talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2017-03-06 01:06 am

Weekly Round-Up

A while back, I wrote something really personal about superheroes and pop culture and how representation matters – that piece was published last month on ISA Professional’s blog, and I hope you’ll all check it out: Superheroes Save Us from the World.

Read on for what else I’ve published in the last week!

Things that I wrote: 

Dying Your Hair: Before and After Care
Nail Art Inspiration 2017: Curate Your Claws!
Why You Should Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

Things that I listened to:

“Hey Alice” – Rachel Rose Mitchell. This random YouTube suggestion won’t stay out of my Alice in Wonderland-loving head.
“Bones” – MS MR. First discovered this song years ago via The Vampire Diaries; it’s been back in heavy rotation recently.
“Pretty Little Head” – Eliza Rickman. First discovered via Welcome to Night Vale, this is a solo version! Still haunting.

Things that I made: 

Whiteboard Weirdness!

I also made the above graphic design honoring Carrie Fisher and raising mental health awareness, which you can find on a variety of products!

Things that I’m excited about: 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2017-03-02 11:04 pm

Honoring Carrie Fisher, Raising Mental Health Awareness

Carrie Fisher was an amazing woman: complicated and brash, outspoken and compassionate. She spoke out about mental health, mental illness, and normalizing its treatment. She lived out loud and helped others be less afraid. Losing her in the world was a blow – not just because I value her acting, value Princess then General Leia in Star Wars – but for all that she was.

There was such an outpouring of love and grief at her death, and her eulogy was written in thousands of anecdotes and farewells and spreading of her best moments across the Internet – including quotes and arguments against sexism, for mental health, delivered with a barbed and humorous tongue.

From one of her many conversations about bipolar disorder, I came across the following: “Now get out there and show me and you what you can do.” I’d been wanting to honor her with my January design, and there it was – her words which I could render graphical – and honor her and raise awareness for mental health both.

This is that design.

The words are in the color combination of a certain brand name of fluoxetine, warped into a capsule shape. I have made a number of products featuring this design available to you at my Zazzle shop, What Duck?, and my Redbubble shop.

You can pick up this design on the following items:
A large refrigerator magnet.
A standard-sized button.
A really lovely tote bag or a different tote or a drawstring bag.
A profusion of shirt types and a hoodie.
A great throw pillow.
Both mugs and travel mugs.
A selection of notebooks.
A series of wall art.

If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

P.S. If you were a member of my Patreon, you could have received a Limited Edition Postcard of this design as a perk!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2017-02-28 06:28 pm

I Aten’t Dead

Let me just take this “I Aten’t Dead” sign off, and rejoin y’all here on the Internet. I’m dismayed to see it’s been over a month since I last posted, but there were seriously extenuating circumstances behind all of it. Namely: I got sick. Twice. In January. A bout of the flu was followed by a kick to the throat, AKA tonsilitis. It was horrible, required antibiotics, and was so bad that even swallowing ice cream made me cry. So, that happened and then February has been swallowed up by catch-up.

I’m happy to say I’m slowly climbing back on top of this mountain.

I’m also happy to say I had quite a number of blogs and articles published during these two months, so at least y’all have something to read while I get back into the groove of blogging.

D’ya like cats? Then you’re in luck! Have three cat articles on me. Over at Front Page Meews:

Can Cats Catch Colds?” – Yes. Yes, they can. But click the link to get more detail!

Are You Picking Up Your Cat Correctly?” – Hopefully so! But if you’re worried about it, I got you covered.

Purr-esidential Cats of the White House” – We did this one for President’s Day. It doesn’t have ALL of our First Felines listed, but I covered quite a few!

And now for something completely different – a variety of hair and beauty blogs over at ISA Professional’s site:

Stylish Ways to Wear Winter Scarves” – What it says on the tin. Let me introduce you to some great and different ways to rock scarves this season.

New Year’s Resolutions Get Real” – It’s hard to make real change in your routines, even with the social pressure of New Year’s Resolutions to guilt trip you. I’ve got some advice on how to succeed for real.

Fashion-Forward China” – Have you taken a look at the fashion designers coming out of China recently? Because they are amazing.

Hat-Proof Hairstyles: How to Keep Your Head Up this Winter” – I love wearing hats, but they can play merry hell with my hair. So I researched some of the best ways to combat hat hair while still looking stylish.

Valentine’s Day is for Everyone” – I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this, but it’s absolutely necessary every year. Valentine’s Day shouldn’t just be about romance – read my blog on why.

