Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 178: Suite Q Lost It

          "I'm just sayin', from a strictly moral standpoint, you probably shouldn't have--"
          "And for the last time," Shorty interrupted me (for the fourteenth--and certainly not last--"last time"), "just because a guy hits on me does NOT automatically make him my boyfriend!"
          "Shorty has a boyfriend?" Betsy asked, walking into the room at the exact right moment.
          I said "Several," at the same time Shorty said "NO," but once again she was laughing too hard to be coherent.
          Betsy took it in stride and threw a pillow at me. "I'm hungry. Wanna go eat?"
          I whacked Shorty with the pillow. "Always. What's in the caf?"
          "Nothing good," Mary muttered under her breath from the other end of the living room (where she was playing one of the Zelda games).
          "Let's go to Dairy Queen!" Rachel proposed.
          "Hmm...yeah, I think I have enough money for that," Shorty said thoughtfully.
          "What, you can't get one of your boyfriends to pay for it for you?" I teased her.
          "RADAR!" Shorty wrested the pillow from me and tried to whack me with it. I relocated to more friendly climates--specifically, right behind Betsy.
          "I'm torn between being flattered that you think I can protect you and being annoyed that you're using me as a shield," Betsy remarked.
          "Go with flattered," I suggested.
          Shorty tossed the pillow to Rachel, who threw it at me and scored a direct hit while I was distracted by Betsy. "YOU HAVE BEEN AVENGED. Seriously, guys, is that a yes on DQ?"
          "I'm the only guy in here," I pointed out. "Hey, does that make me an honorary member of Suite Q?"
          "No," Shorty responded immediately. "And yes, let's go get DQ."
          "Hold on...lemme...yes!" Mary finished whatever game quest thing she was doing, saved her progress, and tossed the controller onto the couch.
          "Suite Q getting DQ," I chuckled and got promptly clobbered by that blasted pillow again.
          We had to make a slight detour on the drive out--Atchison was bisected by a railroad that was guaranteed to have a train on it at the most annoying of times. When we got there, I offered to let the others go first (both as a show of courtesy and partly because I had no idea what I wanted). I also offered to spot anyone who needed it. I was quickly turned down by Shorty, who said something that included the words "not" and "again," but she was giggling too hard for me to actually make it out.
          Suite Q ordered their food pretty quickly and wandered off to find a table. I would've followed sooner, but I got a little hung up on the blizzard choices (TOO MANY TYPES). Once I settled on a compromise (mixing half of the options into one, to the the bemusement of the cashier), I grabbed my drink and headed off to find the girls.
          It wasn't hard. I just followed the uproarious laughter.
          They'd managed to snag the corner booth. I mentally applauded. Then, I noticed something odd--Betsy, Shorty, and Mary were intently studying the center menu thingy that listed all the cakes.
          "Thinking about more dessert?" I asked.
          They ignored me, but some suppressed smiles told me something was up. Oh, geez, was it someone's birthday or something? Rachel looked like she was going to start snickering, but patted the seat next to her. "You can sit next to me," she suggested.
          "Thanks." I plopped my drink on the table and my kiester in the offered spot before looking askance at the others. "Seriously, what's going on?"
          They lost it completely.
          "Shorty, I told you--you should have been the one to do it!" Betsy complained through her giggle fit.
          Shorty whacked her with the menu. "He does NOT need the encouragement! He embarrasses me enough, don't you think?"
          "I thought Rachel did a wonderful job," Mary said, grinning.
          "I just thought of Richard," Rachel laughed.
          "If I may interject a moment..." I raised my hand. The others took one look at my evident confusion and broke down laughing again. I sighed. "Someone want to explain what's going on?"
          "We were trying to mess with you," Betsy explained, not very helpfully.
          "I got that," I muttered. "How, exactly?"
          "Well, we were pretending that we didn't know you," Mary explained, indicating herself, Shorty, and Betsy. "Rachel was pretending to flirt with you."
          "You can sit here," Shorty mimicked Rachel dramatically. "You missed it completely, didn't you?"
          "Well...yeah..." I said, frowning. "That was flirting?"
          "Definitely," Rachel said, shaking her head. "You're hopeless."
          "Was that how you got Richard's attention?" Betsy asked her, referencing Rachel's boyfriend.
          "Of course not!"
          "Y'all are nuts," I declared.
          Mary reached around Betsy to poke Shorty. "You should have been the one to do it. You had the perfect pickup line and everything!"
          She squeaked. "Absolutely not!"
          "I'm curious," I said, raising an eyebrow. "What constitutes the perfect pickup line?"
          Shorty shook her head. "NO. Not telling."
          I looked at Betsy. "Can you tell me?"
          She hesitated, then shook her head. "No, it's way funnier coming from Shorty." She turned to her and gave her puppy-dog eyes. "Pleeeeeeeeze?"
          Shorty shook her head.
          "Imagine his face," Rachel suggested.
          She caved. "Okay, one sec."
          "Go for it," I suggested.
          Shorty composed herself. "For the record, if you ever mention this again, I'll..."
          "Kick my shins?" I guessed.
          "Oh, shut up."
          "No getting distracted by short jokes!" Betsy ordered.
          "And do it the way you did earlier!" Mary pleaded. "It was perfect!"
          Shorty groaned. "I'm trying!"
          "Clearly," I said, going for my root beer. "Everyone, shush! Shorty's concentrating!"
          Suite Q collectively snickered. Shorty gave me an I'm-gonna-kill-you look before smiling sweetly at me. "Hey, a friend of mine always jokes about me having five boyfriends. Wanna make it a sixth?"
          Definitely lost most of that drink out my nose.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 177: Never Sit Next to Me in Movies (Or Anywhere, Really)

