So it’s just over a month until Phoenix Comicon, the biggest geek convention in my state. I planned on revisiting my River Song cosplay (if you don’t know who River Song is, I’m sorry…I’m so, so sorry), but since my hair is shock straight and hers is wildly curly, last time I wore a wig.

The wig got kindamaybesorta really ruined during the haphazard construction they were doing on my old apartment, so there’s sheet rock dust and fiberglass all in it, and I’m not sure I can wash & re-style it in time for the con. Hell, I’m not even sure I can style it at all (why else buy a wig?).

My new plan is to try something called “rag rolling,” which I found a tutorial for on Pinterest. I’ve already cut a crapton of rags from an old sheet; the next step is to try it out. Since I don’t currently have any curl mousse (or any hair product beyond basic shampoo and condidtioner), I’m going to try it out today with just regular wet hair and see how it turns out. Worst thing: nothing happens, and I wait until I can get some styling products to try it again.

What’s this? A food review?

That’s right, I’m not writing about writing this time. Instead, I’m trying my hand at a food review.

Do you have a #TexasRoadhouse near you? Do you love chicken? How about sautéed onions? Well, get your ass to Texas Roadhouse and order the smothered chicken breast!

It also comes with sautéed mushrooms, but I’m not a big mushroom fan. They give you the option of jack cheese or gravy, and while I can’t attest to the taste of their gravy, the jack cheese goes perfectly with the sautéed onions.

I finished the whole thing, and anyone who knows me will tell you what a picky eater I am. I refuse to eat any fat or gristle (or anything remotely resembling fat or gristle), and this chicken was both delightfully juicy and delightfully free of fat and gristle.

So go find a Texas Roadhouse. Order the smothered chicken breast. Then go home full and happy.

Flash Fiction Friday

Off to Market

AJ Mullican

Elise stared up at the building that her husband Bill wanted to buy, shuddering at the amount of time and money it would take to fix up. Why was he obsessed with this old hotel? He was a computer engineer, not a businessman.

Maria, the real estate agent who had called them to look at the property, smiled wide, showing brilliant white teeth. “Isn’t she just adorable? A little fresh paint and some new window panes and she’ll just glow.” Her shiny black pumps clicked on the cobblestone walkway leading to the front door. Elise didn’t know how she could walk in those things without tripping on one of the many loose stones.

Grinning from ear to ear, Bill followed her with the eagerness of a puppy that didn’t know his car ride would lead him to the vet. Elise was a little more hesitant, but she trailed along behind them, eyes darting in all directions. A little paint? she thought, wrinkling her nose at the notion that a little paint could do anything for this building. The stone walls, though not so bad as to be crumbling, were stained with decades of weather.

They spent hours in the decrepit old building, every creak and groan and echo making Elise jump. Maria simply laughed and told her that it was just the building settling. Settling? Not only was that more than a tad condescending, Elise was pretty sure the hotel had been vacant long enough to have finished “settling.”

Bill asked about how many rooms the hotel had, how much it would take to restore the ancient elevator with the sliding gate, what they could expect to be able to charge for renting rooms to travelers. This area of Connecticut was infamous for its haunted buildings so it was reasonable to assume that they could charge a little more for the thrill of staying in a haunted hotel, though Maria assured them that there had been no mysterious deaths in this hotel. Elise still felt like she was being watched by unseen eyes.

Something moved out of the corner of Elise’s eye, and she stopped to look back into the hallway they’d just passed. Nothing was there.

She turned back around to discover that Bill and Maria had kept walking without her, and now she couldn’t see them in the darkened building. “Bill!” she called out. “Maria!” No reply.

`           Elise hurried off in the direction they’d gone, hoping to catch up with them. She’s just reached a dead end in the hallway when she heard it: a bloodcurdling scream. A man’s scream. “Bill!”

Running back the way she came, she craned her neck at each corner, trying to find her husband. She ran for what seemed like forever, upstairs and down, searching each room and corridor, until she reached the door to the back gardens. Elise came to a screeching halt when she saw the gruesome sculpture on the overgrown lawn.

The sculpture was rendered in some sort of metal. It had the vague shape of a children’s jungle gym, except for one glaring difference.

Instead of bars, it had skeletons. Twisted, mangled, tortured skeletons.

