Monochromatic 5: Alberta, Canada, Spring 2015

Today will be her last post on this week’s post: MONOCHROMATIC.

She had no idea, when the prompt was posted a week ago, that she’d find so many pictures to post.

Earlier this year, self was in Banff for the Annual Writing Studio. What an amazing experience it was. She definitely feels confident in her novel now.

Banff, Spring 2015

Banff, Spring 2015

Before she arrived in Banff, she spent a few days with her cousin, Mike Villanueva, in Calgary. So much fun! Mike and his wife Pixie took self to the Royal Terrell Dinosaur Museum, where she saw the most fantastic exhibits. Here’s a picture she took of an underwater dinosaur.

At the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, Alberta, Canada

At the Royal Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum, Alberta, Canada

Driving to the Dinosaur Museum with her cousins, self discovered the true meaning of prairie:

Prairie: Alberta, Canada

Prairie: Alberta, Canada

Looking back at the pictures she took for the theme MONOCHROMATIC, there was:

  • Alberta, Canada
  • Annaghmakerrig, Ireland
  • Cambridge, England
  • Half Moon Bay, California
  • Yorkshire, England

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Monochromatic 3: Costume Designer’s Sketch, Book Cover, a Weathervane in Cambridge, UK

Loved the delicacy of this page, depicting an iconic character:

Katniss, page from Costume Designer's Sketch Book for The Hunger Games

Katniss, page from Costume Designer’s Sketch Book for The Hunger Games


Self purchased Lucifer Princeps at the Atlantis Bookstore in London’s Museum Way. The bookstore specializes in all manner of things related to the occult. Since self is writing a novel about an 18th century Spanish priest who is sent to the Philippines specifically to battle demons, she thought the book might come in handy.

Lucifer Princeps: Book Detail

Lucifer Princeps: Book Detail


Self took the picture below while she was on a Jack-the-Ripper tour of Whitechapel and environs!

Cricket Player Weathervane, on top of a building on Whitechapel Road, near E. Aldgate, London

Cricket Player Weathervane, on top of a building in Cambridge, UK (Revised the location — I originally posted as a building in Whitechapel, London. Good thing I double-checked)

Other Monochromatic Takes:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Story by Danielle McLaughlin: The New Yorker, 7 September 2015

Just self’s luck. The first New Yorker story she reads in a long, long time, and it’s about


(Trigger Warning: Read the rest of this entry »

Monochromatic 2: Book Cover, a Yorkshire Meadow, the Lake at Annaghmakerrig

From the WordPress Daily Post photo challenge:


“The inclusion of a pop of color in an otherwise monochromatic palette can also result in a dramatic image . . . “

Detail, Book Cover: ERAGON, by Christopher Paolini

Detail, Book Cover: ERAGON, by Christopher Paolini

Meadow with Sheep, Yorkshire: July 2015

Meadow with Sheep, Yorkshire: July 2015

Lake, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland: July 2015

Lake, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland: July 2015

Here are a few other bloggers’ takes on MONOCHROMATIC:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Remember When . . .

Remember when, right after, they grounded all the planes, and people who were returning to the United States had to wait at their last known destinations, until the airports opened again?

Remember how a student told you she was so desperate to get home to her family in Arizona that she begged and cried and finally a San Francisco cab driver agreed to drive her all the way to Tucson for the price of what she would have paid for a plane ticket?

Remember when the only sounds you heard at night, for several nights, were the sounds of military choppers flying low?

Remember when the airports opened again, and you were still so scared of flying?

Now you take airplanes several times a year, with not even a shake or a shiver of memory.

That’s how you know that life, beautiful, ordinary life, has returned.

Stay tuned.


For the first time, this issue of Your Impossible Voice is coming to you on-line, free of charge.

Contributors in the latest issue are:


Adam Klein * Andrei Babikov (in a translation by Michael Gluck) * Chin-Sun Lee * Courtney Moreno * Harry McEwan * Joe Baumann * Roger Mensink * Thea Swanson


Diane Payne * Morgan Christie * Wilfredo Pascual


Evan Hansen * Jen Schalliol * Jessica Murray * Satoshi Iwai * Scott Beal * Simon Perchik * Theodore Worozbyt

The issue’s cover is by artist D-L Alvarez.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“Synth”: KTNS-12 Prepares for her Vivisection

Self is madly rotating her readings:

  • The Economist
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Eragon
  • Everlark fan fiction

With regards to the fan fiction, she’s consumed all the newest Everlark stories (And they do seem to be coming at a faster rate, since the last Hunger Games movie is set to screen this November), so she’s back to re-reading her favorites. One of her new favorites is a story called “Synth,” in which a cyborg named KTNS-12 is manufactured by a brilliant scientist named Beetee and his Junior Scientist Assistant named Peeta! YESSSS!

Self loves Cyborg KTNS-12!

She must not show any feelings at all. Feelings are anomalies. Feelings mean she is a defective.

But KTNS-12 has those feelings. Especially when Junior Scientist Peeta is around!

There are only two chapters posted, but Chapter 2 ends on a terrible cliff-hanger.


One day, KTNS-12 is brought to a lab where a trio of scientists waits to begin a new round of testing on her.

