Crime Fighting and Other Stuff I’ve Been Doing

Been a while, huh? 2019 is almost over, and while it went fast, it was a pretty overwhelming year. Lots of shit happening in my writing world and my personal world. My writing has slowed down, but I’m still finishing enough projects to satisfy that inner lunatic. Problem is, I’m not subbing as much, which is frustrating. I’ll fix that. Promise.

Well, what’s new? We still have too many pets and they suck a lot of the time I’d rather be writing away from me. However, they’re totally worth it.

… most of the time.

In September, Unnerving released my brutal family saga, THE ONE YOU FEED. (PS: Still looking for reviewers, so, you know, if you want a copy, just contact me). In October, my short horror story, BROKEN, was included in Aphotic Realm’s Halloween issue. That’s a pretty cool read (the whole issue, I mean) so you guys should check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

And I don’t think I have anything else coming out in 2019. Sometimes I forget things, but I keep spreadsheets, so I’m pretty sure that this is correct. I have a story, VIRTUAL HEALING, which is supposed to be coming out in Lycan Valley Publications’ GAME OVER: BLACK BOOK SERIES VOLUME 3, but there’s no release date on that yet, still, so I’ll let you know when I know.

Now, 2020 is looking to be a good year already. Hope I didn’t jinx myself.

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On January 23rd, you can pick up a copy of MIDNIGHT EXHIBIT: VOLUME 1, which is a collection of stories by me, Stephen Graham Jones and Philip Fracassi. You can’t see my face as I write this, but believe me, I’m THRILLED to be included in anything with such amazing talent. I’m still a wee bit giddy. Hopefully, my story is at least close to as good as theirs. And check out this cover. I mean… LOOK AT IT.

Midnight Exhibit

On July 23rd, BLOOD LAKE MONSTER, a novella I submitted to Unnerving’s Rewind or Die series, will be released. I loved everything about this project. It was fun to write and mostly fun to edit. I hope it’s as entertaining and disturbing as I think it is. Also, you guys SERIOUSLY need to check out that entire series (link above). So many awesome titles coming out this year from amazing authors.

I’m hoping to release other bits and pieces somewhere between, but we’ll see. I’m working on a sort of secret project that, if I’m able to pull it off, will result in a sort of series of short stories that share a setting and a few characters. It’ll have an 80’s/90’s slasher flavor, with dashes of humor and, yes, sex (Did you expect anything less from me?). When I know more on that, you shall know more.

In personal news, recently I was looking for something to get the kids interested in. Something to drag them out of their rooms for a little while each day. A hobby, if you will. In the end, they’re still in their rooms and I got a new hobby, because you should never have just one creative thing on the go. What is it? Candle making. Well, candle making and bath products (soap, lotion, etc.). It’s crazy, but I find the process of making this stuff almost therapeutic. Bonus side effect: I’m working stories out in my head as I work, so it’s also helped my writing productivity. The only problem is, I’ve now got a shit ton of stuff that I’m never going to use, because there’s just so much of it. I can’t give it all away. I’ve tried, but there’s SO MUCH. So, I’m thinking side business? We’ll see. I’m working on scents for these products that work in the horror/writer world, like one that smells of books, wood and cozy corners (think old library or bookstore), and one that brings a certain detective to mind (think cigarettes, whiskey, rich old wood, etc.; things you’d find in a detective’s thinking cave… or a writer’s cave… oooh!), and of course, horror themed scents, like psycho (a blend of pleasing and unexpected scents that keep you slightly off-kilter), a certain camp where people die, or a dark forest. I’ll let you know if they work out and I’ll probably try to sell them to you.

I almost forgot that I’m working on a new book. It’s still in planning stages, although I have a few thousand words written. Let me give you a bit of back story on that. I’m an assistant manager at a grocery store in a small town. My shifts vary, but I always have the Friday night and Sunday shifts. I’m not sure why, but those shifts are never uneventful.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was stalking a suspected shoplifter through the store. She sometimes comes in walking, and sometimes she’s in one of those motorized wheelchairs. A lot of folks around here scoot around on those, even when they don’t need it. DUI, be damned! They still got wheels. Anyway, so we knew she liked to put shit in a bag she hung off the chair, and no one asked her to look in said bag. We can’t unless we see her put shit in or we see it in there and she leaves without paying for it. This time I did see her, and I did ask what’s in the bag, and she actually showed me. Two packs of cheese, some hot dogs and something else I can’t recall. Anyway, I can only imagine how it feels to catch a serial killer, because I was so FUCKING THRILLED to catch a lowly shoplifter, I couldn’t even deal with myself. She claimed to have purchased said items at the store across the road. Now, I know and she knows that store doesn’t sell these items, so I called her bluff, and the other store, to prove it. She then said (while I was on the phone confirming her lie) “I gotta go to the dollar store,” (it’s 9pm and that store closes at 6), and off she speeds on her chair. I didn’t know those things could move so fast, but by the time I got out the door to tell her not to come back, she was speeding around the corner. Now, this woman is rumored to have a fondness for crack, but I’m not sure if that’s true. I do know she has crazy eyes and I was a wee bit afraid she might lose her shit. Okay, I was kind of hoping she would. Entertainment is important on a Friday closing shift, all right? Don’t judge me.

Anyway, the point is, I see and hear a lot of weird shit at work. There’s a guy who stuffs eggs in his pants. Not cartons of eggs. Individual eggs. This guy also hoards recyclables (not sure why) and has a bit of a rage issue. He wears pajamas ALL THE TIME. Another guy stuffs meat down his pants. Usually it’s chicken wieners or bologna, but we’re pretty sure he’s taken the $5 club packs of lunch meat as well. Those are bulky. I know, what’s up with the pants stuffing, right? This guy smells like old shit and body odor, has about four teeth, and likes to hit on the teenage cashiers. We have a guy who is obsessed with conspiracies and he likes to come in, corner one of the stock boys or cashiers and rant about the latest thing about to bring about Armageddon. He even has pages to give out with his website and a bit of “information” to get you hooked. Apparently, we came from aliens and our “ancestors” are going to return any day now and some of us won’t survive what comes next, because we fucked up. I don’t know. I really don’t know.

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Another guy steals bacon every Sunday and brags about it to his buddies at the bar. Working on catching him. Nobody steals the bacon, bitch. It’s expensive.

There’s so much more, but we don’t have all day, so I’ll leave it there. I’m a crime fighter. That’s the important thing to remember. We also get all the gossip at work. Customers know so many dirty things. I don’t know where to start, so I’ll save it for the book. Sometimes, my coworkers and I discuss said weird shit, and we like to play a little game of “what’s that guy really up to?” Basically, we just spitball potential backstories for the whack-jobs. Anyway, they keep saying, “Renee! That should be a book.” So, it might be. I’m not sure. We’ll see. That’s how CATS LIKE CREAM came to be, so you never know. This could be amazing.

So, now, as the new year approaches (I know it’s only November), I’m thinking about what needs to change and where I hope to be by 2021. Same old shit, right? This year, I’m actually in a good place. I’m a little anxious, but the only way I’d have no anxiety is if I were dead, so I’m cool with a little angst. I’m not making resolutions. My only goal is to continue moving forward in my writing/publishing, and to keep the amount of animals in our zoo to its current number, which is 9, not counting the humans. I think that’s doable.

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