          Author's note: I had a disagreement of a historical nature with someone of a short nature--specifically about how much money was owed me due to restaurant-related incidents. I was challenged to provide proof. If there appears to be a lot of Shorty-featured stories coming up, it's because I'm trying to win a bet. Well...succeeding in winning a bet. 

          "I am soo excited for this!" Shorty squeaked, attempting to keep herself somewhat close to the ground. I mean, she was as a default, but she'd been jumping around like a caffeinated frog for the last few minutes. Her decision to switch from body to verbal communication was prompted by a group of people walking up the sidewalk towards the movie theater. I guess she wanted to look "sane" or something.
          I had no such qualms and hopped up on the bench, trying to balance on the back. I fell off. "I'd be more excited if this place wasn't such a cra--"
          "Yeah, it's not the best," Shorty interrupted me hastily before any of the kids/teens (that I had completely missed the advent of) could hear the expletive in progress. (Whoops.) "But it's worth it! I mean, Hunger Games!"
          I snickered. "Whatever, but next time we're going to St. Joseph. Or KC. Or anywhere that has a theater with actual SEATS."
          "What part are you most excited about?"
          That one took me a moment. "I want to see how the archery plays out--and if it's factually correct."
          Shorty nodded approvingly. We were both archers ourselves, so we could pick out the impossible moves from the possible ones pretty easily. "They'd better stay true to the book."
          I shrugged. "Yeah, good luck to that." I nodded to the teens. "Y'all excited?"
          "Oh yes!" one of them said excitedly. "It was such a good book!"
          "Teens still read?" I muttered incredulously under my breath. They didn't hear me, but Shorty sure did--and kicked me in the shin. That was really all the higher she could get.
          "What?" one of the others asked.
          "Nothing!" Shorty said hastily. "He was just being goofy!"
          He eyed us. "You guys dating?"
          We both burst out laughing, which was kind of our default response to such a ludicrous claim. I decided to have a little fun with that this time, though. "Yes, actually--OW!"
          Shorty turned bright red and kicked me. Again. "RADAR! No we're not!"
          "She just shy about i--OW! Will you stop that?" I demanded, hopping back.
          "NO!" she giggled. "You are not dating me!"
          The teens were trying to hold back laughter of their own, with varying degrees of success. "Well, you act like you're dating," one of the girls informed us.
          I chuckled. "We get that a lot." A thought occurred to me.
          Unfortunately, my poker face was slightly less developed than my sense of humor, if such a thing can be believed. Shorty noticed immediately. "What's THAT look for?"
          "Huh? Oh, nothing," I said innocently. "What look?"
          She narrowed her eyes. "Yeah, right. What are you planning?"
          "Oh, look, the door's opening!" I said hastily and made a beeline for the portal. Once inside, I promptly walked straight to the cashier and loudly requested two tickets. Shorty kicked me again and immediately paid me back upon our entry to the actual theater, laughing her rear off the entire time.
          The movie itself wasn't bad. It stayed fairly true to the book, which I appreciated. However, the book wasn't in my top ten, so I decided to enhance the experience with sarcastic comments. ("They should have brought marshmallows on the cart! They could have had s'mores!" "You call that FIGHTING? I've seen better slap fights!") Shorty probably would have punched me if she hadn't been laughing so hard--and trying so hard to keep it quiet.
          She did absolutely lose it at one point though. There was a moment that (I'm sure) was supposed to be very "touching" where the main character's love interest was trying to help her take care of a massive cut on her head. (I won't go into too many spoilers, even though this thing came out YEARS ago.) Anyway, he was being all mushy about it. I had a very low tolerance for mush and could appreciate the stupidity of his first aid attempts, so I leaned over to Shorty--who was wearing her best aww, they're so cute face--and pretended to be the guy, whispering, "Yeah, I love you, so I'm gonna just smear blood all over your face now, 'kay?"
          I won't say that anyone was particularly noisy at that moment in time, but someone definitely got a few looks.
          We decided to have our traditional post-movie discussion/rant dinner over at Dairy Queen. On the way in, Shorty kept giggling about my "lack of ability to appreciate romance" or something to that effect. I shrugged. "Hey, getting someone's face messy isn't romantic. I prefer the practical romantic guestures."
          "Oh, yeah? Like what?" Shorty demanded.
          I marched up to the cash register. "Hi! I'd like a bacon cheeseburger, large combo, and a...hmm...Reese's peanut butter cup blizzard. Oh, and whatever Shorty would like. We're together." I turned back to her. "Like that."
          "MIDWAY!" Shorty squeaked, then considered it. "Okay, admittedly, I walked right into that one. But we are NOT TOGETHER."
          The cashier was looking confused. "So are you on one or not?"
          I said "Yes" at the same time Shorty said "NO!" However, she was laughing too hard to properly enunciate, so I won.
          She did pay me back for that one, though!

