New Featured Story!

Happy February, everyone! I’m pretty stoked about this month because it’s the month I get my new apartment (we get the keys in only three more days!). It’s also a new month, which is always bright and exciting, because it means a new Featured Story from last year’s World Unknown Review.

This month, we’re featuring the second story in the Review, a chilling piece about a haunted music score from Austrian author Russell Proctor called “First Symphony“. Keep an eye out for my interview with Russell in the next few days. This man has experienced quite the interesting life, and it’s been an honor to have him as part of the WUR family.

If you haven’t had the chance to check out last year’s review, the eBook version is less than a buck, so please check it out. The paperback is a bit more, but it’s a pretty neat book to have, if I do say so myself. Russell’s story is just one of many great ones you’ll discover inside. You might even discover a new favorite!

Stressed Out.

“Used to dream of outer space, but now they’re laughing at our face, // Saying, ‘wake up, you need to make money.'”

Lordy lord, I have been crazy stressed out this week. There’s just a lot I’ve been internalizing and a lot going on, and it hasn’t been any fun at all. Even with my attempts to not let it bother me, which has lead to feeling like I’m about to spontaneously explode, a delicate simmer of a nervous breakdown tingling right under my skin, I still had two break-downs at my place of employment, and that’s always fun. February is going to be a rough but interesting month for me, and I just have to survive it and then things will even out.

At least one of my stress factors is resolved, for the time being. This past year has been quite the adventure with my car, which seems to be progressively breaking down, one thing after the other, which, considering I’ve had this car for seven years, isn’t surprising, and the fact that I haven’t had any trouble with it so far is pretty impressive. But the battery died…completely dead, need-a-replacement dead, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t able to afford it with the new apartment expenses, but I crunched some numbers and had a minor heart attack and replaced it anyway, because giving it a charge and making sure to drive it every 12 hours (at least!) was a big pain in my rear and the uncertainty was driving me mad. So there’s at least that.

Now the biggest stress factor is the apartment and the super-duper tight budget we’ll be living by until things get settled. I know this place fell into our laps and if we didn’t take it, it would be gone, but, damn. Of course we wind up with two rents and all the fun costs of moving during the shortest month. At least it will pass, and I’ve almost got my taxes finished with a pretty nice refund and April is a blessed three-paycheck month, so I just have to keep looking forward and eyes on the prize, blah blah blah.

Actually being in the new place is going to help a lot, too. Just one more week! I can’t freaking wait.

What Happened to my Productivity?

So68 on me of you may recall that I’m moving soon, which is both exciting and nerve-wracking because new places cost a lot, y’all. I have a few weeks still (well, one week and three days, but who’s counting?), but I’ve already started the packing process because I have a lot of stuff. A ton of it. Most of it books and notebooks, and although I’m tempted to keep some of them out as if I’m totally going to read 50 books by next Friday, I’m being good and putting everything in boxes for the move.

One of the things I dug into yesterday was a stack of notebooks that I keep in a very particular place as my “To Work On Next” pile. These are all things I’ve gotten about halfway through in the past, previous NaNoWriMo attempts and stories from my really productive period where I was plodding along on about four different books. Because I’m a complete narcissist, I read a few pages of each and was kind of impressed with myself. I have a lot of really decent unfinished work on my hands. I know they’re unfinished because I’m trying to be good and focus on one project at a time, but is this a huge mistake? I wasn’t getting much finished, per se, but I was getting a lot made. And my productivity lately hasn’t nearly been up to snuff.

Case in point, Facebook memories highlight the fact that, at this time last year, I was past page 200 of Heartless. I just hit 68 on Fearless, waaaaaay far behind. So where has all that productivity gone? I’m sure a new place will revitalize it significantly, but part of me is considering going back to my scatter-shot ways of working on several books at once. Whatever I’m doing now just isn’t working for me. And there’s just too many good things in my possession that are only collecting dust.

It doesn’t help that I recently read in an IAmA on reddit by R.L. Stine that he used to kick out 2 books every month back in the 90s. 2 books. Every month. Granted, it was pretty basic YA, but still. I’ve got to kick my butt into gear.

A Free Book that’s worth a whole lot more.

