Showing posts from 2012

Eggnog pancakes and Reindeer poop

Now that Santa has seen his shadow in a manger by the light of the menorah (or something like that), we know that Christmas is here.Based on the deluge from movies, television shows, books, songs, and even (especially?) advertisements, Holiday tradition means trees and snow and families and caroling and logs made from recycled yule.

But not all Christmas family traditions are created equal.In my family, Christmas meant reindeer poop and eggnog pancakes.
I was raised in what most would call a traditional Euro-American lower-middle class family.I had two married (to each other) parents – one each from the two predominant genders – and one sister.
We were raised in a properly Anglicized protestant religion (Lutheran, or as I call it, “Roman Catholic Lite”) and were presented with all the Christian Christmas traditions.
But beyond that, our family traditions were a bit, shall we say, “nontraditional.”
My Parents didn’t fall from a Norman Rockwell painting or a Clement Moore poem.My Father had …

Going Down to the Crossroads

Random thoughts from Crossroads Writers 2012, blowing across the barren wasteland of my mind...

- Chris Horne did a phenomenal job...of doing what Heather told him to do.  The Hornes and the entire Crossroads krewe were incredible hosts.

- I have four new writing heroes:  Susannah Breslin, Emilie P. Bush, Joe Kovac Jr., and Christina Ranallo.  Writers write but these four also rock.

- Steamduck is a thing and I can confirm: he does, in fact, learn to fly. (

- I'm fairly certain Chuck Wendig's beard is plotting to overthrow the government of Iowa.

- Adam Mansbach and Kevin Maurer caught lightning in a bottle...because they're really good at carrying bottles in thunderstorms.

- I actually worked "Sam Jackson" and "boner" into a single sentence during my brief meeting with Adam Mansbach.  How ya like me now?

- Kevin Coval's poetry at 8:30 Saturday morning set the bar really, really h…

Crossroads Writers 2012

I've died and gone to heaven.

Or at least Macon.

I'm at Crossroads Writers Weekend, surrounded by writers and wannabe writers and neverwillbe writers and I'm somewhere in between in this intoxicating mound of human creativity.

To all the guest writers and speakers, thank you for reaching back through the tunnel.

Write on, brothers and sisters.  Write on.

Backpacks and Booth Paint: TechEd 2012

Arriving in the parking lot of the Orange County Convention Center, immediately knew I was in the right place. As far as the eye could see, the acres of asphalt was awash in backpacks, quirky (to be kind) outfits, and bad haircuts.

This was the place. This was Microsoft Mecca v2012 for geeks and nerds, the Central Florida event of the year, a gathering of high tech professionals whose skills I both greatly respect and, frankly, fear a little.
I was wholly and completely out of element, a dork in a vast sea of geek gumbo. It like was wearing dockers and a golf shirt walking into a RenFaire, but one with really crappy costumes and no turkey those attached to some of the attendees.
Of course the corporate whores...errrr, vendors were in place, ready to parlay the convention's fre-nerd-ic energy into millions of dollars by convincing the big-brained and under-sexed in the crowd (i.e., virtually all of them...present company excluded, of course) that their product or service w…

Nerdstock 2012

I am an IT professional with virtually no IT skills.I am headed to Microsoft TechEd 2012, into the metaphorical belly of the proverbial beast.Dear Lord what have I gotten myself into?Is there a patron saint of the curmudgeonly tech-tarded?If so, yeah...pray for me.

Joshilyn Jackson takes on Proust

Because virtually all great work is, at best, derivative, the following idea for questions was blatantly stolen from James Lipton (who blatantly stole it from Bernard Pivot, who blatantly stole it from Marcel Proust).

Here's how Joshilyn Jackson, NYT Bestselling author, answered the Smokey Variation of the Proust Questionnaire on a bitterly cold February Sunday in Asheville:

Smokey Joe:  What word do you love that you’ve never used in a book?
Joshilyn Jackson:  I don’t know.  I’m writing my eighth book.  I’ve probably never used inchoate.  I can’t imagine that I’ve ever used inchoate.  But if I have, I’m sorry.
SJ:  If you could eliminate one word from the English language...
JJ (before I could get the rest of the question out):  Moist.  No people should ever say that word again.  Ooh…also tender (said derisively).  Although you can use tender if you want to speak of a cut of meat.  Moist has to go.
SJ:  What’s the best part about being a writer?
JJ:  I’m never bored.  Even when I’m doin…

Fat Man in a Little Surya-namaskar

Chris Farley once famously tickled David Spade's funny bone singing about the famous fat man wearing (and tearing) Spade's jacket.

I'm really not sure I want to know what I'm going to end up tearing when I become my beloved's first official yoga student.  If she laughs when I rupture a spleen or kidney or a gonad, I'm going to be pissed.  Once I stop weeping, that is.

Whether I want to know or not, I have no doubt something will get torn when she bends me into a wheel or a cow face or a half spinal twist or some other spine and pride destroying move.

But I will be her first.  And I will bend in places I didn't know I had hinges.  And I will document every step along the way, right here in the Smoke House.

Follow along with "Where There's Smoke" to find out how things go.

I don't promise much fun but I'll do everything I can to bring the funny.

Peace from Asheville.


The horror...the horror...

Just a quick and dirty link to The Feckless Goblin, horror writer Ziggy Kinsella's blog on horror, dark fiction and writing tips from.  Good stuff there and Ziggy was gracious enough to allow me to provide a guest blog at his site.

Check out "Making Good Horror" by yours truly and all the great content at