Llama Do the Thing…

So this  popped up in my FB newsfeed, shared by a friend.

My question is, can I rent llamas (or alpacas?) just, you know, because? Without the pesky nuptials? I’d say I was asking for a friend, but we ALL know that I want to take them to a Magic tournament or  the Farmers Market or Sonic or something.

Podcast People

Exciting things are on the horizon!

I have mentioned before that I am in a writing group. Well, a few of us from that group (but wholly separate from that group) have been working on a podcast idea. Today, we went into the recording studio and put the first one “in the can.” That’s professional radio parlance.

The show is called Write the Big Idea, and it’s about key concepts that can / do appear in speculative fiction and how to use them in your own writing.  The first episode  will air sometime in the next couple of months.

We’re really fortunate in that one of our team members – Mark – works for a radio station and has access to a studio. Plus he’s been in the broadcast business for pretty much his entire career, and he is CRAZY good at this stuff.  He’s also a walking encyclopedia of all things horror, so he’s our cryptkeeper type.

Joe was a philosophy major and is way knowledgeable about sci-fi. He can talk about the craft from a number of thematic angles, as well as just having read a TON in his genre.

Me? I’m the fantasy girl. I may or may not be on the national (America) and world record boards for Discworld trivia in QuizUp, and I am a Tolkien fanatic. Plus I like to read other stuff too, and I have a BA in English (lit and comp) and an MA in writing popular fiction with an emphasis in spec fic – so…credentials.  And stuff.

The team is rounded out by Rambo (his real last name), who is a super comic book nerd, an actual doctor (DVM), and also a brilliant spec-fic / comedy writer.

The four of us had a BLAST today recording the show!

Our first topic is Families Who Kill, with the inspiration coming from local-ish events. We cover that main story and talk about how it relates to history and philosophy and sociology, discuss seminal works in the spec fic genres, and then explain how writers can make use of the concept and its inherent themes.  We even provide a writing  prompt at the end – and we hope people share their stories with us! SO COOL!

You can check out information about our group for now on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WritetheBigIdea. We’ll have a website up and running soon as well (because FB is just not really a thing anymore – which I keep TRYING to explain to my colleagues!).

You can also follow the team on Twitter:
Me: @OneCriticalMiss
Joe: @JosephWBaricJr
Mark: @FontOfFear
Rambo: @Writezilla
Podcast: @WriteTheBigIdea

Watch for updates about this – and other fun things – here!


One Girl’s Opinion

I got a phone call from my parents after the last round of cleaning:
Mom: Did you label a box in the garage “Stupid crap they wouldn’t let me throw away”?
Me: ….that doesn’t sound like something I’d do.
Mom: Laura.
Me: What? You guys labeled a box containing a flip phone with a pull-up antenna, a something MEGABYTE SD card, a coily extension cord for a wall phone, a comb(?!), a camera that requires flash cubes, a modem, a portable cassette player, and mouse with a BALL “Useful Electronics.” I feel like I have the moral high ground here.

Serial Killers or Hoarders?

I feel like that should be a reality show.

You go through a family’s house and see what you find – you just show the audience and let them vote on whether they think they’re serial killers or hoarders. Because sometimes those are the only two logical options.

I was helping my parents clean up again – more basement / garage stuff.

First, I found a lock of hair tied with a faded ribbon in the bottom of an otherwise empty oldey-timey briefcase.

Next, I found a box labeled “doll parts” sitting next to a machete. A FOR-REALSIES machete!

I looked at my dad, holding the blade aloft, saying “For the vast jungles of Independence?”

Dad laughed and said “No. I just needed it.”

…that was not comforting.

“Needed it?”


“….NO. What does that MEAN? Dude, I’m about two seconds from calling – is that guy still doing unsolved mysteries? Imma call him.”

My dad said “Lauraliz, it was for a costume.”

“…I don’t think you’d lure anyone into your van wearing this.  You need a better costume. And chloroform. Where is THAT box?”