Right: y’all have EIGHT new things to read now! Enjoy, and I’ll be back on Thursday with the belated January design in honor of Carrie Fisher.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2017-01-17 03:58 pm

These Violent Delights Have New Merchandise

Toward the end of the year, I finally got around to watching HBO’s Westworld. Many people had commented that it was just Jurassic Park, but with androids – an argument I found both ridiculous and reductive. Westworld, after all – the original 1973 film – was written and directed by Michael Chrichton. Almost two decades before Michael Chrichton himself wrote Jurassic Park. If anything is just something else, Jurassic Park is Westworld, but with dinosaurs.

One of the most compelling aspects of the original Westworld is that you have no insight into the androids – no reason is provided regarding why they begin killing guests, or whether there’s any reason inside their machinery at all. And while that storytelling aspect is intriguing in a short 1973 film, it wouldn’t have worked for a juicy television series in 2016.

So is HBO’s Westworld “just Jurassic Park, but with androids”? Hardly. It’s a reflective, chaotic, beautiful mess of a show, broaching and tackling a number of interesting topics: the development of sentience. The quality of a society that can embrace a theme park like Westworld. A jab at meta commentary on gaming culture. What makes an entity human. The power of storytelling, and the deconstruction of narrative.

Westworld is a tornado, and one of its best summaries is that oft-repeated bit of Shakespeare: “these violent delights have violent ends.” So I made y’all a thing:

 

Violence – against others, against yourself – is a tornado, sweeping everyone in its path up indiscriminately and depositing them somewhere new. In the Maze, to come to self-realization? In a paroxysm of emptiness, a fallen and depraved society? We’re not sure. All we know is that white hats are so hard to keep clean.

And we’re grateful to Shakespeare for this line from Romeo and Juliet: “these violent delights have violent ends.” Does anyone ever listen to Friar Laurence?

This design uses the font Musicals by Brain Eaters, and features hat clipart from Clker.com.

You can find this design in both my Zazzle shop, What Duck?, and my RedBubble shop on a diverse array of designs:

On magnets and mugs, buttons and keychains!

On shirts and prints, pillows and travel mugs, stickers and notebooks, and more!

If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

P.S. If you were a member of my Patreon, you could have received a Limited Edition Postcard of this design as a perk!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2017-01-06 08:45 pm

Weekly Round-Up

I had several pieces published this very first week of the new year! And I won a giveaway, receiving an ARC of A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn courtesy of Penguin Random House! So expect thoughts on Veronica Speedwell’s latest adventure  at some point.

Things that I wrote: 

So Your Cat Has Worms…“, over at Front Page Meews.
New Year Style: Now Be You“, over at ISA Professional’s blog.
A review of Ghostbusters (2016), over at Nerdspan.

Things that I read:

Woman Facts” by Sandra Newman at McSweeney’s, being hilarious trufax about women.
A microstory about krakens and the sailors who hunt them, courtesy of Micro SF/F on Twitter.
Nine Duels: a Tremontaine Story” by Tessa Gratton, FREE, read it and SUBSCRIBE immediately.

Things that I made:

This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness pieces were all about out with the outstayed-its-welcome and in with the you-better-do-better.

Just over a year ago, I pronounced this the Year of the Goddamn Unicorn. Well, we apparently spent the year playing leapfrog with said unicorn. I guess no one ever said we were smart. Let’s do better in 2017. Thanks to KC Green for my Whiteboard Weirdness inspiration. Fat Unicorn inspired by unicorns by janno-arts on DeviantArt, and by Jen Seng.

Welcome to 2017, the Year of the Otter! Let’s be adorable and flexible, juggle rocks, be vicious when necessary (river wolves represent!), and hold on to each other so no one floats away. Whiteboard Weirdness art inspired by Kat’s cute doodle at katdoodles.com.

Things that I’m excited about:

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2017-01-05 09:49 pm

Ghostbusters (2016) – Movie Review

Blu-ray packaging for Ghostbusters (2016) Extended EditionGhostbusters. It’s not a title you’d expect controversy over, at least not among the living. Yet Paul Feig made an update of the 1984 classic with an all-women team of Ghostbusters, and the Internet lost its collective mind. Many people behaved badly. Trolls came out to play. Productive conversations concerning feminism happened, at least, even in a veritable sea of uninformed hate. Ghostbusters became a rallying point for feminist interrogation of pop culture.

Feminism deserves better, which Alyssa Rosenberg covers with acuity at The Washington Post.

Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters can be a fun movie, especially when combined with a ladies’ night in and a judicious number of drinks. (Ooo, and Twizzlers. …no? More for me!) The cast is fantastic, carried by sharply funny women with great comedic instincts. It’s just not a particularly good movie, afflicted with poor pacing and wasted potential.

