gucklesMy love of pickles is not a secret (deal with it Nate). I have always loved them. Forever. Period. And as I giggled at my little Raynebow munching on one the other day, my mind went off into a whirlwind of thoughts regarding the little green treasures that excuse cucumbers for their existence.

I have been known to get just a pickle when the work crew orders from the local sandwich shop, and the delivery guy knows exactly who that for and smiles at my child-like joy. When I was a teen, my brother called them guckles (he was a toddler at the time). Not sure why. He could say “p” but in this instance, he preferred his own word for the happy dill treat. And going back even further, when I was six, my mother bribed me with pickles.

Yes, bribed.

And that’s where the whirlwind stopped.

My mother used to stop on the way home from work at some mysterious place and bring home ginormous pickles, individually wrapped just for me by a group of fairies living near the dill tree in the woods. Hmm… I was six. I believed this. She would then show me said pickle and put it in the fridge and tell me I could have it if I would just be a doll and rub her back (and/or feet) for a few minutes. I was the youngest masseuse to ever work without a license! And I had a lot of fairy-wrapped giant pickles Monday through Friday that year.

And looking back now, as an adult, the woman was brilliant! It wasn’t even about the pickles. It had nothing to do with getting tiny masseuse to work on her kinks. Nope. It was her walking in the door and being able to plot on the couch and just be still and quiet and let the day melt off her for 20 minutes. It was mommy time, not pickle time. Brilliant. Kudos to the woman I often refer to, with love, as crazy (what? she is!).

So here’s a fun wayback-machine question for you… thinking back now as an adult, did your parents ever trick you into something for “you” that was really for them? How brilliantly evil were they?



twitterdudesThe internet is a strange strange thing. Social media makes it even stranger. You can plan and plot how to expose something new and get no buzz. You can ask a question you really want to know the answer to and get nothing. And then you can say something completely random and your feed explodes. Makes. No. Sense.

So welcome to No Sense Thursday.

Today’s question: what makes your feed trend? What bizarre thing can you discuss, question, or otherwise mention that gets the most feedback, responses and attention? Because it isn’t what you want it to be. I’ve been watching everyone’s feed and have learned, it rarely is. Examples you say? Why certainly… (and yes, please, feel free to follow anyone I may mention in this particular blog)

My personal favorite for the week — saw this the other day, and it sums this up perfectly.  @steveniles (Steve Niles) summed it up well with “I say ‘good morning’ and lose three followers. I’ll try ‘fuck you’ tomorrow and see what happens.”

@marysangiovanni (Mary SanGiovanni) twittered a cthulu emoticon /\(;,,;)/\ and it was the number one most re-tweeted thing she’s ever posted. Also popular are her tweets regarding cannibalism and NJ traffic… she writes books she’d like you care about too =)

@natesouthard (Nate Southard) has random squawks of pointless rage get the most response. He’s declared this is either a terrible commentary on the population or the golden secret of working in the horror small press—take your pick.

@Nukegumby (Michael Huyck) has a wide range of popular tweets, from funny to sarcastic to accidentally motivational. Yes, accidentally motivational. No rhyme. No reason.

@bobford (Robert Ford) can say something truly horrific about midgets and gains followers—if I said the same thing I would not only lose followers, I would get hate mail (justifiably so). He proclaims hatred of all things Michigan while driving through there and gains followers. I say it’s cold and lose 10.

@DaveThomas76 (Dave Thomas) past a lot of things, but if it’s about booze (aka: “Is it too early to drink scotch?” or “Martinis: so much more than a breakfast drink”), people always seem to chime right in. He wonders if his followers are functioning alkies too =)

me @kelli_owen ? Yeah… I post comments about the dayjob, my books, crazy news tidbits… mostly to my following of loyal crickets. But the moment I say anything remotely lesbian or sexual in general, especially to one of my female friends, I’ve got everyone’s attention.