Master Debater

So I was in high school debate for four years. And I cannot tell ONE MALE PERSON that without getting the question “were you a master debater?”  Not one. Not ever.

And for the record, yes. I was really good. I earned a Triple Ruby at the time, though I had enough points that when they did the big conversion to a new system I’d actually have been a Quad Ruby.  So……you can, you know, be impressed. Or something.


Occasionally I go back and judge tournaments. Because I can and because they need good judges and because it’s kinda fun.

But. BUT. It also means hanging out with other former debaters. And let’s be clear – WE ARE TERRIBLE.  I mean, just really really insufferable.  We were the WORST when we were self-congratulatory, too-clever-by-half teen assholes quoting Kant and Maslow and Nitezsche. Imagine that, but all grown up – and in many cases, NOT having become an attorney or whatever. In my case – well, I’m not bad. I’m successful (by a certain value of success – good job, own my home, uhm…I have a dog….you know) and relatively well-adjusted. Not everyone gets there.

So I was sitting in the Hospitality Suite, and I recorded some of the nonsense spouted by my fellow ex-debaters.

“I’m a writer at the moment. I was living in Turkey. You know how it is. Now I’m trying to join the military, but there are some impediments to that…”

“I was going to go to law school, but you HAVE to take the LSATs…”

“It’s hard to get a career started when you keep getting fired, you know?!”

Sigh. I kind of hate us.

Origin Story

Dunno if I’ve mentioned it before, but my dad collects rare books. And coins. And stamps. And gaming materials. And…..just stuff.  Mom collects yarn and needlecraft supplies and – look their basement is full of boxes of junk.

So they had a plumbing problem a month or so ago.  That led to another plumbing problem created by the plumbers who went out to fix the first problem. Yet a third plumbing problem – which was now a disaster – resulted from that attempt at a fix.

They finally called me almost a week after all the plumbing stuff.

First, I forbade them to ever use that plumber again – and no, I didn’t care that the company was owned by some kid my mom taught once when she worked at the school.  Next I drove out there to assess the damage.

The water had seeped up through the carpet into boxes that held some of Dad’s books, which had caused those to fall over, sending more books into the water – you get the idea. It was a mess. But I vowed to help them clean stuff up and re-box everything and set it up so that it would be less likely to happen again.  I’ve been going out there once a week on Saturdays for just that.

I’m going to catalog some of the things I find. Because……you’ll see. Basically, I think that the experience will help shed light on the dark carnival that spawned the person I am today.

For example:

Dad: Do we want this box of vhs tapes and cassettes?
Me: No.
Dad: they’re store-bought.
Me: No.
Dad: Bobbie, are you going to fight us on this?
Me: No, she’s not. *covers mom’s mouth* ‘throw them away, Chuck.’
Mom: I want to give them to a woman at work!
Me: unless she has a time machine or just got here from 1987, she doesn’t want them!
Mom: Its for in her car.
Me: …. She better drive a DeLorean.

A Balrog’s Bargain

I stopped in at a bakery the other day to get a couple of desserty things. As I was paying, the girl asked me if I wanted to try the Southern Pecan bar samples – and OF COURSE I said “YES!” I had just popped it in my mouth when she pointed at my shirt and said “Oh! Is that Lord of the Rings?” I nodded and made an affirmative sort of noise.

Holy cow was this pecan bar good!

Then she says “Yeah, I thought so. It’s that elf guy, right?”

I again nodded and smiled and made a noise – both because she was right and because the caramelly, nutty yumminess was amazing. Then she said “Yeah! Thorin…din? Legolas’ brother.”

I stopped chewing, my mouth suddenly full of ashy sadness. I now had to either keep eating this delightful confection and let her wrongess stand, or… I took the only real action open to me. I swallowed. “Thranduil. Elvenking. Ruler of Greenwood the Great. Legolas’ dad. Uhm….thanks.” I took another sample.

Here’s the shirt, if you’re curious: http://www.teefury.com/king-in-the-woodland-realm