apologize to anyone brave enough to beard the red-eyed bruise beast in her den later. I hope my horrible visage doesn’t permanently scar your retinas…

And Freya willing, I’ll have normal colored sclera tomorrow.



For five days now. I know.

It’s been such a busy few days. There was a lot of good and some not so good.

Thursday evening I decided I really, really needed to make apple cider sangria. And so I did. And lo! It was delicious.

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The sister wife and I hung out with the architect all evening until I got tired (or drank too much sangria) and had to go to bed.

Friday started out kinda shitty. It’s not my story to tell, but I would like to go on record as being pro-gun-regulation. I tried to get my Zen on, but was unsuccessful.

Two things that usually make me happy.

Two things that usually make me happy.

After the tense was over, I headed over to a nearby storage facility to sign a contract on a storage unit. It was not creepy at all.

(Mis)quoting a friend, "I'm not saying there's been a chalk outline there, but..."

(Mis)quoting a friend, “I’m not saying there’s been a chalk outline there, but…”

After paying money for that lovely space, I went home and found the sister wife waiting for me. We exchanged one of Satan’s handshakes.


and then went to lunch.

That evening, the Bean and I met the architect for dinner at Ecliptic then went home to see how the cider sangria had fared after sitting for 24 hours.

It fared well. So good.

I did my best to decimate the remaining supply.

I did my best to decimate the remaining supply.


Saturday, the sister-wife, the architect & the Bean went on a great train adventure. The best part of the adventure is that I did not have to go along!

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Instead, I finished another chapter and a half on my book, and spent most of the day hanging out with a friend. There was tasty food AND delicious beverages involved.

Porter and Thai Curry

Porter and Thai Curry

Sunday was moving day. But first, we feast!

Bloodies with tomato juice from the garden, cheesy grits, and egg clouds. And bacon. Obviously.

Bloodies with tomato juice from the garden, cheesy grits, and egg clouds. And bacon. Obviously.

We moved a few things into the storage unit, including a big-ass shelf thing. Our living room looks rather bare now, but we no longer live in a box palace and I feel comfortable having the house cleaner come back!

After the exciting storage moving (there was police action! Storage units are the best!), the sister wife, the architect & I (with occasional help from the Bean) cleared the garden of tomatoes. SW (sister-wife) and I headed to her house for jars and the the rest of the day was spent canning tomatoes (me) and finishing the deck (SW & the architect).



I was supervising. With wine. (I may have also antiqued the deck. With wine.)

I was supervising. With wine. (I may have also antiqued the deck. With wine.)

I mosied down to the local food cart pod to get the hard workers food and beer. I fell on the way because I INSIST on wearing this very cute pair of shoes that I have never yet worn without falling over.

I’m bruised on the shin, in the chest region, one hand, and a little swollen on the chin. It was awesome.

Imagine this (these are box carrying bruises), but all over my body. Yeah. It's SO sexy.

Imagine this (these are box carrying bruises), but all over my body. Yeah. It’s SO sexy.

Because I am awesome, I went to the food carts in aforementioned shitty shoes, but also my Mitmunk pink bionic leggings and a unicorn shirt.

So cool.

So cool.

I carried my Marie Laveau bag, too, because (a) I needed a way to get all the food and beverage home and (b) I am that awesome.

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After the deck was finished (and it is, except for fastening the stairs to the deck), we celebrated with food and beverage and fire!


It was no trip to NOLA, but I sure did have a delightful weekend. Wonderful people really do make for a lovely weekend.

sister wives

Just sayin….


Book Review: A Very Proper Monster

When Elizabeth Hunter asked me if I’d be interested in an ARC for her short “A Very Proper Monster,” I obviously said yes. In fact, what I said was that I’d trade my first born for one of her ARCs.

(Turns out that’s not the deal she thought we made, and now she’s trying to reneg, even under threat of no avocado with my book review sandwich metaphors!)