“Bill?” she whispered. “Are you guys out here?” She tiptoed around the sculpture, as though she might wake the metal bodies if she was too loud.

“E-elise….” The voice was Bill’s, but it was faint. It came from the other side of the sculpture, so Elise hurried to finish her circuit. When she saw Bill, she screamed.

Bill’s body was bent in unnatural angles, the hands of the skeletons holding him down. Blood trailed from the corner of his mouth, though Elise couldn’t see where he was hurt. “Oh, Bill,” she said. “I’ll try to get you out of there.” She reached out to tug at his arm, but one of the skeleton’s metal hands shot out, trying to grab her. She screamed and jerked back just in time to avoid getting caught.

“Run, Elise,” Bill said, he voice hoarse and weak. “Just run.”

Elise trembled as she stood just outside of the skeletons’ reach. “I-I can’t just leave you, Bill.”

“Ruh…ruh…ruuuuunnnnn….” Bill shuddered as the last breath left his body. Right before Elise’s eyes, Bill’s body began decaying, revealing metallic bones beneath the skin. Elise let out a bloodcurdling scream, frozen for a brief second by the shock of what she’d just seen.

She ran straight through the first floor of the hotel, feet pounding through the lobby. When she got to their car, she dug through her purse to find her cell phone. First she tried calling 9-1-1.

“Nine *sssshhht* one, what is *sskrrrr* your emergen-*skreeeeee*”

“Damnit!” Elise pressed the disconnect button. “Stupid cell signal.” She tried a different number.

“Collington Real Estate, this is Philip. How may I help you?”

By this point, Elise was shaking violently. “This is Elise Miller and your agent Maria left my husband alone at this stupid hotel property and now he’s dead and I can’t get 9-1-1 on the phone and I need you to get someone out here now!”

“Ma’am, to what hotel property are you referring?” Philip asked.

She stamped her foot in frustration. “The only hotel property you have for sale! The Rosewood hotel! Maria called us and met us here today and she left us alone and my husband got caught up in that horrific statue in the back and—“

Philip cut her off. “Ma’am, if this is a joke I’m afraid it’s not a very good one. Yes, Rosewood is our property, but it is not currently on the market, nor for that matter do we have an agent named Maria. Please do not call us again.” With that, he promptly hung up.

“Mrs. Miller?”

Maria’s voice startled Elise, causing her to jump and drop her phone. She hadn’t heard Maria’s heels on the walk. She turned around with the intention of yelling at her, but screamed instead.

It was Maria’s crisp business suit and shiny black heels, but it wasn’t Maria inside them. A metal skeleton grinned an empty grin at her. “My dear, you can’t leave without seeing the gardens in the back.”

Technologically impaired

Four hundred words, lost to time…and Dropbox.

I managed to make them up (and then some) but it was frustrating to lose that writing because of a technical glitch. I guess it worked out, though, because I don’t remember writing a character walking into the scene and he needed to be there. I also added six hundred new words, and progressed the plot to a point where it’s getting close to the end 🙂

There are still a few more chapters at least, but I’m excited to be nearing the end of the first draft. And recently I’ve learned that I’m not the only author who ends up with a low word count for the first draft. This gives me a little extra boost of confidence that I’ll still be able to turn this into a full length novel by the time I’m done with revisions and redrafts and edits and the like.


As I look at my word counts, I worry that my novel will end up being a novella despite my efforts.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be obsessed with word counts until I’ve gotten a couple drafts under my belt and cannot add any more story to the story. It still sucks, though.

I am truly enjoying this story and the process of writing it. I think it’s flowing well and even I can’t wait to see how the end turns out (I already know, of course, but I want to see it in writing lol). It’s kind of exciting to see scenes and chapters that have been brewing in my mind for over a year come to life on the screen, crappy word count or no.

Perhaps I should aim for a novella, and then I’ll be pleasantly surprised when it becomes a full-fledged novel. Besides, a novella isn’t so bad. There are plenty of them out there, and I’ve already surpassed my longest story by tens of thousands of words.

It’s a good story (I think, anyway). I should focus on that: putting out a good story. I’ll worry about categorizing it later.