It looks like my buddy Luther M. Siler is offering his book, Searching for Malumba, for free today and tomorrow, and I highly recommend taking advantage of this opportunity. I had the distinct privilege of reading a beta copy of this collection of blog posts about the crazy world of teaching, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. He even used my quote on the back of the print version, where I said something to the effect that it ran the full range of emotions: there are so many laugh-out-loud moments in his teaching adventures, but there are also moments that will make your heart ache for the inequities in the American public school systems, especially for the kids who so often get the worst of it. I still owe him an interview about the damn thing, but, you know…life.

Please check it out! It’s a great, entertaining, hefty read that’s worth way more than what you can get it for today. Or, even better, wait a few days and buy it at regular price to help support a great writer.


Today, I come bearing great and terrifying news. One of my goals for the year was to relocate to a new apartment, just my boyfriend and myself, instead of the frat party bachelor pad we’ve been kicking it for a while. I was projecting for this happen around April, especially since I don’t exactly like the idea of moving during a harsh Chicagoland winter, but, since life rarely listens to things like plans, things occurred that landed us in the pleasant predicament of signing a lease for a charming as hell little studio apartment on the third floor of a building that kind of looks like a castle. It’s a building a drive by nearly every day on my way to work, and I’ve always thought it would be incredible to live there. And on February 5th, I WILL BE.

I’m absolutely stoked, but also a little nervous just because this is happening way too fast for my comfort. I was planning on having a few more month’s worth of income saved up before we took this plunge, but we both fell in love with this place the moment we saw it and the rent is right in our comfort zone. And heating is free, which is perfect going into February. Our current apartment has free heat, too, but the windows are old as fuck and the draftiness kind of negates that; new place has completely brand new windows. And a little fireplace (although it’s not a working fireplace, it’s a great decorative feature). And it’s a corner unit, looking over a very quaint little suburb with a beautiful church across the street and a great little seating bench built right into the sweet corner window. Ahhhhhhh! We couldn’t say no. We couldn’t. A month or two of frugal living while we get back up to speed will be so completely worth it.

Although, of course, just as we make a huge step in life that puts a little bit of stress on the bank account, the cold completely kills my car battery again and I have to deal with that little bit of fun and my own stupidity for not getting it fixed the first time it started dying.

But did I mention it looks kind of like a castle? A CASTLE.

I may be a little excited. Can it be February 5th yet?

I’m the Invisible Man.

So, I finished my first book of the year the other day (yes, technically, it’s a novella, but the copy I have has 200+ pages, so it counts): The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. It is my first H.G. Wells book and hopefully not my last. The man is a sci-fi treasure, and it’s a downright shame I haven’t read any of his works until now.

This review comes with a confession: I don’t know if I actually liked the book. I actually lean towards not liking it much, which I feel very bad about because it’s such a classic. But I went into it with one perspective and got a very different book than I was expecting, and I think that skewed my enjoyment quite a bit. I was expecting dark gothic horror, but it starts out almost comedic, the Invisible Man as sort of a surly intellectual giving the common folk a hard time. I pictured Benny Hill music a few times, and then, all of a sudden, we’re in that gothic novel I expected, as the Invisible Man goes into chapter-long monologues about his intentions and he turns murderous again the townspeople, the prankster suddenly a madman on the run.

It was an odd shift. I never quite got the mood of the book, so it might warrant another read in the future. I liked the sciency parts that make it a sci-fi classic, but it just never really connected with me, and that bugs me because it’s so iconic. But just because something is iconic doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find it good.

Also, it probably didn’t help that I had this stuck in my head the whole time.

Books read: 001/100.

Is WordPress telling me to shut up?

Lately, I’ve been running into some problems with WordPress whenever I try to make a longer post. I don’t know if it’s WP itself or it’s just my incredibly outdated and often slow laptop, but it always freezing up when I hits around 400 words. Has anyone else been experiencing anything like that? Or do I just need to cease being so verbose and keep my posts neatly under 350 words (for a little buffer space).

Apparently, I just have a lot to say about The Invisible Man, my almost finished post that I can work on about one word at a time, so maybe it’ll be done by the end of the week, because who has time for that?

I just can’t write short posts, though. I feel like I’m shortchanging people. So have a little bit of an update: I’m chugging along nicely with The Slayer Saga: Fearless, though I’m way behind where I was last year. I’m almost finished with the tentatively titled “Ursula,” which will be my submission for this season’s The First Line, and I’m waiting patiently for February and the arrival of the new issue of Ghostlight, which will include my short story “Spring Thaw.”

There, WordPress. Is that short enough for ya?