One of the highest compliments I can pay to any book (or author) (or person in general) is to say they made me do research and/or buy more books.

So, even though I received this short for zero dollars or human trade, I’ve already spent more money buying books than I would have otherwise.

So, thanks a lot! (Sincerely. Thank you.)


A Very Proper Monster is part of a two-novella collection that was released today (go! go forth and purchase it!).  Because I also love the other author, and she didn’t send me an ARC, obviously I already have purchased. One-click, baby.


The Blurb

Josephine Shaw spends long nights filling the pages of her Gothic stories with the fantastic and the macabre, unaware that the suitor her father has arranged is one of the dark creatures she’s always dreamed. For Tom Dargin, courting an ailing spinster was only one duty in a long life of service to his sire. But after he meets the curious Miss Shaw, will Tom become the seducer or the seduced? Can a love fated to end in tragedy survive a looming grave?

My Thoughts

We were introduced to Tom and Josie a bit in “A Scarlet Deep” (mmmm…..Murphy) and I was pretty excited to get a glimpse into the eccentricities (she’s too wealthy to be crazy) of Josie and her mate.

This gothic romance made me remember how much I love Gothic tales (hence the Amazon one-click spree. In addition to picking up a copy of the book mentioned throughout this tale (“Carmilla” by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu), I followed Amazon’s “if you like that, you might want this” suggestion trail for way too long.

I was a little uncertain how well I would relate to the characters. Tom was a rough-spoken vampire who worked for the not-yet-in-charge-of-Dublin Murphy and Josephine was a wealthy, single lady dying of tuberculosis. (Am I the only one who thought Ruby Gilbert made dying of consumption sound kind of romantic? Yes? Okay then…) She spends her free time writing gothic romances under assumed names and being idiosyncratic by moonlight.

When her father makes a deal with Murphy (mmm….Murphy) to sell his business in exchange for one of Murphy’s brother’s agreeing to marry his daughter we see the best of arranged marriages and one of the main reasons I love Elizabeth’s writing. There is no coercion, even when it would be culturally appropriate. Tom agrees, but only if Josie enters into it of her own free will.

The rest of the story is [spoiler], but it’s a delightfully period appropriate gothic bodice ripper, without any actual ripping of bodices.

(Trust me when I say do not  google image search “corset removal.” And also be happy you don’t wear a corset on the regular.)

palate cleanser

palate cleanser

Notable Quotes

“Ripping corsets,” he said as he unhooked her at the back, “is seldom as comfortable or as quick as novels make it out to be.”

You guys! THIS IS TRUE! (Well, I don’t know about the corsets specifically. I am much too fond of any of my corsets to try this out. BUT BUT BUT ripping any undergarment off, without super strength and a super ability to withstand the paid of having your clothes ripped off, is difficult and unlikely to result in the desired romantic aftereffects [because ow].

“‘Tis a foolish woman who courts Death. He is the most jealous lover.”

Look, he brought a flower!

Look, he brought a flower! Soooo romantic!


There are so many places where Ms. Hunter’s use of the English language delights me, inspires me, makes me grin with glee… She is an master of scathing description. Take Neville (which just sounds a bit snivelly to me):

Neville Burke looked like a man who’d spent his whole life in clubs and at dinner parties. His clothes were fashionable, his face soft. His pale blond excuse for a mustache hung limp beneath his narrow nose, as if it too had given up on any proper attempt at manliness.

Isn’t that fantastic? Don’t you want to turn your back on Neville whilst out in society? (Don’t worry, later you’ll want to punch him. Or rip out his throat.)

And the kissing (for of course it’s a kissing book)…Elizabeth Hunter can write some hot kissing scenes, even between a vampire and a consumptive virgin. Almost made me blush.

Final Thoughts

I found this review ridiculously difficult to finish. I’m not sure why. Perhaps, like the book, I didn’t want it to end. It was too short (which is how I feel about most of the wonderful things I read) although it really was the perfect length for the story.