[Let’s cover the good bits up front…]

Click the link to read the rest of my review over at Nerdspan!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2017-01-04 01:01 am

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, y’all!

Just over a year ago, I pronounced 2016 to be the Year of the Goddamn Unicorn. It was going to be fabulous if I had to throttle it into rainbow colors, you see. And there were some excellent things accomplished personally – I’ll get to those in a minute – but by and large 2016 came across as a bit of a dumpster fire. Or a cafe on fire. Instead of cavorting with the Goddamn Unicorn, we were apparently all playing leapfrog with it.

(Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.)

Moving on!

In 2016, I did quite a bit of reading and writing. The numbers look like this:

34 nonfiction pieces written.
26 nonfiction pieces published.

And you can see all of them over on my shiny new PUBLISHED STUFF page. (It’s in progress, so nonfiction published stuff only, so far.)

More numbers:

2 short stories written.
1 short story sold to Onyx Path Publishing for their Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Anthology.

71 books read.
50 books read once you lump together each season of Tremontaine from Serial Box.

I always take the GoodReads Reading Challenge each year. You should join in and read along!

Even more numbers:

Dragon Age games played.
1 new video game world fallen in love with.

1 nephew born. ALL THE CONFETTI.

100% more tabletop RPGs played.
100% Star Wars.

Okay, that’s enough numbers for now. The point is that I wrote things – educational things, entertaining things, things to make you feel – and I enjoyed myself and joy came into the world and I played in imaginary ones. There are points of light, even in the dark.

So, goodbye, 2016. Farewell. Hello, 2017. And –

WELCOME TO THE YEAR OF THE OTTER!

Image of 7 otters at the Kabini River's edge by Puru150 at the Wikimedia Commons.

Let’s be adorable and flexible, juggle rocks, be vicious when necessary (river wolves represent!), and hold on to each other so no one floats away. 

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-12-28 12:58 am

For Nasty Women – new merchandise design for witches!

Hatters’ Collectives are very secretive and magical things, indeed – they keep the best and brightest in hats, throw top-notch tea parties in Wonderland, and keep witches safe. Oh, yes – Miss Tick’s automatic pointed hat, the disguised wonder of the Discworld lowlands all covered in fake flowers? Hutmacherin von Hexen No. 13’s work. They provide fantastic millinery, safe routes, and correspondence services for nasty women everywhere.

This is actually November’s design, in honor of a nasty woman near you. Maybe even inside you. I’d apologize for it being so late, but I’m not nice. (I’m just right.) I can’t be bothered. It was created with the font “Stampede” by St Rachan, and a rubber stamp effect from Diego Sánchez.

My Redbubble and Zazzle shops have a range of wonderful items with this design on it – if you fancy picking one up:

Two-tone mug, or mason jar with handle (and without, for storing flowers or herbs).
Silver-plated locket.
Cream-colored stationery.
Single-sided acrylic keychain.
Purple round fridge magnet.
Hardcover journal for recipes, spells, and agendaing.
Spiral notebook for same.

That’s it, for now. If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-12-14 12:57 am
Entry tags:

Holiday 2016 Gift Guides for the Discerning Geek

To all those still shopping in the frenzied depths of holiday retail: hail and well-met! I salute you. I’m also working on some updated gift guides for you – at least for those of you of the discerning geek variety. I’m going to give you the low-down on the best books, toys, games, and more to score for your hardest-to-shop-for this year – and, while you wait, have a gander at these:

Those should help out until the new guides are up! Go forth and shop wisely and responsibly!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-12-04 09:18 pm

Weekly Round-Up

Now it can be told! My reverse selkie story, “Watercolors” will be published in the upcoming Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Anthology, edited by Matthew McFarland. I can’t wait for you all to check it out; I’ll let you know as soon as I know the release date.

Things that I wrote: 

A Pinning Guide to Cat Safe Thanksgiving Centerpieces” over at Front Page Meews.
Our Favorite Fall Eyeshadow Trends” over at ISA Professional’s blog.
Winter Hair is Coming” over at ISA Professional’s blog, as well.

Things that I read:

Dr. Seuss was not even in the general vicinity of fucking around,” being an Imgur set of Seuss’s political cartoons.
#justfairythings: Fairy behavior is truly appalling,” being a set of fairy trufax.
The Photographer Representing her Non-Binary Friends as They’d Like to be Seen,” what it says on the tin.