To sleep, perchance to write

I have been so tired lately. If I’m not working, I’m fighting to stay awake…often a losing battle. I still manage to get some writing in, though, thanks to my strange tendency to wake up extremely early for no good reason.

For someone who used to be a night owl, I suddenly find myself going to bed early and waking before the sun. These early morning hours, before it’s time to get ready for work or run errands, seem to be my most productive writing times. I still am grateful to now have a working keyboard for my tablet so I can utilize lunch time at work for writing (or, as is the case right now, I can write while reclining beneath a pile of blankets without a cumbersome laptop weighing me down), but the mornings win hands down in the productivity department.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much; if I’m making progress, I’m making progress. I just wish it didn’t cause me to be so exhausted the rest of the time.

Let the Words Flow

I think I’m almost to the point of making more forward progression rather than adding to previous chapters. At least for now.

My main character is about to team up with someone who can help her stop the Big Bad Guy. Will they be able to? I’m not going to tell, other than to say that I don’t necessarily write happy endings.

I might let things work out for our intrepid characters, but considering that the ending has already decided itself for me, I make no promises. I only promise to do my best to make a good story.

Into the Mist

Into the Mist

AJ Mullican


He kept his head down as he walked, eyes on the sidewalk. He’d taken this route to school many times, but the fog obscured his vision to all sides. Trusting the sidewalk to guide him was the only way to avoid getting lost. This stretch of concrete led from his house straight to the school. No way to get turned around in the fog if he just kept his eyes on the sidewalk.

After what seemed like an hour, he began to get concerned. He should have reached the school long ago. He risked a second to look up, but still saw nothing but fog in any direction. Deciding that the fog was also messing with his sense of time, he forged onward, eyes on the ground in front of him. Just follow the sidewalk, he told himself. Can’t get lost if he follows the sidewalk.

A low, rumbling noise off to the left made him jump. At first he thought it was a passing car, but then he recognized it for what it was: a growl. Did the Hendersons’ dog get out again?

The Hendersons’ dog didn’t scare him, so he kept walking. Without warning, the sidewalk ended. Had he passed the school? No, he couldn’t have; the sidewalk had a distinctive turn at the entrance to the school parking lot. There’s no way he could have missed it, even in this dense fog.

Then he heard it again. The growl. This time lower, deeper. Closer. Damn those Hendersons.

He turned back to retrace his steps and find the school, only to discover that the sidewalk was gone. He now stood in a damp patch of mud and roots, surrounded by fog. There was no forest in their little suburb…. Where was he?

The growling grew closer, accompanied by more feral sounds. Whatever was out there, it wasn’t just the Hendersons’ dog. A shiver that had nothing to do with the cold of the fog trickled down his spine.


Later that day, the news reported an unknown boy’s body found deep in the woods three towns away.

The weather report for the area had been clear and sunny.


I apologize for missing a couple of days. Normally I try to have something to post at least every other day, but I didn’t really have enough hours in the day Thursday and yesterday,

Believe it or not, I actually socialized. Two days in a row!!! I know, right? Unbelievable.

Thursday after dinner I went to a friend’s place and we hung out for a couple of hours, mostly just talking about current art and/or writing projects we had going on. It was a total blast 🙂

Last night was a small get-together for coworkers who were leaving. It sucks when people leave, but those of us who showed up had a good time & it was great to get out of the apartment for “girl time.”

It’s back to “work” now, though. I have to keep #writing away. I’ve got a thought in my head for a chapter or scene I need to add, but I’m having trouble figuring out where to work it in. It’s something I shouldn’t have left out, so we’ll see how many hours of staring at the screen it takes before I find the perfect place to add it in.

Back in the swing of things

After taking some time off to ponder the next move on my #novel, I added about 500 words this morning. It’s not much, but I have a new tablet keyboard now which will make it even easier to write on the go.

I still need to beef up some of the chapters, but I’m getting more and more confident that I’ll be able to do that more easily now. With the time I’ve spend brainstorming, I think I’ve got plenty of new ideas that will ultimately make the story better. It’s exciting, in a nerdy kind of way.

From the input I’ve received from the one person who has read a few chapters (I know, I know, you’re not supposed to have Alpha readers until you have a completed draft to read), I’m heading in the right direction. She’s already hooked and wants to see more, but I have to tweak the next bit before I let her have more of a teaser. 😉