          Author's note, part 2: Oh, and she couldn't have been TOO upset about snorting in the theater, since she posted it to Facebook and sent me the archived post when it popped up on her news feed this year. 
          You're welcome. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 176: Unexpected Changes

          Well, this is going to (again) be more of a progress update than anything else. Next time, I'll be back to writing stories again! I promise!
          March ended with an unexpected offer of employment from a company in Minnesota; I was definitely not passing this one up. Within two weeks of accepting, I'd wrapped up in South Dakota, packed all my crap into a trailer, and driven 24 hours almost continuously to move everything to Minnesota. (I had to make several trips.) This coincided with the Easter season, which made scheduling stuff insane. Additionally, I had to make sure I packed in the necessary work on my boat to ensure that I'd be able to use it this summer (restorations can be difficult!) and still try to keep on my publishing schedule for Deadman Switch.
          I probably went a little psycho for about a week there. In retrospect, I probably could have pushed one or more of my self-inflicted deadlines back, but I didn't want to.
          In Minnesota, I started putting a lot of serious interest in working on Deadman Switch. I got the entire book edited, formatted, and ready to go. At the moment, I'm putting the finishing touches on my new author website (and Facebook page, and Twitter feed...), and once that's done...Amazon ho! I'm hoping to have it in the store by the end of next week.
          Further bulletins as events warrant.
          This summer, I plan on finishing my boat and writing all kinds of new and amusing stories about lake shenanigans. Let the fun begin!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 175: Where I've Been

          Howdy, all!
          I know, I know, it's been a while. As I may have mentioned, I've been doing some writing. During the month of January, I got about a quarter of Lost done. During the month of February, I was doing a little house hunting (which is just as much of a time-consuming process as one might imagine) and enjoying the 70+ degree thaw I had. (I RAN TWICE A DAY. OUTSIDE. IT WAS WONDERFUL.)
          March has gone back to the regularly-scheduled crappy weather that I've come to enjoy up here--sarcasm definitely intended. Needless to say, work on Lost kind of exploded. I had a brainwave about where I wanted to go with the novel, then sat down and did an easy five to seven thousand words a day. I finished the entire thing in about two weeks. I think I'm getting calluses on my fingertips!
          Before I start on the third and final book in the Bridgehold trilogy (and edited the heck out of Wayward and Lost), I decided to make the conceptual cover art for the next book. I decided to call it Voidwalker. First up, a little refresher on the first two covers; then I'll post the third at the bottom.
          Yeah, I'm gonna make you scroll.
          Additionally, I'm getting my mystery/suspense novel edited for publishing, and I'll be driving to a few choice cities this weekend to snap some pictures to edit for the cover. Hopefully, Deadman Switch will be published within the next few months! I'll post the cover for that one when I get it done, whenever the heck that is.
          Anyway, once I'm done with those, I'll make an official author website, Facebook page, and write a few more short stories for Maximum Effect. Still haven't decided whether or not to publish my books under my real name or a nom de plume, but I'll figure it out eventually, I guess. I'm also hoping to complete the Bridgehold trilogy this year as well--given my track record of the last few days, I think that's doable.
          I'm making progress!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Captain's Log, Day 174: Update on the Midway Family, 2016 Edition

