necon

Hey Girl | Buttercup of Doom ep 28

BODep28-heygirlAvailable FREE on: Project iRadioiTunesStitcherAndroidTune-In

It’s still Women in Horror month, and I’m still not going to follow protocol and list chicks for you to pay attention to, read/watch, stalk, etc. Nope. Instead, I’m going to talk to a woman behind the horror. The wife of a horror writer… But first: I’ll give you a touch of 101 advice passed to us using the form (see below), read an entry from a hijacked blog, and let you wonder what this picture has to do with all this… janzThen we’ll have some fun with Monica, wife of up-and-coming horror writer Jonathan Janz and talk about dirty secrets, convention habits, and that adult movie you didn’t know about, aka how to pronounce “horror”…  (note: we laughed talked for over 2 hours, I edited the shiznit out of it to get it down to an hour—forgive any abrupt subject changes)

Sponsors: Project iRadio’s Patron Page | Kelli’s Patreon Page | Project iRadio People’s Choice Awards (go vote for me!) | Linda Addison’s “How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend

Suggestions/Requests Jonathan Janz (to suggest/request, use the form here)

Mentions/Shoutouts and Linky-Links: Stikbot (warning, mute!) | Scares That Care | HorrorHound | Janz FB Hey Girl | New hijacked Janz Blog post, complete with recipe using the detailed portions my family is known for… aka “this much”

Hashtag Hell: #crotchpot #heygirl #stephenking #householdhacks #swiffer #womeninhorrormonth #blackhistorymonth #necon #gynocologist #facebook #twitter #instagram #projectiradio #buttercupofdoom #podcast #kelliowen

This Week’s Rating: PG13 (language) buttercup ratings system info here

Necon 30

necon30We leave tomorrow morning for what has become one of my favorite weeks of the year. If you’re going, I’ll see you in the quad. If you’re not, you should really unfuck that next year. This year, they’ve decided to put me on the following panel… come, play, heckle, bring water balloons!

2:00 pm The Great Small Press Debate —The benefits, drawbacks, and etiquette of the small press. Two teams will decide: Is the small press beneficial to the horror community, or is it more trouble than it is worth?
1.) Linda Addison, Elizabeth Blue, Kelli Dunlap, Gary Frank, Amy Grech, Nanci Kalanta.
2.) Dan Keohane, Lisa Manetti, Monica O’Rourke, Morven Westfield

I’m not sure how the teams were designed, and whether or not I’m on the for or against team, but hey, surprise last minute panel info makes for an interesting discussion!

Full schedule here…

Necon 29… aka Defcon

Ahhh Camp Necon. A gathering of friends, colleagues and drama in one tiny little state. I could tell you about the magical adventure box from hell and how it tortured us on the road trip—but I won’t. I could tell you about the road trip itself, but you really had to be there for it—SEEKONK! I could share Necon secrets and discuss rocks and bushes and spearing pumpkins, but I’m a kinder, gentler girl now and wouldn’t want to embarrass those involved. I could do an old wench-style con report, but alas, those died when I sold the site. Instead I give you the reasons that Necon is one of the best cons you’ll ever attend.

The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club: the bandleader, hippie, wench, jersey, just joe, princess, and the canadian… and all those missing [though talked of, loved and abused in their absence].

Friends. A comfort zone that will never be matched by a cluster-con of fans and business, of hundreds of people, of dual programming tracks. Where friends can just hang, visit, giggle and take incriminating pictures of each other. Where the notebook still lives strong and includes such gems as:

Bitter Box
Electric Boogaloo
“I can’t even 69… it’s too confusing!”
Bobbies up, smile & song
That’s no groundhog, it’s a Yeti!
“I was just keigaling”
Cleavage yodeling
It’s my publisher, not my daddy
BoopBOOP!
Free magic show
Hate puppet

Like CHEERS, everyone knows your name… and that can be a bad thing. Because only friends abuse friends like Necon allows, aka The Roast. This year’s roastees were Weston and Yvonne. We heard from them, their elders, their colleagues and yes, a few of their underlings, including me. I was going to dig my claws into the audience, attacking Tom & Paul [for being wonderful], Kelly & Dan [for making us all hold our breath all weekend], Nanci [for those damn countdowns & lolcats], Keene [for not being there], etc. but decided to keep it short and to the point, and hit the nerve I’m known for hitting [with a few jabs for good measure]. For those that missed it, here’s my roast.