Things that I made:

Catherynne M. Valente released a brand new Fairyland story this week, processing her response to the American 2016 election. “The Beasts Who Fought for Fairyland Until the Very End and Further Still” is free for everyone, and will be always. I formatted the ebooks for her, so you can download the story as PDF, EPUB, or MOBI as well.

ww-snorlax-thanksgivinggoals

A couple of weeks ago, I doodled up a quick Snorlax for the Thanksgiving-era fridge. After all, my #ThanksgivingGoals were to be fat and sleepy, which is pretty much Snorlax to a T. (I succeeded at this!)

ww-pusheenxmas

This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness heralds the coming of cookie season in my household! I drew one of Pusheen‘s adorable cartoons for the occasion.

Things that I’m excited about:

crimsonpeak-brdt-sblackmoorenoface-hirudolph

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

 

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-11-29 10:45 pm
Entry tags:

The Continuing Adventures of RPGCat

#RPGCat is a great nuisance as well as a great joy: and, well, that’s cats all over. We love the furry little jerks entirely, and wouldn’t have it any other way. So it is with RPG Cat: even as my fellow roleplayers remove their character sheets from under Tiger Jack’s fluffy butt, they keep petting him at the same time.

rpgcat-ruleslawyer2b

Did you know that RPG Cat is a notorious rules lawyer? Oh, yes, he’ll cite you the rules and argue their finer points any old time.

rpgcat-gm

We let RPG Cat take a spin behind the GM screen one session, and the power rather went to his head. No one survived that day! Our characters were but prey between his mighty paws.

rpgcat-nat20c

RPG Cat doesn’t just make his JUMP check, he SPROINGS in a most amusing and amazing manner.

Yes, it rather seems like everything’s coming up Tiger Jack in the realm of RPG Cat. Everyone pays attention to him, he’s the most epic roleplayer, and — wait, what’s this?

rpgcat-silverchallengerappears2

 

To be continued…

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-11-08 11:19 pm

Postcards from a Traveling Oracle – Interstitial Art Experience

It’s Election Night in America, and I know many of us would like to unplug from that right now. So here’s my contribution to your distraction: an interstitial art experience of photographs and words and hidden bits that have nothing to do with USA in 2016.

Click the image below to begin your Postcards from a Traveling Oracle experience:

postcards-bannersm

For some background on this interstitial project: 

On March 14th, 2009, Elise Matthesen posted a picture of her evocatively-titled pendant “Nine Things About Oracles.”

The next day, Jo Walton came along with a poem and ripped things wide open. A list by Alter S. Reiss slotted into place next, followed quickly by a snatch of verse by Novel deVice.

The rest, as they say, is explosive history: look at that link and you’ll see Nine Nines (plus more!) of word-art and image-art inspired by “Nine Things About Oracles.”

The collection is amazing. Breathtaking. Memery at its finest – a dizzying explosion of creativity and celebration.

You know I, especially with my interstitial heart, could not resist the lovely pendant’s evocative title or frenzy of community-promoted art. And so.

You’re welcome, America.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-11-06 08:04 pm

Weekly Round-Up

I’d like to preface this week’s round-up post with this: GET OUT THE VOTE, PEOPLE! Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday!

Things that I wrote:

Cat Can’t Breathe? Feline Asthma: What You Need to Know, at Front Page Meews.
Fall Into Lush, Colorful Lips: Best Fall Lip Colors and Care, at ISA Professional’s blog.

Things that I read:

The Rain Will Make a Door I: Introducing British Fairy Traditions” by Dr. Alexander  Cummins.
Meet Eight New Afrofuturism Artists Creating a Future of Color” by Shaenon K. Garrity at i09.
The Racist and Sexist History of Keeping Birth Control Side Effects Secret” by Bethy Squires at Broadly.

Thing that I made:

ww-blackphillip

This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness features Black Phillip preparing for Thanksgiving with lots of butter. So much butter in the creepy cornucopia of evil. Black Phillip based on Stuart Marcelo‘s wonderful character design that you can find on Behance.

Things that I am excited about:

st-beyondpos-jirelandv28-cathat

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-11-05 01:00 am

Weird Tales from Spam

Sometimes we find writing prompts in the weirdest places, like this piece of fastfic inspired by a subject line from an email in my spam folder. The subject line? “Dark Knight disapproved by Vaticans due to satanic links.” Enjoy:

darkknight

Accessing: Newscasts Outside of Time
Channel: Medieval Times
Available Titles: Newly Discovered Body Transformation Formula
Dark Knight Disapproved by Vaticans Due to Satanic Links
Remove Your Debt the Christian Way

Accessing: Dark Knight Disapproved by Vaticans Due to Satanic Links

Video missing. Audio and transcription only.