Merry Christmas from the Midway Family!

Nemesis writing about Radar:
The young Radar Midway’s natural habitat can be found in the urban areas of South Dakota. He can be easily spotted by his considerable height, blue jeans, and the extra layers he wears during the winter season. As we can see, he is quite skilled in using the complex tools of a mechanical engineer, a job that has kept him happily and gainfully occupied for over a year now. His day’s labors completed, he returns to his apartment complex, where his nest is lined with collections of books, shiny computer monitors, and both real and practice weaponry. He may also be found in his recently acquired aquatic nest, a cabin cruiser that he is restoring to become his marine base of operations. If you encounter the Radar Midway out in the wild: smile, remain calm, and use this field guide to engage him in conversation. Remember, he’s more scared of you than you are of him.

Squirrel writing about Quill:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Quill is one talented babe. She has done so much this past year: some highlights include the primary dance role in her college’s production of Brigadoon last winter; charming the patrons at the library where she continues to work; and a flying weekend to visit Nemesis in London for fall break. The highlight of her year, I know, will be graduating summa cum laude – with her BA in English and minor in Communication – from college this December. She’s crazy smart and works incredibly hard, so we’re all pretty excited for her. As far as employment goes, Quill’s been looking into positions in the library sciences field and has some good opportunities to pursue throughout the country. I (selfishly) hope she stays close to home for employment, since she’s the greatest friend and her dance moves are pretty lit. Please keep this happy hamster in your prayers as she starts a new chapter!

Radar writing about Nemesis:
Normally, it’s difficult to write about someone who lives multiple states away; however, this year SOMEONE went to a completely different CONTINENT for several months, which paradoxically makes writing about him easier and makes everyone else in the family super jealous. Nemesis spent the fall semester in Italy, where he visited pretty much everywhere (super cool), did martial arts in the Coliseum (appropriate), and defiled statues with his hat (less appropriate). During the rest of the year, this English-major-turned-traveler helped out with the campus ministry at his college and sold his first short story to a science fiction publication. We’re all looking forward to his first full-length novel, Hiding from the Italian Police Due to Hat-Related Shenanigans.

Quill writing about Squirrel:
                Please, do come in. Welcome to the 2016 Tour of Squirrel Midway’s College Dorm Room. The central focus of this room is Ms. Midway's desk, where she furrows her alabaster brow over Macroeconomics. Practical application of this subject is seen in how she decides the fate of her peers as Student Senator on the college financial committee. The banner on the adjacent wall, reading “#SWAG” refers to her recent theatre debut. In early fall, she was chosen to perform in the college's vaudeville show Theater Physics where she discovered her talent for rapping. If you turn to your right – your other right – you can see her open closet displaying the lovely clothes she wears to her job at a local boutique. As the outfits demonstrate, she is a true gift to fashion-conscious consumers. Thank you very much for coming – you can settle your bill at the door. Tickets are $57.95 apiece; the proceeds will be used toward buying Squirrel a single textbook for next semester.

Mom writing this time: 
This year, my husband and I decided to take the trip we vowed we’d take after all the kids were legal adults and indulge ourselves in a kid-free vacation to Mexico.  We learned that, when necessary, my husband can fix a stubbornly-jammed suitcase handle using the clip from a ballpoint pen, tweezers, two band-aids and some notepaper.  Also, tequila is a staple there, much like pasta in Italy, except that Italians don’t put pasta in their soap.  Feliz navidad!

We all wish you a blessed Christmas and great 2017!