Yvonne… I love you [hug], no worries. The only thing I can say mean about you is that you choose to live with him

Weston… darling…

As Weston and many of you know, I used to be HorrorWench. I used to be feared.  And of all the authors in all the gin joints in all the world, only one ever whined, argued and cried about a review… [drum fingers and stare at Weston]. I don’t know why… afterall… Vampire Outlaw of the Milky Way is the only book to ever be yanked from Shockline’s “Guaranteed Good Read” list… even Matt, who will defend Pacione, Bile Dragon… PHILBIN… couldn’t stomach it. Why? Let’s review…It was a space opera… with vampires.  Filled with characters that even Captain Kirk wouldn’t bang. Dallas however…

Specifically, what killed this book? Well…  Spelled out sound effects, as in, “the air left her in a whoosh”. And the hatch sssked open… yeah, that’s spelled S-S-K-E-D. Had enough? Me too… which is why I ended the review by letting everyone know that the 6-piece mcnugget was now on the dollar menu… and then I blocked your emails.

Love you…

Between that, the Breakfast Club [and other images], and just a hint of the full notebook… you need nothing more—except your registration papers for next year. Necon 30… an anniversary… complete with brits… back on the campus… promises to be better than ever!

You’re Fired!

What a week! First fired, then Necon. Let’s cover the firing and by the time I get to the con report, maybe, just maybe, my pictures will be done & uploaded. And yeeeesss… I’m making this a coffee talk. After all, it is Thursday!

Have you ever been fired and realized later, or known immediately, that it was a good thing? That it was better that way? Why? How? Tell me a story!

Being fired isn’t always a bad thing. Though this one hurt… It hurt deep down inside my shriveled black heart. It still hurts, even though I get it. Even though I understand the why, and if I’m honest with myself, agree with the decision. You see, my favorite author to beat up with a orange pen fired me as a pre-reader. Oh no, not because I did anything wrong. Nope. Because I “need to start concentrating more on my stuff rather than his stuff”. *pout* Fine… If I must… I understand. But still, I enjoyed it. I’ve been doing it for years, and continued to learn from it. I’m not bitter… just sad. But I don’t have time for that apparently. It’s time to pull up my big girl pants and start cracking my own whip. I won’t lie, I know what this means and it scares me a little… but then again, after the last few years of life-altering changes, even when I’m scared I act. Time to swallow the fear and make him proud!

To Do List:
Make full list of stories, novels and novellas.
Prioritize them.
Finish or edit as needed. send them out to the big bad scary world.
Take my place at the big kids’ table. *gulp*

When the Cat’s away…

Because yes, I’m running away. Off to Necon this afternoon with Bob, Alethea & Tomo. We shall play with the magical talking box and hope it doesn’t get us lost, see friends & colleagues for several days, road trip back… and you know what? There’s no flipping airplane involved for me!! Wooooooh… and reason #9,782 why I moved = no more airfare =)

Oh wait, I got sidetracked there… sorry. I’ll be gone, but I figured I’d leave you with a chewy coffee talk to ponder in my absence… Thus, the mouse will play!

What is something you do when no one is around? Not something wrong or dirty, although if you feel like answering with those, who am I to stop you?! I mean something silly, or stupid, or that you could easily do when others are around but you don’t. Stupid human tricks if you will… that for whatever reason, you keep private when it doesn’t need to be. Are you a closet singer? Dancer? Talk to yourself? Or is there something even better, darker, funnier that you do? Bring it on… amuse me, damn you!

Living Life

What if you were dying?

Yeah, I know, it’s a helluva way to start a conversation, but can you answer the unspoken questions that come with it? What would you regret doing? Not doing? Who would you miss, or realize you hadn’t spoken to? Are there things you wish you had done? Said? Chances taken? Opportunities ignored because you’d get to them… eventually?

It’s not Sunday as I write this, like it normally is. It’s Tuesday night. Tomorrow I get to relive all those questions. Tonight, I’m going to bleed a little.

2007 was not a fun year. Oh, it started that way—I had an amazing New Year’s filled with laughter and shop talk and insanity with several of my favorite people, and a Stoker dinner to remember, thanks to a friend, big brother & mentor. And then two weeks after WHC I noticed my fingers looked funny. Like little froggy fingertips, which I later learned was called digital clubbing. Oh, it was nothing like what google brought back for me [because here me now and obey later, if you’re having any type of medical anything, do NOT google… google is the evil!]. Before I got to the doctor to ask what the hell that was about, my legs began to hurt. It went fairly quickly from there. Agonizing long bone pain, pins & needles in my limbs, funky fingers, tired all the time, not remembering my own name, oh yeah, by the time the snow was gone I had a symptom/pain/ache/nightmare for every day of the week and then some. When my arms started shaking it became a grand ol’ time.

Freaking out at the pins and needles in my legs and shaking in my arms, I couldn’t wait for an appointment and hit Urgent Care. Note: the medical profession claims to love a mystery… they lie! But they do get excited when something other than a three-year-old with the sniffles comes through the door. But they didn’t seem to care that I couldn’t stand from the pain, that I couldn’t write from the shaking, that my motto was “I could nap” or that I’d had life-long anemia. Nope. They saw clubbing fingers and declared it lung cancer.