“It’s late August, 1359, and a demon infestation rages across Europe! The Vaticans, in a rare show of agreement, summoned a Dark Knight from the depths of Hell to combat the spreading demonic powers. Sitting twelve feet atop his destrier that crushes the innocent beneath iron hooves, I’ve never seen a savior look quite so imposing! Let’s talk to him now. … Sir! Sir, how are things going?”

The narrator moves toward the source of a disturbance, created or curbed by the Dark Knight himself. Screams, groans, and repetitive thudding sounds predominate. There is a blood-curdling whinny cut short as the reporter speaks.

“We had a quality scourge here: loads of flayed demons and forced exorcisms, it’s been really quite grand. I’m just disappointed that Popes Innocent, Griseus, and Sinistra have seen fit to forgo my payment.”

The Dark Knight sounds Irish, oddly enough, circa 20th century. He speaks with a laid back ease. The Popes he references are those of the Vatican Primus, the Vatican Vatican, and the Black Vatican respectively.

“And what was your payment, Sir– er, Dark Knight?”

“The standard complement of fifty virgins, Tom, with a retainer fee of three hundred newborns. You won’t get my quality for such a good price this side of Gomorrah.”

Cries of “Unclean!” break out in the distance, with hoofbeats to end worlds echoing more closely. What one can only presume to be the Dark Knight’s bellow, a fierce and harrowing sound, rips through the shouts. One can almost hear the blood rain down.

“We understand even the Black Vatican denies employing him in a bid to ‘fit in’ according to one Blood Acolyte. Let’s ask the Dark Knight what he thinks.”

The moans of destroyed flesh grow nearer, with our reporter shouting over the din. He reiterates the Blood Acolyte’s comment.

“I think that was a bit disingenuous of them, Tom. Just because you wash your hands of blood today, doesn’t make them clean. …of blood. … Er, tomorrow.”

“Quite right, Sir! Can you tell the folks out there what we can expect until the Vaticans settle up?”

A voice staggers closer, screaming relentlessly: “My God! Why have you forsak–?” We hear a ragged gasp, then a rather final-sounding thump.

“Where were we? Ah, yes. Scourging will continue on the general populace until fees are met.”

“Thank you! At this time, the Vaticans have offered no reply. You heard it here on Newscasts Outside of Time: Medieval Times first! This is Tom Lane, signi–”

Tom’s voice cuts off, followed by a soft thud. There is a breathless moment, then the sound of hooves and deadly metal: screams begin once more and the sound equipment hits the dirt, shorting out, dumb and dead.

 



(Click the hat to tip the author.)

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-10-30 10:05 pm

Weekly Round-Up

What a week this has been, with much work and rather too much chronic pain! But here’s what I’ve got for you.

Thing that I wrote: 

Become Your Heroine this Halloween, over at ISA Professional’s blog.

Things that I read: 

11 of the Most Savage Burns in Literature” by Jessica Misener, being full of brilliant insults.
If Women Wrote Men the Way Men Write Women” by Meg Elison, being grimly hilarious.
‘Into the Wood’ series, 56: Death in Folk & Fairy Tales” by Terri Windling, being particulary apt this time of year.

Things that I made: 

ww-vampiregirl

This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness vants you to have a bloody good time! Quick and dirty sketch based on Victoria Kalinina’s adorable vampire girl vector art. (Her vectors are available on Dreamstime and Shutterstock.)

I also released a new line of merch! Check out Coffee of Cthulhu:

coffee-of-cthulhu-preview

Click the image above (or this link) to check out the design and find it on coffee mugs, travel mugs, fridge magnets, and more!

Things that I’m excited about: 

notldtldosaraven-scarf

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-10-27 05:53 pm

Coffee of Cthulhu – New Lovecraft Merchandise Design!

It’s that time of month, folks: when the shadows are lengthening, the year slowly dying, and madness creeping into your coffee cups. Especially if you live anywhere in the Northeastern United States, like, say, Innsmouth? Sorry, but that’s Deep Ones’ territory, and them’s the breaks.

Look, you’ve got Lovecraft to blame, not me. Actually, H.P. Lovecraft is to blame for a lot of things, like being a racist and problematic individual. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the Lovecraftian mythos; that just means we acknowledge his shit, and then make his world of mind-warping horror and indescribable monsters a much more inclusive and progressive realm of disturbance. Like Ruthanna Emrys has done with her forthcoming Winter Tide (such a good book, so snatch it up as soon as you can). Or we create whip-smart commentary on Lovecraft’s issues like Victor LaValle did in his smashingly reviewed novella The Ballad of Black Tom. (And then there’s Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. There is some great work being done here, y’all.)