It’s strange. What will grab someone’s attention is so bizarre. Anger, humor, cruelty — very popular. So, the question is… What strange non-important topic do YOU twitter about that makes your feed explode? As an experiment, feel free to answer here, but also and more importantly, answer in twitter by posting a link to this (or just retweet the tweet that got you here) and hashtag your answer in the tweet if possible. It will be like a meme and a hashtag had an illegitimate lovechild…  (feel free to copy and paste this and fill in the blank)

RT: @kelli_owen Fun Blog: #trending http://wp.me/p2tbLH-X5  answer: #_______



Let’s Get Dad a Tank For Christmas

iwanttobelieveel4This post has nothing to do with my dad, Christmas, or a tank. And only a little to do with the X-files’ poster and UFOs.  Of course, it’s not about LOLcats either — which is good — so please, no throwing tomatoes at the screen.

It’s about conspiracies. Or rather, the theories that abound — even more so now that we have the internet to help propagate paranoia, supposition, and false information.

See, there’s been a lot of television programming in my house lately that leans toward the strange, the bizarre, the unspoken, hidden, or otherwise secretive. Ancient Aliens, America Unearthed, Mysteries at the Museum, etc.—from ancient alien theorists (drink!) to secret cults and strange NSA data centers. It was that last bit that inspired the title for the blog. After watching a piece on the information stored by the government, there was a discussion about how they decide what’s dangerous and what’s just a conversation. I’ve joked about getting my dad a tank for the front yard for years. I’ve told him a couple times that I’ve found one online but he wasn’t getting it because the shipping would cost a college fund. But does the NSA know that I’m actually talking about a real tank, for my actual dad, for the holiday known as Christmas? Or do they think it’s some bizarre code, like “dad” is really the president, and “tank” is really some weapon or plan or something. Who knows. I once checked out the wrong combination of books from the library and called the FBI in the same week and ended up with a dark sedan with tinted windows outside the house for a month or so. Anything is possible. But this particular show spurred a fun conversation and google search, which then led to Bob Ford being a trouble maker and suggesting I google certain things just to see how fast the NSA shows up at the door—I chose not to follow his suggestion.

Now, I watch all those shows. I’m intrigued by what they’re investigating more than I am what they’re proposing. I make fun of them on occasion for jumping the shark and have turned a couple of them into drinking games, but I enjoy them at the same time. I don’t necessarily believe the conclusions they come to, but I like that they open the topics up for debate, discussions, and insane theories of my own. I’m not what you would call a conspiracy theorist, I’m more a curious pain in the ass (just ask the priests back at catholic school… they “loved” my million and two questions they couldn’t answer).

Some of the top conspiracy theories on google are:

  1. New World Order – group of international elites controls and manipulates governments, industry & media worldwide
  2. Lee Harvey Oswald either didn’t act alone or didn’t do it at all
  3. Marilyn Monroe was killed by the Kennedys
  4. Cancer has been cured but costs less than treatment so they won’t release it
  5. 9/11 was either done by our own government or covered up by it
  6. Elvis (and Tupac for that matter) is not dead
  7. The moon landing was a hoax and all those pictures were taken right here on earth in a studio
  8. Area 51 – ’nuff said

So, since I still haven’t found an actual tank for dad at a reasonable price with shipping included, and it’s Monday rather than Thursday and therefore my strange behavior could be a conspiracy of its own, let’s toss out the question you knew I was going to ask way up at the first mention of the NSA… What’s your “favorite” conspiracy theory. Now, of course I use the word “favorite” with caution, much like “who’s your favorite serial killer?” No one really likes serial killers—when you say that you actually mean “which one intrigues you the most, or you study the most, or you find the most bizarre, etc.”.