I’ve not a single criticism to air, other than I want more than the book – any book – could give. I want Elizabeth to move into my house to drink gin with me and read me bedtimes stories.

So I’m just ending it. Just like this.



And not just for “A Very Proper Monster,” but for the other piece, too. Grace Draven can doe things with words that make me so very envious, and although I’ve not yet read her contribution (I will be doing that later today), I know it will be fantastic.

Gaslight Hades Blurb

In GASLIGHT HADES, Nathaniel Gordon walks two worlds—that of the living and the dead. Barely human, he’s earned the reputation of a Bonekeeper, the scourge of grave robbers. He believes his old life over, until one dreary burial he meets the woman he once loved and almost married. Lenore Kenward stands at her father’s grave, begging the protection of the mysterious guardian, not knowing he is her lost love. Resolved to keep his distance, Nathaniel is forced to abandon his plan and accompany Lenore on a journey into the mouth of Hell where sea meets sky, and the abominations that exist beyond its barrier wait to destroy them.


If you’re interested in a little more about the novellas before reading, check out Elizabeth’s blog post about them.


Go forth and read, blogateers! You won’t be sorry.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Last Thursday morning, the architect dropped me off at the airport for my magical three-day trip to New Orleans. I had two purposes for visiting: the first – to hang out with and old (and I mean old…) friend that I’ve known for fifteen years (that might make me almost old).

The second was research related. Although I’m mid edit on my first book (and I got through another four chapters on my trip), my third book is primarily set in New Orleans and just outside Santa Fe.


There are cities visited in my trilogy that I don’t feel bad not having experienced myself (or not having experienced with the book in mind), but I really wanted to get New Orleans right. The city, the culture, the atmosphere.

This is my house inspiration for a large part of the book.

This is my house inspiration for a large part of the book.

So when aforementioned friend said he was thinking about going to New Orleans, I invited myself along.

It was an amazing city and I had a wonderful time. I might even go back someday. But holy hell, was it humid. I went out for my Saturday morning run and couldn’t even make my three mile goal. I have never been so sweaty in my life.

Sweatiest of sweaty selfies

Sweatiest of sweaty selfies

The coffee was amazing, though, and we did hit up Bourbon Street every night and stay out too late drinking ridiculous drinks out of ridiculous glasses.

I was actually a lot more sober than I look. It's hard to do a responsible looking selfie with a glowing skull full of booze.

I was actually a lot more sober than I look. It’s hard to do a responsible looking selfie with a glowing skull full of booze.

I bought silly souvenirs.

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We had fancy dinner.


We went on a ghost tour where I was the only one taking notes. (When I texted that tidbit to my PSM, she replied, “You didn’t choose the nerd life.”)


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I walked more than 7 miles each on Friday (cemeteries! Ghost tour!) and Saturday (disappointing run! disappointing cemetery! Louis Armstrong Park!).

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I saw a animal – a winged unimule. A unimulasus. or a pegamulicorn. I think pegamulicorn.

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I saw zombies, although my friend says it was just some hungover dudes.

I did not see any vampires. As far as I know. Maybe I did and they were just blending in and didn’t introduce themselves because I’m not good vamp-turning material. That is fucking tragic, is what that is.

I stayed up too late and woke up too early and managed to be both eerily productive and find some bikini lounging time

Checking "wear a bikini in public" off my life list! Go me!

Checking “wear a bikini in public” off my life list! Go me!

I got to spend a lot of quality time with my really old friend, eat some fantastical foods, and overall had a simply fantastic vacation.

Cafe au lait and beignets? Don't mind if I do.

Cafe au lait and beignets? Don’t mind if I do.

I am, however, delighted to be back with my family. I missed them all – especially the small one who seemed to have had a good time without me.

Waiting at the airport

Huge shout-out to my sister-wife who took such good care of my dudes while I was gone.


Now – who wants to go to Santa Fe with me? I can’t promise there’ll be hurricanes, but I can promise it’ll be fun!

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