In honor of this spooky season, and all those authors and fans who’ve made the Lovecraftian mythos into something truly awesome, I present October’s design: COFFEE OF CTHULHU!

coffee-of-cthulhu-preview

Lovecraftian horrors like Cthulhu need a little help getting up in the mornings too, so reach for the best when you’re R’lyeh fhtagn tired.

I created this design using vector art from Freepik, along with the fonts Kenyan Coffee by Raymond Larabie and Swift by Cheapskate Fonts (Dustin Norlander). Key inspiration provided by my husband, Andy.

So, where can you find this parodic and off-kilter Lovecraftian design?

whatduck-banner2

In my Zazzle shop! Oh, yes. You will find the Coffee of Cthulhu design on:

Coffee mugs, of various sizes and colors!
Stainless steel travel mugs, thermal tumbler, water bottles, and a thermos.
A really big fridge magnet!
A hip flask or two, so you can face non-euclidean horrors with a little liquid courage!

That’s it for now, though we do have a special variant mug in the works. If you’d like anything else, I take requests – so hit the comments.

And remember: the best part of waking up is madness in your cup!

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talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-10-25 04:09 pm

Party of Ghouls: Halloween Cocktails

It’s almost Halloween, and that means you need to settle your cocktail plans now. Luckily, I’m here to help with that, whether you’re planning an intimate get-together or a full-on All Hallows’ Eve Shindig. (Just let me slip my alchemist’s labcoat on.) Let’s take a bat’s eye view of a Halloween Hootenanny in progress… and spy on what drinks they have on tap!

halloween-vintage1

The ragdoll bombshell lurks in the corner, but not out of any shy avoidance. She’s just biding her time, letting her boneyard eyes appraise the room under eyelids fringed with black wire. One elegant, seam-bisected hand cradles a small pumpkin, all textured orange glass and alluring roundness. A dead woman’s lips, blue and glistening, close over a black straw and she sips her cocktail: a smooth and potent Ragdoll’s Delight.

Ragdoll’s Delight:
2 oz Stoli Vanil vodka
1.5 oz Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice

Shake with crushed ice in a cocktail shaker; strain into martini glass. (Unless you do actually have a pumpkin-shaped cocktail glass, then use that ALL THE TIME FOREVER). Splash in milk to taste, and optionally garnish with cinnamon and nutmeg.

bat-dividerbar

Lizardman Echols is his name and the game is “Get everyone drunk enough for nuuuuude conga timesss!” He’s played it at more parties than he’s ever been invited to, and only been successful once. At least he thinks there was a once: he can’t have been the only one with his pants off at that Rusalka shindig over Dead Man’s Bayou way. His eyelids close toward each other, flat black eyes misty with memory. With his long tongue flickering out, he begins to make the rounds bearing a platter of Nanny’s Trick or Treats.

Nanny’s Trick or Treats:
Let’s be clear about this one: it’s more an experience and not really a cocktail at all.
Here’s what you do: Make a batch of Apple Pie moonshine.
Then be sure to serve it in small servings. Preferably in plastic cups.
Serve with whipped cream on top or a cinnamon rock candy stick if you wanna get fancy.

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What’s a party without at least a trio of witches? Certainly not one she’d ever want to be invited to, sniffed the oldest woman of that respected group. She hunched her back most dramatically, throwing out one crow-like arm so that her trailing shawl hid the squat cauldron and its glowing brew from the other party-goers. Come to think of it, she scowled, she couldn’t really remember the last party they’d been invited to. She just always assumed they’d been invited and showed up with the other witches arriving by broom or chicken-footed hut or mortar and pestle. Because of course they had. For what’s a party without the nastiest of women and their patented witch’s brew? No party worth going to, that’s for certain. She’s pretty sure there’s a circle in that. But isn’t there always?

Witch’s BrewHaHa:
1.5 liters of vodka
750 ml of Midori
2 liters of Sprite
24 oz frozen lemonade

Throw it all in a punch bowl; preferably one shaped like a cauldron. Add sufficient ice; stir. (If you want to incorporate dry ice for the full Halloween effect, read up on that here.)