Explanations and examples aside… my answer? I’m a huge, will-watch-anything-at-all-to-do-with the Freemasons, Illuminati, and any other secret cult, group, or society even if only linked to the Masons on a the dust of the fringe of a robe they no longer wear. My grandfather was a Shriner/Mason and his ring had my attention from a very young age. The fact that I’m just a girl and am not allowed to join on any level may have something to do with it as well… I never have reacted well when told I can’t do something =)

What’s your poison? Your passion? Your go-to conspiracy of choice? Go ahead, you can answer… no one is watching, recording, or storing this conversation anywhere… no, really…



Kicking Karma’s Ass

from panhala.netHow people treat you is their karma;
how you react is yours.
~ Wayne Dyer

Karma is balance. People often forget, like anything that has balance to it, karma is a two-headed monster—one will bite you, the other will kiss you. Most people bring up karma when something bad happens and they want the universe to deliver some cosmic retribution for another’s sins, or a wrongdoing. But karma is also about the good, and what you put out there will come back at you… It’s up to you to decide if you’d like to be bitten or kissed.

The gypsies believed in karma. They also believed in helping it along when necessary. I don’t think it was out of impatience while waiting for the universe to get its shit together, but more of a need to direct and/or witness the events unfold—to know balance had been restored. It’s one of the few things about being gypsy I do not subscribe to. Would I like to witness some negative karma smacking someone around? Sure. I know a couple people on karma’s list, but I doubt I’ll get to see it go down. And I’m not going to help it along. Because karma isn’t out there for the person wronged, it’s there for the person who did the damage. It’s not satisfaction, it’s a lesson. A balancing of energy and intention.

Many sayings I’ve heard from grandparents and parents and total strangers over the years are actually just karma—whether it’s at the other person or protecting your own—twisted into a different speech pattern or wrapped in the packaging of a different ideal. For example, “Kill ’em with kindness” just means be nice no matter what. “Be better than them” is just projecting good onto your karma scorecard. Even religious beliefs about actions coming back three-fold is just another way of remembering to protect your karma.

Karma is it’s own thing, and it will do it’s own thing, on it’s own schedule. Me? I absolutely believe in karma. And while some days I wonder if I wasn’t some horrible person last time around and I’m paying for it now, I’m just going to keep giving good vibes—whether it be my actions or reactions—and hopefully, someday, maybe, the good will come back to me.

How about you? Are you keeping your karma in check? Do you even believe in karma of any sort—good, bad or ugly? Think about it and get back to me… and make sure you wipe your feet off at the door.

Just No

anti-bucketThis is not a bucket list. Oh, I have one of those. I believe I’ve even given you a peek into it at some point. There’s lot of fun things in there, and I will absolutely do every single one of them. But these items? No, just no. This is not that. This is the anti-bucket list. This is the list of things that I will never do. Not willingly. Not consciously. Not ever.

1. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Parachutes are only for emergencies, and even then I may need convincing.

2. Tie a giant rubber band to my ankle and leap from anything taller than a chair. Um, no. The idea of the ground rushing up to meet my face and just when I’m certain I’m going to die by pushing my teeth through my skull and crushing every bone in my body I spring back into the air and do it again? I’ll pass.

3. Swim with sharks. Not going to happen. No suit. No cage. No way. I saw that movie, it didn’t end well. And those cages? That’s just a happy meal box to them and I’m no french fry!

4. Rock climbing. I don’t mean a boulder at the beach. I mean a freaking mountain and me hanging off the sheer side of it with nothing but a rope and little metal hook in a nook to hold me there. The opening of Mission Impossible? Not unless I get to do it like he did… on a sound stage with a blue screen.

5. Vacation somewhere cold. Yes, I’ve been to 48 of the 50 states. Yes, I’ll go to 49 eventually. But that 50th? Forget it. Don’t need it. I grew up where it’s actually colder than parts of Alaska but I’m not interested in seeing the parts that are just barely warmer. The ratio of men to women is insane you say? Nope, still not interested. There are a million beaches to choose from, why the hell would I chose snowshoes when I can be barefoot in the sand?