“This table is surrounded by a cluster of shining instruments on tray tables. Scissors. Scalpels. Gauze. Tweezers. There’s a C-clamp welded to the floor, and beside it stands an IV hook.”

The three scientists are named: Gloss, Cato, and Clove.


Paging Junior Scientist Peeta! Emergency! Paging Junior Scientist Peeta!

But KTNS-12 can’t show fear. She enters the room, all the while reassuring herself by thinking: I am not afraid. I am not afraid.

End of Chapter.

Please, O Esteemed Fan Fiction Author, please updaaaate. Self can’t stand it. Her head is full of horrible imaginings.

Three years ago, self had a story published by the New Orleans Review. The setting was an apocalyptic future (Of course: self is nothing if not obsessed by the apocalyptic future) where strange mutated animals were being kept in an Animal Rehabilitation Center tended by humans who were barely humans anymore. One human had flashing metal wheels in place of legs, etc etc etc. The story is called, appropriately “Thing.” Because people have no labels for that which defies characterization, so it is just called . . . Thing. And, no need for self to tell dear blog readers that a world where there is such murkiness about life that “things” proliferate is a dark, dark world. A world of the most Abject Despair.

Self is inured, in other words, to all kinds of fictional pain.

But the thing about fan fiction is, everything is in progress. A lot of times, stories never get completed. Or, if a story gets completed, it’s sometimes as long as a year between updates. And the tension just builds and builds and . . .

OK, self has got to calm down. Because it’s Sunday night and her life is so full.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

I WILL NEVER OWN ENOUGH BOOKS Spreads AmazeSauce over Self’s Saturday!

Today, I Will Never Own Enough Books nominated self for the CREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD!

Epic Blush!

The rules say that self has to share five facts about herself. So here goes:

  1. Her favorite indulgence is reading Everlark fan fiction.
  2. She was a Fellow in the Stanford University Creative Writing Program.
  3. Her 2nd favorite indulgence is watching plays. The last play she saw (July 2015) was “King John” at the Globe in London.
  4. She loves riding trains.
  5. She has written a 9/11 story called “Wavering” (Published in a literary magazine now defunct, boo).

So here are self’s five nominees:

  1. TheGypsyMind16
  2. The Alchemist’s Kitchen
  3. Kick-Ass Ireland!
  4. cassandra jp
  5. Kahakai Kitchen


Fan Fiction, 2015: Unleash Your Imagination

“Unleash your imagination” is the banner of the grand-daddy of all fanfiction sites, which went up 1998:

In the fan fiction universe, so far 2015, self has made a few interesting discoveries:

  • The 100 (the book) has NO fan fiction. The TV show has plenty, but they’re mostly Bellarke (Bellamy + Clarke). To which pairing, self can only say: MEH!
  • The Infernal Devices has a few hundred fan fiction, but most are JESSA (Jem + Tessa) which self most decidedly does NOT ship. Self also thinks it is particularly hard to write fan fiction for The Infernal Devices universe because the characters just don’t travel well to modern AU. Can you imagine Will Herondale as a modern college student? No, thank you.

In the Everlark field (in which self has been happily gamboling, for about two years now), the list of stories is exploding. OMG, self has so many faves. Here are a few of her favorite authors (not sure where they’re from or if they’re even American. Self only knows for sure when they say things like, “There is a really good Cuban restaurant in Hoboken, New Jersey . . . ” or “I’m hosting a Hunger Games fan fiction writers meet-up at the March Rodeo in Austin, TX . . . ” Sometimes she’ll even read things like: “Can’t upload now, in the middle of a biology test!”)

The aliases (Of course, in this field, everyone is pretending to be someone else) of her favorite writers are:

arollercoasterthatonlygoesup * atetheredmind * dracoisalooker76 * ImBeautifullyHuman * just-a-dram * Mejhiren * passionately curious * Ronja * titania522

This is only the tip of the iceberg. And there are many fan fiction writers who literally disappear when they’re work goes into the 10,000 kudos range and they take everything down so they can turn it into a published book.

Strangely, self never got into the Harry Potter universe. But ‘s okay. With the number of new stories being posted every day for Everlark, she will never run out of stories to read.

Stay tuned.

2nd Quote of the Day: 3rd Wednesday of August 2015

Self is back to reading Howard Jacobson’s novel, The Act of Love.

Oh, the places this book has traveled!

When she really likes a book, she cannot stand to finish it.

She’s on p. 247, when she encounters this fabulous sentence:

All the men in our family my father’s age had themselves whipped as a matter of course.

After self reads that fabulous sentence, she simply can’t stand to read anymore, so many FEELZ to process, so instead she turns to the books she has lined up to read after she finishes The Act of Love:

  • George Eliot’s Middlemarch
  • Leon Werth’s 33 Days, translated from the French by Austin D. Johnston
  • Richard Norton Taylor’s The New Spymasters: Inside Espionage From the Cold War to Global Terror
  • three books by Ruth Rendell (British mystery writer, one of self’s favorites. She passed away May this year): A Judgment in Stone, Tree of Hands, and A Sight for Sore Eyes

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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