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They’d been pounding through their party for hours now, moaned the zombie. He didn’t even notice when he lost his ear again, clambering angrily as he was up through his crypt. The whole catacombs had been thrumming with that pervasive technobeat sound, which all music at monster mashes seemed to turn into these days after the alcohol got into full flow and the nude conga-line into full swing. Or was it dubstep now? A chill in the autumn air stiffened his joints right up as he staggered toward the house and his grumbling soared up into a full moan. He felt he was in perfect form to bring some good old zombie vengeance and geared up to bellow the requisite “BRRAIIINNSS!!!” Instead, he was swept inside by a good-natured Cannibal who flashed him the “Peace! No dead meat for me!” hand-wave and shoved a mug into his rotting hand. The cup read “The Dead Are Up! Now what?” in bright, cheery letters. The zombie shambled away from the conga line, grumbling, and decided to have the drink. 

The Dead Are Up! Now What?
3 oz fresh-brewed coffee
1.5 oz Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa
1 oz Patron Reposado

Combine, and add milk or cream to taste. Add whipped cream on top with a dusting of cinnamon and crushed red pepper. This one can be served chilled or warm, but plan which one ahead of time unless you like iced coffee.

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We’ll close the window on that Halloween Hootenanny now. Once the dead have awoken, it doesn’t pay to tarry outdoors. Hopefully you’ve gotten a few delicious plans for your Halloween weekend; hop back here if you make them, and share your thoughts and cocktail pics! Cheers!

geekdame-alchemy

(Remember, you can get merch featuring the Geek Dame’s Alchemical Delights logo at RedBubble and my Zazzle shop.)

Mirrored from geekdame.com. Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-10-23 08:44 pm

Weekly Round-Up

Welcome to the Weekly Round-Up! You got one publication this week, with many to come. Let’s jump right in:

Thing that I wrote: 

Why Black Cat Myths Are So Bogus, over at Front Page Meews.

Things that I read: 

Nasty women have much work to do,” by Alexandra Petri and published at The Washington Post. YES.
Tremontaine, Season 2, Episode 1: “Convocation” by Ellen Kushner, published by Serial Box. So good!
So You Want to Make a Deal with the Devil” by Matt Staggs over at Unbound Worlds. Ha!

Thing that looks like me: 

I didn’t draw a new Whiteboard Weirdness this week because I love looking at last week’s Headless Cat and other reasons. So! Have a great illustration drawn by Paige Halsey Warren of me and my husband in the fashion of Star Wars:

debandysw-phwarren

Things I’m excited about:

znation-2ahsokanbc-sallycostume

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

Mirrored from geekdame.com. Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-10-18 04:47 pm

Hotel Fear: Haunted House Stories

I haven’t been to too many haunted houses in my time, which is a shame: the thrills of a ridiculous and macabre haunted attraction are great fun. And stress-relieving! You can scream and it’s expected, considered better than applause. There just aren’t many haunts of quality around my hometown: I went to the “Judgement House” once in high school, but that was a dreadful experience full of religious admonishment. While I was in Japan, I unfortunately missed out on the Haunted Hospital (which is actually housed in a creepy old hospital). At least I’ve managed to get to NetherWorld in Atlanta (good fun, amazingly elaborate, but a bit busy).

I do have ONE great haunted house story to my name.

About ten years ago, the Zombie Hunter in the Desert and I got to go to an excellent little Vegas joint: Hotel Fear. It was one of those ubiquitous haunted houses that pop up all over the place around Halloween. The atmosphere Hotel Fear managed to put together was impressive, with a disfigured doorman riddled with nails and bolts at the entrance, to an exit passage echoing with chainsaws and screams. Laughing and screaming guests surged out at intervals.

hotelfear1

(Note: I don’t remember it looking like this when we went in 2005.)

Jamelle and I arrived around seven, after it was dark, and secured tickets from a very serious woman who admonished “No refunds!” with every sale. We joined the sizable line snaking through the parking lot, watching the screamers who ran out of the attraction. Hotel Fear paced their groups, as any good haunted attraction should: they let in groups of about six people, allowed them to get part way through, then let loose the next party. The six-person group was a requirement, which meant smaller groups – like the duo of Jamelle and me – would be combined with some other guests. We realized this with some “oh hell no” trepidation while standing in line, sandwiched between two groups of four. Behind us stood a family of four, father reeking of alcohol and children squalling. The most offensive crap kept coming out of that dude’s mouth. His son copied him loudly, braying he bet the supposed chainsaws we heard were just leaf blowers. (Spoiler: they weren’t.) When it came time to choose, Jamelle and I leapt at the chance to go with the four trash-talking ten-year-old boys in front of us.

Yeah, these four little boys talked big. One of them had toured Hotel Fear earlier in the afternoon, so he was confident he knew where all the tricks were. (Apparently one of his dad’s friends worked on the crew or something.) They were raucous and bold and joking about how stupid the whole thing was. But it only took walking up to the door for cracks to show in their bravado. Before we even went in, the boys kept turning to us, saying we could go in front and that they were thankful we’d ended up in their group. Ten-year-olds, y’all.