I bet you have a list like this, as well. You may not think of it on a regular basis, but it’s there. Perhaps you’re only reminded of it when you see someone doing one of them and think, “oh that’s nice not ever gonna happen!” (Much like the moment which spurred this blog post.) So, play along why don’t you? I’ve been off the grid for a while. I’m not necessarily back—tax season, too many writing deadlines, and well, do I need other reasons with those two? So please… feel free to play along and tell me what’s on your anti-bucket list!

Tagged, I’m It—Next Big Thing

Robert Swartwood was tagged by Tim Lebbon in his Next Big Thing blog, then he tagged me. This is the result… where I will answer the meme questions and then turn around tag others. It’s an ongoing thing that will continue until we run out of writers I imagine. Follow along each Wednesday for another block of 5 exponentially.

1) What is the title of your next book?

Because I have to be the difficult child, I actually have three, which are all going to hit in the next couple months, and I don’t know which order: Live Specimens, Buried Memories & The Three Dollar Notebook.  But I know Live Specimens will be out before Christmas, so let’s go with that one.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

Live Specimens actually came from a road trip gone funny—and only funny because it didn’t get bad. In short, someone saw a strange insect and thought we should take it home. It got loose in the car. It wasn’t just strange, it was scary and mean. Take that insect adventure and twist in my love of all things biologically awry and you get this tale of chewy goodness.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

While I generally walk the line along thriller, this one is most definitely horror. Blood and guts, slasher-esque horror at that. Yeah, you’re intrigued, I know you are.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Especially considering I can clearly see the characters since I lovingly based them on real people. Charlize Theron would make a great Emily, Anthony Hopkins would be an excellent Ken. Dan and Greg would take more thought… perhaps Christian Slater and Ethan Hawke, respectively, maybe.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A ship carrying genetically altered animals, designed for the military, crashes ashore on a small tourist town the night before a blizzard… and all hell breaks loose. Can you tell I haven’t worked up my one-line pitch or synopsis yet? I’m doing it this week actually, but until then you get that.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

This one is actually going to be self-published. It was originally intended for one publisher and I pulled it, then it was looked at by another, but I’ve decided to try something different with this one. I’m still publishing with Thunderstorm and Dark Fuse (ohhhh did I just let that cat out of the bag?) but am going to toss this one out there myself through create space as both a trade paperback and ebook. Testing the e-self waters if you will.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Too damn long! Considering I wrote White Picket Prisons in 8 weeks, I’m ashamed that I let life beat me up to the point that I didn’t write a single word for several months. Then I remembered I was in charge, not Murphy or Fate or Life and I finished it. (Nine months, but in my defense—other than the life getting in the way thing—I wrote two novellas and some shorts in that time as well. Yeah, I know, I’ll just walk away in shame now)

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

That’s a tough question. I generally don’t compare what I’m working on so I don’t pull from those sources while writing. If I had to say something, I guess Dean Koontz’s DARKFALL and WATCHERS kinda smashed together, with a touch of Michael Crichton’s JURASSIC PARK. And even that mash of comparisons doesn’t quite sound right.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I mentioned the idea to a couple people and they were intrigued enough to get the muse to start whispering and scratching at the back of my skull while I worked on other things. But I don’t really think anyone can take the blame for this one…

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

This is hands down the bloodiest thing I’ve ever written. Period. To keep the action moving and the story progressing along with the death toll, I kept the chapters short, but there’s blood and gore in about 90% of them. It was weird to write when I started, because I knew I was going for a bloody kill-fest, but once I got inside it was a fun ride full of blood and guts with a story and good characters to boot. I hope you all enjoy reading my messier side as much as I enjoyed writing it.

And with all that said…  TAG, you’re it! Those listed below, post your blog next Wednesday and tag the next five! The rest of you, watch the blogs below for the chain-meme to continue.

Mary SanGiovanni

Kevin Lucia

Wrath James White

Bob Ford

Nate Southard


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