Peaches in a can

I've always been more of a get-to-know-you writer with my short fiction. I don't spend too much time on a character's back story or what they like for breakfast, I like to throw them into an uncomfortable situation and see how they fight their way out of it. Most of my stories are humor-based, even if it is technically horror, so my characters all have smart mouths or are angling for the best way to phrase a joke. But now I'm faced with new challenges in 2015: a screenplay adaptation of a very famous novel and pitching a children's television series based on one of my books that didn't sell (but will be fantastic for this medium), and I'm in a pickle. There's a story I have to write first because one silly woman won't get out of my head. 

Meet Peach. She was a contestant years ago on the Amazing Race, and she's scared. Of everything. I don't think I've ever seen a woman so out of her element, so vocal in her limited abilities to see the world unfolding around her and shy away from it, and who made me a little proud of her to get as far as she did before she and her sister came in last and were sent home. What is it like to be so afraid? Being scared isn't in my nature. I'm cautious, sure. I'm careful for my children and don't do stupid things -- but my motto has always been "how many times can you do this in your life?" and then I forge ahead. Peach represents something I'm not familiar with: a woman who admits she has limits. By the time they were sent home, she had been scared on a bus, a plane, multiple countries, food, and then scared us by buying an uuuugly tank top during a shopping trip. Now the question is, how am I going to scare Peach? 

I'm sure I'll think of something.  ;)

Wish me luck with the screenplays!


11 Archaic Words to Liven Up Your Holidays

The holidays are coming and that means trying to one up your family members over vacation. In my family, it's a lexiconian dance off -- the loser(s) buy the wine. After the "THIS -- IS -- SPARTA!" catcalls and obligatory chest beating, we try to slip fancy pants words into conversation. This year I'm expanding my knowledge of the more godwotterish sort and I'm bringing you along for the ride.
Borborygmus: The sound of intestinal gas. Don't look at me like that. This is a fantastic word, but one I'll leave until after the meal and no, I won't be blaming the dog. I'm looking at you, Uncle Jack.
Hornswoggle: To dupe or hoax. I'm a terrible card player so I may have to whip this word out while playing another round of Hearts in order to throw attention off of me to win. Why these people keep asking me to play is beyond me.
Legerdemain: Slight of hand. This goes easily with hornswoggle since I cheat like crazy, so I should get extra points if they find out what I'm doing. If that happens, misplaced rage and a few choice words always allow me to tip over the playing tableHousewives-style and confuse my siblings until I can sneak out.
Walla-walla: The rush of sound coming from many people talking at once and making them indecipherable. Too easy. I have five children and four siblings. I have no idea what anyone has said since 2008.
Bloviate: To brag. There's always one sister (or brother), isn't there?
Godwottery: Balderdash or nonsense. I suspect there's always a little bit of godwottery while my sister is bloviating. Ew. Sounds like a rash. She should have that checked.
Flizzen: To belly laugh. I honestly thought this was one of Santa's reindeers.
Misconfrumple: To rumple. I may save this word for my brother-in-law's Christmas morning appearance, but what else could I say after he passes out under the tree every year?
Smouster: To eat secretly. That wasn't Santa hitting the cookies at midnight. That trail of crumbs led straight to my husband.
Honeyfuggle: To trick someone. What's a little honeyfuggle between friends, am I right, Santa?
Gubbins: To tidy up. Christmas morning is a flurry of gubbins before Grandma gets her groove on to watch Ink Master with the grandchildren. What can I say? Bonding.

This article was first posted on the Huffington Post. Check out the rest of my essays!

'Twas the Night Before Zombies: A Christmas Poem

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The zombies were waking
And chasing a mouse

Their bellies were hungry
And needs were not met
They needed their brains
So in darkness they crept

Oh, they were quiet
And yes, they slipped by
But what to their questioning eye did they spy?
A round man so jolly, so fat, and so tasty
They cared not a whit that his skin was so pasty

They snuck up behind him, ignoring the elves
The fat man was busy just loading up shelves
With sweetmeats and candies, with jars of fresh toes
They couldn't resist him and came down in droves

How could they eat him? They fretted and pondered
Was it bad manners to eat those who wandered?
One elf tried to warn him, to give him a sign
But too late was the signal, they were already in line

Get down with your bad elf and happy holidays!