The doorman, leering with his leech and bolt-covered face down at the kids, unceremoniously ushered us inside and slammed the door behind us. We stood in a dimly-lit and small reception area, where they’d managed to encourage pooling shadows in all the corners. A reception desk stood at the brightest point of light. No one was behind it. A stack of luggage rattled immediately next to us, and a well-dressed if macabre concierge crawled and undulated across the floor to the desk. Or maybe he was a bellhop. Either way. As he went, he harangued us in a high-pitched and otherworldly screech; he moved and sounded EXACTLY like Bengé from Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Once behind the desk, the figure drew himself up straight, and demanded, “WHY HAVE YOU COME TO HOTEL FEEEAR?!”

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The boys had immediately quailed into me and Jamelle, nearly clinging to our waists. It wasn’t even a moment before one boy yelled back in a shaky voice. “Because we paid! The lady said no refunds!”

I almost died with laughter. It was classic. Mirth danced in the concierge-hop’s eyes, but he managed to keep a sinister face on, urging us on into the hotel’s many bizarre and disturbing rooms.

And then it was a breathless and exciting trip through Hotel Fear, alternating creeping with dashing through the haunted house. At first Jamelle and I were behind the boys, but the kids’ general response to the monsters and surprises was to freeze and not move anywhere. Let me tell you, it’s hard as hell to shove against four ten-year-olds rooted with fear. And get them moving again? Please. It’s easier to drag a mule.

hotelfear2One kid kept trying to stay behind us all and, like an idiot, I told him that it “was worse to be the last.” Next thing I knew, I was shoved to the front and forced to lead the way into every pitch-black or strobe-lit room. The kids were a tight-packed conga line behind me, with Jamelle at the rear. At every door, I had to remind myself to be the adult, and STILL found myself saying crap like “Two of us should go together!” Hotel Fear was proper scary, okay? But Jamelle gave me one of those “seriously, what the fuck” looks by merely saying my name, and I straightened up quick. The boys’ bravado was utterly gone.

Apparently, my reaction to jump scares in-the-room-right-now is to turn into a crab. (And press A.) I duck and cover my head with my arms, then scuttle sideways and forward. It’s a valid choice, even if not proper conga line etiquette. And that’s how we proceeded, albeit with a few hiccups – like in the pitch black hallway with sudden turns, when I got crushed into a wall by a four ten-year-old pile-up. I had to explain my movements out loud to get the quivering kids to follow me through, as otherwise they dragged me back.

The final gamut was a crowd of terrifying characters, from broken doll women to mad scientists in high heels to scarecrow folks and unhinged surgeons, before an unevenly lit corridor haunted by chainsaw-wielding maniacs. I refused to run out, though the kids broke cover and hightailed it. I walked briskly after, my pulse beating a terror staccato. Jamelle jogged on in high spirits (she’s always been one hell of a horror fan).

Hotel Fear was legit. That’s all I can say.

(And it’s still around! Be sure to visit if you’re in Las Vegas during the Halloween season.)

Now: Come one, come all! Step up and don’t be shy! Let’s hear about your best and worst haunted house experiences!

Mirrored from geekdame.com. Please comment there.

talkstowolves: I speak with wolves and other wicked creatures. (talks to wolves)
2016-10-16 02:07 am

Weekly Round-Up

Yep, it was another week of writing behind the scenes on projects yet to be published! This happens often to the working writer. However, I should have some publications to share soon, and I’m putting together a special Halloween freebie to drop in the last weekend of October. You can make sure you don’t miss it by signing up for my biweekly newsletter: look to your right. The sign-up form is in my sidebar.

Things that I read: 

A Tale of Two Rulers, being a web comic by my friend Lorraine Schleter. It is by turns funny, dark, and touching – and altogether a great read for any fans of The Legend of Zelda.
You Really Have No Idea Who the Villain of Frozen Is,” being a hilariously convoluted theory by Steve Wetherell at Cracked.
This Storify of “Seanan McGuire on #NationalComingOutDay,” being full of important words.

Thing that I made: 

ww-headlesscat

This week’s Whiteboard Weirdness features a pune, or play on words! The adorably macabre reference illustration is “Headless Cat” by Siamés Escalante, who is doing #30scarycats on Instagram.

Things that I’m excited about:

ghostbusters-brlitanyofearthrrh-californiacostumes

 

 

 

 

 

Click the pics if you fancy purchasing any of the above! I get a modest kickback from Amazon if you do.

Mirrored from geekdame.com. Please comment there.