Thus beginneth the tests. Xrays, cat scans, pet scans, invasive, rude, horrible procedures that will haunt me forever. Of course, they couldn’t find anything actually wrong with my lungs—no emphysema, cancer, fibrous tissue, abcesses, blockages, nothing. A smoker, I blew better PFTs than nonsmokers. Although they did find a tiny, itty bitty little 5mm spot on an Xray that didn’t show up in cat scans or glow in pet scans. They declared it “scar tissue” from a childhood illness and vowed to watch it. And then moved to the next obvious reason for clubbing—my heart. I still shudder thinking of some of those tests. My favorite would be getting strapped to a T-table like a lazy Christ and them feeding wires and camera from my thigh to my heart, and then having to carry a card on me for 90 days while I waited for the plug to dissintigrate, hoping it would instead of dislodging and forcing me to whip out the “oh shit, get me to the ER card.” Nothing there either.

Stumped doctors decided maybe they should broaden their minds. Maybe even consider some of my other symptoms. And they did, while I suffered through a Necon I was determined to attend [and did damn it, surviving on Nate & Brian & Cassi to help me stand, walk or get me more vicodin], a HorrorFind I promised my daughter she could attend [and if you were there, you may have noticed I didn’t move much. I found a spot on the brick outside and let my friends walk around with her because I couldn’t], 17 specialists, and a Halloween season at the Mayo Clinic. I was accused of, believed to have, and/or tested for a plethora of chewy goodness for 10 months, including but not limited to: 5 types of cancer, liver failure [which, as the non-drinker of the group, would have pissed me off!], 6 different thyroid disorders, lukemia, celiac, crohn’s and some funky stuff that had to be named after someone [addison, eisenmenger, whipple]. It was a good time.

In the end there were too many symptoms that didn’t go together and one lone blood specialist got smart and started weeded through them. Lo’ and behold, that life-long anemia I had mentioned, specifically, at the very first turn and repeated over and over each time I had to answer “And why are you here today?” was the culprit… for the most part. See, your iron can be tested with a simple blood test, which is what they were doing, but he tested further. Seems my stores were depleted. My long bones. Long story short, minor surgery later and the anemia problem was under control. My pain stopped, the shaking stopped, the pins and needles went away, my mind came back and I could function in the real world again. All because my blood had gone wonky and my marrow was working overtime but never catching up.

However, cuz I bet you’re wondering what the hell we’re doing at this point, aren’t you? Even though the world’s TOP lung specialist—no, I mean that. Top dude on the planet—said my lung are shiny and pretty and perfect and don’t even look like smoker’s lungs, the rest of them just won’t buy it. All because of a 5mm “scar”. Do you know how big 5mm is?! Seriously? It’s TINY! [Then again, so are mosquitos and they carry all kinds of plaque and death and fun]

So I sit here on the eve of “final test,” trying to figure out how to study for it. If it hasn’t changed, moved, grown, etc. then I finally get the all clear and can go on with my life. If it has changed…if it is something… well, I have a whole schpeel that goes with that that none of you want to hear. Since I can’t seem to find “Living a full life for dummies” at Amazon, I find myself returning to the question that haunted me for 10 months…

What if I’m dying?

Of course, I already know the answer. I figured it out sometime around August of that year. Right after Horrorfind if I remember correctly. I still haven’t called two of those people, though I did [through Facebook] find two I had lost. I’m still way behind on my “before I die” writing goal, so I may have to kick that into overdrive. I’ve said things I never thought I would and done things I never thought myself brave enough to attempt. I’ve followed through on promises I made to myself, and remembered one I made long ago to someone else. There’s still plenty of work to be done and I’m not feeling unhealthy or ready to lay down and call it quits, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was some fear.

As a writer, I’ve journalized a lot of this experience. I’ve tucked ideas away with plans of returning when the blood dries a bit more. I’ve people-watched with new eyes and listened to my instincts with tenacious clarity. I’ve grown because of it. My writing has changed because of it. And when, not if, the tests [because oh joy, six hours of medical rape includes a LOT of tests!] come back negative… when it turns out to be nothing more than a scar smaller than a paper punch… then I get to finish my list. Because yes, when I couldn’t sleep while my brain spun too fast and my tears ran on a force of their own, I made two lists: “What if I’m dying?” is just the first.  By the time I post this, if I post this, I hope to be hard at work on the other list…

What if I’m living?

[Note: Yes, this is the abbreviated medical version—believe it or not! B/C, B, N & D had to put up with it while it was unfolding. I heart them forever for that.]

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August 2-4, 2019

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—· Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival ·—
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